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Historical view of the progress of discovery on the more northern coasts of America : from the earliest… Tytler, Patrick Fraser, 1791-1849 1833

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J.   &   J.   HARPER,   82   CLIFF-ST.
1:8 3 3.
; 3
R.S.  AND  F.S.A.
To which is added an Appendix, containing
No.   82   CLIFF-STREET,
1 8 3 3 * r> PREFACE
Of all the various expeditions of discovery by
land or sea that have been undertaken within the
present century, none have received a larger share
of attention, or been considered of more importance,
than those which had for their object the extension
of knowledge respecting the Arctic Regions. In
no other portion of the earth's surface has the navigator to contend with such formidable impediments,
or behold so peculiar an aspect of nature. The
conductors of the Edinburgh Cabinet Library, one
of the most able and useful series that has issued
from the British press, selected the Polar Seas and
Regions as the subject of their first volume (republished in the United States as No. XIV. of the
Family Library), and the popularity of the work
affords a strong evidence of the interest excited by
its contents.
In that volume, however, the subject was but
commenced; the most important intelligence from
those . distant and, until now, almost unknown regions has been procured by later and more success*
A2 \
ful voyagers than those whose labours were there
described: we allude to the expeditions, partly bj|
land and partly by river and coast navigation, I
ascertain the limits of North America where the
continent borders upon the Arctic circle. The
scenery is of the same grand and impressive character, and the adventurers were exposed to hazards
if possible still more striking than those encountered
by the bold explorers of the polar regions. Their
investigations too have made us acquainted with
numerous objects, not only of the highest interest
to the zoological observer, but of great value as the
materials of an extensive commerce. The present
volume therefore, originally published in the sam^
excellent collection, exhibiting a full and accurate
view of all that is important in modern knowledge
of the most remote territories of North America,
may be considered as forming a sequel to the " Polar
Seas and Regions," and furnishing all that was
wanting to a complete account of the whole serim
of northern discoveries by land and water.
Of this work the historical and critical departments have been contributed by Patrick Fraser
Tytler, Esq., the distinguished author of the History of Scofland, and the natural history by James
Wilson, Esq.,—two gentlemen whose names, the
publishers are confident, furnish a sufficient guarantee that the task committed to them has been
executed "with care. The high qualifications of
Mr. Wilson, the American reader has already had
ample opportunities to appreciate ; and we may add
that, from his intimate acquaintance and correspond- PREFACE. 7
ence with Dr. Richardson, whose name stands so
high among the explorers of the northern regions,
he has enjoyed peculiar advantages in preparing the
interesting sketches now submitted to the public.
The student of natural history who has perused the
summaries of African and Indian zoology contained
in the 47th, 48th, and 49th numbers of the Family
J&ibrary, will not fail to perceive their increased
value when examined in connexion with that now
given, inasmuch as they afford the materials of a
comparative view of the animal kingdom in three
principal divisions of our globe, and thereby throw
a valuable light on the subject of zoological geography, which has recently excited the attention of
the scientific world.
The map has been constructed with the greatest
care : it comprehends all the recent discoveries on
the northern boundary of America, and fully exhibits
the routes of the different travellers and navigators
whose adventures are recorded in the text. The
engravings illustrate several striking specimens of
natural history, drawn chiefly from nature, and other
objects characteristic of that quarter of the globe.
New-York, January, 1833.
-i A
I '
"3Rrst Discovery of North America by John Cabot—Voyages of Sebastian
Cabot—Of the Cortereals—Discovery of Labrador—French Discoveries
—Voyages of Verazzano—Of Jacques Cartier—Discovery of Canada—
Spanish Voyages of Discovery — Cortes — Ulloa— Alarchon —Vis*
caino  Page 13
Behring—Tchirikow—Cook and Clerke — Meares—Vancouver—Kotze
bue fW+  5S
Colonization of Canada—French Fur Trade—Rise of Hudson's Bay
Company—Hearne's Three Journeys—North-west Fur Company-
first Journey of Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1789—His Second Expedition in 1792  97
First and Second Expeditions of Franklin—Voyage of Capt. Beechey 149
Amelioration in the Character of European Intercourse with uncivil-
* ized Nations—The Absence of Sandy Deserts a grand Feature in the
Physical Attributes of America—General Boundaries of the Districts m
afterward treated of in Detail—Early Sources of Information regarding the Natural History of North America—General View of the Fur-
countries—Passages across the Rocky Mountains—Plains and Valleys]
Inaccuracies of some Historical Writers—No Monkeys in North America
—Bats—Shrewmice—Genus Scalops, or Shrewmole—Other Moles of,
America—The Star-nose—Various Bears—Different digitated Quadra,
peds—The Canada Otter—The Sea-otter—The Dogs and Wolves»
America—The Foxes—The Beaver—The Musk-rat—Meadow Mice and
Lemmings—The Rocky Mountain Neotoma—The American Field-
mouse—The Marmots—The Squirrel Tribe—The Canada Porcupine—
The American Hare—The Polar Hare—The Prairie Hare—The Little
Chief Hare—Genus Cervus—The Elk, or Moose-deer—The Reindeer
—The Woodland Caribou—The Rocky Mountain Sheep—The Rocky.
