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our Admiral 10 with all the men and provisions, not knowing
certainly the place. Yet for inducing men of skill to make
conjecture, by our course and way we held from Cape Race
thither, that thereby the flats and dangers may be inserted
in sea cards, for warning to others that may follow the
same course hereafter, I have set down the best reckonings
that were kept by expert men, William Cox, Master of the
Hind, and John Paul, his mate, both of Limehouse ....
Our course we held in clearing us of these flats was east-
south-east, and south-east, and south, fourteen leagues, with
a marvellous scant wind.

Upon Tuesday, the 27. of August, toward the evening,
our General caused them in his frigate to sound, who found
white sand at 35 fathom, being then in latitude about 44
degrees. Wednesday, toward night, the wind came south,
and we bare with the land all that night, west-north-west,
contrary to the mind of Master Cox; nevertheless we fol-
lowed the Admiral, deprived of power to prevent a mischief,
which by no contradiction could be brought to hold another
course, alleging they could not make the ship to work better,
nor to lie otherways. The evening was fair and pleasant,
yet not without token o'f storm to ensue, and most part of
this Wednesday night, like the swan that singeth before her
death, they in the Admiral, or Delight, continued in sounding
of trumpets, with drums and fifes; also winding the cornets
and hautboys, and in the end of their jollity, left with the
battle and ringing of doleful knells. Towards the evening
also we caught in the Golden Hind a very mighty porpoise
with a harping iron, having first stricken divers of them, and
brought away part of their flesh sticking upon the iron, but

10 The Delight.



298 GILBERT'S VOYAGE

could recover only that one. These also, passing through the
ocean in herds, did portend storm. I omit to recite frivolous
reports by them in the frigate, of strange voices the same
night, which scared some from the helm.

Thursday, the 29. of August, the wind rose, and blew
vehemently at south and by east, bringing withal rain and
thick mist, so that we could not see a cable length before us ;
and betimes in the morning we were altogether run and
folded in amongst flats and sands, amongst which we
found shoal and deep in every three or four ships' length,
after we began to sound : but first we were upon them un-
awares, until Master Cox looking out, discerned, in his
judgment, white cliffs, crying Land! withal; though we
could not afterward descry any land, it being very likely the
breaking of the sea white, which seemed to be white cliffs,
through the haze and thick weather.

Immediately tokens were given unto the Delight, to cast
about to seaward, which, being the greater ship, and of
burthen 120 tons, was yet foremost upon the. breach, keeping
so ill watch, that they knew not the danger, before they felt
the same, too late to recover it; for presently the Admiral
struck aground, and had soon after her stern and hinder
parts beaten in pieces; whereupon the rest (that is to say,
the frigate, in which was the General, and the Golden Hind)
cast about east-south-east, bearing to the south, even for our
lives, into the wind's eye, because that way carried us to the
seaward. Making out from this danger, we sounded one
while seven fathom, then five fathom, then four fathom and
less, again deeper, immediately four fathom, then but three
fathom, the sea going mightily and high. At last we re-
covered, God be thanked, in some despair, to sea room
enough.

In this distress, we had vigilant eye unto the Admiral,
whom we saw cast away, without power to give the men
succour, neither could we espy any of the men that leaped
overboard to save themselves, either in the same pinnace, or
cock, or upon rafters, and such like means presenting them-
selves to men in those extremities, for we desired to save
the men by every possible means. But all in vain, sith God
had determined their ruin; yet all that day, and part of the



TO NEWFOUNDLAND 299

next, we beat up and down as near unto the wrack as was
possible for us, looking out if by good hap we might espy-
any of them.

This was a heavy and grievous event, to lose at one blow
our chief ship freighted with great provision, gathered to-
gether with much travail, care, long time, and difficulty ; but
more was the loss of our men, which perished to the number
almost of a hundred souls. Amongst whom was drowned a
learned man, a Hungarian, 11 born in the city of Buda, called
thereof Budceus, who, of piety and zeal to good attempts,
adventured in this action, minding to record in the Latin
tongue the gests and things worthy of remembrance, hap-
pening in this discovery, to the honour of our nation, the
same being adorned with the eloquent style of this orator
and rare poet of our time.

