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"I was shott in with a bullett, at the batterie along St. ..... [burnt] huckle-bone, so as I was driven to have an insi[cion ? qu.] made to take out the bullet; so as I am neither [able?] to goe nor ride; and the mariners are verie unwilling to goe except I goe with them myself. Yet, [if] I find it come to an extremitie, we will [do] what we are able: if we had vittels, it were easily done, but here is none to be had.” *
His body was interred at Plymouth, with funeral honours, as some accounts say; but, by an extract from the Plymouth register, it would appear that his bowels only were interred at Plymouth, and his corpse sent up to London. There is no monument whatever to his memory at the place of his death. In speaking of the last act of his life, “ Thus fell,” says Camden, “a man of undaunted courage, and inferior to none of that age in experience and conduct, or the reputation of a brave commander.” Fuller, in his • Worthies of England,' says, “He was very valiant, but withal harsh and violent (faults which may be dispensed with in one of his profession); and our chronicles loudly resound the signal service, in eighty-eight, for which he was knighted.” +
* Cottonian MS., Caligula.
† Fuller's Worthies.
CAPTAIN JOHN DAVIS.
1585 to 1593.
FIRST VOYAGE, 1585.
NOTWITHSTANDING the disappointment which Frobisher met with in his three voyages, the merchants of London and of the west country still persuaded themselves “of the likelyhood of the discoverie of the north-west passage,” concerning and in favour of which Sir Humphrey Gilbert had written a long and clever treatise. They said that the former adventurers had been diverted from the main purpose by objects foreign to the original design, and chiefly by a vain search after gold and silver mines; they therefore resolved to set on foot a new expedition, the sole object of which should be that of discovery. The conducting of the outfit was intrusted to Mr. William Sanderson, merchant of London; and Mr. John Davis, of Sandridge, in Devonshire, recommended by his neighbour, Mr. Adrian Gilbert, was appointed as captain and chief pilot of this new enterprise. Two small barks, one of fifty tons, called the Sunshine, and the other of thirtyfive tons, called the Moonshine, were placed under his orders. In the first were twenty-three men,
of whom four were musicians, and in the latter nineteen.*
Sailing from Dartmouth on the 7th of June, 1585, on the 19th of July they were approaching the ice on the western coast of Greenland, where they were saluted “with a mighty great roaring of the sea,” which, on a closer examination, they found to proceed from “ the rowling together of islands of ice.” They did not, however, prevent Davis from proceeding to the northward, and the fog clearing away, he observed a rocky and mountainous land, rising in the form of a sugar-loaf, the summit buried in snow. The shore was beset with ice to the extent of a full league into the sea; and as all around presented “so true a paterne of desolation,” Davis gave to this part of the country, the west coast of Greenland, the name of “the Land of Desolation.”+ Seeing no prospect of reaching the shore on account of the ice, Davis resolved to return to the southward through the midst of much drift-wood, among which the Moonshine picked up a tree, “sixty feet long and fourteene handfulls about, having the root upon it.” Where it had grown is not conjectured; but the air was found to be like April weather in England, the wind only cold when blowing from the ice; " when it came over the open sea it was very hote.” * Hakluyt—who gives a detailed account of his three voyages.
Leaving the western side of the coast, he stood over to the north-westward, and made the land in 64° 15', the weather still continuing temperate, and the sea free from ice. On this part of the strait, to which was subsequently given, and very properly, his own name, he fell in with an archipelago of islands, “among which were many faire sounds, and good roads for shipping ;" to that in which he anchored he gave the name of Gilbert's Sound, which from the given latitude must have been Cumberland Strait. Natives in their canoes approached the ship in large numbers, when his musicians began to play, and the sailors to dance and make signs of friendship, the meaning of which was soon understood by this simple and harmless people, who flocked round the strangers in thirtyseven of their boats. They were all delighted with the treatment they received, and with the music. “They are very tractable people,” says the writer, “void of craft and double dealing, and easie to be brought to any civilitie or good order; but we judge them to be idolaters, and to worship the sunne:” a very natural object of adoration, it must be admitted, in such a climate, and by such an uninstructed people.
Among these islands was found much drift-wood, "ore such as Frobisher brought from Meta Incognita,” and “ Muscovey glasse shining not altogether unlike crystall.” They found a fruit growing on the rocks, “sweet, full of red juice, and the ripe ones
like Corinths.” Proceeding along this coast to the northward six days, they came to the mainland in 66° 40'; the sea altogether free from ice. Here they anchored their barks “in a very faire rode under a brave mount,” to which they gave the name of Mount Raleigh, “the cliffs whereof were as orient as gold.” To the two headlands, which formed a large and deep bay, Davis gave the names of Dier and Walsingham, and to the bay, that of Exeter Sound. Here they met with four white bears of a “monstrous bignesse,” one of which they killed. They now returned to the south along the land they had coasted, and doubling a cape, to which they gave the name of “God's Mercy,” 'they sailed to the westward in a fine open passage, twenty to thirty leagues in width, entirely free from ice, and “the water of the very colour, nature, and quality of the main ocean, which gave us the greater hope of our passage.” Having proceeded up it sixty leagues, a cluster of islands appeared in the midst. This description corresponds exactly with what has been considered to be Cumberland Strait. Here the weather becoming thick and foggy, and having remained six days without any appearance of change, Captain Davis determined to return homewards, and arrived at Dartmouth on the 20th of September.
It is almost certain that the portions of the arctic regions, which Davis traversed on this voyage, were the two coasts of Davis's Strait, first along the