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the most favourable time of the year for passing the Strait of Magelhaens. The General perceived the error of this waste of time; for in his letter to Sir Tristram Gorges he complains, that “such was the adverseness of our fortunes, that in coming thither we spent the summer, and found in the Strait the beginning of a most extreme winter.” *
The next feat of Cavendish was to burn the town of St. Vincent, and then to proceed towards the Strait. Calling at Port Desire, Cavendish had some disagreement with his officers, left the Leicester galleon in dudgeon, and went on board the Desire. On the 14th of April, 1592, they entered the Strait, and proceeded in it as far as Cape Froward, where they were detained three weeks by adverse winds from W.N.W., accompanied by continual snow and very cold weather. The people being in want both of food and clothing grew sickly, and many of them died. The General signified his intention to return out of the Strait to the eastward, but his officers and most of the people, and Captain John Davis in particular, opposed it. This produced a coolness between the latter and the General, who returned to his old ship the Leicester galleon.
Cavendish now repassed the eastern entrance of the Strait, with the view of trying his fortune in the East Indies, by the way of the Cape of Good Hope; but finding the crew resolutely bent against
it, he proceeded to the coast of Brazil, and the squadron having arrived opposite to Port Desire, the Leicester and Roebuck tacked at night in order to fetch it; but the Desire and the Black Pinnace stood off all night and the next day, and were separated from the General, who at once accused Davis of having wilfully and treacherously deserted him. The General continued along the coast of Brazil with the Leicester and Roebuck, where at one place he lost fifty of his men, who were surprised on shore by the Portuguese. Among them was Anthony Knivet, whose wonderful adventures and incredible stories, on his arrival in England, were published by that quaint and credulous old chronicler, Purchas, in thirty or forty interminable pages. As a sample of these stories, he says, in speaking of the cold in the Strait, “ I was so nummed that I could not stirre my legs, and, pulling off my stockings, my toes came with them, and all my feet were as black as soote.” Again, “ Every day,” he says, “died eight or nine men out of our ship. Here one Harris, a goldsmith, lost his nose ; for going to blow it with his fingers, he cast it into the fire.” Almost perishing with hunger on an island, “I found a great whale lying on the shoare, like a ship with the keel
upwards, all covered with a kind of short mosse. I made a little house, and fed on the whale for the space of a fortnight.” Another sample will suffice: “I saw a great thing come out of the water, with great
scales on the back, with great ugly clawes and a long tayle. This beast came towards me: I went and met it. I stood still, amazed to see so monstrous a thing before me. Hereupon this monstrous beast stood still and opened his mouth, and thrust out a long tongue like a harping-iron.'* His miraculous stories of cannibals and Amazons, salvages, Portugals, and pigmeys, make one exclaim, Fernan Mendez Pinto was but a type of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude!'
Mr. Cavendish was soon afterwards forsaken by the Roebuck; the captain and crew of that ship having entertained a notion that he intended again to sail for the South Sea. The truth is, Mr. Cavendish's force was too reduced and the ship too ill - provided for further enterprise; his health, moreover, was broken down by fatigue and disappointment. His own letters or journal, addressed to Sir Tristram Gorges, and published by Purchas, give a most melancholy detail of all the misfortunes of the voyage, the despondency of his mind and deplorable condition, carried down to the point when the depression of his spirits and severe illness prevented the continuance of his narrative. His death speedily ensued, but not before he finished his will.
He was mistaken, however, in his censure and abuse of Davis. This captain and his officers declare, “ by what occasion we were severed we pro
* Purchas, vol. iv.
test we know not; whether we lost them, or they us; but we put into Port Desire, and sailed again on the 6th August for the Strait of Magelhaens, with full confidence there to meet with our General.” * They stopped one day at Penguin Island, where they salted twenty hogsheads of seal flesh, sailed out of the strait on the 7th, and on the 14th they were driven in among certain isles never before discovered by any known relation, lying fifty leagues or better from the shore east, and northerly from the strait.† They again anchored in the strait on the 18th August.
Early in September Davis passed into the South Sea, but they were driven back again. A second time they entered the South Sea, and a second time were forced back again. A third time they entered the South Sea, and got clear of the land, but the wind came again N.N.W. and blew strong; the pinnace was in distress, and the sea too high to afford her assistance; in the night she was lost sight
66 it was the fortune of Captain John Davis, the discoverer of Davis's Strait, to be the first discoverer of the islands which have since been distinguished by the different appellations of Hawkins's Maidenland, the Sebaldines, Falkland Islands, the Malouines and Isles Nouvelles, whilst the knowledge of the original discovery seems to have passed immediately into oblivion ;” and he therefore says, “ when there is again occasion to mention them in this work (his “Voyages and Discoveries') the name of Davis's Southern Islands will be adopted."-Burney's South Sea Voyages.
of, and was never afterwards seen.
It had now become hopeless to seek their fortune in the South Sea, and Davis therefore resolved to make the best of his way to Port Desire. There he caused
penguins to be salted for their sea provision.
On the 22nd December they sailed from Port Desire with a stock of 14,000 penguins for seastore, shaping their course homewards. Stopping on the coast of Brazil they had the misfortune of losing thirteen of their men, who were slain by the Portuguese; they had lost nine at Penguin Island in a boat that never returned. But their misfortunes did not end here. In passing through the warm latitudes “ their penguins began to corrupt, and there bred in them a most loathsome and ugly worm of an inch long.” These worms multiplied in a most extraordinary degree, and devoured not only their provisions and clothes, but eat into the timbers of the ship. “At the last,” says Janes, * "we could not sleep for them, but they would eat our flesh.” In this miserable state disease carried off the greater part of the remaining ship's company. At length, on the 14th of June, 1593, the ship arrived at Beerhaven in Ireland, with only sixteen persons remaining of seventy-six who sailed in her from England. Captain Davis, however, was one of the
* The journalist of the voyage, who was with Captain Davis in his northern voyages, and supplied Hakluyt with his notes.