Here also perished our Saxon refiner and discoverer of
inestimable riches, as it was left amongst some of us in un-
doubted hope. No less heavy was the loss of the captain,
Maurice Brown, a virtuous, honest, and discreet gentleman,
overseen only in liberty given late before to men that ought
to have been restrained, who showed himself a man resolved,
and never unprepared for death, as by his last act of this
tragedy appeared, by report of them that escaped this wrack
miraculously, as shall be hereafter declared. For when all
hope was past of recovering the ship, and that men began to
give over, and to save themselves, the captain was advised
before to shift also for his life, by the pinnace at the stern
of the ship; but refusing that counsel, he would not give
example with the first to leave the ship, but used all means
to exhort his people not to despair, nor so to leave off their
labour, choosing rather to die than to incur infamy by for
saking his charge, which then might be thought to have
perished through his default, showing an ill precedent unto
his men, by leaving the ship first himself. With this mind
he mounted upon the highest deck, where he attended im-
minent death, and unavoidable; how long, I leave it to God,
who withdraweth not his comfort from his servants at such
times.

In the mean season, certain, to the number of fourteen

11 Stephen Parmenius.



300 GILBERT'S VOYAGE

persons, leaped into a small pinnace, the bigness of a Thames
barge, which was made in the Newfoundland, cut off the
rope wherewith it was towed, and committed themselves to
God's mercy, amidst the storm, and rage of sea and winds,
destitute of food, not so much as a drop of fresh water. The
boat seeming overcharged in foul weather with company,
Edward Headly, a valiant soldier, and well reputed of his
company, preferring the greater to the lesser, thought better
that some of them perished than all, made this motion, to cast
lots, and them to be thrown overboard upon whom the lots
fell, thereby to lighten the boat, which otherways seemed
impossible to live, [and] offered himself with the first, con-
tent to take his adventure gladly : which nevertheless Richard
Clarke, that was master of the Admiral, and one of this
number, refused, advising to abide God's pleasure, who was
able to save all, as well as a few. The boat was carried
before the wind, continuing six days and nights in the
ocean, and arrived at last with the men, alive, but weak,
upon the Newfoundland, saving that the foresaid Headly,
who had been late sick, and another called of us Brazil, of
his travel into those countries, died by the way, famished,
and less able to hold out than those of better health ....
Thus whom God delivered from drowning, he appointed to
be famished; who doth give limits to man's times, and
ordaineth the manner and circumstance of dying: whom,
again, he will preserve, neither sea nor famine can confound.
For those that arrived upon the Newfoundland were brought
into France by certain Frenchmen, then being upon the
coast.

After this heavy chance, we continued in beating the sea
up and down, expecting when the weather would clear up
that we might yet bear in with the land, which we judged
not far off either the continent or some island. For we
many times, and in sundry places found ground at 50, 45. 40
fathoms, and less. The ground coming upon our lead, being
sometime oozy sand and other while a broad shell, with a
little sand about it.

Our people lost courage daily after this ill success, the
weather continuing thick and blustering, with increase of
cold, winter drawing on, which took from them all hope of



TO NEWFOUNDLAND 301

amendment, settling an assurance of worse weather to grow
upon us every day. The leeside of us lay full of flats and
dangers, inevitable if the wind blew hard at south. Some
again doubted we were ingulfed in the Bay of St. Lawrence,
the coast full of dangers, and unto us unknown. But above
all, provision waxed scant, and hope of supply was gone
with loss of our Admiral. Those in the frigate were already
pinched with spare allowance, and want of clothes chiefly:
whereupon they besought the General to return to England,
before they all perished. And to them of the Golden Hind
they made signs of distress, pointing to their mouths, and to
their clothes thin and ragged: then immediately they also of
the Golden Hind grew to be of the same opinion and desire
to return home.

