Infomotions, Inc.Voyages in Search of the North-West Passage / Hakluyt, Richard, 1552-1616

Author: Hakluyt, Richard, 1552-1616
Title: Voyages in Search of the North-West Passage
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): ice; north; strait; east; shore; west; coast; leagues; sea; south; passage; island; america; ship
Contributor(s): Wieland, Christoph Martin, 1733-1813 [Translator]
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Identifier: etext3482
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Title: Voyages in Search of the North-West Passage

Author: Richard Hakluyt

Official Release Date: October, 2002  [Etext #3482]
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This etext was produced by David Price, email,
from the 1892 Cassell & Co. edition.


by Richard Hakluyt


Thirty-five years ago I made a voyage to the Arctic Seas in what
Chaucer calls

   A little bote
No bigger than a manne's thought;

it was a Phantom Ship that made some voyages to different parts of
the world which were recorded in early numbers of Charles Dickens's
"Household Words."  As preface to Richard Hakluyt's records of the
first endeavour of our bold Elizabethan mariners to find North-West
Passage to the East, let me repeat here that old voyage of mine from
No. 55 of "Household Words," dated the 12th of April, 1851:  The
Phantom is fitted out for Arctic exploration, with instructions to
find her way, by the north-west, to Behring Straits, and take the
South Pole on her passage home.  Just now we steer due north, and
yonder is the coast of Norway.  From that coast parted Hugh
Willoughby, three hundred years ago; the first of our countrymen who
wrought an ice-bound highway to Cathay.  Two years afterwards his
ships were found, in the haven of Arzina, in Lapland, by some
Russian fishermen; near and about them Willoughby and his
companions--seventy dead men.  The ships were freighted with their
frozen crews, and sailed for England; but, "being unstaunch, as it
is supposed, by their two years' wintering in Lapland, sunk, by the
way, with their dead, and them also that brought them."

Ice floats about us now, and here is a whale blowing; a whale, too,
very near Spitzbergen.  When first Spitzbergen was discovered, in
the good old times, there were whales here in abundance; then a
hundred Dutch ships, in a crowd, might go to work, and boats might
jostle with each other, and the only thing deficient would be
stowage room for all the produce of the fishery.  Now one ship may
have the whole field to itself, and travel home with an imperfect
cargo.  It was fine fun in the good old times; there was no need to
cruise.  Coppers and boilers were fitted on the island, and little
colonies about them, in the fishing season, had nothing to do but
tow the whales in, with a boat, as fast as they were wanted by the
copper.  No wonder that so enviable a Tom Tidler's ground was
claimed by all who had a love for gold and silver.  The English
called it theirs, for they first fished; the Dutch said, nay, but
the island was of their discovery; Danes, Hamburghers, Bisayans,
Spaniards, and French put in their claims; and at length it was
agreed to make partitions.  The numerous bays and harbours which
indent the coast were divided among the rival nations; and, to this
day, many of them bear, accordingly, such names as English Bay,
Danes Bay, and so forth.  One bay there is, with graves in it, named
Sorrow.  For it seemed to the fishers most desirable, if possible,
to plant upon this island permanent establishments, and condemned
convicts were offered, by the Russians, life and pardon, if they
would winter in Spitzbergen.  They agreed; but, when they saw the
icy mountains and the stormy sea, repented, and went back, to meet a
death exempt from torture.  The Dutch tempted free men, by high
rewards, to try the dangerous experiment.  One of their victims left
a journal, which describes his suffering and that of his companions.
Their mouths, he says, became so sore that, if they had food, they
could not eat; their limbs were swollen and disabled with
excruciating pain; they died of scurvy.  Those who died first were
coffined by their dying friends; a row of coffins was found, in the
spring, each with a man in it; two men uncoffined, side by side,
were dead upon the floor.  The journal told how once the traces of a
bear excited their hope of fresh meat and amended health; how, with
a lantern, two or three had limped upon the track, until the light
became extinguished, and they came back in despair to die.  We might
speak, also, of eight English sailors, left, by accident, upon
Spitzbergen, who lived to return and tell their winter's tale; but a
long journey is before us and we must not linger on the way.  As for
our whalers, it need scarcely be related that the multitude of
whales diminished as the slaughtering went on, until it was no
longer possible to keep the coppers full.  The whales had to be
searched for by the vessels, and thereafter it was not worth while
to take the blubber to Spitzbergen to be boiled; and the different
nations, having carried home their coppers, left the apparatus of
those fishing stations to decay.

Take heed.  There is a noise like thunder, and a mountain snaps in
two.  The upper half comes, crashing, grinding, down into the sea,
and loosened streams of water follow it.  The sea is displaced
before the mighty heap; it boils and scatters up a cloud of spray;
it rushes back, and violently beats upon the shore.  The mountain
rises from its bath, sways to and fro, while water pours along its
mighty sides; now it is tolerably quiet, letting crackers off as air
escapes out of its cavities.  That is an iceberg, and in that way
are all icebergs formed.  Mountains of ice formed by rain and snow--
grand Arctic glaciers, undermined by the sea or by accumulation
over-balanced--topple down upon the slightest provocation (moved by
a shout, perhaps), and where they float, as this black-looking
fellow does, they need deep water.  This berg in height is about
ninety feet, and a due balance requires that a mass nine times as
large as the part visible should be submerged.  Icebergs are seen
about us now which rise two hundred feet above the water's level.

There are above head plenty of aquatic birds; ashore, or on the ice,
are bears, foxes, reindeer; and in the sea there are innumerable
animals.  We shall not see so much life near the North Pole, that is
certain.  It would be worth while to go ashore upon an islet there,
near Vogel Sang, to pay a visit to the eider-ducks.  Their nests are
so abundant that one cannot avoid treading on them.  When the duck
is driven by a hungry fox to leave her eggs, she covers them with
down, in order that they may not cool during her absence, and,
moreover, glues the down into a case with a secretion supplied to
her by Nature for that purpose.  The deserted eggs are safe, for
that secretion has an odour very disagreeable to the intruder's

We still sail northward, among sheets of ice, whose boundaries are
not beyond our vision from the masthead--these are "floes;" between
them we find easy way, it is fair "sailing ice."  In the clear sky
to the north a streak of lucid white light is the reflection from an
icy surface; that is, "ice-blink," in the language of these seas.
The glare from snow is yellow, while open water gives a dark

Northward still; but now we are in fog the ice is troublesome; a
gale is rising.  Now, if our ship had timbers they would crack, and
if she had a bell it would be tolling; if we were shouting to each
other we should not hear, the sea is in a fury.  With wild force its
breakers dash against a heaped-up wall of broken ice, that grinds
and strains and battles fiercely with the water.  This is "the
pack," the edge of a great ice-field broken by the swell.  It is a
perilous and an exciting thing to push through pack ice in a gale.

Now there is ice as far as eye can see, that is "an ice-field."
Masses are forced up like colossal tombstones on all sides; our
sailors call them "hummocks;" here and there the broken ice displays
large "holes of water."  Shall we go on?  Upon this field, in 1827,
Parry adventured with his men to reach the North Pole, if that
should be possible.  With sledges and portable boats they laboured
on through snow and over hummocks, launching their boats over the
larger holes of water.  With stout hearts, undaunted by toil or
danger, they went boldly on, though by degrees it became clear to
the leaders of the expedition that they were almost like mice upon a
treadmill cage, making a great expenditure of leg for little gain.
The ice was floating to the south with them, as they were walking to
the north; still they went on.  Sleeping by day to avoid the glare,
and to get greater warmth during the time of rest, and travelling by
night--watch-makers' days and nights, for it was all one polar day--
the men soon were unable to distinguish noon from midnight.  The
great event of one day on this dreary waste was the discovery of two
flies upon an ice hummock; these, says Parry, became at once a topic
of ridiculous importance.  Presently, after twenty-three miles'
walking, they had only gone one mile forward, the ice having
industriously floated twenty-two miles in the opposite direction;
and then, after walking forward eleven miles, they found themselves
to be three miles behind the place from which they started.  The
party accordingly returned, not having reached the Pole, not having
reached the eighty-third parallel, for the attainment of which there
was a reward of a thousand pounds held out by government.  They
reached the parallel of eighty-two degrees forty-five minutes, which
was the most northerly point trodden by the foot of man.

From that point they returned.  In those high latitudes they met
with a phenomenon, common in alpine regions, as well as at the Pole,
red snow; the red colour being caused by the abundance of a minute
plant, of low development, the last dweller on the borders of the
vegetable kingdom.  More interesting to the sailors was a fat she
bear which they killed and devoured with a zeal to be repented of;
for on reaching navigable sea, and pushing in their boats to Table
Island, where some stones were left, they found that the bears had
eaten all their bread, whereon the men agreed that "Bruin was now
square with them."  An islet next to Table Island--they are both
mere rocks--is the most northern land discovered.  Therefore, Parry
applied to it the name of lieutenant--afterwards Sir James--Ross.
This compliment Sir James Ross acknowledged in the most emphatic
manner, by discovering on his part, at the other Pole, the most
southern land yet seen, and giving to it the name of Parry:  "Parry

It very probably would not be difficult, under such circumstances as
Sir W. Parry has since recommended, to reach the North Pole along
this route.  Then (especially if it be true, as many believe, that
there is a region of open sea about the Pole itself) we might find
it as easy to reach Behring Straits by travelling in a straight line
over the North Pole, as by threading the straits and bays north of

We turn our course until we have in sight a portion of the ice-
barred eastern coast of Greenland, Shannon Island.  Somewhere about
this spot in the seventy-fifth parallel is the most northern part of
that coast known to us.  Colonel--then Captain--Sabine in the Griper
was landed there to make magnetic, and other observations; for the
same purpose he had previously visited Sierra Leone.  That is where
we differ from our forefathers.  They commissioned hardy seamen to
encounter peril for the search of gold ore, or for a near road to
Cathay; but our peril is encountered for the gain of knowledge, for
the highest kind of service that can now be rendered to the human

Before we leave the Northern Sea, we must not omit to mention the
voyage by Spitzbergen northward, in 1818, of Captain Buchan in the
Dorothea, accompanied by Lieutenant Franklin, in the Trent.  It was
Sir John Franklin's first voyage to the Arctic regions.  This trip
forms the subject of a delightful book by Captain Beechey.

On our way to the south point of Greenland we pass near Cape North,
a point of Iceland.  Iceland, we know, is the centre of a volcanic
region, whereof Norway and Greenland are at opposite points of the
circumference.  In connection with this district there is a
remarkable fact; that by the agency of subterranean forces, a large
portion of Norway and Sweden is being slowly upheaved.  While
Greenland, on the west coast, as gradually sinks into the sea,
Norway rises at the rate of about four feet in a century.  In
Greenland, the sinking is so well known that the natives never build
close to the water's edge, and the Moravian missionaries more than
once have had to move farther inland the poles on which their boats
are rested.

Our Phantom Ship stands fairly now along the western coast of
Greenland into Davis Straits.  We observe that upon this western
coast there is, by a great deal, less ice than on the eastern.  That
is a rule generally.  Not only the configuration of the straits and
bays, but also the earth's rotation from west to east, causes the
currents here to set towards the west, and wash the western coasts,
while they act very little on the eastern.  We steer across Davis
Strait, among "an infinite number of great countreys and islands of
yce;" there, near the entrance, we find Hudson Strait, which does
not now concern us.  Islands probably separate this well-known
channel from Frobisher Strait to the north of it, yet unexplored.
Here let us recall to mind the fleet of fifteen sail, under Sir
Martin Frobisher, in 1578, tossing about and parting company among
the ice.  Let us remember how the crew of the Anne Frances, in that
expedition, built a pinnace when their vessel struck upon a rock,
stock, although they wanted main timber and nails.  How they made a
mimic forge, and "for the easier making of nails, were forced to
break their tongs, gridiron, and fire-shovel, in pieces."  How
Master Captain Best, in this frail bark, with its imperfect timbers
held together by the metamorphosed gridiron and fire-shovel,
continued in his duty, and did depart up the straights as before was
pretended."  How a terrific storm arose, and the fleet parted and
the intrepid captain was towed "in his small pinnesse, at the stern
of the Michael, thorow the raging seas; for the bark was not able to
receive, or relieve half his company."  The "tongs, gridyron, and
fire-shovell," performed their work only for as many minutes as were
absolutely necessary, for the pinnesse came no sooner aboard the
ship, and the men entred, but she presently shivered and fell in
pieces, and sunke at the ship's stern with all the poor men's

Now, too, as we sail up the strait, explored a few years after these
events by Master John Davis, how proudly we remember him as a right
worthy forerunner of those countrymen of his and ours who since have
sailed over his track.  Nor ought we to pass on without calling to
mind the melancholy fate, in 1606, of Master John Knight, driven, in
the Hopewell, among huge masses of ice with a tremendous surf, his
rudder knocked away, his ship half full of water, at the entrance to
these straits.  Hoping to find a harbour, he set forth to explore a
large island, and landed, leaving two men to watch the boat, while
he, with three men and the mate, set forth and disappeared over a
hill.  For thirteen hours the watchers kept their post; one had his
trumpet with him, for he was a trumpeter, the other had a gun.  They
trumpeted often and loudly; they fired, but no answer came.  They
watched ashore all night for the return of their captain and his
party, "but they came not at all."

The season is advanced.  As we sail on, the sea steams like a line-
kiln, "frost-smoke" covers it.  The water, cooled less rapidly, is
warmer now than the surrounding air, and yields this vapour in
consequence.  By the time our vessel has reached Baffin's Bay, still
coasting along Greenland, in addition to old floes and bergs, the
water is beset with "pancake ice."  That is the young ice when it
first begins to cake upon the surface.  Innocent enough it seems,
but it is sadly clogging to the ships.  It sticks about their sides
like treacle on a fly's wing; collecting unequally, it destroys all
equilibrium, and impedes the efforts of the steersman.  Rocks split
on the Greenland coast with loud explosions, and more icebergs fall.
Icebergs we soon shall take our leave of; they are only found where
there is a coast on which glaciers can form; they are good for
nothing but to yield fresh water to the vessels; it will be all
field, pack, and saltwater ice presently.

Now we are in Baffin's Bay, explored in the voyages of Bylot and
Baffin, 1615-16.  When, in 1817, a great movement in the Greenland
ice caused many to believe that the northern passages would be found
comparatively clear; and when, in consequence of this impression,
Sir John Barrow succeeded in setting afoot that course of modern
Arctic exploration which has been continued to the present day, Sir
John Ross was the first man sent to find the North-West Passage.
Buchan and Parry were commissioned at the same the to attempt the
North Sea route.  Sir John Ross did little more on that occasion
than effect a survey of Baffin's Bay, and prove the accuracy of the
ancient pilot.  In the extreme north of the bay there is an inlet or
a channel, called by Baffin Smith's Sound; this Sir John saw, but
did not enter.  It never yet has been explored.  It may be an inlet
only; but it is also very possible that by this channel ships might
get into the Polar Sea and sail by the north shore of Greenland to
Spitzbergen.  Turning that corner, and descending along the western
coast of Baffin's Bay, there is another inlet called Jones' Sound by
Baffin, also unexplored.  These two inlets, with their very British
titles, Smith and Jones, are of exceeding interest.  Jones' Sound
may lead by a back way to Melville Island.  South of Jones' Sound
there is a wide break in the shore, a great sound, named by Baffin,
Lancaster's, which Sir John Ross, in that first expedition, failed
also to explore.  Like our transatlantic friends at the South Pole,
he laid down a range of clouds as mountains, and considered the way
impervious; so he came home.  Parry went out next year, as a
lieutenant, in command of his first and most successful expedition.
He sailed up Lancaster Sound, which was in that year (1819)
unusually clear of ice; and he is the discoverer whose track we now
follow in our Phantom Ship.  The whole ground being new, he had to
name the points of country right and left of him.  The way was broad
and open, due west, a most prosperous beginning for a North-West
Passage.  If this continued, he would soon reach Behring Strait.  A
broad channel to the right, directed, that is to say, southward, he
entered on the Prince of Wales's birthday, and so called it the
"Prince Regent's Inlet."  After exploring this for some miles, he
turned back to resume his western course, for still there was a
broad strait leading westward.  This second part of Lancaster Sound
he called after the Secretary of the Admiralty who had so
indefatigably laboured to promote the expeditions, Barrow's Strait.
Then he came to a channel, turning to the right or northward, and he
named that Wellington Channel.  Then he had on his right hand ice,
islands large and small, and intervening channels; on the left, ice,
and a cape visible, Cape Walker.  At an island, named after the
First Lord of the Admiralty Melville Island, the great frozen
wilderness barred farther progress.  There he wintered.  On the
coast of Melville Island they had passed the latitude of one hundred
and ten degrees, and the men had become entitled to a royal bounty
of five thousand pounds.  This group of islands Parry called North
Georgian, but they are usually called by his own name, Parry
Islands.  This was the first European winter party in the Arctic
circle.  Its details are familiar enough.  How the men cut in three
days, through ice seven inches thick, a canal two miles and a half
long, and so brought the ships into safe harbour.  How the genius of
Parry equalled the occasion; how there was established a theatre and
a North Georgian Gazette, to cheer the tediousness of a night which
continued for two thousand hours.  The dreary, dazzling waste in
which there was that little patch of life, the stars, the fog, the
moonlight, the glittering wonder of the northern lights, in which,
as Greenlanders believe, souls of the wicked dance tormented, are
familiar to us.  The she-bear stays at home; but the he-bear
hungers, and looks in vain for a stray seal or walrus--woe to the
unarmed man who meets him in his hungry mood!  Wolves are abroad,
and pretty white arctic foxes.  The reindeer have sought other
pasture-ground.  The thermometer runs down to more than sixty
degrees below freezing, a temperature tolerable in calm weather, but
distressing in a wind.  The eye-piece of the telescope must be
protected now with leather, for the skin is destroyed that comes in
contact with cold metal.  The voice at a mile's distance can be
heard distinctly.  Happy the day when first the sun is seen to graze
the edge of the horizon; but summer must come, and the heat of a
constant day must accumulate, and summer wane, before the ice is
melted.  Then the ice cracks, like cannons over-charged, and moves
with a loud grinding noise.  But not yet is escape to be made with
safety.  After a detention of ten months, Parry got free; but, in
escaping, narrowly missed the destruction of both ships, by their
being "nipped" between the mighty mass and the unyielding shore.
What animals are found on Melville Island we may judge from the
results of sport during ten months' detention.  The island exceeds
five thousand miles square, and yielded to the gun, three musk oxen,
twenty-four deer, sixty-eight hares, fifty-three geese, fifty-nine
ducks, and one hundred and forty-four ptarmigans, weighing together
three thousand seven hundred and sixty-six pounds--not quite two
ounces of meat per day to every man.  Lichens, stunted grass,
saxifrage, and a feeble willow, are the plants of Melville Island,
but in sheltered nooks there are found sorrel, poppy, and a yellow
buttercup.  Halos and double suns are very common consequences of
refraction in this quarter of the world.  Franklin returned from his
first and most famous voyage with his men all safe and sound, except
the loss of a few fingers, frost-bitten.  We sail back only as far
as Regent's Inlet, being bound for Behring Strait.

The reputation of Sir John Ross being clouded by discontent
expressed against his first expedition, Felix Booth, a rich
distiller, provided seventeen thousand pounds to enable his friend
to redeem his credit.  Sir John accordingly, in 1829, went out in
the Victory, provided with steam-machinery that did not answer well.
He was accompanied by Sir James Ross, his nephew.  He it was who, on
this occasion, first surveyed Regent's Inlet, down which we are now
sailing with our Phantom Ship.  The coast on our right hand,
westward, which Parry saw, is called North Somerset, but farther
south, where the inlet widens, the land is named Boothia Felix.
Five years before this, Parry, in his third voyage, had attempted to
pass down Regent's Inlet, where among ice and storm, one of his
ships, the Hecla, had been driven violently ashore, and of necessity
abandoned.  The stores had been removed, and Sir John was able now
to replenish his own vessel from them.  Rounding a point at the
bottom of Prince Regent's Inlet, we find Felix Harbour, where Sir
John Ross wintered.  His nephew made from this point scientific
explorations; discovered a strait, called after him the Strait of
James Ross, and on the northern shore of this strait, on the main
land of Boothia, planted the British flag on the Northern Magnetic
Pole.  The ice broke up, so did the Victory; after a hairbreadth
escape, the party found a searching vessel and arrived home after an
absence of four years and five months, Sir John Ross having lost his
ship, and won his reputation, The friend in need was made a baronet
for his munificence; Sir John was reimbursed for all his losses, and
the crew liberally taken care of.  Sir James Ross had a rod and flag
signifying "Magnetic Pole," given to him for a new crest, by the
Heralds' College, for which he was no doubt greatly the better.

We have sailed northward to get into Hudson Strait, the high road
into Hudson Bay.  Along the shore are Esquimaux in boats, extremely
active, but these filthy creatures we pass by; the Esquimaux in
Hudson Strait are like the negroes of the coast, demoralised by
intercourse with European traders.  These are not true pictures of
the loving children of the north.  Our "Phantom" floats on the wide
waters of Hudson Bay--the grave of its discoverer.  Familiar as the
story is of Henry Hudson's fate, for John King's sake how gladly we
repeat it.  While sailing on the waters he discovered, in 1611, his
men mutinied; the mutiny was aided by Henry Green, a prodigal, whom
Hudson had generously shielded from ruin.  Hudson, the master, and
his son, with six sick or disabled members of the crew, were driven
from their cabins, forced into a little shallop, and committed
helpless to the water and the ice.  But there was one stout man,
John King, the carpenter, who stepped into the boat, abjuring his
companions, and chose rather to die than even passively be partaker
in so foul a crime.  John King, we who live after will remember you.

Here on aim island, Charlton Island, near our entrance to the bay,
in 1631, wintered poor Captain James with his wrecked crew.  This is
a point outside the Arctic circle, but quite cold enough.  Of
nights, with a good fire in the house they built, hoar frost covered
their beds, and the cook's water in a metal pan before the fire was
warm on one side and froze on the other.  Here "it snowed and froze
extremely, at which time we, looking from the shore towards the
ship, she appeared a piece of ice in the fashion of a ship, or a
ship resembling a piece of ice."  Here the gunner, who hand lost his
leg, besought that, "for the little the he had to live, he might
drink sack altogether."  He died and was buried in the ice far from
the vessel, but when afterwards two more were dead of scurvy, and
the others, in a miserable state, were working with faint hope about
their shattered vessel, the gunner was found to have returned home
to the old vessel; his leg had penetrated through a port-hole.  They
"digged him clear out, and he was as free from noisomeness," the
record says, "as when we first committed him to the sea.  This
alteration had the ice, and water, and time, only wrought on him,
that his flesh would slip up and down upon his bones, like a glove
on a man's hand.  In the evening we buried him by the others."
These worthy souls, laid up with the agonies of scurvy, knew that in
action was their only hope; they forced their limbs to labour, among
ice and water, every day.  They set about the building of a boat,
but the hard frozen wood had broken their axes, so they made shift
with the pieces.  To fell a tree, it was first requisite to light in
fire around it, and the carpenter could only labour with his wood
over a fire, or else it was like stone under his tools.  Before the
boat was made they buried the carpenter.  The captain exhorted them
to put their trust in God; "His will be done.  If it be our fortune
to end our days here, we are as near Heaven as in England.  They all
protested to work to the utmost of their strength, and that they
would refuse nothing that I should order them to do to the utmost
hazard of their lives.  I thanked them all."  Truly the North Pole
has its triumphs.  If we took no account of the fields of trade
opened by our Arctic explorers, if we thought nothing of the wants
of science in comparison with the lives lost in supplying them, is
not the loss of life a gain, which proves and tests the fortitude of
noble hearts, and teaches us respect for human nature?  All the
lives that have been lost among these Polar regions are less in
number than the dead upon a battle-field.  The battle-field
inflicted shame upon our race--is it with shame that our hearts
throb in following these Arctic heroes?  March 31st, says Captain
James, "was very cold, with snow and hail, which pinched our sick
men more than any time this year.  This evening, being May eve, we
returned late from our work to our house, and made a good fire, and
chose ladies, and ceremoniously wore their names in our caps,
endeavouring to revive ourselves by any means.  On the 15th, I
manured a little patch of ground that was bare of snow, and sowed it
with pease, hoping to have some shortly to eat, for as yet we could
see no green thing to comfort us."  Those pease saved the party; as
they came up the young shoots were boiled and eaten, so their health
began to mend, and they recovered from their scurvy.  Eventually,
after other perils, they succeeded in making their escape.

A strait, called Sir Thomas Rowe's Welcome, leads due north out of
Hudson Bay, being parted by Southampton Island from the strait
through which we entered.  Its name is quaint, for so was its
discoverer, Luke Fox, a worthy man, addicted much to euphuism.  Fox
sailed from London in the same year in which James sailed from
Bristol.  They were rivals.  Meeting in Davis Straits, Fox dined on
board his friendly rival's vessel, which was very unfit for the
service upon which it went.  The sea washed over them and came into
the cabin, so says Fox, "sauce would not have been wanted if there
had been roast mutton."  Luke Fox, being ice-bound and in peril,
writes, "God thinks upon our imprisonment within a supersedeas;" but
he was a good and honourable man as wall as euphuist.  His "Sir
Thomas Rowe's Welcome" leads into Fox Channel:  our "Phantom Ship"
is pushing through the welcome passes on the left-hand Repulse Bay.
This portion of the Arctic regions, with Fox Channel, is extremely
perilous.  Here Captain Lyon, in the Griper, was thrown anchorless
upon the mercy of a stormy sea, ice crashing around him.  One island
in Fox Channel is called Mill Island, from the incessant grinding of
great masses of ice collected there.  In the northern part of Fox
Channel, on the western shore, is Melville Peninsula, where Parry
wintered on his second voyage.  Here let us go ashore and see a
little colony of Esquimaux.

Their limits are built of blocks of snow, and arched, having an ice
pane for a window.  They construct their arched entrance and their
hemispherical roof on the true principles of architecture.  Those
wise men, the Egyptians, made their arch by hewing the stones out of
shape; the Esquimaux have the true secret.  Here they are, with
little food in winter and great appetites; devouring a whole walrus
when they get it, and taking the chance of hunger for the next eight
days--hungry or full, for ever happy in their lot--here are the
Esquimaux.  They are warmly clothed, each in a double suit of skins
sewn neatly together.  Some are singing, with good voices too.
Please them, and they straightway dance; activity is good in a cold
climate:  Play to them on the flute, or if you can sing well, sing,
or turn a barrel-organ, they are mute, eager with wonder and
delight; their love of music is intense.  Give them a pencil, and,
like children, they will draw.  Teach them and they will learn,
oblige them and they will be grateful.  "Gentle and loving savages,"
one of our old worthies called them, and the Portuguese were so much
impressed with their teachable and gentle conduct, that a Venetian
ambassador writes, "His serene majesty contemplates deriving great
advantage from the country, not only on account of the timber of
which he has occasion, but of the inhabitants, who are admirably
calculated for labour, and are the best I have ever seen."  The
Esquimaux, of course, will learn vice, and in the region visited by
whale ships, vice enough has certainly been taught him.  Here are
the dogs, who will eat old coats, or anything; and, near the
dwellings, here is a snow-bunting--robin redbreast of the Arctic
lands.  A party of our sailors once, on landing, took some sticks
from a large heap, and uncovered the nest of a snow-bunting with
young, the bird flew to a little distance, but seeing that the men
sat down, and harmed her not, continued to seek food and supply her
little ones, with full faith in the good intentions of the party.
Captain Lyon found a child's grave partly uncovered, and a snow-
bunting had built its nest upon the infant's bosom.

