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A discourse written by Sir Humphrey Gilbert Knight, to prove a passage by the Northwest to Cathaia, and the East Indies.

The Table of the matters in every Chapter of this discourse.

Capitulo 1.
  • To prove by authoritie a passage to be on the North side of America , to goe to Cataia, China , and to the East India.
  • Capitulo 2.
  • To prove by reason a passage to be on the North side of America , to goe to Cataia, Moluccae, &c.
  • Capitulo 3.
  • To prove by experience of sundry mens travailes the opening of this Northwest passage, whereby good hope remaineth of the rest.
  • Capitulo 4.
  • To prove by circumstance, that the Northwest passage hath bene sailed throughout.
  • Capitulo 5.
  • To proove that such Indians as have bene driven upon the coastes of Germanie came not thither by the Southeast, and Southwest, nor from any part of Afrike or America .
  • Capitulo 6.
  • To proove that the Indians aforenamed came not by the Northeast, and that there is no thorow passage navigable that way.
  • Capitulo 7.
  • To prove that these Indians came by the Northwest, which induceth a certaintie of this passage by experience.
  • Capitulo 8.
  • What several reasons were alleaged before the Queenes Majestie, and certaine Lords of her Highnesse privie Council, by M. Anth. Jenkinson a Gentleman of great travaile and experience, to prove this passage by the Northeast, with my severall answeres then alleaged to the same.
  • Capitulo 9.
  • How that this passage by the Northwest is more commodious for our traffike, then the other by the Northeast, if there were any such.
  • Capitulo 10.
  • What commodities would ensue, this passage being once discovered.

  • To prove by authoritie a passage to be on the Northside of America, to goe to Cathaia, and the East India.
    Chapter 1.

    WHEN I gave my selfe to the studie of Geographic, after I had perused and diligently scanned the descriptions of Europe, Asia & Afrike, and conferred them with the Mappes and Globes both Antique and Moderne: I came in fine to the fourth part of the world, commonly called America , which by all descriptions I found to bee an Iland environed round about with Sea, having on the Southside of it the frete or straight of Magellan, on the West side Mar del Sur, which Sea runneth towards the North, separating it from the East parts of Asia, where the Dominions of the Cathaians are: On the East part our West Ocean, and on the North side the sea that severeth it from Groneland, thorow which Northren Seas the Passage lyeth, which I take now in hand to discover.

    Plato in Timaeo, and in the Dialogue called Critias, discourseth of an incomparable great Iland then called Atlantis, being greater then all Affrike and Asia, which lay Westward from the Straights of Gibraltar, navigable round about: affirming also that the Princes of Atlantis did aswell enjoy the governance of all Affrike, and the most part of Europe, as of Atlantis it selfe.

    Also to prove Platos opinion of this Iland, and the inhabiting of it in ancient time by them of Europe, to be of the more credite; Marinaeus Siculus in his Chronicle of Spaine, reporteth that there have bene found by the Spaniards in the gold Mines of America, certaine pieces of Money ingraved with the Image of Augustus Caesar: which pieces were sent to the Pope for a testimonie of the matter, by John Rufus Archbishop of Consentinum.

    Moreover, this was not only thought of Plato, but by Marsilius Ficinus, and excellent Florentine Philosopher, Crantor the Graecian, and Proclus, and Philo the famous Jew (as appeareth in his booke De Mundo, and in the Commentaries upon Plato) to be overflowen and swallowed up with water, by reason of a mightie earthquake, and streaming downe of the heavenly Fludgates. The like whereof happened unto some part of Italy , when by the forciblenes of the Sea, called Superum, it cut off Sicilia from the Continent of Calabria, as appeareth in Justine, in the beginning of his fourth booke. Also there chanced the like in Zetland a part of Flanders.

    And also the Cities of Pyrrha and Antissa, about Meotis palus: and also the Citie Burys, in the Corynthian bosome, commonly called Sinus Corinthiacus, have bene swallowed up with the Sea, and are not at this day to be discerned: By which accident America grew to be unknowen of long time, unto us of the later ages, and was lately discovered againe, by Americus Vespucius, in the yeere of our Lord 1497. which some say to have bene first discovered by Christophorus Columbus a Genuois, Anno 1492.

    The same calamitie happened unto this Isle of Atlantis 600. and odde yeres before Plato his time, which some of the people of the Southeast parts of the world accompted as 9000. yeeres: for the maner then was to reckon the Moone her Period of the Zodiak for a yeere, which is our usual moneth, depending a Luminari minori.

    So that in these our dayes there can no other mayne or Islande be found or judged to bee parcell of this Atlantis, then those Westerne Islands, which beare now the name of America : countervailing thereby the name of Atlantis, in the knowledge of our age.

    Then, if when no part of the sayd Atlantis was oppressed by water, and earthquake, the coasts round about the same were navigable: a farre greater hope now remaineth of the same by the Northwest, seeing the most part of it was (since that time) swallowed up with water, which could not utterly take away the olde deeps and chanels, but rather, be an occasion of the inlarging of the olde, and also an inforcing of a great many new: why then should we now doubt of our Northwest passage and navigation from England to India? &c. seeing that Atlantis now called America , was ever knowen to be an Island, and in those dayes navigable round about, which by accesse of more water could not be diminished.

    Also Aristotle in his booke De Mundo, and the learned Germaine Simon Gryneus in his annotations upon the same, saith that the whole earth (meaning thereby, as manifestly doth appeare, Asia, Africk, and Europe, being all the countreys then knowen) is but one Island, compassed about with the reach of the sea Atlantine: which likewise prooveth America to be an Island, and in no part adjoyning to Asia, or the rest.

    Also many ancient writers, as Strabo and others, called both the Ocean sea, (which lieth East of India) Atlanticum pelagus, and that sea also on the West coasts of Spaine and Africk, Mare Atlanticum: the distance betweene the two coasts is almost halfe the compasse of the earth.

    So that it is incredible, as by Plato appeareth manifestly, that the East Indian Sea had the name Atlanticum pelagus of the mountaine Atlas in Afrik, or yet the sea adjoining to Africk, had the name Oceanus Atlanticus of the same mountaine: but that those seas and the mountaine Atlas were so called of this great Island Atlantis, and that the one and the other had their names for a memorial of the mighty prince Atlas, sometime king thereof, who was Japhet yongest sonne to Noah, in whose time the whole earth was divided between the three brethren, Sem, Cam, and Japhet.