The former reasons having also moved the General to
have compassion of his poor men, in whom he saw no want
of good will, but of means fit to perform the action they
came for, [he] resolved upon retire: and calling the captain
and master of the Hind, he yielded them many reasons, en-
forcing this unexpected return, withal protesting himself
greatly satisfied with that he had seen and knew already,
reiterating these words: Be content, we have seen enough,
and take no care of expense past: I will set you forth royally
the next spring, if God send us safe home. Therefore I
pray you let us no longer strive here, where we fight against
the elements. Omitting circumstance, how unwillingly the
captain and master of the Hind condescended to this motion,
his own company can testify ; yet comforted with the Gen-
eral's promise of a speedy return at spring, and induced by
other apparent reasons, proving an impossibility to ac-
complish the action at that time, it was concluded on all
hands to retire.

So upon Saturday in the afternoon, the 31. of August, we
changed our course, and returned back for England. At
which very instant, even in winding about, there passed
along between us and towards the land which we now for-
sook a very lion to our seeming, in shape, hair, and colour,
not swimming after the manner of a beast by moving of his
feet, but rather sliding upon the water with his whole body,
excepting the legs, in sight, neither yet diving under, and



302 GILBERT'S VOYAGE

again rising above the water, as the manner is of whales,
dolphins, tunnies, porpoises, and all other fish: but confi-
dently showing himself above water without hiding: not-
withstanding, we presented ourselves in open view and ges-
ture to amaze him, as all creatures will be commonly at a
sudden gaze and sight of men. Thus he passed along turn-
ing his head to and fro, yawing and gaping wide, with ugly
demonstration of long teeth, and glaring eyes; and to bid
us a farewell, coming right against the Hind, he sent forth
a horrible voice, roaring or bellowing as doth a lion, which
spectacle we all beheld so far as we were able to discern the
same, as men prone to wonder at every strange thing, as
this doubtless was, to see a lion in the ocean sea, or fish in
shape of a lion. What opinion others had thereof, and
chiefly the General himself, I forbear to deliver: but he took
it for bonum omen, rejoicing that he was to war against
such an enemy, if it were the devil. The wind was large for
England at our return, but very high, and the sea rough,
insomuch as the frigate, wherein the General went, was al-
most swallowed up.

Monday in the afternoon we passed in sight of Cape Race,
having made as much way in little more than two days and
nights back again, as before we had done in eight days from
Cape Race unto the place where our ship perished. Which
hindrance thitherward, and speed back again, is to be im-
puted unto the swift current, as well as to the winds, which
we had more large in our return. This Monday the General
came aboard the Hind, to have the surgeon of the Hind to
dress his foot, which he hurt by treading upon a nail: at
which time we comforted each other with hope of hard suc-
cess to be all past, and of the good to come. So agreeing to
carry out lights always by night, that we might keep to-
gether, he departed into his frigate, being by no means to
be entreated to tarry in the Hind, which had been more for
his security. Immediately after followed a sharp storm,
which we overpassed for that time, praised be God.

The weather fair, the General came aboard the Hind
again, to make merry together with the captain, master, and
company, which was the last meeting, and continued there
from morning until night. During which time there passed



TO NEWFOUNDLAND 303

sundry discourses touching affairs past and to come, lament-
ing greatly the loss of his great ship, more of the men, but
most of all his books and notes, and what else I know not,
for which he was out of measure grieved, the same doubtless
being some matter of more importance than his books, which
I could not draw from him: yet by circumstance I gathered
the same to be the ore which Daniel the Saxon had brought
unto him in the Newfoundland. Whatsoever it was, the re-
membrance touched him so deep as, not able to contain him-
self, he beat his boy in great rage, even at the same time,
so long after the miscarrying of the great ship, because upon
a fair day, when we were becalmed upon the coast of the
Newfoundland near unto Cape Race, he sent his boy aboard
the Admiral to fetch certain things : amongst which, this
being chief, was yet forgotten and left behind. After which
time he could never conveniently send again aboard the great
ship, much less he doubted her ruin so near at hand.

Herein my opinion was better confirmed diversely, and by
sundry conjectures, which maketh me have the greater hope
of this rich mine. For whereas the General had never be-
fore good conceit of these north parts of the world, now his
mind was wholly fixed upon the Newfoundland. And as be-
fore he refused not to grant assignments liberally to them that
required the same into these north parts, now he became con-
trarily affected, refusing to make any so large grants, es-
pecially of St. John's, which certain English merchants
made suit for, offering to employ their money and travail
upon the same yet neither by their own suit, nor of others
of his own company, whom he seemed willing to pleasure,
it could be obtained. Also laying down his determination
in the spring following for disposing of his voyage then to
be re-attempted: he assigned the captain and master of the
Golden Hind unto the south discovery, and reserved unto
himself the north, affirming that this voyage had won his
heart from the south, and that he was now become a north-
ern man altogether.

