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same ship with that gentleman, pursuing a course which we have seen practised in our own time, and availing himself of the publick curiosity, anticipated the authentick account by hastily drawing up a narrative of this disastrous voyage, which appears to have been issued out very expeditiously; for his Dedication, which is addressed “to Master John Fitzjames, Esquire, Justice of Peace in Dorsetshire,” is dated on the 13th of October, 1610 ; but from an apprehension, doubtless, that his publication might have been forbidden by authority, if any previous notice of it had been given, this pamphlet was published without a license, not being entered in the Stationers' Register. It is entitled, “ A Discovery of the Bermudas, otherwise called THE ISLE OF DIVELS; by Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and Captain Newport, with divers others *." Though the substance of this narrative has already been given in Mr. Stith's detail of the disaster produced by the storm of July, 1609, it is necessary to repeat some part of it, because here and in the subsequent tract published by authority, it was, that Shakspeare found those materials of which he has availed himself in the comedy now under our consideration.
Jourdan, after informing his reader that he was one of those who sailed from England with Sir George Somers and Sir Thomas Gates, in the Sea-adventure , proceeds to relate the circum
* By Sil. Jourdan, 4to. 1610.
t “ A vessel of about 300 ton,” say Howes, in his Continuation of Stowe's Chronicle, 1615.
stances of the storm which happened on the 25th of July, 1609. They were bound for Virginia, and at that time in thirty degrees, north latitude. The whole crew, amounting to one hundred and fifty persons, weary with pumping, had given all for lost, and began to drink their strong waters, AND TO TAKE LEAVE OF EACH OTHER, intending to commit themselves to the mercy of the sea. Sir George Somers, who had sat three days and nights on the poop, with no food and little rest, at length descried land, and encouraged them (MANY FROM WEARINESS HAVING FALLEN ASLEEP) to continue at the pumps. They complied ; and fortunately the ship was driven and JAMMED BETWEEN TWO ROCKS, “ fast lodged and locked for further budging.” One hundred and fifty persons got ashore; and by means of their boat and skiff, for this was “half a mile from land,” they saved such part of their goods and provisions as the water had not spoiled, all the tackling and much of the iron of their ship, which was of great service to them in fitting out another vessel to carry them to Virginia.
“ But our delivery,” says Jourdan, “ was not more strange in falling so opportunely and happily upon the land, as [than] our feeding and provision was, beyond our hopes, and all men's expectations, most admirable ; for the Islands of the Bermudas, as every man knoweth that hath heard or read of them, were NEVER INHABITED by any christian or heathen people, but ever esteemed and reputed a most prodigious and INCHANTED PLACE, affording nothing but gusts, storms, and foul weather; which
made every navigator and mariner to avoid them as Şcylla and Charybdis, or as they would shunne the Divell himself: and no man was ever heard to make for this place, but as, against their wils, they have, by storms and dangerousnesse of the rocks lying seven leagues into the sea, suffered shipwracke. Yet did we finde there THE AYRE SO TEMPERATE and the COUNTRY SO ABOUNDANTLY FRUITFULL of all fit necessaries for the sustentation and preservation of man's life, that, most in a manner of all our provision of bread, beere, and victuall, being quite spoyled in lying long drowned in salt water, notwithstanding we were there for the space of nine months (few days over or under) we were not only well refreshed, comforted, and with good satiety contented, but out of the aboundance thereof provided us some reasonable quantity and proportion of provision to carry us for Virginia, and to maintain our selves and that company we found there :--wherefore my opinion sincerely of this island is, that whereas it hath beene, and is still accounted the most dangerous, unfortunate, and forlorne place of the world, it is in truth the richest, healthfullest, and pleasing land, (the quantity and bignesse thereof considered,) and meerely naturall, as ever man set foote upon.”
On the 28th of July they landed. They all then began to search for provision. In half an hour Sir Thomas Gates took as many fishes with hookes, as sufficed the whole company for one day. When a man stept into the water, the fish came round about him. “ These fishes were very fat and
sweete, and of that proportion and bignesse, that three of them will conveniently lade two men: those we called ROCK-FISH. Besides, there are such aboundance of mullets, that with a seane might be taken at one draft one thousand at the least; '
and infinite store of pilchards." There was also a great plenty of cray-fish. The country afforded such an abundance of hogs, that Sir George Somers, who hunted them, brought in thirty-two at one time.
“ There is fowle in great aboundance in the islands, where they breed, that there hath beene taken in two or three howres a thousand at the least, being of the bignesse of a good pigeon.
“ Another sea-fowle there is, that lyeth in little holes in the ground, like unto a coney-hole, and are in great numbers ; exceeding good meat, very fat and sweet, (those we had in the winter,) and their egges are white, and of that bignesse, that they are not to be knowne from hen-egges.”
The birds he describes as exceedingly tame: they came so near them, that they killed many of them with a stick. They found great store of tortoises or turtles ; prickled pears in abundance, which continued green on the trees all the year. The island, he adds, was supplied with many mulberry trees, white and red, palmits and cedar trees; and no venemous creature was found there.
Having built their new cedar bark *, they set sail
* Such is Jourdan's account ; but it appears from other relations, that they built two cedar vessels at Bermuda. In that
from the Bermudas, May 10, 1610, (leaving, as appears by other accounts, three men behind,) and landed on the coast of Virginia, May 24, when they found sixty persons only living and in distress. On this account they determined to return to England; and accordingly embarked, June 8, 1610, at JamesTown for Newfoundland, to get provisions for their voyage; when fortunately, having got half way down the river, they met Lord De la Ware, who arrived from England with three ships. After a while, Lord De la Ware sent Sir George Somers,
a man of sixty years of age,” to Bermuda, for provisions. He embarked at James-Town in the small cedar bark of thirty tons, which he had built at Bermuda, June 19, 1610; and the writer concludes with a hearty wish for his good success and safe return.
To dissipate the gloom and despondency occasioned by the disaster of the former year, and to shew the practicability and probable advantages of settling a colony in Virginia, were the principal objects of the pamphlet published under the authority of the Council in the latter end of 1610; which is written with a vigour, animation, and elegance rarely found in the tracts of those times. Though that part of it with which alone we are concerned, or in other words, which relates to Bermuda, differs but little in substance from the account that pre
built by Somers (and probably in the other also) no iron was employed, except one bolt in her keel.