    Wherefore I am of opinion that America by the Northwest will be found favourable to this our enterprise, and am the rather imboldened to beleeve the same, for that I finde it not onely confirmed by Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Phylosophers: but also by all the best moderne Geographers, as Gemma Frisius, Munsterus, Appianus, Hunterus, Gastaldus, Guyccardinus, Michael Tramasinus, Franciscus Demongenitus, Bernardus Puteanus, Andreas Vavasor, Tramontanus, Petrus Martyr, and also Ortelius, who doth coast out in his generall Mappe set out Anno 1569, all the countreys and Capes, on the Northwest side of America , from Hochelaga to Cape de Paramantia: describing likewise the sea coastes of Cataia and Gronland , towards any part of America , making both Gronland and America , Islands disjoyned by a great sea, from any part of Asia.

    All which learned men and painefull travellers have affirmed with one consent and voice, that America was an Island: and that there lyeth a great Sea betweene it, Cataia, and Grondland, by the which any man of our countrey, that will give the attempt, may with small danger passe to Cataia, the Moluccae, India, and all other places in the East, in much shorter time, then either the Spaniard, or Portugal doeth, or may doe, from the neerest parte of any of their countreys within Europe.

    What moved these learned men to affirme thus much, I know not, or to what ende so many and sundry travellers of both ages have allowed the same: But I conjecture that they would never have so constantly affirmed, or notified their opinions therein to the world, if they had not had great good cause, and many probable reasons, to have lead them thereunto.

    Now least you should make small accompt of ancient writers or of their experiences which travelled long before our times, reckoning their authority amongst fables of no importance: I have for the better assurance of those proofes, set downe some part of a discourse, written in the Saxon tongue, and translated into English by M. Nowel servant to Sir William Cecil, lord Burleigh, and lord high treasurer of England, wherein there is described a Navigation, which one Ochther made, in the time of king Alfred, king of Westsaxe Anno 871. the words of which discourse were these: Hee sailed right North, having alwaies the desert land on the Starborde, and on the Larbord the maine sea, continuing his course, untill hee perceived that the coast bowed directly towards the East, or else the Sea opened into the land he could not tell how farre, where he was compelled to stay until he had a westerne winde, or somewhat upon the North, and sayled thence directly East alongst the coast, so farre as hee was able in foure dayes, where he was againe inforced to tary untill hee had a North winde, because the coast there bowed directly towards the South, or at least opened he knew not howe farre into the land, so that he sayled thence along the coast continually full South, so farre as he could travell in the space of five dayes, where hee discovered a mighty river, which opened farre into the land, and in the entrie of this river he turned backe againe.

    Whereby it appeareth that he went the very same way, that we now doe yerely trade by S. Nicholas into Moscovia, which way no man in our age knew for certaintie to be by sea, until it was since discovered by our English men, in the time of King Edward the sixt; but thought before that time that Groneland had joyned to Normoria, Byarmia, &c. and therefore was accompted a new discovery, being nothing so indeede, as by this discourse of Ochther it appeareth.

    Neverthelesse if any man should have taken this voyage in hand by the encouragement of this onely author, he should have bene thought but simple: considering that this Navigation was written so many yeres past, in so barbarous a tongue by one onely obscure author, and yet we in these our dayes finde by our owne experiences his former reports to be true.

    How much more then ought we to beleeve this passage to Cataia to bee, being verified by the opinions of all the best, both Antique, and Moderne Geographers, and plainely set out in the best and most allowed Mappes, Charts, Globes, Cosmographical tables & discourses of this our age, and by the rest not denied, but left as a matter doubtfull.

    To proove by reason, a passage to be on the Northside of America, to goe to Cataia, &c.
    Chap. 3.

    FIRST, all seas are maintained by the abundance of water, so that the neerer the end any River, Bay or Haven is, the shallower it waxeth, (although by some accidentall barre, it is sometime found otherwise) But the farther you sayle West from Island towards the place, where this fret is thought to be, the more deepe are the seas: which giveth us good hope of continuance of the same Sea with Mar del Sur, by some fret that lyeth betweene America , Groneland and Cataia.

    2 Also if that America were not an Island, but a part of ye continent adjoyning to Asia, either the people which inhabite Mangia, Anian, & Quinzay, &c. being borderers upon it, would before this time have made some road into it, hoping to have found some like commodities to their owne.

    3 Or els the Scythians and Tartarians (which often times heretofore have sought farre and neere for new seats, driven thereunto through the necessitie of their cold and miserable countreys) would in all this time have found the way to America , and entred the same, had the passages bene never so straite or difficult; the countrey being so temperate, pleasant and fruitfull, in comparison of their owne. But there was never any such people found there by any of the Spaniards, Portugals, or Frenchmen, who first discovered the Inland of that countrey: which Spaniards, or Frenchmen must then of necessitie have seene some one civil man in America , considering how full of civill people Asia is: But they

    never saw so much as one token or signe, that ever any man of the knowen part of the world had bene there.

    4 Furthermore it is to be thought, that if by reason of mountaines, or other craggy places, the people neither of Cataia or Tartarie could enter the countrey of America , or they of America have entred Asia if it were so joyned yet some one savage or wandring beast would in so many yeres have passed into it: but there hath not any time bene found any of the beasts proper to Cataia, or Tartarie &c. in America : nor of those proper to America , in Tartarie, Cataia, &c. or any part of Asia. Which thing proveth America , not onely to be one Island, and in no part adjoyning to Asia: But also that the people of those Countreys, have not had any traffique with each other.

    5 Moreover at the least some one of those painefull travellers, which of purpose have passed the confines of both countreys, with intent only to discover, would as it is most likely have gone from the one to the other: if there had bene any piece of land, or Isthmos, to have joyned them together, or els have declared some cause to the contrary.

    6 But neither Paulus Venetus, who lived and dwelt a long time in Cataia, ever came into America , and yet was at the sea coastes of Mangia, over against it where he was embarked, and perfourmed a great Navigation along those seas: Neither yet Verarzanus, or Franciscus Vasques de Coronado, who travelled the North part of America by land, ever found entry from thence by land to Cataia, or any part of Asia.