Sailing round Melville Peninsula, we come into the Gulf of Akkolee,
through Fury and Hecla Straits, discovered by Parry.  So we get back
to the bottom of Regent's Inlet, which we quitted a short time ago,
and sailing in the neighbourhood of the magnetic pole, we reach the
estuary of Back's River, on the north-east coast of America.  We
pass then through a strait, discovered in 1839 by Dean and Simpson,
still coasting along the northern shore of America, on the great
Stinking Lake, as Indians call this ocean.  Boats, ice permitting,
and our "Phantom Ship," of course, can coast all the way to Behring
Strait.  The whole coast has been explored by Sir John Franklin, Sir
John Richardson, and Sir George Back, who have earned their
knighthoods through great peril.  As we pass Coronation Gulf--the
scene of Franklin, Richardson, and Back's first exploration from the
Coppermine River--we revert to the romantic story of their journey
back, over a land of snow and frost, subsisting upon lichens, with
companions starved to death, where they plucked wild leaves for tea,
and ate their shoes for supper; the tragedy by the river; the murder
of poor Hood, with a book of prayers in his hand; Franklin at Fort
Enterprise, with two companions at the point of death, himself
gaunt, hollow-eyed, feeding on pounded bones, raked from the
dunghill; the arrival of Dr. Richardson and the brave sailor; their
awful story of the cannibal Michel;--we revert to these things with
a shudder.  But we must continue on our route.  The current still
flows westward, bearing now large quantities of driftwood out of the
Mackenzie River.  At the name of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, also, we
might pause, and talk over the bold achievements of another Arctic
hero; but we pass on, by a rugged and inhospitable coast, unfit for
vessels of large draught--pass the broad mouth of the Youcon, pass
Point Barrow, Icy Cape, and are in Behring Strait.  Had we passed
on, we should have found the Russian Arctic coast line, traced out
by a series of Russian explorers; of whom the most illustrious--
Baron Von Wrangell--states, that beyond a certain distance to the
northward there is always found what he calls the Polynja (open
water).  This is the fact adduced by those who adhere to the old
fancy that there is a sea about the Pole itself quite free from ice.

We pass through Behring Straits.  Behring, a Dane by birth, but in
the Russian service, died here in 1741, upon the scene of his
discovery.  He and his crew, victims of scurvy, were unable to
manage their vessel in a storm; and it was at length wrecked on a
barren island, there, where "want, nakedness, cold, sickness,
impatience, and despair, were their daily guests," Behring, his
lieutenant, and the master died.

Now we must put a girdle round the world, and do it with the speed
of Ariel.  Here we are already in the heats of the equator.  We can
do no more than remark, that if air and water are heated at the
equator, and frozen at the poles, there will be equilibrium
destroyed, and constant currents caused.  And so it happens, so we
get the prevailing winds, and all the currents of the ocean.  Of
these, some of the uses, but by no means all, are obvious.  We urge
our "Phantom" fleetly to the southern pole.  Here, over the other
hemisphere of the earth, there shines another hemisphere of heaven.
The stars are changed; the southern cross, the Magellanic clouds,
the "coal-sack" in the milky way, attract our notice.  Now we are in
the southern latitude that corresponds to England in the north; nay,
at a greater distance from the Pole, we find Kerguelen's Land,
emphatically called "The Isle of Desolation."  Icebergs float much
further into the warm sea on this side of the equator before they
dissolve.  The South Pole is evidently a more thorough refrigerator
than the North.  Why is this?  We shall soon see.  We push through
pack-ice, and through floes and fields, by lofty bergs, by an island
or two covered with penguins, until there lies before us a long
range of mountains, nine or ten thousand feet in height, and all
clad in eternal snow.  That is a portion of the Southern Continent.
Lieutenant Wilkes, in the American exploring expedition, first
discovered this, and mapped out some part of the coast, putting a
few clouds in likewise--a mistake easily made by those who omit to
verify every foot of land.  Sir James Ross, in his most successful
South Pole Expedition, during the years 1839-43, sailed over some of
this land, and confirmed the rest.  The Antarctic, as well as the
Arctic honours he secured for England, by turning a corner of the
land, and sailing far southward, along an impenetrable icy barrier,
to the latitude of seventy-eight degrees, nine minutes.  It is an
elevated continent, with many lofty ranges.  On the extreme southern
point reached by the ships, a magnificent volcano was seen spouting
fire and smoke out of the everlasting snow.  This volcano, twelve
thousand four hundred feet high, was named Mount Erebus; for the
Erebus and Terror long sought anxiously among the bays, and sounds,
and creeks of the North Pole, then coasted by the solid ice walls of
the south.

H. M.

To prove a Passage by the North-West to Cathay and the East Indies.


When I gave myself to the study of geography, after I had perused
and diligently scanned the descriptions of Europe, Asia, and Africa,
and conferred them with the maps and globes both antique and modern,
I came in fine to the fourth part of the world, commonly called
America, which by all descriptions I found to be an island environed
round about with the sea, having on the south side of it the Strait
of Magellan, on the west side the Mare de Sur, which sea runneth
towards the north, separating it from the east parts of Asia, where
the dominions of the Cathaians are.  On the east part our west
ocean, and on the north side the sea that severeth it from
Greenland, through which northern seas the passage lieth, which I
take now in hand to discover.

Plato in his Timaeus and in the dialogue called Critias, discourses
of an incomparable great island then called Atlantis, being greater
than all Africa and Asia, which lay westward from the Straits of
Gibraltar, navigable round about:  affirming, also, that the princes
of Atlantis did as well enjoy the governance of all Africa and the
most part of Europe as of Atlantis itself.

Also to prove Plato's opinion of this island, and the inhabiting of
it in ancient time by them of Europe, to be of the more credit:
Marinaeus Siculus, in his Chronicle of Spain, reporteth that there
hath been found by the Spaniards in the gold mines of America
certain pieces of money, engraved with the image of Augustus Caesar;
which pieces were sent to the Pope for a testimony of the matter by
John Rufus, Archbishop of Constantinum.

Moreover, this was not only thought of Plato, but by Marsilius
Ficinus, an excellent Florentine philosopher, Crantor the Grecian,
Proclus, also Philo the famous Jew (as appeareth in his book De
Mundo, and in the Commentaries upon Plato), to be overflown, and
swallowed up with water, by reason of a mighty earthquake and
streaming down of the heavenly flood gates.  The like thereof
happened unto some part of Italy, when by the forcibleness of the
sea, called Superum, it cut off Sicily from the continent of
Calabria, as appeareth in Justin in the beginning of his fourth
book.  Also there chanced the like in Zeeland, a part of Flanders.

And also the cities of Pyrrha and Antissa, about Palus Meotis; and
also the city Burys, in the Corinthian Gulf, commonly called Sinus
Corinthiacus, have been swallowed up with the sea, and are not at
this day to be discerned:  by which accident America grew to be
unknown, of long time, unto us of the later ages, and was lately
discovered again by Americus Vespucius, in the year of our Lord
1497, which some say to have been first discovered by Christopher
Columbus, a Genoese, Anno 1492.

The same calamity happened unto this isle of Atlantis six hundred
and odd years before Plato's time, which some of the people of the
south-east parts of the world accounted as nine thousand years; for
the manner then was to reckon the moon's period of the Zodiac for a
year, which is our usual month, depending a Luminari minore.

So that in these our days there can no other main or island be found
or judged to be parcel of this Atlantis than those western islands,
which now bear the name of America; countervailing thereby the name
of Atlantis in the knowledge of our age.

Then, if when no part of the said Atlantis was oppressed by water
and earthquake, the coasts round about the same were navigable, a
far greater hope now remaineth of the same by the north-west, seeing
the most part of it was since that time swallowed up with water,
which could not utterly take away the old deeps and channels, but,
rather, be many occasion of the enlarging of the old, and also an
enforcing of a great many new; why then should we now doubt of our
North-West Passage and navigation from England to India, etc.,
seeing that Atlantis, now called America, was ever known to be an
island, and in those days navigable round about, which by access of
more water could not be diminished?

Also Aristotle in his book De Mundo, and the learned German, Simon
Gryneus, in his annotations upon the same, saith that the whole
earth (meaning thereby, as manifestly doth appear, Asia, Africa, and
Europe, being all the countries then known) to be but one island,
compassed about with the reach of the Atlantic sea; which likewise
approveth America to be an island, and in no part adjoining to Asia
or the rest.

Also many ancient writers, as Strabo and others, called both the
ocean sea (which lieth east of India) Atlanticum Pelagus, and that
sea also on the west coasts of Spain and Africa, Mare Atlanticum;
the distance between the two coasts is almost half the compass of
the earth.

So that it is incredible, as by Plato appeareth manifestly, that the
East Indian Sea had the name of Atlanticum Pelagus, of the mountain
Atlas in Africa, or yet the sea adjoining to Africa had name Oceanus
Atlanticus, of the same mountain; but that those seas and the
mountain Atlas were so called of this great island Atlantis, and
that the one and the other had their names for a memorial of the
mighty Prince Atlas, sometime king thereof, who was Japhet, youngest
son to Noah, in whose time the whole earth was divided between the
three brethren, Shem, Ham, and Japhet.

Wherefore I am of opinion that America by the north-west will be
found favourable to this our enterprise, and am the rather
emboldened to believe the same, for that I find it not only
confirmed by Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers, but
also by the best modern geographers, as Gemma Frisius, Munsterus,
Appianus Hunterus, Gastaldus, Guyccardinus, Michael Tramesinus,
Franciscus Demongenitus, Barnardus, Puteanus, Andreas Vavasor,
Tramontanus, Petrus Martyr, and also Ortelius, who doth coast out in
his general map (set out Anno 1569) all the countries and capes on
the north-west side of America from Hochelega to Cape de Paramantia,
describing likewise the sea-coasts of Cathay and Greenland, towards
any part of America, making both Greenland and America islands
disjoined by a great sea from any part of Asia.

All which learned men and painful travellers have affirmed with one
consent and voice, that America was an island, and that there lieth
a great sea between it, Cathay, and Greenland, by the which any man
of our country that will give the attempt, may with small danger
pass to Cathay, the Moluccas, India, and all other places in the
east in much shorter time than either the Spaniard or Portuguese
doth, or may do, from the nearest part of any of their countries
within Europe.

What moved these learned men to affirm thus much I know not, or to
what end so many and sundry travellers of both ages have allowed the
same; but I conjecture that they would never have so constantly
affirmed, or notified their opinions therein to the world, if they
had not had great good cause, and many probable reasons to have led
them thereunto.

Now lest you should make small account of ancient writers or of
their experiences which travelled long before our times, reckoning
their authority amongst fables of no importance, I have for the
better assurance of those proofs set down some part of a discourse,
written in the Saxon tongue, and translated into English by Master
Noel, servant to Master Secretary Cecil, wherein there is described
a navigation which one other made, in the time of King Alfred, King
of Wessex, Anne 871, the words of which discourse were these:  "He
sailed right north, having always the desert land on the starboard,
and on the larboard the main sea, continuing his course, until he
perceived that the coast bowed directly towards the east or else the
sea opened into the land he could not tell how far, where he was
compelled to stay until he had a western wind or somewhat upon the
north, and sailed thence directly east along the coast, so far as he
was able in four days, where he was again enforced to tarry until he
had a north wind, because the coast there bowed directly towards the
south, or at least opened he knew not how far into the land, so that
he sailed thence along the coast continually full south, so far as
he could travel in the space of five days, where he discovered a
mighty river which opened far into the land, and in the entry of
this river he turned back again."

Whereby it appeareth that he went the very way that we now do yearly
trade by S. Nicholas into Muscovia, which way no man in our age knew
for certainty to be sea, until it was since discovered by our
Englishmen in the time of King Edward I., but thought before that
time that Greenland had joined to Normoria Byarmia, and therefore
was accounted a new discovery, being nothing so indeed, as by this
discourse of Ochther's it appeareth.

Nevertheless if any man should have taken this voyage in hand by the
encouragement of this only author, he should have been thought but
simple, considering that this navigation was written so many years
past, in so barbarous a tongue by one only obscure author, and yet
we in these our days find by our own experiences his former reports
to be true.

How much more, then, ought we to believe this passage to Cathay to
be, being verified by the opinions of all the best, both antique and
modern geographers, and plainly set out in the best and most allowed
maps, charts, globes, cosmographical tables, and discourses of this
our age and by the rest not denied, but left as a matter doubtful.


1.  All seas are maintained by the abundance of water, so that the
nearer the end any river, bay, or haven is, the shallower it waxeth
(although by some accidental bar it is sometime found otherwise),
but the farther you sail west from Iceland, towards the place where
this strait is thought to be, the more deep are the seas, which
giveth us good hope of continuance of the same sea, with Mare del
Sur, by some strait that lieth between America, Greenland, and

2.  Also, if that America were not an island, but a part of the
continent adjoining to Asia, either the people which inhabit Mangia,
Anian, and Quinzay, etc., being borderers upon it, would before this
time have made some road into it, hoping to have found some like
commodities to their own.

3.  Or else the Syrians and Tartars (which oftentimes heretofore
have sought far and near for new seats, driven thereunto through the
necessity of their cold and miserable countries) would in all this
time have found the way to America and entered the same had the
passages been never so strait or difficult, the country being so
temperate, pleasant, and fruitful in comparison of their own.  But
there was never any such people found there by any of the Spaniards,
Portuguese, or Frenchmen, who first discovered the inland of that
country, which Spaniards or Frenchmen must then of necessity have
seen some one civilised man in America, considering how full of
civilised people Asia is; but they never saw so much as one token or
sign that ever any man of the known part of the world had been

4.  Furthermore, it is to be thought, that if by reason of mountains
or other craggy places the people neither of Cathay or Tartary could
enter the country of America, or they of America have entered Asia
if it were so joined, yet some one savage or wandering-beast would
in so many years have passed into it; but there hath not any time
been found any of the beasts proper to Cathay or Tartary, etc., in
America; nor of those proper to America in Tartary, Cathay, etc., or
in any part of Asia, which thing proveth America not only to be one
island, and in no part adjoining to Asia, but also that the people
of those countries have not had any traffic with each other.

5.  Moreover at the least some one of those painful travellers which
of purpose have passed the confines of both countries, with intent
only to discover, would, as it is most likely, have gone from the
one to the other, if there had been any piece of land, or isthmus,
to have joined them together, or else have declared some cause to
the contrary.

6.  But neither Paulus Venetus, who lived and dwelt a long time in
Cathay, ever came into America, and yet was at the sea coasts of
Mangia over against it, where he was embarked and performed a great
navigation along those seas; neither yet Veratzanus or Franciscus
Vasquez de Coronado, who travelled the north part of America by
land, ever found entry from thence by land to Cathay, or any part of

7.  Also it appeareth to be an island, insomuch as the sea runneth
by nature circularly from the east to the west, following the
diurnal motion of the Primum Mobile, and carrieth with it all
inferior bodies movable, as well celestial as elemental; which
motion of the waters is most evidently seen in the sea, which lieth
on the south side of Africa, where the current that runneth from the
east to the west is so strong (by reason of such motion) that the
Portuguese in their voyages eastward to Calicut, in passing by the
Cape of Good Hope, are enforced to make divers courses, the current
there being so swift, as it striketh from thence, all along
westward, upon the straits of Magellan, being distant from thence
near the fourth part of the longitude of the earth:  and not having
free passage and entrance through that frith towards the west, by
reason of the narrowness of the said strait of Magellan, it runneth
to salve this wrong (Nature not yielding to accidental restraints)
all along the eastern coasts of America northwards so far as Cape
Frido, being the farthest known place of the same continent towards
the north, which is about four thousand eight-hundred leagues,
reckoning therewithal the trending of the land.

8.  So that this current, being continually maintained with such
force as Jacques Cartier affirmeth it to be, who met with the same,
being at Baccalaos as he sailed along the coasts of America, then,
either it must of necessity have way to pass from Cape Frido through
this frith, westward towards Cathay, being known to come so far only
to salve his former wrongs by the authority before named; or else it
must needs strike over upon the coast of Iceland, Lapland, Finmark,
and Norway (which are east from the said place about three hundred
and sixty leagues) with greater force than it did from the Cape of
Good Hope upon the strait of Magellan, or from the strait of
Magellan to Cape Frido; upon which coasts Jacques Cartier met with
the same, considering the shortness of the cut from the said Cape
Frido to Iceland, Lapland, etc.  And so the cause efficient
remaining, it would have continually followed along our coasts
through the narrow seas, which it doeth not, but is digested about
the north of Labrador by some through passage there through this

The like course of the water, in some respect, happeneth in the
Mediterranean Sea (as affirmeth Contorenus), where, as the current
which cometh from Tanais and the Euxine, running along all the
coasts of Greece, Italy, France, and Spain, and not finding
sufficient way out through Gibraltar by means of the straitness of
the frith, it runneth back again along the coasts of Barbary by
Alexandria, Natolia, etc.

It may, peradventure, be thought that this course of the sea doth
sometime surcease and thereby impugn this principle, because it is
not discerned all along the coast of America in such sort as Jacques
Cartier found it, whereunto I answer this:  That albeit in every
part of the coast of America or elsewhere this current is not
sensibly perceived, yet it hath evermore such like motion, either
the uppermost or nethermost part of the sea; as it may be proved
true, if you sink a sail by a couple of ropes near the ground,
fastening to the nethermost corners two gun chambers or other
weights, by the driving whereof you shall plainly perceive the
course of the water and current running with such like course in the
bottom.  By the like experiment you may find the ordinary motion of
the sea in the ocean, how far soever you be off the land.

9.  Also, there cometh another current from out the north-east from
the Scythian Sea (as Master Jenkinson, a man of rare virtue, great
travel, and experience, told me), which runneth westward towards
Labrador, as the other did which cometh from the south; so that both
these currents must have way through this our strait, or else
encounter together and run contrary courses in one line, but no such
conflicts of streams or contrary courses are found about any part of
Labrador or Newfoundland, as witness our yearly fishers and other
sailors that way, but is there separated as aforesaid, and found by
the experience of Barnarde de la Torre to fall into Mare del Sur.

10.  Furthermore, the current in the great ocean could not have been
maintained to run continually one way from the beginning of the
world unto this day, had there not been some through passage by the
strait aforesaid, and so by circular motion be brought again to
maintain itself, for the tides and courses of the sea are maintained
by their interchangeable motions, as fresh rivers are by springs, by
ebbing and flowing, by rarefaction and condensation.

So that it resteth not possible (so far as my simple reason can
comprehend) that this perpetual current can by any means be
maintained, but only by a continual reaccess of the same water,
which passeth through the strait, and is brought about thither again
by such circular motion as aforesaid, and the certain falling
thereof by this strait into Mare del Sur is proved by the testimony
and experience of Barnarde de la Torre, who was sent from P. de la
Natividad to the Moluccas, 1542, by commandment of Anthony Mendoza,
then Viceroy of Nova Hispania, which Barnarde sailed 750 leagues on
the north side of the Equator, and there met with a current which
came from the north-east, the which drove him back again to Tidore.

Wherefore this current being proved to come from the Cape of Good
Hope to the strait of Magellan, and wanting sufficient entrance
there, is by the necessity of Nature's force brought to Terra de
Labrador, where Jacques Cartier met the same, and thence certainly
known not to strike over upon Iceland, Lapland, etc., and found by
Barnarde de la Torre, in Mare del Sur, on the backside of America,
therefore this current, having none other passage, must of necessity
fall out through this strait into Mare del Sur, and so trending by
the Moluccas, China, and the Cape of Good Hope, maintaineth itself
by circular motion, which is all one in Nature with motus ab oriente
in occidentem.

So that it seemeth we have now more occasion to doubt of our return
than whether there be a passage that way, yea or no:  which doubt
hereafter shall be sufficiently removed; wherefore, in my opinion
reason itself grounded upon experience assureth us of this passage
if there were nothing else to put us in hope thereof.  But lest
these might not suffice, I have added in this chapter following some
further proof thereof, by the experience of such as have passed some
part of this discovery, and in the next adjoining to that the
authority of those which have sailed wholly through every part


1.  Paulus Venetus, who dwelt many years in Cathay, affirmed that he
had sailed 1,500 miles upon the coast of Mangia and Anian, towards
the north-east, always finding the seas open before him, not only as
far as he went, but also as far as he could discern.

2.  Also Franciscus Vasquez de Coronado, passing from Mexico by
Cevola, through the country of Quiver to Sierra Nevada, found there
a great sea, where were certain ships laden with merchandise, the
mariners wearing on their heads the pictures of certain birds called
Alcatrarzi, part whereof were made of gold and part of silver; who
signified by signs that they were thirty days coming thither, which
likewise proveth America by experience to be disjoined from Cathay,
on that part, by a great sea, because they could not come from any
part of America as natives thereof; for that, so far as is
discovered, there hath not been found there any one ship of that

3.  In like manner, Johann Baros testifieth that the cosmographers
of China (where he himself had been) affirm that the sea coast
trendeth from thence north-east to fifty degrees of septentrional
latitude, being the farthest part that way, which the Portuguese had
then knowledge of; and that the said cosmographers knew no cause to
the contrary, but that it might continue farther.

By whose experiences America is proved to be separate from those
parts of Asia, directly against the same.  And not contented with
the judgments of these learned men only, I have searched what might
be further said for the confirmation hereof.

4.  And I found that Franciscus Lopez de Gomara affirmeth America to
be an island, and likewise Greenland; and that Greenland is distant
from Lapland forty leagues, and from Terra de Labrador fifty.

5.  Moreover Alvarez Nunmius, a Spaniard, and learned cosmographer,
and Jacques Cartier, who made two voyages into those parts, and
sailed five hundred miles upon the north-east coasts of America.

6.  Likewise Hieronimus Fracastorius, a learned Italian, and
traveller in the north parts of the same land.

7.  Also Jacques Cartier, having done the like, heard say at
Hochelaga, in Nova Francia, how that there was a great sea at
Saguinay, whereof the end was not known:  which they presupposed to
be the passage to Cathay.  Furthermore, Sebastian Cabot, by his
personal experience and travel, has set forth and described this
passage in his charts which are yet to be seen in the Queen's
Majesty's Privy Gallery at Whitehall, who was sent to make this
discovery by King Henry VII. and entered the same straits, affirming
that he sailed very far westward with a quarter of the north, on the
north side of Terra de Labrador, the 11th of June, until he came to
the septentrional latitude of sixty-seven and a half degrees, and
finding the seas still open, said, that he might and would have gone
to Cathay if the mutiny of the master and mariners had not been.

Now, as these men's experience have proved some part of this
passage, so the chapter following shall put you in full assurance of
the rest by their experiences which have passed through every part


The diversity between brute beasts and men, or between the wise and
the simple, is, that the one judgeth by sense only, and gathereth no
surety of anything that he hath not seen, felt, heard, tasted, or
smelled:  and the other not so only, but also findeth the certainty
of things, by reason, before they happen to be tried, wherefore I
have added proofs of both sorts, that the one and the other might
thereby be satisfied.

1.  First, as Gemma Frisius reciteth, there went from Europe three
brethren though this passage:  whereof it took the name of Fretum
trium fratrum.

2.  Also Pliny affirmeth out of Cornelius Nepos (who wrote fifty-
seven years before Christ) that there were certain Indians driven by
tempest upon the coast of Germany which were presented by the King
of Suevia unto Quintus Metellus Celer, then Pro-Consul of France.

3.  And Pliny upon the same saith that it is no marvel, though there
be sea by the north, where there is such abundance of moisture;
which argueth, that he doubted not of a navigable passage that way,
through which those Indians came.

4.  And for the better proof that the same authority of Cornelius
Nepos is not by me wrested to prove my opinion of the North-West
Passage, you shall find the same affirmed more plainly in that
behalf by the excellent geographer Dominicus Marius Niger, who
showeth how many ways the Indian sea stretcheth itself, making in
that place recital of certain Indians that were likewise driven
through the north seas from India, upon the coasts of Germany, by
great tempest, as they were sailing in trade of merchandise.

5.  Also, whiles Frederick Barbarossa reigned Emperor, A.D. 1160,
there came certain other Indians upon the coast of Germany.

6.  Likewise Othon, in the story of the Goths, affirmeth that in the
time of the German Emperors there were also certain Indians cast by
force of weather upon the coast of the said country, which foresaid
Indians could not possibly have come by the south-east, south-west,
nor from any part of Africa or America, nor yet by the north-east:
therefore they came of necessity by this our North-West Passage.


1.  They could not come from the south-east by the Cape of Good
Hope, because the roughness of the seas there is such--occasioned by
the currents and great winds in that part--that the greatest armadas
the King of Portugal hath cannot without great difficulty pass that
way, much less, then, a canoe of India could live in those
outrageous seas without shipwreck, being a vessel but of very small
burden, and the Indians have conducted themselves to the place
aforesaid, being men unexpert in the art of navigation.

2.  Also, it appeareth plainly that they were not able to come from
along the coast of Africa aforesaid to those parts of Europe,
because the winds do, for the most part, blow there easterly or from
the shore, and the current running that way in like sort, would have
driven them westward upon some part of America, for such winds and
tides could never have led them from thence to the said place where
they were found, nor yet could they have come from any of the
countries aforesaid, keeping the seas always, without skilful
mariners to have conducted them such like courses as were necessary
to perform such a voyage.

3.  Presupposing also, if they had been driven to the west, as they
must have been, coming that way, then they should have perished,
wanting supply of victuals, not having any place--once leaving the
coast of Africa--until they came to America, north of America, until
they arrived upon some part of Europe or the islands adjoining to it
to have refreshed themselves.

4.  Also, if, notwithstanding such impossibilities, they might have
recovered Germany by coming from India by the south-east, yet must
they without all doubt have struck upon some other part of Europe
before their arrival there, as the isles of Madeira, Portugal,
Spain, France, England, Ireland, etc., which, if they had done, it
is not credible that they should or would have departed undiscovered
of the inhabitants; but there was never found in those days any such
ship or men, but only upon the coasts of Germany, where they have
been sundry times and in sundry ages cast ashore; neither is it like
that they would have committed themselves again to sea, if they had
so arrived, not knowing where they were, nor whither to have gone.

5.  And by the south-west it is impossible, because the current
aforesaid, which cometh from the east, striketh with such force upon
the Straits of Magellan, and falleth with such swiftness and fury
into Mare de Sur, that hardly any ship--but not possibly a canoe,
with such unskilful mariners--can come into our western ocean
through that strait from the west seas of America, as Magellan's
experience hath partly taught us.

6.  And further, to prove that these people so arriving upon the
coast of Germany were Indians, and not inhabiters of any part either
of Africa or America, it is manifest, because the natives, both of
Africa and America, neither had, or have at this day, as is
reported, other kind of boats than such as do bear neither masts nor
sails, except only upon the coasts of Barbary and the Turks' ships,
but do carry themselves from place to place near the shore by the
oar only.


1.  It is likely that there should be no through passage by the
north-east whereby to go round about the world, because all seas, as
aforesaid, are maintained by the abundance of water, waxing more
shallow and shelving towards the end, as we find it doth, by
experience, in the Frozen Sea, towards the east, which breedeth
small hope of any great continuance of that sea to be navigable
towards the east, sufficient to sail thereby round about the world.

2.  Also, it standeth scarcely with reason that the Indians dwelling
under the Torrid Zone could endure the injury of the cold air, about
the northern latitude of 80 degrees, under which elevation the
passage by the north-east cannot be, as the often experiences had of
all the south part of it showeth, seeing that some of the
inhabitants of this cold climate, whose summer is to them an extreme
winter, have been stricken to death with the cold damps of the air,
about 72 degrees, by an accidental mishap, and yet the air in such
like elevation is always cold, and too cold for such as the Indians

3.  Furthermore, the piercing cold of the gross thick air so near
the Pole will so stiffen the sails and ship tackling, that no
mariner can either hoist or strike them--as our experience, far
nearer the south than this passage is presupposed to be, hath taught
us--without the use whereof no voyage can be performed.

4.  Also, the air is so darkened with continual mists and fogs so
near the Pole, that no man can well see either to guide his ship or
to direct his course.