Mountain Goat—The Bison, or American Buffalo—The Musk-ox.. 230
Turkey-buzzard—Golden-eagle — Bald-eagle—Hawks—Owls—Butcherbirds —King-bird—Northern Tyrant — American Water-ouzel —Red-
breasted Thrush—Blue-bird—Arctic Blue-bird—Cedar-bird, or American Chatterer—Snow-bunting—Painted Bunting — Pine-grosbeak—
Evening-grosbeak — Scarlet Tanager — Cuckoo-bunting — Crows —
Woodpeckers — Humming-birds — Swallows — Belted Kingfisher —
Grouse—Passenger-pigeon —Grallatores — Natatores —Gulls—Rocky
Mountain Golden-eye—Bewick's Swan—Trumpeter-swan—White Pelican—Great Northern Diver—Black-throated Diver—Guillemots.. 274
Sturgeon—Salmon—Trout—Char—Capelan—White Fish—Blue Fish-
Herring—Pike—Burbot—Perch—Bull-head—Northern Insects—Their
Natural Preservation from Cold—More Northern Extension of Tropical
Forms in America than in Europe—Bees—Extension Westwards of
the Honey-bee—Diptera—Melville Island Spider—Butterflies  300
Mr. Brown's Observations on the relative Proportions of the two great
Divisions of Phaenogamous Plants—Beautiful small Willow from East
Greenland—Notices of the more remarkable Species collected by Dr.
Richardson—Galium Tinctorium—Cornus Alba—Phlox Hoodii—Viburnum Edule—Azalea Nudicaulis—Lilium Philadelphicnm—Epilo-
bium Augustifolium—Ledum latifolium—L. Palustre—Prunus Virgi-
n'tana—Pyrus Ovalis—Crepis Nana—Cineraria Congesta—Pinus Nigra
—P. Alba—P. Banksiana—P. Microcarpa—P. Lambertiana—Empe-
trum Nigrum—Myrica Gale —Populus Trepida—Populus Balsamifera
<—Juniperus Prostrata—Splachnum Mnioides—Dicranum Elongatum
—Gyrophora proboscidea—Hyperborea Pennsylvanica, Mecklenbergii,
veUea—Cetraria Richardson ii—Fucus Ceranoides—Difficulties in the
Determination of Arctic Species—Plants recently introduced to the
British Gardens—LathyrusDecaphyllus—Eutoca Franklinii—Lupinus
Littoralis—Clarkia Pulchella—Gerardia Capitata—New Dodecatheon
—Andromeda Tetragona—Menziesia Empetrifolia—Azalea Lapponica
—Dryas Drummondia *  306
Frozen Subsoil of Hudson's Bay—Primitive Rocks of Hayes River—
Hill River—Borders of Knee Lake—Remarkable Rock-island of Magnetic iron Ore—Lake Winipeg—Limestone District—Fort Chipewyan
—Carp Lake—Gneiss Formation of the Barren Grounds—Transparent
Waters of Great Bear Lake—Fort Franklin—Bear Lake River—Lignite Formation of Mackenzie Rper—Spontaneous Fire—Pipe Clay—
Alluvial Islands at the Mouth of the Mackenzie—Copper Mountains—
Coppermine River—Islands of the Arctic Sea—Arctic Shore—Cape
Barrow—Galena Point—Moore's Bay—Bankes's Peninsula—Barry's
Island—Cape Croker—Point Turnagain—General Occurrence of the
New Red Sand Stone—Hood's River—Wilberforce Falls—Gneiss Formation—General Summary  320
Remarks on a late Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, with a Vindication of Richard Hakluyt *  332$ Map of the Northern Coasts of America To face the Vignette
Vignette—Scene near Mount Coplestone, or Western Termination
of the Rocky Mountains,
Portrait of Hernan Cortes Page 50
Group of Esquimaux west of the Mackenzie River  192
Grizzly Bear \  .. 23$
American Gray Wolf 245
Hare Indian or Mackenzie River^Dog  249
Head of the American Black Elk .  2835
Rocky Mountain Goat, and Rocky Mountain Sheep  267
Sabine's Gull ,. .r 29? PROGRESS   OF  DISCOVERY
~1 JM
Discovery of North America—'Early Voyages of the Portu*
guese, French, and Spaniards.
First Discovery of North America by John Cabot—Voyages of Sebastian
Cabot—Of the Cortereals—Discovery of Labrador—French Discov*
eries—Voyages of Verazzano—-Of Jacques Cartier—Discovery of Canada— Spanish Voyages of Discovery—Cortes—Ulloa^-Alarchon—Vis-
When we peruse the lives of such men as De Gama and
Columbus, and consider the complicated difficulties overcome by these early navigators, their imperfect means, and
the dark and defective state of their knowledge, it is difficult
to repress astonishment at the success which attended their
exertions, and the magnitude and splendour of their discoveries. In reflecting, indeed, upon so great a theme as the
revelation of a new world, it becomes us to raise our minds
from the region of second causes to the awful contemplation of that Almighty Being who confounds the calculations of man by bringing stupendous results out of the
feeblest human preparations ; and it is one of the finest
features in the character of Columbus, that he invariably
acted under the conviction of being selected by God for the
task which he at length accomplished; but the admiration
B 14
, .
with which we regard this great man, and that belofigs,
though in an inferior degree, to many of his contemporaries in the field of discovery, is enhanced rather than diminished by this union of simple and primitive faith with ardent genius and undaunted resolution.