Last, being demanded what means he had, at his arrival
in England, to compass the charges of so great preparation
as he intended to make the next spring, having determined
upon two fleets, one for the south, another for the north;



304 GILBERT'S VOYAGE

Leave that to me, he replied, / will ask a penny of no man.
I will bring good tidings unto her Majesty, who will be so
gracious to lend me 10,000; willing us therefore to be of
good cheer ; for he did thank God, he said, with all his heart
for that he had seen, the same being enough for us all, and
that we needed not to seek any further. And these last words
he would often repeat, with demonstration of great fervency
of mind, being himself very confident and settled in belief
of inestimable good by this voyage; which the greater
number of his followers nevertheless mistrusted altogether,
not being made partakers of those secrets, which the Gen-
eral kept unto himself. Yet all of them that are living may
be witnesses of his words and protestations, which sparingly
I have delivered.

Leaving the issue of this good hope unto God, who know-
eth the truth only, and can at His good pleasure bring the
same to light, I will hasten to the end of this tragedy, which
must be knit up in the person of our General. And as it
was God's ordinance upon him, even so the vehement per-
suasion and entreaty of his friends could nothing avail to
divert him of a wilful resolution of going through in his
frigate; which was overcharged upon the decks with fights,
nettings, and small artillery, too cumbersome for so small a
boat that was to pass through the ocean sea at that season
of the year, when by course we might expect much storm of
foul weather. Whereof, indeed, we had enough.

But when he was entreated by the captain, master, and
other his well-willers of the Hind not to venture in the
frigate, this was his answer: / will not forsake my little
company going homeward, with whom I have passed so
many storms and perils. And in very truth he was urged
to be so over hard by hard reports given of him that he
was afraid of the sea; albeit this was rather rashness than
advised resolution, to prefer the wind of a vain report to
the weight of his own life. Seeing he would not bend to
reason, he had provision out of the Hind, such as was want-
ing aboard his frigate. And so we committed him to God's
protection, and set him aboard his pinnace, we being more
than 300 leagues onward of our way home.

By that time we had brought the Islands of Azores south



TO NEWFOUNDLAND 305

of us; yet we then keeping much to the north, until we had
got into the height and elevation of England, we met with
very foul weather and terrible seas, breaking short and high,
pyramid-wise. The reason whereof seemed to proceed either
of hilly grounds high and low within the sea, as we see
hills and vales upon the land, upon which the seas do mount
and fall, or else the cause proceedeth of diversity of winds,
shifting often in sundry points, all which having power to
move the great ocean, which again is not presently settled,
so many seas do encounter together, as there had been di-
versity of winds. Howsoever it cometh to pass, men which
all their lifetime had occupied the sea never saw more out-
rageous seas. We had also upon our mainyard an appari-
tion of a little fire by night, which seamen do call Castor
and Pollux. But we had only one, which they take an evil
sign of more tempest ; the same is usual in storms.

Monday, the 9. of September, in the afternoon, the frigate
was near cast away, oppressed by waves, yet at that time re-
covered; and giving forth signs of joy, the General, sitting
abaft with a book in his hand, cried out to us in the Hind,
so oft as we did approach within hearing, We are as near
to heaven by sea as by land! Reiterating the same speech,
well beseeming a soldier, resolute in Jesus Christ, as I
can testify he was.

The same Monday night, about twelve of the clock, or
not long after, the frigate being ahead of us in the Golden
Hind, suddenly her lights were out, whereof as it were in
a moment we lost the sight, and withal our watch cried
the General was cast away, which was too true. For in that
moment the frigate was devoured and swallowed up of
the sea. Yet still we looked out all that night, and ever
after until we arrived upon the coast of England; omitting
no small sail at sea, unto which we gave not the tokens be-
tween us agreed upon to have perfect knowledge of each
other, if we should at any time be separated.