    7 Also it appeareth to be an Island, insomuch as the Sea runneth by nature circularly from the East to the West, following the diurnal motion of Primum Mobile, which carieth with it all inferiour bodies moveable, aswel celestiall as elemental: which motion of the waters is most evidently seene in the Sea, which lieth on the Southside of Afrike, where the current that runneth from the East to the West is so strong (by reason of such motion) that the Portugals in their voyages Eastward to Calicut , in passing by Cap. de buona Speranca are inforced to make divers courses, the current there being so swift as it striketh from thence all along Westward upon the fret of Magellan, being distant from thence, neere the fourth part of the longitude of the earth: and not having free passage and entrance thorow the fret towards the West, by reason of the narrownesse of the sayd Straite of Magellan, it runneth to salve this wrong (Nature not yeelding to accidentall restraints) all along the Easterne coastes of America , Northwards so far as Cape Fredo, being the farthest knowne place of the same continent towards the North: which is about 4800 leagues, reckoning therewithall the trending of the land.

    8 So that this current being continually maintained with such force, as Jaques Cartier affirmeth it to be, who met with the same being at Baccalaos, as he sayled along the coastes of America , then either it must of necessitie have way to passe from Cape Fredo, thorow this fret, Westward towards Cataia, being knowen to come so farre, onely to salve his former wrongs, by the authority before named: or els it must needes strike over, upon the coast of Island, Norway , Finmarke, and Lappia, (which are East from the sayd place about 360 leagues) with greater force then it did from Cape de buona Speranca, upon the fret of Magellan, or from the fret of Magellan to Cape Fredo, upon which coastes Jaques Cartier met with the same, considering the shortnesse of the Cut from the sayd Cape Fredo, to Island, Lappia, &c. And so the cause Efficient remaining, it would have continually followed along our coasts, through the narrow seas, which it doth not, but is disgested about the North of Labrador, by some through passage there thorow this fret.

    The like course of the water in some respect happeneth in the Mediterrane sea (as affirmeth Conterenus) wheras the current which commeth from Tanais , & Pontus Euxinus, running along all the coasts of Greece , Italy , France, and Spaine, and not finding sufficient way out through Gibraltar , by meanes of the straitnesse of the fret it runneth backe againe along the coastes of Barbary, by Alexandria, Natolia, &c.

    It may (peradventure) bee thought that this course of the sea doth sometime surcease, and thereby impugne this principle, because it is not discerned all along the coast of America, in such sort as Jaques Cartier found it: Whereunto I answere this: that albeit, in every part of the Coast of America, or elswhere this current is not sensibly perceived, yet it hath evermore such like motion, either in the uppermost or nethermost part of the sea: as it may be proved true, if ye sinke a sayle by a couple of ropes, neere the ground, fastening to the nethermost corners two gunne chambers or other weights: by the driving whereof you shall plainely perceive, the course of the water, and current, running with such course in the bottome.

    By the like experiment, you may finde the ordinary motion of the sea, in the Ocean: howe farre soever you be off the land.

    9 Also there commeth another current from out the Northeast from the Scythian Sea (as M. Jenkinson a man of rare vertue, great travaile and experience, told me) which runneth Westward towardes Labrador , as the other did, which commeth from the South: so that both these currents, must have way thorow this our fret, or else encounter together and runne contrarie courses, in one line, but no such conflicts of streames, or contrary courses are found about any part of Labrodor, or Terra nova, as witnesse our yeerely fishers, and other saylers that way, but is there disgested, as aforesayd, and found by experience of Barnard de la Torre , to fall into Mar del Sur.

    10 Furthermore, the current in the great Ocean, could not have beene maintained to runne continually one way, from the beginning of the world unto this day, had there not beene some thorow passage by the fret aforesayd, and so by circular motion bee brought againe to maintaine it selfe : For the Tides and courses of the sea are maintayned by their interchangeable motions: as fresh rivers are by springs, by ebbing and flowing, by rarefaction and condensation.

    So that it resteth not possible (so farre as my simple reason can comprehend) that this perpetuall current can by any meanes be maintained, but onely by continuall reaccesse of the same water, which passeth thorow the fret, and is brought about thither againe, by such circular motion as aforesayd. And the certaine falling thereof by this fret into Mar del Sur is prooved by the testimonie and experience, of Bernard de la Torre, who was sent from P. de la Natividad to the Moluccae, Anno domini 1542. by commandement of Anthony Mendoza, then Viceroy of Nova Hispania, which Bernard sayled 750. Leagues, on the Northside of the Aequator, and there met with a current, which came from the Northeast the which drove him backe againe to Tidore.

    Wherfore, this current being proved to come from C. de buona Speranca to the fret of Magellan, and wanting sufficient entrance there, by narrownes of the straite, is by the necessitie of natures force, brought to Terra de Labrador, where Jaques Cartier met the same, and thence certainly knowen, not to strike over upon Island, Lappia, &c. and found by Bernard de la Torre in Mar del Sur, on the backeside of America : therefore this current (having none other passage) must of necessity, fall out thorow this our fret into Mar del Sur, and so trending by the Moluccae, China , and C. de buona Speranca, maintaineth it selfe by circular motion, which is all one in nature, with Motus ab Oriente in Occidentem.

    So that it seemeth, we have now more occasion to doubt of our returne, then whether there be a passage that way, yea or no: which doubt, hereafter shall be sufficiently remooved. Wherefore, in mine opinion, reason it self, grounded upon experience, assureth us of this passage, if there were nothing els to put us in hope thereof. But least these might not suffice, I have added in this chapter following, some further proofe hereof, by the experience of such as have passed some part of this discoverie: and in the next adjoining to that the authority of those, which have sailed wholy, thorow every part thereof.

    To prove by experience of sundry mens travels, the opening of some part of this Northwest passage: wherby good hope remaineth of the rest.
    Chap. 3.

    PAULUS VENETUS, who dwelt many yeres in Cataia, affirmed that hee sayled 1500 miles upon the coastes of Mangia, and Anian, towards the Northeast: alwayes finding the Seas open before him, not onely as farre as he went, but also as farre as he could discerne.

    2 Also Franciscus Vasques de Coronado passing from Mexico by Cevola, through the countrey of Quivira, to Siera Nevada, found there a great sea, where were certaine ships laden with Merchandise, carrying on their prowes the pictures of certaine birds called Alcatrarzi, part whereof were made of golde, and part of silver, who signified by signes, that they were thirty dayes coming thither: which likewise proveth America by experience to be disjoyned from Cataia, on that part by a great Sea, because they could not come from any part of America , as Natives thereof: for that, so farre as is discovered, there hath not bene found there any one Shippe of that countrey.