A former volume has been devoted to the description of
the daring efforts which have been made to explore the Polar
Seas ; and we now proceed to direct our attention to another,
and no less interesting and important chapter in the history
of human enterprise,—the discovery of North America, and
the progress of maritime adventure on the more northern
coasts of this vast continent. Without detracting in any
degree from the fame of Columbus, it may be mentioned as
a remarkable circumstance, that although the admiral landed
in Hispaniola as early as the 4th of February, 1493, he did
not ascertain the existence of the continent of South America
till the 30th of May, 1498 ; while there is certain evidence
that, almost a year before, an English vessel had reached
the ignores of North America. As much obscurity hangs
over the circumstances of this early voyage, and as I have
arrived at a conclusion completely at variance with that
adopted by a late acute writer,* it will be necessary to dwell
with some minuteness on the history of this great event.
The attention paid to navigation by the commercial states
of Italy, and especially by the republics of Genoa and
Venice, is familiar to all acquainted with the history of
Europe during the fifteenth century. Italian merchants and
agents of opulent commercial houses were found settled in
every European state ; and the impetus communicated to
the human mind by the discoveries of the Portuguese and
the Spaniards rendered the sciences of cosmography and
navigation the most popular subjects of. instruction whicj
were taught in the schools. A devotion to them became
fashionable among the noble and ardent youths, who associated with them all  that was  romantic  and  delightful;
* The author of the Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 50, 51, an anonymous work, which contains much ingenious criticism and valuable
research. It is, however, unhappily confused in its arrangement, and
written throughout in a tone of asperity which, in the discussion of a
subject of remote biography,, is unpleasant and uncalled for. The author
has been unjustly severe in his animadversions on the labours of Hakluyt, of whom a brief Vindication will be found at tie end of this volume
they were considered as the certain guides to daring and
successful maritime adventure, and the handmaids to
wealth and fame. It was about this momentous period, in
the year 1494, that we find a Venetian, named John Cabot,
or Gabota, residing in the opulent city of Bristol. At what
precise time he settled in England is not now discoverable ;
we only know that he left Italy for the purpose of devoting
himself to the mercantile profession. He was one of those
enthusiastic spirits upon whom the career of Columbus made
a deep inlpression ; and about a year after the return of the
great Genoese from his first voyage, the merchant of Bristol
appears to have embraced the idea that new lands might be
discovered in the north-west, and a passage in all probability
attained by this course to India.* Animated by such a
project, Cabot addressed himself to Henry VII., and found
immediate encouragement from that monarch, who, though
of a cold and cautious disposition, was seldom slow to listen
to any proposal which promised an increase of we$|th to
his exchequer. On the 5th of March, 1495, the king granted
his royal commission to John Cabot, citizen of Venice, and
his sons, Louis, Sebastian, and Sanchez, committing to him
and them, and to their heirs and deputies, full authority to
sail to all countries and seas of the east, west, and north,
under the banner of England, with five ships, of whatever
burden artd strength in mariners they might choose to employ. The equipment of this squadron was cautiously stipulated to be made " at their own proper costs and charges ;"
and its doject stated to be the discovery of the isles, regions,
and provinces of the heathen and infidels which hitherto had
been unknown to all the nations of Christendom, in whatever part of the globe they might be placed. By the same
deed the Cabots were empowered to set up the banners and
ensigns of England in the newly-discovered countries ; to
subdue and possess them as lieutenants of the king ; and
to enjoy the privilege of exclusive trade : the wary monarch, however, annexing to these privileges the condition,
that he was to receive the fifth part of the capital gain upon
every voyage, and binding their ships to return to the port
of Bristol.t
* Tiraboschi, Storia della Letter. Ital., vol. vi. b. i. cap. 6. § 24.
t I have nearly followed the words of this important document, which
is still preserved.   Rymer, F©dera Angliae, vol. xii. p. 595. 16     JOHN  CABOT  DISCOVERS  NORTH  AMERICA.
Two important facts are ascertained by this authentic
document: it proves that John Cabot, a citizen of Venice,
was the principal author of, and adventurer in, the project;
and that no voyage with a similar object had been undertaken
prior to the 5th of March, 1495.
