Voyages in Search of the North-West Passage
Richard Hakluyt

Part 2 out of 3

Quarum quae media est, non est habitabilis aestu. Imagining, as
most men then did, Zonam Torridam, the hot zone, to be altogether
dishabited for heat, though presently we know many famous and worthy
kingdoms and cities in that part of the earth, and the island of S.
Thomas near Ethiopia, and the wealthy islands for the which chiefly
all these voyages are taken in hand, to be inhabited even under the
equinoctial line.

To answer the third objection, besides Cabot and all other
travellers' navigations, the only credit of Master Frobisher may
suffice, who lately, through all these islands of ice and mountains
of snow, passed that way, even beyond the gulf that tumbleth down
from the north, and in some places, though he drew one inch thick
ice, as he returning in August did, came home safely again.

The fourth argument is altogether frivolous and vain, for neither is
there any isthmus or strait of land between America and Asia, nor
can these two lands jointly be one continent. The first part of my
answer is manifestly allowed by Homer, whom that excellent
geographer, Strabo, followeth, yielding him in this faculty the
prize. The author of that book likewise On the Universe to
Alexander, attributed unto Aristotle, is of the same opinion that
Homer and Strabo be of, in two or three places. Dionysius, in his
Periegesis, hath this verse, "So doeth the ocean sea run round about
the world:" speaking only of Europe, Africa, and Asia, as then Asia
was travelled and known. With these doctors may you join Pomponius
Mela, Pliny, Pius, in his description of Asia. All the which
writers do no less confirm the whole eastern side of Asia to be
compassed about with the sea; then Plato doth affirm in is Timaeus,
under the name Atlantis, the West Indies to be an island, as in a
special discourse thereof R. Eden writeth, agreeable unto the
sentence of Proclus, Marsilius Ficinus, and others. Out of Plato it
is gathered that America is an island. Homer, Strabo, Aristotle,
Dionysius, Mela, Pliny, Pius, affirm the continent of Asia, Africa,
and Europe, to be environed with the ocean. I may therefore boldly
say (though later intelligences thereof had we none at all) that
Asia and the West Indies be not tied together by any isthmus or
strait of land, contrary to the opinion of some new cosmographers,
by whom doubtfully this matter hath been brought in controversy.
And thus much for the first part of my answer unto the fourth

The second part, namely, that America and Asia cannot be one
continent, may thus be proved:- "The most rivers take down that way
their course, where the earth is most hollow and deep," writeth
Aristotle; and the sea (saith he in the same place), as it goeth
further, so is it found deeper. Into what gulf do the Moscovian
rivers Onega, Dwina, Ob, pour out their streams? northward out of
Moscovy into the sea. Which way doth that sea strike? The south is
main land, the eastern coast waxeth more and more shallow: from the
north, either naturally, because that part of the earth is higher,
or of necessity, for that the forcible influence of some northern
stars causeth the earth there to shake off the sea, as some
philosophers do think; or, finally, for the great store of waters
engendered in that frosty and cold climate, that the banks are not
able to hold them. From the north, I say, continually falleth down
great abundance of water; so this north-eastern current must at the
length abruptly bow toward us south on the west side of Finmark and
Norway, or else strike down south-west above Greenland, or betwixt
Greenland and Iceland, into the north-west strait we speak of, as of
congruence it doth, if you mark the situation of that region, and by
the report of Master Frobisher experience teacheth us. And, Master
Frobisher, the further he travelled in the former passage, as he
told me, the deeper always he found the sea. Lay you now the sum
hereof together, the rivers run where the channels are most hollow,
the sea in taking his course waxeth deeper, the sea waters fall
continually from the north southward, the north-eastern current
striketh down into the strait we speak of and is there augmented
with whole mountains of ice and snow falling down furiously out from
the land under the North Pole. Where store of water is, there is it
a thing impossible to want sea; where sea not only doth not want,
but waxeth deeper, there can be discovered no land. Finally, whence
I pray you came the contrary tide, that Master Frobisher met withal,
after that he had sailed no small way in that passage, if there be
any isthmus or strait of land betwixt the aforesaid north-western
gulf and Mare del Sur, to join Asia and America together? That
conclusion arrived at in the schools, "Whatsoever land doth neither
appertain unto Africa, nor to Europe, is part of Asia," was meant of
the parts of the world then known, and so is it of right to be

The fifth objection requireth for answer wisdom and policy in the
traveller to win the barbarians' favour by some good means; and so
to arm and strengthen himself, that when he shall have the repulse
in one coast, he may safely travel to another, commodiously taking
his convenient times, and discreetly making choice of them with whom
he will thoroughly deal. To force a violent entry would for us
Englishmen be very hard, considering the strength and valour of so
great a nation, far distant from us, and the attempt thereof might
be most perilous unto the doers, unless their park were very good.

Touching their laws against strangers, you shall read nevertheless
in the same relations of Galeotto Perera, that the Cathaian king is
wont to grant free access unto all foreigners that trade into his
country for merchandise, and a place of liberty for them to remain
in; as the Moors had, until such time as they had brought the Loutea
or Lieutenant of that coast to be a circumcised Saracen: wherefore
some of them were put to the sword, the rest were scattered abroad;
at Fuquien, a great city in China, certain of them are yet this day
to be seen. As for the Japanese, they be most desirous to be
acquainted with strangers. The Portuguese, though they were
straitly handled there at the first, yet in the end they found great
favour at the prince's hands, insomuch that the Loutea or President
that misused them was therefore put to death. The rude Indian canoe
voyageth in those seas, the Portuguese, the Saracens, and Moors
travel continually up and down that reach from Japan to China, from
China to Malacca, from Malacca to the Moluccas, and shall an
Englishman better appointed than any of them all (that I say no more
of our navy) fear to sail in that ocean? what seat at all do want
piracy? what navigation is there void of peril?

To the last argument our travellers need not to seek their return by
the north-east, neither shall they be constrained, except they list,
either to attempt Magellan's strait at the south-west, or to be in
danger of the Portuguese on the south-east; they may return by the
north-west, that same way they do go forth, as experience hath

The reason alleged for proof of the contrary may be disposed after
this manner: And first, it may be called in controversy, whether
any current continually be forced by the motion of primum mobile,
round about the world or no; for learned men do diversely handle
that question. The natural course of all waters is downward,
wherefore of congruence they fall that way where they find the earth
most low and deep: in respect whereof, it was erst said, the seas
do strike from the northern lands southerly. Violently the seas are
tossed and troubled divers ways with the winds, increased and
diminished by the course of the moon, hoisted up and down through
the sundry operations of the sun and the stars: finally, some be of
opinion that the seas be carried in part violently about the world,
after the daily motion of the highest movable heaven, in like manner
as the elements of air and fire, with the rest of the heavenly
spheres, are from the east unto the west. And this they do call
their eastern current, or Levant stream. Some such current may not
be denied to be of great force in the hot zone, for the nearness
thereof unto the centre of the sun, and blustering eastern winds
violently driving the seas westward; howbeit in the temperate climes
the sun being farther off, and the winds more diverse, blowing as
much from the north, the west, and south, as from the east, this
rule doth not effectually withhold us from travelling eastwards,
neither be we kept ever back by the aforesaid Levant winds and
stream. But in Magellan strait we are violently driven back
westward, ergo through the north-western strait or Anian frith shall
we not be able to return eastward: it followeth not. The first,
for that the north-western strait hath more sea room at the least by
one hundred English miles than Magellan's strait hath, the only want
whereof causeth all narrow passages generally to be most violent.
So would I say in the Anian Gulf, if it were so narrow as Don Diego
and Zalterius have painted it out, any return that way to be full of
difficulties, in respect of such straitness thereof, not for the
nearness of the sun or eastern winds, violently forcing that way any
Levant stream; but in that place there is more sea room by many
degrees, if the cards of Cabot and Gemma Frisius, and that which
Tramezine imprinted, be true.

And hitherto reasons see I none at all, but that I may as well give
credit unto their doings as to any of the rest. It must be
Peregrinationis historia, that is, true reports of skilful
travellers, as Ptolemy writeth, that in such controversies of
geography must put us out of doubt. Ortellius, in his universal
tables, in his particular maps of the West Indies, of all Asia, of
the northern kingdoms, of the East Indies; Mercator in some of his
globes and general maps of the world, Moletius in his universal
table of the Globe divided, in his sea-card and particular tables of
the East Indies Zanterius and Don Diego with Fernando Bertely, and
others, do so much differ both from Gemma Frisius and Cabot among
themselves, and in divers places from themselves, concerning the
divers situation and sundry limits of America, that one may not so
rashly as truly surmise these men either to be ignorant in those
points touching the aforesaid region, or that the maps they have
given out unto the world were collected only by them, and never of
their own drawing.

To the North-West for the search of the passage or strait to China,
written by Christopher Hall, and made in the year of our Lord 1576.

Upon Monday, the thirteenth of May, the barque Gabriel was launched
at Redriffe, and upon the twenty-seventh day following she sailed
from Redriffe to Ratcliffe.

The seventh of June being Thursday, the two barques, viz., the
Gabriel and the Michael, and our pinnace, set sail at Ratcliffe, and
bare down to Deptford, and there we anchored. The cause was, that
our pinnace burst her bowsprit and foremast aboard of a ship that
rowed at Deptford, else we meant to have passed that day by the
court, then at Greenwich.

The eighth day being Friday, about twelve o'clock, we weighed at
Deptford and set sail all three of us and bare down by the court,
where we shot off our ordinance, and made the best show we could;
her Majesty beholding the same commended it, and bade us farewell
with shaking her hand at us out of the window. Afterwards she sent
a gentleman aboard of us, who declared that her Majesty had good
liking of our doings, and thanked us for it, and also willed our
captain to come the next day to the court to take his leave of her.

The same day, towards night, Master Secretary Woolley came aboard of
us, and declared to the company that her Majesty had appointed him
to give them charge to be obedient, and diligent to their captain
and governors in all things, and wished us happy success.

The ninth day about noon, the wind being westerly, having our
anchors aboard ready to set sail to depart, we wanted some of our
company, and therefore stayed and moored them again.

Sunday, the tenth of June, we set sail from Blackwall at a south-
west and by west sun, the wind being at north-north-west, and sailed
to Gravesend, and anchored there at a west-north-west sun, the wind
being as before.

The twelfth day, being over against Gravesend, by the Castle or
Blockhouse, we observed the latitude, which was 51 degrees 33
minutes, and in that place the variation of the compass is 11
degrees and a half. This day we departed from Gravesend at a west-
south-west sun, the wind at north and by east a fair gale, and
sailed to the west part of Tilbury Hope, and so turned down the
Hope, and at a west sun the wind came to the east-south-east, and we
anchored in seven fathoms, being low water.

[Here there follows an abstract of the ship's log, showing the
navigation until the 28th of July, when they had sight of land
supposed to be Labrador.]