    3 In like maner, John Baros testifieth that the Cosmographers of China (where he himselfe had bene) affirme that the Sea coast trendeth from thence Northeast, to 50 degrees of Septentrional latitude, being the furthest part that way which the Portugals had then knowledge of: And that the said Cosmographers knew no cause to the contrary, but that it might continue further.

    By whose experiences America is prooved to be separate from those parts of Asia, directly against the same. And not contented with the judgements of these learned men only, I have searched what might be further sayd for the confirmation hereof.

    4 And I found that Franciscus Lopez de Gomara affirmeth America to be an Island, and likewise Gronland : and that Gronland is distant from Lappia 40 leagues, and from Terra de Labrador, 50.

    5 Moreover, Alvarus Nunnius a Spaniard, and learned Cosmographer, and Jacobus Cartier, who made two voyages into those parts, and sayled 900 miles upon the Northeast coastes of America doe in part confirme the same.

    6 Likewise Hieronymus Fracastorius, a learned Italian, and travailer in the North parts of the same land.

    7 Also Jaques Cartier having done the like, heard say at Hochelaga in Nova Francia, how that there was a great Sea at Saguinay, whereof the end was not knowen which they presupposed to be the passage to Cataia.

    Furthermore, Sebastian Cabota by his personal experience and travel hath set foorth, and described this passage in his Charts, which are yet to be scene in the Queens Majesties privie Gallerie at Whitehall, who was sent to make this discovery by king Henrie the seventh, and entred the same fret: affirming that he sayled very farre Westward, with a quarter of the North, on the Northside of Terra de Labrador the eleventh of June, untill he came to the Septentrionall latitude of 67 degrees and a halfe, and finding the Seas still open, sayd, that he might, & would have gone to Cataia, if the mutinie of the Master and Mariners had not bene.

    Now as these mens experience hath proved some part of this passage: so the chapter following shal put you in full assurance of the rest, by their experiences which have passed through every part thereof.

    To proove by circumstance that the Northwest passage hath bene sayled throughout.
    Chap. 4.

    THE diversitie betweene bruite beastes and men, or betweene the wise and the simple is, that the one judgeth by sense onely, and gathereth no surety of any thing that he hath not seene, felt, heard, tasted, or smelled: And the other not so onely, but also findeth the certaintie of things by reason, before they happen to be tryed. Wherefore I have added proofes of both sorts, that the one and the other might thereby be satisfied.

    1 First, as Gemma Frisius reciteth, there went from Europe three brethren through this passage: whereof it tooke the name of Fretum trium fratrum.

    2 Also Plinie affirmeth out of Cornelius Nepos, (who wrote 57 yeeres before Christ) that there were certaine Indians driven by tempest, upon the coast of Germanie which were presented by the king of Suevia, unto Quintus Metellus Celer, the Proconsull of France.

    3 And Plinie upon the same sayth, that it is no marvell though there be Sea by the North, where there is such abundance of moisture: which argueth that hee doubted not of a navigable passage that way, through which those Indians came.

    4 And for the better proofe that the same authoritie of Cornelius Nepos is not by me wrested, to prove my opinion of the Northwest passage: you shall finde the same affirmed more plainly in that behalfe, by the excellent Geographer Dominicus Marius Niger, who sheweth how many wayes the Indian sea stretcheth it selfe, making in that place recital of certaine Indians, that were likewise driven through the North Seas from India, upon the coastes of Germany , by great tempest, as they were sayling in trade of marchandize.

    5 Also while Frederic Barbarossa reigned Emperour, Anno Do. 1160. there came certaine other Indians upon the coast of Germanie.

    6 Likewise Othon in the storie of the Gothes affirmeth, that in the time of the Germane Emperours, there were also certaine Indians cast by force of weather, upon the coast of the sayd countrey, which foresaid Indians could not possibly have come by the Southeast, Southwest, nor from any part of Afrike or America , nor yet by the Northeast: therefore they came of necessitie by this our Northwest passage.

    To proove that these Indians aforenamed came not by the Southeast, Southwest, nor from any other part of Afrike, or America .
    Cap. 5.

    FIRST, they could not come from the Southeast by the Cape de bona Speranca, because the roughnes of the Seas there is such (occasioned by the currents andgreat winds in that part) that the greatest Armadas the king of Portugal hath, cannot without great difficulty passe that way, much lesse then a Canoa of India could live in those outragious seas without shipwracke (being a vessell of very small burden) and have conducted themselves to the place aforesayd, being men unexpert in the Arte of navigation.

    2 Also, it appeareth plainely that they were not able to come from alongst the coast of Afrike aforesayd, to those parts of Europe, because the winds doe (for the most part) blow there Easterly off from the shore, and the current running that way in like sort, should have driven them Westward upon some part of America : for such winds and tides could never have led them from thence to the said place where they were found, nor yet could they have come from any of the countries aforesayd, keeping the seas alwayes, without skilful mariners to have conducted them such like courses as were necessary to performe such a voiage.

    3 Presupposing also, if they had bene driven to the West (as they must have bene, comming that way) then they should have perished, wanting supplie of victuals, not having any place (once leaving the coast of Afrikeļ¼‰ untill they came to America , nor from America untill they arrived upon some part of Europe, or the Islands adjoyning to it, to have refreshed themselves.

    4 Also, if (notwithstanding such impossibilities) they might have recovered Germanie by comming from India by the Southeast, yet must they without all doubt have striken upon some other part of Europe before their arrivall there, as the Isles of the Acores, Portugal , Spaine, France, England, Ireland , &c. which if they had done, it is not credible that they should or would have departed undiscovered of the inhabitants: but there was never found in those dayes any such ship or men but only upon the coasts of Germanie, where they have bene sundry times and in sundry ages cast aland: neither is it like that they would have committed themselves againe to sea, if they had so arrived, not knowing where they were, nor whither to have gone.

    5 And by the Southwest it is unpossible, because the current aforesayd which commeth from the East, striketh with such force upon the fret of Magellan, and falleth with such swiftnesse and furie into Mar del Zur, that hardly any ship (but not possibly a Canoa, with such unskilfull mariners) can come into our Westerne Ocean through that fret, from the West seas of America , as Magellans experience hath partly taught us.

