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

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the English gentry embarked as volunteers, and 100 men were
specially picked to form the colony, with three ships ; the other
twelve were to take in loads of the ore and to come back at
once. The first English vision of a private El Dorado lor the
nation's peculiar benefit placed it to the north of Labrador.

On June 20th, 1578, Frobisher sighted the high and craggy
land of Friesland, covered with snow and "foggy mists," and
after great difficulty in entering " his own straits," came at last to
the " wished port " in the Countess of Warwick's 1 Sound. Fogs
and icebergs had been very dangerous, however; and the
weather continued so rough, and the " distemperature of the
country so plainly declared," that in spite of the discovery of a
new sound, running into Frobisher's Straits, the North-West
passage again proved insoluble. The supposed gold of the
islands (to the north of the straits now called Hudson's), turned
to bitter disappointment on the final return home ; and the
belief in this Esquimaux treasure-house grew dim a significant
silence is still preserved by all accounts about the use made of the
cargo, which at starting had almost superseded the passage itself
in men's minds, as the main object of the voyage; finally, the

1 Dudley, Earl of Warwick, had been one of his most liberal patrons.



natives turned to their old treacherous tricks. The plan of the
colony was given up, 1 and Frobisher, after building a little house
in the Countess of Warwick's island, and " garnishing it with
trities, to allure the people to some familiarity, against other

F^>gl T^SE

?: SJ

C '' tJ i


L_" 9P

S//Tp-, '^i^-^-^f^^
, ii -= * 50 ^


(Hakluyt, "Divers Voyages touching the Discovery oj America,' 1589.)

years," sailed for England on August 3rd, still firmly persuaded
that his scheme was feasible.

1 Yet Captain Fenton and other gentlemen had formed a plan of staying'
behind and wintering. They were prevented by the sinking of the bark Di'ttyse,
and the absence of the Thomas of JpswJch, with their stores.


In the early part of the voyage the admiral had hoj>ed that
the passage lay through the present Hudson's Straits; and if he
had followed his inclinations, he would, at any rate, have dis-
covered the greatest of American hays, the largest inland sea of
the New World. But to his duty as a trader he sacrificed his
hopes as a discoverer.

voyage We have not space here to do more than notice the sensible

^G^iden suggestions for colonisation given by Richard Hakluyt to gentle-
Hind." me n who went with Frobisher, or the memorials of the Brazil
trade which form a transition from thi3 extreme North to the
extreme South, from Fr3bisher's failure in the North-West
passage, to Drake's success in the South -West. The greatest
and most famous of Elizabethan voyages is certainly that of the
Pelican or Golden Hind "into the South Sea, and thence about
the whole globe of the earth," between 1577 and 1580. It \sas
the first English encircling of the world : it brought home more
treasure than any other single venture of the time : it was
supposed to have explored the Northern Pacific and the Cali-
fornian coast beyond the furthest of any other nation. The
moral effect of Drake's achievement upon the nation was in its
way only second to that of the victory over the Most Famous
and Invincible Armada of 1588.

Leaving Plymouth on December 13th, 1577, with five ships
and one hundred and sixty-four gentlemen and sailors, the
admiral, "giving out his pretended voyage for Alexandria"
first hung about the African coast till he reached Cape Verde,
then struck across the ocean fifty -four days without sight of
land to Brazil, and sighted the Western Continent on April 5th.
1578. Disappointed of finding a good harbour " within the
river of Plate," but noticing 1 on the coast footmarks of people of
great stature," the squadron coasted southward to Port St.
Julian, in Patagonia, where was still standing a grim relic of
earlier explorers, " the gibbet which we supposed to be where
Magellan did execution upon his rebellious companv." By a
curious fatality Drake did not leave this gloomy spot without
adding another tragedy: Thomas Doughty was here executed
for "actions tending to mutiny," and the crews were sworn alresh
to obedience and unity, every one receiving the Sacrament
upon it.

On August 20th, 1578, the fleet entered Magellan's Straits,



and after slowly threading their way through its cold and
desolate windings, passed through on September 6th into the
great South Sea, that wonderful Pacific which had first revealed
the difference between America and India, the true bulk of the
earth, and the proportion and distribution of the Ocean tracts
by the side of the terra firm a of the world.

