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´╗┐Title: Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage to Newfoundland
Author: Hayes, Edward, fl. 1580.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage to Newfoundland" ***

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By Edward Hayes


     This text is one of the items included in Voyages and Travels:
     Ancient and Modern and was prepared from a 1910 edition,
     published by P F Collier & Son Company, New York.


Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the founder of the first English colony in North
America, was born about 1539, the son of a Devonshire gentleman,
whose widow afterward married the father of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was
educated at Eton and Oxford, served under Sir Philip Sidney's father in
Ireland, and fought for the Netherlands against Spain. After his return
he composed a pamphlet urging the search for a northwest passage to
Cathay, which led to Frobisher's license for his explorations to that

In 1578 Gilbert obtained from Queen Elizabeth the charter he had long
sought, to plant a colony in North America. His first attempt failed,
and cost him his whole fortune; but, after further service in Ireland,
he sailed again in 1583 for Newfoundland. In the August of that year he
took possession of the harbor of St. John and founded his colony, but
on the return voyage he went down with his ship in a storm south of the

The following narrative is an account of this last voyage of Gilbert's,
told by Edward Hayes, commander of "The Golden Hind," the only one to
reach England of the three ships which set out from Newfoundland with

The settlement at St. John was viewed by its promoter as merely the
beginning of a scheme for ousting Spain from America in favor of
England. The plan did not progress as he hoped; but after long delays,
and under far other impulses than Gilbert ever thought of, much of his
dream was realized.


A report of the Voyage and success thereof, attempted in the year of
our Lord 1583, by Sir Humphrey 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
countries extended northward from the Cape of Florida, lying under very
temperate climes, esteemed fertile and rich in minerals, yet not in the
actual possession of any Christian prince. Written by Mr. Edward
Hayes, gentleman, and principal actor in the same voyage,[*] who alone
continued unto the end, and, by God's special assistance, returned home
with his retinue safe and entire.

     [*] Hayes was captain and owner of the _Golden Hind_,
     Gilbert's Rear-Admiral.

Many voyages have been pretended, yet hitherto never any thoroughly
accomplished by our nation, of exact discovery into the bowels of those
main, ample, and vast countries extended infinitely into the north from
thirty degrees, or rather from twenty-five degrees, of septentrional
latitude, neither hath a right way been taken of planting a Christian
habitation and regiment (government) upon the same, as well may appear
both by the little we yet do actually possess therein, and by our
ignorance of the riches and secrets within those lands, which unto this
day we know chiefly by the travel and report of other nations, and most
of the French, who albeit they cannot challenge such right and interest
unto the said countries as we, neither these many years have had
opportunity nor means so great to discover and to plant, being vexed
with the calamities of intestine wars, as we have had by the inestimable
benefit of our long and happy peace, yet have they both ways 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 foreign and remote lands had not been
impeached by their garboils at home.

The first discovery of these coasts, never heard of before, was well
begun by John Cabot the father and Sebastian his son, an Englishman
born, who were the first finders out of all that great tract of land
stretching from the Cape of Florida, into those islands which we now
call the Newfoundland; all which they brought and annexed unto the crown
of England. Since when, if with like diligence the search of inland
countries had been followed, as the discovery upon the coast and
outparts thereof was performed by those two men, no doubt her Majesty's
territories and revenue had been mightily enlarged and advanced by this
day; and, which is more, the seed of Christian religion had been sowed
amongst those pagans, which by this time might have brought forth a most
plentiful harvest and copious congregation of Christians; which must
be the chief intent of such as shall make any attempt that way; or else
whatsoever is builded upon other foundation shall never obtain happy
success nor continuance.

And although we cannot precisely judge (which only belongeth to God)
what have been the humours of men stirred up to great attempts of
discovering and planting in those remote countries, yet the events do
shew that either God's cause hath not been chiefly preferred by them, or
else 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 back, and will also bring forward at the time assigned by God,
an effectual and complete discovery and possession by Christians both
of those ample countries and the riches within them hitherto concealed;
whereof, notwithstanding, God in His wisdom hath permitted to be
revealed from time to time a certain obscure and misty knowledge, by
little and little to allure the minds of men that way, which else will
be dull enough in the zeal of His cause, and thereby to prepare us unto
a readiness for the execution of His will, against the due time ordained
of calling those pagans unto Christianity.

In the meanwhile it behoveth every man of great calling, in whom is any
instinct of inclination unto this attempt, to examine his own motions,
which, if the same proceed of ambition or avarice, he may assure himself
it cometh not of God, and therefore cannot have confidence of God's
protection and assistance against the violence (else irresistible) both
of sea and infinite perils upon the land; whom God yet may use as an
instrument to further His cause and glory some way, but not to build
upon so bad a foundation. Otherwise, if his motives be derived from
a virtuous and heroical mind, preferring chiefly the honour of God,
compassion of poor infidels captived by the devil, tyrannizing in most
wonderful and dreadful manner over their bodies and souls; advancement
of his honest and well-disposed countrymen, willing to accompany him
in such honourable actions; relief of sundry people within this realm
distressed; all these be honourable purposes, imitating the nature of
the munificent God, wherewith He is well pleased, who will assist such
an actor beyond expectation of many. And the same, who feeleth this
inclination in himself, 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 complete 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 of precedent attempts made by the
Spaniards and French sundry times, that the countries lying north of
Florida God hath reserved the same to be reduced into Christian civility
by the English nation. For not long after that Christopher Columbus had
discovered the islands and continent of the West Indies for Spain,
John and Sebastian Cabot made discovery also of the rest from Florida
northwards to the behoof of England.

And whensoever afterwards the Spaniards, very prosperous in all their
southern discoveries, did attempt anything into Florida and those
regions inclining towards the north, they proved most unhappy, and were
at length discouraged utterly by the hard and lamentable success of
many both religious and valiant in arms, endeavouring to bring those
northerly regions also under the Spanish jurisdiction, as if God had
prescribed limits unto the Spanish nation which they might not exceed;
as by their own gests recorded may be aptly gathered.

The French, as they can pretend less title unto these northern parts
than the Spaniard, by how much the Spaniard 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 countries, rivers, bays, capes, or
headlands as if they had been the first finders of those coasts; which
injury we offered not unto the Spaniards, 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 another's right,
notwithstanding their manifold attempts, in which the issue hath been
no less tragical than that of the Spaniards, as by their own reports is

Then, seeing the English nation only hath right unto these countries
of America from the Cape of Florida northward by the privilege of first
discovery, unto which Cabot was authorised by regal authority, and set
forth by the expense of our late famous King Henry the Seventh; which
right also seemeth strongly defended on our behalf by the powerful hand
of Almighty God withstanding the enterprises of other nations; it may
greatly encourage us upon so just 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 countries appertaining unto the crown of
England; the same, as is to be conjectured by infallible arguments of
the world's end approaching, being now arrived unto the time of 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 God's 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, unless the same begin again where it did in the east, which
were to expect a like world again. But we are assured of the contrary by
the prophecy of Christ, whereby we gather that after His word preached
throughout the world shall be the end. And as the Gospel when it
descended westward began in the south, and afterward begun in the south
countries of America, no less hope may be gathered that it will also
spread into the north.

