H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

. (page 29 of 68)
Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 29 of 68)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of it, and lost the commander-in-chief, three captains, and a
great many men. The fleet, however, was able to do good
work in 1558, by co-operating with Count Egmont at the
Battle of Gravelines, and so discomfiting the left wing of the
French, exactly as a few years before it had confused the



Scois at Musselburgh. ('alais had 1'or two hundred years been


of great strategical value to Kngland in all her wars with
France, since its possession enabled us to provision our ex-
peditionary forces by means of the fleet, and gave us security
along our main line of communications. AY hat its loss meant
to us was otherwise well shown in 15SS, when the Spanish


Kf-qa ' ' "'* ?*? - -t *\ -f" * -f"'-f r

.^2 ,^

\ ! L

-' ' '


i *L


' .


Armada anchored before the place. Had it been in English
hands, the Spaniards could not have enjoyed even the small
respite that the fortress afforded to them.

In 1553, the celebrated Henri Grace d Dieu, which had in
the meantime been re-named the E<! n<n i-<l, was accidently
burnt at Woolwich and for many years afterwards there
was no ship in the English navy equal to her in sixe or

AFTER the death of the elder Cabot, his son Sebastian dis-
appears from history till the year 1512 (Vol. II., p. (575). When


he reappears, it is as a captain in the Spanish service, which CHARLES

J.I i v 4.1 T RAYMOND

he is said to have entered in disgust at the negligent mean- BEAZLEY.

ness of his English patronage; but in 1517 we find him in

the service of Henry VIII., and employed with Sir Thomas pioration,

Perte in the Trial of the North- West Passage. He now reached 1512 - 1558 -

latitude 07 30', and it was said that he even entered Hudson's

Bay and "gave English names to sundry places therein." But

the whole of this is doubtful ; ! the very scene of the discoveries

in one tradition is shifted from the far north to the tar south


and it is only certain that Perte quarrelled with his Italian
colleague 2 and the crews mutinied. It was probably from the
effect of these disappointments that Sebastian again left the
English service for the Spanish, only to return 3 to the former
when, on the accession 'of Edward VI., English mercantile
ambition had at last bestirred itself to some genuine effort,
and the great enterprise of the North-East passage, tried sixty
years before by the Portuguese of King John II., was under-
taken afresh by the Merchant Adventurers of London. With
this, continuous English discovery begins. The first half of the
sixteenth century, though it cannot be included in medieval
enterprise, is still less a part of modern exploration. It is
essentially the time of change and preparation, when foreign
mariners drilled into the English mind some understanding of
that expansion of Europe that men saw going 011 all round
them. By the time of this new trial of the Russian trade and
North-East passage, native English feeling was ready to work
in its own interest for its own gains, and with this we are
fairly entered upon the age of the adventurers and discoverers
who founded our colonies and our world-wide commerce.

As early as 1549, Sebastian Cabot received a yearly pension

of 250 marks and stepped into the place of Geographer Royal 4

if a title may be coined for him that is, he became the chief

1 Some recent authorities, it may be noted, throw considerable doubt on
Cabot's claims as a discoverer. Cf. Harrisse, ' Discovery of Xorth America ; "
and C. H. Coote, art. ' Cabot " in the Dictionary of National Biography.

- As in the first English voyage to Guinea and Benin, 1553, the English
Captain AVyndham quarrelled with the " Portugal " Pinteado.

3 But ef. Hakluyt's "Voyage of two Englishmen to the Eiver of La Plata
in South America in the Company of Sebastian Cabota." 1527.

4 Grand Pilot of England, Hakluyt calls him. from the Original Pension
Grant of Edward VI., with 166 13s. 4d. per annum.

. ^ , v .~ - >"

f lf\i&"f*t-

"*^ / f- / *'<. uax f

>*- ^ fsrir' ^j]

. fe^^ m a


. i 5^-T^V** Ji

- f ;-t s -*.* s,i

: ) <


(i;,i/, ,-;, ,;, d t>gruptii<


' ..'^


Jjibliotheijve Rationale, Paris.)

adviser of the (iovernmcnt in fill matters lunching the now
movement in trade and exploration; and although this move-
nient did not issue in any great attempt before the Russian
voyage of 15~>8, the short reign of Edward \'I. is throughout.
one of readiness one in which nautical enterprise Avas not
only talked of but entered on, though the king died before.
any great success could be achieved.
Cabot's Hakluyt, in his great collection of English voyages, gives