5.  Also the compass at such elevation doth very suddenly vary,
which things must of force have been their destruction, although
they had been men of much more skill than the Indians are.

6.  Moreover, all bays, gulfs, and rivers do receive their increase
upon the flood, sensibly to be discerned on the one side of the
shore or the other, as many ways as they be open to any main sea, as
the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, Sinus Bodicus, the
Thames, and all other known havens or rivers in any part of the
world, and each of them opening but on one part to the main sea, do
likewise receive their increase upon the flood the same way, and
none other, which the Frozen Sea doth, only by the west, as Master
Jenkinson affirmed unto me, and therefore it followeth that this
north-east sea, receiving increase only from the west, cannot
possibly open to the main ocean by the east.

7.  Moreover, the farther you pass into any sea towards the end of
it, of that part which is shut up from the main sea, as in all those
above-mentioned, the less and less the tides rise and fall.  The
like whereof also happeneth in the Frozen Sea, which proveth but
small continuance of that sea toward the east.

8.  Also, the farther ye go towards the east in the Frozen Sea the
less soft the water is, which could not happen if it were open to
the salt sea towards the east, as it is to the west only, seeing
everything naturally engendereth his like, and then must it be like
salt throughout, as all the seas are in such like climate and
elevation.  And therefore it seemeth that this north-east sea is
maintained by the river Ob, and such like freshets as the Pontic Sea
and Mediterranean Sea, in the uppermost parts thereof by the river
Nile, the Danube, Dnieper, Tanais, etc.

9.  Furthermore, if there were any such sea at that elevation, of
like it should be always frozen throughout--there being no tides to
hinder it--because the extreme coldness of the air in the uppermost
part, and the extreme coldness of the earth in the bottom, the sea
there being but of small depth, whereby the one accidental coldness
doth meet with the other; and the sun, not having his reflection so
near the Pole, but at very blunt angles, it can never be dissolved
after it is frozen, notwithstanding the great length of their day:
for that the sun hath no heat at all in his light or beams, but
proceeding only by an accidental reflection which there wanteth in

10.  And yet if the sun were of sufficient force in that elevation
to prevail against this ice, yet must it be broken before it can be
dissolved, which cannot be but through the long continue of the sun
above their horizon, and by that time the summer would be so far
spent, and so great darkness and cold ensue, that no man could be
able to endure so cold, dark, and discomfortable a navigation, if it
were possible for him then and there to live.

11.  Further, the ice being once broken, it must of force so drive
with the winds and tides that no ship can sail in those seas, seeing
our fishers of Iceland and Newfoundland are subject to danger
through the great islands of ice which fleet in the seas, far to the
south of that presupposed passage.

12.  And it cannot be that this North-East Passage should be any
nearer the south than before recited, for then it should cut off
Ciremissi and Turbi, Tartarii, with Vzesucani, Chisani, and others
from the continent of Asia, which are known to be adjoining to
Scythia, Tartary, etc., with the other part of the same continent.

And if there were any through passage by the north-east, yet were it
to small end and purpose for our traffic, because no ship of great
burden can navigate in so shallow a sea, and ships of small burden
are very unfit and unprofitable, especially towards the blustering
north, to perform such a voyage.


It is as likely that they came by the north-west as it is unlikely
that they should come either by the south-east, south-west, north-
east, or from any other part of Africa or America, and therefore
this North-West Passage, having been already so many ways proved by
disproving of the others, etc., I shall the less need in this place
to use many words otherwise than to conclude in this sort, that they
came only by the north-west from England, having these many reasons
to lead me thereunto.

1.  First, the one-half of the winds of the compass might bring them
by the north-west, veering always between two sheets, with which
kind of sailing the Indians are only acquainted, not having any use
of a bow line or quarter wind, without the which no ship can
possibly come, either by the south-east, south-west, or north-east,
having so many sundry capes to double, whereunto are required such
change and shifts of winds.

2.  And it seemeth likely that they should come by the north-west,
because the coast whereon they were driven lay east from this our
passage, and all winds do naturally drive a ship to an opposite
point from whence it bloweth, not being otherwise guided by art,
which the Indians do utterly want, and therefore it seemeth that
they came directly through this, our strait, which they might do
with one wind.

3.  For if they had come by the Cape of Good Hope, then must they,
as aforesaid, have fallen upon the south parts of America.

4.  And if by the Strait of Magellan, then upon the coasts of
Africa, Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, or England.

5.  And if by the north-east, then upon the coasts of Ciremissi,
Tartarii, Lapland, Iceland, Labrador, etc., and upon these coasts,
as aforesaid, they have never been found.

So that by all likelihood they could never have come without
shipwreck upon the coasts of Germany, if they had first struck upon
the coasts of so many countries, wanting both art and shipping to
make orderly discovery, and altogether ignorant both of the art of
navigation and also of the rocks, flats, sands, or havens of those
parts of the world, which in most of these places are plentiful.

6.  And further, it seemeth very likely that the inhabitants of the
most part of those countries, by which they must have come any other
way besides by the north-west, being for the most part
anthropophagi, or men-eaters, would have devoured them, slain them,
or, at the leastwise, kept them as wonders for the gaze.

So that it plainly appeareth that those Indians--which, as you have
heard, in sundry ages were driven by tempest upon the shore of
Germany--came only through our North-West Passage.

7.  Moreover, the passage is certainly proved by a navigation that a
Portuguese made, who passed through this strait, giving name to a
promontory far within the same, calling it after his own name,
Promontorium Corterialis, near adjoining unto Polisacus Fluvius.

8.  Also one Scolmus, a Dane, entered and passed a great part

9.  Also there was one Salva Terra, a gentleman of Victoria in
Spain, that came by chance out of the West Indies into Ireland, Anno
1568, who affirmed the North-West Passage from us to Cathay,
constantly to be believed in America navigable; and further said, in
the presence of Sir Henry Sidney, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, in my
hearing, that a friar of Mexico, called Andre Urdaneta, more than
eight years before his then coming into Ireland, told him there that
he came from Mare del Sur into Germany through this North-West
Passage, and showed Salva Terra--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 North-West
Passage, agreeing in all points with Ortelius' 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
north-west 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
Terra reported) was the greatest discoverer by sea that hath been in
our age.  Also Salva Terra, 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.

And now, as these modern experiences cannot be impugned, so, least
it might be objected that these things (gathered out of ancient
writers, which wrote so many years past) might serve little to prove
this passage by the north of America, because both America and India
were to them then utterly unknown; to remove this doubt, let this
suffice, that Aristotle (who was 300 years before Christ) named the
Indian Sea.  Also Berosus (who lived 330 before Christ) hath these

Also in the first chapter of Esther be these words:  "In the days of
Ahasuerus, which ruled from India to Ethiopia," which Ahasuerus
lived 580 years before Christ.  Also Quintus Curtius, where he
speaketh of the Conquest of Alexander, mentioneth India.  Also
Arianus Philostratus, and Sidrach, in his discourses of the wars of
the King of Bactria, and of Garaab, who had the most part of India
under his government.  All which assumeth us that both India and
Indians were known in those days.

These things considered, we may, in my opinion, not only assure
ourselves of this passage by the north-west, but also that it is
navigable both to come and go, as hath been proved in part and in
all by the experience of divers as Sebastian Cabot, Corterialis, the
three brethren above named, the Indians, and Urdaneta, the friar of
Mexico, etc.

And yet, notwithstanding all which, there be some that have a better
hope of this passage to Cathay by the north-east than by the west,
whose reasons, with my several answers, ensue in the chapter


Because you may understand as well those things alleged against me
as what doth serve for my purpose, I have here added the reasons of
Master Anthony Jenkinson, a worthy gentleman, and a great traveller,
who conceived a better hope of the passage to Cathay from us to be
by the north-east than by the north-west.

He first said that he thought not to the contrary but that there was
a passage by the north-west, according to mime opinion, but he was
assured that there might be found a navigable passage by the north-
east from England to go to all the east parts of the world, which he
endeavoured to prove three ways.

The first was, that he heard a fisherman of Tartary say in hunting
the morse, that he sailed very far towards the south-east, finding
no end of the sea, whereby he hoped a through passage to be that

Whereunto I answered that the Tartars were a barbarous people, and
utterly ignorant in the art of navigation, not knowing the use of
the sea-card, compass, or star, which he confessed true; and
therefore they could not (said I) certainly know the south-east from
the north-east in a wide sea, and a place unknown from the sight of
the land.

Or if he sailed anything near the shore, yet he, being ignorant,
might be deceived by the doubling of many points and capes, and by
the trending of the land, albeit he kept continually along the

And further, it might be that the poor fisherman through simplicity
thought that there was nothing that way but sea, because he saw mine
land, which proof (under correction) giveth small assurance of a
navigable sea by the north-east to go round about the world, for
that he judged by the eye only, seeing we in this clear air do
account twenty miles a ken at sea.

His second reason is, that there was an unicorn's horn found upon
the coast of Tartary, which could not come (said he) thither by any
other means than with the tides, through some strait in the north-
east of the Frozen Sea, there being no unicorns in any part of Asia,
saving in India and Cathay, which reason, in my simple judgment, has
as little force.

First, it is doubtful whether those barbarous Tartars do know an
unicorn's horn, yea or no; and if it were one, yet it is not
credible that the sea could have driven it so far, it being of such
nature that it cannot float.

Also the tides running to and fro would have driven it as far back
with the ebb as it brought it forward with the flood.

There is also a beast called Asinus Indicus (whose horn most like it
was), which hath but one horn like an unicorn in his forehead,
whereof there is great plenty in all the north parts thereunto
adjoining, as in Lapland, Norway, Finmark, etc., as Jocobus
Zeiglerus writeth in his history of Scondia.

And as Albertus saith, there is a fish which hath but one horn in
his forehead like to an unicorn, and therefore it seemeth very
doubtful both from whence it came, and whether it were an unicorn's
horn, yea or no.

His third and last reason was, that there came a continual stream or
current through the Frozen Sea of such swiftness, as a Colmax told
him, that if you cast anything therein, it would presently be
carried out of sight towards the west.

Whereunto I answered, that there doth the like from Palus Maeotis,
by the Euxine, the Bosphorus, and along the coast of Greece, etc.,
as it is affirmed by Contarenus, and divers others that have had
experience of the same; and yet that sea lieth not open to any main
sea that way, but is maintained by freshets, as by the Don, the
Danube, etc.

In like manner is this current in the Frozen Sea increased and
maintained by the Dwina, the river Ob, etc.

Now as I have here briefly recited the reasons alleged to prove a
passage to Cathay by the north-east with my several answers
thereunto, so will I leave it unto your judgment, to hope or despair
of either at your pleasure.


1.  By the north-east, if your winds do not give you a marvellous
speedy and lucky passage, you are in danger (of being so near the
Pole) to be benighted almost the one half of the year, and what
danger that were, to live so long comfortless, void of light (if the
cold killed you not), each man of reason or understanding may judge.

2.  Also Mangia, Quinzai, and the Moluccas, are nearer unto us by
the north-west than by the north-east more than two-fifths, which is
almost by the half.

3.  Also we may have by the rest a yearly return, it being at all
times navigable, whereas you have but four months in the whole year
to go by the north-east, the passage being at such elevation as it
is formerly expressed, for it cannot be any nearer the south.

4.  Furthermore, it cannot be finished without divers winterings by
the way, having no havens in any temperate climate to harbour in
there, for it is as much as we can well sail from hence to S.
Nicholas, in the trade of Muscovy, and return in the navigable
season of the year, and from S. Nicholas, Ciremissi, Tartarii, which
standeth 80 degrees of the septentrional latitude, it is at the left
400 leagues, which amounteth scarce to the third part of the way, to
the end of your voyage by the north-east.

5.  And yet, after you have doubled this Cape, if then there might
be found a navigable sea to carry you south-east according to your
desire, yet can you not winter conveniently until you come to sixty
degrees and to take up one degree running south-east you must sail
twenty-four leagues and three four parts, which amounteth to four
hundred and ninety-five leagues.

6.  Furthermore, you may by the north-west sail thither, with all
easterly winds, and return with any westerly winds, whereas you must
have by the north-east sundry winds, and those proper, according to
the lie of the coast and capes, you shall be enforced to double,
which winds are not always to be had when they are looked for;
whereby your journey should be greatly prolonged, and hardly endured
so near the Pole, as we are taught by Sir Hugh Willoughbie, who was
frozen to death far nearer the south.

7.  Moreover, it is very doubtful whether we should long enjoy that
trade by the north-east if there were any such passage that way, the
commodities thereof once known to the Muscovite, what privilege
soever he hath granted, seeing pollice with the maze of excessive
gain, to the enriching of himself and all his dominions, would
persuade him to presume the same, having so great opportunity, to
distribute the commodities of those countries by the Naruc.

But by the north-west we may safely trade without danger or
annoyance of any prince living, Christian or heathen, it being out
of all their trades.

8.  Also the Queen's Majesty's dominions are nearer the North-West
Passage than any other great princes that might pass that way, and
both in their going and return they must of necessity succour
themselves and their ships upon some part of the same if any
tempestuous weather should happen.

Further, no prince's navy of the world is able to encounter the
Queen's Majesty's navy as it is at this present; and yet it should
be greatly increased by the traffic ensuing upon this discovery, for
it is the long voyages that increase and maintain great shipping.

Now it seemeth unnecessary to declare what commodities would grow
thereby if all these things were as we have heretofore presupposed
and thought them to be; which next adjoining are briefly declared.


1.  It were the only way for our princes to possess the wealth of
all the east parts (as they term them) of the world, which is
infinite; as appeareth by the experience of Alexander the Great in
the time of his conquest of India and the east parts of the world,
alleged by Quintus Curtius, which would be a great advancement to
our country, wonderful enriching to our prince, and unspeakable
commodities to all the inhabitants of Europe.

2.  For, through the shortness of the voyage, we should be able to
sell all manner of merchandise brought from thence far better cheap
than either the Portuguese or Spaniard doth or may do.  And,
further, share with the Portuguese in the east and the Spaniard in
the west by trading to any part of America through Mare del Sur,
where they can no manner of way offend us.

3.  Also we sailed to divers marvellous rich countries, both civil
and others, out of both their jurisdictions, trades and traffics,
where there is to be found great abundance of gold, silver, precious
stones, cloth of gold, silks, all manner of spices, grocery wares,
and other kinds of merchandise of an inestimable price, which both
the Spaniard and Portuguese, through the length of their journeys,
cannot well attain unto.

4.  Also, we might inhabit some part of those countries, and settle
there such needy people of our country which now trouble the
commonwealth, and through want here at home are enforced to commit
outrageous offences, whereby they are daily consumed with the

5.  Moreover, we might from all the aforesaid places have a yearly
return, inhabiting for our staple some convenient place of America,
about Sierra Nevada or some other part, whereas it shall seem best
for the shortening of the voyage.

6.  Beside the exporting of our country commodities, which the
Indians, etc., much esteem, as appeareth in Esther, where the pomp
is expressed of the great King of India, Ahasuerus, who matched the
coloured clothes wherewith his houses and tents were apparelled with
gold and silver, as part of his greatest treasure, not mentioning
velvets, silks, cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or such like, being
in those countries most plentiful, whereby it plainly appeareth in
what great estimation they would have the cloths of this our
country, so that there would be found a far better vent for them by
this means than yet this realm ever had; and that without depending
either upon France, Spain, Flanders, Portugal, Hamborough, Emden, or
any other part of Europe.

7.  Also here we shall increase both our ships and mariners without
burdening of the State.

8.  And also have occasion to set poor men's children to learn
handicrafts, and thereby to make trifles and such like, which the
Indians and those people do much esteem; by reason whereof, there
should be none occasion to have our country cumbered with loiterers,
vagabonds, and such like idle persons.

All these commodities would grew by following this our discovery
without injury done to any Christian prince by crossing them in any
of their used trades, whereby they might take any just occasion of

Thus have I briefly showed you some part of the grounds of my
opinion, trusting that you will no longer judge me fantastic in this
matter, seeing I have conceived no hope of this voyage, but am
persuaded thereunto by the best cosmographers of our age, the same
being confirmed both by reason and certain experiences.

Also this discovery hath been divers times heretofore by others both
proposed, attempted, and performed.

It hath been proposed by Stephen Gomez unto Carolus, the fifth
emperor in the year of our Lord 1527, as Alphonse Ullva testifieth
in the story of Carolus' life, who would have set him forth in it
(as the story mentioneth) if the great want of money, by reason of
his long wars, had not caused him to surcease the same.

And the King of Portugal, fearing lest the emperor would have
persevered in this his enterprise, gave him, to leave the matter
unattempted, the sum of 350,000 crowns; and it is to be supposed
that the King of Portugal would not have given to the emperor such
sums of money for eggs in moonshine.

It hath been attempted by Corterialis the Portuguese, Scolmus the
Dane, and by Sebastian Cabot in the time of King Henry VII.

And it hath been performed by the three brethren, the Indians
aforesaid, and by Urdaneta, the friar of Mexico.

Also divers have proposed the like unto the French king, who hath
sent two or three times to have discovered the same; the discoverers
spending and consuming their victuals in searching the gulfs and
bays between Florida and Labrador, whereby the ice is broken to the

So that the right way may now be easily found out in short time, and
that with little jeopardy and less expenses.

For America is discovered so far towards the north as Cape Frido,
which is at 62 degrees, and that part of Greenland next adjoining is
known to stand but at 72 degrees; so that we have but 10 degrees to
sail north and south to put the world out of doubt hereof; and it is
likely that the King of Spain and the King of Portugal would not
have sat out all this while but that they are sure to possess to
themselves all that trade they now use, and fear to deal in this
discovery lest the Queen's Majesty, having so good opportunity, and
finding the commodity which thereby might ensue to the commonwealth,
would cut them off and enjoy the whole traffic to herself, and
thereby the Spaniards and Portuguese with their great charges should
beat the bush and other men catch the birds; which thing they
foreseeing, have commanded that no pilot of theirs, upon pain of
death, should seek to discover to the north-west, or plat out in any
sea-card any through passage that way by the north-west.

Now, if you will impartially compare the hope that remaineth to
animate me to this enterprise with those likelihoods which Columbus
alleged before Ferdinando, the King of Castilia, to prove that there
were such islands in the West Ocean as were after by him and others
discovered, to the great commodity of Spain and all the world, you
will think then that this North-West Passage to be most worthy
travel therein.

For Columbus had none of the West Islands set forth unto him either
in globe or card, neither yet once mentioned of any writer (Plato
excepted, and the commentaries upon the same) from 942 years before
Christ until that day.

Moreover, Columbus himself had neither seen America nor any other of
the islands about it, neither understood he of them by the report of
any other that had seen them, but only comforted himself with this
hope, that the land had a beginning where the sea had an ending.
For as touching that which the Spaniards do write of a Biscaine
which should have taught him the way thither, it is thought to be
imagined of them to deprive Columbus of his honour, being none of
their countryman, but a stranger born.

And if it were true of the Biscaine, yet did he but hit upon the
matter, or, at the least, gathered the knowledge of it by
conjectures only.

And albeit myself have not seen this passage, or any part thereof,
but am ignorant of it as touching experience as Columbus was before
his attempt was made, yet have I both the report, relation, and
authority of divers most credible men, which have both seen and
passed through some and every part of this discovery, besides sundry
reasons for my assurance thereof, all which Columbus wanted.

These things considered and impartially weighed together, with the
wonderful commodities which this discovery may bring, especially to
this realm of England, I must needs conclude with learned Baptista
Ramusius, and divers other learned men, who said that this discovery
hath been reserved for some noble prince or worthy man, thereby to
make himself rich, and the world happy:  desiring you to accept in
good part this brief and simple discourse, written in haste, which,
if I may perceive that it shall not sufficiently satisfy you in this
behalf, I will then impart unto you a large discourse, which I have
written only of this discovery.

And further, because it sufficeth not only to knew that such a thing
there is, without ability to perform the same, I will at leisure
make you partaker of another simple discourse of navigation, wherein
I have not a little travelled, to make myself as sufficient to bring
these things to effect as I have been ready to offer myself therein.

And therein I have devised to amend the errors of usual sea-cards,
whose common fault is to make the degrees of longitude in every
latitude of one like bigness.

And have also devised therein a spherical instrument, with a compass
of variation for the perfect knowing of the longitude.

And a precise order to prick the sea-card, together with certain
infallible rules for the shortening of any discovery, to know at the
first entering of any strait whether it lies open to the ocean more
ways than one, how far soever the sea stretcheth itself into the

Desiring you hereafter never to mislike with me for the taking in
hand of any laudable and honest enterprise, for if, through pleasure
and idleness, we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but the
shame remaineth for ever.

And therefore, to give me leave without offence always to live and
HONOUR, seeing death is inevitable, and the fame of virtue immortal.
Wherefore, in this behalf, Mutare vel timere sperno.

Learnedly written by Master Richard Willes, Gentleman.

Four famous ways there be spoken of to those fruitful and wealthy
islands, which we do usually call Moluccas, continually haunted for
gain, and daily travelled for riches therein growing.  These
islands, although they stand east from the meridian, distant almost
half the length of the world, in extreme heat under the equinoctial
line, possessed of infidels and barbarians, yet by our neighbours
great abundance of wealth there is painfully sought in respect of
the voyage dearly bought, and from thence dangerously brought home
to us.  Our neighbours I call the Portuguese, in comparison of the
Molucchians for nearness unto us, for like situation westward as we
have for their usual trade with us; for that the far south-
easterings do know this part of Europe by no other name than
Portugal, not greatly acquainted as yet with the other nations
thereof.  Their voyage is very well understood of all men, and the
south-eastern way round about Africa, by the Cape of Good Hope, more
spoken of, better known and travelled, than that it may seem needful
to discourse thereof any farther.

The second way lieth south-west, between the West Indies, or South
America, and the south continent, through that narrow strait where
Magellan, first of all men that ever we do read of, passed these
latter years, caving thereunto therefore his name.  This way, no
doubt, the Spaniards would commodiously take, for that it lieth near
unto their dominions there, could the eastern current and Levant
winds as easily suffer men to return as speedily therewith they may
be carried thither; for the which difficulty, or rather
impossibility of striving against the force both of wind and stream,
this passage is little or nothing used, although it be very well

The third way, by the north-east, beyond all Europe and Asia, that
worthy and renowned knight Sir Hugh Willoughbie sought to his peril,
enforced there to end his life for cold, congealed and frozen to
death.  And, truly, this way consisteth rather in the imagination of
geographers than allowable either in reason, or approved by
experience, as well it may appear by the dangerous trending of the
Scythian Cape set by Ortellius under the 80th degree north, by the
unlikely sailing in that northern sea, always clad with ice and
snow, or at the least continually pestered therewith, if haply it be
at any time dissolved, beside bays and shelves, the water waxing
more shallow towards the east, to say nothing of the foul mists and
dark fogs in the cold clime, of the little power of the sun to clear
the air, of the uncomfortable nights, so near the Pole, five months

A fourth way to go unto these aforesaid happy islands, the Moluccas,
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a learned and valiant knight, discourseth of
at large in his new "Passage to Cathay."  The enterprise of itself
being virtuous, the fact must doubtless deserve high praise, and
whensoever it shall be finished the fruits thereof cannot be small;
where virtue is guide, there is fame a follower, and fortune a
companion.  But the way is dangerous, the passage doubtful, the
voyage not thoroughly known, and therefore gainsaid by many, after
this manner.

First, who can assure us of any passage rather by the north-west
than by the north-east? do not both ways lie in equal distance from
the North Pole? stand not the North Capes of either continent under
like elevation? is not the ocean sea beyond America farther distant
from our meridian by thirty or forty degrees west than the extreme
points of Cathay eastward, if Ortellius' general card of the world
be true?  In the north-east that noble knight--Sir Hugh Willoughbie
perished for cold, and can you then promise a passenger any better
hap by the north-west, who hath gone for trial's sake, at any time,
this way out of Europe to Cathay?

If you seek the advice herein of such as make profession in
cosmography, Ptolemy, the father of geography, and his eldest
children, will answer by their maps with a negative, concluding most
of the sea within the land, and making an end of the world
northward, near the 63rd degree.  The same opinion, when learning
chiefly flourished, was received in the Romans' time, as by their
poets' writings it may appear.  "Et te colet ultima Thule," said
Virgil, being of opinion that Iceland was the extreme part of the
world habitable toward the north.  Joseph Moletius, an Italian, and
Mercator, a German, for knowledge men able to be compared with the
best geographers of our time, the one in his half spheres of the
whole world, the other in some of his great globes, have continued
the West Indies land, even to the North Pole, and consequently cut
off all passage by sea that way.

The same doctors, Mercator in other of his globes and maps, Moletius
in his sea-card, nevertheless doubting of so great continuance of
the former continent, have opened a gulf betwixt the West Indies and
the extreme northern land; but such a one that either is not to be
travelled for the causes in the first objection alleged, or clean
shut up from us in Europe by Greenland, the south end whereof
Moletius maketh firm land with America, the north part continent
with Lapland and Norway.

Thirdly, the greatest favourers of this voyage cannot deny but that,
if any such passage be, it lieth subject unto ice and snow for the
most part of the year, whereas it standeth in the edge of the frosty
zone.  Before the sun hath warmed the air and dissolved the ice,
each one well knoweth that there can be no sailing; the ice once
broken through the continual abode, the sun maketh a certain season
in those parts.  How shall it be possible for so weak a vessel as a
ship is to hold out amid whole islands, as it were, of ice
continually beating on each side, and at the mouth of that gulf,
issuing down furiously from the north, safely to pass, when whole
mountains of ice and snow shall be tumbled down upon her?

Well, grant the West Indies not to continue continent unto the Pole,
grant there be a passage between these two lands, let the gulf lie
nearer us than commonly in cards we find it set, namely, between the
sixty-first and sixty-fourth degrees north, as Gemma Frisius in his
maps and globes imagineth it, and so left by our countryman
Sebastian Cabot in his table which the Earl of Bedford hath at
Theinies; let the way be void of all difficulties, yet doth it not
follow that we have free passage to Cathay.  For example's sake, you
may coast all Norway, Finmarke, and Lapland, and then bow southward
to St. Nicholas, in Moscovy.  You may likewise in the Mediterranean
Sea fetch Constantinople and the mouth of the Don, yet is there no
passage by sea through Moscovy into Pont Euxine, now called Mare
Maggiore.  Again, in the aforesaid Mediterranean Sea we sail to
Alexandria in Egypt, the barbarians bring their pearl and spices
from the Moluccas up the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf to Suez, scarcely
three days' journey from the aforesaid haven; yet have we no way by
sea from Alexandria to the Moluccas for that isthmus or little trait
of land between the two seas.  In like manner, although the northern
passage be free at sixty-one degrees latitude, and the west ocean
beyond America, usually called Mare del Sur, known to be open at
forty degrees elevation for the island of Japan, yea, three hundred
leagues northerly of Japan, yet may there be land to hinder the
through passage that way by sea, as in the examples aforesaid it
falleth out, Asia and America there being joined together in one
continent.  Nor can this opinion seem altogether frivolous unto any
one that diligently peruseth our cosmographers' doings.  Josephus
Moletius is of that mind, not only in his plain hemispheres of the
world, but also in his sea-card.  The French geographers in like
manner be of the same opinion, as by their map cut out in form of a
heart you may perceive as though the West Indies were part of Asia,
which sentence well agreeth with that old conclusion in the schools,
Quid-quid praeter Africum et Europam est, Asia est, "Whatsoever land
doth neither appertain unto Africa nor to Europe is part of Asia."

