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(God be thanked) very well reformed; for not only hir majestie now, but all the nobilitie also, having perfect knowledge in Cosmographie, doe not only with good wordes countenance the forward minds of men, but also with their purses do liberally and bountifully contribute unto the same, whereby it cometh to passe, that navigation, whiche in the time of King Henry the 7th was very rawe, and toke (as it were) but beginning (and ever since hath had by little and little continuall increase) is now in hir Majestie's raign growen to his highest perfection.
Martin Frobisher was born in Yorkshire about 1535. He was educated in London, went on a voyage to Guinea in 1554, and was engaged in various expeditions from that time on. His public services brought him under the notice of the queen and of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who in 1566 wrote his famous “Discourse to prove a Passage to the North-west,” published ten years later. This discourse, while still in manuscript, was the incitement to the first ex: pedition commanded by Frobisher for the discovery of a North-west passage. The chief promoter of the expedition was Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Frobisher sailed from the Thames with two small barques and a pinnace June 7, 1576, and sighted the southern point of Greenland July 11. He sailed into Frobisher's Bay “above fifty leagues,'' supposing the land on his right to be Asia and that on the left America. Returning, he reached London in October.
A piece of black pyrite brought home by one of the sailors was pronounced to contain gold; and on his second voyage, the next year, Frobisher was “more specially directed by commission for the searching more of this gold ore than for the searching any further discov: ery of the passage.” Two hundred tons of ore were brought home; but it was pronounced
poor in respect of that brought last year, and that which we know may be brought next year. In May, 1578, Frobisher sailed a third time, with a fleet of fifteen vessels. He landed in the south of Greenland, which he named West England. After losing himself in the Mistaken Streight” (ie., Hudson's), and after several weeks of farther explorations, he loaded the soundest vessels with mineral that turned out to be worthless, and returned to England in the autumn.
In 1581 a fourth voyage to Cathay by the north-west was projected, and the command was offered Frobisher; but he relinquished it. He went with Drake to the West Indies as vice-admiral in 1585; and he commanded the “ Triumph” in the great Armada fight. He was knighted at sea by the lord high admiral. He served in 1590 with Sir John Hawkins ; and in 1592 he was in the service of Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1593 he paid his last visit to his Yorkshire home, where he became a justice of the peace for the West Riding. In the fight at Crozon, near Brest, in 1594, he was wounded; and unskilful surgery led to his death. He died soon after reaching Plymouth, where his entrails were buried in the church of St. Andrew, while his other remains were interred in St. Giles's, Cripplegate, London.
There is no thorough, critical life of Frobisher, like Corbeett's work on Drake. There is a brief biography by Jones; and there are good notices in the various works on the Elizabethan Seamen, by Fox Bourne, Froude, Payne, and others. The admirable article in the “ Dictionary of National Biography” is by C. H. Coote. Frobisher's work is also well outlined by Charles C. Smith in the chapter on Explorations to the North-west” in the “Narrative and Critical History of America,'' vol. iii.; and the bibliographical notes are good.
George Beste's "True Discourse of the Late Voyages of Discoverie for Finding of a Passage to Cathaya, by the North-weast, under the conduct of Martin Frobisher, General" (London, 1578), is the original authority for Frobisher's three voyages. Beste accompanied Frobisher on the second and third voyages. Beste's work was reprinted by Hakluyt; and a fine edition, edited by Collinson, was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1867. This is used for the present leaflet. About one-third of the part devoted to the first voyage is here given, the earlier pages being occupied by a general account of the world at that period.
THE DIRECTORS OF THE OLD SOUTH WORK,
Old South Meeting-house, Boston, Mass.
A report of the voyage and successe thereof, attempted in the yeere
of our Lord 1583 by sir Humfrey Gilbert knight, with other gentlemen assisting him in that action, intended to discover and to plant Christian inhabitants in place convenient, upon those large and ample countreys extended Northward from the cape of Florida, lying under very temperate Climes, esteemed fertile and rich in Minerals, yet not in the actuall possession of any Christian prince, written by M. Edward Haies gentleman, and principal actour in the same voyage, who alone continued unto the end, and by Gods speciall assistance returned home with his retinue safe and entire.
MAny voyages have bene pretended, yet hitherto never any thorowly accomplished by our nation of exact discovery into the bowels of those maine, ample and vast countreys, extended infinitely into the North from 30 degrees, or rather from 25 degrees of Septentrionall latitude, neither hath a right way bene taken of planting a Christian habitation and regiment upon the same, as well may appeare both by the little we yet do actually possesse therein, and by our ignorance of the riches and secrets within those lands, which unto this day we know'chiefly by the travell and report of other nations, and most of the French, who albeit they can not challenge such right and interest unto the sayd countreys as we, neither these many yeeres have had opportunity nor meanes so great to discover and to plant (being vexed with the calamnities of intestine warres) as we have had by the inestimable benefit of our long and happy peace: yet have they both waies performed more, and had long since attained a sure possession and settled government of many provinces in those Northerly parts of America, if their many attempts into those forren and remote lands had not bene impeached by their garboils at home.
