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towards the North-West,' set sail from Gravesend June 12, 1576. It consisted of two barques of twenty-five tons each, the • Gabriel' and the · Michael,' a pinnace of ten tons, of which Frobisher was ' captain and pilot,' and a crew of thirty-four persons. The amount of the total stock subscribed for was 8751., and among the names of the different adventurers in • Martin Frobisher's first voyage for discovery of the North• West Passage,' we find Şir l'homas Gresham, who subscribed 100%.; the Earls of Sussex, Warwick, and Leicester, who subscribed each 501.; and Secretary Walsingham and Philip Sydney, who each subscribed 25. Shortly after quitting the Channel the expedition encountered a great storm, in which 'they lost sight of their pinnace, with three men, which they
could never since hear of.' Off the great island of Friez• land' the two ships parted company. The • Michael,' commanded by a Welshman, Owen Gryffyn, steered her course for Labrador, but found it so compassed with monstrous high * islands of ice that they durst not approach.' Accordingly she turned back, and arrived in the Thames early in September. The Gabriel,' on board of which was Frobisher, whose ' valiant courage' had averted many dangers, displayed greater fortitude and perseverance. Keeping due north, she reached Labrador on July 29, the headland whereof Frobisher named
Elizabeth Foreland.' Passing through the strait which now bears the name of the navigator, the. Gabriel 'cast anchor off one of the neighbouring islands. Frobisher and six of his men landed and attempted to have intercourse with the natives; but, “perceiving these strange people to be of a nature given 'to fierceness and rapine, and not himself prepared for defence,' he returned to his ship and steered to another island off the mainland, on the north side. Here two headlands at the farthest end of the strait were discovered. By reason there ' was no likelihood of land to the northward, the great broad
open between, and the great flood tides they judged to be the West Sea whereby to pass to Cathay and to the Last Indies.' Having reached these high latitudes, Frobisher now endeavoured to derive some practical benefit from the voyage.
He was anxious to be piloted through the strait into the West Sea, but, unlike his successors in the field of arctic exploration, found the Esquimaux not only very beastly in their manner of life and food, but treacherous and hostile. He therefore came to the conclusion that no confidence could be given to such a - pilot nor to any of the people.' Further stay being useless in these parts, Frobisher was on the eve of turning the bows VOL. CLII. NO. CCCXII.
of his vessel towards England, when he was subjected to many days' delay owing to the rash conduct of certain of his crew. With the reckless curiosity of English seamen, five of the sailors of the Gabriel,' contrary to the express orders of their captain, had rowed out of sight of the ship to traffic with the natives on the mainland, and after that hour they were never
seen nor heard of.' Frobisher used every effort to recover his men, but without success, and after a fruitless search orders were given to weigh anchor and return homewards. As the Gabriel' was beating down Frobisher's Strait, 'all oppressed with sorrow that their captain should return home without 'an evidence or token of any place where he had been,' a fleet of canoes crowded with natives approached the vessel. Signs of friendship were made to the Esquimaux by the English sailors, and one canoe bolder than its fellows touched the ship's side. Presents were handed down, and whilst one of the natives was in the act of receiving a bell he was suddenly seized by Frobisher and lifted over the gunwale on deck amid the howls of his countrymen. He was now told .by signs' that if he gave information as to the existence of the five Englishmen he would be set at liberty ; ' but he would • not seem to understand, and therefore was still kept in the
ship with sure guard.' All this, we are informed, was done within arrow-shot of his fellows, who departed in great haste,
howling like wolves or other beasts. Two days' grace was given to the Esquimaux to redeem their comrade and restore the missing Englishmen, and on the expiration of that time, without there being any signs of the natives returning with their prisoners, the Gabriel' steered her course south with her strange hostage on board. We are favoured with a brief description of this the first arctic inhabitant who had ever sailed under the English flag-very broad face, and very fat and 'full in body; legs short and small, and out of proportion ; long hanging coalblack hair tied above his forehead; little eyes and a little black beard; skin of a dark sallow, much • like the tawny Moors, or rather to the Tartar nation, whereof • I think he was; countenance sullen or churlish, but sharp.' As on her outward-bound cruise, so on her return homeward, the Gabriel ’ had to weather a terrible storm in the Atlantic. She quitted Labrador August 25, sighted the Orkney Islands September 25, reached Harwich October 2, and arrived in the port of London October 9, 1576, where she was joyfully • received with the great admiration of the people, bringing with her her strange man and his boat, which was such a wonder unto the whole city and to the rest of the realm that heard
• of it, as seemed never to have happened the like great matter to any man's knowledge.'
The bold captain of the Gabriel' was, however, not to remain long in idleness. A report had been spread throughout the town that in those ice-bound regions from which Frobisher had just returned the soil was deeply impregnated with gold, and that the land had only to be worked to yield untold wealth.