Furthermore, it were to small purpose to make so long, so painful,
so doubtful a voyage by such a new found way, if in Cathay you
should neither be suffered to land for silks and silver, nor able to
fetch the Molucca spices and pearl for piracy in those seas.  Of a
law denying all aliens to enter into China, and forbidding all the
inhabiters under a great penalty to let in any stranger into those
countries, shall you read in the report of Galeotto Petera, there
imprisoned with other Portuguese, as also in the Japanese letters,
how for that cause the worthy traveller Xavierus bargained with a
barbarian merchant for a great sum of pepper to be brought into
Canton, a port in Cathay.  The great and dangerous piracy used in
those seas no man can be ignorant of that listeth to read the
Japanese and Indian history.

Finally, all this great labour would be lost, all these charges
spent in vain, if in the end our travellers might not be able to
return again, and bring safely home into their own native country
that wealth and riches they in foreign regions with adventure of
goods and danger of their lives have sought for.  By the north-east
there is no way; the South-East Passage the Portuguese do hold, as
the lords of those seas.  At the south-west, Magellan's experience
hath partly taught us, and partly we are persuaded by reason, how
the eastern current striketh so furiously on that strait, and
falleth with such force into that narrow gulf, that hardly any ship
can return that way into our west ocean out of Mare del Sur.  The
which, if it be true, as truly it is, then we may say that the
aforesaid eastern current, or Levant course of waters, continually
following after the heavenly motions, loseth not altogether its
force, but is doubled rather by another current from out the north-
east, in the passage between America and the North Land, whither it
is of necessity carried, having none other way to maintain itself in
circular motion, and consequently the force and fury thereof to be
no less in the Strait of Anian, where it striketh south into Mare
del Sur beyond America (if any such strait of sea there be), than in
the strait of Magellan, both straits being of like breadth, as in
Belognine Salterius' table of "New France," and in Don Diego Hermano
de Toledo's card for navigation in that region, we do find precisely
set down.

Nevertheless, to approve that there lieth a way to Cathay at the
north-west from out of Europe, we have experience, namely of three
brethren that went that journey, as Gemma Frisius recordeth, and
left a name unto that strait, whereby now it is called Fretum Trium
Fratrum.  We do read again of a Portuguese that passed this strait,
of whom Master Frobisher speaketh, that was imprisoned therefore
many years in Lisbon, to verify the old Spanish proverb, "I suffer
for doing well."  Likewise, An. Urdaneta, a friar of Mexico, came
out of Mare del Sur this way into Germany; his card, for he was a
great discoverer, made by his own experience and travel in that
voyage, hath been seen by gentlemen of good credit.

Now if the observation and remembrance of things breedeth
experience, and of experience proceedeth art, and the certain
knowledge we have in all faculties, as the best philosophers that
ever were do affirm truly the voyage of these aforesaid travellers
that have gone out of Europe into Mare del Sur, and returned thence
at the north-west, do most evidently conclude that way to be
navigable, and that passage free; so much the more we are so to
think, for that the first principle and chief ground in all
geography, as Ptolemy saith, is the history of travel, that is,
reports made by travellers skilful in geography and astronomy, of
all such things in their journey as to geography do belong.  It only
remaineth, that we now answer to those arguments that seemed to make
against this former conclusion.

The first objection is of no force, that general table of the world,
set forth by Ortellius or Mercator, for it greatly skilleth not,
being unskilfully drawn for that point, as manifestly it may appear
unto any one that compareth the same with Gemma Frisius' universal
map, with his round quartered card, with his globe, with Sebastian
Cabot's table, and Ortellius' general map alone, worthily preferred
in this case before all Mercator's and Ortellius' other doings:  for
that Cabot was not only a skilful seaman, but a long traveller, and
such a one as entered personally that strait, sent by King Henry
VII. to make this aforesaid discovery, as in his own discourse of
navigation you may read in his card drawn with his own hand, that
the mouth of the north-western strait lieth near the 318th meridian,
between 61 and 64 degrees in the elevation, continuing the same
breadth about ten degrees west, where it openeth southerly more and
more, until it come under the tropic of Cancer; and so runneth into
Mare del Sur, at the least 18 degrees more in breadth there than it
was where it first began; otherwise I could as well imagine this
passage to be more unlikely than the voyage to Moscovy, and more
impossible than it for the far situation and continuance thereof in
the frosty clime:  as now I can affirm it to be very possible and
most likely in comparison thereof, for that it neither coasteth so
far north as the Moscovian passage doth, neither is this strait so
long as that, before it bow down southerly towards the sun again.

The second argument concludeth nothing.  Ptolemy knew not what was
above 16 degrees south beyond the equinoctial line, he was ignorant
of all passages northward from the elevation of 63 degrees, he knew
no ocean sea beyond Asia, yet have the Portuguese trended the Cape
of Good Hope at the south point of Africa, and travelled to Japan,
an island in the east ocean, between Asia and America; our merchants
in the time of King Edward the Sixth discovered the Moscovian
passage farther north than Thule, and showed Greenland not to be
continent with Lapland and Norway:  the like our north-western
travellers have done, declaring by their navigation that way the
ignorance of all cosmographers that either do join Greenland with
America, or continue the West Indies with that frosty region under
the North Pole.  As for Virgil, he sang according to the knowledge
of men in his time, as another poet did of the hot zone.

Quarum quae media est, non est habitabilis aestu.  Imagining, as
most men then did, Zonam Torridam, the hot zone, to be altogether
dishabited for heat, though presently we know many famous and worthy
kingdoms and cities in that part of the earth, and the island of S.
Thomas near Ethiopia, and the wealthy islands for the which chiefly
all these voyages are taken in hand, to be inhabited even under the
equinoctial line.

To answer the third objection, besides Cabot and all other
travellers' navigations, the only credit of Master Frobisher may
suffice, who lately, through all these islands of ice and mountains
of snow, passed that way, even beyond the gulf that tumbleth down
from the north, and in some places, though he drew one inch thick
ice, as he returning in August did, came home safely again.

The fourth argument is altogether frivolous and vain, for neither is
there any isthmus or strait of land between America and Asia, nor
can these two lands jointly be one continent.  The first part of my
answer is manifestly allowed by Homer, whom that excellent
geographer, Strabo, followeth, yielding him in this faculty the
prize.  The author of that book likewise On the Universe to
Alexander, attributed unto Aristotle, is of the same opinion that
Homer and Strabo be of, in two or three places.  Dionysius, in his
Periegesis, hath this verse, "So doeth the ocean sea run round about
the world:" speaking only of Europe, Africa, and Asia, as then Asia
was travelled and known.  With these doctors may you join Pomponius
Mela, Pliny, Pius, in his description of Asia.  All the which
writers do no less confirm the whole eastern side of Asia to be
compassed about with the sea; then Plato doth affirm in is Timaeus,
under the name Atlantis, the West Indies to be an island, as in a
special discourse thereof R. Eden writeth, agreeable unto the
sentence of Proclus, Marsilius Ficinus, and others.  Out of Plato it
is gathered that America is an island.  Homer, Strabo, Aristotle,
Dionysius, Mela, Pliny, Pius, affirm the continent of Asia, Africa,
and Europe, to be environed with the ocean.  I may therefore boldly
say (though later intelligences thereof had we none at all) that
Asia and the West Indies be not tied together by any isthmus or
strait of land, contrary to the opinion of some new cosmographers,
by whom doubtfully this matter hath been brought in controversy.
And thus much for the first part of my answer unto the fourth

The second part, namely, that America and Asia cannot be one
continent, may thus be proved:- "The most rivers take down that way
their course, where the earth is most hollow and deep," writeth
Aristotle; and the sea (saith he in the same place), as it goeth
further, so is it found deeper.  Into what gulf do the Moscovian
rivers Onega, Dwina, Ob, pour out their streams? northward out of
Moscovy into the sea.  Which way doth that sea strike?  The south is
main land, the eastern coast waxeth more and more shallow:  from the
north, either naturally, because that part of the earth is higher,
or of necessity, for that the forcible influence of some northern
stars causeth the earth there to shake off the sea, as some
philosophers do think; or, finally, for the great store of waters
engendered in that frosty and cold climate, that the banks are not
able to hold them.  From the north, I say, continually falleth down
great abundance of water; so this north-eastern current must at the
length abruptly bow toward us south on the west side of Finmark and
Norway, or else strike down south-west above Greenland, or betwixt
Greenland and Iceland, into the north-west strait we speak of, as of
congruence it doth, if you mark the situation of that region, and by
the report of Master Frobisher experience teacheth us.  And, Master
Frobisher, the further he travelled in the former passage, as he
told me, the deeper always he found the sea.  Lay you now the sum
hereof together, the rivers run where the channels are most hollow,
the sea in taking his course waxeth deeper, the sea waters fall
continually from the north southward, the north-eastern current
striketh down into the strait we speak of and is there augmented
with whole mountains of ice and snow falling down furiously out from
the land under the North Pole.  Where store of water is, there is it
a thing impossible to want sea; where sea not only doth not want,
but waxeth deeper, there can be discovered no land.  Finally, whence
I pray you came the contrary tide, that Master Frobisher met withal,
after that he had sailed no small way in that passage, if there be
any isthmus or strait of land betwixt the aforesaid north-western
gulf and Mare del Sur, to join Asia and America together?  That
conclusion arrived at in the schools, "Whatsoever land doth neither
appertain unto Africa, nor to Europe, is part of Asia," was meant of
the parts of the world then known, and so is it of right to be

The fifth objection requireth for answer wisdom and policy in the
traveller to win the barbarians' favour by some good means; and so
to arm and strengthen himself, that when he shall have the repulse
in one coast, he may safely travel to another, commodiously taking
his convenient times, and discreetly making choice of them with whom
he will thoroughly deal.  To force a violent entry would for us
Englishmen be very hard, considering the strength and valour of so
great a nation, far distant from us, and the attempt thereof might
be most perilous unto the doers, unless their park were very good.

Touching their laws against strangers, you shall read nevertheless
in the same relations of Galeotto Perera, that the Cathaian king is
wont to grant free access unto all foreigners that trade into his
country for merchandise, and a place of liberty for them to remain
in; as the Moors had, until such time as they had brought the Loutea
or Lieutenant of that coast to be a circumcised Saracen:  wherefore
some of them were put to the sword, the rest were scattered abroad;
at Fuquien, a great city in China, certain of them are yet this day
to be seen.  As for the Japanese, they be most desirous to be
acquainted with strangers.  The Portuguese, though they were
straitly handled there at the first, yet in the end they found great
favour at the prince's hands, insomuch that the Loutea or President
that misused them was therefore put to death.  The rude Indian canoe
voyageth in those seas, the Portuguese, the Saracens, and Moors
travel continually up and down that reach from Japan to China, from
China to Malacca, from Malacca to the Moluccas, and shall an
Englishman better appointed than any of them all (that I say no more
of our navy) fear to sail in that ocean? what seat at all do want
piracy? what navigation is there void of peril?

To the last argument our travellers need not to seek their return by
the north-east, neither shall they be constrained, except they list,
either to attempt Magellan's strait at the south-west, or to be in
danger of the Portuguese on the south-east; they may return by the
north-west, that same way they do go forth, as experience hath

The reason alleged for proof of the contrary may be disposed after
this manner:  And first, it may be called in controversy, whether
any current continually be forced by the motion of primum mobile,
round about the world or no; for learned men do diversely handle
that question.  The natural course of all waters is downward,
wherefore of congruence they fall that way where they find the earth
most low and deep:  in respect whereof, it was erst said, the seas
do strike from the northern lands southerly.  Violently the seas are
tossed and troubled divers ways with the winds, increased and
diminished by the course of the moon, hoisted up and down through
the sundry operations of the sun and the stars:  finally, some be of
opinion that the seas be carried in part violently about the world,
after the daily motion of the highest movable heaven, in like manner
as the elements of air and fire, with the rest of the heavenly
spheres, are from the east unto the west.  And this they do call
their eastern current, or Levant stream.  Some such current may not
be denied to be of great force in the hot zone, for the nearness
thereof unto the centre of the sun, and blustering eastern winds
violently driving the seas westward; howbeit in the temperate climes
the sun being farther off, and the winds more diverse, blowing as
much from the north, the west, and south, as from the east, this
rule doth not effectually withhold us from travelling eastwards,
neither be we kept ever back by the aforesaid Levant winds and
stream.  But in Magellan strait we are violently driven back
westward, ergo through the north-western strait or Anian frith shall
we not be able to return eastward:  it followeth not.  The first,
for that the north-western strait hath more sea room at the least by
one hundred English miles than Magellan's strait hath, the only want
whereof causeth all narrow passages generally to be most violent.
So would I say in the Anian Gulf, if it were so narrow as Don Diego
and Zalterius have painted it out, any return that way to be full of
difficulties, in respect of such straitness thereof, not for the
nearness of the sun or eastern winds, violently forcing that way any
Levant stream; but in that place there is more sea room by many
degrees, if the cards of Cabot and Gemma Frisius, and that which
Tramezine imprinted, be true.

And hitherto reasons see I none at all, but that I may as well give
credit unto their doings as to any of the rest.  It must be
Peregrinationis historia, that is, true reports of skilful
travellers, as Ptolemy writeth, that in such controversies of
geography must put us out of doubt.  Ortellius, in his universal
tables, in his particular maps of the West Indies, of all Asia, of
the northern kingdoms, of the East Indies; Mercator in some of his
globes and general maps of the world, Moletius in his universal
table of the Globe divided, in his sea-card and particular tables of
the East Indies Zanterius and Don Diego with Fernando Bertely, and
others, do so much differ both from Gemma Frisius and Cabot among
themselves, and in divers places from themselves, concerning the
divers situation and sundry limits of America, that one may not so
rashly as truly surmise these men either to be ignorant in those
points touching the aforesaid region, or that the maps they have
given out unto the world were collected only by them, and never of
their own drawing.

To the North-West for the search of the passage or strait to China,
written by Christopher Hall, and made in the year of our Lord 1576.

Upon Monday, the thirteenth of May, the barque Gabriel was launched
at Redriffe, and upon the twenty-seventh day following she sailed
from Redriffe to Ratcliffe.

The seventh of June being Thursday, the two barques, viz., the
Gabriel and the Michael, and our pinnace, set sail at Ratcliffe, and
bare down to Deptford, and there we anchored.  The cause was, that
our pinnace burst her bowsprit and foremast aboard of a ship that
rowed at Deptford, else we meant to have passed that day by the
court, then at Greenwich.

The eighth day being Friday, about twelve o'clock, we weighed at
Deptford and set sail all three of us and bare down by the court,
where we shot off our ordinance, and made the best show we could;
her Majesty beholding the same commended it, and bade us farewell
with shaking her hand at us out of the window.  Afterwards she sent
a gentleman aboard of us, who declared that her Majesty had good
liking of our doings, and thanked us for it, and also willed our
captain to come the next day to the court to take his leave of her.

The same day, towards night, Master Secretary Woolley came aboard of
us, and declared to the company that her Majesty had appointed him
to give them charge to be obedient, and diligent to their captain
and governors in all things, and wished us happy success.

The ninth day about noon, the wind being westerly, having our
anchors aboard ready to set sail to depart, we wanted some of our
company, and therefore stayed and moored them again.

Sunday, the tenth of June, we set sail from Blackwall at a south-
west and by west sun, the wind being at north-north-west, and sailed
to Gravesend, and anchored there at a west-north-west sun, the wind
being as before.

The twelfth day, being over against Gravesend, by the Castle or
Blockhouse, we observed the latitude, which was 51 degrees 33
minutes, and in that place the variation of the compass is 11
degrees and a half.  This day we departed from Gravesend at a west-
south-west sun, the wind at north and by east a fair gale, and
sailed to the west part of Tilbury Hope, and so turned down the
Hope, and at a west sun the wind came to the east-south-east, and we
anchored in seven fathoms, being low water.

[Here there follows an abstract of the ship's log, showing the
navigation until the 28th of July, when they had sight of land
supposed to be Labrador.]

July 28th.  From 4 to 8, 4 leagues:  from 8. to 12, 3 leagues:  from
12 to 4, north and by west, 6 leagues, but very foggy; from thence
to 8 of the clock in the morning little wind, but at the clearing up
of the fog we had sight of land, which I supposed to be Labrador,
with great store of ice about the land; I ran in towards it, and
sounded, but could get no land at 100 fathoms, and the ice being so
thick I could not get to the shore, and so lay off and came clear of
the ice.  Upon Monday we came within a mile of the shore, and sought
a harbour; all the sound was full of ice, and our boat rowing ashore
could get no ground at 100 fathom, within a cable's length of the
shore; then we sailed east-north-east along the shore, for so the
land lieth, and the current is there great, setting north-east and
south-west; and if we could have gotten anchor ground we would have
seen with what force it had run, but I judge a ship may drive a
league and a half in one hour with that tide.

This day, at four of the clock in the morning, being fair and clear,
we had sight of a headland as we judged bearing from us north and by
east, and we sailed north-east and by north to that land, and when
we came thither we could not get to the land for ice, for the ice
stretched along the coast, so that we could not come to the land by
5 leagues.

Wednesday, the first of August, it calmed, and in the afternoon I
caused my boat to be hoisted out, being hard by a great island of
ice, and I and four men rowed to that ice, and sounded within two
cables' length of it, and had 16 fathoms and little stones, and
after that sounded again within a minion's shot, and had ground at
100 fathoms, and fair sand.  We sounded the next day a quarter of a
mile from it, and had 60 fathoms rough ground, and at that present
being aboard, that great island of ice fell one part from another,
making a noise as if a great cliff had fallen into the sea.  And at
4 of the clock I sounded again, and had 90 fathoms, and small black
stones, and little white stones like pearls.  The tide here did set
to the shore.

We sailed this day south-south-east ofward, and laid it a tric.

The next day was calm and thick, with a great sea.

The next day we sailed south and by east two leagues, and at 8 of
the clock in the forenoon we cast about to the eastward.

The sixth day it cleared, and we ran north-west into the shore to
get a harbour, and being towards night, we notwithstanding kept at

The seventh day we plied room with the shore, but being near it it
waxed thick, and we bare off again.

The eighth day we bended in towards the shore again.

The ninth day we sounded, but could get no ground at 130 fathoms.
The weather was calm.

The tenth I took four men and myself, and rode to shore, to an
island one league from the main, and there the flood setteth south-
west along the shore, and it floweth as near as I could judge so
too.  I could not tarry to prove it, because the ship was a great
way from me, and I feared a fog; but when I came ashore it was low
water.  I went to the top of the islands and before I came back it
was hied a foot water, and so without tarrying I came aboard.

The eleventh we found our latitude to be 63 degrees and 8 minutes,
and this day entered the strait.

The twelfth we set sail towards an island called the Gabriel's
Island, which was 10 leagues then from us.

We espied a sound, and bare with it, and came to a sandy bay, where
we came to an anchor, the land bearing east-south-east of us, and
there we rode all night in 8 fathom water.  It floweth there at a
south-east moon; we called it Prior's Sound, being from the
Gabriel's Island 10 leagues.

The fourteenth we weighed and ran into another sound, where we
anchored in 8 fathoms water, fair sand, and black ooze, and there
caulked our ship, being weak from the gunwales upward, and took in
fresh water.

The fifteenth day we weighed, and sailed to Prior's Bay, being a
mile from thence.

The sixteenth day was calm, and we rode still without ice, but
presently within two hours it was frozen round about the ship, a
quarter of an inch thick, and that bay very fair and calm.

The seventeenth day we weighed, and came to Thomas William's Island.

The eighteenth day we sailed north-north-west and anchored again in
23 fathoms, and caught ooze under Bircher's Island, which is from
the former island 10 leagues.

The nineteenth day in the morning, being calm, and no wind, the
captain and I took our boat, with eight men in her, to row us
ashore, to see if there were there any people, or no, and going to
the top of the island, we had sight of seven boats, which came
rowing from the east side toward that island; whereupon we returned
aboard again.  At length we sent our boat, with five men in her, to
see whither they rowed, and so with a white cloth brought one of
their boats with their men along the shore, rowing after our boat,
till such time as they saw our ship, and then they rowed ashore.
Then I went on shore myself, and gave every of them a threaden
point, and brought one of them aboard of me, where he did eat and
drink, and then carried him on shore again.  Whereupon all the rest
came aboard with their boats, being nineteen persons, and they
spake, but we understood them not.  They be like to Tartars, with
long black hair, broad faces, and flat noses, and tawny in colour,
wearing seal skins, and so do the women, not differing in the
fashion, but the women are marked in the face with blue streaks down
the cheeks and round about the eyes.  Their boats are made all of
seal skins, with a keel of wood within the skin:  the proportion of
them is like a Spanish shallop, save only they be flat in the bottom
and sharp at both ends.

The twentieth day we weighed, and went to the east side of this
island, and I and the captain, with four men more, went on shore,
and there we saw their houses, and the people espying us, came
rowing towards our boat, whereupon we plied to our boat; and we
being in our boat and they ashore, they called to us, and we rowed
to them, and one of their company came into our boat, and we carried
him aboard, and gave him a bell and a knife; so the captain and I
willed five of our men to set him ashore at a rock, and not among
the company which they came from, but their wilfulness was such that
they would go to them, and so were taken themselves and our boat

The next day in the morning we stood in near the shore and shot off
a fauconet, and sounded our trumpet, but we could hear nothing of
our men.  This sound we called the Five Men's Sound, and plied out
of it, but anchored again in 30 fathoms and ooze; and riding there
all night, in the morning the snow lay a foot thick upon our

The two-and-twentieth day in the morning we weighed, and went again
to the place where we lost our men and our boat.  We had sight of
fourteen boats, and some came near to us, but we could learn nothing
of our men.  Among the rest, we enticed one in a boat to our ship's
side with a bell; and in giving him the bell we took him and his
boat, and so kept him, and so rowed down to Thomas William's island,
and there anchored all night.

The twenty-sixth day we weighed to come homeward, and by twelve of
the clock at noon we were thwart of Trumpet's Island.

The next day we came thwart of Gabriel's Island, and at eight of the
clock at night we had the Cape Labrador west from us ten leagues.

The twenty-eighth day we went our course south-east.

We sailed south-east and by east, twenty-two leagues.

The first day of September, in the morning, we had sight of the land
of Friesland, being eight leagues from us, but we could not come
nearer it for the monstrous ice that lay about it.  From this day
till the sixth of this month we ran along Iceland, and had the south
part of it at eight of the clock east from us ten leagues.

The seventh day of this month we had a very terrible storm, by force
whereof one of our men was blown into the sea out of our waste, but
he caught hold of the foresail sheet, and there held till the
captain plucked him again into the ship.

The twenty-fifth day of this month we had sight of the island of
Orkney, which was then east from us.

The first day of October we had sight of the Sheld, and so sailed
along the coast, and anchored at Yarmouth, and the next day we came
into Harwich.


Argotteyt, a hand.               Attegay, a coat.
Cangnawe, a nose.                Polleuetagay, a knife.
Arered, an eye.                  Accaskay, a ship.
Keiotot, a tooth.                Coblone, a thumb.
Mutchatet, the head.             Teckkere, the foremost finger.
Chewat, an ear.                  Ketteckle, the middle finger.
Comagaye, a leg.                 Mekellacane, the fourth finger.
Atoniagay, a foot.
Callagay, a pair of breeches.    Yachethronc, the little finger.

Made to the West and North-West Regions in the year 1577, with a
Description of the Country and People, written by Dionise Settle.

On Whit Sunday, being the sixth-and-twentieth day of May, in the
year of our Lord God 1577, Captain Frobisher departed from
Blackwall--with one of the Queen's Majesty's ships called the Aid,
of nine score ton or thereabout, and two other little barques
likewise, the one called the Gabriel, whereof Master Fenton, a
gentleman of my Lord of Warwick's, was captain; and the other the
Michael, whereof Master York, a gentleman of my lord admiral's, was
captain, accompanied with seven score gentlemen, soldiers, and
sailors, well furnished with victuals and other provisions necessary
for one half year--on this, his second year, for the further
discovering of the passage to Cathay and other countries thereunto
adjacent, by west and north-west navigations, which passage or way
is supposed to be on the north and north-west parts of America, and
the said America to be an island environed with the sea, where
through our merchants might have course and recourse with their
merchandise from these our northernmost parts of Europe, to those
Oriental coasts of Asia in much shorter time and with greater
benefit than any others, to their no little commodity and profit
that do or shall traffic the same.  Our said captain and general of
this present voyage and company, having the year before, with two
little pinnaces to his great danger, and no small commendations,
given a worthy attempt towards the performance thereof, is also
pressed when occasion shall be ministered to the benefit of his
prince and native country--to adventure himself further therein.  As
for this second voyage, it seemeth sufficient that he hath better
explored and searched the commodities of those people and countries,
with sufficient commodity unto the adventurers, which, in his first
voyage the year before, he had found out.

Upon which considerations the day and year before expressed, he
departed from Blackwall to Harwich, where making an accomplishment
of things necessary, the last of May we hoisted up sails, and with a
merry wind the 7th of June we arrived at the islands called
Orchades, or vulgarly Orkney, being in number thirty, subject and
adjacent to Scotland, where we made provision of fresh water, in the
doing whereof our general licensed the gentlemen and soldiers, for
their recreation, to go on shore.  At our landing the people fled
from their poor cottages with shrieks and alarms, to warn their
neighbours of enemies, but by gentle persuasions we reclaimed them
to their houses.  It seemeth they are often frighted with pirates,
or some other enemies, that move them to such sudden fear.  Their
houses are very simply builded with pebble stone, without any
chimneys, the fire being made in the midst thereof.  The good man,
wife, children, and other of their family, eat and sleep on the one
side of the house, and their cattle on the other, very beastly and
rudely in respect of civilisation.  They are destitute of wood,
their fire is turf and cow shardes.  They have corn, bigge, and
oats, with which they pay their king's rent to the maintenance of
his house.  They take great quantity of fish, which they dry in the
wind and sun; they dress their meat very filthily, and eat it
without salt.  Their apparel is after the nudest sort of Scotland.
Their money is all base.  Their Church and religion is reformed
according to the Scots.  The fishermen of England can better declare
the dispositions of those people than I, wherefore I remit other
their usages to their reports, as yearly repairers thither in their
courses to and from Iceland for fish.

We departed here hence the 8th of June, and followed our course
between west and north-west until the 4th of July, all which time we
had no night, but that easily, and without any impediment, we had,
when we were so disposed, the fruition of our books, and other
pleasures to pass away the time, a thing of no small moment to such
as wander in unknown seas and long navigations, especially when both
the winds and raging surges do pass their common and wonted course.
This benefit endureth in those parts not six weeks, whilst the sun
is near the tropic of Cancer, but where the pole is raised to 70 or
80 degrees it continueth the longer.

All along these seas, after we were six days sailing from Orkney, we
met, floating in the sea, great fir trees, which, as we judged,
were, with the fury of great floods, rooted up, and so driven into
the sea.  Iceland hath almost no other wood nor fuel but such as
they take up upon their coasts.  It seemeth that these trees are
driven from some part of the Newfoundland, with the current that
setteth from the west to the east.

The 4th of July we came within the making of Friesland.  From this
shore, ten or twelve leagues, we met great islands of ice of half a
mile, some more, some less in compass, showing above the sea thirty
or forty fathoms, and as we supposed fast on ground, where, with our
lead, we could scarce sound the bottom for depth.

Here, in place of odoriferous and fragrant smells of sweet gums and
pleasant notes of musical birds, which other countries in more
temperate zones do yield, we tasted the most boisterous Boreal
blasts, mixed with snow and hail, in the months of June and July,
nothing inferior to our untemperate winter:  a sudden alteration,
and especially in a place of parallel, where the pole is not
elevated above 61 degrees, at which height other countries more to
the north, yea unto 70 degrees, show themselves more temperate than
this doth.  All along this coast ice lieth as a continual bulwark,
and so defendeth the country, that those which would land there
incur great danger.  Our general, three days together, attempted
with the ship boat to have gone on shore, which, for that without
great danger he could not accomplish, he deferred it until a more
convenient time.  All along the coast lie very high mountains,
covered with snow, except in such places where, through the
steepness of the mountains, of force it must needs fall.  Four days
coasting along this land we found no sign of habitation.  Little
birds which we judged to have lost the shore, by reason of thick
fogs which that country is much subject unto, came flying to our
ships, which causeth us to suppose that the country is both more
tolerable and also habitable within than the outward shore maketh
show or signification.