The first discovery of these coasts (never heard of before) was well begun by Iohn Cabot the father, and Sebastian his sonne, an Englishman borne, who were the first finders out of all that great tract of land stretching from the cape of Florida unto those Islands which we now call the Newfoundland : all which they brought and annexed unto the crowne of England. Since when, if with like diligence the search of inland countreys had bene followed, as the discovery upon the coast, and outparts therof was performed by those two men: no doubt her Maiesties territories and revenue had bene mightily inlarged and advanced by this day. And which is more: the seed of Christian religion had bene sowed amongst those pagans, which by this time might have brought foorth a most plentifull harvest and copious congregation of Christians; which must be the chiefe intent of such as shall make any attempt that way: or els whatsoever is builded upon other foundation shall never obtaine happy successe nor continuance.
And although we can not precisely iudge (which onely belongeth to God) what have bene the humours of men stirred up to great attempts of discovering and planting in those remote countreys, yet the events do shew that either Gods cause hath not bene chiefly preferred by them, or els God hath not permitted so abundant grace as the light of his word and knowledge of him to be yet revealed unto those infidels before the appointed time.
But most assuredly, the only cause of religion hitherto hath kept backe, and will also bring forward at the time assigned by God, an effectuall and compleat discovery and possession by Christians both of those ample countreys and the riches within them hitherto concealed: whereof notwithstanding God in his wisdome hath permitted to be revealed from time to time a certaine obscure and misty knowledge, by little and little to allure the mindes of men that way (which els will be dull enough in the zeale of his cause) and thereby to prepare us unto a readinesse for the execution of his will against the due time ordeined, of calling those pagans unto Christianity.
In the meane while, it behooveth every man of great calling, in whom is any instinct of inclination unto this attempt, to examine his owne motions: which if the same proceed of ambition cr avarice, he may assure himselfe it commeth not of God, and therefore can not have confidence of Gods protection and assistance against the violence (els irresistable) both of sea, and infinite perils upon the land; whom God yet may use an instrument to further his cause and glory some way, but not to build upon so bad a foundation.
Otherwise, if his motions be derived from a vertuous and heroycall minde, preferring chiefly the honour of God, compassion of poore infidels captived by the devill, tyrannizing in most woonderfull and dreadfull maner over their bodies and soules; advancement of his honest and well disposed countreymen, willing to accompany him in such honourable actions : reliefe of sundry people within this realme distressed: all these be honourable purposes, imitating the nature of the munificent God, wherewith he is well pleased, who will assist such an actour beyond expectation of man. And the same, who feeleth this inclination in himselfe, by all likelihood may hope, or rather confidently repose in the preordinance of God, that in this last age of the world (or likely never) the time is compleat of receiving also these Gentiles into his mercy, and that God will raise him an instrument to effect the same: it seeming probable by event or precedent attempts made by the Spanyards and French sundry times, that the countreys lying North of Florida, God hath reserved the same to be reduced unto Christian civility by the English nation. For not long after that Christopher Columbus had discovered the Islands and continent of the West Indies for Spayne, Iohn and Sebastian Cabot made discovery also of the rest from Florida Northwards to the behoofe of England.
And whensoever afterwards the Spanyards (very prosperous in all their Southerne discoveries) did attempt any thing into Florida and those regions inclining towards the North they proved most unhappy, and were at length discouraged utterly by the hard and lamentable successe of many both religous and valiant in armes, endeavouring to bring those Northerly regions also under the Spanish iurisdiction; as if God had prescribed limits unto the Spanish nation which they might not exceed; as by their owne gests recorded may be aptly gathered.
The French, as they can pretend lesse title unto these Northerne parts then the Spanyard, by how much the Spanyard made the first discovery of the same continent so far Northward as unto Florida, and the French did but review that before discovered by the English nation, usurping upon our right, and imposing names upon countreys, rivers, bayes, capes, or headlands, as if they had bene the first finders of those coasts: which iniury we offered not unto the Spanyards, but left off to discover when we approached the Spanish limits : even so God hath not hitherto permitted them to establish a possession permanent upon anothers right, notwithstanding their manifolde attempts, in which the issue hath bene no lesse tragicall then that of the Spanyards, as by their owne reports is extant.
Then seeing the English nation onely hath right unto these countreys of America from the cape of Florida Northward by the privilege of first discovery, unto which Cabot was authorised by regall authority, and set forth by the expense of our late famous king Henry the seventh : which right also seemeth strongly defended on our behalfe by the powerfull hand of almighty God, withstanding the enterprises of other nations: it may greatly incourage us upon so iust ground, as is our right, and upon so sacred an intent, as to plant religion (our right and intent being meet foundations for the same) to prosecute effectually the full possession of those so ample and pleasant countreys apperteining unto the crowne of England: the same (as is to be coniectured by infallible arguments of the worlds end approching) being now arrived unto the time by God prescribed of their vocation, if ever their calling unto the knowledge of God may be expected. Which also is very probable by the revolution and course of Gods word and religion, which from the beginning hath moved from the East, towards, and at last unto the West, where it is like to end, unlesse the same begin againe where it did in the East, which were to expect a like world againe. But we are assured of the contrary by the prophesie of Christ, whereby we gather, that after his word preached thorowout the world shalbe the end. And as the Gospel when it descended Westward began in the South, and afterward spread into the North of Europe: even so, as the same hath begunne in the South countreys of America, no lesse hope may be gathered that it will also spread into the North.
These considerations may helpe to suppresse all dreads rising of hard events in attempts made this way by other nations, as also of the heavy successe and issue in the late enterprise made by a worthy gentleman our countryman sir