Driven south of the straits by storms into latitude 55 , 1 Drake
soon recovered himself, and, running rapidly north, found to his
surprise that Peru, instead of lying " as the general maps have
described" north-west (of the
Straits of Magellan), trended to
east - north - east, " whereby it
appeareth that this part hath
not been duly reported by
twelve degrees at least."

Off the coast of Chili the
English took up an Indian in
a canoe, who, taking them for
Spaniards, told them of the
whereabouts of one of the great
Peruvian treasure - ships, and
piloted them to Valparaiso,
-,vhere they seized a huge booty.
Thence Drake coasted on to
Lima, which he found (Febru-
ary 13th, 1579) "most secure,
having never been assaulted by


enemies," and in rifling the

(Naral Museum, Greenwich Hospital.)

(By permission of the Lords Commissioners

of the Admiralty.)

ships in the port [Callao], the
buccaneer chief got what was worth more than the plunder of
his twelve captive merchantmen news of the Cacafuego, the
great treasure-galleon, which had just started for Paita. The
English hurried after her only to find that she had gone on
to Panama, " whom our general still pursued," and about three
o'clock John Drake sighted her from the masthead. By six
the Golden Hind was up with her. Three guns brought down
her mizzen, and she struck with all her riches " thirteen chests

1 Where they saw an eclipse of the moon (September lath), about which the
English noticed, sarcastically, that it "did neither impair our state nor her
clearing amend us a whit."




: & tffurii in tntntibut {airtfuKt.btritii

' '


(From a contemporary chart.)

full of Royals of plate, eighty pounds weight of gold, and
twenty-six tons of silver." The cargo was carefully transferred,
and then the English admiral "cast off this Cacafuego," and
]) ut ting into shore,
lightened several passing
ships of a good deal of
their inconvenient
wealth : then, thinking
" Her Majesty would rest
contented with this ser-
vice," he began to think
of return not by Magel-
lan's Straits, for fear
both of Spanish reprisals
and stormy weather, but
by the Moluccas and the
Cape of Good Hope.

But to get to the
Moluccas, Drake conceived that he must take a " Spanish
course " by the far North, across the Pacih'c. Accordingly
from the 16th of April to the 3rd of June he kept on till
he was " in 42 towards the Arctic Pole," and his men,

"grievously pinched
with the cold, com-
plained of the
extremity thereof."
Finding the land
"covered with
snow," he dropped
down into 38, "in
which height it
pleased God to send
us into a fair and
good bay." The
people of the
country showed
themselves, and
being " courteously entreated " by the English, who " bestowed
on them necessary things to cover their nakedness, supposed
them to be gods, and would not be persuaded to the contrary "

(From a contemporary chart.)



uaifum fanhim

Mkjlru plrlu fo[-ttni, ftr lanH r^utr

gtrban in ,-f n^JW, fiit luvi reiyi- .


(From a contemporary chart.)

a curious case of invincible ignorance. They went so far
in this that their king- resigned his crown and kingdom into
Drake's hands " which thing he thought not meet to reject,"

and so received " to the
use of Her Majesty."
The country- - the
California of our maps
-he called New Albion,
and at his departure set
up a monument of his
visit and overlordship,
being convinced the
Spaniards had never
been there, "neither did
ever discover by many
degrees to the South-

From this point the

Golden Hind struck across the open sea till October 13th.
1579 "which day we fell with certain islands," in 88 N. and
so threading her way among the islands of the West Pacific,
reached the Moluccas on November 14th. Hero, like the
California!! king, the
Prince of Ternate
offered, or was sup-
posed to offer, him-
self and his kingdom
to the service of the
Queen of England.
The Indian chief
came in person to
see Drake, with a
barbaric pomp that
greatly impressed
the strangers, and
the visit was returned
by English envoys
sent by the Admiral, who were emboldened to hope for
great things in the future for national enterprise with
such allies in the East Indies - " enemies to the Portugals,


(From a contemporary chart.)


sovereigns over seventy islands, and chief of all the

Between Ternate and Java, while steering his way among
the dangerous shoals and reefs of the Archipelago, Drake ran
upon a rock (January 9th, 15<SO), but got off again after eight
hours of terrible suspense, the wind changing from starboard to
larboard, " as it were, in a moment, by the special grace of God."
In Java the Greater he was well icceived, but learning that not
far off there were " such great ships as ours," resolved to hasten
forward to the Cape " of the Portugals," " of Tempests," or " of
Good Hope," which was the first land sighted after leaving
" India." Even here Drake would not land, but only noted " the
report most false that it is the most dangerous Cape of the
World," though in truth it was " a most stately thing, the fairest
we saw in the whole circumference of the earth."