From hence we departed the 8th of July, and the 16th of the same we
came with the making of land, which land our general the year before
had named the Queen's Forehand, being an island, as we judge, lying
near the supposed continent with America, and on the other side,
opposite to the same, one other island, called Halles Isle, after
the name of the master of the ship, near adjacent to the firm land,
supposed continent with Asia.  Between the which two islands there
is a large entrance or strait, called Frobisher's Strait, after the
name of our general, the first finder thereof.  This said strait is
supposed to have passage into the sea of Sur, which I leave unknown
as yet.

It seemeth that either here, or not far hence, the sea should have
more large entrance than in other parts within the frozen or
untemperate zone, and that some contrary tide, either from the east
or west, with main force casteth out that great quantity of ice
which cometh floating from this coast, even unto Friesland, causing
that country to seem more untemperate than others much more
northerly than the same.

I cannot judge that any temperature under the Pole, being the time
of the Sun's northern declination, half a year together, and one
whole day (considering that the sun's elevation surmounteth not
twenty-three degrees and thirty minutes), can have power to dissolve
such monstrous and huge ice, comparable to great mountains, except
by some other force, as by swift currents and tides, with the help
of the said day of half a year.

Before we came within the making of these lands, we tasted cold
storms, insomuch that it seemed we had changed with winter, if the
length of the days had not removed us from that opinion.

At our first coming, the straits seemed to be shut up with a long
mure of ice, which gave no little cause of discomfort unto us all;
but our general (to whose diligence, imminent dangers and difficult
attempts seemed nothing in respect of his willing mind for the
commodity of his prince and country), with two little pinnaces
prepared of purpose, passed twice through them to the east shore,
and the islands thereunto adjacent; and the ship, with the two
barques, lay off and on something farther into the sea from the
danger of the ice.

Whilst he was searching the country near the shore, some of the
people of the country showed themselves, leaping and dancing, with
strange shrieks and cries, which gave no little admiration to our
men.  Our general, desirous to allure them unto him by fair means,
caused knives and other things to be proffered unto them, which they
would not take at our hands; but being laid on the ground, and the
party going away, they came and took up, leaving something of theirs
to countervail the same.  At the length, two them, leaving their
weapons, came down to our general and master, who did the like to
them, commanding the company to stay, and went unto them, who, after
certain dumb signs and mute congratulations, began to lay hands upon
them, but they deliverly escaped, and ran to their bows and arrows
and came fiercely upon them, not respecting the rest of our company,
which were ready for their defence, but with their arrows hurt
divers of them.  We took the one, and the other escaped.

Whilst our general was busied in searching the country, and those
islands adjacent on the east shore, the ships and barques, having
great care not to put far into the sea from him, for that he had
small store of victuals, were forced to abide in a cruel tempest,
chancing in the night amongst and in the thickest of the ice, which
was so monstrous that even the least of a thousand had been of force
sufficient to have shivered our ship and barques into small
portions, if God (who in all necessities hath care upon the
infirmity of man) had not provided for this our extremity a
sufficient remedy, through the light of the night, whereby we might
well discern to flee from such imminent dangers, which we avoided
within fourteen bourdes in one watch, the space of four hours.  If
we had not incurred this danger amongst these monstrous islands of
ice, we should have lost our general and master, and the most of our
best sailors, which were on the shore destitute of victuals; but by
the valour of our master gunner, Master Jackman and Andrew Dier, the
master's mates, men expert both in navigation and other good
qualities, we were all content to incur the dangers afore rehearsed,
before we would, with our own safety, run into the seas, to the
destruction of our said general and his company.

The day following, being the 19th of July, our captain returned to
the ship with good news of great riches, which showed itself in the
bowels of those barren mountains, wherewith we were all satisfied.
A sudden mutation.  The one part of us being almost swallowed up the
night before, with cruel Neptune's force, and the rest on shore,
taking thought for their greedy paunches how to find the way to
Newfoundland; at one moment we were racked with joy, forgetting both
where we were and what we had suffered.  Behold the glory of man:
to-night contemning riches, and rather looking for death than
otherwise, and to-morrow devising how to satisfy his greedy appetite
with gold.

Within four days after we had been at the entrance of the straits,
the north-west and west winds dispersed the ice into the sea, and
made us a large entrance into the Straits, that without impediment,
on the 19th July, we entered them; and the 20th thereof our general
and master, with great diligence, sought out and sounded the west
shore, and found out a fair harbour for the ship and barques to ride
in, and named it after our master's mate, Jackman's Sound, and
brought the ship, barques, and all their company to safe anchor,
except one man which died by God's visitation.

At our first arrival, after the ship rode at anchor, general, with
such company as could well be spared from the ships, in marching
order entered the land, having special care by exhortations that at
our entrance thereinto we should all with one voice, kneeling upon
our knees, chiefly thank God for our safe arrival; secondly, beseech
Him that it would please His Divine Majesty long to continue our
Queen, for whom he, and all the rest of our company, in this order
took possession of the country; and thirdly, that by our Christian
study and endeavour, those barbarous people, trained up in paganry
and infidelity, might be reduced to the knowledge of true religion,
and to the hope of salvation in Christ our Redeemer, with other
words very apt to signify his willing mind and affection towards his
prince and country, whereby all suspicion of an undutiful subject
may credibly be judged to be utterly exempted from his mind.  All
the rest of the gentlemen, and others, deserve worthily herein their
due praise and commendation.

These things in order accomplished, our general commanded all the
company to be obedient in things needful for our own safeguard to
Master Fenton, Master Yorke, and Master Beast, his lieutenant, while
he was occupied in other necessary affairs concerning our coming

After this order we marched through the country, with ensign
displayed, so far as was thought needful, and now and then heaped up
stones on high mountains and other places, in token of possession,
as likewise to signify unto such as hereafter may chance to arrive
there that possession is taken in the behalf of some other prince by
those which first found out the country.

Whose maketh navigation to these countries hath not only extreme
winds and furious seas to encounter withal, but also many monstrous
and great islands of ice:  a thing both rare, wonderful, and greatly
to be regarded.

We were forced sundry times, while the ship did ride here at anchor,
to have continual watch, with boats and men ready with hawsers, to
knit fast unto such ice which with the ebb and flood were tossed to
and fro in the harbour, and with force of oars to hail them away,
for endangering the ship.

Our general certain days searched this supposed continent with
America, and not finding the commodity to answer his expectations,
after he had made trial thereof, he departed thence, with two little
barques, and men sufficient, to the east shore, being he supposed
continent of Asia, and left the ship, with most of the gentlemen
soldiers and sailors, until such time as he either thought good to
send or come for them.

The stones on this supposed continent with America be altogether
sparkled and glister in the sun like gold; so likewise doth the sand
in the bright water, yet they verify the old proverb, "All is not
gold that glistereth."

On this west shore we found a dead fish floating, which had in his
nose a horn, straight and torquet, of length two yards lacking two
inches, being broken in the top, where we might perceive it hollow,
into which some of our sailors putting spiders they presently died.
I saw not the trial hereof, but it was reported unto me of a truth,
by the virtue whereof we supposed it to be the sea unicorn.

After our general had found out good harbour for the ship and
barques to anchor in, and also such store of gold ore as he thought
himself satisfied withal, he returned to the Michael, whereof Master
Yorke aforesaid was captain, accompanied with our master and his
mate, who coasting along the west shore, not far from whence the
ship rode, they perceived a fair harbour, and willing to sound the
same, at the entrance thereof they espied two tents of seal skins,
unto which the captain, our said master, and other company resorted.
At the sight of our men the people fled into the mountains;
nevertheless, they went to their tents, where, leaving certain
trifles of ours as glasses, bells, knives, and such like things,
they departed, not taking anything of theirs except one dog.  They
did in like manner leave behind them a letter, pen, ink, and paper,
whereby our men whom the captain lost the year before, and in that
people's custody, might (if any of them were alive) be advertised of
our presence and being there.

On the same day, after consultation, all the gentlemen, and others
likewise that could be spared from the ship, under the conduct and
leading of Master Philpot (unto whom, in our general's absence, and
his lieutenant, Master Beast, all the rest were obedient), went
ashore, determining to see if by fair means we could either allure
them to familiarity, or otherwise take some of them, and so attain
to some knowledge of those men whom our general lost the year

At our coming back again to the place where their tents were before,
they had removed their tents farther into the said bay or sound,
where they might, if they were driven from the land, flee with their
boats into the sea.  We, parting ourselves into two companies, and
compassing a mountain, came suddenly upon them by land, who, espying
us, without any tarrying fled to their boats, leaving the most part
of their oars behind them for haste, and rowed down the bay, where
our two pinnaces met them and drove them to shore.  But if they had
had all their oars, so swift are they in rowing, it had been lost
time to have chased them.

When they were landed they fiercely assaulted our men with their
bows and arrows, who wounded three of them with our arrows, and
perceiving themselves thus hurt they desperately leaped off the
rocks into the sea and drowned themselves; which if they had not
done but had submitted themselves, or if by any means we could have
taken alive (being their enemies as they judged), we would both have
saved them, and also have sought remedy to cure their wounds
received at our hands.  But they, altogether void of humanity, and
ignorant what mercy meaneth, in extremities look for no other than
death, and perceiving that they should fall into our hands, thus
miserably by drowning rather desired death than otherwise to be
saved by us.  The rest, perceiving their fellows in this distress,
fled into the high mountains.  Two women, not being so apt to escape
as the men were, the one for her age, and the other being encumbered
with a young child, we took.  The old wretch, whom divers of our
sailors supposed to be either a devil or a witch, had her buskins
plucked off to see if she were cloven-footed, and for her ugly hue
and deformity we let her go; the young woman and the child we
brought away.  We named the place where they were slain Bloody
Point, and the bay or harbour Yorke's Sound, after the name of one
of the captains of the two barques.

Having this knowledge both of their fierceness and cruelty, and
perceiving that fair means as yet is not able to allure them to
familiarity, we disposed ourselves, contrary to our inclination,
something to be cruel, returned to their tents, and made a spoil of
the same, where we found an old shirt, a doublet, a girdle, and also
shoes of our men, whom we lost the year before; on nothing else unto
them belonging could we set our eyes.

Their riches are not gold, silver, or precious drapery, but their
said tents and boats made of the skins of red deer and seal skins,
also dogs like unto wolves, but for the most part black, with other
trifles, more to be wondered at for their strangeness than for any
other commodity needful for our use.

Thus returning to our ship the 3rd of August, we departed from the
west shore, supposed firm with America, after we had anchored there
thirteen days, and so the 4th thereof we came to our general on the
east shore, and anchored in a fair harbour named Anne Warwick's
Sound, and to which is annexed an island, both named after the
Countess of Warwick--Anne Warwick's Sound and Isle.

In this isle our general thought good for this voyage to freight
both the ships and barques with such stone or gold mineral as he
judged to countervail the charges of his first and this his second
navigation to these countries, with sufficient interest to the
venturers whereby they might both be satisfied for this time and
also in time to come (if it please God and our prince) to expect a
much more benefit out of the bowels of those septentrional
parallels, which long time hath concealed itself till at this
present, through the wonderful diligence and great danger of our
general and others, God is contented with the revealing thereof.  It
riseth so abundantly, that from the beginning of August to the 22nd
thereof (every man following the diligence of our general) we raised
above ground 200 ton, which we judged a reasonable freight for the
ship and two barques in the said Anne Warwick's Isle.

In the meantime of our abode here some of the country people came to
show themselves unto us sundry times from the main shore, near
adjacent to the said isle.  Our general, desirous to have some news
of his men whom he lost the year before, with some company with him
repaired with the ship boat to commune or sign with them for
familiarity, whereunto he is persuaded to bring them.  They at the
first show made tokens that three of his five men were alive, and
desired pen, ink, and paper, and that within three or four days they
would return, and, as we judged, bring those of our men which were
living with them.

They also made signs or tokens of their king, whom they called
Cacough, and how he was carried on men's shoulders, and a man far
surmounting any of our company in bigness and stature.

With these tokens and signs of writing, pen, ink, and paper were
delivered them, which they would not take at our hands, but being
laid upon the shore, and the party gone away, they took up; which
likewise they do when they desire anything for change of theirs,
laying for that which is left so much as they think will countervail
the same, and not coming near together.  It seemeth they have been
used to this trade or traffic with some other people adjoining, or
not far distant from their country.

After four days some of them showed themselves upon the firm land,
but not where they were before.  Our general, very glad thereof,
supposing to hear of our men, went from the island with the boat and
sufficient company with him.  They seemed very glad, and allured him
about a certain point of the land, behind which they might perceive
a company of the crafty villains to lie lurking, whom our general
would not deal withal, for that he knew not what company they were,
so with few signs dismissed them and returned to his company.

Another time, as our said general was coasting the country with two
little pinnaces, whereby at our return he might make the better
relation thereof, three of the crafty villains with a white skin
allured us to them.  Once again our general, for that he hoped to
hear of his men, went towards them; at our coming near the shore
whereon they were we might perceive a number of them lie hidden
behind great stones, and those three in sight labouring by all means
possible that some would come on land; and perceiving we made no
haste, by words nor friendly signs, which they used by clapping
their hands, and being without weapon, and but three in sight, they
sought further means to provoke us thereunto.  One alone laid flesh
on the shore, which we took up with the boat-hook as necessary
victuals for the relieving of the man, woman, and child whom we had
taken, for that as yet they could not digest our meat; whereby they
perceived themselves deceived of their expectation for all their
crafty allurements.  Yet once again to make, as it were, a full show
of their crafty natures and subtle sleights, to the intent thereby
to have entrapped and taken some of our men, one of them
counterfeited himself impotent and lame of his legs, who seemed to
descend to the water's side with great difficulty, and to cover his
craft the more one of his fellows came down with him, and in such
places where he seemed unable to pass, he took him on his shoulders,
set him by the water's side, and departed from him, leaving him, as
it should seem, all alone; who, playing his counterfeit pageant very
well, thought thereby to provoke some of us to come on shore, not
fearing but that one of us might make our party good with a lame

Our general, having compassion of his impotency, thought good, if it
were possible, to cure him thereof; wherefore he caused a soldier to
shoot at him with his calever, which grazed before his face.  The
counterfeit villain deliverly fled without any impediment at all,
and got him to his bow and arrows, and the rest from their lurking
holes with their weapons, bows, arrows, slings, and darts.  Our
general caused some calevers to be shot off at them, whereby, some
being hurt, they might hereafter stand in more fear of us.

This was all the answer for this time we could have of our men, or
of our general's letter.  Their crafty dealing at these three
several times being thus manifest unto us, may plainly show their
disposition in other things to be correspondent.  We judged that
they used these stratagems thereby to have caught some of us for the
delivering of the man, woman, and child, whom we had taken.

They are men of a large corporature, and good proportion; their
colour is not much unlike the sunburnt countryman, who laboureth
daily in sun for his living.

They wear their hair something long, and cut before either with
stone or knife, very disorderly.  Their women wear their hair long,
knit up with two loops, showing forth on either side of their faces,
and the rest faltered upon a knot.  Also, some of their women tint
their faces proportionally, as chin, cheeks, and forehead and the
wrists of their hands, whereupon they lay a colour which continueth
dark azurine.

They eat their meat all raw, both flesh, fish, and fowl, or
something parboiled with blood, and a little water, which they
drink.  For lack of water, they will eat ice that is hard frozen as
pleasantly as we will do sugar-candy, or other sugar.

If they, for necessity's sake, stand in need of the premises, such
grass as the country yieldeth they pluck up and eat, not daintily,
or saladwise, to allure their stomachs to appetite, but for
necessity's sake, without either salt, oils, or washing, like brute
beasts devouring the same.  They neither use table, stool, or table-
cloth for comeliness:  but when they are imbrued with blood, knuckle
deep, and their knives in like sort, they use their tongues as apt
instruments to lick them clean; in doing whereof they are assured to
lose none of their victuals.

They keep certain dogs, not much unlike wolves, which they yoke
together, as we do oxen and horses, to a sled or trail, and so carry
their necessaries over the ice and snow, from place to place, as the
captain, whom we have, made perfect signs.  And when those dogs are
not apt for the same use, or when with hunger they are constrained
for lack of other victuals, they eat them, so that they are as
needful for them, in respect of their bigness, as our oxen are for

They apparel themselves in the skins of such beasts as they kill,
sewed together with the sinews of them.  All the fowl which they
kill they skin, and make thereof one kind of garment or other to
defend them from the cold.

They make their apparel with hoods and tails, which tails they give,
when they think to gratify any friendship shown unto them; a great
sign of friendship with them.  The men have them not so syde as the

The men and women wear their hose close to their legs, from the
waist to the knee, without any open before, as well the one kind as
the other.  Upon their legs they wear hose of leather, with the fur
side inward, two or three pair on at once, and especially the women.
In those hose they put their knives, needles, and other things
needful to bear about.  They put a bone within their hose, which
reacheth from the foot to the knee, whereupon they draw their said
hose, and so in place of garters they are holden from falling down
about their feet.

They dress their skins very soft and supple with the hair on.  In
cold weather or winter they wear the fur side inward, and in summer
outward.  Other apparel they have none but the said skins.

Those beasts, fishes, and fowls which they kill are their meat,
drink, apparel, houses, bedding, hose, shoes, thread, and sails for
their boats, with many other necessaries, whereof they stand in
need, and almost all their riches.

The houses are tents made of seal skins, pitched up with four fir
quarters, four-square, meeting at the top, and the skins sewed
together with sinews, and laid thereupon; they are so pitched up,
that the entrance into them is always south, or against the sun.

They have other sort of houses, which we found not to be inhabited,
which are raised with stones and whalebones, and a skin laid over
them to withstand the rain, or other weather; the entrance of them
being not much unlike an oven's mouth, whereunto, I think, they
resort for a time to fish, hunt, and fowl, and so leave them until
the next time they come thither again.

Their weapons are bows, arrows, darts, and slings.  Their bows are
of wood, of a yard long, sinewed on the back with firm sinews, not
glued to, but fast girded and tied on.  Their bow strings are
likewise sinews.  Their arrows are three pieces, nocked with bone
and ended with bone; with those two ends, and the wood in the midst,
they pass not in length half a yard, or little more.  They are
feathered with two feathers, the pen end being cut away, and the
feathers laid upon the arrow with the broad side to the wood,
insomuch, that they seem, when they are tied on, to have four
feathers.  They have likewise three sorts of heads to those arrows;
one sort of stone or iron, proportioned like to a heart; the second
sort of bone much like unto a stopt head, with a hook on the same,
the third sort of bone likewise, made sharp at both sides, and sharp
pointed.  They are not made very fast, but lightly tied to, or else
set in a nocke, that, upon small occasion, the arrow leaveth these
heads behind them; they are of small force except they be very near
when they shoot.

Their darts are made of two sorts:  the one with many forks of bones
in the fore end, and likewise in the midst; their proportions are
not much unlike our toasting-irons, but longer; these they cast out
of an instrument of wood very readily.  The other sort is greater
than the first aforesaid, with a long bone made sharp on both sides,
not much unlike a rapier, which I take to be their most hurtful

They have two sorts of boats made of leather, set out on the inner
side with quarters of wood, artificially tied together with thongs
of the same; the greater sort are not much unlike our wherries,
wherein sixteen or twenty men may sit; they have for a sail dressed
the guts of such beasts as they kill, very fine and thin, which they
sew together; the other boat is but for one man to sit and row in,
with one oar.

Their order of fishing, hunting, and fowling, are with these said
weapons; but in what sort or how they use them we have no perfect
knowledge as yet.

I can suppose their abode or habitation not to be here, for that
neither their houses nor apparel are of such force to withstand the
extremity of cold that the country seemeth to be infected withal;
neither do I see any sign likely to perform the same.

Those houses, or rather dens, which stand there, have no sign of
footway, or anything else trodden, which is one of the chiefest
tokens of habitation.  And those tents, which they bring with them,
when they have sufficiently hunted and fished, they remove to other
places; and when they have sufficiently stored them of such victuals
as the country yieldeth, or bringeth forth, they return to their
winter stations or habitations.  This conjecture do I make for the
infertility which I perceive to be in that country.

They have some iron, whereof they make arrow-heads, knives, and
other little instruments, to work their boats, bows, arrows, and
darts withal, which are very unapt to do anything withal, but with
great labour.

It seemeth that they have conversation with some other people, of
whom for exchange they should receive the same.  They are greatly
delighted with anything that is bright or giveth a sound.

What knowledge they have of God, or what idol they adore, we have no
perfect intelligence.  I think them rather anthropophagi, or
devourers of man's flesh, than otherwise; that there is no flesh or
fish which they find dead (smell it never so filthily), but they
will eat it as they find it without any other dressing.  A loathsome
thing, either to the beholders or the hearers.  There is no manner
of creeping beast hurtful, except some spiders (which as many affirm
are signs of great store of gold), and also certain stinging gnats,
which bite so fiercely that the place where they bite shortly after
swelleth, and itcheth very sore.

They make signs of certain people that wear bright plates of gold in
their foreheads and other places of their bodies.

The countries on both sides the straits lie very high, with rough
stony mountains, and great quantity of snow thereon.  There is very
little plain ground, and no grass except a little, which is much
like unto moss that groweth on soft ground, such as we get turfs in.
There is no wood at all.  To be brief, there is nothing fit or
profitable for the use of man which that country with root yieldeth
or bringeth forth; howbeit there is great quantity of deer, whose
skins are like unto asses, their heads or horns do far exceed, as
well in length as also in breadth, any in these our parts or
countries:  their feet likewise are as great as our oxen's, which we
measure to be seven or eight inches in breadth.  There are also
hares, wolves, fishing bears, and sea-fowl of sundry sorts.

As the country is barren and unfertile, so are they rude, and of no
capacity to culture the same to any perfection; but are contented by
their hunting, fishing, and fowling, with raw flesh and warm blood,
to satisfy their greedy paunches, which is their only glory.

There is great likelihood of earthquakes or thunder, for there are
huge and monstrous mountains, whose greatest substance are stones,
and those stones so shapen with some extraordinary means, that one
is separated from another, which is discordant from all other

There are no rivers or running springs, but such as through the heat
of the sun, with such water as descendeth from the mountains and
hills, whereon great drifts of snow do lie, are engendered.

It argueth also that there should be none; for that the earth, which
with the extremity of the winter is so frozen within, that that
water which should have recourse within the same to maintain springs
hath not his motion, whereof great waters have their origin, as by
experience is seen otherwhere.  Such valleys as are capable to
receive the water, that in the summer time, by the operation of the
sun, descendeth from great abundance of snow, which continually
lieth on the mountains, and hath no passage, sinketh into the earth,
and so vanisheth away, without any runnel above the earth, by which
occasion or continual standing of the said water the earth is opened
and the great frost yieldeth to the force thereof, which in other
places, four or five fathoms within the ground, for lack of the said
moisture, the earth even in the very summer time is frozen, and so
combineth the stones together, that scarcely instruments with great
force can unknit them.

Also, where the water in those valleys can have no such passage
away, by the continuance of time in such order as is before
rehearsed, the yearly descent from the mountains filleth them full,
that at the lowest bank of the same they fall into the next valley,
and so continue as fishing ponds, in summer time full of water, and
in the winter hard frozen, as by scars that remain thereof in summer
may easily be perceived; so that the heat of summer is nothing
comparable or of force to dissolve the extremity of cold that cometh
in winter.

Nevertheless, I am assured, that below the force of the frost,
within the earth, the waters have recourse, and empty themselves out
of sight into the sea, which, through the extremity of the frost,
are constrained to do the same; by which occasion, the earth within
is kept the warmer, and springs have their recourse, which is the
only nutriment of gold and minerals within the same.

There is much to be said of the commodities of these countries,
which are couched within the bowels of the earth, which I let pass
till more perfect trial be made thereof.

Thus conjecturing, till time, with the earnest industry of our
general and others (who, by all diligence, remain pressed to explore
the truth of that which is unexplored, as he hath to his everlasting
praise found out that which is like to yield an innumerable benefit
to his prince and country), offer further trial, I conclude.

The 23rd August, after we had satisfied our minds with freight
sufficient for our vessels, though not our covetous desires, with
such knowledge of the country, people, and other commodities as are
before rehearsed, the 24th thereof we departed there hence:  the
17th of September we fell with the Land's End of England, and so to
Milford Haven, from whence our general rowed to the court for order
to what port or haven to conduct the ship.

We lost our two barques in the way homeward, the one the 29th of
August, the other the 31st of the same month, by occasion of great
tempest and fog; howbeit, God restored the one to Bristol, and the
other making his course by Scotland to Yarmouth.  In this voyage we
lost two men, one in the way by God's visitation, and the other
homeward, cast overboard with a surge of the sea.

I could declare unto the readers the latitude and longitude of such
places and regions as we have been at, but not altogether so
perfectly as our masters and others, with many circumstances of
tempests and other accidents incident to seafaring men, which seem
not altogether strange, but I let them pass to their reports as men
most apt to set forth and declare the same.  I have also left the
names of the countries on both the shores untouched for lack of
understanding the people's language, as also for sundry respects not
needful as yet to be declared.

Countries new explored, where commodity is to be looked for, do
better accord with a new name given by the explorers than an
uncertain name by a doubtful author.

Our general named sundry islands, mountains, capes, and harbours
after the names of divers noblemen, and other gentlemen his friends,
as well on the one shore as also on the other.

Made by Master Martin Frobisher, in the year 1578, written by Thomas

These are to let you know, that upon the 25th May, the Thomas Allen,
being vice-admiral, whose captain was Master Yorke; Master Gibbes,
master; Master Christopher Hall, pilot, accompanied with the rear-
admiral, named the Hopewell, whose captain was Master Henry Carew,
the Master Andrew Dier, and certain other ships, came to Gravesend,
where we anchored, and abode the coming of certain other of our
fleet, which were not yet come.

The 27th of the same month, our fleet being now come together, and
all things pressed in a readiness, the wind favouring and tide
serving, we being of sails in number eight, weighed anchors, and
hoisted our sails towards Harwich, to meet with our admiral and the
residue, which then and there abode our arrival, where we safely
arrived the 28th thereof; finding there our admiral, whom we, with
the discharge of certain pieces, saluted (according to order and
duty), and were welcomed with the like courtesy, which being
finished we landed, where our general continued mustering his
soldiers and miners, and setting things in order appertaining to the
voyage, until the last of the said month of May, which day we
hoisted our sails, and committing ourselves to the conducting of
Almighty God, we set forward toward the West Country, in such lucky
wise and good success, that by the 5th June we passed the Dursies,
being the utmost part of Ireland, to the westward.

And here it were not much amiss, nor far from our purpose, if I
should a little discourse and speak of our adventures and chances by
the way, as our landing at Plymouth, as also the meeting of certain
poor men, which were robbed and spoiled of all that they had by
pirates and rovers; amongst whom was a man of Bristol, on whom our
general used his liberality, and sent him away with letters into

But because such things are impertinent to the matter, I will return
(without any more mentioning of the same) to that from which I have
digressed and swerved, I mean our ships, now sailing on the surging
seas, sometimes passing at pleasure with a wished eastern wind,
sometimes hindered of our course again by the western blasts, until
the 20th day of the foresaid month of June, on which day in the
morning we fell in with Friesland, which is a very high and cragged
land, and was almost clean covered with snow, so that we might see
nought but craggy rocks and the tops of high and huge hills,
sometimes (and for the most part) all covered with foggy mists.
There might we also perceive the great isles of ice lying on the
seas like mountains, some small, some big, of sundry kinds of
shapes, and such a number of them, that we could not come near the
shore for them.