These considerations may help to suppress all dreads rising of hard
events in attempts made this way by other nations, as also of the heavy
success and issue in the late enterprise made by a worthy gentleman
our countryman, Sir Humfrey Gilbert, Knight, who was the first of our
nations that carried people to erect an habitation and government in
those northerly countries of America. About which albeit he had consumed
much substance, and lost his life at last, his people also perishing for
the most part: yet the mystery thereof we must leave unto God, and judge
charitably both of the cause, which was just in all pretence, and of
the person, who was very zealous in prosecuting the same, deserving
honourable remembrance for his good mind and expense of life in so
virtuous an enterprise. Whereby nevertheless, lest any man should be
dismayed by example of other folks' calamity, and misdeem that God doth
resist all attempts intended that way, I thought good, so far as myself
was an eye-witness, to deliver the circumstance and manner of our
proceedings in that action; in which the gentleman was so unfortunately
encumbered with wants, and worse matched with many ill-disposed people,
that his rare judgment and regiment premeditated for those affairs was
subjected to tolerate abuses, and in sundry extremities to hold on a
course more to uphold credit than likely in his own conceit happily to

The issue of such actions, being always miserable, not guided by God,
who abhorreth confusion and disorder, hath left this for admonition,
being the first attempt by our nation to plant, unto such as shall take
the same cause in hand hereafter, not to be discouraged from it; but to
make men well advised how they handle His so high and excellent
matters, as the carriage is of His word into those very mighty and
vast countries. An action doubtless not to be intermeddled with base
purposes, as many have made the same but a colour to shadow actions
otherwise scarce justifiable; which doth excite God's heavy judgments
in the end, to the terrifying of weak minds from the cause, without
pondering His just proceedings; and doth also incense foreign princes
against our attempts, how just soever, who cannot but deem the sequel
very dangerous unto their state (if in those parts we should grow to
strength), seeing the very beginnings are entered with spoil.

And with this admonition denounced upon zeal towards God's cause, also
towards those in whom appeareth disposition honourable unto this action
of planting Christian people and religion in those remote and barbarous
nations of America (unto whom I wish all happiness), I will now proceed
to make relations briefly, yet particularly, of our voyage undertaken
with Sir Humfrey Gilbert, begun, continued, and ended adversely.

When first Sir Humfrey Gilbert undertook the western discovery of
America, and had procured from her Majesty a very large commission to
inhabit and possess at his choice all remote and heathen lands not
in the actual possession of any Christian prince, the same commission
exemplified with many privileges, such as in his discretion he might
demand, very many gentlemen of good estimation drew unto him, to
associate him in so commendable an enterprise, so that the preparation
was expected to grow unto a puissant fleet, able to encounter a king's
power by sea. Nevertheless, amongst a multitude of voluntary men, their
dispositions were diverse, which bred a jar, and made a division in the
end, to the confusion of that attempt even before the same was begun.
And when the shipping was in a manner prepared, and men ready upon
the coast to go aboard, at that time some brake consort, and followed
courses degenerating from the voyage before pretended. Others failed
of their promises contracted, and the greater number were dispersed,
leaving the General with few of his assured friends, with whom he
adventured to sea; where, having tasted of no less misfortune, he was
shortly driven to retire home with the loss of a tall ship and, more to
his grief, of a valiant gentleman, Miles Morgan.

Having buried, only in a preparation, a great mass of substance, whereby
his estate was impaired, his mind yet not dismayed, he continued his
former designment, and purposed to revive this enterprise, good occasion
serving. Upon which determination standing long without means to satisfy
his desire, at last he granted certain assignments out of his commission
to sundry persons of mean ability, desiring the privilege of his grant,
to plant and fortify in the north parts of America about the river of
Canada; to whom if God gave good success in the north parts (where then
no matter of moment was expected), the same, he thought, would
greatly advance the hope of the south, and be a furtherance unto his
determination that way. And the worst that might happen in that course
might be excused, without prejudice unto him, by the former supposition
that those north regions were of no regard. But chiefly, a possession
taken in any parcel of those heathen countries, by virtue of his grant,
did invest him of territories extending every way 200 leagues; which
induced Sir Humfrey Gilbert to make those assignments, desiring greatly
their expedition, because his commission did expire after six years, if
in that space he had not gotten actual possession.

Time went away without anything done by his assigns; insomuch that
at last he must resolve himself to take a voyage in person, for more
assurance to keep his patent in force, which then almost was expired or
within two years. In furtherance of his determination, amongst others,
Sir George Peckham, Knight, shewed himself very zealous to the action,
greatly aiding him both by his advice and in the charge. Other gentlemen
to their ability joined unto him, resolving to adventure their substance
and lives in the same cause. Who beginning their preparation from that
time, both of shipping, munition, victual, men, and things requisite,
some of them continued the charge two years complete without
intermission. Such were the difficulties and cross accidents opposing
these proceedings, which took not end in less than two years; many of
which circumstances I will omit.

The last place of our assembly, before we left the coast of England,
was in Cawset Bay, near unto Plymouth, then resolved to put unto the
sea with shipping and provision such as we had, before our store yet
remaining, but chiefly the time and season of the year, were too far
spent. Nevertheless, it seemed first very doubtful by what way to shape
our course, and to begin our intended discovery, either from the south
northward or from the north southward. The first, that is, beginning
south, without all controversy was the likeliest, wherein we were
assured to have commodity of the current which from the Cape of Florida
setteth northward, and would have furthered greatly our navigation,
discovering from the foresaid cape along towards Cape Breton, and all
those lands lying to the north. Also, the year being far spent, and
arrived to the month of June, we were not to spend time in northerly
courses, where we should be surprised with timely winter, but to covet
the south, which we had space enough then to have attained, and there
might with less detriment have wintered that season, being more mild
and short in the south than in the north, where winter is both long and
rigorous. These and other like reasons alleged in favour of the southern
course first to be taken, to the contrary was inferred that forasmuch as
both our victuals and many other needful provisions were diminished and
left insufficient for so long a voyage and for the wintering of so many
men, we ought to shape a course most likely to minister supply; and that
was to take the Newfoundland in our way, which was but 700 leagues from
our English coast. Where being usually at that time of the year, and
until the fine of August, a multitude of ships repairing thither for
fish, we should be relieved abundantly with many necessaries, which,
after the fishing ended, they might well spare and freely impart
unto us. Not staying long upon that Newland coast, we might proceed
southward, and follow still the sun, until we arrived at places more
temperate to our content.

By which reasons we were the rather induced to follow this northerly
course, obeying unto necessity, which must be supplied. Otherwise, we
doubted that sudden approach of winter, bringing with it continual
fog and thick mists, tempest and rage of weather, also contrariety of
currents descending from the Cape of Florida unto Cape Breton and Cape
Race, would fall out to be great and irresistible impediments unto our
further proceeding for that year, and compel us to winter in those north
and cold regions. Wherefore, suppressing all objections to the contrary,
we resolved to begin our course northward, and to follow, directly as
we might, the trade way unto Newfoundland; from whence, after our
refreshing and reparation of wants, we intended without delay, by God's
permission, to proceed into the south, not omitting any river or bay
which in all that large tract of land appeared to our view worthy of
search. Immediately we agreed upon the manner of our course and orders
to be observed in our voyage; which were delivered in writing, unto the
captains and masters of every ship a copy, in manner following.