July 28th. From 4 to 8, 4 leagues: from 8. to 12, 3 leagues: from
12 to 4, north and by west, 6 leagues, but very foggy; from thence
to 8 of the clock in the morning little wind, but at the clearing up
of the fog we had sight of land, which I supposed to be Labrador,
with great store of ice about the land; I ran in towards it, and
sounded, but could get no land at 100 fathoms, and the ice being so
thick I could not get to the shore, and so lay off and came clear of
the ice. Upon Monday we came within a mile of the shore, and sought
a harbour; all the sound was full of ice, and our boat rowing ashore
could get no ground at 100 fathom, within a cable's length of the
shore; then we sailed east-north-east along the shore, for so the
land lieth, and the current is there great, setting north-east and
south-west; and if we could have gotten anchor ground we would have
seen with what force it had run, but I judge a ship may drive a
league and a half in one hour with that tide.

This day, at four of the clock in the morning, being fair and clear,
we had sight of a headland as we judged bearing from us north and by
east, and we sailed north-east and by north to that land, and when
we came thither we could not get to the land for ice, for the ice
stretched along the coast, so that we could not come to the land by
5 leagues.

Wednesday, the first of August, it calmed, and in the afternoon I
caused my boat to be hoisted out, being hard by a great island of
ice, and I and four men rowed to that ice, and sounded within two
cables' length of it, and had 16 fathoms and little stones, and
after that sounded again within a minion's shot, and had ground at
100 fathoms, and fair sand. We sounded the next day a quarter of a
mile from it, and had 60 fathoms rough ground, and at that present
being aboard, that great island of ice fell one part from another,
making a noise as if a great cliff had fallen into the sea. And at
4 of the clock I sounded again, and had 90 fathoms, and small black
stones, and little white stones like pearls. The tide here did set
to the shore.

We sailed this day south-south-east ofward, and laid it a tric.

The next day was calm and thick, with a great sea.

The next day we sailed south and by east two leagues, and at 8 of
the clock in the forenoon we cast about to the eastward.

The sixth day it cleared, and we ran north-west into the shore to
get a harbour, and being towards night, we notwithstanding kept at

The seventh day we plied room with the shore, but being near it it
waxed thick, and we bare off again.

The eighth day we bended in towards the shore again.

The ninth day we sounded, but could get no ground at 130 fathoms.
The weather was calm.

The tenth I took four men and myself, and rode to shore, to an
island one league from the main, and there the flood setteth south-
west along the shore, and it floweth as near as I could judge so
too. I could not tarry to prove it, because the ship was a great
way from me, and I feared a fog; but when I came ashore it was low
water. I went to the top of the islands and before I came back it
was hied a foot water, and so without tarrying I came aboard.

The eleventh we found our latitude to be 63 degrees and 8 minutes,
and this day entered the strait.

The twelfth we set sail towards an island called the Gabriel's
Island, which was 10 leagues then from us.

We espied a sound, and bare with it, and came to a sandy bay, where
we came to an anchor, the land bearing east-south-east of us, and
there we rode all night in 8 fathom water. It floweth there at a
south-east moon; we called it Prior's Sound, being from the
Gabriel's Island 10 leagues.

The fourteenth we weighed and ran into another sound, where we
anchored in 8 fathoms water, fair sand, and black ooze, and there
caulked our ship, being weak from the gunwales upward, and took in
fresh water.

The fifteenth day we weighed, and sailed to Prior's Bay, being a
mile from thence.

The sixteenth day was calm, and we rode still without ice, but
presently within two hours it was frozen round about the ship, a
quarter of an inch thick, and that bay very fair and calm.

The seventeenth day we weighed, and came to Thomas William's Island.

The eighteenth day we sailed north-north-west and anchored again in
23 fathoms, and caught ooze under Bircher's Island, which is from
the former island 10 leagues.

The nineteenth day in the morning, being calm, and no wind, the
captain and I took our boat, with eight men in her, to row us
ashore, to see if there were there any people, or no, and going to
the top of the island, we had sight of seven boats, which came
rowing from the east side toward that island; whereupon we returned
aboard again. At length we sent our boat, with five men in her, to
see whither they rowed, and so with a white cloth brought one of
their boats with their men along the shore, rowing after our boat,
till such time as they saw our ship, and then they rowed ashore.
Then I went on shore myself, and gave every of them a threaden
point, and brought one of them aboard of me, where he did eat and
drink, and then carried him on shore again. Whereupon all the rest
came aboard with their boats, being nineteen persons, and they
spake, but we understood them not. They be like to Tartars, with
long black hair, broad faces, and flat noses, and tawny in colour,
wearing seal skins, and so do the women, not differing in the
fashion, but the women are marked in the face with blue streaks down
the cheeks and round about the eyes. Their boats are made all of
seal skins, with a keel of wood within the skin: the proportion of
them is like a Spanish shallop, save only they be flat in the bottom
and sharp at both ends.

The twentieth day we weighed, and went to the east side of this
island, and I and the captain, with four men more, went on shore,
and there we saw their houses, and the people espying us, came
rowing towards our boat, whereupon we plied to our boat; and we
being in our boat and they ashore, they called to us, and we rowed
to them, and one of their company came into our boat, and we carried
him aboard, and gave him a bell and a knife; so the captain and I
willed five of our men to set him ashore at a rock, and not among
the company which they came from, but their wilfulness was such that
they would go to them, and so were taken themselves and our boat

The next day in the morning we stood in near the shore and shot off
a fauconet, and sounded our trumpet, but we could hear nothing of
our men. This sound we called the Five Men's Sound, and plied out
of it, but anchored again in 30 fathoms and ooze; and riding there
all night, in the morning the snow lay a foot thick upon our

The two-and-twentieth day in the morning we weighed, and went again
to the place where we lost our men and our boat. We had sight of
fourteen boats, and some came near to us, but we could learn nothing
of our men. Among the rest, we enticed one in a boat to our ship's
side with a bell; and in giving him the bell we took him and his
boat, and so kept him, and so rowed down to Thomas William's island,
and there anchored all night.

The twenty-sixth day we weighed to come homeward, and by twelve of
the clock at noon we were thwart of Trumpet's Island.

The next day we came thwart of Gabriel's Island, and at eight of the
clock at night we had the Cape Labrador west from us ten leagues.

The twenty-eighth day we went our course south-east.

We sailed south-east and by east, twenty-two leagues.

The first day of September, in the morning, we had sight of the land
of Friesland, being eight leagues from us, but we could not come
nearer it for the monstrous ice that lay about it. From this day
till the sixth of this month we ran along Iceland, and had the south
part of it at eight of the clock east from us ten leagues.

The seventh day of this month we had a very terrible storm, by force
whereof one of our men was blown into the sea out of our waste, but
he caught hold of the foresail sheet, and there held till the
captain plucked him again into the ship.

The twenty-fifth day of this month we had sight of the island of
Orkney, which was then east from us.

The first day of October we had sight of the Sheld, and so sailed
along the coast, and anchored at Yarmouth, and the next day we came
into Harwich.


Argotteyt, a hand. Attegay, a coat.
Cangnawe, a nose. Polleuetagay, a knife.
Arered, an eye. Accaskay, a ship.
Keiotot, a tooth. Coblone, a thumb.
Mutchatet, the head. Teckkere, the foremost finger.
Chewat, an ear. Ketteckle, the middle finger.
Comagaye, a leg. Mekellacane, the fourth finger.
Atoniagay, a foot.
Callagay, a pair of breeches. Yachethronc, the little finger.

Made to the West and North-West Regions in the year 1577, with a
Description of the Country and People, written by Dionise Settle.

On Whit Sunday, being the sixth-and-twentieth day of May, in the
year of our Lord God 1577, Captain Frobisher departed from
Blackwall--with one of the Queen's Majesty's ships called the Aid,
of nine score ton or thereabout, and two other little barques
likewise, the one called the Gabriel, whereof Master Fenton, a
gentleman of my Lord of Warwick's, was captain; and the other the
Michael, whereof Master York, a gentleman of my lord admiral's, was
captain, accompanied with seven score gentlemen, soldiers, and
sailors, well furnished with victuals and other provisions necessary
for one half year--on this, his second year, for the further
discovering of the passage to Cathay and other countries thereunto
adjacent, by west and north-west navigations, which passage or way
is supposed to be on the north and north-west parts of America, and
the said America to be an island environed with the sea, where
through our merchants might have course and recourse with their
merchandise from these our northernmost parts of Europe, to those
Oriental coasts of Asia in much shorter time and with greater
benefit than any others, to their no little commodity and profit
that do or shall traffic the same. Our said captain and general of
this present voyage and company, having the year before, with two
little pinnaces to his great danger, and no small commendations,
given a worthy attempt towards the performance thereof, is also
pressed when occasion shall be ministered to the benefit of his
prince and native country--to adventure himself further therein. As
for this second voyage, it seemeth sufficient that he hath better
explored and searched the commodities of those people and countries,
with sufficient commodity unto the adventurers, which, in his first
voyage the year before, he had found out.

Upon which considerations the day and year before expressed, he
departed from Blackwall to Harwich, where making an accomplishment
of things necessary, the last of May we hoisted up sails, and with a
merry wind the 7th of June we arrived at the islands called
Orchades, or vulgarly Orkney, being in number thirty, subject and
adjacent to Scotland, where we made provision of fresh water, in the
doing whereof our general licensed the gentlemen and soldiers, for
their recreation, to go on shore. At our landing the people fled
from their poor cottages with shrieks and alarms, to warn their
neighbours of enemies, but by gentle persuasions we reclaimed them
to their houses. It seemeth they are often frighted with pirates,
or some other enemies, that move them to such sudden fear. Their
houses are very simply builded with pebble stone, without any
chimneys, the fire being made in the midst thereof. The good man,
wife, children, and other of their family, eat and sleep on the one
side of the house, and their cattle on the other, very beastly and
rudely in respect of civilisation. They are destitute of wood,
their fire is turf and cow shardes. They have corn, bigge, and
oats, with which they pay their king's rent to the maintenance of
his house. They take great quantity of fish, which they dry in the
wind and sun; they dress their meat very filthily, and eat it
without salt. Their apparel is after the nudest sort of Scotland.
Their money is all base. Their Church and religion is reformed
according to the Scots. The fishermen of England can better declare
the dispositions of those people than I, wherefore I remit other
their usages to their reports, as yearly repairers thither in their
courses to and from Iceland for fish.

We departed here hence the 8th of June, and followed our course
between west and north-west until the 4th of July, all which time we
had no night, but that easily, and without any impediment, we had,
when we were so disposed, the fruition of our books, and other
pleasures to pass away the time, a thing of no small moment to such
as wander in unknown seas and long navigations, especially when both
the winds and raging surges do pass their common and wonted course.
This benefit endureth in those parts not six weeks, whilst the sun
is near the tropic of Cancer, but where the pole is raised to 70 or
80 degrees it continueth the longer.

All along these seas, after we were six days sailing from Orkney, we
met, floating in the sea, great fir trees, which, as we judged,
were, with the fury of great floods, rooted up, and so driven into
the sea. Iceland hath almost no other wood nor fuel but such as
they take up upon their coasts. It seemeth that these trees are
driven from some part of the Newfoundland, with the current that
setteth from the west to the east.

