« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ing worked through numerous huge mountains of ice, and reach ed the latitude of 63° 33' on the 21st of July, they bore away for Greenland, and got sight of it in six days. The bay which received them was studded with pleasant islands; they began a traffic of barter with the natives, and fancied they had discovered a silver mine. The squadron spent nearly a month in exploring the coast; and saw nunberless green islets, and frequent banks of ice. It then steered for the Faro Islands, and finally arrived at Copenhagen on the 4th of October 1606.
In the meanwhile, Knight, who had held a small command in the first Danish expedition, was sent again, at the joint expense of the Turkey and East India Companies of England, in à voyage to the North, with a pinnace of forty tons, which departed from Gravesend on the 18th of April 1606. After ing many dangers amidst foggy weather, from immense shoals of ice, he descried, on the 19th of June, the coast of America, in the parallel of 56° 48'. Five days thereafter, it blew furiously from the north; and the vessel, being beset with islands of ice, drifted along, and unfortunately took the ground. In this perilous situation, Knight, with five of his men, launched the boat, and proceeded to a neighbouring island in search of some cave that might afford shelter for careening his bark; but the party, though well armed, were surprised, and miserably cut off by the natives. Not content with their advantage, those cruel savages attacked and attempted likewise to carry away the shallop. They were, however, by the firmness of the crew, fortunately repulsed; and, after six days' hard labour in cutting the ice with hatchets and pickaxes, the vessel was at last got clear. Having refitted her in the best way they could, they shaped their course, on the 5th of July, for Newfoundland; and, after they had effected the necessary repairs, they set sail again, and arrived at Dartmouth on the 24th of September.
In 1607, the same company of London merchants gave the command of a ship, destined for the discovery of the North-west passage, to Henry Hudson, an active and enterprising navigator, who set sail from Gravesend on the 1st of May. Passing the Orkreys, saw, on the 11th of June, six or seven whales in the latitude of 67° 30'. Now shaping his course nearly north-east, he endeavoured to ascend the Greenland sea.
In this attempt he had, for a whole month, to contend with very foggy weather, and frequent shoals of ice. On the 2d of July, he saw, in the latitude of 78° 56', land on the west side, but defended by an immense icy barrier. With much difficulty he escaped being embayed, and worked his way farther northwards, till, on the 15th of July, having reached the very high latitude of 81}', he
had the mortification to see his progress completely barred by the trending land, and a frozen sea. Hudson therefore turned back, and, after escaping many dangers from the shoals of ice, amidst foggy and tempestuous weather, he at last reached the Thames on the 15th of September. In the following year, having made an unsuccessful trial at Nova Zembla, the London Company were unwilling to defray the charge of renewing it. During both these voyages, he found always most drift ice when the water assumed a deep blue, inclining to black, and was hence of extreme depth; and the least of it where the sea lookod green, and had therefore become shallow.
Hudson entered now into the service of the Dutch East India Company, and took his departure in a yacht from Amsterdam on the 25th March 1609. On the 21st of May, he doubled the North Cape, and, in spite of blowing and foggy weather, he advanced through shoals of ice to Nova Zembla; but finding the sea frozen, he returned by the Faro Islands, touched at the Banks of Newfoundland, and approached the low sandy shore of America at the latitude of 43° 25'. Some of the savages came out with their canoes and traded with him; and at the lati-' tude of 44° 1', he went into a larger river which still bears his name, and which gave occasion to the Dutch settlement of New York. Thence he sailed southwards along the coast, sometimes trading and often skirmishing with the natives, till, on the 26th, of August, he reached the Capes of Virginia. The weather continuing hot and misty, he spent some weeks in exploring the rivers and bays on that coast, and had several sharp conflicts with the Indians. On the 7th of November 1609, he safely arrived at Dartmouth.
Next year, the London Association despatched Hudson again to the North seas. On the 17th of April, he departed from Blackwall; on the 5th of May, he made the Orkneys, and reached Iceland on the 1st of June. He saw troops of whales, and for several days attempted in vain to approach the coast of Greenland, which appeared strongly girt with ice. He therefore bore away for Davis's Strait. By the end of June, he saw land in the parallel of 62°, but was impeded by mountains and islands of ice, one of which caused great alarm, by oversetting or revolving very near him. Continuing to ply forward, he had penetrated far into the Strait which bears his name, when he saw his vessel completely encompassed with ice. The crew was much disheartened; yet succeeded, with great labour, in approaching somewhat nearer to the shore. Hudson called the land, which fose high, and covered with snow, Desire Provoked. In the bay, some mountains of ice had taken ground at the depth of
120 fathoms, and there was plenty of drift-wood. For
many weeks, he strove to extricate himself by following the tides and the occasional openings of the shoals of ice. But all his efforts proved ineffectual; and, on the 1st of November, his vessel was embayed and completely frozen in. The provisions being nearly gone, the crew had nothing but the prospect of starving, through cold and hunger, during a long and dreary winter. Insubordination had crept among them before; and, with the utmost difficulty, they were now restrained from breaking into actual mutiny. For several months, they had to endure all sorts of privations. They cauglit a few fish, or killed some birds ; yet they were often compelled to eat the most disgusting food, such as torpid frogs, dug up from the frozen ground. Several of the crew sickened and died. At last, after every thing was nearly consumed, the ice having now broken up, the ships began to weigh anchor and to work into open sea. But while the hardships seemed closing, a severer fate awaited Hudson, whose vehement or capricious temper had disgusted the bulk of
Headed by the mate and a young volunteer whom he had especially patronized, they rose upon their commander, tied his hands, and thrusting him and eight sick men into the shallop, inhumanly turned it a-drift. Hudson and his unfortunate companions, thus abandoned with scarcely any supplies, must have soon perished from hunger and cold. The ringleaders of the mutiny, however, did not long enjoy the fruits of their crimes. After breaking up the chests and plundering the stores, they proceeded with the ship; but provoking the savages whom they met by their wanton license, they were killed in some sharp conflicts. The rest of the crew, with great difficulty, at length reached Galway Bay in Ireland.
