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GOSNOLD'S VOYAGE TO NEW-ENGLAND.
integrity and a grateful respect for the memory of CHAP. the extraordinary man, whose name is indissolubly connected with the early period of its history.
Some traffic with Virginia may perhaps have been continued. But at the north, the connexion of the English merchants was become so intimate, that, in 1593, Sir Walter Raleigh, in the house of commons, 1593. declared the fishing of Newfoundland to be the stay of the west countries. These voyages and the previous exertions of Raleigh had trained men for the career of discovery; and Bartholomew Gosnold, who, perhaps, had already sailed to Virginia,” in the usual route, by the Canaries and West Indies, now conceived the idea of a direct voyage to America ; and had well nigh secured to New-England the honor of the first permanent English colony. Sail- 1603. ing in a small bark, directly across the Atlantic, in seven weeks he reached the continent of America in May the bay of Massachusetts, not far to the north of Nahant. He failed to observe a good harbor, and, standing for the south, discovered the promontory, which he called Cape Cod; a name, which would not yield to that of the next monarch of England. Here, he and four of his men landed; Cape Cod was the first spot in New-England ever trod by Englishmen.* Doubling the cape, and passing Nan
1 D'Ewes' Journal, p. 509. 4 Grahame, in his United States,
Beverley's Virginia, p. 10, sec- v. i. p. 38, in a note, is led into ond edition ; Oldmixon, v. i. p. error by Oldmixon, v. i. p. 25, first 218; Belknaps Biog. v. i. p. 101; edition. Sir Francis Drake was Baylies, part iv. p. 153, 154. in New-Albion, on the Pacific, in
3 Belknap's Biog. v. ii. p. 103; June, 1579, but not in New-EngWilliamson's Maine, v. i. p. 184, land. From Virginia he sailed 185.
CHAP. tucket, they again landed on a little island, now
called No Man's Land, and afterwards passed round
promontory of Gay Head, naming it Dover Cliff. At length they entered Buzzard's Bay, a stately sound, which they called Gosnold's Hope. The westernmost of the islands was named Elizabeth, from the queen, a name, which has been transferred to the whole group. Here they beheld the rank vegetation of a virgin soil; the noble forests; the wild fruits and the flowers, bursting from the earth; the eglantine, the thorn, and the honeysuckle, the wild pea, the tansy, and young sassafras; strawberries, raspberries, grape-vines, all in profusion. There is on the island a pond, and within it lies a rocky islet; this was the position, which the adventurers selected for their residence. Here they built their storehouse and their fort ; and here the foundations of the first New-England colony were to be laid. The natural features remain unchanged; the island, the pond, the islet, are all yet visible; the forests are gone; the shrubs are as luxuriant as of old; but it requires a believing eye to discern the ruins of the fort."
A traffic with the natives on the main land, soon enabled Gosnold to complete his freight, which consisted chiefly of sassafras root, then greatly esteemed in pharmacy, as a sovereign panacea. The little band, which was to have nestled on the Elizabeth islands, finding their friends about to embark for Europe, despaired of obtaining seasonable supplies of
11 write advisedly, notwith- knap's American Biography, v. standing the statement in Bel- ii. p. 110.
VOYAGES OF MARTIN PRING TO NEW ENGLAND.
food, and determined not to remain. Fear of an CHAP. assault from the Indians, who had ceased to be friendly, the want of provisions, and jealousy respecting the distribution of the risks and profits, defeated the design. The whole party soon set sail and bore for England. The return voyage lasted June but five weeks; and the expedition was completed in less than four months, during which entire health had prevailed.
Gosnold and his companions spread the most favorable reports of the regions, which he had visited. Could it be, that the voyage was so safe, the climate so pleasant, the country so inviting? The merchants of Bristol, with the ready assent of Raleigh, and at the instance of Richard Hakluyt, the enlightened friend and able documentary historian of these commercial enterprizes, a man, whose fame should be vindicated and asserted in the land which he helped to colonize, determined to pursue the career of investigation. The Speedwell, a small ship of fifty tuns and thirty men, the Discoverer, a bark of twenty-six tuns and thirteen men, under the command of Martin Pring, set sail for America, a 1603.