Oruin- u

ances. us "the Ordinances, Instructions, and Advertisements of and

for the direction of the intended voyage (of Chancellor and
Willoughby) to Cathay, compiled, made, and delivered bv
Sebastian Cabot, Governor of the Mystery and Compairy of
the Merchant Adventurers for the discovery of Regions un-
known," under date of May 9th, 1558. And these ordinances,
thirty-three in number, make up a sort of Whole Duty of
Man, as seaman, as Protestant, and as trader. "There is to be
no dissension," says the rirst, "among the crews." "Loyalty
and obedience to king and captains ' is the gist of the 2nd,
3rd, and 4th. Ordinances 5 and (i keep captains in check by
a council. ''Log and journal to be kept," says the 7th; "All
to be done by common consent," adds the Nth ; " Weekly
accounts to be kept," by ordinance the Oth ; " Discipline to be
observed," by the 10th ; " Unprofitable persons to be put on
shore," says the llth; "No blasphemy and bawdy talk to be
allowed," by the 12th. The 13th orders daily prayers twice, and
the Bible and Paraphrases to be read, but, by the 22nd, there
was to be no religious controversy on board and no preaching
or proselytising in foreign ports. Temperance, cleanliness, and
the use of "liveries and necessary dress," are laid down in the
15th, ](Jth, and 17th articles of this code, which certainly does
not make the mistake of expecting too little. By the LSth
and 10th "all are to bear one another's burdens," the sick are
to be looked after by the "whole," and the goods of any that
may die are to be kept for their widows and orphans. The
20th and 21st forbid all private bargaining every one is to
remember he belongs to a Company and Mystery.

Information, says the 23rd ordinance, is to be got from
the natives wherever possible about new countries and their
trade, " and if such persons," suggests the 24th, " be made
drunk with your wine ye shall know all their secrets." The

*/ \l


last nine Articles are on Matters of Discipline : The crews
are never to go far inland ; they are never to enrage foreigners
by laughing at their outlandish ways ; descriptions of all new
lands are to be written down ; natives must be " allured to
the ships by a brave show and noise." If any go to enter-
tainments on shore, it must be armed and in a strong party ;
but the men are not to be " frighted of barbarians." Watch
is always to be kept on board, and the London merchants
are to be well advertised of all that is doing. So ends the
last act of Sebastian Cabot as Grand Pilot of England, except
that the journal of Stephen Burrough mentions him at
Gravesend a little later, very eager about the success of the
Russian venture.

On his deathbed (1557) he told his friend Eden '"that he
had the knowledge of finding the longitude by Divine revela-
tion, yet so that he might not teach any man," at which Eden
reflected " that the good old man was in that extreme age
somewhat doted, and had not yet, even in the article of death,
utterly shaken off all worldly vain glory."

The actual story of this voyage and its results belongs to other EX-
the reign of Mary, and the heroic age of continuous English plorers -
enterprise the age of Elizabeth. With Cabot's instructions
and the sailing of the Edward Bonaventure and the Bona
Esperanza from the Thames in 1553 we enter a new period.
Yet before passing on into this it may be well to see if there
are other forerunners of the great seamen of Elizabeth be-
sides foreigners in English service. Now Hakluyt's collec-
tion, at the end of the sixteenth century, of the " Voyages
of the English Nation " gives us many pages of the original
records of these earlier ventures of our sea-dogs into fields
where they were soon to take a foremost place ; and they
are too important and interesting a chapter of our history,
and far too valuable for the understanding of England's great
expansion into an Empire, to be quite passed over.

First, in 1527, the way had been prepared by the " Decla- Thome's
ration of the Indies and Lands discovered and subdued unto
the Ernperor and the King of Portugal and of other lands of
the Indies and rich countries still to be discovered, which the
Worshipful Master Robert Thorne, merchant, of London, who
dwelt long in the city of Seville, exhorted King Henry VIII.

