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[82] wards; but Frobisher, in a vessel not much surpassing
Chap. III.} 1576.
in tonnage the barge of a man-of-war, made his way. fearless and unattended, to the shores of Labrador. and to a passage or inlet north of the entrance of Hudson's Bay. A strange perversion has transferred the scene of his discoveries to the eastern coast of Greenland;1 it was among a group of American islands, in the latitude of sixty-three degrees and eight minutes, that he entered what seemed to be a strait. Hope suggested that his object was obtained; that the land on the south was America; on the north was the continent of Asia; and that the strait opened into the immense Pacific. Great praise is due to Frobisher. for penetrating far beyond all former mariners into the bays and among the islands of this Meta Incognita, this unknown goal of discovery. Yet his voyage was a failure. To land upon an island, and, perhaps, on the main; to gather up stones and rubbish, in token of having taken possession of the country for Elizabeth: to seize one of the natives of the north for exhibition to the gaze of Europe;—these were all the results which he accomplished.

What followed marks the insane passions of the age.

America and mines were always thought of together. A stone, which had been brought from the frozen regions, was pronounced by the refiners of London to contain gold. The news excited the wakeful avarice of the city: there were not wanting those who endeavored to purchase of Elizabeth a lease of the new lands, of which the loose minerals were so full of the precious metal. A fleet was immediately fitted out, to procure more of the gold, rather than to make any

1 Forster's Northern Voyages, 274—284; Hist. des Voyages, t. XV. 94—100.

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