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 56 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 56 of 68)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

came upon them " with much contagious weather," and they
had to lie up till the end of August. Then sailing on to

1 A very large number are recorded in Hakluyt's collection which contain
points of interest, but which must be omitted here, as there is only space to
notice representative journeys. But cf. the narratives of William Huddle's
voyage in 158H, of James Welsh's in ir>!Mi, of Raynold's and Daniel's in 1.~>5U,
of Burrough's in the same year, and of the Earl of Cumberland's fleet in 1 .V.M
all to the west coast of Africa. Also the Levantine journeys of Henry
Austell in ir>8(>, of Richard Wrag in l.V,i.~>, with their glowing descriptions of
Stamboul, ' to be preferred before all the cities of Europe.'" the patents of
l.'.ss for the Guinea trade, of l.">8.~> for the Barbary commerce, and the eni-
bassage of Henry Roberts, with the consequent edicts and documents, to
Morocco in the same year. ir>s.vr>.


Malacca, they took a rich galleon, laden, among other things,
with " counterfeit stones from Venice, to deceive the rude
Indians withal."

Returning to Ceylon, Lancaster was forced by his men to
take advantage of a current " that would set them off to the
southward from all known land," and to make a straight
course for England by the Cape of Good Hope. Prolonged

-.-".-^-^ -f^a^fir
iKfc-^sVvv,. jgj


/ JT2j,ai&t'itU.*/tf. F*

* Jj .l>'-.-'i g

,.:-' ''.-. ex .If;,-;. I -.

(from the map in It. Haklinjt's " Voyages " ed. 1589.)

calms near the line hindered a quick return. To escape the
misery of these delays, Lancaster bent away westward to the
American "Indies," and it was not till May 24th, 1594, that he
landed at Rye, in Sussex, bringing the news " from some
Portugals which he took " that the Coast of China had been
lately discovered to the latitude of 59, and the sea found still
open to the northward, giving great hope of the North-East
and North- West passages.

Of the other South Atlantic or West African ventures ot



this time the voyage of 1591, on which Richard Grenville
fought his last tight, and of which Walter Kaleigh wrote the
story, is the only one that ought, or is likely, to be remembered.
The rest are of purely commercial and military interest; but
the stand made by the Rrmige off the Azores, so well known
from Tennyson's famous ballad, is one of the most splendid
feats of English seamanship and daring in this age of Elizabeth.
The East The great and permanent result of these triumphs of

company English enterprise and daring, by the overland as well as by
the maritime routes to the East and South-East, was the
Association for trading with India formed in London in 1599,
which, as the East India Company, 1 received its charter from
Queen Elizabeth in 1(500, and which was certainly inspired to
a great extent by the corresponding successes of the Dutch
in these last years of the centuiy. Whenever and wherever
they had broken up the exclusive hold of Spaniards and
Portuguese in the East Indies, Englishmen might hope to
follow ; and the heroic age of English exploration, the age of
Elizabeth, did not pass before the first step had been taken
towards that last and greatest of European dominions in the
Indian seas which was foreshadowed in the visits of Newberie
and Ralph Fitch, of Drake and Cavendish, of Lancaster and
the unlucky adventurers of 159G.

II. Of voyages to the North and North-East, we have
already seen the new beginning made under Edward VI.
(p. 308), and we have traced the development of this line ot
enterprise throughout the Tudor period to the end cf Mary's
reign (p. 325). At that point we had to leave Anthony
Jenkinson on his journey "from Moscow to Boghar in Bactria,"

1 80,01)0 were subscribed for the Indian Company in l.V.i'.i. only four years
after the Dutch, in l.V.i.'j, had sent their first fleet to the Spice Islands. The
Queen's hesitation about granting a charter for land and trade, claimed in
monopoly by Spain (and Portugal), was removed by a list of countries in the
East, to which the Spaniards could not pretend : were they to bar Englishmen
' from the use of the vast, wide, and infinitely open Ocean Sea :' " The
E.I.C. Charter of 1(500 was for fifteen years. It empowered the Company to
trade to all places in India unclaimed by other Christian nations, to buy
laud for factories, to make bye-laws, etc. Its first fleet was sent out in
1601. under Sir James Lancaster, the commander of the only successful ship
of 15!)1. Tie made a treaty with the King of Achin in Sumatra, gained
permission build a factory in the island, and. in alliance with the Dutch,
attacked th ortugucse.

m Asia.


upon the banks of the Oxus. Now, while all unknown to him
a new reign had begun in England, he was steadily pushing
on towards the Tartar capital, which he reached December
23rd, 1558, after a brush with roving brigands.