.'!oi; '/'///; NEW FORCES.

to hike in hand." Besides this, the same Muster Robert has
Id'r us a hook of the sumo time, and written with the same
object, which is "an Information of the Lands Discovered
and of the Way to the Moluccas by the North." And
Thome's Declaration is not merely an account of what
Portuguese and Spaniards had already found, and what
Englishmen who followed them might find. It has a special
point of its own; for it suggests not only what to do, but
how to do it in u way that might secure at least one of the
great trade-routes for an English monopoly. As the men of
Prince Henry the Navigator had opened a new waterway
round Africa to India by the Cape of Good Hope, so now,
says Master Robert, our people may open a new waterway
round the North of Europe and Asia to Cathay and the Indies.
This is the only side still left open, he repeats again and
again ; all the rest of the world, all the other possible routes
f except the North- West Passage) have been already taken up.
So English explorers should try to go by Tartary to Malacca
and back by the Cape of Good Hope, or by the North of
America across the Pacific, returning by Magellan's Straits
" the Dragon's Tail " or Strait of All Saints ; or they might
even venture on a third expedient, which sounds a little like
the famous attempt of Dr. Nansen to reach and pass the
Pole by drifting. "After they be past the Pole, they are to
go straight toward the Pole Antarctick : and then to decline
towards the seas and lands situate between the Tropics and
under the Equinoctial, where without doubt they shall find the
richest lands and islands of the world with gold, balms,
spices, precious stones, and other things that we here most
esteem, which come out of strange countries and may return
the same way."

In his book, the worshipful merchant alludes to Cabot's
Voyage of 1526 in the Spanish service, and compares the pro-
ducts of the Tropics with our own, even to the "Cards by
which they sail, tho' much unlike ours." Then, with the help
of a map of his own drawing, he tries to prove that " our
way (by North-East or North-West Passage) to the said
Spiceries should be nearer by almost 2,000 leagues than the
way of the Emperor or the King of Portugal " ; and that the
"land that we found (The New Found Land and Labrador) is

; 3* x f <<nrv^ -' "W >
'- Sffi5fflSSCT'!fl|^

~ CfM\XV^ 42:*'


fc-ar ./:: (5folNiii,l<,rf - .' - . :

: 4> >1 *- MiliPw-w

2 - *-j SiWHTO

:,]- ^ll,:^ S|jMp ; o: ; ;

I ;^ 5 '%iA?r^S3

2 2


,/vl\ -s e el I ^|S ^^i ; i:':: ; ^XiiivM/Xl-^v^i^viviVA; 1 ^ 1

/ s \ "vc 1^ vS ^^\i 1 "S:v ; :: : :':%:^:>x4>^;':i i: ;v:':;^:
I I ^fefg^

nl ^Kv|

\ ^w-^W\jmMB,*a

1 1 s ^ i

.= E Z S S g



-6-1 i s g 1

I 2 "Mli S.S

O ^ 3 O C.. U

^ c c -o ^ ^

~ < 'a'i


: -1 g = > -g "s e

"~ ,;" 1' "1 | J 'S ;

'^ "-? .= 3 rifS ~

>s "S - 3 ,?" 5 ^ J^ f-

IF HI 11 |

g ?'"> I*J=-*?


= 2 s 5 g i-3'! B

S 5 g s e s^'fii

gSa -S S s-1
t p - ^ ' ^ y . (3 "

O i rSlssJ








308 THE NE\\' 1'ORCKS.

all 0'iK' irilli the Indies." For Master Robert, after assuming
the existence of the Pacific, and making his North-West
" passagers " return by Magellan's Straits, is too anxious for
his proof that England has already a right to, and even a
footing in, the Indies to be troubled by such small incon-
sistencies as this dropping out of an ocean.

" But the coast from the Indies (he proceeds) runneth
southward towards a certain Strait Sea called ' of all Saints'
(Straits of Magellan), by which Strait Sea the Spaniards go
to their Spiceries." From " our New Found Land ' : to the
Strait of All Saints, at the extreme south of the American
Continent, he reckons 5,000 leagues, and " our way by the
Pole to the Spiceries " at 2,000 leagues, as against 4,000 for
either Spaniards by Magellan's Straits or Portuguese by the
Cape of Good Hope. In answer to the objection of unbear-
able cold in this Polar route, he very plausibly uses the recent
disproof of the parallel objection of unbearable tropical heat
by the earlier ventures of Portuguese and Italian seamen.
"For no land is uninhabitable and no sea is unnavigable.
Nihil fit vacuum in Rerum Natura.' 1
The North- j^ was as a ^sult of such reasoning that the English

East and . & .

North- attempts on the North- JLast Passage begin with the voyage of
Chancellor and Willoughby in 1553, which, however unsuc-
cessful in its main object, was the beginning of continuous
English discover)', and had success enough, in its exploration
of the White Sea and its opening of the trade with Russia,
to keep alive the mercantile interest in the prosecution of a
scheme which Baron Nordenskjold of Sweden, when for the
first time he brought a ship round the north coast of the
Old World, declared to be just practicable, but thoroughly
aselcss. With equally futile energy the North-AVest Passage,
since Cabot's voyage of 1497, had been tried by John Rut
in 1527, who coasted north to 53 D , some way beyond the
eastern point of Labrador, and returned by way of New-
foundland, Cape Breton, and the coast of Maine.