Every ship had delivered two bullets or scrolls, the one sealed up
in wax, the other left open; in both which were included several
watchwords. That open, serving upon our own coast or the coast of
Ireland; the other sealed, was promised on all hands not to be broken up
until we should be clear of the Irish coast; which from thenceforth
did serve until we arrived and met all together in such harbours of
the Newfoundland as were agreed for our rendezvous. The said watchwords
being requisite to know our consorts whensoever by night, either by
fortune of weather, our fleet dispersed should come together again; or
one should hail another; or if by ill watch and steerage one ship should
chance to fall aboard of another in the dark.

The reason of the bullet sealed was to keep secret that watchword while
we were upon our own coast, lest any of the company stealing from the
fleet might bewray the same; which known to an enemy, he might board us
by night without mistrust, having our own watchword.

Orders agreed upon by the Captains and Masters to be observed by the
fleet of Sir Humfrey Gilbert.

First, The Admiral to carry his flag by day, and his light by night.

2. Item, if the Admiral shall shorten his sail by night, then to shew
two lights until he be answered again by every ship shewing one light
for a short time.

3. Item, if the Admiral after his shortening of sail, as aforesaid,
shall make more sail again; then he to shew three lights one above

4. Item, if the Admiral shall happen to hull in the night, then to make
a wavering light over his other light, wavering the light upon a pole.

5. Item, if the fleet should happen to be scattered by weather, or other
mishap, then so soon as one shall descry another, to hoise both topsails
twice, if the weather will serve, and to strike them twice again; but
if the weather serve not, then to hoise the maintopsail twice, and
forthwith to strike it twice again.

6. Item, if it shall happen a great fog to fall, then presently every
ship to bear up with the Admiral, if there be wind; but if it be a calm,
then every ship to hull, and so to lie at hull till it clear. And if
the fog do continue long, then the Admiral to shoot off two pieces
every evening, and every ship to answer it with one shot; and every man
bearing to the ship that is to leeward so near as he may.

7. Item, every master to give charge unto the watch to look out well,
for laying aboard one of another in the night, and in fogs.

8. Item, every evening every ship to hail the Admiral, and so to fall
astern him, sailing through the ocean; and being on the coast, every
ship to hail him both morning and evening.

9. Item, if any ship be in danger in any way, by leak or otherwise,
then she to shoot off a piece, and presently to bring out one light;
whereupon every man to bear towards her, answering her with one light
for a short time, and so to put it out again; thereby to give knowledge
that they have seen her token.

10. Item, whensoever the Admiral shall hang out her ensign in the main
shrouds, then every man to come aboard her as a token of counsel.

11. Item, if there happen any storm or contrary wind to the fleet after
the discovery, whereby they are separated; then every ship to repair
unto their last good port, there to meet again.

OUR COURSE _agreed upon_.

The course first to be taken for the discovery is to bear directly to
Cape Race, the most southerly cape of Newfoundland; and there to harbour
ourselves either in Rogneux or Fermous, being the first places appointed
for our rendezvous, and the next harbours unto the northward of Cape
Race: and therefore every ship separated from the fleet to repair to
that place so fast as God shall permit, whether you shall fall to the
southward or to the northward of it, and there to stay for the meeting
of the whole fleet the space of ten days; and when you shall depart, to
leave marks.

Beginning our course from Scilly, the nearest is by west-south-west
(if the wind serve) until such time as we have brought ourselves in
the latitude of 43 or 44 degrees, because the ocean is subject much to
southerly winds in June and July. Then to take traverse from 45 to 47
degrees of latitude, if we be enforced by contrary winds; and not to go
to the northward of the height of 47 degrees of septentrional latitude
by no means, if God shall not enforce the contrary; but to do your
endeavour to keep in the height of 46 degrees, so near as you can
possibly, because Cape Race lieth about that height.


If by contrary winds we be driven back upon the coast of England, then
to repair unto Scilly for a place of our assembly or meeting. If we be
driven back by contrary winds that we cannot pass the coast of Ireland,
then the place of our assembly to be at Bere haven or Baltimore
haven. If we shall not happen to meet at Cape Race, then the place
of rendezvous to be at Cape Breton, or the nearest harbour unto the
westward of Cape Breton. If by means of other shipping we may not safely
stay there, then to rest at the very next safe port to the westward;
every ship leaving their marks behind them for the more certainty of the
after comers to know where to find them. The marks that every man ought
to leave in such a case, were of the General's private device written
by himself, sealed also in close wax, and delivered unto every ship
one scroll, which was not to be opened until occasion required, whereby
every man was certified what to leave for instruction of after comers;
that every of us coming into any harbour or river might know who had
been there, or whether any were still there up higher into the river, or
departed, and which way.

Orders thus determined, and promises mutually given to be observed,
every man withdrew himself unto his charge; the anchors being already
weighed, and our ships under sail, having a soft gale of wind, we began
our voyage upon Tuesday, the 11 day of June, in the year of our Lord
1583, having in our fleet (at our departure from Cawset Bay) these
ships, whose names and burthens, with the names of the captains and
masters of them, I have also inserted, as followeth:--1. The _Delight_,
alias the _George_, of burthen 120 tons, was Admiral; in which went the
General, and William Winter, captain in her and part owner, and Richard
Clarke, master. 2. The bark _Raleigh_, set forth by Master Walter
Raleigh, of the burthen of 200 tons, was then Vice-Admiral; in which
went Master Butler, captain, and Robert Davis, of Bristol, master. 3.
The _Golden Hind_, of burthen 40 tons, was then Rear-Admiral; in which
went Edward Hayes, captain and owner, and William Cox, of Limehouse,
master. 4. The _Swallow_, of burthen 40 tons; in her was captain Maurice
Browne. 5. The _Squirrel_, of burthen 10 tons; in which went captain
William Andrews, and one Cade, master. We were in number in all about
260 men; among whom we had of every faculty good choice, as shipwrights,
masons, carpenters, smiths, and such like, requisite to such an action;
also mineral men and refiners. Besides, for solace of our people, and
allurement of the savages, we were provided of music in good variety;
not omitting the least toys, as morris-dancers, hobby-horse, and
May-like conceits to delight the savage people, whom we intended to
win by all fair means possible. And to that end we were indifferently
furnished of all petty haberdashery wares to barter with those simple

In this manner we set forward, departing (as hath been said) out of
Cawset Bay the 11 day of June, being Tuesday, the weather and wind fair
and good all day; but a great storm of thunder and wind fell the same
night. Thursday following, when we hailed one another in the evening,
according to the order before specified, they signified unto us out of
the Vice-Admiral, that both the captain, and very many of the men,
were fallen sick. And about midnight the Vice-Admiral forsook us,
notwithstanding we had the wind east, fair and good. But it was after
credibly reported that they were infected with a contagious sickness,
and arrived greatly distressed at Plymouth; the reason I could never
understand. Sure I am, no cost was spared by their owner, Master
Raleigh, in setting them forth; therefore I leave it unto God. By this
time we were in 48 degrees of latitude, not a little grieved with the
loss of the most puissant ship in our fleet; after whose departure the
_Golden Hind_ succeeded in the place of Vice-Admiral, and removed her
flag from the mizen into the foretop. From Saturday, the 15 of June,
until the 28, which was upon a Friday, we never had fair day without
fog or rain, and winds bad, much to the west-north-west, whereby we were
driven southward unto 41 degrees scarce.