The 4th of July we came within the making of Friesland. From this
shore, ten or twelve leagues, we met great islands of ice of half a
mile, some more, some less in compass, showing above the sea thirty
or forty fathoms, and as we supposed fast on ground, where, with our
lead, we could scarce sound the bottom for depth.

Here, in place of odoriferous and fragrant smells of sweet gums and
pleasant notes of musical birds, which other countries in more
temperate zones do yield, we tasted the most boisterous Boreal
blasts, mixed with snow and hail, in the months of June and July,
nothing inferior to our untemperate winter: a sudden alteration,
and especially in a place of parallel, where the pole is not
elevated above 61 degrees, at which height other countries more to
the north, yea unto 70 degrees, show themselves more temperate than
this doth. All along this coast ice lieth as a continual bulwark,
and so defendeth the country, that those which would land there
incur great danger. Our general, three days together, attempted
with the ship boat to have gone on shore, which, for that without
great danger he could not accomplish, he deferred it until a more
convenient time. All along the coast lie very high mountains,
covered with snow, except in such places where, through the
steepness of the mountains, of force it must needs fall. Four days
coasting along this land we found no sign of habitation. Little
birds which we judged to have lost the shore, by reason of thick
fogs which that country is much subject unto, came flying to our
ships, which causeth us to suppose that the country is both more
tolerable and also habitable within than the outward shore maketh
show or signification.

From hence we departed the 8th of July, and the 16th of the same we
came with the making of land, which land our general the year before
had named the Queen's Forehand, being an island, as we judge, lying
near the supposed continent with America, and on the other side,
opposite to the same, one other island, called Halles Isle, after
the name of the master of the ship, near adjacent to the firm land,
supposed continent with Asia. Between the which two islands there
is a large entrance or strait, called Frobisher's Strait, after the
name of our general, the first finder thereof. This said strait is
supposed to have passage into the sea of Sur, which I leave unknown
as yet.

It seemeth that either here, or not far hence, the sea should have
more large entrance than in other parts within the frozen or
untemperate zone, and that some contrary tide, either from the east
or west, with main force casteth out that great quantity of ice
which cometh floating from this coast, even unto Friesland, causing
that country to seem more untemperate than others much more
northerly than the same.

I cannot judge that any temperature under the Pole, being the time
of the Sun's northern declination, half a year together, and one
whole day (considering that the sun's elevation surmounteth not
twenty-three degrees and thirty minutes), can have power to dissolve
such monstrous and huge ice, comparable to great mountains, except
by some other force, as by swift currents and tides, with the help
of the said day of half a year.

Before we came within the making of these lands, we tasted cold
storms, insomuch that it seemed we had changed with winter, if the
length of the days had not removed us from that opinion.

At our first coming, the straits seemed to be shut up with a long
mure of ice, which gave no little cause of discomfort unto us all;
but our general (to whose diligence, imminent dangers and difficult
attempts seemed nothing in respect of his willing mind for the
commodity of his prince and country), with two little pinnaces
prepared of purpose, passed twice through them to the east shore,
and the islands thereunto adjacent; and the ship, with the two
barques, lay off and on something farther into the sea from the
danger of the ice.

Whilst he was searching the country near the shore, some of the
people of the country showed themselves, leaping and dancing, with
strange shrieks and cries, which gave no little admiration to our
men. Our general, desirous to allure them unto him by fair means,
caused knives and other things to be proffered unto them, which they
would not take at our hands; but being laid on the ground, and the
party going away, they came and took up, leaving something of theirs
to countervail the same. At the length, two them, leaving their
weapons, came down to our general and master, who did the like to
them, commanding the company to stay, and went unto them, who, after
certain dumb signs and mute congratulations, began to lay hands upon
them, but they deliverly escaped, and ran to their bows and arrows
and came fiercely upon them, not respecting the rest of our company,
which were ready for their defence, but with their arrows hurt
divers of them. We took the one, and the other escaped.

Whilst our general was busied in searching the country, and those
islands adjacent on the east shore, the ships and barques, having
great care not to put far into the sea from him, for that he had
small store of victuals, were forced to abide in a cruel tempest,
chancing in the night amongst and in the thickest of the ice, which
was so monstrous that even the least of a thousand had been of force
sufficient to have shivered our ship and barques into small
portions, if God (who in all necessities hath care upon the
infirmity of man) had not provided for this our extremity a
sufficient remedy, through the light of the night, whereby we might
well discern to flee from such imminent dangers, which we avoided
within fourteen bourdes in one watch, the space of four hours. If
we had not incurred this danger amongst these monstrous islands of
ice, we should have lost our general and master, and the most of our
best sailors, which were on the shore destitute of victuals; but by
the valour of our master gunner, Master Jackman and Andrew Dier, the
master's mates, men expert both in navigation and other good
qualities, we were all content to incur the dangers afore rehearsed,
before we would, with our own safety, run into the seas, to the
destruction of our said general and his company.

The day following, being the 19th of July, our captain returned to
the ship with good news of great riches, which showed itself in the
bowels of those barren mountains, wherewith we were all satisfied.
A sudden mutation. The one part of us being almost swallowed up the
night before, with cruel Neptune's force, and the rest on shore,
taking thought for their greedy paunches how to find the way to
Newfoundland; at one moment we were racked with joy, forgetting both
where we were and what we had suffered. Behold the glory of man:
to-night contemning riches, and rather looking for death than
otherwise, and to-morrow devising how to satisfy his greedy appetite
with gold.

Within four days after we had been at the entrance of the straits,
the north-west and west winds dispersed the ice into the sea, and
made us a large entrance into the Straits, that without impediment,
on the 19th July, we entered them; and the 20th thereof our general
and master, with great diligence, sought out and sounded the west
shore, and found out a fair harbour for the ship and barques to ride
in, and named it after our master's mate, Jackman's Sound, and
brought the ship, barques, and all their company to safe anchor,
except one man which died by God's visitation.

At our first arrival, after the ship rode at anchor, general, with
such company as could well be spared from the ships, in marching
order entered the land, having special care by exhortations that at
our entrance thereinto we should all with one voice, kneeling upon
our knees, chiefly thank God for our safe arrival; secondly, beseech
Him that it would please His Divine Majesty long to continue our
Queen, for whom he, and all the rest of our company, in this order
took possession of the country; and thirdly, that by our Christian
study and endeavour, those barbarous people, trained up in paganry
and infidelity, might be reduced to the knowledge of true religion,
and to the hope of salvation in Christ our Redeemer, with other
words very apt to signify his willing mind and affection towards his
prince and country, whereby all suspicion of an undutiful subject
may credibly be judged to be utterly exempted from his mind. All
the rest of the gentlemen, and others, deserve worthily herein their
due praise and commendation.

These things in order accomplished, our general commanded all the
company to be obedient in things needful for our own safeguard to
Master Fenton, Master Yorke, and Master Beast, his lieutenant, while
he was occupied in other necessary affairs concerning our coming

After this order we marched through the country, with ensign
displayed, so far as was thought needful, and now and then heaped up
stones on high mountains and other places, in token of possession,
as likewise to signify unto such as hereafter may chance to arrive
there that possession is taken in the behalf of some other prince by
those which first found out the country.

Whose maketh navigation to these countries hath not only extreme
winds and furious seas to encounter withal, but also many monstrous
and great islands of ice: a thing both rare, wonderful, and greatly
to be regarded.

We were forced sundry times, while the ship did ride here at anchor,
to have continual watch, with boats and men ready with hawsers, to
knit fast unto such ice which with the ebb and flood were tossed to
and fro in the harbour, and with force of oars to hail them away,
for endangering the ship.

Our general certain days searched this supposed continent with
America, and not finding the commodity to answer his expectations,
after he had made trial thereof, he departed thence, with two little
barques, and men sufficient, to the east shore, being he supposed
continent of Asia, and left the ship, with most of the gentlemen
soldiers and sailors, until such time as he either thought good to
send or come for them.

The stones on this supposed continent with America be altogether
sparkled and glister in the sun like gold; so likewise doth the sand
in the bright water, yet they verify the old proverb, "All is not
gold that glistereth."

On this west shore we found a dead fish floating, which had in his
nose a horn, straight and torquet, of length two yards lacking two
inches, being broken in the top, where we might perceive it hollow,
into which some of our sailors putting spiders they presently died.
I saw not the trial hereof, but it was reported unto me of a truth,
by the virtue whereof we supposed it to be the sea unicorn.

After our general had found out good harbour for the ship and
barques to anchor in, and also such store of gold ore as he thought
himself satisfied withal, he returned to the Michael, whereof Master
Yorke aforesaid was captain, accompanied with our master and his
mate, who coasting along the west shore, not far from whence the
ship rode, they perceived a fair harbour, and willing to sound the
same, at the entrance thereof they espied two tents of seal skins,
unto which the captain, our said master, and other company resorted.
At the sight of our men the people fled into the mountains;
nevertheless, they went to their tents, where, leaving certain
trifles of ours as glasses, bells, knives, and such like things,
they departed, not taking anything of theirs except one dog. They
did in like manner leave behind them a letter, pen, ink, and paper,
whereby our men whom the captain lost the year before, and in that
people's custody, might (if any of them were alive) be advertised of
our presence and being there.

On the same day, after consultation, all the gentlemen, and others
likewise that could be spared from the ship, under the conduct and
leading of Master Philpot (unto whom, in our general's absence, and
his lieutenant, Master Beast, all the rest were obedient), went
ashore, determining to see if by fair means we could either allure
them to familiarity, or otherwise take some of them, and so attain
to some knowledge of those men whom our general lost the year

At our coming back again to the place where their tents were before,
they had removed their tents farther into the said bay or sound,
where they might, if they were driven from the land, flee with their
boats into the sea. We, parting ourselves into two companies, and
compassing a mountain, came suddenly upon them by land, who, espying
us, without any tarrying fled to their boats, leaving the most part
of their oars behind them for haste, and rowed down the bay, where
our two pinnaces met them and drove them to shore. But if they had
had all their oars, so swift are they in rowing, it had been lost
time to have chased them.

When they were landed they fiercely assaulted our men with their
bows and arrows, who wounded three of them with our arrows, and
perceiving themselves thus hurt they desperately leaped off the
rocks into the sea and drowned themselves; which if they had not
done but had submitted themselves, or if by any means we could have
taken alive (being their enemies as they judged), we would both have
saved them, and also have sought remedy to cure their wounds
received at our hands. But they, altogether void of humanity, and
ignorant what mercy meaneth, in extremities look for no other than
death, and perceiving that they should fall into our hands, thus
miserably by drowning rather desired death than otherwise to be
saved by us. The rest, perceiving their fellows in this distress,
fled into the high mountains. Two women, not being so apt to escape
as the men were, the one for her age, and the other being encumbered
with a young child, we took. The old wretch, whom divers of our
sailors supposed to be either a devil or a witch, had her buskins
plucked off to see if she were cloven-footed, and for her ugly hue
and deformity we let her go; the young woman and the child we
brought away. We named the place where they were slain Bloody
Point, and the bay or harbour Yorke's Sound, after the name of one
of the captains of the two barques.