The expedition, however, did not sail till the spring of
1497, more than a twelvemonth subsequent to the date of
the original commission. What occasioned this delay it is
now difficult to determine ; but as the fleet was to be
equipped at the sole expense of the adventurers, it is not
improbable that Cabot had required the interval to raise the
necessary capital. It is much to be regretted that in no
contemporary chronicle is there any detailed account of the
voyage. We know, however, that it was conducted by
John Cabot in person, who took with him his son Sebastian,
then a very young man. Its result Was undoubtedly the
discovery of North America ; and although the particulars of
this great event are lost, its exact date has been recordejdby
an unexceptionable witness, not only to a day, but even to
an hour. On an ancient map, drawn by Sebastian Cabot,
the son, whose name appears in the commission by the king,
engraved by Clement Adams, a contemporary, and published, as there is reason to believe, under the eye of Sebastian, was written in Latin the following brief but clear and
satisfactory account of the discovery :—"In the year of our
Lord 1497, John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian,
discovered that country, which no one before his time had
ventured to approach, on the 24th of June, about five
o'clock in the morning. He called the land Terra Primum
Visa, because, as I conjecture, this was the place that first
met his eyes in looking from the sea. On the contrary, the
island which lies opposite the land he called the Island of
St. John,—as I suppose, because it was discovered on the
festival of St. John the Baptist. The inhabitants wear
beasts' skins and the intestines of animals for clothing, esteeming them as highly as we do our most precious garments. In war their weapons are the bow and arrow,
spears, darts, slings, and wooden clubs. The country is
steril and uncultivated, producing no fruit; from which
circumstance it happens that it is crowded with white bears,
•lid stags of an unusual height and sixe.    It yields plenty DISCOVERY   OF  NORTH AMERICA.
.  r.
Wf fish, and these very large ; such as seals and salmon ;
there are soles also above an ell in length; but especially
great abundance of that kind of fish called in the vulgar
tongue baccalaos. In the same island, also, breed hawks,
so black in their colour that they wonderfully resemble
ravens; besides which there are partridges and eagles of
dark plumage."*
Such is the notice of the discovery of North America ;
and as some doubt has lately been thrown upon the subject,
it may be remarked that the evidence of the fact contained in
this inscription is perfectly unexceptionable. It comes from
Clement Adams, the intimate friend of Richard Chancelor ;
and Chancelor lived, as is well known, in habits of daily intercourse with Sebastian Cabot, who accompanied his father on
the first voyage of discovery. Unfortunately, both the original
map and the engraving are lost; but happily Purchas has
preserved the information that the engraved map by Adams
bore the date of 1549 ;f at which time Sebastian Cabot was
in such- great reputation at the court of Edward VI., that
for his services he had received a princely pension. This
young monarch, as we learn from Burnet, showed a peculiar
fondness for maritime affairs. He possessed a collection of
charts, which were hung up in his cabinet, and among
them was the engraving of Cabot's map. The inscription,
therefore, must have been seen there and elsewhere by
Sebastian ; and, when we consider that the date of the engraving corresponds with the time when he was in high
favour with the king, it does not seem improbable that this
navigator, to gratify his youthful and royal patron, employed
Adams to engrave from his own chart the map of North
America, and that the facts stated in the inscription were
furnished by himself. T^6 singular minuteness of its terms
seems to prove this ; for who but he, or some one personally
present, after the lapse of fifty-two years, could have communicated the information that the discovery was made
about five o'clock in the morning of the 24th June 1 If,
however, this is questioned as being conjectural, the fact that
Sebastian must have seen the inscription is sufficient to
render the evidence perfectly conclusive upon the important
point of John Cabot being the discoverer of North America.
* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 6.
t Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. iii. p. 807.
B 2 MK
That he had along with him in his ship his son Sebastian |
cannot, we think, in the opinion of any impartial person,
detract from or infringe upon the merit of the father. But,
to complete the prooi, a late writer has availed himself of
an imperfect extract from a record of the rolls, furnished by
the industrious Hakluyt, to discover an original document
which sets the matter altogether at rest. This is the second
commission for discovery, granted by Henry VII. on the 3d
of February, and in the thirteenth year of his reign, to
the same individual who conducted the first expedition. The
letters are directed to John Kabotto, Venetian, and permit
him to sail with six ships " to the land and isles of late
found by the said John in our name and by our commandment."*. It presents a singular picture of the inability cS
an ingenious and otherwise acute mind to estimate the
weight of historical evidence, when we find the biographer
of Sebastian Cabot insisting, in the face of such a proof as
this, that the glory of the first discovery of North America
is solely due to Sebastian, and that it may actually be doubted
whether his father accompanied the expedition at all.f
Immediately after the discovery the elder Cabot appears
to have returned to England; and on the 10th of August we
find, in the privy purse expenses of Henry VII., the sum
of ten pounds awarded to him who found the New Isle,
which was probably the name then given to Newfoundland.
Although much engrossed at this moment with the troubles
which arose in his kingdom in consequence of the Cornish
rebellion, the war with Scotland, and the attempt upon the
crown by Perkin Warbeck, the king determined to pursue
the enterprise, and to encourage a scheme, for colonization
under the conduct of the original discoverer. To this enterprising navigator he, on the 3d of February, 1497,^ granted
those second letters-patent just alluded to, which conferred
an ampler authority and more favourable terms than the first
commission. He empowered John Kabotto, Venetian, to
take at his pleasure six English ships, with their necessary
apparel, and to lead them to the land and isles lately found
by him according to the royal command. Cabot was also
permitted to receive on board all such masters, mariners,'
* Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 76.