In great torment of weather and peril of drowning it
pleased God to send safe home the Golden Hind, which
arrived in Falmouth the 22. of September, being Sunday,
not without as great danger escaped in a flaw coming from
the south-east, with such thick mist that we could not discern



306 GILBERTS VOYAGE

land to put in right with the haven. From Falmouth we
went to Dartmouth, and lay there at anchor before the
Range, while the captain went aland to enquire if there had
been any news of the frigate, which, sailing well, might
happily have been before us ; also to certify Sir John Gilbert,
brother unto the General, of our hard success, whom the
captain desired, while his men were yet aboard him, and were
witnesses of all occurrences in that voyage, it might please
him to take the examination of every person particularly, in
discharge of his and their faithful endeavour. Sir John
Gilbert refused so to do, holding himself satisfied with report
made by the captain, and not altogether despairing of his
brother's safety, offered friendship and courtesy to the
captain and his company, requiring to have his bark brought
into the harbour; in furtherance whereof a boat was sent
to help to tow her in.

Nevertheless, when the captain returned aboard his ship,
he found his men bent to depart every man to his home ; and
then the wind serving to proceed higher upon the coast,
they demanded money to carry them home, some to London,
others to Harwich, and elsewhere, if the barque should be
carried into Dartmouth and they discharged so far from
home, or else to take benefit of the wind, then serving to
draw nearer home, which should be a less charge unto the
captain, and great ease unto the men, having else far to go.
Reason accompanied with necessity persuaded the captain,
who sent his lawful excuse and cause of this sudden depar-
ture unto Sir John Gilbert, by the boat of Dartmouth, and
from thence the Golden Hind departed and took harbour
at Weymouth. All the men tired with the tediousness of
so unprofitable a voyage to their seeming, in which their
long expense of time, much toil and labour, hard diet, and
continual hazard of life was unrecompensed ; their captain
nevertheless by his great charges impaired greatly thereby,
yet comforted in the goodness of God, and His undoubted
providence following him in all that voyage, as it doth
always those at other times whosoever have confidence in
Him alone. Yet have we more near feeling and perseverance
of His powerful hand and protection when God doth bring
us together with others into one same peril, in which He



TO NEWFOUNDLAND 307

leaveth them and delivereth us, making us thereby the be-
holders, but not partakers, of their ruin. Even so, amongst
very many difficulties, discontentments, mutinies, con-
spiracies, sicknesses, mortality, spoilings, and wracks by
sea, which were afflictions more than in so small a fleet of
so short a time may be supposed, albeit true in every par-
ticularity, as partly by the former relation may be collected,
and some I suppressed with silence for their sakes living,
it pleased God to support this company, of which only one
man died of a malady inveterate, and long infested, the rest
kept together in reasonable contentment and concord, begin-
ning, continuing, and ending the voyage, which none elsfc
did accomplish, either not pleased with the action, or im-
patient of wants, or prevented by death.

Thus have I delivered the contents of the enterprise
and last action of Sir Humfrey Gilbert, Knight, faithfully,
for so much as I thought meet to be published ; wherein may
always appear, though he be extinguished, some sparks of
his virtues, he remaining firm and resolute in a purpose by
all pretence honest and godly, as was this, to discover,
possess, and to reduce unto the service of God and Christian
piety those remote and heathen countries of America not
actually possessed by Christians, and most rightly apper-
taining unto the crown of England, unto the which as his
zeal deserveth high commendation, even so he may justly be
taxed of temerity, and presumption rather, in two respects.
First, when yet there was only probability, not a certain
and determinate place of habitation selected, neither any
demonstration if commodity there in esse, to induce his fol-
lowers; nevertheless, he both was too prodigal of his own
patrimony and too careless of other men's expenses to em-
ploy both his and their substance upon a ground imagined
good. The which falling, very like his associates were
promised, and made it their best reckoning, to be salved
some other way, which pleased not God to prosper in his
first and great preparation. Secondly, when by his former
preparation he was enfeebled of ability and credit to per-
form his designments, as it were impatient to abide in
expectation better opportunity, and means which God might



Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 27 of 35)