Having this knowledge both of their fierceness and cruelty, and
perceiving that fair means as yet is not able to allure them to
familiarity, we disposed ourselves, contrary to our inclination,
something to be cruel, returned to their tents, and made a spoil of
the same, where we found an old shirt, a doublet, a girdle, and also
shoes of our men, whom we lost the year before; on nothing else unto
them belonging could we set our eyes.

Their riches are not gold, silver, or precious drapery, but their
said tents and boats made of the skins of red deer and seal skins,
also dogs like unto wolves, but for the most part black, with other
trifles, more to be wondered at for their strangeness than for any
other commodity needful for our use.

Thus returning to our ship the 3rd of August, we departed from the
west shore, supposed firm with America, after we had anchored there
thirteen days, and so the 4th thereof we came to our general on the
east shore, and anchored in a fair harbour named Anne Warwick's
Sound, and to which is annexed an island, both named after the
Countess of Warwick--Anne Warwick's Sound and Isle.

In this isle our general thought good for this voyage to freight
both the ships and barques with such stone or gold mineral as he
judged to countervail the charges of his first and this his second
navigation to these countries, with sufficient interest to the
venturers whereby they might both be satisfied for this time and
also in time to come (if it please God and our prince) to expect a
much more benefit out of the bowels of those septentrional
parallels, which long time hath concealed itself till at this
present, through the wonderful diligence and great danger of our
general and others, God is contented with the revealing thereof. It
riseth so abundantly, that from the beginning of August to the 22nd
thereof (every man following the diligence of our general) we raised
above ground 200 ton, which we judged a reasonable freight for the
ship and two barques in the said Anne Warwick's Isle.

In the meantime of our abode here some of the country people came to
show themselves unto us sundry times from the main shore, near
adjacent to the said isle. Our general, desirous to have some news
of his men whom he lost the year before, with some company with him
repaired with the ship boat to commune or sign with them for
familiarity, whereunto he is persuaded to bring them. They at the
first show made tokens that three of his five men were alive, and
desired pen, ink, and paper, and that within three or four days they
would return, and, as we judged, bring those of our men which were
living with them.

They also made signs or tokens of their king, whom they called
Cacough, and how he was carried on men's shoulders, and a man far
surmounting any of our company in bigness and stature.

With these tokens and signs of writing, pen, ink, and paper were
delivered them, which they would not take at our hands, but being
laid upon the shore, and the party gone away, they took up; which
likewise they do when they desire anything for change of theirs,
laying for that which is left so much as they think will countervail
the same, and not coming near together. It seemeth they have been
used to this trade or traffic with some other people adjoining, or
not far distant from their country.

After four days some of them showed themselves upon the firm land,
but not where they were before. Our general, very glad thereof,
supposing to hear of our men, went from the island with the boat and
sufficient company with him. They seemed very glad, and allured him
about a certain point of the land, behind which they might perceive
a company of the crafty villains to lie lurking, whom our general
would not deal withal, for that he knew not what company they were,
so with few signs dismissed them and returned to his company.

Another time, as our said general was coasting the country with two
little pinnaces, whereby at our return he might make the better
relation thereof, three of the crafty villains with a white skin
allured us to them. Once again our general, for that he hoped to
hear of his men, went towards them; at our coming near the shore
whereon they were we might perceive a number of them lie hidden
behind great stones, and those three in sight labouring by all means
possible that some would come on land; and perceiving we made no
haste, by words nor friendly signs, which they used by clapping
their hands, and being without weapon, and but three in sight, they
sought further means to provoke us thereunto. One alone laid flesh
on the shore, which we took up with the boat-hook as necessary
victuals for the relieving of the man, woman, and child whom we had
taken, for that as yet they could not digest our meat; whereby they
perceived themselves deceived of their expectation for all their
crafty allurements. Yet once again to make, as it were, a full show
of their crafty natures and subtle sleights, to the intent thereby
to have entrapped and taken some of our men, one of them
counterfeited himself impotent and lame of his legs, who seemed to
descend to the water's side with great difficulty, and to cover his
craft the more one of his fellows came down with him, and in such
places where he seemed unable to pass, he took him on his shoulders,
set him by the water's side, and departed from him, leaving him, as
it should seem, all alone; who, playing his counterfeit pageant very
well, thought thereby to provoke some of us to come on shore, not
fearing but that one of us might make our party good with a lame

Our general, having compassion of his impotency, thought good, if it
were possible, to cure him thereof; wherefore he caused a soldier to
shoot at him with his calever, which grazed before his face. The
counterfeit villain deliverly fled without any impediment at all,
and got him to his bow and arrows, and the rest from their lurking
holes with their weapons, bows, arrows, slings, and darts. Our
general caused some calevers to be shot off at them, whereby, some
being hurt, they might hereafter stand in more fear of us.

This was all the answer for this time we could have of our men, or
of our general's letter. Their crafty dealing at these three
several times being thus manifest unto us, may plainly show their
disposition in other things to be correspondent. We judged that
they used these stratagems thereby to have caught some of us for the
delivering of the man, woman, and child, whom we had taken.

They are men of a large corporature, and good proportion; their
colour is not much unlike the sunburnt countryman, who laboureth
daily in sun for his living.

They wear their hair something long, and cut before either with
stone or knife, very disorderly. Their women wear their hair long,
knit up with two loops, showing forth on either side of their faces,
and the rest faltered upon a knot. Also, some of their women tint
their faces proportionally, as chin, cheeks, and forehead and the
wrists of their hands, whereupon they lay a colour which continueth
dark azurine.

They eat their meat all raw, both flesh, fish, and fowl, or
something parboiled with blood, and a little water, which they
drink. For lack of water, they will eat ice that is hard frozen as
pleasantly as we will do sugar-candy, or other sugar.

If they, for necessity's sake, stand in need of the premises, such
grass as the country yieldeth they pluck up and eat, not daintily,
or saladwise, to allure their stomachs to appetite, but for
necessity's sake, without either salt, oils, or washing, like brute
beasts devouring the same. They neither use table, stool, or table-
cloth for comeliness: but when they are imbrued with blood, knuckle
deep, and their knives in like sort, they use their tongues as apt
instruments to lick them clean; in doing whereof they are assured to
lose none of their victuals.

They keep certain dogs, not much unlike wolves, which they yoke
together, as we do oxen and horses, to a sled or trail, and so carry
their necessaries over the ice and snow, from place to place, as the
captain, whom we have, made perfect signs. And when those dogs are
not apt for the same use, or when with hunger they are constrained
for lack of other victuals, they eat them, so that they are as
needful for them, in respect of their bigness, as our oxen are for

They apparel themselves in the skins of such beasts as they kill,
sewed together with the sinews of them. All the fowl which they
kill they skin, and make thereof one kind of garment or other to
defend them from the cold.

They make their apparel with hoods and tails, which tails they give,
when they think to gratify any friendship shown unto them; a great
sign of friendship with them. The men have them not so syde as the

The men and women wear their hose close to their legs, from the
waist to the knee, without any open before, as well the one kind as
the other. Upon their legs they wear hose of leather, with the fur
side inward, two or three pair on at once, and especially the women.
In those hose they put their knives, needles, and other things
needful to bear about. They put a bone within their hose, which
reacheth from the foot to the knee, whereupon they draw their said
hose, and so in place of garters they are holden from falling down
about their feet.

They dress their skins very soft and supple with the hair on. In
cold weather or winter they wear the fur side inward, and in summer
outward. Other apparel they have none but the said skins.

Those beasts, fishes, and fowls which they kill are their meat,
drink, apparel, houses, bedding, hose, shoes, thread, and sails for
their boats, with many other necessaries, whereof they stand in
need, and almost all their riches.

The houses are tents made of seal skins, pitched up with four fir
quarters, four-square, meeting at the top, and the skins sewed
together with sinews, and laid thereupon; they are so pitched up,
that the entrance into them is always south, or against the sun.

They have other sort of houses, which we found not to be inhabited,
which are raised with stones and whalebones, and a skin laid over
them to withstand the rain, or other weather; the entrance of them
being not much unlike an oven's mouth, whereunto, I think, they
resort for a time to fish, hunt, and fowl, and so leave them until
the next time they come thither again.

Their weapons are bows, arrows, darts, and slings. Their bows are
of wood, of a yard long, sinewed on the back with firm sinews, not
glued to, but fast girded and tied on. Their bow strings are
likewise sinews. Their arrows are three pieces, nocked with bone
and ended with bone; with those two ends, and the wood in the midst,
they pass not in length half a yard, or little more. They are
feathered with two feathers, the pen end being cut away, and the
feathers laid upon the arrow with the broad side to the wood,
insomuch, that they seem, when they are tied on, to have four
feathers. They have likewise three sorts of heads to those arrows;
one sort of stone or iron, proportioned like to a heart; the second
sort of bone much like unto a stopt head, with a hook on the same,
the third sort of bone likewise, made sharp at both sides, and sharp
pointed. They are not made very fast, but lightly tied to, or else
set in a nocke, that, upon small occasion, the arrow leaveth these
heads behind them; they are of small force except they be very near
when they shoot.

Their darts are made of two sorts: the one with many forks of bones
in the fore end, and likewise in the midst; their proportions are
not much unlike our toasting-irons, but longer; these they cast out
of an instrument of wood very readily. The other sort is greater
than the first aforesaid, with a long bone made sharp on both sides,
not much unlike a rapier, which I take to be their most hurtful

They have two sorts of boats made of leather, set out on the inner
side with quarters of wood, artificially tied together with thongs
of the same; the greater sort are not much unlike our wherries,
wherein sixteen or twenty men may sit; they have for a sail dressed
the guts of such beasts as they kill, very fine and thin, which they
sew together; the other boat is but for one man to sit and row in,
with one oar.

Their order of fishing, hunting, and fowling, are with these said
weapons; but in what sort or how they use them we have no perfect
knowledge as yet.

I can suppose their abode or habitation not to be here, for that
neither their houses nor apparel are of such force to withstand the
extremity of cold that the country seemeth to be infected withal;
neither do I see any sign likely to perform the same.

Those houses, or rather dens, which stand there, have no sign of
footway, or anything else trodden, which is one of the chiefest
tokens of habitation. And those tents, which they bring with them,
when they have sufficiently hunted and fished, they remove to other
places; and when they have sufficiently stored them of such victuals
as the country yieldeth, or bringeth forth, they return to their
winter stations or habitations. This conjecture do I make for the
infertility which I perceive to be in that country.

They have some iron, whereof they make arrow-heads, knives, and
other little instruments, to work their boats, bows, arrows, and
darts withal, which are very unapt to do anything withal, but with
great labour.

It seemeth that they have conversation with some other people, of
whom for exchange they should receive the same. They are greatly
delighted with anything that is bright or giveth a sound.