April few days after the death of the queen. It was a pri- *10. vate undertaking, and therefore not retarded by that event. The ship was well provided with trinkets and merchandize, suited to a traffic with the natives;
1 On the voyage, see the origin- Brierton's Relation, in Smith, v. i. al accounts in Purchas. Gosnold's p. 105–108. Compare, particuletter to his father, in Purchas, v. iv. Iarly, Belknap's Life of Gosnold, p. 1646; Archer's Relation, ibid, in American Biography, v. ii. p. v. iv. p. 1647-1651 ; Rosier's 100—123 Notes, ibid, v. iv. p. 1651-1653; 2 Purchas, v. iv. p. 1614. VOL. I.
CHAP. and this voyage also was successful. It reached the
American coast among the islands, which skirt the harbors of Maine. The mouth of the Penobscot offered good anchorage and fishing. Pring made a discovery of the eastern rivers and harbors; the Saco, the Kennebunk, and the York; and the channel of the Piscataqua was examined for three or four leagues. Meeting no sassafras, he steered for the south; doubled Cape Ann; and went on shore in Massachusetts; but, being still unsuccessful, he again pursued a southerly track, and finally anchored in Old Town harbor, on Martha's Vineyard. The
whole absence lasted about six months, and was 1606. completed without disaster or danger. Pring, a
few years later, repeated his voyage, and made a more accurate survey of Maine.
Enterprizes for discovery were now continuous. Bartholomew Gilbert, returning from the West Indies, made an unavailing search for the colony of Raleigh. It was the last attempt to trace the remains of those unfortunate men. But as the testimony of Pring had confirmed the reports of Gos
nold, the career of navigation was vigorously pursued. 1605. An expedition, promoted by the earl of Southampton
and Lord Arundel, of Wardour, and commanded by George Weymouth, who, in attempting a northwest passage, had already explored the coast of Labrador, now discovered the Penobscot river. Weymouth left England in March ; and, in about six weeks,
1 See the original account, in ography, v. ii. p. 123–133; WilPurchas, v. iv. p. 1654—1656. liamson's Maine, v. i. p. 185–187. Compare Belknap's American Bi- 2 Purchas, v. iv. p. 1656—1658.
INTREPIDITY OF THE EARLY NAVIGATORS.
came in sight of the American continent near Cape CHAP. Cod. Turning to the north, he approached the coast of Maine, and ascended the western branch 1605. of the Penobscot beyond Belfast bay; where the deep channel of the broad stream, the abundance of its spacious harbors, the neighboring springs and copious rivulets, compelled the experienced mariner to admire the noble river, which is just now beginning to have upon its banks and in its ports the flourishing settlements and active commerce, that it is by nature so well adapted to sustain. Five natives were decoyed on board the ship, and Weymouth, returning to England, gave three of them to Sir Ferdinand Gorges, a friend of Raleigh, and governor of Plymouth.
Such were the voyages, which led the way to the colonization of the United States. The daring and skill of these earliest adventurers upon the ocean deserve the highest admiration. The difficulties of crossing the Atlantic were new, and it required the greater courage to encounter hazards, which ignorance exaggerated. The character of the prevalent winds and currents was unknown. The possibility of making a direct passage was but gradually discovered. The imagined dangers were infinite; the real dangers, exceedingly great. The ships, at first employed for discovery, were generally of less than one hundred tons burthen; Frobisher sailed in a
1 On the voyage, see Rosier’s can Biography, v. ii. p. 134—150; Virginian Voyage, &c. in Purchas, Williamson's Maine, v. i.
191v. iv. p. 1659— 1667; Sir Ferdi- 195. It is strange with what nand Gorges' Brief Narration, c. ï. reckless confidence Oldmixon, v. p.3. Compare Belknap's Ameri- i. p. 219, 220, can blunder.