In Boghar, we are told, a third part of the city was for
merchants and markets, "for there is yearly great resort of
merchants, which travel in caravans from the countries ad-
joining, as India, Persia, Balkh, and Russia." In time past,
adds Jenkinson, there was trade from Cathay to Boghar, but
it was now trifling. Anthony then describes the great
commercial routes crossing Bactria, and the commodities
brought from and returned to China, India, Persia, and Russia
He was chagrined to rind that all the gold, jewels, and spices
of the South passed "to the ocean sea,'' and that "the veins
where all such things are gotten " were " in the subjection of
the Portugals." The Chinese trade also was not active, as the
caravans from Cathay were then in danger from border warfare ;
" and when the way thither is clear, it is nine months' journey."

So, giving up all idea of reaching the Furthest East,
Jenkinson now tried to go south into Persia ; but he was
compelled to turn back, and, in the company of envoys from
the Bactrian Soldans to Czar Ivan the Terrible, at last reached
"Mare Caspium" (April 23rd, 1559), after more than six weeks'
travel over the steppes. Here he found the bark he came in,
but neither anchor, cable, nor sail. " Nevertheless we brought
hemp with us and spun a cable ourselves, with the rest of our
tackling, and made us a sail of cloth of cotton. And while

O 3

devising to make an anchor of wood of a cart-wheel " there
came a boat Ironi Astrachan with two anchors, which supplied
the want, and so ; " with the said six ambassadors and twenty-
five Russes, which had been slaves a long time in Tartaria,"
the daring Englishmen set out across the stormy inland sea. 1

1 He lost his anchor in a tempest, but found it again with the help of the
compass, "whereat the Tartars much marvelled." "And note (adds the
narrative) that during our navigation we set up the Red Cross of St. George
in our flags for honour of the Christians, which I suppose was never seen in
the Caspian Sea before." Jenkinson describes the Caspian very carefully, notes
that it is " without any issue to other seas,"' for " it avoideth not itself,
except it be underground." and gives a list of the bordering nations and of
the great rivers that fall into it. and especially the Volga, whose source
"near Novgorod," and its length, "above 2.UOO English miles," are related
with wonder.




k i ji*rum rctjttmwn

Solrm, Vrl rubmm pan
Ttum jvrttca "
oA0rant . In
tarn Jucunt: at ook am

u, ffterarwtufa rrru'Jprmas n/e
rcnn&!Hvr(lapop& greats fajcentis, or <
a^fiat Ougjfapfnaa quadam me fa

rcpentr tn
nutta ix parte Jtmznuta umit

anms cvctter 300. retr

, -

nmavmtlK, tfjtmu) iumfntonon a&ipt, or ttrr{ mifcet
vas fiatUam tnfirub, exfr arlvrfmJcanJtt , atq -

nt hdtta . PI
bear 3. et&tur dm fas Arm mtrr &.< o

*nt.tnc vllu ffjjJw ,,-um ur>t

iftwrir i.itrrtaJLanljtrcffmjs tn

( orajan paftin, a^R.
T ^ I U " '-. fFersso

matt run* Jfjvrna
jta cum mtlrii antifotaiu Vefh
omJiha citTamrrlnei iir,fa

201 f 00 <j$0 ,5 oi7 640 120 S

tnfOTiaif trrmmi v^^<^ (
jpmtlha ad CtmM*. tr^m
fcrr- cKtfnaxt



Reaching Astrachan on the 2Sth May, after tifteen days'
sail, the travellers remained there till June 10th " preparing
boats to go up against the stream of Volga." Jenkinson's
attempt to do a little quiet trading at this time was a failure,
and he seems to have despaired of the overland commerce
with Persia altogether. In any case, he thought, the Caspian
route was hopeless. On June 10th, 1559, under an escort from
the Czar, he started for Moscow with the company committed
to his charge, and on September 4th he came before Ivan IV.
Jenkinson's venerable beard, which a later story declared he
could wind three times round himself, was a special delight
to the " English " emperor ; he was said to stroke it like a holy
relic However this may be, the Czar's personal favour to the
London trader was a mainstay of the alliance of the two Courts
and countries.

Returning to England to report his discoveries to the
company he served the Merchant Adventurers Trading into
Russia Jenkinson started for the East once again on May 14th,
15(jl, furnished with letters from the Queen to Ivan IV., and
to the Shah, or Grand Sophie, of Persia; as well as with a
' ; remembrance " from the Company suggesting certain ex-
plorations, as of the North-East Passage, with a view to further
trading profits.