About this time of the year the winds are commonly west towards the
Newfoundland, keeping ordinarily within two points of west to the south
or to the north; whereby the course thither falleth out to be long and
tedious after June, which in March, April, and May, hath been performed
out of England in 22 days and less. We had wind always so scant from the
west-north-west, and from west-south-west again, that our traverse was
great, running south unto 41 degrees almost, and afterwards north into
51 degrees. Also we were encumbered with much fog and mists in manner
palpable, in which we could not keep so well together, but were
discovered, losing the company of the _Swallow_ and the _Squirrel_
upon the 20 day of July, whom we met again at several places upon
the Newfoundland coast the 3 of August, as shall be declared in place
convenient. Saturday, the 27 July, we might descry, not far from us, as
it were mountains of ice driven upon the sea, being then in 50 degrees,
which were carried southward to the weather of us; whereby may be
conjectured that some current doth set that way from the north.

Before we came to Newfoundland, about 50 leagues on this side, we pass
the bank, which are high grounds rising within the sea and under water,
yet deep enough and without danger, being commonly not less than 25 and
30 fathom water upon them; the same, as it were some vein of mountains
within the sea, do run along and form the Newfoundland, beginning
northward about 52 or 53 degrees of latitude, and do extend into the
south infinitely. The breadth of this bank is somewhere more, and
somewhere less; but we found the same about ten leagues over, having
sounded both on this side thereof, and the other toward Newfoundland,
but found no ground with almost 200 fathom of line, both before and
after we had passed the bank. The Portugals, and French chiefly, have a
notable trade of fishing upon this bank, where are sometimes an hundred
or more sails of ships, who commonly begin the fishing in April, and
have ended by July. That fish is large, always wet, having no land near
to dry, and is called cod fish. During the time of fishing, a man
shall know without sounding when he is upon the bank, by the incredible
multitude of sea-fowl hovering over the same, to prey upon the offals
and garbage of fish thrown out by fishermen, and floating upon the sea.

Upon Tuesday, the 11 of June we forsook the coast of England. So again
on Tuesday, the 30 of July, seven weeks after, we got sight of land,
being immediately embayed in the Grand Bay, or some other great bay;
the certainty whereof we could not judge, so great haze and fog did hang
upon the coast, as neither we might discern the land well, nor take the
sun's height. But by our best computation we were then in the 51
degrees of latitude. Forsaking this bay and uncomfortable coast (nothing
appearing unto us but hideous rocks and mountains, bare of trees, and
void of any green herb) we followed the coast to the south, with weather
fair and clear. We had sight of an island named Penguin, of a fowl there
breeding in abundance almost incredible, which cannot fly, their wings
not able to carry their body, being very large (not much less than
a goose) and exceeding fat, which the Frenchmen use to take without
difficulty upon that island, and to barrel them up with salt. But for
lingering of time, we had made us there the like provision.

Trending this coast, we came to the island called Baccalaos, being not
past two leagues from the main; to the north thereof lieth Cape St.
Francis, five leagues distant from Baccalaos, between which goeth in a
great bay, by the vulgar sort called the Bay of Conception. Here we met
with the _Swallow_ again, whom we had lost in the fog, and all her
men altered into other apparel; whereof it seemed their store was so
amended, that for joy and congratulation of our meeting, they spared
not to cast up into the air and overboard their caps and hats in good
plenty. The captain, albeit himself was very honest and religious, yet
was he not appointed of men to his humour and desert; who for the most
part were such as had been by us surprised upon the narrow seas of
England, being pirates, and had taken at that instant certain Frenchmen
laden, one bark with wines, and another with salt. Both which we
rescued, and took the man-of-war with all her men, which was the same
ship now called the _Swallow_; following still their kind so oft as,
being separated from the General, they found opportunity to rob and
spoil. And because God's justice did follow the same company, even
to destruction, and to the overthrow also of the captain (though not
consenting to their misdemeanour) I will not conceal anything that
maketh to the manifestation and approbation of His judgments, for
examples of others; persuaded that God more sharply took revenge upon
them, and hath tolerated longer as great outrage in others, by how much
these went under protection of His cause and religion, which was then

Therefore upon further enquiry it was known how this company met with a
bark returning home after the fishing with his freight; and because the
men in the _Swallow_ were very near scanted of victuals, and chiefly
of apparel, doubtful withal where or when to find and meet with their
Admiral, they besought the captain that they might go aboard this
_Newlander_, only to borrow what might be spared, the rather because
the same was bound homeward. Leave given, not without charge to deal
favourably, they came aboard the fisherman, whom they rifled of tackle,
sails, cables, victuals, and the men of their apparel; not sparing by
torture, winding cords about their heads, to draw out else what they
thought good. This done with expedition, like men skilful in such
mischief, as they took their cockboat to go aboard their own ship, it
was overwhelmed in the sea, and certain of these men there drowned;
the rest were preserved even by those silly souls whom they had before
spoiled, who saved and delivered them aboard the _Swallow_. What became
afterwards of the poor _Newlander_, perhaps destitute of sails and
furniture sufficient to carry them home, whither they had not less to
run than 700 leagues, God alone knoweth; who took vengeance not long
after of the rest that escaped at this instant, to reveal the fact, and
justify to the world God's judgments indicted upon them, as shall be
declared in place convenient.

Thus after we had met with the _Swallow_, we held on our course
southward, until we came against the harbour called St. John, about five
leagues from the former Cape of St. Francis, where before the entrance
into the harbour, we found also the frigate or _Squirrel_ lying at
anchor; whom the English merchants, that were and always be Admirals
by turns interchangeably over the fleets of fishermen within the same
harbour, would not permit to enter into the harbour. Glad of so happy
meeting, both of the _Swallow_ and frigate in one day, being Saturday,
the third of August, we made ready our fights, and prepared to enter
the harbour, any resistance to the contrary notwithstanding, there being
within of all nations to the number of 36 sails. But first the General
despatched a boat to give them knowledge of his coming for no ill
intent, having commission from her Majesty for his voyage he had in
hand; and immediately we followed with a slack gale, and in the very
entrance, which is but narrow, not above two butts' length, the Admiral
fell upon a rock on the larboard side by great oversight, in that the
weather was fair, the rock much above water fast by the shore, where
neither went any sea-gate. But we found such readiness in the English
merchants to help us in that danger, that without delay there were
brought a number of boats, which towed off the ship, and cleared her of

Having taken place convenient in the road, we let fall anchors, the
captains and masters repairing aboard our Admiral; whither also came
immediately the masters and owners of the fishing fleet of Englishmen,
to understand the General's intent and cause of our arrival there.
They were all satisfied when the General had shewed his commission and
purpose to take possession of those lands to the behalf of the crown of
England, and the advancement of the Christian religion in those paganish
regions, requiring but their lawful aid for repairing of his fleet, and
supply of some necessaries, so far as conveniently might be afforded
him, both out of that and other harbours adjoining. In lieu whereof he
made offer to gratify them with any favour and privilege, which upon
their better advice they should demand, the like being not to be
obtained hereafter for greater price. So craving expedition of his
demand, minding to proceed further south without long detention in those
parts, he dismissed them, after promise given of their best endeavour
to satisfy speedily his so reasonable request. The merchants with their
masters departed, they caused forthwith to be discharged all the great
ordnance of their fleet in token of our welcome.