On the 3rd November he was again in England : the first
English, the third European, captain who had

" - - circled ocean's plain profound,

And girdled earth in one i ontinuous round."

The Golden Hind became, like Nelson's Victory afterwards,
a sacred and historic vessel, preserved at Deptford for the won-
dering admiration of sightseers. Drake himself was knighted,
and became the undisputed leader of English navigators, ex-
plorers, and dare-devils in the deepening struggle with Spain
and the Catholic Reaction. For by his voyage he had claimed
an absolutely world- wide expansion for his people. He had
asserted, as well as one man and one fleet could assert, the
empire of the seas for England, or at least her right to struggle
for such empire the right of great and unique success. He
had thrown down the gauge to Magellan's Southerners. For
his island, for the Teutonic North, for the men who were
struggling against Spain and against Rome, he had been the


- to open up those wastes of tide
No generation opened before."

The spirit Drake had roused, and the impulse he had given,
is to be seen in the next voyage, reported by Hakluyt, of Edward
Fenton and Luke Ward in 1582, and in a number of subsequent
attempts to reach the Indies, not by the Northern, but by the


Southern routes, as well as in the new schemes for definite
colonisation in the New World.

The first signs of this last development may be traced back coioni-
to 1578, and to the patent granted for six years to Sir Humphrey Begins.
Gilbert for the " planting of our people in America " ; but no
serious result followed upon these till 1583, when Gilbert him-
self sailed with five ships and 260 men (June llth). 1

Here we enter upon the second period of English intercourse
with the New World the age of settlement and conquest,
following that of discovering voyages and pirate raids. The
disastrous result of this first venture ought not to blind us to
its significance as the first step towards the possession of North
America by the English race.

On the 3rd August the fleet anchored off the coast of
Newfoundland, and after taking possession for Queen Elizabeth
(August 5th, 1583), sailed forward to Cape Breton " on a fair
evening, yet not without token of storm."

On the 29th the tempest broke on them, with dense fog ; the
flagship ran aground, and perished : and so frightful was the
outlook that even Gilbert was prepared to have compassion on
his* men and to turn back to England.

The wind was "large" for home, but high and rough, so
that Gilbert's frigate, the Squirrel, of ten tons, was almost
swallowed up ; but he would not change into his " great ship,"
the Golden Hind, of forty tons this would be to forsake his little
company, with whom he had passed through so many perils.
And so came the end, with its most pathetic picture ; of all
the Elizabethan sagas, there is none with the peculiar charm of:
Gilbert's death.

North of the Azores he met with terrible seas, breaking
short and high, " pyramid wise ; men which all their life had
o'ccupied the sea never saw more outrageous " billows ; and
on the 9th September, in the afternoon, the frigate was " near
cast away ; yet at that time recovered." Joyful signals were
exchanged, and the " General, sitting abaft with a book in his

1 "Every requisite was on board, even music in good variety, for solace of our
people, and allurement of the savages, not omitting the least toys, as Morris-dancers,
hobby-horses, and May-like conceits to delight the savage people : and to that end
we were indifferently furnished of haberdashery wares to barter with those simple


luuul, cried out to us in the-Hind: ' We are as near Heaven ly
sea as by land'; but the same Monday night, about twelve, the
frigate being ahead of us in the (loldcn Hind, suddenly her
lights were out, and in that moment she was swallowed up."
The "great ship" of forty tons reached Plymouth alone on
September 22nd, 1583. T

Virginia But the ill-fated expedition had been the outcome of a

really national interest in " Western planting." The loss of Gilbert
hardly checked this at all; Raleigh stepped into his place; and
the voyage of 1584 to Virginia made at his " charge and direc-
tion," led to the first English exploration and possession of this
part. Next year Sir Richard Grenville, at the head of a fleet
largely equipped by Raleigh, founded the first English settlement
in the New World the " new fort in Virginia " in the " good-
liest soil under the cope of Heaven," of which Ralph Lane was
put in charge. Although this was not a permanent colony, yet
its importance is scarcely less than that of the successful venture
of 1608. The later years of Elizabeth saw the exploring and
colonising movement setting more and more steadily westward,
till the decisive victory of 1588 secured England's foothold upon
the high seas as it had never been secured before.

