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the coast turned to the east, despairing to find a passage, he turned back again, and sayled downe by the coast of that land toward the Equinoctiall (ever with intent to find the said passage to India), and came to that part of this firm land which is now called Florida ; where his victuals failing, he departed from thence and returned unto England, where he found great tumults among the people, and preparations for warres in Scotland, by reason whereof there was no more consideration had unto this voyage.”
The king did not care to prosecute the enterprise, and Cabot left for Spain. In 1548 he returned, an aged man, and full of wisdom and honour. Edward VI. was so delighted with the old man and his views, that he appointed him by patent “ Pilot-Major,” with a salary of 500 marks (£166), a very large sum in those days. He dedicated his mature powers to the work of organizing and promoting English discovery. He was placed at the head of the * Mysterie and Companie of the Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of New Trades," better known as the Muscovia Company. Then England fairly entered on the race in which she was destined to outstrip the world. From Italy came the first inspiration, both to Spain and to England. It was so in everything. In art, literature, commerce, politics, and war, Italy led the van though she could not keep it. She lit the torch of modern civilization at the old hearth fires, whose embers were still glowing in her great cities, and then passed it on to stronger and more resolute peoples. But Cabot is our maritime patriarch. All honour be to his memory! He seems to have returned to England at the solicitation of a certain Mr. Robert Thorne, a merchant of Bristol, and a most able man, in the reign of Henry VIII. The first fair notice which I can find of the motif of English discovery towards the north, occurs in a paper addressed to Henry VIII., by this very Mr. Robert Thorne, from which I make the following very significant extract:
“Now I considering this your noble courage and desire, and also perceiving that your Grace may at your pleasure, to your greater glory, by a Godly meane, with little cost, perill, or labour, to your Grace or any of your subjects, amplifie and enrich this your sayd realme, I know it is my bounden duty to manifest this secret unto your Grace, which hitherto, as I suppose, hath beene hid : which is that with a small number of ships, there may be discovered divers new lands and kingdomes, withe which without doubt your Grace shall winne perpetualle glory, and your subjectes infinite profite. To which places there is left one way to discover, which is into the North : for that of the foure partes of the worlde, it seemeth three parts are discovered by other princes. For out of Spaine they have discovered all the Indies and seas occidentall; and out of Portingall all the
Indies and seas orientall ; so that by this part of the orient and occident they have compassed the world. So that now rest to be discovered the sayd north parts, the which it seemeth to mee is onely your charge and duety. Because the situation of this your realme is thereunto nearest and aptest of all other : and also for that you have already taken it in hand.”
Thorne's representations took effect. In 1527 “two faire ships” were despatched for Western discovery. The history of the expedition, as far as it can be gleaned from the scanty chronicles of it, was disastrous. The ships were cast away on the north of Newfoundland, and even the painstaking Hakluyt failed to learn anything more about it. This was followed by an expedition sent forth by one Master Hore, of London, quaintly described as “a man of goodly stature, and great courage, and given to the study of Cosmographie.” The remarkable feature of this expedition, which sailed in 1536, was that thirty out of the six score persons by whom the ships were manned, were gentlemen of the Inns of Court, and persons from the upper ranks of society. Their fate was very horrible. · They found some traces of an earlier habitation of the island by civilized people, but were unable to continue their explorations; for before long they were overtaken by famine, and fearful tales of cannibalism and other horrors were told by the few that returned. The Captain's dis. course, when he discovered the horrible crimes to which they had been driven, is very noble and Christian; but I cannot dwell upon it here. The curious will find it in the third volume of the 4to edition of Hakluyt, page 169.
The next voyage undertaken by the English, may be said fairly to open the chapter of Arctic discovery. It is the expedition of the ill-fated Sir Hugh Willoughby (the reader will remember Henry Sidney’s “eloquent discourse” to them), which sailed in 1553.
The indefatigable Mr. Robert Thorne wrote a letter to Dr. Ley, the ambassador of Henry VIII. to the Emperor, in which he shapes the great dream of English commerce-a new way to the new Indian lands by the Polar Seas; as fair and false a dream as ever beguiled mankind. Having dwelt at large on the discovery of Newfoundland, he says—"Now then, if from the said New found lands the sea be navigable, there is no doubt, but sayling Northward and passing the Pole, descending to the Equinoctiall line, we shall hit these islands (the Spice Islands, he means); and it would be a much shorter way than either the Spaniards or the Portingalls have. For we be distant from the Pole but thirty and nine degrees, and from the Pole to the Equinoctiall be ninety, the which added together bee an hundred twenty and mine degrees, leagues
2489, miles 7440 : where we should find these islands... So that this navigation of the Portuguese amounteth in all to 4300 leagues. So that (as afore is sayd) if between our New found lands or Norway, or Island (Iceland), the seas toward the north be navigable, we should goe to those islands a shorter way by more than 2000 leagues.”