It was further determined that every ship of our fleet should deliver
unto the merchants and masters of that harbour a note of all their
wants: which done, the ships, as well English as strangers, were
taxed at an easy rate to make supply. And besides, commissioners were
appointed, part of our own company and part of theirs, to go into other
harbours adjoining (for our English merchants command all there) to levy
our provision: whereunto the Portugals, above other nations, did most
willingly and liberally contribute. In so much as we were presented,
above our allowance, with wines, marmalades, most fine rusk or biscuit,
sweet oils, and sundry delicacies. Also we wanted not of fresh salmons,
trouts, lobsters, and other fresh fish brought daily unto us. Moreover
as the manner is in their fishing, every week to choose their Admiral
anew, or rather they succeed in orderly course, and have weekly their
Admiral's feast solemnized: even so the General, captains, and masters
of our fleet were continually invited and feasted. To grow short in our
abundance at home the entertainment had been delightful; but after our
wants and tedious passage through the ocean, it seemed more acceptable
and of greater contentation, by how much the same was unexpected in that
desolate corner of the world; where, at other times of the year, wild
beasts and birds have only the fruition of all those countries, which
now seemed a place very populous and much frequented.

The next morning being Sunday, and the fourth of August, the General and
his company were brought on land by English merchants, who shewed unto
us their accustomed walks unto a place they call the Garden. But nothing
appeared more than nature itself without art: who confusedly hath
brought forth roses abundantly, wild, but odoriferous, and to sense very
comfortable. Also the like plenty of raspberries, which do grow in every

Monday following, the General had his tent set up; who, being
accompanied with his own followers, summoned the merchants and masters,
both English and strangers, to be present at his taking possession of
those countries. Before whom openly was read, and interpreted unto the
strangers, his commission: by virtue whereof he took possession in
the same harbour of St. John, and 200 leagues every way, invested the
Queen's Majesty with the title and dignity thereof, had delivered unto
him, after the custom of England, a rod, and a turf of the same soil,
entering possession also for him, his heirs and assigns for ever; and
signified unto all men, that from that time forward, they should take
the same land as a territory appertaining to the Queen of England, and
himself authorised under her Majesty to possess and enjoy it, and
to ordain laws for the government thereof, agreeable, so near as
conveniently might be, unto the laws of England, under which all people
coming thither hereafter, either to inhabit, or by way of traffic,
should be subjected and governed. And especially at the same time for
a beginning, he proposed and delivered three laws to be in force
immediately. That is to say the first for religion, which in public
exercise should be according to the Church of England. The second, for
maintenance of her Majesty's right and possession of those territories,
against which if any thing were attempted prejudicial, the party or
parties offending should be adjudged and executed as in case of high
treason, according to the laws of England. The third, if any person
should utter words sounding to the dishonour of her Majesty, he should
lose his ears, and have his ship and goods confiscate.

These contents published, obedience was promised by general voice and
consent of the multitude, as well of Englishmen as strangers, praying
for continuance of this possession and government begun; after this, the
assembly was dismissed. And afterwards were erected not far from that
place the arms of England engraven in lead, and infixed upon a pillar of
wood. Yet further and actually to establish this possession taken in the
right of her Majesty, and to the behoof of Sir Humfrey Gilbert, knight,
his heirs and assigns for ever, the General granted in fee-farm divers
parcels of land lying by the water-side, both in this harbour of St.
John, and elsewhere, which was to the owners a great commodity, being
thereby assured, by their proper inheritance, of grounds convenient to
dress and to dry their fish; whereof many times before they did fail,
being prevented by them that came first into the harbour. For which
grounds they did covenant to pay a certain rent and service unto Sir
Humfrey Gilbert, his heirs or assigns for ever, and yearly to maintain
possession of the same, by themselves or their assigns.

Now remained only to take in provision granted, according as every ship
was taxed, which did fish upon the coast adjoining. In the meanwhile,
the General appointed men unto their charge: some to repair and trim the
ships, others to attend in gathering together our supply and provisions:
others to search the commodities and singularities of the country, to be
found by sea or land, and to make relation unto the General what either
themselves could know by their own travail and experience, or by good
intelligence of Englishmen or strangers, who had longest frequented the
same coast. Also some observed the elevation of the pole, and drew plots
of the country exactly graded. And by that I could gather by each man's
several relation, I have drawn a brief description of the Newfoundland,
with the commodities by sea or land already made, and such also as are
in possibility and great likelihood to be made. Nevertheless the cards
and plots that were drawn, with the due gradation of the harbours, bays,
and capes, did perish with the Admiral: wherefore in the description
following, I must omit the particulars of such things.

That which we do call the Newfoundland, and the Frenchmen _Baccalaos_,
is an island, or rather, after the opinion of some, it consisteth
of sundry islands and broken lands, situate in the north regions of
America, upon the gulf and entrance of a great river called St. Lawrence
in Canada; into the which, navigation may be made both on the south and
north side of this island. The land lieth south and north, containing in
length between 300 and 400 miles, accounting from Cape Race, which is
in 46 degrees 25 minutes, unto the Grand Bay in 52 degrees, of
septentrional latitude. The land round about hath very many goodly bays
and harbours, safe roads for ships, the like not to be found in any part
of the known world.

The common opinion that is had of intemperature and extreme cold that
should be in this country, as of some part it may be verified, namely
the north, where I grant it is more cold than in countries of Europe,
which are under the same elevation: even so it cannot stand with reason
and nature of the clime, that the south parts should be so intemperate
as the bruit hath gone. For as the same do lie under the climes of
Bretagne, Anjou, Poictou in France, between 46 and 49 degrees, so can
they not so much differ from the temperature of those countries: unless
upon the out-coast lying open unto the ocean and sharp winds, it must
indeed be subject to more cold than further within the land, where the
mountains are interposed as walls and bulwarks, to defend and to resist
the asperity and rigour of the sea and weather. Some hold opinion that
the Newfoundland might be the more subject to cold, by how much it lieth
high and near unto the middle region. I grant that not in Newfoundland
alone, but in Germany, Italy and Afric, even under the equinoctial line,
the mountains are extreme cold, and seldom uncovered of snow, in their
culm and highest tops, which cometh to pass by the same reason that
they are extended towards the middle region: yet in the countries lying
beneath them, it is found quite contrary. Even so, all hills having
their descents, the valleys also and low grounds must be likewise hot
or temperate, as the clime doth give in Newfoundland: though I am of
opinion that the sun's reflection is much cooled, and cannot be so
forcible in Newfoundland, nor generally throughout America, as in Europe
or Afric: by how much the sun in his diurnal course from east to west,
passeth over, for the most part, dry land and sandy countries, before he
arriveth at the west of Europe or Afric, whereby his motion increaseth
heat, with little or no qualification by moist vapours. Whereas, on the
contrary, he passeth from Europe and Afric unto American over the ocean,
from whence he draweth and carrieth with him abundance of moist vapours,
which do qualify and enfeeble greatly the sun's reverberation upon
this country chiefly of Newfoundland, being so much to the northward.
Nevertheless, as I said before, the cold cannot be so intolerable under
the latitude of 46, 47, and 48, especial within land, that it should be
unhabitable, as some do suppose, seeing also there are very many people
more to the north by a great deal. And in these south parts there be
certain beasts, ounces or leopards, and birds in like manner, which
in the summer we have seen, not heard of in countries of extreme and
vehement coldness. Besides, as in the months of June, July, August and
September, the heat is somewhat more than in England at those seasons:
so men remaining upon the south parts near unto Cape Race, until after
holland-tide (All-hallow-tide--November 1), have not found the cold so
extreme, nor much differing from the temperature of England. Those
which have arrived there after November and December have found the snow
exceeding deep, whereat no marvel, considering the ground upon the
coast is rough and uneven, and the snow is driven into the places most
declining, as the like is to be seen with us. The like depth of snow
happily shall not be found within land upon the plainer countries, which
also are defended by the mountains, breaking off the violence of winds
and weather. But admitting extraordinary cold in those south parts,
above that with us here, it cannot be so great as in Swedeland, much
less in Moscovia or Russia: yet are the same countries very populous,
and the rigour of cold is dispensed with by the commodity of stoves,
warm clothing, meats and drinks: all of which need not be wanting in the
Newfoundland, if we had intent there to inhabit.