So much for voyages to North and North-East parts during
the reigns of Henry Till, and Edward VI. We have a plan
laid down, but little done to put it in practice till England has
been fully roused to her work of commerce and colonising


Of voyages to the South and South-East during this period The Medl "
Hakluyt makes two classes those within and those without Trade,
the Straits of Gibraltar. The first of these, relating to the
Mediterranean trade of English ports, is not of much interest,
except in purely commercial history. The Voyage of the
Holy Cross and the Matthew Gunson to Crete and Chios in
1534, Thomas Chaloner's Voyage to Algiers with Charles V.
in 1541, the Voyage of Roger Bodenham to the Levant in 1550,
the Voyage of John Lok to Jerusalem in 1553, supply us with
plenty of evidence of the progress of English trade, give us
an early English survey of the Mediterranean coasts, and tell
the story of the Turks' attack on Malta and the Knights of
St. John but they are not in any sense exploration.

There is more of this in the second class of Southern The south
voyages those outside the Straits. For though the South
Atlantic had now been explored during three generations by
Portuguese seamen, it was now, in the early years of the six-
teenth century, that Englishmen first made their way on to the
new ground, both land and sea, that had been won for Europe
and Christendom since the days of Henry the Navigator. On
this side there is a Note by another Thorne a Nicholas, who,
like Robert, is a merchant and a patriot " of the English
trade to the Canaries." This note was made not later than
1520, and " by probability much before this," says Hakluyt,
for Thorne and others had long " exercised usual and cus-
tomary trade to the same islands." From an " old ledger
book" Nicholas gives extracts about this West African trade.
" A barter " was held with West Indian goods in Teneriffe ;
the products of the Canaries sugar, dye-wood, kid-skins
were regularly shipped to England, and there was a record of
one English merchant, Tom Tison by name, who lived as a
resident in these parts before the time at which Thorne was

A description of the Canaries, " made by Thomas Nicholls,
who lived there seven years," is printed by Hakluyt under the
year 1547 ; and this, with the voyage of the Lion, of London,
to Morocco in 1551, helps to illustrate Thome's note. For,
though commonplace enough in themselves, these entries give
us the promise of a great future ; and the same thoughts, the
same vast ambitions and restless energy come out in the

310 777 /: NJ-:\\'

memoranda of these merchants as in the more scientific work
of Robert Thorne, or in the achievements of Chancellor or
Drake. In the letter, for instance, of James Aldaie to his
friends in London about the Morocco trade, " the said Aldaie "
not only writes "as the inventor of the said trade," but also
" as having been acquainted with the intent to prosecute the
old intermitted discovery of Cathay." Again, the first, voyage
to Barbary in 1551 is followed by a second in 1552, and a
third in 1553, the year of Chancellor's start for Muscovy and
China, when "T. Windham " brought the first English ship
to Guinea and the Bight of Benin or, in other words, fairly
rounded Cape Verde and sailed into the Southern Seas,
Hearing the line which, a century before, the first Europeans
the men of Prince Henry were approaching with guilty
shudderings and a sure and certain prospect of being turned
into Blackamoors.

As might be expected, this poaching on the Portuguese
preserves was dangerous work. The men were furious who
had explored the Atlantic only to shut and keep it against
all rivals, and a good deal of diplomatic skill was wanted to
prevent an open war. This is plain enough in Hakluyt's
account " of the anger of the Portugals," and in the letter he
gives from Henry VIII. to John III., under the year 1531,
" in the matter of a Portugal ship freighted at Chios with the
goods of John Gresharn and others, wrongfully unladen in
Portugal." As early as 1481 the Court of Lisbon had interfered
to guard its monopoly of Africa and the Southern Ocean from
English intermeddling, and Edward IV. had promised John II.
to " stay John Tintarn and William Fabyan from preparing
for their voyage to Guinea."