Thus sailing along the coast, at the last we saw a place somewhat
void of ice, where our general (accompanied with certain other) went
ashore, where they saw certain tents made of beasts' skins, and
boats much like unto theirs of Meta Incognita.  The tents were
furnished with flesh, fish, skins, and other trifles:  amongst the
which was found a box of nails, whereby we did conjecture that they
had either artificers amongst them, or else a traffic with some
other nation.  The men ran away, so that we could have no conference
or communication with them.  Our general (because he would have them
no more to flee, but rather encouraged to stay through his courteous
dealing) gave commandment that his men should take nothing away with
them, saving only a couple of white dogs, for which he left pins,
points, knives, and other trifling things, and departed, without
taking or hurting anything, and so came aboard, and hoisted sails
and passed forwards.

But being scarce out of the sight thereof, there fell such a fog and
hideous mist that we could not see one another; whereupon we struck
our drums, and sounded our trumpets to the end we might keep
together; and so continued all that day and night, till the next
day, that the mist brake up; so that we might easily perceive all
the ships thus sailing together all that day, until the next day,
being the 22nd of the same, on which day we saw an infinite number
of ice, from the which we cast about to shun the danger thereof.

But one of our small barques named the Michael, whose captain was
Master Kinderslie, the master, Bartholomew Bull, lost our company,
insomuch that we could not obtain the sight of her many days after,
of whom I mean to speak further anon, when occasion shall be
ministered, and opportunity served.  Thus we continued on our course
until the 2nd of July, on which day we fell with the Queen's
Foreland, where we saw so much ice, that we thought it impossible to
get into the straits, yet at the last we gave the adventure, and
entered the ice.

Being in amongst it, we saw the Michael, of whom I spake before,
accompanied with the, Judith, whose captain was Master Fenton, the
master, Charles Jackman, bearing into the aforesaid ice, far distant
from us, who in a storm that fell that present night (whereof I will
at large, God willing, discourse hereafter), were severed from us,
and being in, wandered up and down the straits amongst the ice, many
days in great peril, till at the last (by the providence of God)
they came safely to harbour in their wished port in the Countess of
Warwick's Sound the 20th July aforesaid, ten days before any of the
other ships; who going on shore, found where the people of the
country had been, and had hid their provision in great heaps of
stone, being both of flesh and fish, which they had killed, whereof
we also found great store in other places after our arrival.  They
found also divers engines, as bows, slings, and darts.  They found
likewise certain pieces of the pinnace which our general left there
the year before; which pinnace he had sunk, minding to have it again
the next year.

Now, seeing I have entreated so much of the Judith and the Michael,
I will return to the rest of the other ships, and will speak a
little of the storm which fell, with the mishaps that we had, the
night that we put into the ice, whereof I made mention before.

At the first entry into the ice, in the mouth of the straits, our
passage was very narrow and difficult; but being once gotten in, we
had a fair, open place without any ice for the most part; being a
league in compass, the ice being round about us, and enclosing us,
as it were, within the pales of a park.  In which place (because it
was almost night) we minded to take in our sails and lie a hull all
that night.  But the storm so increased, and the waves began to
mount aloft, which brought the ice so near us, and coming in so fast
upon us, that we were fain to bear in and out, where ye might espy
an open place.  Thus the ice coming on us so fast we were in great
danger, looking every hour for death, and thus passed we on in that
great danger, seeing both ourselves and the rest of our ships so
troubled and tossed amongst the ice, that it would make the
strongest-heart to relent.

At the last, the barque Dionyse, being but a weak ship, and bruised
afore amongst the ice, being so leak that she no longer could carry
above water, sank without saving any of the goods which were in her:
the sight so abashed the whole fleet, that we thought verily we
should have tasted of the same sauce.  But nevertheless, we seeing
them in such danger, manned our boats, and saved all the men, in
such wise that not one perished.  (God be thanked.)

The storm still increased and the ice enclosed us, that we were fain
to take down top and topmasts; for the ice had so environed us, that
we could see neither land nor sea as far as we could ken; so that we
were fain to cut our cables to hang overboard for fenders, somewhat
to ease the ship's sides from the great and dreary strokes of the
ice; some with capstan bars, some fending off with oars, some with
planks of two inches thick, which were broken immediately with the
force of the ice, some going out upon the ice, to bear it off with
their shoulders from the ships.  But the rigorousness of the tempest
was such, and the force of the ice so great, that not only they
burst and spoiled the foresaid provision, but likewise so raised the
sides of the ships that it was pitiful to behold, and caused the
hearts of many to faint.

Thus continued we all that dismal and lamentable night, plunged in
this perplexity, looking for instant death; but our God (who never
leaveth them destitute which faithfully call upon Him), although He
often punisheth for amendment's sake, in the morning caused the
winds to cease, and the fog, which all that night lay on the face of
the water, to clear, so that we might perceive about a mile from us
a certain place clear from any ice, to the which with an easy breath
of wind, which our God sent us, we bent ourselves, and furthermore
He provided better for us than we deserved, or hoped for; for when
we were in the foresaid clear place, He sent us a fresh gale at
west, or at west-south-west, which set us clear without all the ice.
And further He added more, for He sent us so pleasant a day, as the
like we had not of a long time before, as after punishment

Thus we joyful whites, being at liberty, took in all our sails, and
lay a hull, praising God for our deliverance, and stayed to gather
together our fleet; which once being done, we seeing that none of
them had any great hurt, neither any of them wanted, saving only
they of whom I spake before, and the ship which was lost, then at
the last we hoisted our sails, and lay bulting off and on, till such
time as it would please God to take away the ice, that we might get
into the straits.

As we thus lay off and on, we came by a marvellous huge mountain of
ice, which surpassed all the rest that ever we saw, for we judged it
to be near four score fathoms above water, and we thought it to be
aground for anything that we could perceive, being there nine score
fathoms deep, and of compass about half a mile.

Also the fifth of July there fell a hideous fog and mist, that
continued till the nineteenth of the same, so that one ship could
not see another.  Therefore we were fain to bear a small sail, and
to observe the time, but there ran such a current of tide, that it
set us to the north-west of the Queen's Forehand, the back side of
all the straits, where (through the contagious fog having no sight
either of sun or star) we scarce knew where we were.  In this fog
the 10th July we lost the company of the Vice-Admiral, the Anne
Francis, the Busse of Bridgewater, and the Francis of Foy.

The sixteenth day, one of our small barques, named the Gabriel, was
sent by our general to bear in with the land, to descry it, where,
being on land, they met with the people of the country, which seemed
very humane and civilised, and offered to traffic with our men,
proffering them fowls and skins for knives and other trifles, whose
courtesy caused us to think that they had small conversation with
the other of the straits.  Then we bare back again, to go with the
Queen's Forehand, and the 18th day we came by two islands, whereon
we went on shore, and found where the people had been, but we saw
none of them.  This day we were again in the ice, and like to be in
as great peril as we were at the first.  For through the darkness
and obscurity of the foggy mist we were almost run on rocks and
islands before we saw them:  but God (even miraculously) provided
for us, opening the fogs that we might see clearly, both where and
in what danger we presently were, and also the way to escape; or
else, without fail we had ruinously run upon the rocks.

When we knew perfectly our instant case, we cast about to get again
on sea board, which (God be thanked) by might we obtained, and
praised God.  The clear continued scarce an hour, but the fog fell
again as thick as ever it was.

Then the Rear-Admiral and the Bear got themselves clear without
danger of ice and rocks, struck their sails and lay a hull, staying
to have the rest of the fleet come forth, which as yet had not found
the right way to clear themselves from the danger of rocks and ice,
until the next morning, at what time the Rear-Admiral discharged
certain warning pieces, to give notice that she had escaped, and
that the rest (by following of her) might set themselves free, which
they did that day.  Then having gathered ourselves together, we
proceeded on our purposed voyage, bearing off, and keeping ourselves
distant from the coast, until the 19th day of July, at which time
the fogs brake up and dispersed, so that we might plainly and
clearly behold the pleasant air which had so long been taken from us
by the obscurity of the foggy mists; and, after that time, we were
not much encumbered therewith until we had left the confines of the

Then we, espying a fair sound, supposed it to go into the straits,
between the Queen's Foreland and Jackman's Sound, which proved as we
imagined.  For our general sent forth again the Gabriel to discover
it, who passed through with much difficulty, for there ran such an
extreme current of a tide, with so horrible a gulf, that with a
fresh gale of wind they were scarce able to stem it, yet at the
length with great travel they passed it, and came to the straits,
where they met with the Thomas Allen, the Thomas of Ipswich, and the
Busse of Bridgewater, who all together adventured to bear into the
ice again, to see if they could obtain their wished port.  But they
were so encumbered, that with much difficulty they were able to get
out again, yet at the last they escaping the Thomas Allen and the
Gabriel, bear in with the western shore, where they found harbour,
and they moored their ships until the 4th of August, at which time
they came to us, in the Countess of Warwick's Sound.  The Thomas of
Ipswich caught a great leak, which caused her to cast again to sea
board, and so was mended.

We sailed along still by the coast until we came to the Queen's
Forehand, at the point whereof we met with part of the gulf
aforesaid, which place or gulf (as some of our masters do credibly
report) doth flow nine hours and ebbs but three.  At that point we
discovered certain lands southward, which neither time nor
opportunity would serve to search.  Then being come to the mouth of
the straits, we met with the Anne Francis, who had lain bulting up
and down ever since her departure alone, never finding any of her
company.  We met then also the Francis of Foy, with whom again we
intended to venture and get in, but the ice was yet so thick, that
we were compelled again to retire and get us on sea board.

There fell also the same day, being the 26th July, such a horrible
snow, that it lay a foot thick upon the hatches, which froze as fast
as it fell.

We had also at other times divers cruel storms, both snow and hail,
which manifestly declared the distemperature of the country:  yet
for all that we were so many times repulsed and put back from our
purpose, knowing that lingering delay was not profitable for us, but
hurtful to our voyage, we mutually consented to our valiant general
once again to give the onset.

The 28th day, therefore, of the same July we assayed, and with
little trouble (God be praised) we passed the dangers by daylight.
Then night falling on the face of the earth, we hulled in the clear,
till the cheerful light of the day had chased away the noisome
darkness of the night, at which the we set forward toward our wished
port; by the 30th day we obtained our expected desire, where we
found the Judith and the Michael, which brought no small joy unto
the general, and great consolation to the heavy hearts of those
wearied wights.

The 30th day of July we brought our ships into the Countess of
Warwick's Sound, and moored them, namely these ships, the Admiral,
the Rear-Admiral, the Francis of Foy, the Bear, Armenel, the
Salomon, and the Busse of Bridgewater, which being done, our general
commanded us all to come ashore upon the Countess Island, where he
set his miners to work upon the mine, giving charge with expedition
to despatch with their lading.

Our general himself, accompanied with his gentleman, divers times
made roads into sundry parts of the country, as well to find new
mines as also to find out and see the people of the country.  He
found out one mine, upon an island by Bear's Sound, and named it the
Countess of Sussex Island.  One other was found in Winter's Fornace,
with divers others, to which the ships were sent sunderly to be
laden.  In the same roads he met with divers of the people of the
country at sundry times, as once at a place called David's Sound,
who shot at our men, and very desperately gave them the onset, being
not above three or four in number, there being of our countrymen
above a dozen; but seeing themselves not able to prevail, they took
themselves to flight, whom our men pursued, but being not used to
such craggy cliffs, they soon lost the sight of them, and so in vain

We also saw them at Bear's Sound, both by sea and land, in great
companies; but they would at all times keep the water between them
and us.  And if any of our ships chanced to be in the sound (as they
came divers times), because the harbour was not very good, the ship
laded, and departed again; then so long as any ships were in sight,
the people would not be seen.  But when as they perceived the ships
to be gone, they would not only show themselves standing upon high
cliffs, and call us to come over unto them, but also would come in
their boats very near to us, as it were to brag at us; whereof our
general, having advertisement, sent for the captain and gentlemen of
the ships to accompany and attend upon him, with the captain also of
the Anne Francis, who was but the night before come unto us.  For
they and the fleet-boat, having lost us the 26th day, in the great
snow, put into a harbour in the Queen's Forehand, where they found
good ore, wherewith they laded themselves, and came to seek the
general; so that now we had all our ships, saving one barque, which
was lost, and the Thomas of Ipswich who (compelled by what fury I
know not) forsook our company, and returned home without lading.

Our general, accompanied with his gentlemen (of whom I spake), came
altogether to the Countess of Sussex Island, near to Bear's Sound,
where he manned out certain pinnaces and went over to the people,
who, perceiving his arrival, fled away with all speed, and in haste
left certain darts and other engines behind them which we found, but
the people we could not find.

The next morning our general, perceiving certain of them in boat
upon the sea, gave chase to them in a pinnace under sail, with a
fresh gale of wind, but could by no means come near unto them, for
the longer he sailed the farther off he was from them, which well
showed their cunning and activity.  Thus time wearing away, and the
day of our departure approaching, our general commanded to lade with
all expedition, that we might be again on sea board with our ship;
for whilst we were in the country we were in continual danger of
freezing in, for often snow and hail, often the water was so much
frozen and congealed in the night, that in the morning we could
scarce row our boats or pinnaces, especially in Dier's Sound, which
is a calm and still water, which caused our general to make the more
haste, so that by the 30th day of August we were all laden, and made
all things ready to depart.  But before I proceed any further
herein, to show what fortune befell at our departure, I will turn my
pen a little to Master Captain Fenton, and those gentlemen which
should have inhabited all the year in those countries, whose valiant
minds were much to be commended, that neither fear of force, nor the
cruel nipping storms of the raging winter, neither the intemperature
of so unhealthful a country, neither the savageness of the people,
neither the sight and show of such and so many strange meteors,
neither the desire to return to their native soil, neither regard of
friends, neither care of possessions and inheritances, finally, not
the love of life (a thing of all other most sweet), neither the
terror of dreadful death itself, might seem to be of sufficient
force to withdraw their prowess, or to restrain from that purpose,
thereby to have profited their country; but that with most willing
hearts, venturous minds, stout stomachs, and singular manhood, they
were content there to have tarried for the time, among a barbarous
and uncivilised people, infidels and miscreants, to have made their
dwelling, not terrified with the manifold and imminent dangers which
they were like to run into; and seeing before their eyes so many
casualties, whereto their life was subject, the least whereof would
have made a milksop Thersites astonished and utterly discomfited;
being, I say, thus minded and purposed, they deserved special
commendation, for, doubtless, they had done as they intended, if
luck had not withstood their willingness, and if that fortune had
not so frowned upon their intents.

For the bark Dionyse, which was lost, had in her much of their
house, which was prepared and should have been builded for them,
with many other implements.  Also the Thomas of Ipswich, which had
most of their provision in her, came not into the straits at all,
neither did we see her since the day we were separated in the great
snow (of which I spake before).  For these causes, having not their
house nor yet provision, they were disappointed of their pretence to
tarry, and therefore laded their ships and so came away with us.

But before we took shipping, we builded a little house in the
Countess of Warwick's Island, and garnished it with many kinds of
trifles, as pins, points, laces, glasses, combs, babes on horseback
and on foot, with innumerable other such fancies and toys, thereby
to allure and entice the people to some familiarity against other

Thus having finished all things we departed the country (as I said
before); but because the Busse had not lading enough in her, she put
into Bear's Sound to take a little more.  In the meanwhile, the
Admiral, and the rest without the sea, stayed for her.  And that
night fell such an outrageous tempest, beating on our ships with
such vehement rigour that anchor and cable availed nought, for we
were driven on rocks and islands of ice, insomuch that had not the
great goodness of God been miraculously showed to us, we had been
cast away every man.  This danger was more doubtful and terrible
than any that preceded or went before, for there was not any one
ship (I think) that escaped without damage.  Some lost anchor, and
also gables, some boats, some pinnaces, some anchor, gables, boats,
and pinnaces.

This boisterous storm so severed us one from another, that one ship
knew not what was become of another.  The Admiral knew not where to
find the Vice-Admiral or Rear-Admiral, or any other ship of our
company.  Our general, being on land in Bear's Sound, could not come
to his ship, but was compelled to go aboard the Gabriel, where he
continued all the way homewards, for the boisterous blasts continued
so extremely, and so long a time, that it sent us homeward (which
was God's favour towards us), will we, nill we, in such haste, as
not any one of us were able to keep in company of other, but were
separated.  And if by chance any one ship did overtake other by
swiftness of sail, or met (as they often did), yet was the rigour of
the wind so hideous, that they could not continue company together
the space of one whole night.

Thus our journey outward was not so pleasant, but our coming
thither, entering the coasts and country by narrow straits, perilous
ice, and swift tides, our times of abode there in snow and storms,
and our departure from thence, the 3rd of August, with dangerous
blustering winds and tempest's, which that night arose, was as
uncomfortable, separating us so, as we sailed, that not any of us
met together until the 28th of September, which day we fell on the
English coasts, between Scilly and the Land's End, and passed the
Channel, until our arrival in the river Thames.

Passenger in the "Emmanuel," otherwise called the "Busse of
Bridgewater," wherein James Leeche was Master, one of the ships in
the last voyage of Master Martin Frobisher, 1578, concerning the
discovery of the great island in their way homeward, the 12th of

The Busse of Bridgewater was left in Bear's Sound, at Meta
Incognita, the 2nd day of September, behind the fleet, in some
distress, through much wind riding near the lee shore, and forced
there to ride it out upon the hazard of her cables and anchors,
which were all aground but two.  The 3rd of September being fair
weather, and the wind north-north-west, she set sail, and departed
thence and fell with Friesland, on he 8th day of September, at six
of the clock at night, and then they set off from the south-west
point of Friesland, the wind being at east and east-south-east; but
that night the wind veered southerly, and shifted oftentimes that
night.  But on the 10th day, in the morning, the wind at west-north-
west, fair weather, they steered south-east and by south, and
continued that course until the 12th day of September, when about 11
o'clock before noon they descried a land, which was from them about
five leagues, and the southernmost part of it was south-east-by-east
from them, and the northernmost next north-north-east, or north-
east.  The master accounted that Friesland, the south-east point of
it, was from him at that instant, when he first descried this new
island, north-west-by-north fifty leagues.  They account this island
to be twenty-five leagues long, and the longest way of it south-east
and north-west.  The southern part of it is in the latitude of
fifty-seven degrees and one second part, or thereabout.  They
continued in sight of it from the twelfth day at eleven of the clock
till the thirteenth day three of the clock in the afternoon, when
they left it; and the last part they saw of it bare from them north-
west-by-north.  There appeared two harbours upon that coast, the
greatest of them seven leagues to the northwards of the southernmost
point, the other but four leagues.  There was very much ice near the
same land, and also twenty or thirty leagues from it, for they were
not clear of ice till the 15th day of September, afternoon.  They
plied their voyage homeward, and fell with the west part of Ireland,
about Galway, and had first sight of it on the 25th day of

Undertaken in June, 1585, for the discovery of the North-West
Passage, written by John James Marchant, servant to the Worshipful
Master William Sanderson.

Certain honourable personages and worthy gentlemen of the Court and
country, with divers worshipful merchants of London and of the West
Countrie, moved with desire to advance God's glory, and to seek the
good of their native country, consulting together of the likelihood
of the discovery of the North-West Passage, which heretofore had
been attempted, but unhappily given over by accidents unlooked for,
which turned the enterprisers from their principal purpose,
resolved, after good deliberation, to put down their adventures, to
provide for necessary shipping, and a fit man to be chief conductor
of this so hard an enterprise.  The setting forth of this action was
committed by the adventurers especially to the care of Master
William Sanderson, merchant of London, who was so forward therein,
that besides his travel, which was not small, he became the greatest
adventurer with his purse, and commended unto the rest of the
company one Master John Davis, a man very well grounded in the
principles of the art of navigation, for captain and chief pilot of
this exploit.

Thus, therefore, all things being put in a readiness, we departed
from Dartmouth the 7th of June towards the discovery of the
aforesaid North-West Passage with two barques, the one being of
fifty tons, named the Sunshine, of London, and the other being
thirty-five tons, named the Moonshine, of Dartmouth.  In the
Sunshine we had twenty-three persons, whose names are these
following:  Master John Davis, captain; William Eston, master;
Richard Pope, master's mate; John Jane, merchant; Henry Davie,
gunner; William Crosse, boatswain; John Bagge, Walter Arthur, Luke
Adams, Robert Coxworthie, John Ellis, John Kelly, Edward Helman,
William Dicke, Andrew Maddocke, Thomas Hill, Robert Wats, carpenter,
William Russell, Christopher Gorney, boy; James Cole, Francis
Ridley, John Russel, Robert Cornish, musicians.

The Moonshine had nineteen persons, William Bruton, captain; John
Ellis, master; the rest mariners.

The 7th of June the captain and the master drew out a proportion for
the continuance of our victuals.

The 8th day, the wind being at south-west and west-south-west, we
put in for Falmouth, where we remained until the 13th.

The 13th the wind blew at north, and being fair weather we departed.

The 14th, with contrary wind, we were forced to put into Scilly.

The 15th we departed thence, having the wind north and by east,
moderate and fair weather.

The 16th we were driven back again, and were constrained to arrive
at New Grimsby, at Scilly; here the wind remained contrary twelve
days, and in that space the captain, the master, and I went about
all the islands, and the captain did plan out and describe the
situation of all the islands, rocks, and harbours to the exact use
of navigation, with lines and scale thereunto convenient.

The 28th, in God's name, we departed, the wind being easterly, but

The 29th very foggy.

The 30th foggy.

The 1st of July we saw great store of porpoises, the master called
for a harping-iron, and shot twice or thrice; sometimes he missed,
and at last shot one and struck him in the side, and wound him into
the ship; when we had him aboard, the master said it was a darley

The 2nd we had some of the fish boiled, and it did eat as sweet as
any mutton.

The 3rd we had more in sight, and the master went to shoot at them,
but they were so great, that they burst our irons, and we lost both
fish, irons, pastime, and all; yet, nevertheless, the master shot at
them with a pike, and had well-nigh gotten one, but he was so
strong, that he burst off the bars of the pike and went away.  Then
he took the boat-hook, and hit one with that; but all would not
prevail, so at length we let them alone.

The 6th we saw a very great whale, and every day after we saw whales

The 16th, 17th, and 18th we saw great store of whales.

The 19th of July we fell into a great whirling and brustling of a
tide, setting to the northward; and sailing about half a league we
came into a very calm sea, which bent to the south-south-west.  Here
we heard a mighty great roaring of the sea, as if it had been the
breach of some shore, the air being so foggy and full of thick mist,
that we could not see the one ship from the other, being a very
small distance asunder; so the captain and the master, being in
distrust how the tide might set them, caused the Moonshine to hoist
out her boat and to sound, but they could not find ground in three
hundred fathoms and better.  Then the captain, master, and I went
towards the breach to see what it should be, giving charge to our
gunners that at every blast they should shoot off a musket shot, to
the intent we might keep ourselves from losing them; then coming
near to the breach, we met many islands of ice floating, which had
quickly compassed us about.  Then we went upon some of them, and did
perceive that all the roaring which we heard was caused only by the
rolling of this ice together.  Our company seeing us not to return
according to our appointment, left off shooting muskets and began to
shoot falconets, for they feared some mishap had befallen us; but
before night we came aboard again, with our boat laden with ice,
which made very good fresh water.  Then we bent our course toward
the north, hoping by that means to double the land.

The 20th, as we sailed along the coast, the fog brake up, and we
discovered the land, which was the most deformed, rocky, and
mountainous land that ever we saw, the first sight whereof did show
as if it had been in form of a sugar loaf, standing to our sight
above the clouds, for that it did show over the fog like a white
liste in the sky, the tops altogether covered with snow, and the
shore beset with ice a league off into the sea, making such irksome
noise as that it seemed to be the true pattern of desolation, and
after the same our captain named it the land of desolation.

The 21st the wind came northerly and overblew, so that we were
constrained to bend our course south again, for we perceived that we
were run into a very deep bay, where we were almost compassed with
ice, for we saw very much towards the north-north-east, west, and
south-west; and this day and this night we cleared ourselves of the
ice, running south-south-west along the shore.

Upon Thursday, being the 22nd of this month, about three of the
clock in the morning, we hoisted out our boat, and the captain, with
six sailors, went towards the shore, thinking to find a landing-
place, for the night before we did perceive the coast to be void of
ice to our judgment; and the same night we were all persuaded that
we had seen a canoe rowing along the shore, but afterwards we fell
in some doubt of it, but we had no great reason so to do.  The
captain, rowing towards the shore, willed the master to bear in with
the land after him; and before he came near the shore, by the space
of a league, or about two miles, he found so much ice that he could
not get to land by any means.  Here our mariners put to their lines
to see if they could get any fish, because there were so many seals
upon the coast, and the birds did beat upon the water, but all was
in vain:  the water about this coast was very black and thick, like
to a filthy standing pool; we sounded, and had ground in 120
fathoms.  While the captain was rowing to the shore our men saw
woods upon the rocks, like to the rocks of Newfoundland, but I could
not discern them; yet it might be so very well, for we had wood
floating upon the coast every day, and the Moonshine took up a tree
at sea not far from the coast, being sixty foot of length and
fourteen handfuls about, having the root upon it.  After, the
captain came aboard, the weather being very calm and fair, we bent
our course toward the south with intent to double the land.

The 23rd we coasted the land which did lie east-north-east and west-

The 24th, the wind being very fair at east, we coasted the land,
which did lie east and west, not being able to come near the shore
by reason of the great quantity of ice.  At this place, because the
weather was somewhat cold by reason of the ice, and the better to
encourage our men, their allowance was increased.  The captain and
the master took order that every mess, being five persons, should
have half a pound of bread and a can of beer every morning to
breakfast.  The weather was not very cold, but the air was moderate,
like to our April weather in England.  When the wind came from the
land or the ice it was somewhat cold, but when it came off the sea
it was very hot.

The 25th of this month we departed from sight of this land at six of
the clock in the morning, directing our course to the north-
westward, hoping in God's mercy to find our desired passage, and so
continued above four days.

The 29th of July we discovered land in 64 degrees 15 minutes of
latitude, bearing north-east from us.  The wind being contrary to go
to the north-westward, we bear in with this land to take some view
of it, being utterly void of the pester of ice, and very temperate.
Coming near the coast we found many fair sounds and good roads for
shipping, and many great inlets into the land, whereby we judged
this land to be a great number of islands standing together.  Here,
having moored our barque in good order, we went on shore upon a
small island to seek for water and wood.  Upon this island we did
perceive that there had been people, for we found a small shoe and
pieces of leather sewed with sinews and a piece of fur, and wool
like to beaver.  Then we went upon another island on the other side
of our ships, and the captain, the master, and I, being got up to
the top of a high rock, the people of the country having espied us
made a lamentable noise, as we thought, with great outcries and
screechings; we, hearing them, thought it had been the howling of
wolves.  At last I halloed again, and they likewise cried; then we,
perceiving where they stood--some on the shore, and one rowing in a
canoe about a small island fast by them--we made a great noise,
partly to allure them to us and partly to warn our company of them.
Whereupon Master Bruton and the master of his ship, with others of
their company, made great haste towards us, and brought our
musicians with them from our ship, purposing either by force to
rescue us, if needs should so require, or with courtesy to allure
the people.  When they came unto us we caused our musicians to play,
ourselves dancing and making many signs of friendship.  At length
there came ten canoes from the other islands, and two of them came
so near the shore where we were that they talked with us, the other
being in their boats a pretty way off.  Their pronunciation was very
hollow through the throat, and their speech such as we could not
understand, only we allured them by friendly embracings and signs of
courtesy.  At length one of them, pointing up to the sun with his
hand, would presently strike his breast so hard that we might hear
the blow.  This he did many times before he would any way trust us.
Then John Ellis, the master of the Moonshine, was appointed to use
his best policy to gain their friendship, who shook his breast and
pointed to the sun after their order, which when he had divers times
done they began to trust him, and one of them came on shore, to whom
we threw our caps, stockings, and gloves, and such other things as
then we had about us, playing with our music, and making signs of
joy, and dancing.  So the night coming we bade them farewell, and
went aboard our barques.