This was the germ which has ripened into Arctic exploration. It lay in the mind of Sebastian Cabot, and its first-fruit was the expedition of Sir Hugh Willoughby, to find a way to India round the northern sea-boards of Asia. It is but the first of a series of gallant attempts to force that ice-bound gate ; attempts in which the Dutch chiefly distinguished themselves, and the hapless Barentz earned an immortal fame. Most able instructions were drawn up by Cabot for the conduct of the navigation, on which we must not even for a moment dwell. A graphic little picture of the starting of the expedition will not be unacceptable to the reader. There were three ships :
“On the 20th of May, 1553, the captain and mariners took shipping and departed from Ratcliffe on the ebbe. They having saluted their acquaintances—one his wife, another his children, and another his kinsfolk, and another his friends dearer than his kinsfolkes-were present and ready at the day appointed ; and having wayed ancre, they departed with the turning of the water, and sayling easily came first to Greenewich. The greater ships are towed downe with boates and oares, the mariners being all apparelled in watchet, or skie-coloured cloth, rowed amayne, and made waye with diligence. And being come neare to Greenewich, where the Court then laye, upon the newes thereof the courtiers came running out, and the common people flockt together, standing very thicke upon the shore : the Privie Council they lookt out at the windows of the Court, and the rest ranne up to the tops of the towers; the ships hereupon discharged their ordinance, and shot off their pieces after the manner of warre and of the sea ; insomuch that the tops of the hills sounded therewith, the valleys and the waters gave an echo, and the mariners they shouted in such sort, that the skye rang again with the noyse thereof. One stoode in the poope of the ship, and by his gesture bids farewell to his friends in the best maner he could. Another walks upon the hatches, another climbs the shrowds, another stands upon the mainyard, and another in the top of the shippe ; to be short, it was a very triumph (after a sort), in all respects to the beholders. But, alas, the good King Edward (in respect of whom principally all this was prepared), hee onely by reason of his sicknesse, was absent from this shewe ; and not long after the departure of these ships the lamentable and most sorrowful accident of his death followed."
Thus they set forth. The ships parted company. Chancellor landed in Russia, reached the Court, was heartily entertained
there, and laid the foundation of that commercial intercourse with Russia which was so fruitful in profit to England in this and the succeeding reigns. The gallant Sir Hugh Willoughby met with a darker fate. Next year some Russian fishermen found the ships fast in the ice near the mouth of the Arzina, on the coast of Lapland, and the crews all frozen to death. Sir Hugh Willoughby's journal was recovered, from which it appears that he had previously reached and “ discovered,”—not Spitzbergen, as Purchas with singular obstinacy will have it—but Nova Zembla, which is the true Willoughby's land. The last entry in the journal has a melancholy interest : “ Thus remaining in this haven the space of a weeke, seeing the yeare farre spent, and very bad wether, as frost, snow, and hail, as though it had been the deep of winter; we thought it best to winter there. Wherefore we sent out three men S.S.W. to search if they could find people, who went three dayes journey but could find none. After that we sent out other three westward, four dayes journey, which also returned without finding any people. Then sent we three men S.E. three dayes journey, who in like sorte returned, without finding of people or any similitude of habitation.” These were the last words traced by the hand of as noble and gallant a man as ever led a forlorn hope for his country's good. The cycle of Arctic discovery opens and closes with strangely similar calamities—two ships' crews in each case frozen to death.
A second North-Eastern attempt was made by Stephen Borough, in 1556. He reached Nova Zembla, but being driven back by easterly winds, returned safely to England the following year. His voyage is of interest chiefly because it gives us a glimpse of good old Sebastian Cabot in his lusty age, honoured and beloved, and as devoted to discovery as in his prime.
“We departed from Ratcliffe to Blackewall the 23rd of April. Saturday, being St. Mark's day, we departed from Blackewall to Grays. The 27th being Monday, the right worshipful Sebastian Cabot came aboard our pinnesse at Gravesend, accompanied with divers gentlemen and gentlewomen, who after they had viewed our pinnesse, and tasted of such cheere as we could make them aboord, they went on shore, giving our mariners right liberal rewards; and the good old gentleman, Master Cabota, gave to the poore most liberal almes, bidding them to pray for the goode fortune and prosperous successe of the Serchthrift, our pinnesse. And then at the signe of the Christopher, he and his friends banketted, and made me and them that were in the company great cheere : and for very joy that he had to see the towardnes of our intended discovery, he entered into the dance himselfe, amongst the rest of the young and lusty company. Which
mnost availalte an ableadily to thention of discets of the
being ended, he and his friends departed most gently, commending us to the governance of Almighty God.”
With this voyage the N.E. explorations of the English came practically to a close. What further interest attaches to the question of the North-Easterly passage is chiefly connected with the rise of the Dutch Republics towards the close of the century. The English continued to carry on a commercial intercourse with Russia of great extent and importance, and in this direction their knowledge of the countries and markets of the world rapidly increased. But the attention of discoverers was from that time turned steadily to the North-West. Sir Humphrey Gilbert wrote an able treatise to prove, according to the notions most available for proof in those days, that the N.W. passage would be found surer, easier, nearer, and in every way more advantageous for England, than that by the N.E. This book seems to have carried the convictions of his countrymen with it; from that time forth they threw themselves earnestly into the exploration of the northern sea-boards of the American continent, if any passage might be forced that way into the Indian Seas. The work of Arctic discovery has called forth and exercised for three centuries a succession of men as hardy and heroic as any whose names are recorded in the bead-roll of fame, and the secret has been mastered at last. There was a third way to the rich Indian realms, at which our forefathers looked wistfully in the early part of Elizabeth's reign-by the broad highway of the Atlantic, barred against us by the two powerful navies of Portugal and Spain. That barrier, too, the mariners of Elizabeth forced before the end of the century, and have held open in many a long and desperate conflict against the banded navies of the world.
there bead-rollady and
Atlant part of wat which
THE LEGATIONS AND THE PAPAL GOVERNMENT.
It has now, at length, been definitively settled that a Congress of the great Powers shall assemble at Paris, for the purpose of determining the future fate of Italy. The Treaty of Villafranca has made Lombardy an integral part of the Sardinian monarchy, but Venetia is still held by Austria ; the destinies of Tuscany,