    6 And further, to proove that these people so arriving upon the coast of Germany , were Indians, & not inhabiters of any part either of Africa or America , it is manifest, because the natives both of Africa and America neither had, or have at this day (as is reported) other kind of boates then such as do beare neither mastes nor sailes, (except onely upon the coasts of Barbarie and the Turkes ships) but do carie themselves from place to place neere the shore by the ore onely.

    To proove that those Indians came not by the Northeast, and that there is no thorow navigable passage that way.
    Cap. 6.

    IT is likely that there should be no thorow passage by the Northeast, whereby to goe round about the world, because all Seas (as aforesayd) are maintained by the abundance of water, waxing more shallow and shelffie towards the ende, as we find it doeth by experience in Mare Glaciali, towards the East, which breedeth small hope of any great continuance of that sea, to be navigable towards the East, sufficient to saile thereby round about the world.

    2 Also, it standeth scarcely with reason, that the Indians dwelling under Torrida Zona, could endure the injurie of the cold ayre, about the Septentrional latitude of 80. degrees, under which elevation the passage by the Northeast cannot bee (as the often experience had of all the South parts of it sheweth) seeing that some of the inhabitants of this cold climate (whose Summer is to them an extreme Winter) have bene stroken to death with the cold damps of the aire about 72 degrees, by an accidental mishap, and yet the aire in such like Elevation is alwaies cold, and too cold for such as the Indians are.

    3 Furthermore, the piercing cold of the grosse thicke aire so neere the Pole wil so stiffen and furre the sailes and ship tackling, that no mariner can either hoise or strike them (as our experience farre neerer the South, then this passage is presupposed to be, hath taught us) without the use whereof no voiage can be performed.

    4 Also, the aire is so darkened with continuall mists and fogs so neere the Pole, that no man can well see, either to guide his ship, or direct his course.

    5 Also the compasse at such elevation doth very suddenly vary, which things must of force have bene their destructions, although they had bene men of much more skill then the Indians are.

    6 Moreover, all baies, gulfes, and rivers doe receive their increase upon the flood, sensibly to be discerned on the one side of the shore or the other, as many waies as they be open to any main sea, as Mare Mediterraneum, Mare Rubrum, Sinus Persicus, Sinus Bodicus, Thamesis, and all other knowen havens or rivers in any part of the world, and each of them opening but on one part to the maine sea, doe likewise receive their increase upon the flood the same way, and none other, which Mare Glaciale doeth, onely by the West; as M. Jenkinson affirmed unto me: and therfore it followeth that this Northeast sea, receiving increase but onely from the West, cannot possibly open to the maine Ocean by the East.

    7 Moreover, the farther you passe into any sea towards the end of it, on that part which is shut up from the maine sea (as in all those above mentioned) the lesse and lesse the tides rise and fall. The like whereof also happeneth in Mare Glaciale, which proveth but small continuance of that Sea toward the East.

    8 Also, the further yee goe toward the East in Mare Glaciale, the lesse salt the water is: which could not happen, if it were open to the salt Sea towards the East, as it is to the West only, seeing Every thing naturally ingendreth his like: and then must it be like salt throughout, as all the seas are, in such like climate and elevation.

    And therefore it seemeth that this Northeast sea is maintained by the river Ob, and such like fresshets, as Mare Goticum, and Mare Mediterraneum, in the uppermost parts thereof by the rivers Nilus, Danubius , Neper, Tanais , &c.

    9 Furthermore, if there were any such sea at that elevation, of like it should be alwaies frozen throughout (there being no tides to hinder it) because the extreme coldnes of the aire being in the uppermost part, and the extreme coldnesse of the earth in the bottome, the sea there being but of small depth, whereby the one accidentall coldnesse doth meet with the other, and the Sunne not having his reflection so neere the Pole, but at very blunt angels, it can never be dissolved after it is frozen, notwithstanding the great length of their day: for that the sunne hath no heate at all in his light or beames, but proceeding onely by an accidentall reflection, which there wanteth in effect.

    10 And yet if the Sunne were of sufficient force in that elevation, to prevaile against this ice, yet must it be broken before it can be dissolved, which cannot be but through the long continuance of the sunne above their Horizon, and by that time the Sommer would be so farre spent, and so great darkenes and cold ensue, that no man could be able to endure so cold, darke, and discomfortable a navigation, if it were possible for him then, and there to live.

    11 Further, the ice being once broken, it must of force so drive with the windes and tides, that no ship can saile in those seas, seeing our Fishers of Island, and the New found land, are subject to danger through the great Islands of Ice which fleete in the Seas (to the sailers great danger) farre to the South of that presupposed passage.

    12 And it cannot be that this Northeast passage should be any neerer the South, then before recited, for then it should cut off Ciremissi, & Turbi Tartari, with Uzesucani, Chisani, and others from the Continent of Asia, which are knowen to be adjoyning to Scythia , Tartaria, &c. with the other part of the same Continent.

    And if there were any thorowe passage by the Northeast, yet were it to small ende and purpose for our traffique, because no shippe of great burden can Navigate in so shallow a Sea: and ships of small burden are very unfit & unprofitable, especially towards the blustering North, to performe such a voyage.

    To proove that the Indians aforenamed, came only by the Northwest, which induceth a certaintie of our passage by experience.
    Cap. 7.

    IT is as likely that they came by the Northwest, as it is unlikely that they should come either by the Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, or from any other part of Africa or America , and therefore this Northwest passage having bene alreadie so many wayes proved, by disprooving of the others, &c. I shall the lesse neede in this place, to use many words otherwise then to conclude in this sort, That they came onely by the Northwest from England, having these many reasons to leade me thereunto.

    1 First, the one halfe of the windes of the compasse might bring them by the Northwest, bearing alwayes betweene two sheats, with which kind of sayling the Indians are onely acquainted, not having any use of a bow line, or quarter winde, without the which no ship can possibly come either by the Southeast, Southwest or Northeast, having so many sundry Capes to double, whereunto are required such change and shift of windes.

    2 And it seemeth likely that they should come by the Northwest, because the coast whereon they were driven, lay East from this our passage, And all windes doe naturally drive a ship to an opposite point from whence it bloweth, not being otherwise guided by Arte, which the Indians do utterly want, & therefore it seemeth that they came directly through this our fret, which they might doe with one wind.