I Old style,—1498, new style.
t Ibid. p. 50. SEBASTIAN  CABOT.
pages, and other subjects, as chose to accompany him ;
and it seems probable, from some entries in the privy purse
expenses, that Launcelot Thirkill of London, Thomas Bradley, and John Carter, embarked in the adventure.*
When about to set sail on his second voyage, John Cabot,
who had previously received from Henry the honour of
knighthood, appears, from some cause not now discoverable,
to have been prevented from taking the command ;f and
though the name of Sebastian was not included in the
second royal commission, he was promoted to the situation
left vacant by his father. He must still indeed have been a
young man; but he had accompanied the first voyage, and
at an early age developed that genius for naval enterprise
which afterward so remarkably distinguished him. We
know from his account of himself that, at the time his
parents carried him from.Venice to London, he had attained
some knowledge of the sphere ; and when about this period
the great discovery of Columbus began to be talked of in
England as a thing almost more divine than human, the
effect of it upon his youthful imagination was to excite " a
mighty longing," to use his own words, " and burning desire
in his heart that he too should perform some illustrious
action."! With such dispositions we may easily imagine
how rapid must have been his progress in naval science,
with the benefit of his father's example and instructions.
It is not matter of surprise, therefore, that, though probably
not more than twenty-three years old, the conduct of the
enterprise was intrusted to him. He accordingly sailed from
England with two ships in the summer of 1498, and directing
his course by Iceland soon reached Newfoundland, which
he called Terra de Baccalaos, from the great quantity offish
of that name. .
Of this remarkable voyage a short account is preserved by
Peter Martyr, the historian of the New World, a writer of
high authority, and so intimate a friend of the navigator,
* See Mr. Nicholas's excellent collection entitled Excerpta Historica,
| The cause might be his death; but this is conjecture,—of the fa#t
there is no direct proof; of the knighthood it is not possible to doubt.
See, in the Vindication of Hakluyt, the remarks on the errors of the biographer of Cabot in his chapter on this subject.
t Ramusio, Viaggi, vol. i. p. 414. 20
that, at the time he wrote the passage which we now give,
Sebastian was in the habit of paying him frequent visits m
his house. " These northern seas," says this writer, " have
been navigated and explored by Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian by birth, whom his parents, when they were setting out
to settle in Britain, according to the common custom of the
Venetians, who for the sake of commercial adventure become citizens of every country, carried along with them
when he was little more than an infant.* He fitted out two
ships in England at his own charges, and first with three
hundred men directed his course so far towards the North
Pole, that even in the month of July he found great heaps
of ice swimming in the sea, and almost continual daylight.
Yet he saw the land free from ice, which had been melted
by the heat of the sun. Thus, observing such masses of ice
before him, he was compelled to turn his sails and follo^i
the west; and, coasting still by the shore, was brought so
far into the south, by reason of the land bending much to
the southward, that it was there almost equal in latitude
with the sea called Fretum Herculeum. He sailed to the
west till he had the Island of Cuba on his left-hand, almost
in the same longitude. As he passed along those coasts,
called by him Baccalaos, he affirmed that he found the same
current of the waters towards the west which the ^Spaniards
met with in the southern navigations, with the single difference that they flowed more gently. From this circuital
stance it appears to me," says Martyr, u not only a probable,
but an almost necessary conclusion, that there must exist!
between both the continents, hitherto unknown, great gaps
or open places, through which the waters continually pass
from the east to the west. * * * Sebastian Cabot hiall
self named these lands Baccalaos, because in the seas
thereabout he found such an immense multitude of large
fish like tunnies, called baccalaos by the natives, that they
actually impeded the sailing of his ships. He found also
the inhabitants of these regions covered with beasts' skins,
yet not without the use of reason. He also relates that
there are plenty of bears in these parts, which feed upon
* Cabot was born in England, and carried by his father into Italy when
our years old.   He was afterward brought back to England when a
youth, « assai giovane*"—Ramusio, vol. i. p. 414.    Memoir of Cabot.
p.  69
fish.    It is the practice of these animals to throw themselves
into the midst of the shoals of fish, and each seizing his
prey, to bury their claws in tRe scales, drag them to land,
and there devour them.   On this account, he says, that these
bears meddle little with men.    *    *    *    Cabot is my intimate friend, and one whom it is my delight to have frequently
under my roof; for, being called out of England by the
command of the King of Castile after the death of Henry
VII., he was made one of our council and assistants relating
to the affairs of the new Indies ; and he looks daily for ships
to be fitted out for him that he may discover this hidden
secret of nature.    I expect," concludes Peter Martyr, " that
he will be able to set out on his voyage during the course
of the next year, 1516,. and  in  the month of March."*
When it is known that Sebastian Cabot's second voyagef
from England to North America did not take place till 1517,
it becomes certain that the above passage, written in 1515,
must relate to the expedition of 1498 ; and remembering
that the author was personally intimate with this navigator,
and wrote only seventeen years after the voyage had taken
place, we are inclined to set a high value on authority.
It is deeply to be regretted that the original maps drawn by
so eminent a discoverer, and the discourses with which he
illustrated them, are now lost ;$ but in this deficiency  of
original materials the work  of Ramusio,—a collector of
voyages who was a contemporary of Cabot,—supplies some
valuable information.