The old alliance of the English and Portuguese Crowns,
dating from the twelfth century, which had given John I. and
Prince Henry an " English aid at the taking of Ceuta in
Barbary" in 1415, and which had drawn Englishmen into the
Court of the same Prince Henry, the founder and hero of
modern discovery, was now in great danger through the irre-
pressible energy of volunteers. The old Royal embargo on
unlicensed voyagers, which punished them with torture and
death breaking on the wheel and " martyrizing " all who
oould be caught ; the old Royal veto, " Let every man stay in


his element ; I am not partial to travelling seamen," was
more and more hard to enforce as the chance of gain became
greater and the field larger, as the whole of European society
got fired with the love of gain and of adventure and with the
consciousness of power. It was not only the Government,
but the people, who carried to success the schemes of Henry
of Portugal, and who in England turned the national ambition
away from a continental to a colonial empire.

Lastly, the same thing the new popular interest appears voyages to
in Hakluyt's third book " Of Voyages to the Western parts America -
of the World," where the Cabots are not the only men who
" do service to the Crown of England." In May, 1527, there
is the voyage of John Rut's two ships, already noticed, for the
prosecution of the North-West Passage, for the extension of
the knowledge already gained of North America. In 1536
there is a voyage " of M. Hore and divers others " to New-
foundland and Cape Breton. Some time before 1526 there
is a voyage of Torn Tison, the Teneriffe merchant, to the
West Indies : in 1530 and 1532 Master William Hawkins, the
father of Sir John, makes the first two English voyages to The
Brazil, and in 1540 and 1542 "one Reiniger" and " one Pudsey "
repeat Hawkins' venture. By the year 1548 America has
become important enough to draw the attention of the English
Parliament, and an Act (2 Edw. VI.) regulating the fisheries
of Newfoundland is not only the first statutory notice of the
New World in our own country, but is itself a proof of the
way in which governments and courts and councils, whether
they liked it or no, were being forced into exploration, into
the colonising movement that was bound to follow discovery,
by the universal outbreak of private enterprise. " Might of
the people made us to reign."

The five years of Mary's reign saw the beginning of the Expiora-
great onward and outward movement of English exploration, Maryf 6r
adventure, and trade the first steps in the road to colonisation, wmough-
And in this beginning the most striking feature is certainly cLuiceier.
the trial of the North-East Passage" the New Navigation and
Discovery of the Kingdom of Muscovy, enterprised in the year
1553 by Sir Hugh Willoughby, knight, and performed by
Richard Chanceler, pilot major of the voyage."

We have seen what instructions detailed, careful, business-


like were given to the fleet by Sebastian Cabot before it
started. All the story of its preparation belongs to the reign
of Edward; the story of its achievements belongs as much,
as entirely, to his sister's. For the young king was already
failing when the start was made, and "not long after tin;
departure of these ships, the lamentable and most sad accident
of his death soon followed."

And Hakluyt tells us very distinctly that the enterprise
of 1553 was not an accident. "At what time our merchants
perceived the commodities and goods of England to be in
small request with the countries and people about us and
near to us, and that those merchandises which strangers did
earnestly desire were now neglected and the price thereof
abated, though by us carried to their own ports, and all foreign
merchandises in great account, certain grave citizens of London
be^an to think how this mischief miyht be remedied. Neither

o o

was a remedy wanting for as the wealth of the Spaniards
and Portuguese, by the discovery and search of new trades
and countries, was marvellously increased : supposing the same
to be a means for them to obtain the like, they thereupon
resolved upon a new and strange navigation."

And as the design was planned the preparation was care-
ful. " I wot not whether I may more admire the care of the
merchants or the diligence of the shipwrights for the mer-
chants, they get very strong and well-seasoned planks for the
building; the shipwrights, they caulk them, pitch them, and
make most staunch and firm, by an excellent invention. For
they had heard that in the ocean a kind of worm is bred
which many times pierceth and eateth through the strongest
oak that is; therefore that the mariners might be free and
safe from this danger, they cover a piece of the keel of the
ship with thin sheets of lead; and having thus built the ships
and furnished them with armour and artillery, there followed
a care no less troublesome to wit, the provision of victuals."

Further, as the venture was of the most distant and daring-
kind, "our men being to pass that huge and cold part of the
world," they victualled the ships for eighteen months, and took
pains to "search out, before starting, what might be known
concerning the easterly part of the world." "For which cause
two Tartarians (.Tartars), which were then of the king's stable.



were sent for, and by an interpreter demanded touching their
country and the manners of it. But they were able to answer
nothing to the purpose, being, indeed, more acquainted as


(From the portrait at H'ollaton Hall, by permission oj the Hight //.
Lord Middletoii.)

one there merrily and openly said to foss pots than to learn

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 29 of 68)