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FROBISHER ABANDONS META INCOGNITA.
after encountering peril of every kind; "getting in CHAP. at one gap and out at another;" escaping only by miracle from hidden rocks and unknown currents,
1578. ice and a lee shore, which was, at one time, avoided only by a prosperous breath of wind in the very moment of extreme danger, he at last arrived at the haven in the countess of Warwick's sound. The zeal of the volunteer colonists had moderated; and the disheartened sailors were ready to mutiny. One ship, laden with provisions for the colony, deserted and returned; and an island was discovered with enough of the black ore "to suffice all the goldgluttons of the world.” The plan of the settlement was abandoned. It only remained to freight the home-bound ships with a store of minerals. They, who engage in a foolish project, combine, in case of failure, to conceal their loss; for a confession of the truth would be an impeachment of their judgment; so that unfortunate speculations are promptly consigned to oblivion. The adventurers and the historians of the voyages are all silent about the disposition which was made of the cargo of their fleet. The knowledge of the seas was not extended by the voyage; the credulity of avarice met with a rebuke; and the belief in regions of gold among the Esquimaux was dissipated; but there remained a firm conviction, that a passage to the Pacific ocean might yet be threaded among the icebergs and northern islands of America.
1 On Frobisher, consult the orig- and Best, with R. Hakluyt's ininal accounts of Hall, Settle, Ellis structions, in Hak. v. iii. p. 52–129. VOL. I.
While Frobisher was thus attempting to obtain wealth and fame on the northeast coast of America, the western limits of the territory of the United
States became known. Embarking on a voyage in 1577, quest of fortune, Francis Drake acquired immense 1580. treasures as a freebooter in the Spanish harbors on
the Pacific; and, having laden his ship with spoils, gained for himself enduring glory by circumnavigating the globe. But before following in the path, which the ship of Magellan had thus far alone dared to pursue, Drake determined to explore the northwestern coast of America, in the hope of discovering the strait which connects the oceans. With this view, he crossed the equator, sailed beyond the peninsula of California, and followed the continent to the latitude of forty-three degrees, corresponding
to the latitude of the southern borders of New1579. Hampshire. Here the cold seemed intolerable to June. men, who had just left the tropics. Despairing of
. success, he retired to a harbor in a milder latitude, within the limits of Mexico; and, having repaired his ship, and named the country New-Albion, he sailed for England, through the seas of Asia. Thus was the southern part of the Oregon territory first
visited by Englishmen; yet not till after a voyage of 1542. the Spanish from Acapulco, commanded by Cabrillo,
a Portuguese, had traced the American continent to
within two and a half degrees of the mouth of Co1593. lumbia river;? while, thirteen years after the voyage
1 Course of Sir Francis Drake, 2 Forster's Northern Voyages, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 524; John- b. iii. c. iv. s. ii. son's Life of Drake.
of Drake, John de Fuca, a mariner from the isle of CHAP. Greece, then in the employ of the viceroy of Mexico, sailed into the bay, which is now known as the gulf 1593. of Georgia, and, having for twenty days steered through its intricate windings and numerous islands, returned with a belief, that the entrance to the long desired passage into the Atlantic had been found.
The lustre of the name of Drake is borrowed 1578. from his success. In itself, this part of his career was but a splendid piracy against a nation, with which his sovereign and his country professed to be at peace. Oxenham, a subordinate officer, who had ventured to imitate his master, was taken by the Spaniards and hanged; nor was his punishment either unexpected or censured in England as severe. The exploits of Drake, except so far as they nourished a love for maritime affairs, were injurious to commerce; the minds of the sailors were debauched by a passion for sudden acquisitions; and to receive regular wages seemed base and unmanly, when at the easy peril of life, there was hope of boundless plunder. Commerce and colonization rest on regular industry; the humble labor of the English fishermen, who now frequented the Grand Bank, bred mariners for the navy of their country, and prepared the way for its settlements in the New World. Already four hundred vessels came annually from the harbors of Portugal and Spain, of France and England, to the shores of Newfoundland. The English
1 Purchas, v. iv. p. 849—852. iv. Belknap's American BiograForster is sceptical; b. iii. c. iv. s. phy, v. i. p. 224—230.
CHAP. were not there in such numbers as other nations, for they still frequented the fisheries of Iceland; but yet they were commonly lords in the harbors," and, in the arrogance of naval supremacy, exacted payment for protection. It is an incident, honorable to the humanity of the early voyagers, that, on one of the American islands, not far from the fishing stations, hogs and horned cattle were purposely left, that they might multiply and become a resource to some future generation of colonists.2
While the queen and her adventurers were dazzled by the glittering prospects of mines of gold in the frozen regions of the remote north, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, with a sounder judgment and a better knowledge, watched the progress of the fisheries and formed healthy plans for colonization. He had been a soldier and a member of parliament. He was a judicious writer on navigation; and though censured for his ignorance of the principles of liberty, he was esteemed for the sincerity of his piety. He was one of those, who alike despise fickleness and fear; danger never turned him aside from the pursuit of honor or the service of his sovereign; for he knew that death is inevitable and the fame of virtue immortal. It was not difficult for Gilbert to June obtain a liberal patent, formed according to the tenor of a previous precedent; and to be of perpet
1 See the letter of Ant. Park-
2 Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 197.
4 D'Ewes' Journal, p. 168 and
5 Gilbert, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 47. 6 The patent may be found in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 174-176; Stith's Virginia, p. 4, 5, 6; Hazard, v. i. p. 24-28.
GILBERT'S FIRST VOYAGE.
ual efficacy, if a plantation should be established CHAP. within six years. To the people, who might belong to his colony, the rights of Englishmen were promised; to Gilbert, the possession for himself or his assigns of the soil which he might discover; and the sole jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, of the territory within two hundred leagues of his settlement, with supreme executive and legislative authority. Thus the attempts at colonization, in which Cabot and Frobisher had failed, were renewed under a patent which conferred every immunity on the leader of the enterprize, and abandoned the colonists themselves to the mercy of an absolute proprietary.
Under this patent, Gilbert began to collect a company of volunteer adventurers, contributing largely from his own fortune to the preparation. Jarrings and divisions ensued, before the voyage was begun; many abandoned what they had inconsiderately undertaken; the general and a few of his assured friends, among them, perhaps, his step-brother, Walter Raleigh, put to sea; one of his ships was lost; 1579. and misfortune compelled the remainder to return. The vagueness of the accounts of this expedition is ascribed to a conflict with a Spanish fleet, of which the issue was unfavorable to the little squadron of emigrants.? Gilbert attempted to keep his patent alive by making grants of lands. None of his assigns succeeded in establishing a colony; and he was himself too much impoverished to renew his efforts.
1 Hayes' Report, in Hakluyt, v. 28, 29, edition of 1829.; Tytler's iii. p. 186.
Life of Raleigh, p. 26, 27. 2 Oldys' Life of Raleigh, p.