What knowledge they have of God, or what idol they adore, we have no
perfect intelligence. I think them rather anthropophagi, or
devourers of man's flesh, than otherwise; that there is no flesh or
fish which they find dead (smell it never so filthily), but they
will eat it as they find it without any other dressing. A loathsome
thing, either to the beholders or the hearers. There is no manner
of creeping beast hurtful, except some spiders (which as many affirm
are signs of great store of gold), and also certain stinging gnats,
which bite so fiercely that the place where they bite shortly after
swelleth, and itcheth very sore.

They make signs of certain people that wear bright plates of gold in
their foreheads and other places of their bodies.

The countries on both sides the straits lie very high, with rough
stony mountains, and great quantity of snow thereon. There is very
little plain ground, and no grass except a little, which is much
like unto moss that groweth on soft ground, such as we get turfs in.
There is no wood at all. To be brief, there is nothing fit or
profitable for the use of man which that country with root yieldeth
or bringeth forth; howbeit there is great quantity of deer, whose
skins are like unto asses, their heads or horns do far exceed, as
well in length as also in breadth, any in these our parts or
countries: their feet likewise are as great as our oxen's, which we
measure to be seven or eight inches in breadth. There are also
hares, wolves, fishing bears, and sea-fowl of sundry sorts.

As the country is barren and unfertile, so are they rude, and of no
capacity to culture the same to any perfection; but are contented by
their hunting, fishing, and fowling, with raw flesh and warm blood,
to satisfy their greedy paunches, which is their only glory.

There is great likelihood of earthquakes or thunder, for there are
huge and monstrous mountains, whose greatest substance are stones,
and those stones so shapen with some extraordinary means, that one
is separated from another, which is discordant from all other

There are no rivers or running springs, but such as through the heat
of the sun, with such water as descendeth from the mountains and
hills, whereon great drifts of snow do lie, are engendered.

It argueth also that there should be none; for that the earth, which
with the extremity of the winter is so frozen within, that that
water which should have recourse within the same to maintain springs
hath not his motion, whereof great waters have their origin, as by
experience is seen otherwhere. Such valleys as are capable to
receive the water, that in the summer time, by the operation of the
sun, descendeth from great abundance of snow, which continually
lieth on the mountains, and hath no passage, sinketh into the earth,
and so vanisheth away, without any runnel above the earth, by which
occasion or continual standing of the said water the earth is opened
and the great frost yieldeth to the force thereof, which in other
places, four or five fathoms within the ground, for lack of the said
moisture, the earth even in the very summer time is frozen, and so
combineth the stones together, that scarcely instruments with great
force can unknit them.

Also, where the water in those valleys can have no such passage
away, by the continuance of time in such order as is before
rehearsed, the yearly descent from the mountains filleth them full,
that at the lowest bank of the same they fall into the next valley,
and so continue as fishing ponds, in summer time full of water, and
in the winter hard frozen, as by scars that remain thereof in summer
may easily be perceived; so that the heat of summer is nothing
comparable or of force to dissolve the extremity of cold that cometh
in winter.

Nevertheless, I am assured, that below the force of the frost,
within the earth, the waters have recourse, and empty themselves out
of sight into the sea, which, through the extremity of the frost,
are constrained to do the same; by which occasion, the earth within
is kept the warmer, and springs have their recourse, which is the
only nutriment of gold and minerals within the same.

There is much to be said of the commodities of these countries,
which are couched within the bowels of the earth, which I let pass
till more perfect trial be made thereof.

Thus conjecturing, till time, with the earnest industry of our
general and others (who, by all diligence, remain pressed to explore
the truth of that which is unexplored, as he hath to his everlasting
praise found out that which is like to yield an innumerable benefit
to his prince and country), offer further trial, I conclude.

The 23rd August, after we had satisfied our minds with freight
sufficient for our vessels, though not our covetous desires, with
such knowledge of the country, people, and other commodities as are
before rehearsed, the 24th thereof we departed there hence: the
17th of September we fell with the Land's End of England, and so to
Milford Haven, from whence our general rowed to the court for order
to what port or haven to conduct the ship.

We lost our two barques in the way homeward, the one the 29th of
August, the other the 31st of the same month, by occasion of great
tempest and fog; howbeit, God restored the one to Bristol, and the
other making his course by Scotland to Yarmouth. In this voyage we
lost two men, one in the way by God's visitation, and the other
homeward, cast overboard with a surge of the sea.

I could declare unto the readers the latitude and longitude of such
places and regions as we have been at, but not altogether so
perfectly as our masters and others, with many circumstances of
tempests and other accidents incident to seafaring men, which seem
not altogether strange, but I let them pass to their reports as men
most apt to set forth and declare the same. I have also left the
names of the countries on both the shores untouched for lack of
understanding the people's language, as also for sundry respects not
needful as yet to be declared.

Countries new explored, where commodity is to be looked for, do
better accord with a new name given by the explorers than an
uncertain name by a doubtful author.

Our general named sundry islands, mountains, capes, and harbours
after the names of divers noblemen, and other gentlemen his friends,
as well on the one shore as also on the other.

Made by Master Martin Frobisher, in the year 1578, written by Thomas

These are to let you know, that upon the 25th May, the Thomas Allen,
being vice-admiral, whose captain was Master Yorke; Master Gibbes,
master; Master Christopher Hall, pilot, accompanied with the rear-
admiral, named the Hopewell, whose captain was Master Henry Carew,
the Master Andrew Dier, and certain other ships, came to Gravesend,
where we anchored, and abode the coming of certain other of our
fleet, which were not yet come.

The 27th of the same month, our fleet being now come together, and
all things pressed in a readiness, the wind favouring and tide
serving, we being of sails in number eight, weighed anchors, and
hoisted our sails towards Harwich, to meet with our admiral and the
residue, which then and there abode our arrival, where we safely
arrived the 28th thereof; finding there our admiral, whom we, with
the discharge of certain pieces, saluted (according to order and
duty), and were welcomed with the like courtesy, which being
finished we landed, where our general continued mustering his
soldiers and miners, and setting things in order appertaining to the
voyage, until the last of the said month of May, which day we
hoisted our sails, and committing ourselves to the conducting of
Almighty God, we set forward toward the West Country, in such lucky
wise and good success, that by the 5th June we passed the Dursies,
being the utmost part of Ireland, to the westward.

And here it were not much amiss, nor far from our purpose, if I
should a little discourse and speak of our adventures and chances by
the way, as our landing at Plymouth, as also the meeting of certain
poor men, which were robbed and spoiled of all that they had by
pirates and rovers; amongst whom was a man of Bristol, on whom our
general used his liberality, and sent him away with letters into

But because such things are impertinent to the matter, I will return
(without any more mentioning of the same) to that from which I have
digressed and swerved, I mean our ships, now sailing on the surging
seas, sometimes passing at pleasure with a wished eastern wind,
sometimes hindered of our course again by the western blasts, until
the 20th day of the foresaid month of June, on which day in the
morning we fell in with Friesland, which is a very high and cragged
land, and was almost clean covered with snow, so that we might see
nought but craggy rocks and the tops of high and huge hills,
sometimes (and for the most part) all covered with foggy mists.
There might we also perceive the great isles of ice lying on the
seas like mountains, some small, some big, of sundry kinds of
shapes, and such a number of them, that we could not come near the
shore for them.

Thus sailing along the coast, at the last we saw a place somewhat
void of ice, where our general (accompanied with certain other) went
ashore, where they saw certain tents made of beasts' skins, and
boats much like unto theirs of Meta Incognita. The tents were
furnished with flesh, fish, skins, and other trifles: amongst the
which was found a box of nails, whereby we did conjecture that they
had either artificers amongst them, or else a traffic with some
other nation. The men ran away, so that we could have no conference
or communication with them. Our general (because he would have them
no more to flee, but rather encouraged to stay through his courteous
dealing) gave commandment that his men should take nothing away with
them, saving only a couple of white dogs, for which he left pins,
points, knives, and other trifling things, and departed, without
taking or hurting anything, and so came aboard, and hoisted sails
and passed forwards.

But being scarce out of the sight thereof, there fell such a fog and
hideous mist that we could not see one another; whereupon we struck
our drums, and sounded our trumpets to the end we might keep
together; and so continued all that day and night, till the next
day, that the mist brake up; so that we might easily perceive all
the ships thus sailing together all that day, until the next day,
being the 22nd of the same, on which day we saw an infinite number
of ice, from the which we cast about to shun the danger thereof.

But one of our small barques named the Michael, whose captain was
Master Kinderslie, the master, Bartholomew Bull, lost our company,
insomuch that we could not obtain the sight of her many days after,
of whom I mean to speak further anon, when occasion shall be
ministered, and opportunity served. Thus we continued on our course
until the 2nd of July, on which day we fell with the Queen's
Foreland, where we saw so much ice, that we thought it impossible to
get into the straits, yet at the last we gave the adventure, and
entered the ice.

Being in amongst it, we saw the Michael, of whom I spake before,
accompanied with the, Judith, whose captain was Master Fenton, the
master, Charles Jackman, bearing into the aforesaid ice, far distant
from us, who in a storm that fell that present night (whereof I will
at large, God willing, discourse hereafter), were severed from us,
and being in, wandered up and down the straits amongst the ice, many
days in great peril, till at the last (by the providence of God)
they came safely to harbour in their wished port in the Countess of
Warwick's Sound the 20th July aforesaid, ten days before any of the
other ships; who going on shore, found where the people of the
country had been, and had hid their provision in great heaps of
stone, being both of flesh and fish, which they had killed, whereof
we also found great store in other places after our arrival. They
found also divers engines, as bows, slings, and darts. They found
likewise certain pieces of the pinnace which our general left there
the year before; which pinnace he had sunk, minding to have it again
the next year.

Now, seeing I have entreated so much of the Judith and the Michael,
I will return to the rest of the other ships, and will speak a
little of the storm which fell, with the mishaps that we had, the
night that we put into the ice, whereof I made mention before.

At the first entry into the ice, in the mouth of the straits, our
passage was very narrow and difficult; but being once gotten in, we
had a fair, open place without any ice for the most part; being a
league in compass, the ice being round about us, and enclosing us,
as it were, within the pales of a park. In which place (because it
was almost night) we minded to take in our sails and lie a hull all
that night. But the storm so increased, and the waves began to
mount aloft, which brought the ice so near us, and coming in so fast
upon us, that we were fain to bear in and out, where ye might espy
an open place. Thus the ice coming on us so fast we were in great
danger, looking every hour for death, and thus passed we on in that
great danger, seeing both ourselves and the rest of our ships so
troubled and tossed amongst the ice, that it would make the
strongest-heart to relent.

At the last, the barque Dionyse, being but a weak ship, and bruised
afore amongst the ice, being so leak that she no longer could carry
above water, sank without saving any of the goods which were in her:
the sight so abashed the whole fleet, that we thought verily we
should have tasted of the same sauce. But nevertheless, we seeing
them in such danger, manned our boats, and saved all the men, in
such wise that not one perished. (God be thanked.)

