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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 western shore, and then up the eastern shore, as far as that of Baffin's Bay. The islands that blocked up the strait to the southward were those among which Frobisher was looking for gold ore; but all this portion, that lies between Hudson's Strait and the western shore of Cumberland Island, is, to this day, undetermined and laid down much at random.
SECOND VOYAGE, 1586.
Davis was nothing disheartened by the failure of discovering the sought-for passage; and the merchants of Exeter and other parts of the west, together with Sir Francis Walsingham, all of them still sanguine as to the existence of such a passage, readily came forward and contributed a large vessel of 120 tons, called the Mermaid, to accompany the little squadron of Davis, which now consisted of the ship just mentioned, together with the Sunshine, the Moonshine, and a pinnace of ten tons, called the North Star.* On the 7th of May, 1586, Davis sailed from Dartmouth; and on the 15th of June made Cape Farewell, from whence he proceeded, as before, along the western coast of Greenland, in several parts of which he had much intercourse with the natives, coming off sometimes in groups of canoes, amounting to a hundred, forty, fifty at a time, more or less,“ bringing with them seal-skins,
white hares, samon peall, smal cod, dry caplin, with
Proceeding northerly, our adventurers were suddenly alarmed at the appearance of “a most mightie and most strange quantity of ice in one entire masse, so bigge as that we knew not the limits thereof,” and “so incredible to be reported in trueth," that the writer declines speaking more of it, lest he should not be believed. In coasting along this ice the cold was so extreme, that the shrouds, ropes, and sails were frozen, and the air was loaded with fog. This strange weather caused the men to grow sick and feeble, and to be so much disheartened as to wish to return, and advised Captain Davis not to persevere, and give occasion to their widows and fatherless children to bestow on him their bitter curses. As these complaints came from the Exeter ship, the Mermaid, he left her where she was, to return homewards, while he