    3 For if they had come by the Cape de buona Speranca, then must they (as aforesaid) have fallen upon the South parts of America .

    4 And if by the fret of Magellan, then upon the coasts of Afrike, Spaine, Portugall, France, Ireland or England.

    5 And if by the Northeast, then upon the coasts of Ceremissi, Tartarii, Lappia, Island, Terra de Labrador, &c. and upon these coasts (as aforesaid) they have never bene found.

    So that by all likelihood they could never have come without shipwracke upon the coastes of Germanie, if they had first striken upon the coastes of so many countries, wanting both Arte and shipping to make orderly discovery, and altogether ignorant both in the Arte of Navigation, and also of the Rockes, Flats, Sands or Havens of those parts of the world, which in most of these places are plentifull.

    6 And further it seemeth very likely, that the inhabitants of the most part of those countries, by which they must have come any other way besides by the Northwest, being for the most part Anthropophagi, or men eaters, would have devoured them, slaine them, or (at the least wise) kept them as wonders for the gaze.

    So that it plainely appeareth that those Indians (which as you have heard in sundry ages were driven by tempest upon the shore of Germanie) came onely through our Northwest passage.

    7 Moreover, the passage is certainely prooved by a Navigation that a Portugall made, who passed through this fret, giving name to a Promontorie farre within the same, calling it after his owne name, Promontorium Corterialis, neere adjoyning unto Polisacus fluvius.

    8 Also one Scolmus a Dane entred and passed a great part thereof.

    9 Also there was one Salvaterra, a Gentleman of Victoria in Spaine, that came by chance out of the West Indias into Ireland , Anno 1568. who affirmed the Northwest passage from us to Cataia, constantly to be beleeved in America navigable. And further said in the presence of sir Henry Sidney (then lord Deputie of Ireland) in my hearing, that a Frier of Mexico, called Andrew Urdaneta, more then eight yeeres before his then comming into Ireland , told him there, that he came from Mar del Sur into Germany through this Northwest passage, & shewed Salvaterra (at that time being then with him in Mexico) a Sea Card made by his owne experience and travell in that voyage, wherein was plainly set downe and described this Northwest passage, agreeing in all points with Ortelius mappe.

    And further, this Frier tolde the king of Portugall (as he returned by that countrey homeward) that there was (of certainty) such a passage Northwest from England, and that he meant to publish the same: which done, the king most earnestly desired him not in any wise to disclose or make the passage knowen to any nation: For that (said the king) if England had knowledge and experience thereof, it would greatly hinder both the king of Spaine and me. This Frier (as Salvaterra reported) was the greatest Discoverer by sea, that hath bene in our age. Also Salvaterra being perswaded of this passage by the frier Urdaneta, and by the common opinion of the Spaniards inhabiting America , offered most willingly to accompanie me in this Discovery, which of like he would not have done if he had stood in doubt thereof.

    And now as these moderne experiences cannot be impugned, so, least it might be objected that these things (gathered out of ancient writers, which wrote so many yeeres past) might serve litle to proove this passage by the North of America, because both America and India were to them then utterly unknowen : to remoove this doubt, let this suffise: That Aristotle (who was 300. yeeres before Christ) named Mare Indicum. Also Berosus (who lived 330. yeres before Christ) hath these words, Ganges in India. Also in the first chapter of Hester be these wordes, In the dayes of Assuerus which ruled from India to Aethiopia, which Assuerus lived 580 yeeres before Christ. Also Quintus Curtius (where he speaketh of the conquests of Alexander) mentioneth India. Also, Arianus, Philostratus, and Sidrach in his discourses of the warres of the king of Bactria , and of Garaab, who had the most part of India under his government. All which assureth us, that both India and Indians were knowen in those days.

    These things considered, we may (in my opinion) not only assure our selves of this passage by the Northwest, but also that it is navigable both to come and go, as hath bene prooved in part and in all, by the experience of divers, as Sebastian Cabota, Corterialis, the three brethren above named, the Indians, and Urdaneta the Frier of Mexico, &c.

    And yet notwithstanding all this, there be some that have a better hope of this passage to Cataia by the Northeast then by the West, whose reasons with my severall answeres ensue in the chapter following.

    Certaine reasons alleaged for the prooving of a passage by the Northeast, before the Queenes Majestie, and certaine Lords of the Counsell, by Master Anthonie Jenkinson, with my severall answeres then used to the same.
    Cap. 8.

    BECAUSE you may understand as well those things alleaged against me, as what doth serve for my purpose, I have here added the reasons of Master Anthony Jenkinson a worthy gentleman, and a great traveller, who conceived a better hope of the passage to Cataia from us, to be by the Northeast, then by the Northwest.

    He first said that he thought not to the contrary, but that there was a passage by the Northwest, according to mine opinion: but assured he was, that there might be found a navigable passage by the Northeast from England, to goe to all the East parts of the world, which he endevoured to proove three wayes.

    The first was that he heard a Fisherman of Tartaria say in hunting the Morce, that he sayled very farre towards the Southeast, finding no end of the Sea: whereby he hoped a thorow passage to be that way.

    Whereunto I answered, that the Tartarians were a barbarous people, and utterly ignorant in the Arte of Navigation, not knowing the use of the Sea Card, Compasse or Starre, which he confessed to be true: and therfore they could not (said I) certainly know the Southeast from the Northeast, in a wide sea, and a place unknowen from the sight of the land.

    Or if he sailed any thing neere the shore, yet he (being ignorant) might be deceived by the doubling of many points and Capes, and by the trending of the land, albeit he kept continually alongst the shore.

    And further, it might be that the poore Fisherman through simplicitie thought that there was nothing that way but sea, because he saw no land: which proofe (under correction) giveth small assurance of a Navigable sea by the Northeast, to goe round about the world. For that he judged by the eye onely, seeing we in this our cleare aire doe account twentie miles a ken at Sea.

    His second reason is, that there was an Unicornes home found upon the coast of Tartaria, which could not come (said he) thither by any other meanes then with the tides, through some fret in the Northeast of Mare Glaciale, there being no Unicorne in any part of Asia, saving in India and Cataia: which reason (in my simple judgement) forceth as litle.