The storm still increased and the ice enclosed us, that we were fain
to take down top and topmasts; for the ice had so environed us, that
we could see neither land nor sea as far as we could ken; so that we
were fain to cut our cables to hang overboard for fenders, somewhat
to ease the ship's sides from the great and dreary strokes of the
ice; some with capstan bars, some fending off with oars, some with
planks of two inches thick, which were broken immediately with the
force of the ice, some going out upon the ice, to bear it off with
their shoulders from the ships. But the rigorousness of the tempest
was such, and the force of the ice so great, that not only they
burst and spoiled the foresaid provision, but likewise so raised the
sides of the ships that it was pitiful to behold, and caused the
hearts of many to faint.

Thus continued we all that dismal and lamentable night, plunged in
this perplexity, looking for instant death; but our God (who never
leaveth them destitute which faithfully call upon Him), although He
often punisheth for amendment's sake, in the morning caused the
winds to cease, and the fog, which all that night lay on the face of
the water, to clear, so that we might perceive about a mile from us
a certain place clear from any ice, to the which with an easy breath
of wind, which our God sent us, we bent ourselves, and furthermore
He provided better for us than we deserved, or hoped for; for when
we were in the foresaid clear place, He sent us a fresh gale at
west, or at west-south-west, which set us clear without all the ice.
And further He added more, for He sent us so pleasant a day, as the
like we had not of a long time before, as after punishment

Thus we joyful whites, being at liberty, took in all our sails, and
lay a hull, praising God for our deliverance, and stayed to gather
together our fleet; which once being done, we seeing that none of
them had any great hurt, neither any of them wanted, saving only
they of whom I spake before, and the ship which was lost, then at
the last we hoisted our sails, and lay bulting off and on, till such
time as it would please God to take away the ice, that we might get
into the straits.

As we thus lay off and on, we came by a marvellous huge mountain of
ice, which surpassed all the rest that ever we saw, for we judged it
to be near four score fathoms above water, and we thought it to be
aground for anything that we could perceive, being there nine score
fathoms deep, and of compass about half a mile.

Also the fifth of July there fell a hideous fog and mist, that
continued till the nineteenth of the same, so that one ship could
not see another. Therefore we were fain to bear a small sail, and
to observe the time, but there ran such a current of tide, that it
set us to the north-west of the Queen's Forehand, the back side of
all the straits, where (through the contagious fog having no sight
either of sun or star) we scarce knew where we were. In this fog
the 10th July we lost the company of the Vice-Admiral, the Anne
Francis, the Busse of Bridgewater, and the Francis of Foy.

The sixteenth day, one of our small barques, named the Gabriel, was
sent by our general to bear in with the land, to descry it, where,
being on land, they met with the people of the country, which seemed
very humane and civilised, and offered to traffic with our men,
proffering them fowls and skins for knives and other trifles, whose
courtesy caused us to think that they had small conversation with
the other of the straits. Then we bare back again, to go with the
Queen's Forehand, and the 18th day we came by two islands, whereon
we went on shore, and found where the people had been, but we saw
none of them. This day we were again in the ice, and like to be in
as great peril as we were at the first. For through the darkness
and obscurity of the foggy mist we were almost run on rocks and
islands before we saw them: but God (even miraculously) provided
for us, opening the fogs that we might see clearly, both where and
in what danger we presently were, and also the way to escape; or
else, without fail we had ruinously run upon the rocks.

When we knew perfectly our instant case, we cast about to get again
on sea board, which (God be thanked) by might we obtained, and
praised God. The clear continued scarce an hour, but the fog fell
again as thick as ever it was.

Then the Rear-Admiral and the Bear got themselves clear without
danger of ice and rocks, struck their sails and lay a hull, staying
to have the rest of the fleet come forth, which as yet had not found
the right way to clear themselves from the danger of rocks and ice,
until the next morning, at what time the Rear-Admiral discharged
certain warning pieces, to give notice that she had escaped, and
that the rest (by following of her) might set themselves free, which
they did that day. Then having gathered ourselves together, we
proceeded on our purposed voyage, bearing off, and keeping ourselves
distant from the coast, until the 19th day of July, at which time
the fogs brake up and dispersed, so that we might plainly and
clearly behold the pleasant air which had so long been taken from us
by the obscurity of the foggy mists; and, after that time, we were
not much encumbered therewith until we had left the confines of the

Then we, espying a fair sound, supposed it to go into the straits,
between the Queen's Foreland and Jackman's Sound, which proved as we
imagined. For our general sent forth again the Gabriel to discover
it, who passed through with much difficulty, for there ran such an
extreme current of a tide, with so horrible a gulf, that with a
fresh gale of wind they were scarce able to stem it, yet at the
length with great travel they passed it, and came to the straits,
where they met with the Thomas Allen, the Thomas of Ipswich, and the
Busse of Bridgewater, who all together adventured to bear into the
ice again, to see if they could obtain their wished port. But they
were so encumbered, that with much difficulty they were able to get
out again, yet at the last they escaping the Thomas Allen and the
Gabriel, bear in with the western shore, where they found harbour,
and they moored their ships until the 4th of August, at which time
they came to us, in the Countess of Warwick's Sound. The Thomas of
Ipswich caught a great leak, which caused her to cast again to sea
board, and so was mended.

We sailed along still by the coast until we came to the Queen's
Forehand, at the point whereof we met with part of the gulf
aforesaid, which place or gulf (as some of our masters do credibly
report) doth flow nine hours and ebbs but three. At that point we
discovered certain lands southward, which neither time nor
opportunity would serve to search. Then being come to the mouth of
the straits, we met with the Anne Francis, who had lain bulting up
and down ever since her departure alone, never finding any of her
company. We met then also the Francis of Foy, with whom again we
intended to venture and get in, but the ice was yet so thick, that
we were compelled again to retire and get us on sea board.

There fell also the same day, being the 26th July, such a horrible
snow, that it lay a foot thick upon the hatches, which froze as fast
as it fell.

We had also at other times divers cruel storms, both snow and hail,
which manifestly declared the distemperature of the country: yet
for all that we were so many times repulsed and put back from our
purpose, knowing that lingering delay was not profitable for us, but
hurtful to our voyage, we mutually consented to our valiant general
once again to give the onset.

The 28th day, therefore, of the same July we assayed, and with
little trouble (God be praised) we passed the dangers by daylight.
Then night falling on the face of the earth, we hulled in the clear,
till the cheerful light of the day had chased away the noisome
darkness of the night, at which the we set forward toward our wished
port; by the 30th day we obtained our expected desire, where we
found the Judith and the Michael, which brought no small joy unto
the general, and great consolation to the heavy hearts of those
wearied wights.

The 30th day of July we brought our ships into the Countess of
Warwick's Sound, and moored them, namely these ships, the Admiral,
the Rear-Admiral, the Francis of Foy, the Bear, Armenel, the
Salomon, and the Busse of Bridgewater, which being done, our general
commanded us all to come ashore upon the Countess Island, where he
set his miners to work upon the mine, giving charge with expedition
to despatch with their lading.

Our general himself, accompanied with his gentleman, divers times
made roads into sundry parts of the country, as well to find new
mines as also to find out and see the people of the country. He
found out one mine, upon an island by Bear's Sound, and named it the
Countess of Sussex Island. One other was found in Winter's Fornace,
with divers others, to which the ships were sent sunderly to be
laden. In the same roads he met with divers of the people of the
country at sundry times, as once at a place called David's Sound,
who shot at our men, and very desperately gave them the onset, being
not above three or four in number, there being of our countrymen
above a dozen; but seeing themselves not able to prevail, they took
themselves to flight, whom our men pursued, but being not used to
such craggy cliffs, they soon lost the sight of them, and so in vain

We also saw them at Bear's Sound, both by sea and land, in great
companies; but they would at all times keep the water between them
and us. And if any of our ships chanced to be in the sound (as they
came divers times), because the harbour was not very good, the ship
laded, and departed again; then so long as any ships were in sight,
the people would not be seen. But when as they perceived the ships
to be gone, they would not only show themselves standing upon high
cliffs, and call us to come over unto them, but also would come in
their boats very near to us, as it were to brag at us; whereof our
general, having advertisement, sent for the captain and gentlemen of
the ships to accompany and attend upon him, with the captain also of
the Anne Francis, who was but the night before come unto us. For
they and the fleet-boat, having lost us the 26th day, in the great
snow, put into a harbour in the Queen's Forehand, where they found
good ore, wherewith they laded themselves, and came to seek the
general; so that now we had all our ships, saving one barque, which
was lost, and the Thomas of Ipswich who (compelled by what fury I
know not) forsook our company, and returned home without lading.

Our general, accompanied with his gentlemen (of whom I spake), came
altogether to the Countess of Sussex Island, near to Bear's Sound,
where he manned out certain pinnaces and went over to the people,
who, perceiving his arrival, fled away with all speed, and in haste
left certain darts and other engines behind them which we found, but
the people we could not find.

The next morning our general, perceiving certain of them in boat
upon the sea, gave chase to them in a pinnace under sail, with a
fresh gale of wind, but could by no means come near unto them, for
the longer he sailed the farther off he was from them, which well
showed their cunning and activity. Thus time wearing away, and the
day of our departure approaching, our general commanded to lade with
all expedition, that we might be again on sea board with our ship;
for whilst we were in the country we were in continual danger of
freezing in, for often snow and hail, often the water was so much
frozen and congealed in the night, that in the morning we could
scarce row our boats or pinnaces, especially in Dier's Sound, which
is a calm and still water, which caused our general to make the more
haste, so that by the 30th day of August we were all laden, and made
all things ready to depart. But before I proceed any further
herein, to show what fortune befell at our departure, I will turn my
pen a little to Master Captain Fenton, and those gentlemen which
should have inhabited all the year in those countries, whose valiant
minds were much to be commended, that neither fear of force, nor the
cruel nipping storms of the raging winter, neither the intemperature
of so unhealthful a country, neither the savageness of the people,
neither the sight and show of such and so many strange meteors,
neither the desire to return to their native soil, neither regard of
friends, neither care of possessions and inheritances, finally, not
the love of life (a thing of all other most sweet), neither the
terror of dreadful death itself, might seem to be of sufficient
force to withdraw their prowess, or to restrain from that purpose,
thereby to have profited their country; but that with most willing
hearts, venturous minds, stout stomachs, and singular manhood, they
were content there to have tarried for the time, among a barbarous
and uncivilised people, infidels and miscreants, to have made their
dwelling, not terrified with the manifold and imminent dangers which
they were like to run into; and seeing before their eyes so many
casualties, whereto their life was subject, the least whereof would
have made a milksop Thersites astonished and utterly discomfited;
being, I say, thus minded and purposed, they deserved special
commendation, for, doubtless, they had done as they intended, if
luck had not withstood their willingness, and if that fortune had
not so frowned upon their intents.

For the bark Dionyse, which was lost, had in her much of their
house, which was prepared and should have been builded for them,
with many other implements. Also the Thomas of Ipswich, which had
most of their provision in her, came not into the straits at all,
neither did we see her since the day we were separated in the great
snow (of which I spake before). For these causes, having not their
house nor yet provision, they were disappointed of their pretence to
tarry, and therefore laded their ships and so came away with us.

