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The possibility of effecting a north-west passage had

Chap. III.}
ever been maintained by Cabot. The study of geography had now become an interesting pursuit; the press teemed with books of travels, maps and descriptions of the earth; and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, reposing from the toils of war, engaged deeply in the science of cosmography. A judicious and well-written argument1 in favor of the possibility of a north-western passage was the fruit of his literary industry.

The same views were entertained by one of the

boldest men who ever ventured upon the ocean. For fifteen years, Martin Frobisher, an Englishman, well versed in various navigation, had revolved the design of accomplishing the discovery of the north-western passage; esteeming it β€˜the only thing of the world, that was yet left undone, by which a notable minde might be made famous and fortunate.’2 Too poor himself to provide a ship, it was in vain that he conferred with friends; in vain he offered his services to merchants. After years of desire, his representations found a hearing at court; and Dudley, earl of Warwick, liberally promoted his design.3 Two small barks of twenty-five and of twenty tons', with a pinnace of ten tons' burden, composed the whole fleet, which was to enter gulfs that none before him had visited. As they
June 8.
dropped down the Thames, Queen Elizabeth waved her hand in token of favor, and, by an honorable message, transmitted her approbation of an adventure which her own treasures had not contributed to advance During a storm on the voyage, the pinnace was swallowed up by the sea; the mariners in the Michael became terrified, and turned their prow home

1 Hakluyt, III. 32β€”47.

2 Best, in Hakluyt, III. 86.

3 Willes's Essay for M. Frobisher's voyage, in Eden and Willes, fol. 230, and ff.; in Hakluyt, III. 47β€”52.

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