Reaching Moscow on August 20th, and receiving a cordial
welcome from the Czar, he set out for Persia on April 27th,
1562, " by the great river of Volga," crossed the Caspian
reached Derbend on August 4th, and soon after entered
Hyrcania and Persia, passing the mythical Alexander's " Wall
of Gog-Magog " on the way ; thence he was sent on to the
Court of the Shah at Casben, by way of Tauris (Tabriz).
Endangered here by the rivalry of Turks and Venetians,
Jenkinson was not well received called an unbeliever, 1 and
put in danger of his life. But the King of Hyrcania befriended
him steadily, and on March 20th, 15(53, he was dismissed
unharmed and made his way back to the Caspian, seizing
various chances that occurred on the way of opening up an
English commerce in Georgia. He had traded for Ivan as well
as for his own Company, and on his return to Moscow (August

1 ''They esteeming all infidels which do not believe in their false filthy
nrophets, Mahomet and Murtezalli " (Ali. the special hero of the Shiah sect).


20th, 1 563) he easily gained from the Czar the reward of a new
" privilege " for his fellow countrymen in Russia, as extensive
as the charter he had won from the King of Hyrcania. On
September 28th, 1564, he was again in London, and he did
not return to Russia till the summer of 1566 perhaps his
"great and extreme dangers, of loss of ship, goods, and life,"
may have been in part the cause of this.

Jenkinson is the greatest, perhaps, of all our overland
travellers in the Elizabethan age ; at any rate he is the un-
questioned leader of English enterprise in Russia and the
North-East ; and the subsequent narratives of his servants
and successors in Muscovite, Persian, and " Tartarian " trade
and exploration may for the most part be taken as reflections
of his own account, only adding unimportant details. No one
else goes so far into Central Asia; no one else enjoys an equal
experience, or shows the same commanding energy of thought
and action, on this side. 1

Jenkinson's third journey (1566-7) is mainly of diplomatic
interest ; its main achievement is the new mercantile privilege
gained from Ivan on September 22nd, 1567, and it is to be
connected with the Act of 1566 from the English side " for
the discovering of new trades," which expressly mentions
Media, Persia, Armenia, Hyrcania, and the Caspian Sea among
the parts to which the Muscovy Company's monopoly extended.

In the same way Thomas Randolph's Embassage to the Randolph.
Czar in 1568 is mainly concerned with the new trading
" privilege," the most interesting clause of which declares that
" when the Company send to the discovery of Cathaya (China),
they shall be licensed to repair unto this country of Russia, and
have such conducts and guides, vessels, men, and victuals as

Thus the voyage into Persia of Thomas Alcock, who was killed there, and
of Richard Cheinie, who carried on his work (1563-6-1), is only a version of some
of the incidents that followed upon Jenkinson's last journey ; it throws fresh
light on one point the '' vicious living " of some of the English merchants,
which had made them to be " counted worse than the Russes." The travels
and letters of Arthur Edwards and Richard Johnson are evidence of a slow
but steady extension of English commerce in Persia, and of growth of
English knowledge upon the Asiatic trade routes, but they are nothing more ;
and the curious account by Sowtham and Sparke of their journey on the
waterways in the interior of European Russia from Colmogro to Novgorod,
performed with a pilot ''none of the perfectest " (1566), cannot be more than
barely noticed here.



J a T> kin-

The N.E.

they shall stand in need of." That such an attempt was in
preparation at this time we see from a commission given by
Randolph in 1508, appointing three persons James Bassardine,
.lames \Voodcock,- and Richard Brown "in a voyage of dis-
covery to be made by them for searching of the sea," from the
Iiiver Petchora to the eastwards, but no serious attempt was
made to realise this till 1580.

The next group of documents in Hakluyt's collection refers
to Arthur Edwards' fourth voyage into Persia, and is full of
revelations of difficulties as to the practical working of the
Persian 1 venture the Shah's letters being often regarded "but
as a straw in the wind."

In 1571-72 we come back to Anthony Jenkinson restoring
the good understanding that had been for a time broken
between England and Russia, obtaining the release of English
merchants who had offended the Czar, and procuring the
renewal of the old mercantile privileges. The evil doings of
the Company's agents, he declares, had been the sole cause of
the rupture.