But before we took shipping, we builded a little house in the
Countess of Warwick's Island, and garnished it with many kinds of
trifles, as pins, points, laces, glasses, combs, babes on horseback
and on foot, with innumerable other such fancies and toys, thereby
to allure and entice the people to some familiarity against other

Thus having finished all things we departed the country (as I said
before); but because the Busse had not lading enough in her, she put
into Bear's Sound to take a little more. In the meanwhile, the
Admiral, and the rest without the sea, stayed for her. And that
night fell such an outrageous tempest, beating on our ships with
such vehement rigour that anchor and cable availed nought, for we
were driven on rocks and islands of ice, insomuch that had not the
great goodness of God been miraculously showed to us, we had been
cast away every man. This danger was more doubtful and terrible
than any that preceded or went before, for there was not any one
ship (I think) that escaped without damage. Some lost anchor, and
also gables, some boats, some pinnaces, some anchor, gables, boats,
and pinnaces.

This boisterous storm so severed us one from another, that one ship
knew not what was become of another. The Admiral knew not where to
find the Vice-Admiral or Rear-Admiral, or any other ship of our
company. Our general, being on land in Bear's Sound, could not come
to his ship, but was compelled to go aboard the Gabriel, where he
continued all the way homewards, for the boisterous blasts continued
so extremely, and so long a time, that it sent us homeward (which
was God's favour towards us), will we, nill we, in such haste, as
not any one of us were able to keep in company of other, but were
separated. And if by chance any one ship did overtake other by
swiftness of sail, or met (as they often did), yet was the rigour of
the wind so hideous, that they could not continue company together
the space of one whole night.

Thus our journey outward was not so pleasant, but our coming
thither, entering the coasts and country by narrow straits, perilous
ice, and swift tides, our times of abode there in snow and storms,
and our departure from thence, the 3rd of August, with dangerous
blustering winds and tempest's, which that night arose, was as
uncomfortable, separating us so, as we sailed, that not any of us
met together until the 28th of September, which day we fell on the
English coasts, between Scilly and the Land's End, and passed the
Channel, until our arrival in the river Thames.

Passenger in the "Emmanuel," otherwise called the "Busse of
Bridgewater," wherein James Leeche was Master, one of the ships in
the last voyage of Master Martin Frobisher, 1578, concerning the
discovery of the great island in their way homeward, the 12th of

The Busse of Bridgewater was left in Bear's Sound, at Meta
Incognita, the 2nd day of September, behind the fleet, in some
distress, through much wind riding near the lee shore, and forced
there to ride it out upon the hazard of her cables and anchors,
which were all aground but two. The 3rd of September being fair
weather, and the wind north-north-west, she set sail, and departed
thence and fell with Friesland, on he 8th day of September, at six
of the clock at night, and then they set off from the south-west
point of Friesland, the wind being at east and east-south-east; but
that night the wind veered southerly, and shifted oftentimes that
night. But on the 10th day, in the morning, the wind at west-north-
west, fair weather, they steered south-east and by south, and
continued that course until the 12th day of September, when about 11
o'clock before noon they descried a land, which was from them about
five leagues, and the southernmost part of it was south-east-by-east
from them, and the northernmost next north-north-east, or north-
east. The master accounted that Friesland, the south-east point of
it, was from him at that instant, when he first descried this new
island, north-west-by-north fifty leagues. They account this island
to be twenty-five leagues long, and the longest way of it south-east
and north-west. The southern part of it is in the latitude of
fifty-seven degrees and one second part, or thereabout. They
continued in sight of it from the twelfth day at eleven of the clock
till the thirteenth day three of the clock in the afternoon, when
they left it; and the last part they saw of it bare from them north-
west-by-north. There appeared two harbours upon that coast, the
greatest of them seven leagues to the northwards of the southernmost
point, the other but four leagues. There was very much ice near the
same land, and also twenty or thirty leagues from it, for they were
not clear of ice till the 15th day of September, afternoon. They
plied their voyage homeward, and fell with the west part of Ireland,
about Galway, and had first sight of it on the 25th day of

Undertaken in June, 1585, for the discovery of the North-West
Passage, written by John James Marchant, servant to the Worshipful
Master William Sanderson.

Certain honourable personages and worthy gentlemen of the Court and
country, with divers worshipful merchants of London and of the West
Countrie, moved with desire to advance God's glory, and to seek the
good of their native country, consulting together of the likelihood
of the discovery of the North-West Passage, which heretofore had
been attempted, but unhappily given over by accidents unlooked for,
which turned the enterprisers from their principal purpose,
resolved, after good deliberation, to put down their adventures, to
provide for necessary shipping, and a fit man to be chief conductor
of this so hard an enterprise. The setting forth of this action was
committed by the adventurers especially to the care of Master
William Sanderson, merchant of London, who was so forward therein,
that besides his travel, which was not small, he became the greatest
adventurer with his purse, and commended unto the rest of the
company one Master John Davis, a man very well grounded in the
principles of the art of navigation, for captain and chief pilot of
this exploit.

Thus, therefore, all things being put in a readiness, we departed
from Dartmouth the 7th of June towards the discovery of the
aforesaid North-West Passage with two barques, the one being of
fifty tons, named the Sunshine, of London, and the other being
thirty-five tons, named the Moonshine, of Dartmouth. In the
Sunshine we had twenty-three persons, whose names are these
following: Master John Davis, captain; William Eston, master;
Richard Pope, master's mate; John Jane, merchant; Henry Davie,
gunner; William Crosse, boatswain; John Bagge, Walter Arthur, Luke
Adams, Robert Coxworthie, John Ellis, John Kelly, Edward Helman,
William Dicke, Andrew Maddocke, Thomas Hill, Robert Wats, carpenter,
William Russell, Christopher Gorney, boy; James Cole, Francis
Ridley, John Russel, Robert Cornish, musicians.

The Moonshine had nineteen persons, William Bruton, captain; John
Ellis, master; the rest mariners.

The 7th of June the captain and the master drew out a proportion for
the continuance of our victuals.

The 8th day, the wind being at south-west and west-south-west, we
put in for Falmouth, where we remained until the 13th.

The 13th the wind blew at north, and being fair weather we departed.

The 14th, with contrary wind, we were forced to put into Scilly.

The 15th we departed thence, having the wind north and by east,
moderate and fair weather.

The 16th we were driven back again, and were constrained to arrive
at New Grimsby, at Scilly; here the wind remained contrary twelve
days, and in that space the captain, the master, and I went about
all the islands, and the captain did plan out and describe the
situation of all the islands, rocks, and harbours to the exact use
of navigation, with lines and scale thereunto convenient.

The 28th, in God's name, we departed, the wind being easterly, but

The 29th very foggy.

The 30th foggy.

The 1st of July we saw great store of porpoises, the master called
for a harping-iron, and shot twice or thrice; sometimes he missed,
and at last shot one and struck him in the side, and wound him into
the ship; when we had him aboard, the master said it was a darley

The 2nd we had some of the fish boiled, and it did eat as sweet as
any mutton.

The 3rd we had more in sight, and the master went to shoot at them,
but they were so great, that they burst our irons, and we lost both
fish, irons, pastime, and all; yet, nevertheless, the master shot at
them with a pike, and had well-nigh gotten one, but he was so
strong, that he burst off the bars of the pike and went away. Then
he took the boat-hook, and hit one with that; but all would not
prevail, so at length we let them alone.

The 6th we saw a very great whale, and every day after we saw whales

The 16th, 17th, and 18th we saw great store of whales.

The 19th of July we fell into a great whirling and brustling of a
tide, setting to the northward; and sailing about half a league we
came into a very calm sea, which bent to the south-south-west. Here
we heard a mighty great roaring of the sea, as if it had been the
breach of some shore, the air being so foggy and full of thick mist,
that we could not see the one ship from the other, being a very
small distance asunder; so the captain and the master, being in
distrust how the tide might set them, caused the Moonshine to hoist
out her boat and to sound, but they could not find ground in three
hundred fathoms and better. Then the captain, master, and I went
towards the breach to see what it should be, giving charge to our
gunners that at every blast they should shoot off a musket shot, to
the intent we might keep ourselves from losing them; then coming
near to the breach, we met many islands of ice floating, which had
quickly compassed us about. Then we went upon some of them, and did
perceive that all the roaring which we heard was caused only by the
rolling of this ice together. Our company seeing us not to return
according to our appointment, left off shooting muskets and began to
shoot falconets, for they feared some mishap had befallen us; but
before night we came aboard again, with our boat laden with ice,
which made very good fresh water. Then we bent our course toward
the north, hoping by that means to double the land.

The 20th, as we sailed along the coast, the fog brake up, and we
discovered the land, which was the most deformed, rocky, and
mountainous land that ever we saw, the first sight whereof did show
as if it had been in form of a sugar loaf, standing to our sight
above the clouds, for that it did show over the fog like a white
liste in the sky, the tops altogether covered with snow, and the
shore beset with ice a league off into the sea, making such irksome
noise as that it seemed to be the true pattern of desolation, and
after the same our captain named it the land of desolation.

The 21st the wind came northerly and overblew, so that we were
constrained to bend our course south again, for we perceived that we
were run into a very deep bay, where we were almost compassed with
ice, for we saw very much towards the north-north-east, west, and
south-west; and this day and this night we cleared ourselves of the
ice, running south-south-west along the shore.

Upon Thursday, being the 22nd of this month, about three of the
clock in the morning, we hoisted out our boat, and the captain, with
six sailors, went towards the shore, thinking to find a landing-
place, for the night before we did perceive the coast to be void of
ice to our judgment; and the same night we were all persuaded that
we had seen a canoe rowing along the shore, but afterwards we fell
in some doubt of it, but we had no great reason so to do. The
captain, rowing towards the shore, willed the master to bear in with
the land after him; and before he came near the shore, by the space
of a league, or about two miles, he found so much ice that he could
not get to land by any means. Here our mariners put to their lines
to see if they could get any fish, because there were so many seals
upon the coast, and the birds did beat upon the water, but all was
in vain: the water about this coast was very black and thick, like
to a filthy standing pool; we sounded, and had ground in 120
fathoms. While the captain was rowing to the shore our men saw
woods upon the rocks, like to the rocks of Newfoundland, but I could
not discern them; yet it might be so very well, for we had wood
floating upon the coast every day, and the Moonshine took up a tree
at sea not far from the coast, being sixty foot of length and
fourteen handfuls about, having the root upon it. After, the
captain came aboard, the weather being very calm and fair, we bent
our course toward the south with intent to double the land.

The 23rd we coasted the land which did lie east-north-east and west-

The 24th, the wind being very fair at east, we coasted the land,
which did lie east and west, not being able to come near the shore
by reason of the great quantity of ice. At this place, because the
weather was somewhat cold by reason of the ice, and the better to
encourage our men, their allowance was increased. The captain and
the master took order that every mess, being five persons, should
have half a pound of bread and a can of beer every morning to
breakfast. The weather was not very cold, but the air was moderate,
like to our April weather in England. When the wind came from the
land or the ice it was somewhat cold, but when it came off the sea
it was very hot.