The next morning, being the 30th of July, there came thirty-seven
canoes rowing by our ships calling to us to come on shore; we not
making any great haste unto them, one of them went up to the top of
the rock, and leaped and danced as they had done the day before,
showing us a seal skin, and another thing made like a timbrel, which
he did beat upon with a stick, making a noise like a small drum.
Whereupon we manned our boats and came to them, they all staying in
their canoes.  We came to the water's side, where they were, and
after we had sworn by the sun after their fashion they did trust us.
So I shook hands with one of them, and he kissed my hand, and we
were very familiar with them.  We were in so great credit with them
upon this single acquaintance that we could have anything they had.
We bought five canoes of them; we bought their clothes from their
backs, which were all made of seal skins and birds' skins; their
buskins, their hose, their gloves, all being commonly sewed and well
dressed, so that we were fully persuaded that they have divers
artificers among them.  We had a pair of buskins of them full of
fine wool like beaver.  Their apparel for heat was made of birds'
skins with their feathers on them.  We saw among them leather
dressed like glover's leather, and thick thongs like white leather
of good length.  We had of their darts and oars, and found in them
that they would by no means displease us, but would give us
whatsoever we asked of them, and would be satisfied with whatsoever
we gave them.  They took great care one of another, for when we had
bought their boats then two other would come, and carry him away
between them that had sold us his.  They are a very tractable
people, void of craft or double dealing, and easy to be brought to
any civility or good order, but we judged them to be idolaters, and
to worship the sun.

During the time of our abode among these islands we found reasonable
quantity of wood, both fir, spruce, and juniper; which, whether it
came floating any great distance to these places where we found it,
or whether it grew in some great islands near the same place by us
not yet discovered, we know not.  But we judge that it groweth there
farther into the land than we were, because the people had great
store of darts and oars which they made none account of, but gave
them to us for small trifles as points and pieces of paper.  We saw
about this coast marvellous great abundance of seals sculling
together like sculls of small fish.  We found no fresh water among
these islands, but only snow-water, whereof we found great pools.
The cliffs were all of such ore as Master Frobisher brought from
Meta Incognita.  We had divers shewes of study or Moscovie glass,
shining not altogether unlike to crystal.  We found an herb growing
upon the rocks whose fruit was sweet, full of red juice, and the
ripe ones were like currants.  We found also birch and willow
growing like shrubs low to the ground.  These people have great
store of furs as we judged.  They made shows unto us the 30th of
this present, which was the second time of our being with them,
after they perceived we would have skins and furs, that they would
go into the country and come again the next day with such things as
they had; but this night the wind coming fair the captain and the
master would by no means detract the purpose our discovery.  And so
the last of this month, about four of the clock in the morning, in
God's name we set sail, and were all that day becalmed upon the

The 1st of August we had a fair wind, and so proceeded towards the
north-west for our discovery.

The 6th of August we discovered land in 66 degrees 40 minutes of
latitude altogether void from the pester of ice; we anchored in a
very fair road, under a very brave mount, the cliffs whereof were as
orient as gold.  This mount was named Mount Raleigh; the road where
our ships lay at anchor was called Totnes Road; the sound which did
compass the mount was named Exeter Sound; the foreland towards the
north was called Dier's Cape; the foreland towards the south was
named Cape Walsingham.  So soon as we were come to an anchor in
Totnes Road under Mount Raleigh we espied four white bears at the
foot of the mount.  We, supposing them to be goats or wolves, manned
our boats and went towards them, but when we came near the shore we
found them to be white bears of a monstrous bigness; we, being
desirous of fresh victual and the sport, began to assault them, and
I being on land, one of them came down the hill right against me.
My piece was charged with hail-shot and a bullet; I discharged my
piece and shot him in the neck; he roared a little, and took the
water straight, making small account of his hurt.  Then we followed
him with our boat, and killed him with boars' spears, and two more
that night.  We found nothing in their maws, but we judged by their
dung that they fed upon grass, because it appeared in all respects
like the dung of a horse, wherein we might very plainly see the very

The 7th we went on shore to another bear, which lay all night upon
the top of an island under Mount Raleigh, and when we came up to him
he lay fast asleep.  I levelled at his head, and the stone of my
piece gave no fire; with that he looked up and laid down his head
again; then I shot, being charged with two bullets, and struck him
in the head; he, being but amazed, fell backwards, whereupon we ran
all upon him with boar spears and thrust him in the body, yet for
all that he gripped away our boar spears and went towards the water,
and as he was going down he came back again.  Then our master shot
his boar spear and struck him in the head, and made him to take the
water, and swim into a cove fast by, where we killed him and brought
him aboard.  The breadth of his fore foot from one side to the other
was fourteen inches over.  They were very fat, so as we were
constrained to cast the fat away.  We saw a raven upon Mount
Raleigh.  We found withies, also, growing low like shrubs, and
flowers like primroses in the said place.  The coast is very
mountainous, altogether without wood, grass, or earth, and is only
huge mountains of stone, but the bravest stone that ever we saw.
The air was very moderate in this country.

The 8th we departed from Mount Raleigh, coasting along the shore
which lieth south-south-west and east-north-east.

The 9th our men fell in dislike of their allowance because it was so
small as they thought.  Whereupon we made a new proportion, every
mess, being five to a mess, should have four pound of bread a day,
twelve wine quarts of beer, six new land fishes, and the flesh days
a gin of pease more; so we restrained them from their butter and

The 11th we came to the most southerly cape of this land, which we
named the Cape of God's Mercy, as being the place of our first
entrance for the discovery.  The weather being very foggy we coasted
this north land; at length when it brake up we perceived that we
were shot into a very fair entrance or passage, being in some places
twenty leagues broad and in some thirty, altogether void of any
pester of ice, the weather very tolerable, and the water of the very
colour, nature, and quality of the main ocean, which gave us the
greater hope of our passage.  Having sailed north-west sixty leagues
in this entrance, we discovered certain islands standing in the
midst thereof, having open passages on both sides.  Whereupon our
ships divided themselves, the one sailing on the north side, the
other on the south side of the said isles, where we stayed five
days, having the wind at south-east, very foggy, and foul weather.

The 14th we went on shore and found signs of people, for we found
stones laid up together like a wall, and saw the skull of a man or a

The 15th we heard dogs howl on the shore, which we thought had been
wolves, and therefore we went on shore to kill them.  When we came
on land the dogs came presently to our boat very gently, yet we
thought they came to prey upon us, and therefore we shot at them and
killed two, and about the neck of one of them we found a leathern
collar, whereupon we thought them to be tame dogs.  There were
twenty dogs like mastiffs, with pricked ears and long bushed tails;
we found a bone in the pizels of their dogs.  Then we went farther
and found two sleds made like ours in England.  The one was made of
fir, spruce, and oaken boards, sawn like inch boards; the other was
made all of whalebone, and there hung on the tops of the sleds three
heads of beasts which they had killed.  We saw here larks, ravens,
and partridges.

The 17th we went on shore, and in a little thing made like an oven
with stones I found many small trifles, as a small canoe made of
wood, a piece of wood made like an image, a bird made of bone, beads
having small holes in one end of them to hang about their necks, and
other small things.  The coast was very barbarous, without wood or
grass.  The rocks were very fair, like marble, full of veins of
divers colours.  We found a seal which was killed not long before,
being flayed and hid under stones.

Our captain and master searched still for probabilities of the
passage, and first found that this place was all islands with great
sounds passing between them.

Secondly, the water remained of one colour with the main ocean
without altering.

Thirdly, we saw to the west of those isles three or four whales in a
scull, which they judged to come from a westerly sea, because to the
eastward we saw not any whale.

Also, as we were rowing into a very great sound lying south-west
from whence these whales came, upon the sudden there came a violent
countercheck of a tide from the south-west against the flood which
we came with, not knowing from whence it was maintained.

Fifthly, in sailing 20 leagues within the mouth of this entrance we
had sounding in 90 fathoms, fair, grey, oozy sand, and the farther
we run into the westwards the deeper was the water, so that hard
aboard the shore among these isles we could not have ground in 330

Lastly, it did ebb and flow six or seven fathom up and down, the
flood coming from divers parts, so as we could not perceive the
chief maintenance thereof.

The 18th and 19th our captain and master determined what was best to
do, both for the safe guard of their credits and satisfy of the
adventurers, and resolved if the weather brake up to make further

The 20th, the wind came directly against us, so they altered their
purpose, and reasoned both for proceeding and returning.

The 21st, the wind being north-west, we departed from these islands,
and as we coasted the south shore we saw many fair sounds, whereby
we were persuaded that it was no firm land but islands.

The 23rd of this month the wind came south-east, very stormy and
foul weather.  So we were constrained to seek harbour upon the south
coast of this entrance, where we fell into a very fair sound, and
anchored in 25 fathoms of green, oozy sand, where we went on shore,
where we had manifest signs of people, where they had made their
fire, and laid stones like a wall.  In this place we saw four very
fair falcons, and Master Bruton took from one of them his prey,
which we judged by the wings and legs to be a snipe, for the head
was eaten off.

The 24th, in the afternoon, the wind coming somewhat fair, we
departed from this road, purposing by God's grace to return for

The 26th we departed from sight of the north land of this entrance,
directing our course homewards, until the 10th of the next month.

The 10th September we fell with the Land of Desolation, thinking to
go on shore, but we could get never a good harbour.  That night we
put to sea again thinking to search it the next day; but this night
arose a very great storm, and separated our ships so that we lost
the sight of the Moonshine.

The 13th about noon (having tried all the night before with a goose
wing) we set sail, and within two hours after we had sight of the
Moonshine again.  This day we departed from this land.

The 27th of this month we fell with sight of England.  This night we
had a marvellous storm, and lost the Moonshine.

The 30th September we came into Dartmouth, where we found the
Moonshine, being come in not two hours before.

With others, for the discovery of the North-West Passage, in Anno

The 7th day of May I departed from the port of Dartmouth for the
discovery of the North-West Passage with a ship of a 120 tons, named
the Mermaid; a barque of 60 tons, named the Sunshine; a barque of 35
tons named the Moonlight; and a pinnace of 10 tons named the North

And the 15th June I discovered land, in the latitude of 60 degrees,
and in longitude from the meridian of London westward 47 degrees,
mightily pestered with ice and snow, so that there was no hope of
landing; the ice lay in some places 10 leagues, in some 20, and in
some 50 leagues off the shore, so that we were constrained to bear
into 57 degrees to double the same, and to recover a free sea, which
through God's favourable mercy we at length obtained.

The nine-and-twentieth day of June, after many tempestuous storms,
we again discovered land in longitude from the meridian of London 58
degrees 30 minutes, and in latitude 64 being east from us, into
which course, since it pleased God by contrary winds to force us, I
thought it very necessary to bear in with it, and there to set up
our pinnace, provided in the Mermaid to be our scout for this
discovery, and so much the rather, because the year before I had
been in the same place and found it very convenient for such a
purpose, well stored with float wood, and possessed by a people of
tractable conversation; so that the nine-and-twentieth of this month
we arrived within the isles which lay before this land, lying north-
north-west and south-south-east we know not how far.  This land is
very high and mountainous, having before it on the west side a
mighty company of isles full of fair sounds and harbours.  This land
was very little troubled with snow, and the sea altogether void of

The ships being within the sounds we sent our boats to search for
shallow water, where we might anchor, which in this place is very
hard to find; and as the boat went sounding and searching, the
people of the country having espied them, came in their canoes
towards them with many shouts and cries; but after they had espied
in the boat some of our company that were the year before here with
us, they presently rowed to the boat and took hold in the oar, and
hung about the boat with such comfortable joy as would require a
long discourse to be uttered; they came with the boats to our ships,
making signs that they knew all those that the year before had been
with them.  After I perceived their joy and small fear of us, myself
with the merchants and others of the company went ashore, bearing
with me twenty knives.  I had no sooner landed, but they leapt out
of their canoes and came running to me and the rest, and embraced us
with many signs of hearty welcome.  At this present there were
eighteen of them, and to each of them I gave a knife; they offered
skins to me for reward, but I made signs that it was not sold, but
given them of courtesy, and so dismissed them for that time, with
signs that they should return again after certain hours.

The next day, with all possible speed, the pinnace was landed upon
an isle there to be finished to serve our purpose for the discovery,
which isle was so convenient for that purpose, as that we were very
well able to defend ourselves against many enemies.  During the time
that the pinnace was there setting up, the people came continually
unto us, sometimes a hundred canoes at a time, sometimes forty,
fifty, more and less as occasion served.  They brought with them
seal skins, stags' skins, white hares, seal fish, salmon peel, small
cod, dry caplin, with other fish and birds such as the country did

Myself, still desirous to have a farther search of this place, sent
one of the ship boats to one part of the land, and myself went to
another part to search for the habitation of this people, with
straight commandment that there should be no injury offered to any
of the people, neither any one shot.

The boats that went from me found the tents of the people made with
seal skins set up upon timber, wherein they found great store of
dried caplin, being a little fish no bigger than a pilchard.  They
found bags of train oil, many little images cut in wood, seal skins
in tan tubs with many other such trifles, whereof they diminished

They also found ten miles within the snowy mountains a plain
champion country, with earth and grass, such as our moory and waste
grounds of England are.  They went up into a river (which in the
narrowest place is two leagues broad) about ten leagues, finding it
still to continue they knew not how far; but I with my company took
another river, which although at the first it offered a large inlet,
yet it proved but a deep bay, the end whereof in four hours I
attained, and there leaving the boat well manned, went with the rest
of my company three or four miles into the country, but found
nothing, nor saw anything, save only gripes, ravens, and small
birds, as lark and linnet.

The 3rd of July I manned my boat, and went with fifty canoes
attending upon me up into another sound, where the people by signs
willed me to go, hoping to find their habitation; at length they
made signs that I should go into a warm place to sleep, at which
place I went on shore, and ascended the top of high hill to see into
the country, but perceiving my labour vain, I returned again to my
boat, the people still following me and my company very diligent to
attend us, and to help us up the rocks, and likewise down; at length
I was desirous to have our men leap with them, which was done, but
our men did overleap them; from leaping they went to wrestling; we
found them strong and nimble, and to have skill in wrestling, for
they cast some of our men that were good wrestlers.  The 4th of July
we launched our pinnace, and had forty of the people to help us,
which they did very willingly.  At this time our men again wrestled
with them, and found them as before, strong and skilful.  This 4th
of July, the master of the Mermaid went to certain islands to store
himself with wood, where he found a grave with divers buried in it,
only covered with seal skins, having a cross laid over them.  The
people are of good stature, well in body proportioned, with small,
slender hands and feet, with broad visages, and small eyes, wide
mouths, the most part unbearded, great lips, and close toothed.
Their custom is, as often as they go from us, still at their return,
to make a new truce, in this sort:  holding his hand up to the sun,
with a loud voice crieth "Ylyaoute," and striketh his breast, with
like signs being promised safety, he giveth credit.  These people
are much given to bleed, and therefore stop their noses with deer
hair or the hair of an elan.  They are idolaters, and have images
great store, which they wear about them, and in their boats, which
we suppose they worship.  They are witches, and have many kinds of
enchantments, which they often used, but to small purpose, thanks be
to God.

Being among them at shore, the 4th of July, one of them, making a
long oration, began to kindle a fire, in this manner:  he took a
piece of a board, wherein was a hole half through; unto that hole he
puts the end of a round stick, like unto a bed staff, wetting the
end thereof in train, and in fashion of a turner, with a piece of
leather, by his violent motion doth very speedily produce fire;
which done, with turfs he made a fire, into which, with many words
and strange gestures, he put divers things which we suppose to be a
sacrifice.  Myself and divers of my company standing by, they were
desirous to have me go into the smoke; I willed them likewise to
stand in the smoke, in which they by no means would do.  I then took
one of them, and thrust him into the smoke, and willed one of my
company to tread out the fire, and to spurn it into the sea, which
was done to show them that we did contemn their sorcery.  These
people are very simple in all their conversation, but marvellous
thievish, especially for iron, which they have in great account.
They began through our lenity to show their vile nature; they began
to cut our cables; they cut away the Moonlight's boat from her
stern; they cut our cloth where it lay to air, though we did
carefully look unto it, they stole our oars, a calliver, a boat's
spear, a sword, with divers other things, whereat the company and
masters being grieved, for our better security desired me to
dissolve this new friendship, and to leave the company of these
thievish miscreants; whereupon there was a calliver shot among them,
and immediately upon the same a falcon, which strange noise did sore
amaze them, so that with speed they departed; notwithstanding, their
simplicity is such, that within ten hours after they came again to
us to entreat peace; which, being promised, we again fell into a
great league.  They brought us seal skins and salmon peel, but,
seeing iron, they could in nowise forbear stealing; which, when I
perceived it, did but minister unto me an occasion of laughter to
see their simplicity, and willed that in no case they should be any
more hardly used, but that our own company should be the more
vigilant to keep their things, supposing it to be very hard in so
short time to make them know their evils.  They eat all their meat
raw, they live most upon fish, they drink salt water, and eat grass
and ice with delight; they are never out of the water, but live in
the nature of fishes, but only when dead sleep taketh them, and then
under a warm rock, laying his boat upon the land, he lieth down to
sleep.  Their weapons are all darts, but some of them have bow and
arrows and slings.  They make nets to take their fish of the fin of
a whale; they do all their things very artfully, and it should seem
that these simple, thievish islanders have war with those of the
main, for many of them are sore wounded, which wounds they received
upon the main land, as by signs they gave us to understand.  We had
among them copper ore, black copper, and red copper; they pronounce
their language very hollow, and deep in the throat; these words
following we learned from them:-

Kesinyoh, eat some.         Mysacoah, wash it.
Madlycoyte, music.          Lethicksaneg, a seal-skin.
Aginyoh, go, fetch.         Canyglow, kiss me.
Yliaoute, I mean no harm.   Ugnera, my son.
Ponameg, a boat.            Acu, shot.
Conah, leap.                Aba, fallen down.
Maatuke, fish.              Icune, come hither.
Sambah, below.              Awennye, yonder.
Maconmeg, will you have     Nugo, no.
Cocah, go to him.           Tucktodo, a fog.
Paaotyck, an oar.           Lechiksah, a skin.
Asanock, a dart.            Maccoah, a dart.
Sawygmeg, a knife.          Sugnacoon, a coat.
Uderah, a nose.             Gounah, come down.
Aoh, iron.                  Sasobneg, a bracelet.
Blete, an eye.              Ugnake, a tongue.
Unvicke, give it.           Ataneg, a meal.
Tuckloak, a stag or elan.   Macuah, a beard.
Panygmah, a needle.         Pignagogah, a thread.
Aob, the sea.               Quoysah, give it to me.

The 7th of July, being very desirous to search the habitation of
this country, I went myself with our new pinnace into the body of
the land, thinking it to be a firm continent, and passing up a very
large river a great flaw of wind took me, whereby we were
constrained to seek succour for that night, which being had, I
landed with the most part of my company, and went to the top of a
high mountain, hoping from thence to see into the country; but the
mountains were so many and so mighty as that my purpose prevailed
not, whereupon I again returned to my pinnace, and willing divers of
my company to gather mussels for my supper, whereof in this place
there was great store, myself having espied a very strange sight,
especially to me, that never before saw the like, which was a mighty
whirlwind, taking up the water in very great quantity, furiously
mounting it into the air, which whirlwind was not for a puff or
blast, but continual for the space of three hours, with very little
intermission, which since it was in the course that I should pass,
we were constrained that night to take up our lodging under the

The next morning, the storm being broken up, we went forward in our
attempt, and sailed into a mighty great river, directly into the
body of the land, and in brief found it to be no firm land, but
huge, waste, and desert isles with mighty sounds and inlets passing
between sea and sea.  Whereupon we returned towards our ships, and
landing to stop a flood, we found the burial of these miscreants; we
found of their fish in bags, plaices, and caplin dried, of which we
took only one bag and departed.  The 9th of this month we came to
our ships, where we found the people desirous in their fashion of
friendship and barter:  our mariners complained heavily against the
people, and said that my lenity and friendly using of them gave them
stomach to mischief, for "they have stolen an anchor from us.  They
have cut our cable very dangerously, they have cut our boats from
our stern, and now, since your departure, with slings they spare us
not with stones of half a pound weight.  And will you still endure
these injuries?  It is a shame to bear them."  I desired them to be
content, and said I doubted not but all should be well.  The 10th of
this month I went to the shore, the people following me in their
canoes; I tolled them on shore, and used them with much courtesy,
and then departed aboard, they following me and my company.  I gave
some of them bracelets, and caused seven or eight of them to come
aboard, which they did willingly; and some of them went into the top
of our ship, and thus courteously using them I let them depart.  The
sun was no sooner down but they began to practise their devilish
nature, and with slings threw stones very fiercely into the
Moonlight and struck one of her men, the boatswain, that he
overthrew withal:  whereat being moved, I changed my courtesy and
grew to hatred; myself in my own boat well manned with shot, and the
barques boat likewise pursued them, and gave them divers shot, but
to small purpose, by reason of their swift rowing; so small content
we returned.

The 11th of this month there came five of them to make a new truce;
the master of the Admiral came to me to show me of their coming, and
desired to have them taken and kept as prisoners until we had his
anchor again; but when he saw that the chief ring-leader and master
of mischief was one of the five, then was vehement to execute his
purpose, so it was determined to take him; he came crying "Yliaout,"
and striking his breast offered a pair of gloves to sell; the master
offered him a knife for them:  so two of them came to us; the one
was not touched, but the other was soon captive among us; then we
pointed to him and his fellows for our anchor, which being had we
made signs that he should he set at liberty within one hour that he
came aboard; the wind came fair, whereupon we weighed and set sail,
and so brought the fellow with us.  One of his fellows still
following our ship close aboard, talked with him, and made a kind of
lamentation, we still using him well, with "Yliaout," which was the
common course of courtesy.  At length this fellow aboard us spoke
four or five words unto the other and clapped his two hands upon his
face, whereupon the other doing the like, departed, as we supposed,
with heavy cheer.  We judged the covering of his face with his
hands, and bowing of his body down, signified his death.  At length
he became a pleasant companion among us.  I gave him a new suit of
frieze after the English fashion, because I saw he could not endure
the cold, of which he was very joyful; he trimmed up his darts, and
all his fishing tools, and would make oakum, and set his hand to a
rope's end upon occasion.  He lived with the dry caplin that I took
when I was searching in the pinnace, and did eat dry new land fish.

All this while, God be thanked, our people were in very good health,
only one young man excepted, who died at sea the 14th of this month,
and the 15th, according to the order of the sea, with praise given
to God by service, was cast overboard.

The 17th of this month, being in the latitude of 63 degrees 8
minutes, we fell upon a most mighty and strange quantity of ice, in
one entire mass, so big as that we knew not the limits thereof, and
being withal so very high, in form of a land, with bays and capes,
and like high cliff land as that we supposed it to be land, and
therefore sent our pinnace off to discover it; but at her return we
were certainly informed that it was only ice, which bred great
admiration to us all, considering the huge quantity thereof
incredible to be reported in truth as it was, and therefore I omit
to speak any further thereof.  This only, I think that the like
before was never seen, and in this place we had very stickle and
strong currents.

We coasted this mighty mass of ice until the 30th of July, finding
it a mighty bar to our purpose:  the air in this time was so
contagious, and the sea so pestered with ice, as that all hope was
banished of proceeding; for the 24th of July all our shrouds, ropes,
and sails were so frozen, and encompassed with ice, only by a gross
fog, as seemed to be more than strange, since the last year I found
this sea free and navigable, without impediments.

Our men through this extremity began to grow sick and feeble, and
withal hopeless of good success; whereupon, very orderly, with good
discretion they entreated me to regard the state of this business,
and withal advised me that in conscience I ought to regard the
safety of mine own life with the preservation of theirs, and that I
should not, through my overboldness, leave their widows and
fatherless children to give me bitter curses.  This matter in
conscience did greatly move me to regard their estates, yet
considering the excellency of the business, if it might be obtained,
the great hope of certainty by the last year's discovery, and that
there was yet a third way not put in practice, I thought it would
grow to my disgrace if this action by my negligence should grow into
discredit:  whereupon seeking help from God, the fountain of all
mercies, it pleased His Divine Majesty to move my heart to prosecute
that which I hope shall be to His glory, and to the contentation of
every Christian mind.  Whereupon, falling into consideration that
the Mermaid, albeit a very strong and sufficient ship, yet by reason
of her burden not so convenient and nimble as a smaller barque,
especially in such desperate hazards; further, having in account how
great charge to the adventurers, being at 100 livres the month, and
that in doubtful service, all the premises considered, with divers
other things, I determined to furnish the Moonlight with
revictualing and sufficient men, and to proceed in this action as
God should direct me; whereupon I altered our course from the ice,
and bore east-south-east to the cover of the next shore, where this
thing might be performed; so with favourable wind it pleased God
that the 1st of August we discovered the land in latitude 66 degrees
33 minutes, and in longitude from the meridian of London 70 degrees,
void of trouble, without snow or ice.

The 2nd of August we harboured ourselves in a very excellent good
road, where with all speed we graved the Moonlight, and revictualled
her; we searched this country with our pinnace while the barque was
trimming, which William Eston did:  he found all this land to be
only islands, with a sea on the east, a sea on the west, and a sea
on the north.  In this place we found it very hot, and we were very
much troubled with a fly which is called mosquito, for they did
sting grievously.  The people of this place at our first coming in
caught a seal, and, with bladders fast tied to him sent him in to us
with the flood, so as he came right with our ships, which we took as
a friendly present from them.

The 5th of August I went with the two masters and others to the top
of a hill, and by the way William Eston espied three canoes lying
under a rock, and went unto them:  there were in them skins, darts,
with divers superstitious toys, whereof we diminished no thing, but
left upon every boat a silk point, a bullet of lead, and a pin.  The
next day, being the 6th of August, the people came unto us without
fear, and did barter with us for skins, as the other people did:
they differ not from the other, neither in their canoes nor apparel,
yet is their pronunciation more plain than the others, and nothing
hollow in the throat.  Our miscreant aboard of us kept himself
close, and made show that he would fain have another companion.
Thus being provided, I departed from this land the 12th of August at
six of the clock in the morning, where I left the Mermaid at anchor;
the 14th sailing west about 50 leagues we discovered land, being in
latitude 66 degrees 19 minutes:  this land is 70 leagues from the
other from whence we came.  This 14th day, from nine o'clock at
night till three o'clock in the morning, we anchored by an island of
ice 12 leagues off the shore, being moored to the ice.

The 15th day, at three o'clock in the morning, we departed from this
land to the south, and the 18th of August we discovered land north-
west from us in the morning, being a very fair promontory, in
latitude 65 degrees, having no land on the south.  Here we had great
hope of a through passage.

This day, at three o'clock in the afternoon, we again discovered
land south-west and by south from us, where at night we were
becalmed.  The 19th of this month at noon, by observation, we were
in 64 degrees 20 minutes.  From the 18th day at noon until the 19th
at noon, by precise ordinary care, we had sailed fifteen leagues
south and by west, yet by art and more exact observation we found
our course to be south-west, so that we plainly perceived a great
current striking to the west.