With the failure of Spain to crush her Northern enemies-
English and Hollanders practically ended the attempts of the
same Power to shut up the new- discovered seas and lands from
all other nations. Thomas Cavendish, by successfully repeating
Drake's achievement, proved that a " venture around the whole
globe of the earth " was open to any resolute English captain
even without the exceptional genius and fortune of Sir Francis,
and the enterprises of the Virginia colony, of the '' trial of
Guiana," and of the North- West Passage showed how universal
was the interest taken in the new movements, even by the
highest classes of English society. The ambition of the buc-
caneers and sea-dogs, of the merchants and factors of earlier
times, had now reached upward to the most stationary and least
impulsive part of the nation.

1 Cf. " The relation of Richard Clarke of AVeymouth " : Sir George Kni-ht's
true report of the late discoveries from Edward Hayes' account : Thomas Aid worth's
letter to Walsin^ham (March 27th, 15S3) concerning a Western voyage ; Carlile's
brief and summaiy discourse of April, Io83, upon the intended voyage in the same
direction, arid the letlors patent granted to Walter Raleigh similar to those
to Gilbert.



Out of the immense number of accounts which illustrate the
expansion of England in these last years of the sixteenth
century we have only space to notice some four or five, which
represent the main lines of the national Outgoing.

1. The first of these is the voyage of Cavendish, the only sue-

r"**>L*w avmatcftiUAf

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' ''" '**&*. , - % -#

''- xviii -^^ i ' : ^ R? '^

se:^ '

ilia eft {xndifo mfjsertor. iUuftrt/?itm Thfmtr Cavndrffi nolnhs^in:
' ah ad VIYVM . mage . jte gc Aiylia. niaSiiJf&fiieniim^ca&ttu&ati tfftum
1 terra saxlttuat atnonnayyavtt.raiijty in


(From, a Contemporary Chart.)

cessfnl follower of Drake, up to 1603, on the path of his greatest voyage of
exploit. Thomas Candish, as Hakluyt calls him, started on
July 21st, 1586, upon his " admirable and prosperous journey into
the South Sea, and thence round about the whole earth," and
returned on September 9th, 1 588, just after the "overthrowing
of the Spanish fleet ; " but this, the second English circumnavi-


Cation, was, for the most part, a less eventful repetition of
the first. One of its chief novelties was the discovery of
King Philip's City, which had heen built to command the
Straits of Magellan, but the life of which, by Cavendish's
account, had been one ghastly story of misery and mutiny
during its two years of struggle against the soil and climate
of Patagonia.

Coasting along Chili the admiral captured some prisoners ;
" one Fleming and three Spaniards " he " tortured for news,"
especially of the treasure galleons; then, guided by their direc-
tions, after storming and sacking Paita, he found and took his
prize the Great St. Anne, off Cape Lucar, in California, " between
7 and 8 in the morning." She yielded 122,000 pezos of gold,
and with this Cavendish set off for home " about three in the
afternoon " (November 19th, 1587) by the way that Drake had
first opened to his countrymen the " course of the Portugals,"
through the East Indies and around Africa. On January 3rd,
1588, he "had sight" of the Ladrones, and passing on to the
Philippines, the new-comers noticed with wonder the meeting of
trade at Manilla from South America on one side and from
China on the other, the elaborate tattooing of the chiefs, and the
pleasantly familiar intercourse of the natives with the devil,
" whom they wholly worship."