    First, it is doubtfull whether those barbarous Tartarians do know an Unicornes home, yea, or no: and if it were one, yet it is not credible that the Sea could have driven it so farre, being of such nature that it will not swimme.

    Also the tides running too and fro, would have driven it as farre backe with the ebbe, as it brought it forward with the flood.

    There is also a beast called Asinus Indicus (whose horne most like it was) which hath but one horne like an Unicorne in his forehead, whereof there is great plenty in all the North parts therunto adjoyning, as in Lappia, Noruegia, Finmarke, &c. as Jacobus Zieglerus writeth in his historie of Scondia.

    And as Albertus saieth, there is a fish which hath but one horne in his forehead like to an Unicorne, and therefore it seemeth very doubtfull both from whence it came, and whether it were an Unicornes horne, yea, or no.

    His third and last reason was, that there came a continuall streame or current through Mare Glaciale, of such swiftnesse (as a Colmax told him) that if you cast any thing therein, it would presently be carried out of sight towards the West.

    Whereunto I answered, that there doth the like from Maeotis Palus, by Pontus Euxinus, Sinus Bosphorus, and along the coast of Graecia, &c. As it is affirmed by Contarenus, and divers others that have had experience of the same: and yet that Sea lieth not open to any maine Sea that way, but is maintained by freshets as by Tanais , Danubius , &c.

    In like maner is this current in Mare Glaciale increased and maintained by the Dwina, the river Ob, &c.

    Now as I have here briefly recited the reasons alleaged, to proove a passage to Cataia by the Northeast, with my severall answeres thereunto: so will I leave it to your judgement, to hope or dispaire of either at your pleasure.

    How that the passage by the Northwest is more commodious for our traffique, then the other by the East, if there were any such.
    Cap. 9.

    FIRST, by the Northeast (if your windes doe not give you a marvelous speedie & luckie passage) you are in danger (being so neere the Pole) to be benighted almost the one halfe of the yeere, and what danger that were, to live so long comfortlesse, voide of light, (if the cold killed you not) each man of reason or understanding may judge.

    2 Also Mangia, Quinzai, and the Moluccae are neerer unto us by the Northwest, then by the Northeast, more then two five parts, which is almost by the halfe.

    3 Also we may have by the West a yerely returne, it being at all times navigable, whereas you have but 4. moneths in the whole yeere to goe by the Northeast: the passage being at such elevation as it is formerly expressed, for it cannot be any neerer the South.

    4 Furthermore, it cannot be finished without divers wintrings by the way, having no havens in any temperate climate to harbour in there: for it is as much as we can well saile from hence to S. Nicholas, in the trade of Moscovia, and returne in the navigable season of the yeere, & from S. Nicholas to Cerimissi Tartari, which stande at 80 degrees of the Septentrionall latitude, it is at the least 400 leagues, which amounteth scarce to the third part of the way, to the end of your voyage by the Northeast.

    5 And yet after you have doubled this Cape, if then there might be found a navigable Sea to carie you Southeast according to your desire, yet can you not winter conveniently, until you come to 60 degrees, and to take up one degree running Southeast, you must saile 24 leagues and three foure parts, which amounteth to 495 leagues.

    6 Furthermore, you may by the Northwest saile thither with all Easterly windes, and returne with any Westerly windes, whereas you must have by the Northeast sundry windes, and those proper, according to the lying of the coast and Capes, you shalbe inforced to double, which windes are not alwaies to be had, when they are looked for: whereby your journey should be greatly prolonged, and hardly endured so neere the Pole. As we are taught by sir Hugh Willoughbie, who was frozen to death farre neerer the South.

    7 Moreover, it is very doubtfull, whether we should long injoy that trade by the Northeast, if there were any such passage that way, the commodities thereof once knowen to the Moscovite, what privilege soever hee hath granted, seeing pollicy with the masse of excessive gaine, to the inriching (so greatly) of himselfe and all his dominions would perswade him to presume the same, having so great opportunitie to utter the commodities of those countries by the Narve.

    But by the Northwest, we may safely trade without danger or annoyance of any prince living, Christian or Heathen, it being out of all their trades

    8 Also the Queenes Majesties dominions are neerer the Northwest passage then any other great princes that might passe that way, and both in their going and returne, they must of necessitie succour themselves and their ships upon some part of the same, if any tempestuous weather should happen.

    Further, no princes navie of the world is able to incounter the Queenes Majesties navie, as it is at this present: and yet it should be greatly increased by the traffike insuing upon this discoverie, for it is the long voyages that increase and maintaine great shipping.

    Now it seemeth necessarie to declare what commodities would growe thereby, if all these things were, as we have heretofore presupposed, and thought them to be: which next adjoyning are briefly declared.

    What commodities would ensue, this passage once discovered.
    Cap. 10.

    FIRST, it were the onely way for our princes, to possesse the wealth of all the East parts (as they terme them) of the world, which is infinite: as appeareth by the experience of Alexander the great, in the time of his conquest of India, and other the East parts of the world, alleaged by Quintus Curtius, which would be a great advancement to our countrey, a wonderfull inriching to our prince, and an unspeakable commoditie to all the inhabitants of Europe.

    2 For through the shortnesse of the voyage, we should be able to sell all maner of merchandize, brought from thence, farre better cheape then either the Portugall or Spaniard doth or may do. And further, we should share with the Portugall in the East, & the Spaniard in the West, by trading to any part of America , thorow Mar del Sur, where they can no maner of way offend us.

    3 Also we might sayle to divers very rich countreys, both civill and others, out of both their jurisdictions, trades and traffikes, where there is to be found great abundance of golde, silver, precious stones, cloth of gold, silkes, all maner of spices, grocery wares, and other kinds of merchandize of an inestimable price, which both the Spaniard and Portugall, through the length of their journies, cannot well attaine unto.

    4 Also we might inhabite some part of those countryes, and settle there such needy people of our countrey, which now trouble the common wealth, and through want here at home are inforced to commit outragious offences, whereby they are dayly consumed with the gallowes.

    5 Moreover, we might from all the aforesaid places have a yeerely returne, inhabiting for our staple some convenient place of America , about Sierra Nevada, or some other part, whereas it shal seeme best for the shortning of the voyage.