In the south parts we found no inhabitants, which by all likelihood have
abandoned those coasts, the same being so much frequented by Christians;
but in the north are savages altogether harmless. Touching the
commodities of this country, serving either for sustentation of
inhabitants or for maintenance of traffic, there are and may be made
divers; so that it seemeth that nature hath recompensed that only defect
and incommodity of some sharp cold, by many benefits; namely, with
incredible quantity, and no less variety, of kinds of fish in the sea
and fresh waters, as trouts, salmons, and other fish to us unknown; also
cod, which alone draweth many nations thither, and is become the most
famous fishing of the world; abundance of whales, for which also is a
very great trade in the bays of Placentia and the Grand Bay, where is
made train oil of the whale; herring, the largest that have been heard
of, and exceeding the Marstrand herring of Norway; but hitherto was
never benefit taken of the herring fishing. There are sundry other
fish very delicate, namely, the bonito, lobsters, turbot, with others
infinite not sought after; oysters having pearl but not orient in
colour; I took it, by reason they were not gathered in season.

Concerning the inland commodities, as well to be drawn from this land,
as from the exceeding large countries adjoining, there is nothing which
our east and northerly countries of Europe do yield, but the like also
may be made in them as plentifully, by time and industry; namely, resin,
pitch, tar, soap-ashes, deal-board, masts for ships, hides, furs, flax,
hemp, corn, cables, cordage, linen cloth, metals, and many more. All
which the countries will afford, and the soil is apt to yield. The trees
for the most in those south parts are fir-trees, pine, and cypress, all
yielding gum and turpentine. Cherry trees bearing fruit no bigger than a
small pease. Also pear-trees, but fruitless. Other trees of some sort
to us unknown. The soil along the coast is not deep of earth, bringing
forth abundantly peasen small, yet good feeding for cattle. Roses
passing sweet, like unto our musk roses in form; raspises; a berry which
we call whorts, good and wholesome to eat. The grass and herb doth
fat sheep in very short space, proved by English merchants which have
carried sheep thither for fresh victual and had them raised exceeding
fat in less than three weeks. Peasen which our countrymen have sown in
the time of May, have come up fair, and been gathered in the beginning
of August, of which our General had a present acceptable for the
rareness, being the first fruits coming up by art and industry in that
desolate and dishabited land. Lakes or pools of fresh water, both on the
tops of mountains and in the valleys; in which are said to be muscles
not unlike to have pearl, which I had put in trial, if by mischance
falling unto me I had not been letted from that and other good
experiments I was minded to make. Fowl both of water and land in great
plenty and diversity. All kind of green fowl; others as big as bustards,
yet not the same. A great white fowl called of some a gaunt. Upon the
land divers sort of hawks, as falcons, and others by report. Partridges
most plentiful, larger than ours, grey and white of colour, and
rough-footed like doves, which our men after one flight did kill
with cudgels, they were so fat and unable to fly. Birds, some like
blackbirds, linnets, canary birds, and other very small. Beasts of
sundry kinds; red deer, buffles, or a beast as it seemeth by the tract
and foot very large, in manner of an ox. Bears, ounces or leopards, some
greater and some lesser; wolves, foxes, which to the northward a little
farther are black, whose fur is esteemed in some countries of Europe
very rich. Otters, beavers, marterns; and in the opinion of most men
that saw it, the General had brought unto him a sable alive, which he
sent unto his brother, Sir John Gilbert, Knight, of Devonshire, but it
was never delivered, as after I understood. We could not observe
the hundredth part of creatures in those unhabited lands; but these
mentioned may induce us to glorify the magnificent God, who hath
super-abundantly replenished the earth with creatures serving for the
use of man, though man hath not used the fifth part of the same, which
the more doth aggravate the fault and foolish sloth in many of our
nations, choosing rather to live indirectly, and very miserably to live
and die within this realm pestered with inhabitants, then to adventure
as becometh men, to obtain an habitation in those remote lands, in which
nature very prodigally doth minister unto men's endeavours, and for art
to work upon. For besides these already recounted and infinite more, the
mountains generally make shew of mineral substance; iron very common,
lead, and somewhere copper. I will not aver of richer metals; albeit by
the circumstances following, more than hope may be conceived thereof.

For amongst other charges given to enquire out the singularities of
this country, the General was most curious in the search of metals,
commanding the mineral-man and refiner especially to be diligent. The
same was a Saxon born, honest, and religious, named Daniel. Who after
search brought at first some sort of ore, seeming rather to be iron than
other metal. The next time he found ore, which with no small show of
contentment he delivered unto the General, using protestation that if
silver were the thing which might satisfy the General and his followers,
there it was, advising him to seek no further; the peril whereof he
undertook upon his life (as dear unto him as the crown of England
unto her Majesty, that I may use his own words) if it fell not out

Myself at this instant liker to die than to live, by a mischance, could
not follow this confident opinion of our refiner to my own satisfaction;
but afterward demanding our General's opinion therein, and to have some
part of the ore, he replied, _Content yourself, I have seen enough; and
were it but to satisfy my private humour, I would proceed no further.
The promise unto my friends, and necessity to bring also the south
countries within compass of my patent near expired, as we have already
done these north parts, do only persuade me further. And touching the
ore, I have sent it aboard, whereof I would have no speech to be made so
long as we remain within harbour; here being both Portugals, Biscayans,
and Frenchmen, not far off, from whom must be kept any bruit or
muttering of such matter. When we are at sea, proof shall be made; if
it be our desire, we may return the sooner hither again._ Whose answer
I judged reasonable, and contenting me well; wherewith I will conclude
this narration and description of the Newfoundland, and proceed to the
rest of our voyage, which ended tragically.