After hanging the Spanish pilot for his intended treachery,
and making some of the islanders pay him tribute, Cavendish
"sent commendations" to the Spaniards of Manilla, "willing
them to provide good store of gold, for he meant to visit them
again within four years," and so left them to their own reflections.
Passing between the (Greater and Lesser Java (Java and Sumatra)
on March 1st, the English heard from some Portuguese they
met on this coast that Philip of Spain, in spite of his conquest
of the home kingdom, might not be recognised by the successors
of Albuquerque in the East Indies, another opening for our
interference and possible empire. Like Drake, Cavendish made
a straight course from Java for the South of Africa, and from
March KJth to May 16th was traversing that "mighty and vast
sea " ; on the 8th June he landed in the " marvellous fair and
pleasant valleys " of St. Helena, so long used for the " refreshing
of the Portugals," on their way to India ; on September 3rd,
soon after passing the Azores, he heard from a Flemish hulk the


news of the Armada, " to the singular comfort of us all," and on
the 9th of the same month he was safe again in Plymouth

2. As Cavendish's voyage represents the mid-ocean enter- Davis's
prise of our explorers, traders, and warriors in the latter years
of Elizabeth, so Davis's attempts to follow Frobisher in 1585,
1586, and 1587 represent the continued struggle for the North-
West passage, which English enterprise was not yet prepared
to give up ; in connection with which the earliest American
colonies were planned and supported, at least from some
quarters ; and which no failures seemed able to stop. 1

On the 7th June, 1585, he started from Dartmouth with
the Sunshine and Moonshine, of fifty and thirty-five tons
respectively ; on the 19th July he heard the rolling of the
drift ice through the fog : on the 20th he sighted land '' the
most deformed, rocky, and mountainous that ever we saw.''
The first glimpse of it " showed, as it had been in form of a
sugar-loaf," the snow mountains appearing over the fog and
clouds, " like a white list in the sky " ; the shore was beset
with ice, " making such irksome noise that it seemed to be the
true pattern of desolation, and so our captain named it ' the
Land of Desolation.' '

Coasting along this uninviting country, they had drift-wood
floating by every day, in the " black and thick water, like to
a filthy standing pool," and soon Davis came in sight of the
people of the country, who were no friendlier to him than
they had been to Frobisher, though his men for some time
trafficked with them busily enough.

/ O

On the 31st July the ships started again to follow up the
North-West track, and on the 6th August discovered land
" altogether void of the pester of ice," and anchored in a " fair
road, under a brave mount, with a sound compassing the mount
and a foreland," which they named Cape Walsingham, Exeter
Sound, Mount Raleigh, and Totnes Road. On the llth August
Davis came to the most southerly cape of the island, and in
spite of foggy weather his hopes of the passage rose high ;
but on the 24th the signs of approaching storms warned him

1 John Davis, like Frobisher, was the agent of an important syndicate
consisting 1 of " certain honourable personages, gentlemen of the court and
country, with divers merchants of London and the West Country."



ti> turn back, and he repassed the Land of Desolation on the
10th September, reappearing 1 in Dartmouth on the 30th.

With perverse ingenuity, comfort was extracted out of the
most adverse facts; the "way by the North-West " was de-
clared to be practically opened, and Davis set out again in
l.")S(5 .May 7th) with four ships, in the greatest show of con-
fidence that could be. Sighting land on .June 15th and 29th,
where he had touched the year before, he struggled through


(Co/it'',i<ji'>i-i',-ti >lr<in-;,iij ?,,/ John While.)

enormous masses of broken ice, and in face of "very stickle
and strong currents," till, on July 24th, finding all the shrouds,
ropes, and sails frozen, and the seas, which last year wnv
navigable, "now encompassed with ice and gross fog," all "hope
was banished of proceeding." The Esquimaux, too, were now
found to be enchanters " though to small purpose, thanks be
to God and what was even worse, "marvellous thievish." l

1 At first Davis declared this only ''ministered occasion of laughter" to
him, and he ordered his men to treat them gently. " supposing it to be hard in
so short time to make them know their evils '' ; but afterwards he got a<
angry as his men. From the first, he let the Esquimaux know plainly that



Altering, therefore, his course to East-Sou th-East, the
admiral was able by the 2nd of August to harbour his ships
in 66 ; and thence to keep a North-West course for 50 leagues,
with great hope of a "through passage" by Davis Straits.;
Till the 28th he continued coasting from 67 to 57", and
noticed that the country was well stocked with birds and


(Contemporary drawing by John White.)

woodland ; on the 4th of September, " among great store of
isles," he had a " perfect hope of the passage, finding a might_y
sea passing between two lands west."

But the wind stood obstinately against further progress ;
the brutish people of the country attacked the sailors ; and

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 57 of 68)