This land is nothing in sight but isles, which increaseth our hope.
This 19th of August, at six o'clock in the afternoon, it began to
snow, and so continued all night, with foul weather and much wind,
so that we were constrained to lie at hull all night, five leagues
off the shore:  in the morning, being the 20th of August, the fog
and storm breaking up, we bore in with the land, and at nine o'clock
in the morning we anchored in a very fair and safe road and locket
for all weathers.  At ten o'clock I went on shore to the top of a
very high hill, where I perceived that this land was islands; at
four o'clock in the afternoon we weighed anchor, having a fair
north-north-east wind, with very fair weather; at six o'clock we
were clear without the land, and so shaped our course to the south,
to discover the coast whereby the passage may be through God's mercy

We coasted this land till the 28th day of August, finding it still
to continue towards the south, from the latitude of 67 to 57
degrees; we found marvellous great store of birds, gulls and mews,
incredible to be reported, whereupon being calm weather we lay one
glass upon the lee to prove for fish, in which space we caught one
hundred of cod, although we were but badly provided for fishing, not
being our purpose.  This 28th, having great distrust of the weather,
we arrived in a very fair harbour in the latitude of 56 degrees, and
sailed ten leagues in the same, being two leagues broad, with very
fair woods on both sides; in this place we continued until the 1st
of September, in which time we had two very great storms.  I landed,
and went six miles by guess into the country, and found that the
woods were fir, pine-apple, alder, yew, withy, and birch; here we
saw a black bear; this place yieldeth great store of birds, as
pheasant, partridge, Barbary hens, or the like, wild geese, ducks,
blackbirds, jays, thrushes, with other kinds of small birds.  Of the
partridge and pheasant we killed great store with bow and arrows in
this place; at the harbour-mouth we found great store of cod.

The 1st of September at ten o'clock we set sail, and coasted the
shore with very fair weather.  The third day being calm, at noon we
struck sail, and let fall a cadge anchor to prove whether we could
take any fish, being in latitude 54 degrees 30 minutes, in which
place we found great abundance of cod, so that the hook was no
sooner overboard but presently a fish was taken.  It was the largest
and best refet fish that ever I saw, and divers fishermen that were
with me said that they never saw a more suaule, or better skull of
fish in their lives, yet had they seen great abundance.

The 4th of September, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we anchored in
a very good road among great store of isles, the country low land,
pleasant, and very full of fair woods.  To the north of this place
eight leagues we had a perfect hope of the passage, finding a mighty
great sea passing between two lands west.  The south land to our
judgment being nothing but isles, we greatly desired to go into this
sea, but the wind was directly against us.  We anchored in four
fathom fine sand.

In this place is fowl and fish mighty store.

The 6th of September, having a fair north-north-west wind, having
trimmed our barque, we purposed to depart, and sent five of our
sailors, young men, ashore to an island to fetch certain fish which
we purposed to weather, and therefore left it all night covered upon
the isle; the brutish people of this country lay secretly lurking in
the wood, and upon the sudden assaulted our men, which when we
perceived, we presently let slip our cables upon the halse, and
under our foresail bore into the shore, and with all expedition
discharged a double musket upon them twice, at the noise whereof
they fled; notwithstanding, to our very great grief, two of our men
were slain with their arrows, and two grievously wounded, of whom,
at this present, we stand in very great doubt; only one escaped by
swimming, with an arrow shot through his arm.  These wicked
miscreants never offered parley or speech, but presently executed
their cursed fury.  This present evening it pleased God farther to
increase our sorrows with a mighty tempestuous storm, the wind being
north-north-east, which lasted unto the 10th of this month very
extreme.  We unrigged our ship, and purposed to cut-down our masts;
the cable of our shut anchor broke, so that we only expected to be
driven on shore amongst these cannibals for their prey.  Yet in this
deep distress the mighty mercy of God, when hope was past, gave us
succour, and sent us a fair lee, so as we recovered our anchor
again, and new-moored our ship; where we saw that God manifestly
delivered us, for the strains of one of our cables were broken; we
only rode by an old junk.  Thus being freshly moored, a new storm
arose, the wind being west-north-west, very forcible, which lasted
unto the 10th day at night.

The 11th day, with a fair west-north-west wind, we departed with
trust in God's mercy, shaping our course for England, and arrived in
the West Country in the beginning of October.

Master Davis being arrived, wrote his letter to Master William
Sanderson of London, concerning his voyage, as followeth.

Sir,--The Sunshine came into Dartmouth the 4th of this month:  she
hath been at Iceland, and from thence to Greenland, and so to
Estotiland, from thence to Desolation, and to our merchants, where
she made trade with the people, staying in the country twenty days.
They have brought home 500 seal-skins, and 140 half skins and pieces
of skins.  I stand in great doubt of the pinnace; God be merciful
unto the poor men and preserve them if it be His blessed will.

I have now full experience of much of the north-west part of the
world, and have brought the passage to that certainty, as that I am
sure it must be in one of four places, or else not at all.  And
further, I can assure you upon the peril of my life, that this
voyage may be performed without further charge, nay, with certain
profit to the adventurers, if I may have but your favour in the
action.  Surely it shall cost me all my hope of welfare and my
portion of Sandridge, but I will, by God's mercy, see an end of
these businesses.  I hope I shall find favour with you to see your
card.  I pray God it be so true as the card shall be which I will
bring to you, and I hope in God that your skill in navigation shall
be gainful unto you, although at the first it hath not proved so.
And thus with my most humble commendations I commit you to God,
desiring no longer to live than I shall be yours most faithfully to
command.  From this 14th of October, 1586.

Yours with my heart, body and life to command,


The relation of the course which the "Sunshine," a barque of fifty
tons, and the "North Star," a small pinnace, being two vessels of
the fleet of Master John Davis, held after he had sent them from him
to discover the passage between Greenland and Iceland.  Written by
Henry Morgan, servant to Master William Sanderson of London.

The 7th day of May, 1586, we departed out of Dartmouth Haven four
sails, to wit, the Mermaid, the Sunshine, the Moonshine, and the
North Star.  In the Sunshine were sixteen men, whose names were
these:  Richard Pope, master; Mark Carter, master's mate; Henry
Morgan, purser; George Draward, John Mandie, Hugh Broken, Philip
Jane, Hugh Hempson, Richard Borden, John Filpe, Andrew Madocke,
William Wolcome, Robert Wagge, carpenter, John Bruskome, William
Ashe, Simon Ellis.

Our course was west-north-west the 7th and 8th days; and the ninth
day in the morning we were on head of the Tarrose of Scilly.  Thus
coasting along the south part of Ireland, the 11th day we were on
the head of the Dorses, and our course was south-south-west until
six of the clock the 12th day.  The 13th day our course was north-
west.  We remained in the company of the Mermaid and the Moonshine
until we came to the latitude of 60 degrees, and there it seemed
best to our general, Master Davis, to divide his fleet, himself
sailing to the north-west, and to direct the Sunshine, wherein I
was, and the pinnace called the North Star, to seek a passage
northward between Greenland and Iceland to the latitude of 80
degrees, if land did not let us.  So the 7th day of June we departed
from them, and the 9th of the same we came to a firm land of ice,
which we coasted along the 9th, the 10th, and the 11th days of June;
and the 11th day at six of the clock at night we saw land, which was
very high, which afterwards we knew to be Iceland, and the 12th day
we harboured there, and found many people; the land lieth east and
by north in 66 degrees.

Their commodities were green fish and Iceland lings and stock fish,
and a fish which is called catfish, of all which they had great
store.  They had also kine, sheep, and horses, and hay for their
cattle and for their horses.  We saw also of their dogs.  Their
dwelling-houses were made on both sides with stones, and wood laid
across over them, which was covered over with turfs of earth, and
they are flat on the tops, and many of these stood hard by the
shore.  Their boats were made with wood, and iron all along the keel
like our English boats; and they had nails for to nail them withal,
and fish-hooks, and other things for to catch fish as we have here
in England.  They had also brazen kettles, and girdles and purses
made of leather, and knops on them of copper, and hatchets, and
other small tools as necessary as we have.  They dry their fish in
the sun; and when they are dry they pack them up in the top of their
houses.  If we would go thither to fishing more than we do, we
should make it a very good voyage, for we got a hundred green fishes
in one morning.  We found here two Englishmen with a ship, which
came out of England about Easter Day of this present year, 1586; and
one of them came aboard of us and brought us two lambs.  The
Englishman's name was Master John Royden, of Ipswich, merchant; he
was bound for London with his ship.  And this is the sum of that
which I observed in Iceland.  We departed from Iceland the 16th day
of June, in the morning, and our course was north-west; and saw on
the coast two small barques going to a harbour; we went not to them,
but saw them afar off.  Thus we continued our course unto the end of
this month.

The 3rd day of July we were in between two firm lands of ice, and
passed in between them all that day until it was night, and then the
master turned back again, and so away we went towards Greenland.
And the 7th day of July we did see Greenland, and it was very high,
and it looked very blue; but we could not come to harbour in the
land because we were hindered by a firm land, as it were, of ice,
which was along the shore's side; but we were within three leagues
of the land, coasting the same divers days together.  The 17th day
of July we saw the place which our captain, Master John Davis, the
year before had named the Land of Desolation, where we could not go
on shore for ice.  The 18th day we were likewise troubled with ice,
and went in amongst it at three of the clock in the morning.  After
we had cleared ourselves thereof we ranged all along the coast of
Desolation until the end of the aforesaid month.

The 3rd day of August we came in sight of Gilbert's Sound in the
latitude of 64 degrees 15 minutes, which was the place where we were
appointed to meet our general and the rest of our fleet.  Here we
came to a harbour at six of the clock at night.

The 4th day, in the morning, the master went on shore with ten of
his men, and they brought us four of the people rowing in their
boats, aboard of the ship.  And in the afternoon I went on shore
with six of our men, and there came to us seven of them when we were
on land.  We found on shore three dead people, and two of them had
their staves lying by them, and their old skins wrapped about them,
and the other had nothing lying by, wherefore we thought it was a
woman.  We also saw their houses, near the seaside, which were made
with pieces of wood on both sides, and crossed over with poles and
then covered over with earth.  We found foxes running upon the
hills.  As for the place, it is broken land all the way that we
went, and full of broken islands.  The 21st of August the master
sent the boat on shore for wood, with six of his men, and there were
one-and-thirty of the people of the country, which went on shore to
them, and they went about to kill them as we thought, for they shot
their darts towards them, and we that were aboard the ship did see
them go on shore to our men, whereupon the master sent the pinnace
after them; and when they saw the pinnace coming towards them they
turned back, and the master of the pinnace did shoot off a culliver
to them the same time, but hurt none of them, for his meaning was
only to put them in fear.  Divers times they did wave us on shore to
play with them at the football, and some of our company went on
shore to play with them, and our men did cast them down as soon as
they did come to strike the ball.  And thus much of that which we
did see and do in that harbour where we arrived first.

The 23rd day we departed from the merchants where we had been first,
and our course from thence was south and by west, and the wind was
north-east, and we ran that day and night about five or six leagues
until we came to another harbour.

The 24th, about eleven of the clock in the forenoon, we entered into
the aforesaid new harbour, and as we came in we did see dogs running
upon the islands.  When we were come in, there came to us four of
the people which were with us before in the other harbour; and where
we rowed we had sandy ground.  We saw no wood growing, but found
small pieces of wood upon the islands, and some small pieces of
sweet wood among the same.  We found great harts' horns, but could
see none of the stags where we went, but we found their footings.
As for the bones which we received of the savages, I cannot tell of
what beasts they be.  The stones that we found in the country were
black, and some white; as I think, they be of no value; nevertheless
I have brought examples of them to you.

The 30th of August we departed from this harbour towards England,
and the wind took us contrary, so that we were fain to go to another
harbour the same day at eleven of the clock.  And there came to us
thirty-nine of the people and brought us thirteen seal-skins, and
after we received these skins of them the master sent the carpenter
to change one of our boats which we had bought of them before; and
they would have taken the boat from him perforce, and when they saw
they could not take it from us they shot with their darts at us, and
struck one of our men with one of their darts, and John Filpe shot
one of them in the breast with an arrow.  And they came to us again,
and four of our men went into the ship boat, and they shot with
their darts at our men; but our men took one of their people in his
boat, into the ship boat, and he hurt one of them with his knife,
but we killed three of them in their boats, two of them were hurt
with arrows in the breast, and he that was aboard our boat was shot
with an arrow, and hurt with a sword, and beaten with staves, whom
our men cast overboard; but the people caught him and carried him on
shore upon their boats, and the other two also, and so departed from
us.  And three of them went on shore hard by us where they had their
dogs, and those three came away from their dogs, and presently one
of their dogs came swimming towards us hard aboard the ship,
whereupon our master caused the gunner to shoot off one of the great
pieces--towards the people, and so the dog turned back to land, and
within an hour after there came of the people hard aboard the ship,
but they would not come to us as they did before.

The 31st of August we departed from Gilbert's Sound for England, and
when we came out of the harbour there came after us seventeen of the
people looking which way we went.

The 2nd of September we lost sight of the land at twelve of the
clock at noon.

The 3rd day at night we lost sight of the North Star, our pinnace,
in a very great storm, and lay a-hull tarrying for them the 4th day,
but could hear no more of them.  Thus we shaped our course the 5th
day south-south-east, and sailing unto the 27th of the said month,
we came in sight of Cape Clear in Ireland.

The 30th day we entered into our own Channel.

The 2nd of October we had sight of the Isle of Wight.

The 3rd we coasted all along the shore, and the 4th and 5th.

The 6th of the said month of October we came into the River of
Thames as high as Ratcliffe in safety, God be thanked!

Gentleman, as chief captain and pilot general for the discovery of a
passage to the Isles of the Molucca, or the coast of China, in the
year 1587.  Written by John Janes, servant to the aforesaid Master
William Sanderson.

May.--The 19th of this present month, about midnight, we weighed our
anchors, set sail and departed from Dartmouth with two barques and a
clincher, the one named the Elizabeth, of Dartmouth, the other the
Sunshine, of London, and the clincher called the Ellin, of London;
thus, in God's name, we set forwards with wind at north-east, a good
fresh gale.  About three hours after our departure, the night being
somewhat thick with darkness, we had lost the pinnace.  The captain,
imagining that the men had run away with her, willed the master of
the Sunshine to stand to seawards and see if we could descry them,
we bearing in with the shore for Plymouth.  At length we descried
her, bore with her, and demanded what the cause was; they answered
that the tiller of their helm was burst, so shaping our course west-
south-west, we went forward, hoping that a hard beginning would make
a good ending; yet some of us were doubtful of it, failing in
reckoning that she was a clincher; nevertheless, we put our trust in

The 21st we met with the Red Lion of London, which came from the
coast of Spain, which was afraid that we had been men-of-war; but we
hailed them, and after a little conference we desired the master to
carry our letters for London, directed to my uncle Sanderson, who
promised us safe delivery.  And after we had heaved them a lead and
a line, whereunto we had made fast our letters, before they could
get them into the ship they fell into the sea, and so all our labour
and theirs also was lost; notwithstanding, they promised to certify
our departure at London, and so we departed, and the same day we had
sight of Scilly.  The 22nd the wind was at north-east by east, with
fair weather, and so the 23rd and 24th the like.  The 25th we laid
our ships on the lee for the Sunshine, who was a-rummaging for a
leak; they had 500 strokes at the pump in a watch, with the wind at

The 26th and 27th we had fair weather, but this 27th the pinnace's
foremast was blown overboard.  The 28th the Elizabeth towed the
pinnace, which was so much bragged of by the owner's report before
we came out of England, but at sea she was like a cart drawn with
oxen.  Sometimes we towed her, because she could not sail for scant

The 31st day our captain asked if the pinnace were staunch.  Peerson
answered that she was as sound and staunch as a cup.  This made us
something glad when we saw she would brook the sea, and was not

June.--The first six days we had fair weather; after that for five
days we had fog and rain, the wind being south.

The 12th we had clear weather.  The mariners in the Sunshine and the
master could not agree; the mariners would go on their voyage a-
fishing, because the year began to waste; the master would not
depart till he had the company of the Elizabeth, whereupon the
master told our captain that he was afraid his men would shape some
contrary course while he was asleep, and so he should lose us.  At
length, after much talk and many threatenings, they were content to
bring us to the land which we looked for daily.

The 13th we had fog and rain.

The 14th day we discovered land at five of the clock in the morning,
being very great and high mountains, the tops of the hills being
covered with snow.  Here the wind was variable, sometimes north-
east, east-north-east, and east by north; but we imagined ourselves
to be 16 or 17 leagues off from the shore.

The 15th we had reasonably clear weather.

The 16th we came to an anchor about four or five of the clock in the
afternoon.  The people came presently to us, after the old manner,
with crying "Il y a oute," and showed us seal-skins.

The 17th we began to set up the pinnace that Peerson framed at
Dartmouth, with the boards which he brought from London.

The 18th, Peerson and the carpenters of the ships began to set on
the planks.

The 19th, as we went about an island, were found black pumice
stones, and salt kerned on the rocks, very white and glistering.
This day, also, the master of the Sunshine took one of the people, a
very strong, lusty young fellow.

The 20th, about two of the clock in the morning, the savages came to
the island where our pinnace was built ready to be launched, and
tore the two upper strakes and carried them away, only for the love
of the iron in the boards.  While they were about this practice, we
manned the Elizabeth's boat to go ashore to them.  Our men, being
either afraid or amazed, were so long before they came to shore,
that our captain willed them to stay, and made the gunner give fire
to a saker, and laid the piece level with the boat, which the
savages had turned on the one side because we could not hurt them
with our arrows, and made the boat their bulwark against the arrows
which we shot at them.  Our gunner, having made all things ready,
gave fire to the piece, and fearing to hurt any of the people, and
regarding the owner's profit, thought belike he would save a saker's
shot, doubting we should have occasion to fight with men-of-war, and
so shot off the saker without a bullet, we looking still when the
savages that were hurt should run away without legs; at length we
could perceive never a man hurt, but all having their legs, could
carry away their bodies.  We had no sooner shot off the piece but
the master of the Sunshine manned his boat, and came rowing towards
the island, the very sight of whom made each of them take that he
had gotten, and fly away as fast as they could to another island
about two miles off, where they took the nails out of the timber,
and left the wood on the isle.  When we came on shore, and saw how
they had spoiled the boat, after much debating of the matter, we
agreed that the Elizabeth should have her to fish withal; whereupon
she was presently carried aboard and stowed.  Now after this
trouble, being resolved to depart with the first wind, there fell
out another matter worse than all the rest, and that was in this
manner:  John Churchyard, one whom our captain had appointed as
pilot in the pinnace, came to our captain and Master Bruton, and
told them that the good ship which we must all hazard our lives in
had three hundred strokes at one time as she rode in the harbour.
This disquieted us all greatly, and many doubted to go in her.  At
length our captain, by whom we were all to be governed, determined
rather to end his life with credit than to return with infamy and
disgrace; and so, being all agreed, we purposed to live and die
together, and committed ourselves to the ship.

Now the 21st, having brought all our things aboard, about eleven or
twelve of the clock at night we set sail and departed from those
isles, which lie in 64 degrees of latitude, our ships being now all
at sea, and we shaping our course to go coasting the land to the
northwards, upon the eastern shore, which we called the shore of our
merchants, because there we met with people which traffic with us;
but here we were not without doubt of our ship.

The 22nd and 23rd we had close fog and rain.

The 24th, being in 67 degrees and 40 minutes, we had great store of
whales, and a kind of sea-birds which the mariners call cortinous.
This day, about six of the clock at night, we espied two of the
country people at sea, thinking at the first they had been two great
seals, until we saw their oars, glistering with the sun.  They came
rowing towards us as fast as they could, and when they came within
hearing they held up their oars and cried "Il y a oute," making many
signs, and at last they came to us, giving us birds for bracelets,
and of them I had a dart with a bone in it, or a piece of unicorn's
horn, as I did judge.  This dart he made store of, but when he saw a
knife he let it go, being more desirous of the knife than of his
dart.  These people continued rowing after our ship the space of
three hours.

The 25th, in the morning, at seven of the clock, we descried thirty
savages rowing after us, being by judgment ten leagues off from the
shore.  They brought us salmon peels, birds, and caplin, and we gave
them pins, needles, bracelets, nails, knives, bells, looking-
glasses, and other small trifles; and for a knife, a nail, or a
bracelet, which they call ponigmah, they would sell their boat,
coats, or anything they had, although they were far from the shore.
We had but few skins of them, about twenty; but they made signs to
us that if we would go to the shore, we should have more store of
chicsanege.  They stayed with us till eleven of the clock, at which
time we went to prayer, and they departed from us.

The 26th was cloudy, the wind being at south.

The 27th fair, with the same wind.

The 28th and 29th were foggy, with clouds.

The 30th day we took the height, and found ourselves in 72 degrees
and 12 minutes of latitude, both at noon and at night, the sun being
five degrees above the horizon.  At midnight the compass set to the
variation of 28 degrees to the westward.  Now having coasted the
land which we called London Coast from the 21st of this present till
the 30th, the sea open all to the westwards and northwards, the land
on starboard side east from us, the wind shifted to the north,
whereupon we left that shore, naming the same Hope Sanderson, and
shaped our course west, and ran forty leagues and better without the
sight of any land.

July.--The 2nd we fell in with a mighty bank of ice west from us,
lying north and south, which bank we would gladly have doubled out
to the northwards, but the wind would not suffer us, so that we were
fain to coast it to the southwards, hoping to double it out that we
might have run so far west till we had found land, or else to have
been thoroughly resolved of our pretended purpose.

The 3rd we fell in with the ice again, and putting off from it we
sought to the northwards, but the wind crossed us.

The 4th was foggy, so was the 5th; also with much wind at north.

The 6th being very clear, we put our barque with oars through a gap
in the ice, seeing the sea free on the west side, as we thought,
which falling out otherwise, caused us to return after we had stayed
there between the ice.

The 7th and the 8th, about midnight, by God's help we recovered the
open sea, the weather being fair and calm; and so was the 9th.

The 10th we coasted the ice.

The 11th was foggy, but calm.

The 12th we coasted again the ice, having the wind at west-north-
west.  The 13th, bearing off from the ice, we determined to go with
the shore, and come to an anchor, and to stay five or six days for
the dissolving of the ice, hoping that the sea from continually
beating it, and the sun with the extreme force of heat, which it had
always shining upon it, would make a quick despatch, that we might
have a further search upon the western shore.  Now when we were come
to the eastern coast, the water something deep, and some of our
company fearful withal, we durst not come to an anchor, but bore off
into sea again.  The poor people, seeing us go away again, came
rowing after us into the sea, the waves being somewhat lofty.  We
trucked with them for a few skins and darts, and gave them beads,
nails, needles, and cards, they pointing to the shore as though they
would show us great friendship; but we, little regarding their
courtesy, gave them the gentle farewell, and so departed.

The 14th we had the wind at south.  The 15th there was some fault
either in the barque or the set of some current, for we were driven
six points out of our course.  The 16th we fell in with the bank of
ice, west from us.  The 17th and 18th were foggy.  The 19th, at one
o'clock afternoon, we had sight of the land which we called Mount
Raleigh, and at twelve of the clock at night we were athwart the
straits which we discovered the first year.  The 20th we traversed
in the mouth of the strait, the wind being at west with fair and
clear weather.  The 21st and 22nd we coasted the northern coast of
the straits.  The 23rd, having sailed 60 leagues north-west into the
straits at two o'clock afternoon, we anchored among many isles in
the bottom of the gulf, naming the same the Earl of Cumberland's
Isles, where, riding at anchor, a whale passed by our ship and went
west in among the isles.  Here the compass set at 30 degrees
westward variation.  The 24th we departed, shaping our course south-
east to recover the sea.  The 25th we were becalmed in the bottom of
the gulf, the air being extremely hot.  Master Bruton and some of
the mariners went on shore to course dogs, where they found many
graves, and trains spilt on the ground, the dogs being so fat that
they were scant able to run.

The 26th we had a pretty storm, the wind being at south-east.  The
27th and 28th were fair.  The 29th we were clear out of the straits,
having coasted the south shore, and this day at noon we were in 64
degrees of latitude.  The 30th in the afternoon we coasted a bank of
ice which lay on the shore, and passed by a great bank or inlet
which lay between 63 and 62 degrees of latitude, which we called
Lumley's Inlet.  We had oftentimes, as we sailed along the coast,
great roots, the water as it were whirling and overfalling, as if it
were the fall of some great water through a bridge.  The 31st as we
sailed by a headland, which we named Warwick's Forehand, we fell
into one of those overfalls with a fresh gale of wind, and bearing
all our sails, we looking upon an island of ice between us and the
shore, had thought that our barque did make no way, which caused us
to take marks on the shore.  At length we perceived ourselves to go
very fast, and the island of ice which we saw before was carried
very forcibly with the set of the current faster than our ship went.
This day and night we passed by a very great gulf, the water
whirling and roaring as it were the meeting of tides.

August.--The 1st, having coasted a bank of ice which was driven out
at the mouth of this gulf, we fell in with the southernmost cape of
the gulf, which we named Chidlie's Cape, which lay in 6 degrees and
10 minutes of latitude.  The 2nd and 3rd were calm and foggy, so
were the 4th, 5th, and 6th.  The 7th was fair and calm, so was the
8th, with a little gale in the morning.  The 9th was fair, and we
had a little gale at night.  The 10th we had a frisking gale at
west-north-west; the 11th fair.  The 12th we saw five deer on the
top of an island, called by us Darcie's Island.  And we hoisted out
our boat, and went ashore to them, thinking to have killed some of
them.  But when we came on shore and had coursed them twice about
the island they took the sea, and swain towards islands distant from
that three leagues.  When we perceived that they had taken the sea,
we gave them over, because our boat was so small that it could not
carry us and row after them, they swam so fast; but one of them was
as big as a good pretty cow, and very fat; their feet as big as ox-
feet.  Here upon this island I killed with my piece a grey hare.

The 13th in the morning we saw three or four white bears, but durst
not go on shore unto them for lack of a good boat.  This day we
struck a rock seeking for a harbour, and received a leak, and this
day we were in 54 degrees of latitude.  The 14th we stopped our leak
in a storm not very outrageous at noon.

The 15th, being almost in 51 degrees of latitude, and not finding
our ships, nor (according to their promise) being any mark, token,
or beacon, which we willed to set up, and they protested to do so
upon every headland, sea, island, or cape, within 20 leagues every
way off from their fishing place, which our captain appointed to be
between 54 and 55 degrees--this 15th, I say, we shaped our course
homeward for England, having in our ship but little wood, and half a
hogshead of fresh water.  Our men were very willing to depart, and
no man more forward than Peerson, for he feared to be put out of his
office of stewardship; he was so insatiate that the allowance of two
men was scant sufficient to fill his greedy appetite; but because
every man was so willing to depart, and considering our want, I
doubted the matter very much, fearing that the seething of our men's
victuals in salt water would breed diseases, and being but few (yet
too many for the room, if any should be sick), and likely that all
the rest might be infected therewith, we consented to return for our
own country, and so we had the 16th there with the wind at south-

The 17th we met a ship at sea, and as far as we could judge it was a
Biscayan; we thought she went a-fishing for whales, for in 52
degrees or thereabout we saw very many.

The 18th was fair with a good gale at west.

The 19th fair also, but with much wind at west and by south.

And thus, after much variable weather and change of winds, we
arrived the 15th of September in Dartmouth, Anno 1587, giving thanks
to God for our safe arrival.

A letter of the said Master John Davis, written to Master Sanderson
of London, concerning his fore-written voyage.

Good Master Sanderson,--With God's great mercy I have made my safe
return in health with all my company, and have sailed 60 leagues
farther than my determination at my departure.  I have been in 73
degrees, finding the sea all open, and 40 leagues between laud and
land; the passage is most certain, the execution most easy, as at my
coming you shall fully know.  Yesterday, the 15th of September, I
landed all weary, therefore I pray you pardon my shortness.

Sandridge, this 16th of September, Anno 1587.
Yours equal as mine own, which by trial you shall best know,

End of Project Gutenberg Etext The North-West Passage, by Richard Hakluyt


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