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exercising, and compelled them to live on salted provisions, they became afflicted with the scurvy. When the spring approached, their bread was consumed; and though game was in abundance, they had not sufficient strength and activity to take it. Their condition was now most deplorable; famine was added to disease. Long comfortless, they were now without hope, and died rapidly: Munk remained alone in a little hut, in so dejected a state as to expect nothing but death. Hunger at length compelled him to crawl forth and seek his companions; but of these he found only two alive—the rest had ali perished. The three survivors encouraged each other in their efforts to procure food. They dug under the snow for herbs and roots ; they took fish; and, as their strength returned, caught birds and other animals. At length they had the resolution to equip the smaller of their two vessels. They put to sea, and after a stormy passage, in which the ship was almost abandoned to herself, they arrived safely in a port in Norway. The return of these men was looked upon, and justly, as little short of a miracle. That three men surviving alone of the company of sixty-four, after enduring all the miseries of an arctic winter, should recover by feeding upon grass and the coarsest herbs, should collect provisions for their voyage, and bring home one of their ships in safety, is a narrative which almost exceeds the bounds of credibility. The severities of the climate, perhaps, rather than the dangers of a sea beset with ice, deterred navigators from the prosecution of voyages to the north-west. But, indeed, the voyage of Baffin in 1616 seemed so conclusive against the existence of a passage round the north of the American continent, as greatly to discourage future exertions in that quarter. In consequence, many years elapsed without any further attempts being made to follow up those ungrateful researches, until in 1631 captain Luke Fox, who, he says, “ had been itching after northern discovery ever since 1606, when he wished to have gone as mate to John Knight,” obtained from the

king the loan of one of his ships for the proposed voyage. On taking leave, he received from the king a map of all his predecessor's discoveries, his majesty's instructions, and a letter to the emperor of Japan. Fox was a bold man, but inordinately self-conceited; and this failing appears conspicuously in the florid account which he has given of his expedition. Yet he warns “ the gentle reader not to expect here any flourishing phrases or eloquent terms; for this child of mine, begot in the north-west's cold clime, where they breed no scholars, is not able to digest the sweet milk of rhetoric.”* In Hudson's Strait, Fox was much hampered with ice, the masses of which nevertheless he affirms “ were seldom bigger than a great church.” At Salisbury Island, he observes that the needle becomes sluggish or insensible, — a phenomenon which he ascribes “ to the sharpness of the air interposed between the needle and his attractive point.” To an island on the eastern coast of America he gave the name of Sir Thomas Rowe's Welcome: here he found the burying-place of the natives; and with the bodies were deposited bows, arrows, and darts, many of which were headed with iron, and one with copper ; whence it was concluded that Europeans had been there before. At Nelson's River he found a cross which had been erected there by sir Thomas Button. Fox returned to England on the last day of October, “not having lost one man nor boy, nor any manner of tackling, having been forth near six months, all glory be to God.” He was evidently dissatisfied with the issue of his voyage, and continued firmly to maintain the probability of a north-west passage, which he thought might be found in Sir Thomas Rowe's Welcome, where the tide was observed to come from the northward, and where the multitude of the whales seemed to indicate the proximity of a great sea. While Fox was preparing to embark in this enterprise, the merchants of Bristol, determined to contest with London the praise of maritime activity, despatched captain Thomas James with like instructions,

* North West Fox. 1635.