While the better sort of us were seriously occupied in repairing our
wants, and contriving of matters for the commodity of our voyage, others
of another sort and disposition were plotting of mischief; some casting
to steal away our shipping by night, watching opportunity by the
General's and captains' lying on the shore; whose conspiracies
discovered, they were prevented. Others drew together in company, and
carried away out of the harbours adjoining a ship laden with fish,
setting the poor men on shore. A great many more of our people stole
into the woods to hide themselves, attending time and means to return
home by such shipping as daily departed from the coast. Some were
sick of fluxes, and many dead; and in brief, by one means or other our
company was diminished, and many by the General licensed to return home.
Insomuch as after we had reviewed our people, resolved to see an end of
our voyage, we grew scant of men to furnish all our shipping; it seemed
good thereof unto the General to leave the _Swallow_ with such provision
as might be spared for transporting home the sick people.

The captain of the _Delight_ or Admiral, returned into England, in whose
stead was appointed captain Maurice Browne, before the captain of the
_Swallow_; who also brought with him into the _Delight_ all his men of
the _Swallow_, which before have been noted of outrage perpetrated and
committed upon fishermen there met at sea.

The General made choice to go in his frigate the _Squirrel_, whereof
the captain also was amongst them that returned into England; the same
frigate being most convenient to discover upon the coast, and to search
into every harbour or creek, which a great ship could not do. Therefore
the frigate was prepared with her nettings and fights, and overcharged
with bases and such small ordnance, more to give a show, than with
judgment to foresee unto the safety of her and the men, which afterward
was an occasion also of their overthrow.

Now having made ready our shipping, that is to say, the _Delight_, the
_Golden Hind_, and the _Squirrel_, we put aboard our provision, which
was wines, bread or rusk, fish wet and dry, sweet oils, besides many
other, as marmalades, figs, limons barrelled, and such like. Also we had
other necessary provision for trimming our ships, nets and lines to fish
withal, boats or pinnaces fit for discovery. In brief, we were supplied
of our wants commodiously, as if we had been in a country or some city
populous and plentiful of all things.

We departed from this harbour of St. John's upon Tuesday, the 20 of
August, which we found by exact observation to be in 47 degrees 40
minutes; and the next day by night we were at Cape Race, 25 leagues from
the same harborough. This cape lieth south-south-west from St. John's;
it is a low land, being off from the cape about half a league; within
the sea riseth up a rock against the point of the cape, which thereby is
easily known. It is in latitude 46 degrees 25 minutes. Under this cape
we were becalmed a small time, during which we laid out hooks and lines
to take cod, and drew in less than two hours fish so large and in such
abundance, that many days after we fed upon no other provision. From
hence we shaped our course unto the island of Sablon, if conveniently it
would so fall out, also directly to Cape Breton.

Sablon lieth to the seaward of Cape Breton about 25 leagues, whither we
were determined to go upon intelligence we had of a Portugal, during our
abode in St. John's, who was himself present when the Portugals, above
thirty years past, did put into the same island both neat and swine to
breed, which were since exceedingly multiplied. This seemed unto us very
happy tidings, to have in an island lying so near unto the main, which
we intended to plant upon, such store of cattle, whereby we might at
all times conveniently be relieved of victual, and served of store for

In this course we trended along the coast, which from Cape Race
stretcheth into the north-west, making a bay which some called Trepassa.
Then it goeth out again towards the west, and maketh a point, which with
Cape Race lieth in manner east and west. But this point inclineth to the
north, to the west of which goeth in the Bay of Placentia. We sent men
on land to take view of the soil along this coast, whereof they made
good report, and some of them had will to be planted there. They saw
pease growing in great abundance everywhere.

The distance between Cape Race and Cape Breton is 87 leagues; in which
navigation we spent eight days, having many times the wind indifferent
good, yet could we never attain sight of any land all that time, seeing
we were hindered by the current. At last we fell into such flats and
dangers that hardly any of us escaped; where nevertheless we lost our
Admiral (the _Delight_) with all the men and provisions, not knowing
certainly the place. Yet for inducing men of skill to make conjecture,
by our course and way we held from Cape Race thither, that thereby the
flats and dangers may be inserted in sea cards, for warning to others
that may follow the same course hereafter, I have set down the best
reckonings that were kept by expert men, William Cox, Master of the
_Hind_, and John Paul, his mate, both of Limehouse. . . . Our course we
held in clearing us of these flats was east-south-east, and south-east,
and south, fourteen leagues, with a marvellous scant wind.

Upon Tuesday, the 27 of August, toward the evening, our General caused
them in his frigate to sound, who found white sand at 35 fathom, being
then in latitude about 44 degrees. Wednesday, toward night, the wind
came south, and we bare with the land all that night, west-north-west,
contrary to the mind of Master Cox; nevertheless we followed the
Admiral, deprived of power to prevent a mischief, which by no
contradiction could be brought to hold another course, alleging they
could not make the ship to work better, nor to lie otherways. The
evening was fair and pleasant, yet not without token of storm to ensue,
and most part of this Wednesday night, like the swan that singeth before
her death, they in the Admiral, or _Delight_, continued in sounding of
trumpets, with drums and fifes; also winding the cornets and hautboys,
and in the end of their jollity, left with the battle and ringing of
doleful knells. Towards the evening also we caught in the _Golden Hind_
a very mighty porpoise with harping iron, having first stricken divers
of them, and brought away part of their flesh sticking upon the iron,
but could recover only that one. These also, passing through the ocean
in herds, did portend storm. I omit to recite frivolous report by them
in the frigate, of strange voices the same night, which scared some from
the helm.

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

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

In this distress, we had vigilant eye unto the Admiral, whom we saw cast
away, without power to give the men succour, neither could we espy any
of the men that leaped overboard to save themselves, either in the
same pinnace, or cock, or upon rafters, and such like means presenting
themselves to men in those extremities, for we desired to save the men
by every possible means. But all in vain, sith God had determined their
ruin; yet all that day, and part of the next, we beat up and down as
near unto the wrack as was possible for us, looking out if by good hap
we might espy any of them.

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

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

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

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

Our people lost courage daily after this ill success, the weather
continuing thick and blustering, with increase of cold, winter drawing
on, which took from them all hope of amendment, settling an assurance of
worse weather to grow upon us every day. The leeside of us lay full of
flats and dangers, inevitable if the wind blew hard at south. Some again
doubted we were ingulfed in the Bay of St. Lawrence, the coast full of
dangers, and unto us unknown. But above all, provision waxed scant,
and hope of supply was gone with the loss of our Admiral. Those in the
frigate were already pinched with spare allowance, and want of clothes
chiefly: thereupon they besought the General to return to England before
they all perished. And to them of the _Golden Hind_ they made signs
of distress, pointing to their mouths, and to their clothes thin and
ragged: then immediately they also of the _Golden Hind_ grew to be of
the same opinion and desire to return home.

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

So upon Saturday in the afternoon, the 31 of August, we changed our
course, and returned back for England. At which very instant, even in
winding about, there passed along between us and towards the land which
we now forsook a very lion to our seeming, in shape, hair, and colour,
not swimming after the manner of a beast by moving of his feet, but
rather sliding upon the water with his whole body excepting the legs,
in sight, neither yet diving under, and again rising above the water,
as the manner is of whales, dolphins, tunnies, porpoises, and all
other fish: but confidently showing himself above water without hiding:
notwithstanding, we presented ourselves in open view and gesture to
amaze him, as all creatures will be commonly at a sudden gaze and sight
of men. Thus he passed along turning his head to and fro, yawing and
gaping wide, with ugly demonstration of long teeth, and glaring eyes;
and to bid us a farewell, coming right against the _Hind_, he sent forth
a horrible voice, roaring or bellowing as doth a lion, which spectacle
we all beheld so far as we were able to discern the same, as men prone
to wonder at every strange thing, as this doubtless was, to see a lion
in the ocean sea, or fish in shape of a lion. What opinion others had
thereof, and chiefly the General himself, I forbear to deliver: but he
took it for _bonum omen_, rejoicing that he was in war against such
an enemy, if it were the devil. The wind was large for England at our
return, but very high, and the sea rough, insomuch as the frigate,
wherein the General went, was almost swallowed up.