The greed of the Court and of the nation was at once aroused. Frobisher had presented to his friend and then staunch ally, Michael Lok, a piece of stone, “the first thing he • found in the new land.' This stone had been handed over to Williams, the assay-master of the Tower, and to other refiners, and the result of their examination had been to extract from the flint a grain of gold. This important fact Lok at once communicated to the Queen, but begged that the matter might be preserved a solemn secret. The discovery was laid before the Council, and that body gave it as its opinion that a second voyage was a thing worthy to be followed. Frobisher was asked to take the command, and readily assented. On this occasion the interests of geography were lost in the race after wealth. Men were utterly indifferent to the discovery of the North-West Passage, and were now only intent upon embarking in a venture which might result in the acquisition of a large fortune. The charges were estimated at 4,5001., and the subscription list was soon filled with eager applicants. The Queen subscribed 1,0001., and many of the leading officials 1007. each. On May 26, 1577, Frobisher started on his second voyage. Amongst his crew were ten convicts, who had been released from prison to work the ore which it was hoped would be found. The instructions of the commander were very brief and simple. He was to defend the mines and possess • the country. Into the details of this voyage we need not
' enter. After an absence of four months Frobisher returned home and cast anchor off Bristol. It was at once concluded by those who had taken shares in the enterprise that the quest had been successful, and that the holds of the two barques, the • Ayde' and the Gabriel,' were heavily ballasted with precious ore. A suggestion was made to the Privy Council that the cargo should be unladen in the port of Bristol, and confined for better security within the walls of the castle under four locks, the keys to be left with the mayor of Bristol, Sir Richard Berkely, Frobisher, and Michael Lok. It was also desired by the eager and credulous adventurers that means should speedily be adopted for the melting of the ore. From the papers
before us we do not hear that on this occasion a
single enquiry was raised as to the discovery of the NorthWest Passage. It is somewhat remarkable,' writes Mr. Sainsbury, that throughout the correspondence relating to Fro• bisher's second and third voyages, the original intention of • the first voyage, that is, the discovery of the North-West
Passage, is almost wholly lost sight of-gold is the pith, heart, and core of most of the correspondence.
The suggestions offered to the Council were at once acted upon. Frobisher was directed to discharge his cargo at Bristol, and the officers of the Mint were instructed to receive into the Tower certain ore brought out of the north-west parts by · Martin Frobisher.' And now conflicting opinions arose as to the value of the voyage. Lok, who was heavily interested in the venture—'having been,' as he admits, at very great
—' charges for two years since Forbisher has been in London,
who ate the most of his meat at my table freely and gladly'informs Walsingham that the ore is not yet brought to perfection, but that it is very rich, and will yield forty pounds a ton clear of charges : 'this is assuredly true, which may suffice to
embrace the enterprise.' The officials at the Mint were, however, not so sanguine. One Jonas Schutz, a German, en*gaged that two tons should yield, in fine gold, twenty ounces ;' a Dr. Burcott certifies that he has proved it to the uttermust, • and finds not such great riches as is here spoken and reported
of;' whilst a third, Geoffrey le Brumen, has the frankness to write to Walsingham that he has tried all the minerals
given to him, and finds the greater part to be only marqui• sette, and no gold or silver, or next to none.' The Privy Council, however, incited by the credulity of the shareholders, declined to pay heed to any adverse opinions. The voyage, it was given out, had been propitious; tons of ore had been brought home, and alchemy had discovered that the precious metal was within ; all doubt had been removed as to the existence of mines rich with gold in those northern regions. So eager was the nation to jump to conclusions and build up a faith upon the slenderest of foundations, that, before the truth could be fully ascertained as to the value or worthlessness of the ore, a third expedition was hastily fitted out, and the subscription list at once covered. By command of Queen Elizabeth, Walsingham wrote to the Lord Treasurer and Lord Chamberlain that her Majesty, 'understanding that the • richness of that earth is like to fall out to a good reckoning, • is well pleased that a third voyage be taken in hand,' and that “our loving friend Martin Frobisher' be appointed cap, tain-general of the expedition. Instructions drawn up by Lord
Burghley were placed in the hands of the popular navigator. Frobisher was ordered to make · for the land now called by 'her Majesty Meta Incognita, to the north-west parts, and
Cathay;' he was not to receive under his charge any disorderly or mutinous person;' he was not to lose any of the ship’s company, any such offender to be punished sharply, to • the example of others;' he was to instruct all your people * rather too much than anything too little, that they may pro
cure the friendship of the people of those parts by courtesies * than move them to any offence or misliking,' and he was at once to repair to the mines in which he wrought last year, and there place his men to work and collect the ore. It was expected that 5,000 tons weight of ore would be brought back, and that many members of the expedition would be absent some eighteen months. The popularity which Frobisher now enjoyed was attendant with the consequences which a sudden success so often inspires; for we are told that he “
such a monstrous mind, that a whole kingdom could not con'tain it, but already, by discovery of a new world, he was
become another Columbus.' Eleven ships were fitted out for this expedition ; they sailed from Harwich May 31, 1578, the Queen herself
, a large adventurer, watching their departure, and, it is said, wishing them success.
The absence of the little fleet was shorter than had been calculated upon; for, early in the autumn of the same year that had witnessed its departure, it was descried off the western coast, and Frobisher arrived at Cornwall September 25, 1578. He at once repaired to the Court at Richmond, and from thence to London. Whereupon was no small joy conceived on all parties for the safety of the men, though many died of sickness, but especially for the treasure he brought, the ships * being laden with rich gold ore, worth, he said, sixty pounds and eighty pounds a ton.' The cargo was discharged at Dartford, and workmen were appointed to see good proofs 'made of the ore from both voyages.' But now the bubble burst. Two assays were made, and in two hundredweight of · Fro
bisher's ore’ two minute particles of silver, not so big as a pin's head, were found, and, as an evidence of the worthlessness of the ore, they remain to this day fastened by sealing-wax to the report. The shareholders were loud in their expressions of
rage and disappointment, and more than one adventurer, who had placed all his hopes in • Frobisher's ore,' to save himself from ruin, became lodged within the cells of the Fleet. Among these latter was now to be confined the person of Michael Lok. Of all those who had supported Frobisher in