    6 Beside uttering of our countrey commodities, which the Indians, &c. much esteeme: as appeareth in Hester, where the pompe is expressed of the great king of India, Assuerus, who matched the coloured clothes, wherewith his houses and tents were apparelled, with gold and silver, as part of his greatest treasure: not mentioning either velvets, silkes, cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or such like, being in those countreyes most plentifull: whereby it plainly appeareth in what great estimation they would have the clothes of this our countrey, so that there would be found a farre better vent for them by this meanes, then yet this realme ever had: and that without depending either upon France, Spaine, Flanders, Portugall, Hamborow, Emden , or any other part of Europe.

    7 Also, here we shall increase both our ships and mariners, without burthening of the state.

    8 And also have occasion to set poore mens children to learne handie craftes, and thereby to make trifles and such like, which the Indians and those people do much esteeme: by reason whereof, there should be none occasion to have our countrey combred with loiterers, vagabonds, and such like idle persons.

    All these commodities would grow by following this our discovery, without injury done to any Christian prince, by crossing them in any of their used trades, whereby they might take any just occasion of offence.

    Thus have I briefly shewed you some part of the grounds of mine opinion, trusting that you will no longer judge me fantasticke in this matter: seeing I have conceived no vaine hope of this voyage, but am perswaded thereunto by the best Cosmographers of our age, the same being confirmed both by reason and certaine experiences.

    Also this discovery hath bene divers times heretofore by others both offered, attempted, and performed.

    It hath bene offered by Stephan Gomes unto Carolus the fift Emperour, in the yeere of our Lord God 1527, as Alphonso Ullva testifieth in the story of Carolus life: who would have set him forth in it (as the story mentioneth) if the great want of money, by reason of his long warres had not caused him to surcease the same.

    And the king of Portugall fearing least the Emperour would have persevered in this his enterprise, gave him to leave the matter unattempted, the summe of 350000 crownes: and it is to be thought that the king of Portugall would not have given to the Emperour such summes of money for egges in mooneshine.

    It hath bene attempted by Sebastian Cabota in the time of king Henry the seventh, by Corterialis the Portugall, and Scolmus the Dane .

    And it hath bene performed by three brethren, the Indians aforesaid, and by Urdaneta the Frier of Mexico.

    Also divers have offered the like unto the French king, who hath sent two or three times to have discovered the same: The discoverers spending and consuming their victuals in searching the gulfes and bayes betweene Florida and Terra de Labrador, whereby the yce is broken to the after commers.

    So that the right way may now easily be found out in short time: and that with litle jeoperdie and lesse expences.

    For America is discovered so farre towardes the North as Cape Frio, which is at 62 degrees, and that part of Grondland next adjoyning is knowen to stand but at 72 degrees. So that wee have but 10 degrees to saile North & South, to put the world out of doubt hereof: and it is likely that the king of Spaine, and the king of Portugall would not have sit out all this while, but that they are sure to possesse to themselves all that trade they now use, and feare to deale in this discovery, least the Queenes Majestie having so good opportunitie, and finding the commoditie which thereby might ensue to the common wealth, would cut them off, and enjoy the whole traffique to her selfe, and thereby the Spaniards and Portugals, with their great charges, should beate the bush, and other men catch the birds: which thing they foreseeing, have commanded that no pilot of theirs upon paine of death, should seeke to discover to the Northwest, or plat out in any Sea card any thorow passage that way by the Northwest.

    Now, and if you will indifferently compare the hope that remaineth, to animate me to this enterprise, with those likelihoods which Columbus alleaged before Ferdinando the king of Castilia, to proove that there were such Islands in the West Ocean, as were after by him and others discovered to the great commodity of Spaine and all the world: you will thinke then this Northwest passage to be most worthy travell therein.

    For Columbus had none of the West Islands set foorth unto him, either in globe or card, neither yet once mentioned of any writer (Plato excepted, and the commentaries upon the same) from 942 yeeres before Christ, untill that day.

    Moreover, Columbus himselfe had neither seene America nor any other of the Islands about it, neither, understood he of them by the report of any other that had seene them, but only comforted himselfe with this hope, that the land had a beginning where the Sea had an ending: for as touching that which the Spaniards doe write of a Biscaine, which should have taught him the way thither, it is thought to be imagined of them, to deprive Columbus of his honour, being none of their countrey man, but a stranger borne.

    And if it were true of the Biscaine, yet did he but rove at the matter, or (at the least) gathered the knowledge of it, by conjectures onely.

    And albeit my selfe have not seene this passage or any part thereof, but am ignorant of it as touching experience (as Columbus was before his attempt made) yet have I both the report, relation, and authoritie of divers most credible men, which have both seene and passed through some and every part of this discovery, besides sundry reasons for my assurance thereof: all which Columbus wanted.

    These things considered, & indifferently weighed togither, with the wonderfull commodities which this discovery may bring, especially to this realme of England: I must needes conclude with learned Baptista Ramusius, and divers other learned men, who said, that this discovery hath bene reserved for some noble prince or woorthie man, thereby to make himselfe rich, and the world happie: desiring you to accept in good part this briefe and simple discourse, written in haste, which if I may perceive that it shall not sufficiently satisfie you in this behalfe, I will then impart unto you a large discourse, which I have written onely of this discovery.

    And further, because it sufficeth not only to know that such a thing there is, without abilitie to performe the same, I wil at leasure make you partaker of another simple discourse of navigation, wherein I have not a litle travelled, to make my selfe as sufficient to bring these things to effect, as I have bene readie to offer my selfe therein.

    And therein I have devised to amend the errors of usuall sea cards, whose common fault is, to make the degrees of longitude in every latitude of one like bignesse.

    And have also devised therein a Spherical instrument, with a compasse of variation for the perfect knowing of the longitude.

    And a precise order to pricke the sea card, together with certaine infallible rules for the shortning of any discovery, to know at the first entring of any fret, whether it lie open to the Ocean more wayes then one, how farre soever the sea stretcheth it selfe into the land.

    Desiring you hereafter never to mislike with me, for the taking in hande of any laudable and honest enter prise: for if through pleasure or idlenesse we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but the shame remaineth for ever.

    And therefore to give me leave without offence, alwayes to live and die in this mind, That he is not worthy to live at all, that for feare, or danger of death, shunneth his countries service, and his owne honour: seeing death is inevitable, and the fame of vertue immortall. Wherefore in this behalfe, Mutare vel timere sperno.

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