The disasters of Hudson excited commiseration; and, in the following season, Captain Thomas Button, then in the service of Prince Henry, an experienced officer, afterwards knighted for his eminent services, was despatched with the Resolution and Discovery, to explore the scene of those calamities. Having selected skilful assistants, he sailed in the beginning of May 1612. He penetrated south-west into Hudson's Bay; but, having suffered severely from a violent storm on the 13th of August
, he was obliged to seek a harbour for sheltering and refitting his ships. He had entered a small creek, in the latitude of 57° 10', which he called Port Nelson, when he was surprised by the sudden approach of winter. It being impossible now to escape, he secured his ships against accidents, by driving piles; he avoided the waste of provisions, by directing his crew to lay up a store of ptarmigans and wild grouse; and he prevented mutiny, by keeping them always employed, and assigning to each man his particu
lar task. On the 16th of February, the ice broke up in Nelson River; but the Bay was not quite clear till two months after. Button examined the west side, as high as the latitude of 65°; and he remarked a strong tide, which gave him hopes of a Northern passage. Having performed this survey, he arrived at London, after a short run, in Autumn 1613.
Sir Thomas Smith, and the rest of the Muscovy Company, in 1610, sent Jonas Poole, with a bark of 70 tons, to explore the Polar seas. He departed from Blackwall on the 1st of March, and, after surmounting the usual difficulties arising from foggy weather and shoals of ice, he ascended Davis's Strait as high, on the 16th of June, as the latitude of 79° 50', but observed a frozen sea extending northwards. In spite of all his endeavours, he found it impossible to make any farther progress; and, after various adventures with white bears, he returned to London in the end of August.
Poole was again despatched toward Greenland by the same Company, in the successive years 1611 and 1612. In the first of these voyages, he saw ice lying close to the land, beyond Spitzbergen, in the latitude of 80°, with a strong current, which rendered the approach very dangerous. In his last attempt, one of the ships which accompanied him pushed northwards two degrees beyond Hackluyt's Headland, to the parallel of 82°. A number of whales were killed during both voyages. But Poole, who seems to have been a faithful servant and enterprising mariner, was cut short in his career, being, soon after his return, basely murdered on the road between Ratcliff and London.
In 1612, the same companies engaged Hall, who had visited Greenland before in the service of the King of Denmark; and William Baffin, a very skilful mariner, acted as mate. On the 22d of July, Hall entered Ramelsfiord, in the latitude of 67°, and began to look after the silver mine; but, on his return to the ship, the natives crowding round, and carrying on an active barter, one of them, whose brother it was suspected had formerly been stolen by the Captain, came unperceived behind him, and took fell revenge by striking him a mortal blow with a spear. All traffic being stopped by this fatal accident, and the supposed ore being found to be of no value, it was now resolved to return home. After experiencing much foggy and blowing weather, the ships made the Orkneys on the 8th of September, and arrived at Hull in seven days more.
On the 16th of April 1614, Robert Fotherbye sailed from Gravesend, in a fleet of eleven ships, destined for Greenland. On the 25th of May, having reached the latitude of 759 10,
they were all enclosed by drift ice. But they worked out of it, and advanced to Maudlen Sound, in the latitude of 79° 34'. Totherbye, and Baffin who accompanied him, endeavoured to explore the icy girdle in a boat; but they could find no outlet, or get any higher than the latitude of 79° 54'. All beyond them appeared ice, stretching eight leagues from the shore. On the 15th of August
, there was a very heavy fall of snow, and the sea began to freeze. The weather moderated afterwards, but it was now full time to think of returning home.
The following year, Fotherbye was again despatched to Greenland by the Muscovy Company. Having advanced to the latitude of 79° 10', he was embayed with ice; but scarcely had he escaped this danger, than he was a second time encompassed in the latitude of 78° 30' and overtaken besides by a terrible storm. He was at last disentangled, however; but, the thick fogs and frequent shoals of ice prevented him from making any farther progress, and gave him very faint hopes of the possibility of discovering a passage.
In 1614, Gibbons had likewise been sent out in the Discovery; but near the month of Hudson's Strait, he was suddenly encompassed with ice, and driven by winds and currents into a bay in the latitude of 581", on the coast of Labrador, where he was obliged to lie ten weeks exposed to the most imminent danger. Having at length escaped, he was glad to shape his course directly for England, without attempting any farther enterprise.
In 1615, Sir Dudley Digges, Alderman Jones, and other adventurers, not disheartened by the various former failures, resolved to renew the attempt of exploring the Arctic seas. They gave the command of the Discovery, a ship of 55 tons, to Robert Bileth, who had performed three voyages before to the north, and appointed William Baffin to serve as mate or pilot, with a crew of fourteen men and two boys. On the 16th of April, they sailed from Blackwall, and reached Cape Farewell on the 6th of May. As usual, they were much annoyed in their farther progress with dense fogs and numerous shoals of ice. On the 27th of May, the sleet froze on the shrowds and tackling; but the weather at last clearing up, they saw the Resolution Islands, which appearcd to be uninhabited. Sailing northwards through the drift ice, they came to a cluster of islands in the latitude of 62° 30', where they heard the howling and barking of dogs, and perceived, on landing, the tents, boats and canoes of the natives, who seemed to avoid all sort of intercourse. The weather being thick and hazy, rendered the farther navigation dangerous. There was besides a heavy swell from the west; but on the 12th of July, they reached, in the latitude of 65°, a head land which