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holding out a bell, induced one man to come along. side, and as he stretched out his hand to receive it, he was caught fast by Frobisher, who “plucked him by main force, boat and all, into his barke.” On finding himself a prisoner, for very rage “ he bit his tongue in twaine within his mouth: notwithstanding he died not thereof, but lived untill he came into England, and then he died of cold which he had taken at sea.” “With this strange infidele, whose like was never seene, read, nor heard of before, and whose language was neither knowen nor understood of any,” Frobisher set sail for England, and arrived at Harwich on the 21st of October; being, says his historian, “highly commended of all men for his greate and notable attempt, but specially famous for the great hope he brought of the passage to Cathaia.” The discovery of this strait, by the first navigator who had visited that part of the coast of America, was sufficient ground for coming to such a conclusion, and so thought the government.
At a council held at Westminster in March, 1577, present the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Leicester, Mr. Comptroller and Mr. Secretary Walsingham, a letter was written to the Lord President in the North, stating that “ last year a voyage was taken in hand by Master Furbussher for the discovery of some parts of the world unknowen, where there is great likelihood that the continuance thereof will be beneficial to the whole
realme, and particularly to such as are venturous in the same; and for that some encouragement might be given for the following thereof, her Majestie is pleased to contribute largely towards such charges as are now to be employed; their Lordships think good to desire that seeing, by the success of the last year, such hope hath been conceived of the profits of that voyage, as both her Majestie and their Lordships have entered into some charges, and could wish that others would do the like, &c. : the Lord President would signifie to the inhabitants thereabouts, to the merchants of York, Newcastle, Hull, and other places under his jurisdiction, who shall be willing to contribute,” &c. &c.*
With such encouragement and the propagation of such opinions, it may readily be supposed that Frobisher was nothing backward in preparing for a second expedition. The Queen's name was alone sufficient to complete the number of adventurers. There was, besides, another temptation. A piece of black stone, “much like to a sea-cole in colour," having been picked up by one Hall, and given to one of the seamen's wives, she happened to throw it into the fire, on which, while yet hot, she poured some vinegar, when "it glistened with a bright marqueset of gold.” This report being spread abroad, the gold-finers of London assayed the stone, and reported that it contained a considerable quantity of gold.t
* Council Register, H. M. Council Office. † Hakluyt.
SECOND VOYAGE, 1577.
The instructions that were given to Frobisher by the Lords of the Council on this second voyage, “for the north-west parts and Cathaia,” contain, among others, the two following articles :
“ 1. First. You shall enter, as Captain-General, into the charge and government of the three vessels, namely, the Ayde, the Gabriel, and the Michael, with all that appertaineth to them whatsoever.
“ 2. Item, You shall appoint, for the furnishing of the said vessels, the number of one hundred and twenty persons, whereof ninety shall be mariners, gunners, carpenters, and other necessary men to serve for the use of the ships; and the other thirty to be myners, finers, merchants, and other necessary persons, both to wait and attend upon you, which numbers you shall not in any way exceed.”
The Ayde was one of the Queen's ships, which her Majesty contributed, of nine score tons or thereabouts ; the Gabriel was a bark of about thirty tons, the captain of which was Master Fenton ; and the Michael, about the same size, was commanded by Master Yorke. On taking leave, Frobisher had the honour of kissing her Majesty's hand, “ who dismissed him with gracious countenance and comfortable words.” They left Gravesend about the end
of May, having first received the sacrament, and made preparation “as good Christians towards God, and resolute men for all fortunes.” On falling in with Friesland they were hampered with drift ice, and large icebergs, some of which are stated to have been seventy and even eighty fathoms under water, and more than half a mile in circuit. As the part above water was fresh, Frobisher concluded that they were formed in the Sounds, or on some land near the Pole; and he hazards the opinion, that “the maine sea freezeth not,” and that “there is no mare glaciale, as the opinion hitherto hath been.”
They entered the strait of last year's discovery round Hall's Island. Frobisher took the goldfinders with him near the spot where the black stone was found, but the whole island did not furnish “a piece as bigge as a walnut.” They wantonly, as it appears, seized “two salvages,” who soon eluded their grasp, seized their bows and arrows, and “ fiercely, desperately, and with such fury, assaulted and pursued our General and his master, that they chased them to their boats, and hurt the General in the buttocke with an arrow."
Proceeding up the strait, they landed on a small island on the southern shore, and “here all the sands and cliffs did so glister, and had so bright a marquesite, that it seemed all to be gold, but upon tryal made, it proved no better than black-lead, and verified the proverbe—all is not gold that glistereth.” On another small island they found a mine of silver, and four sorts of ore, “to hold gold in good quantitie.” Here also they found and brought to England the horn of the narwhal or unicorn fish, which being the first ever brought home, was sent to Windsor, “and reserved as a jewell in the Queen's wardrobe.” In York Sound they had a skirmish with a party of natives, in which five or six of the savages were unfortunately put to death, and two women seized, “whereof the one being ugly, our men thought she had been a devil or some witch, and therefore let her goe.” The other being young, and having a sucking child, they kept them both for a short time. The season being now far advanced, and the General's instructions directing him to search for gold ore, and to defer the further discovery of the passage till another time, they commenced lading their ships, and in about twenty days succeeded in getting aboard nearly 200 tons of ore. They then set sail on the 22nd of August, and arrived in England after a stormy passage, with the loss of one man by sickness, and another who was washed overboard.