This is the last time that Anthony appears prominently
in the history of English exploration, and Hakluyt here ap-
pends a list of the countries visited by him since his first
important journey began on October 2nd, 1540, before the
death of Henry VIII. All the western lands of Europe he
had " thoroughly travelled " ; he had been through the Levant
seas and in all the chief islands of the same, in many parts
of Greece, through the length and breadth of Syria, in North
Africa, in Norway, Lapland, and the Arctic Ocean while no
Western of his day had anything like the same personal know-
ledge of Russia, Northern Persia, and Turkestan.

With 1580 we come to a resumption of the serious attempts
to find the North-East Passage this time by Arthur Pet and
Charles Jackman, who, starting on May 30th, and keeping pretty
steadily in latitude 70, passed between Nova Zembla and the

1 At the same time George Turberville, Randolph's secretary, writes home
a bitter complaint of the Russian winter and people :

" Wild Irish ;uv as civil as the Ru.sses in thrir kind.
Hard choice which is tlir best i>l' both r;ich blondy, rude, juicl blind.''

"Live still at home," is his rather commonplace advice to his friends, ''and
c ivei not these barbarous coasts to see."


mainland, coasted the island of Yaigats, and were then stopped :
" Winds we had at will, but ice and fog against our wills, if
it had pleased the Lord God otherwise." The results of the
voyage were painfully disappointing. Both as to the North-East
and North-West passages the confidence and hopes of students
at home were in exactly inverse proportion to the practical
chances of success, and even to the amount of discovery
realised in these directions.

With the death of Ivan the Terrible (1584) the English Decline of
traders and travellers in Russia fell under a cloud; Dutch Trade 11
interlopers began to threaten the English monopoly, and in witb .
spite of embassies like those of Sir Jerome Bowes, of Jerome
Horsey, of Giles Fletcher, the Muscovite empire now ceased
for many years to be an English high-road to the Further East
and a main field of English commerce. 1

III. Lastly, of voyages to the West, to America, we have a voyages
great and representative collection in Hakluyt himself, Avith Westward -
a number ot other notices, and it is, of course, in this direction
that we must look for the most distinctive and prominent
achievements of English exploration and the first movements
towards English colonisation in the age of Elizabeth.

First of all, we have to deal with a series of trading ven-
tures, such as those of John Hawkins, in 1562 and 1564, and
of Roger Bodenham in 1564. Hawkins' " third unfortunate
voyage" of 1567-68, was the story of an attempt like that of
1564 to force the Spanish settlements in the West Indies to
trade with him for negro slaves, in face of King Philip's pro-
hibition. The cheerful insolence of the English captain
" forcing to friendly commerce " was not now so completely
successful as on the earlier voyages. But, though i oiled in
his slave-dealing, he ranged the coast of Florida, noticed and
described, all too vividly, the " sobbing " crocodiles of the Rio
de la Hacha, formed the conclusion that " labourers, not
loiterers," were necessary to inhabit new countries, and ob-
served the "mystery of tobacco, and the virtue thereof." Not
only was gold and silver plentiful in Florida, he reported, but
unicorns flourished there most remarkably. To settle and

1 The writings of Horsey and Fletcher bring- us to the last of the notices
remaining of Elizabethan, exploration in this quarter (</". Fletcher's " Russ
Commonwealth '").




colonise this country would be an "attempt requisite for a
prince of power": the increase from cattle alone, without
counting the precious metals, would raise profit sufficient.

Two famous expeditions to Central America, immediately
following, are related in Hakluyt, both from English and
Spanish accounts - - the first voyage of Francis Drake to
N ombre de Dios in 1572, and the last voyage of John Oxen-
hum "over the isthmus of Darien " in 1575. Drake, the
Spaniards declared, was repulsed in his attack, but gained


(lltilduijt's Mi'p of 1589.)

great plunder by his seizure of the treasure mules on their
way from Panama ; and by his burning of the " House of
Crosses " he was said to have destroyed 200,000 " ducats in
merchandise." l

Oxenham, who met the fate which would infallibly have
befallen Drake if he had ever been taken, fell into Spanish
hands in trying " that which never any man before enter-
prised." Hiding his ship under boughs and earth in a little
cove on the Atlantic side of the isthmus, he 'went some twelve

1 This buccaneering, of course, going on while peace nominally subsisted
between the Courts of London and Madrid, Drake and most of the other