In the first volume of his Voyages this amusing writer
has introduced a discourse upon the different routes by
which the spices of the East were conveyed in ancient times
to Europe ; and towards the conclusion of the essay he brings
in a subject which then deeply occupied the attention of
learned men,—the project, namely, for discovering a passage
to the kingdom.of Cathay and the coasts of India, by the
* Peter Martyr, De Orbe Novo, 3d decad. cap. 6. Edition by Hakluyt
p. 232.—Eden's* Translation in Willes's Hist, of Travayle, p. 125.—The
hidden secret, or natural phenomenon, of which Cabot was expected to
penetrate the cause, is stated by Martyr at p. 231,—it was to resolve the
question, " Why the seas in these parts run with so swift a current
from the east to the west flj
t Although the son accompanied the father, I consider the voyage of
1497 as solely conducted by John Cabot.
X Memoir of Cabot, p. 41, Lt
north-west. In the discussion of this point, Ramusio mi
nutely describes a conversation which took place at the villi
of the celebrated Italian pTiysician and poet Fracastoro
between Ramusio himself, Fracastoro, an architect namefl
St. Michael, and a certain philosopher and mathematicw
who gave them an account of an interview which he once
had with Sebastian Cabot in the^ city of Seville. The
whole passage is interesting, whether we look to the infor-i
mation regarding Cabot, or to the pleasing picture it brings|
before us of the great Fracastoro in his philosophic and]
classical retreat at Caphi. No apology, therefore, need be
made for presenting it to the reader. | Having thus givef
you," says the Italian writer, 1 all that I could extract
from ancient and modern authors upon this subject^fM
would be inexcusable in me if I did not relate a high and
admirable discourse which some few months ago it was my
good fortune to hear, in company with the excellent architect
Michael de St. Michael, in the sweet and romantic countM
seat of Hieronymo Fracastoro, named Caphi, situated near
Verona, while we sat on the top of a hill commanding a
view of the whole of the Lago di Garda. * * * Being then,
as I said, at Caphi, where we had gone to visit our excellent!
friend Hieronymo, we found him on our arrival sitting in
company with a certain gentleman, whose name, from mo«i
tives of delicacy and respect, I conceal. He was, however,'
a profound philosopher and mathematician, and at that
moment engaged in exhibiting to Fracastoro an instrument
lately constructed to show a new motion of the heavens.
Having reasoned upon this point for a long time, they by
way of recreation caused a large globe, upon which the
world was minutely laid down, to be brought; and, having
this before him, the gentleman I have mentioned began|B
speak to the following purpose." Ramusio, after this introduction, gives us, as proceeding from the stranger, a great
mass of geographical information, after which he introduces
him discussing with Fracastoro the probability of a north*
west passage to India. | At this point of his conversations
says he, " after the stranger had made a pause for a few moments, he turned to us and said, «Do you not know,
regarding this project of going to India by the north-weHf
what was formerly achieved by your fellow-citizen the Venetian, a most extraordinary man, and so deeply conversant in HIS   ACCOUNT   OF   SEBASTIAN  CABOT.
.   every thing connected with navigation and the science of
a cosmography, that in these days he hath not his equal in
,  Spain, insomuch that for his ability he is preferred above all
other pilots that sail to the West Indies, who may not pass
\   thither without his license, on which account he is denom-
!   inated Piloto Mayor, or Grand Pilot ]'    When to this question we replied that we knew him not, the stranger proceeded
to tell us, that being some years ago in the city of Seville he
was desirous to gain an acquaintance with the navigations
i of the Spaniards, when he learned that there was in the city
a valia&t man, a Venetian born, named Sebastian Cabot, who
had the charge of those things, being an expert man in the
science of navigation, and one who could make charts for
the sea with his own hand.    * Upon this report of him/
! continued he, f I sought his acquaintance, and found him a
pleasant and courteous person, who loaded me with kind-
\ ness, and showed me many things ; among the rest a large
map of the world, with the navigations of the Portuguese
i and 'the Spaniards minutely laid down upon it; and in ex-
| hibiting this to me, he informed me that his father, many
years ago, having left Venice and gone to settle as a merchant in England, had taken him to London when he was
sfill a youth, yet not so  backward but  he had then acquired the knowledge of the Latin tongue, and some acquaintance with the sphere.    It so happened, he said, that
his father died at that time when the news arrived that Don
Christopher Columbus had discovered the coast of the Indies,
of which there was much talk at the court of Henrv VII.,
who then reigned in England.' "    The effect of this discovery upon Cabot's youthful ambition, which we have already
alluded to, is next described by Ramusio from the report of
the stranger, and he then proceeds in these remarkable
words :—"i Being aware,' said Cabot to me, ' that if I sailed
with the wind bearing me in a north-westerly course, I
should come to India by a shorter route, I suddenly imparted
my ideas to the king, who was much pleased with them,
and fitted out for me three caravels with all necessary stores
and equipments7    This,' he added, * was in the beginning
of the summer of the year 1496, and I began to sail towards
the north-west with the idea that the first land I should
make would be Cathay, from which I intended afterward to
direct my course to the indies ; but after the lapse of several 24
■ ■hLKiH
days, having discovered it, I found that the coast ran
towards the north to my great disappointment. From thence
sailing along it, to ascertain if I could find any gulf tojrun
into, I could discover none, and thus having proceeded as
far as 56° under the Pole, and seeing that here the coast
trended towards the east, I despaired of discovering any
passage, and after this turned back to examine the same
coast in its direction towards the equinoctial,—always with
the same object of finding a passage to the Indies, and thus
at last I reached the country at present named Florida,
where, since my provisions began to fail me, I took the resolution of returning to England. On arriving in that country I found great tumults, occasioned by the rising of the
common people and the war in Scotland ; nor was there!