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

The weather fair, the General came aboard the _Hind_ again, to make
merry together with the captain, master, and company, which was the last
meeting, and continued there from morning until night. During which
time there passed sundry discourses touching affairs past and to come,
lamenting greatly the loss of his great ship, more of the men, but most
of all his books and notes, and what else I know not, for which he was
out of measure grieved, the same doubtless being some matter of more
importance than his books, which I could not draw from him: yet by
circumstance I gathered the same to be the ore which Daniel the Saxon
had brought unto him in the Newfoundland. Whatsoever it was, the
remembrance touched him so deep as, not able to contain himself, he
beat his boy in great rage, even at the same time, so long after the
miscarrying of the great ship, because upon a fair day, when we were
becalmed upon the coast of the Newfoundland near unto Cape Race, he sent
his boy aboard the Admiral to fetch certain things: amongst which, this
being chief, was yet forgotten and left behind. After which time he
could never conveniently send again aboard the great ship, much less he
doubted her ruin so near at hand.

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

Last, being demanded what means he had, at his arrival in England, to
compass the charges of so great preparation as he intended to make
the next spring, having determined upon two fleets, one for the south,
another for the north; _Leave that to me_, he replied, _I will ask a
penny of no man. I will bring good tiding unto her Majesty, who will
be so gracious to lend me 10,000 pounds_, willing us therefore to be
of good cheer; for _he did thank God_, he said, _with all his heart for
that he had seen, the same being enough for us all, and that we needed
not to seek any further_. And these last words he would often repeat,
with demonstration of great fervency of mind, being himself very
confident and settled in belief of inestimable good by this voyage;
which the greater number of his followers nevertheless mistrusted
altogether, not being made partakers of those secrets, which the General
kept unto himself. Yet all of them that are living may be witnesses of
his words and protestations, which sparingly I have delivered.

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

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

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

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

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

In great torment of weather and peril of drowning it pleased God to
send safe home the _Golden Hind_, which arrived in Falmouth the 22 of
September, being Sunday, not without as great danger escaped in a flaw
coming from the south-east, with such thick mist that we could not
discern land to put in right with the haven. From Falmouth we went to
Dartmouth, and lay there at anchor before the Range, while the captain
went aland to enquire if there had been any news of the frigate, which,
sailing well, might happily have been before us; also to certify Sir
John Gilbert, brother unto the General, of our hard success, whom the
captain desired, while his men were yet aboard him, and were witnesses
of all occurrences in that voyage, it might please him to take the
examination of every person particularly, in discharge of his and their
faithful endeavour. Sir John Gilbert refused so to do, holding himself
satisfied with report made by the captain, and not altogether despairing
of his brother's safety, offered friendship and courtesy to the captain
and his company, requiring to have his bark brought into the harbour; in
furtherance whereof a boat was sent to help to tow her in.

Nevertheless, when the captain returned aboard his ship, he found his
men bent to depart every man to his home; and then the wind serving to
proceed higher upon the coast, they demanded money to carry them home,
some to London, others to Harwich, and elsewhere, if the barque should
be carried into Dartmouth and they discharged so far from home, or else
to take benefit of the wind, then serving to draw nearer home, which
should be a less charge unto the captain, and great ease unto the men,
having else far to go. Reason accompanied with necessity persuaded the
captain, who sent his lawful excuse and cause of this sudden departure
unto Sir John Gilbert, by the boat of Dartmouth, and from thence the
_Golden Hind_ departed and took harbour at Weymouth. All the men tired
with the tediousness of so unprofitable a voyage to their seeming, in
which their long expense of time, much toil and labour, hard diet, and
continual hazard of life was unrecompensed; their captain nevertheless
by his great charges impaired greatly thereby, yet comforted in the
goodness of God, and His undoubted providence following him in all that
voyage, as it doth always those at other times whosoever have confidence
in Him alone. Yet have we more near feeling and perseverance of His
powerful hand and protection when God doth bring us together with others
into one same peril, in which He leaveth them and delivereth us, making
us thereby the beholders, but not partakers, of their ruin. Even so,
amongst very many difficulties, discontentments, mutinies, conspiracies,
sicknesses, mortality, spoilings, and wracks by sea, which were
afflictions more than in so small a fleet or so short a time may be
supposed, albeit true in every particularity, as partly by the former
relation may be collected, and some I suppressed with silence for their
sakes living, it pleased God to support this company, of which only
one man died of a malady inveterate, and long infested, the rest kept
together in reasonable contentment and concord, beginning, continuing,
and ending the voyage, which none else did accomplish, either not
pleased with the action, or impatient of wants, or prevented by death.

Thus have I delivered the contents of the enterprise and last action of
Sir Humfrey Gilbert, Knight, faithfully, for so much as I thought meet
to be published; wherein may always appear, though he be extinguished,
some sparks of his virtues, be remaining firm and resolute in a purpose
by all pretence honest and godly, as was this, to discover, possess, and
to reduce unto the service of God and Christian piety those remote and
heathen countries of America not actually possessed by Christians, and
most rightly appertaining unto the crown of England, unto the which as
his zeal deserveth high commendation, even so he may justly be taxed of
temerity, and presumption rather, in two respects. First, when yet there
was only probability, not a certain and determinate place of habitation
selected, neither any demonstration if commodity there _in esse_, to
induce his followers; nevertheless, he both was too prodigal of his own
patrimony and too careless of other men's expenses to employ both his
and their substance upon a ground imagined good. The which falling, very
like his associates were promised, and made it their best reckoning, to
be salved some other way, which pleased not God to prosper in his first
and great preparation. Secondly, when by his former preparation he was
enfeebled of ability and credit to perform his designments, as it were
impatient to abide in expectation better opportunity, and means which
God might raise, he thrust himself again into the action, for which he
was not fit, presuming the cause pretended on God's behalf would carry
him to the desired end. Into which having thus made re-entry, he could
not yield again to withdraw, though he saw no encouragement to proceed;
lest his credit, foiled in his first attempt, in a second should utterly
be disgraced. Between extremities he made a right adventure, putting all
to God and good fortune; and, which was worst, refused not to entertain
every person and means whatsoever, to furnish out this expedition, the
success whereof hath been declared.

But such is the infinite bounty of God, who from every evil deriveth
good. For besides that fruit may grow in time of our travelling into
those north-west lands, the crosses, turmoils, and afflictions, both
in the preparation and execution of this voyage, did correct the
intemperate humours which before we noted to be in this gentleman, and
made unsavoury and less delightful his other manifold virtues. Then
as he was refined, and made nearer drawing unto the image of God so it
pleased the Divine will to resume him unto Himself, whither both his and
every other high and noble mind have always aspired.

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