English adventurers at this time were looked on by the Spaniards simply as



leagues inland till he came to the watershed of a river that
flowed into the Pacific. Then, making a pinnace 45 feet
long, to carry himself and his men, he sailed down into that
" Spanish " or " Southern " Sea which few, if any, Englishmen
had ever entered before. Here he reaped a rich harvest of
plunder, but trying to return by the way he had come, he was

1 sN'-T r ' v '- dr t::-V . - :( l^rV'.' - .^ - 1 .:-.***! /9UY>(C/

fymi^ft : ; : ^S^pl5^fCeSli


^ i -*<. .1 j .. i 1 1 ' ..'i, >";"- u ' ^ . . '. .: ;. ~

a \l-

L->: : .: : *::^::

rr^"-:-.;tV.;-.-; : -.:



iT - I


(Hal-liiitfs Map of 1589 )

pursued, and his route up stream discovered by the " feathers
of hens " that came floating down from his boat. Taken
prisoner with most of his men, he suffered as a pirate at
Lima, while King Philip, in alarm at the new daring of the
English buccaneers, " built galleys to keep the seas."

With all this practical energy westwards there was naturally
a good deal of speculation. Before Martin Frobisher resumed
Cabot's attempts in the direction of a North-West passage,


The i:.w. the feasibility of this scheme had been eagerly discussed, and
a national interest was now aroused which had been quite
wanting in earlier time, when the project had been broached
under the first Tudors by learned men.

Thus we have Humphrey Gilbert's Discourse to prove a
passage by the North- West to Cathay and the East Indies,
which undertakes to show, first by authority and second by
experience, that this passage existed, and that the opening of
it had been already made. In this the writer revives arguments
alleged for the North-East passage bv Anthony Jenkinson.

O 1 O / /

answering them one by one in favour of the less tried, and so
more hopeful, Western experiment. 1

rrobisher From this theorising we come to the most important of
those achievements which suggested and supported it. The
three voyages of Martin Frobisher, in 1570, 1577, and 157-S, " for
the search of the North- West passage," though they came far
short of their ultimate object, resulted in a great extension of
English and European knowledge along the coasts of Labrador,
Greenland, and the American side of the Arctic Basin. He first
started from Greenwich on June 13th, 1570. Sighting land on


the 28th July, "supposed to be Labrador, with great store of
ice about," the admiral named it Meta Incognita, and coasted it
steadily till the 26th August ; on the 19th he had sight of the
country people the Esquimaux of the far North of America
and of Greenland. Trusting the natives too much, five of
the Englishmen were made prisoners, and all efforts to regain
them were futile. Equally disappointing was the "hope of the

The next year (May 31st, 1577) Frobisher started again
with a larger ship, " for the further discovering of the Avay to
Cathay." On July 4th he sighted the coast, near the landfall of

: Richard Wilkes also wrote to the same effect. At any rate. (1) the X.E.
and X.W. schemes then looked as feasible as the S.E. and S.W. had looked l''H
years before. With the successes of Diaz and Da Gama, Columbus and Magellan,
in the near past, the plans of Willoughby, of Cabot, of Gilbert, or of Jenkinson
did not seem at all impossible ; and (12) though the schemes themselves failed,
they led to a great deal of incidental gain i-.g. the trade with Russia, the
Newfoundland Fisheries, and the English discoveries in the X.E. and N.W.
Even the American Colonies as first founded were not without reference to
the X.W. attempts. Virginia would be a good half-way house, some thought,
for Labrador and Frobisl.er's 8tr:.its.


(Bodleian Library, Oxford.)


the previous year, mountainous and forbidding, within strong
barriers of ice and snow; passing through the strait named
alter himself, and searching anxiously for traces of gold, he
took possession of the country (20th July, 1577) and loaded
the ship with the stones and earth supposed to contain precious
ore. For he and his men expected " a much more benefit out
of the bowels of the Septentrional parallels " (or Arctic circle)
than had ever been dreamt of. The natives proved quite
hopeless, and on the 23rd August, as the "maze" of ice ahead
seemed impenetrable, Frobisher turned back for England with
the cargo which it was hoped would reward the adventure, but
which was only, as Hakluyt sorrowfully admits, to add another
to the proof " that all is not gold that glisteneth."

The third voyage was a more sustained and serious, but n<>r
a more successful, attempt. Frobisher had first sailed in 157G
with two tiny barks of twenty-five and twenty tons apiece ; now,
in 1578, in the new hope ot enormous profits from the golden
ore of Meta Incognita, a fleet of fifteen sail was prepared. The
Queen herself bore a share of the expense, the sons of many of

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 56 of 68)