The 25th of this month we departed from sight of this land at six of
the clock in the morning, directing our course to the north-
westward, hoping in God's mercy to find our desired passage, and so
continued above four days.

The 29th of July we discovered land in 64 degrees 15 minutes of
latitude, bearing north-east from us. The wind being contrary to go
to the north-westward, we bear in with this land to take some view
of it, being utterly void of the pester of ice, and very temperate.
Coming near the coast we found many fair sounds and good roads for
shipping, and many great inlets into the land, whereby we judged
this land to be a great number of islands standing together. Here,
having moored our barque in good order, we went on shore upon a
small island to seek for water and wood. Upon this island we did
perceive that there had been people, for we found a small shoe and
pieces of leather sewed with sinews and a piece of fur, and wool
like to beaver. Then we went upon another island on the other side
of our ships, and the captain, the master, and I, being got up to
the top of a high rock, the people of the country having espied us
made a lamentable noise, as we thought, with great outcries and
screechings; we, hearing them, thought it had been the howling of
wolves. At last I halloed again, and they likewise cried; then we,
perceiving where they stood--some on the shore, and one rowing in a
canoe about a small island fast by them--we made a great noise,
partly to allure them to us and partly to warn our company of them.
Whereupon Master Bruton and the master of his ship, with others of
their company, made great haste towards us, and brought our
musicians with them from our ship, purposing either by force to
rescue us, if needs should so require, or with courtesy to allure
the people. When they came unto us we caused our musicians to play,
ourselves dancing and making many signs of friendship. At length
there came ten canoes from the other islands, and two of them came
so near the shore where we were that they talked with us, the other
being in their boats a pretty way off. Their pronunciation was very
hollow through the throat, and their speech such as we could not
understand, only we allured them by friendly embracings and signs of
courtesy. At length one of them, pointing up to the sun with his
hand, would presently strike his breast so hard that we might hear
the blow. This he did many times before he would any way trust us.
Then John Ellis, the master of the Moonshine, was appointed to use
his best policy to gain their friendship, who shook his breast and
pointed to the sun after their order, which when he had divers times
done they began to trust him, and one of them came on shore, to whom
we threw our caps, stockings, and gloves, and such other things as
then we had about us, playing with our music, and making signs of
joy, and dancing. So the night coming we bade them farewell, and
went aboard our barques.

The next morning, being the 30th of July, there came thirty-seven
canoes rowing by our ships calling to us to come on shore; we not
making any great haste unto them, one of them went up to the top of
the rock, and leaped and danced as they had done the day before,
showing us a seal skin, and another thing made like a timbrel, which
he did beat upon with a stick, making a noise like a small drum.
Whereupon we manned our boats and came to them, they all staying in
their canoes. We came to the water's side, where they were, and
after we had sworn by the sun after their fashion they did trust us.
So I shook hands with one of them, and he kissed my hand, and we
were very familiar with them. We were in so great credit with them
upon this single acquaintance that we could have anything they had.
We bought five canoes of them; we bought their clothes from their
backs, which were all made of seal skins and birds' skins; their
buskins, their hose, their gloves, all being commonly sewed and well
dressed, so that we were fully persuaded that they have divers
artificers among them. We had a pair of buskins of them full of
fine wool like beaver. Their apparel for heat was made of birds'
skins with their feathers on them. We saw among them leather
dressed like glover's leather, and thick thongs like white leather
of good length. We had of their darts and oars, and found in them
that they would by no means displease us, but would give us
whatsoever we asked of them, and would be satisfied with whatsoever
we gave them. They took great care one of another, for when we had
bought their boats then two other would come, and carry him away
between them that had sold us his. They are a very tractable
people, void of craft or double dealing, and easy to be brought to
any civility or good order, but we judged them to be idolaters, and
to worship the sun.

During the time of our abode among these islands we found reasonable
quantity of wood, both fir, spruce, and juniper; which, whether it
came floating any great distance to these places where we found it,
or whether it grew in some great islands near the same place by us
not yet discovered, we know not. But we judge that it groweth there
farther into the land than we were, because the people had great
store of darts and oars which they made none account of, but gave
them to us for small trifles as points and pieces of paper. We saw
about this coast marvellous great abundance of seals sculling
together like sculls of small fish. We found no fresh water among
these islands, but only snow-water, whereof we found great pools.
The cliffs were all of such ore as Master Frobisher brought from
Meta Incognita. We had divers shewes of study or Moscovie glass,
shining not altogether unlike to crystal. We found an herb growing
upon the rocks whose fruit was sweet, full of red juice, and the
ripe ones were like currants. We found also birch and willow
growing like shrubs low to the ground. These people have great
store of furs as we judged. They made shows unto us the 30th of
this present, which was the second time of our being with them,
after they perceived we would have skins and furs, that they would
go into the country and come again the next day with such things as
they had; but this night the wind coming fair the captain and the
master would by no means detract the purpose our discovery. And so
the last of this month, about four of the clock in the morning, in
God's name we set sail, and were all that day becalmed upon the

The 1st of August we had a fair wind, and so proceeded towards the
north-west for our discovery.

The 6th of August we discovered land in 66 degrees 40 minutes of
latitude altogether void from the pester of ice; we anchored in a
very fair road, under a very brave mount, the cliffs whereof were as
orient as gold. This mount was named Mount Raleigh; the road where
our ships lay at anchor was called Totnes Road; the sound which did
compass the mount was named Exeter Sound; the foreland towards the
north was called Dier's Cape; the foreland towards the south was
named Cape Walsingham. So soon as we were come to an anchor in
Totnes Road under Mount Raleigh we espied four white bears at the
foot of the mount. We, supposing them to be goats or wolves, manned
our boats and went towards them, but when we came near the shore we
found them to be white bears of a monstrous bigness; we, being
desirous of fresh victual and the sport, began to assault them, and
I being on land, one of them came down the hill right against me.
My piece was charged with hail-shot and a bullet; I discharged my
piece and shot him in the neck; he roared a little, and took the
water straight, making small account of his hurt. Then we followed
him with our boat, and killed him with boars' spears, and two more
that night. We found nothing in their maws, but we judged by their
dung that they fed upon grass, because it appeared in all respects
like the dung of a horse, wherein we might very plainly see the very

The 7th we went on shore to another bear, which lay all night upon
the top of an island under Mount Raleigh, and when we came up to him
he lay fast asleep. I levelled at his head, and the stone of my
piece gave no fire; with that he looked up and laid down his head
again; then I shot, being charged with two bullets, and struck him
in the head; he, being but amazed, fell backwards, whereupon we ran
all upon him with boar spears and thrust him in the body, yet for
all that he gripped away our boar spears and went towards the water,
and as he was going down he came back again. Then our master shot
his boar spear and struck him in the head, and made him to take the
water, and swim into a cove fast by, where we killed him and brought
him aboard. The breadth of his fore foot from one side to the other
was fourteen inches over. They were very fat, so as we were
constrained to cast the fat away. We saw a raven upon Mount
Raleigh. We found withies, also, growing low like shrubs, and
flowers like primroses in the said place. The coast is very
mountainous, altogether without wood, grass, or earth, and is only
huge mountains of stone, but the bravest stone that ever we saw.
The air was very moderate in this country.

The 8th we departed from Mount Raleigh, coasting along the shore
which lieth south-south-west and east-north-east.

The 9th our men fell in dislike of their allowance because it was so
small as they thought. Whereupon we made a new proportion, every
mess, being five to a mess, should have four pound of bread a day,
twelve wine quarts of beer, six new land fishes, and the flesh days
a gin of pease more; so we restrained them from their butter and

The 11th we came to the most southerly cape of this land, which we
named the Cape of God's Mercy, as being the place of our first
entrance for the discovery. The weather being very foggy we coasted
this north land; at length when it brake up we perceived that we
were shot into a very fair entrance or passage, being in some places
twenty leagues broad and in some thirty, altogether void of any
pester of ice, the weather very tolerable, and the water of the very
colour, nature, and quality of the main ocean, which gave us the
greater hope of our passage. Having sailed north-west sixty leagues
in this entrance, we discovered certain islands standing in the
midst thereof, having open passages on both sides. Whereupon our
ships divided themselves, the one sailing on the north side, the
other on the south side of the said isles, where we stayed five
days, having the wind at south-east, very foggy, and foul weather.

The 14th we went on shore and found signs of people, for we found
stones laid up together like a wall, and saw the skull of a man or a

The 15th we heard dogs howl on the shore, which we thought had been
wolves, and therefore we went on shore to kill them. When we came
on land the dogs came presently to our boat very gently, yet we
thought they came to prey upon us, and therefore we shot at them and
killed two, and about the neck of one of them we found a leathern
collar, whereupon we thought them to be tame dogs. There were
twenty dogs like mastiffs, with pricked ears and long bushed tails;
we found a bone in the pizels of their dogs. Then we went farther
and found two sleds made like ours in England. The one was made of
fir, spruce, and oaken boards, sawn like inch boards; the other was
made all of whalebone, and there hung on the tops of the sleds three
heads of beasts which they had killed. We saw here larks, ravens,
and partridges.

The 17th we went on shore, and in a little thing made like an oven
with stones I found many small trifles, as a small canoe made of
wood, a piece of wood made like an image, a bird made of bone, beads
having small holes in one end of them to hang about their necks, and
other small things. The coast was very barbarous, without wood or
grass. The rocks were very fair, like marble, full of veins of
divers colours. We found a seal which was killed not long before,
being flayed and hid under stones.

Our captain and master searched still for probabilities of the
passage, and first found that this place was all islands with great
sounds passing between them.

Secondly, the water remained of one colour with the main ocean
without altering.

Thirdly, we saw to the west of those isles three or four whales in a
scull, which they judged to come from a westerly sea, because to the
eastward we saw not any whale.

Also, as we were rowing into a very great sound lying south-west
from whence these whales came, upon the sudden there came a violent
countercheck of a tide from the south-west against the flood which
we came with, not knowing from whence it was maintained.

Fifthly, in sailing 20 leagues within the mouth of this entrance we
had sounding in 90 fathoms, fair, grey, oozy sand, and the farther
we run into the westwards the deeper was the water, so that hard
aboard the shore among these isles we could not have ground in 330

Lastly, it did ebb and flow six or seven fathom up and down, the
flood coming from divers parts, so as we could not perceive the
chief maintenance thereof.

The 18th and 19th our captain and master determined what was best to
do, both for the safe guard of their credits and satisfy of the
adventurers, and resolved if the weather brake up to make further

The 20th, the wind came directly against us, so they altered their
purpose, and reasoned both for proceeding and returning.

The 21st, the wind being north-west, we departed from these islands,
and as we coasted the south shore we saw many fair sounds, whereby
we were persuaded that it was no firm land but islands.

The 23rd of this month the wind came south-east, very stormy and
foul weather. So we were constrained to seek harbour upon the south
coast of this entrance, where we fell into a very fair sound, and
anchored in 25 fathoms of green, oozy sand, where we went on shore,
where we had manifest signs of people, where they had made their
fire, and laid stones like a wall. In this place we saw four very


Back to Full Books