any more talk of a voyage to these parts. For this reason
I departed into Spain to their most Catholic majesties,
Ferdinand and Isabella, who, having learned what I had accomplished, received me into their service, provided for me
handsomely, and despatched me on a voyage of discovery B
the coast of Brazil, where I found an exceeding deep and
mighty river, called at present La Plata, into which I sailed
and explored its course into the continent more than_sj§
score leagues. * * * This,' continued the stranger gentleman, addressing himself to us, * is the substance of all that
I learned from the Sign or Sebastian Cabot.' "*
Such is the passage from Ramusio ; and from it we have
another proof that of this second voyage, which probably
took place after the death of the original discoverer, Seb^*
tian Cabot had the sole command ; that its object was to
find a north-west passage to India, and that the highest
latitude which he reached was 56°. I am quite aware
some of the statements in this extract are erroneous, and
that Gomara, an author of good authority, carries Sebastian
as far as 58° north ;f but, considering the particufaf circumstances under which the information is conveyed, there
is no reason to doubt that the general sketch of the voyage
is correct; and it establishes the important fact, that as
early as 1498, the coast of North America, from the latitude
of 56° or 58° north to the coast of Florida, had been discovered by the English.    The domestic affairs of Henry,
* Viaggi del Ramusio, torn. i. p. 413, 414
t Memoir of Cabot, p. 87. CORTEREAL.
however, and the involved political negotiations with France
and the continent, undoubtedly prevented the king from
hokjing out to Sebastian that encouragement with which so
great a discovery ought to have been rewarded; and after
an interval of fourteen years, of which we have no certain
account, this great navigator left England and entered into
the service of Spain.
The Portuguese, a nation to whose genius and perseverance the sister sciences of geography and navigation
owe some of their highest triumphs, were at this period in
the zenith of their fame, animated with an enthusiastic
spijat of enterprise, and ready to consider every discovery
not conducted by themselves as an encroachment upon their
monopoly of maritime glory. Inspired with this jealousy,
Caspar de Cortereal, of whose expedition notice has already
been taken in this Library,* determined to pursue the track
of discovery opened by Cabot in the north-west, and in
1500 sailed with two ships from Lisbon, animated by the
desire of exploring this, supposed new route to Tndia.f
Cortereal touched at the Azores, where he completed his
crews, and took in provisions. He then steered a course
never, as far as he knew, traced by any former navigator,
and came upon a country to which he gave the name of
Terra Verde, but which is carefully to be distinguished
from that called Greenland. This was in truth the coast of
Labrador, denominated in an old map published at Rome, in
1508, Terra Corterealis. It lay between the west and
north-west; and, after having explored it for upwards of 600
miles without reaching any termination, Cortereal concluded that it must form part of the mainland, which was
connected with another region discovered in the preceding
* Discovery and Adventure in the Folar Seas, Family Library, Nov
XIV.; and Lives and Voyages of Drake, Cavendish, and Dampier, Ibid.
t Cortereal had been educated in the household of the King of Por-
fcogal before he came to the throne, and when he still bore the title of
Duke de Beja.—Damiano Goes, Chronica del Rey Dom. Manuel, c. 66,
cap. 66, p. 187. His character, as given by this ancient and contemporary
chronicler, is brief and forcible. " Gaspar de Cortereal, son of John
Vaz Cortereal, was a man of an enterprising and determined character,
ardently thirsting after glory; for which reason he proposed to set out
on a voyage of discovery, seeking countries in northern latitudes, we
(the Portuguese) having at this time discovered many in southern
c a
year in the north,—evidently alluding to the Voyage of Se'
bastian Cabot in 1498.*    The most curious and authenti^
account of this  remarkable expedition of the Portuguese
navigator is to be found in a letter, written by Pietro Pas*
quiligi, the Venetian ambassador at the court of Portugal
to his brothers in Italy, only eleven days after the return
of Cortereal from his first voyage.    " On the 8th of Octoi
ber," says he, "there arrived in this port one of the two
caravels which were last year despatched by the King of
Portugalfor the discovery of lands lying in the northjfin^
der the command of Gaspar Cortereal.    He relates that he
has discovered a country situated between the west an#
north-west, distant from this about 2000 miles, and which
before the present time was utterly unknown.    They ran
along the coast between 600 and 700 miles without arriving
at its termination, on which account they concluded it to be
the same continent that is connected with another land dis*
covered last year in the north, which, however, the caravels
could not reach, the sea being frozen, and a vast quantity
of snow having fallen.    They were confirmed in the same
opinion by finding so many mighty rivers, which certainly
were too numerous and too large to have proceeded from an
island.    They report that this land is thickly peopled,, and
that the houses are built of very long beams of timber, and
covered With the furs of the skins of fishes.    They have
brought hither along with them seven of the inhabitants,
including men, women, and children ;   and in the  other
caravel, which is looked for every hour, they are bringing
fifty more.    These people, in colour,  figure* stature, and
expression, greatly resemble gipsies : they are clothed witn
the skins of different beasts, but chiefly of the otter, wearing the hair outside in summer, and next  to the skin in
winter.    These skins,  too,   are  not  sewed  together, nor
shaped to the body in any fashion, but wrapped around their
arms and shoulders exactly as taken  from the animals;
while they conceal the parts which nature forbids us to ex-1
pose with strong cords made of the sinews or entrailpof
fishes.    On this account their  appearance  is   completely
savage; yet they are very sensible  to   shame,  gentle in
their manners, and better made in their arms, legs, and
Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 241< CORTEREAL.