and furnished by the king with similar credentials. But James was probably much less able, and certainly less fortunate, than Fox. His ship suffered much in Hudson's Bay from ice and boisterous winds: “For the sea,” he says, “ so continually over-reached us, that we were like Jonas in the whale's belly.” As his ignorance of the art of navigating among ice kept him in continual embarrassment, he could not venture to cross Hudson's Bay at the commencement of winter, and preferred remaining on an island now called Charlton Island, lying in latitude 52°. A hut was built for the sick, and covered with the main sail. These poor men had to endure the usual miseries of an arctic winter. Their wine, vinegar, oil, and every thing else that was liquid, were frozen as hard as wood, so that they were obliged to cut them with a hatchet. In February the scurvy began to make its appearance among the crew, and it was not till July that they could get the ship ready for their homeward voyage. James was evidently an unskilful navigator; and if not actually timid, was at least well disposed to magnify difficulties. He was one of the few who maintained the improbability of a northwest passage ; and his opinion had less weight, as it was contradicted by those who displayed far more sagacity and skill in the conduct of a similar enterprise. The voyages to Hudson's Bay, although they did not disprove the existence of a north-west passage, were not calculated to raise sanguine expectations of finding it in that quarter. Besides, the difficulties of the navigation and the hardships arising from the climate gave navigators a disinclination to proceed thither. The English had almost forgotten Hudson's Bay, when an accident again drew their attention towards it ; and it became the object of commercial, when it ceased to awaken geographical interest. The French settlers in Canada, in their travels through the interior in search of peltry, at length arrived on the shores of Hudson's Bay. One of these adventurers, named Grosseliez, having visited that coast, conceived that it possessed great advantages for the prosecution of the fur trade. He proceeded to France and laid his representations before government. He met, however, with no encouragement from the French ministers; but the English ambassador at Paris listened to him with attention, and gave him a letter to prince Rupert, with which he came over to England. Here he was favourably received, and immediately engaged to go out in one of his majesty's ships; not merely to make a settlement in Hudson's Bay, but also to seek again for the passage to China by the north-west. Respecting this projected voyage, Mr. Oldenburgh, the first secretary to the Royal Society, writes in the following terms to the celebrated Mr. Boyle: —“Surely I need not tell you from hence what is said here with great joy of the discovery of a north-west passage made by two English and one Frenchman, lately represented by them to his majesty at Oxford, and answered by the royal grant of a vessel to sail into Hudson's Bay, and thence into the South Sea; these men affirming, as I heard, that with a boat they went out of a lake in Canada into a river which discharged itself north-west into the South Sea, into which they went, and returned north-east into Hudson's Bay.” Captain Zachariah Gillam was appointed to carry out Grosseliez to Hudson's Bay, and to prosecute the northwestern discoveries. Gillam wintered at Rupert's River, considerably to the north of Charlton Island, yet does not complain of the severity and long continuance of the cold, from which James's company suffered so much. At this place captain Gillam laid the foundation of the first English settlement, by building a small stone fort, to which he gave the name of Fort Charles. The king, who had encouraged the expedition, continued to favour the adventurers “in consideration of their having undertaken, at their own costs and charges, an expedition to Hudson's Bay for the discovery of a new passage into the South Sea, and for the finding of some trade in furs, minerals, and other commodities, whereby great advantage might probably arise to the king and his do

minions. His majesty, for the better promoting their endeavours for the good of his people, was pleased to confer on them exclusively all the lands and territories in Hudson's Bay, together with all the trade thereof, and all others which they should acquire,” &c. This

extraordinary charter, with its sweeping exclusive pri

vileges, which was granted to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1669, continues without abridgment to the present day. Though discovery was among the ostensible objects of this charter, the indolence of monopoly prevailed, and for some time the north-west passage seems wholly to have been forgotten. In the mean time, however, the hope of a north-east

passage to China was revived by the writings of Joseph

Moxon, a fellow of the Royal Society. Besides the speculative arguments adduced by this gentleman in support of his opinion, he relates that he received an account from the pilot of a Greenland ship that he had sailed to the north pole: “ whereupon his relation being novel to me, I entered into discourse with him, and seemed to question the truth of what he said; but he did assure me that it was true, and that the ship was then at Amsterdam, and many of the seamen belonging to her could justify the truth of it; and told me, moreover, that they had sailed two degrees beyond the pole. I asked him if they found no land or islands about the pole P He replied, ‘No ; it was a free and open sea.” I asked him if they did not meet with a great deal of ice P He said, ‘No ; they saw no ice.’ I asked him what weather they had there? He told me fine warm weather, such as was at Amsterdam in the summer time, and as hot.”” Hope once more awakened, enterprise was sure to follow. Captain John Wood, an active and experienced seaman, who had accompanied sir John Narborough in his voyage to the South Sea, presented a memorial to the king, in which he strongly supported the existence of a north-east passage. His arguments met with atten

* A Brief Discourse, by Joseph Moxon, F.R.S. 1675,

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