shoulders than can be expressed.    Their faces are punctured in the same manner as the Indians; some have six
marks, some eight, some fewer: they use a language of
their own, but it is understood by no one.    Moreover, I believe that every possible language has been addressed to
them.    They have no iron in their country, but manufacture knives out of certain kinds of stones, with which they
point  their  arrows.    They  have also brought  from  this
rfand a piece of a broken sword inlaid with gold, which we
can pronounce undoubtedly to have been made in Italy;
and one of the children had in his ears two pieces (todini)
of silver, which as certainly appear to have been made in
Venice,—a circumstance inducing; me to believe that their
country belongs to the continent, since it is evident that if
it had been an island where any vessel had touched before
this time, we should have heard of it.    They have great
plenty of salmon, herring, stockfish, and similar kinds of
fish.    They have also abundance of timber, and principally
of the pine, fitted for the masts and yards of ships ; on
which account his serene majesty anticipates the greatest
advantage from this country, both in furnishing timber for
his shipping, of which he at present stands in great need,
and also from the men who inhabit it, who appear admirably fitted to endure labour, and will probably turn out the
best slaves which have been discovered up to this time.
This arrival appeared to me an event of which it was right
to inform you ; and if on the arrival of the other caravel I
receive any additional information, it shall be transmitted
to you in like manner."*
Nothing could be more cruel and impolitic than the conduct of Cortereal in seizing and carrying into captivity
these unfortunate natives ; and it is difficult to repress our
indignation at the heartless and calculating spirit with
which the Portuguese monarch entered into the adventure,
contemplating the rich supplies of slaves that were to be
imported from this new country.!    It is an ingenious con-
% Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 239, 240.
t I observe that in the History of Discovery and Adventure in the
Polar Seas, Mr. Murray has questioned the accuracy of the opinion
jstated by the biographer of Cabot, "that the objects of Cortereal's
second voyage were timber and slaves." The letter, however, of Pas-
quiligi seems to me decisive that, if not the sole, they were at least very
principal objects in the second voyage A
jecture of the biographer of Cabot, to whose research we
owe our acquaintance with this letter, that the name Terrai
de Laborador was given to the coast by the Portuguese
slave-merchants in consequence of the admirable qualities;
of the natives as labourers, and in anticipation of the profit^
to be derived from a monopoly of this unchristian traffic.
But distress and disaster pursued the speculation, (m
the 15th May, 1501, Cortereal departed on a second voy^
age, with a determination to pursue his discovery, and, as
we may plausibly conjecture, to return with a new oargo
of slaves and timber ; but he was never again heard of. A
similar dark and unhappy fate befell his brother, Michad
de Cortereal, who sailed with two ships in search of his
lost relative, but of whom no accounts ever again reached
Portugal. The most probable conjecture seems to be that
they both fell victims to the just indignation of the natives,
whose wives, children, and fathers had been stolen away
during their first visit to the coast. "The king," says
Goes, " felt deeply the loss of these two brothers, so mucll
the more as they had been educated by him ; and on this
account, moved by royal and gracious tenderness, in the
following year, 1503, he sent at his own expense two armed
ships in search of them ; but it could never be discovered
where or in what manner either the one or the other wai
lost, on which account this province of Terra Verde, wher$
it was supposed the two brothers perished, was called the
Land of the Cortereals."* The description of the inhabifl
ants, as given by this contemporary chronicler, contains a
few additional particulars to those mentioned by PasquilrJ|
| The people of the country," says he, " are very barbarousj
and uncivilized, almost equally so with the natives of Santaj
Cruz, except that they are white, and so tanned by the
cold that the white colour is lost as they grow older, and
they become blackish. They are of the middle size, very
lightly made, and great archers. Instead of javelins, they
employ sticks burnt in the end, which they use as missiles
to as good purpose as if they were pointed with fine steel.
They clothe themselves in the skins of beasts, of which
there are great plenty in the country. They live in caverns
of rocks, and  in houses  shaped  like  nests   (choupanas).
* Damiano Goes, Chronica del Rey Dom. Manuel, part i. c. 6&
They have no laws, believe much in auguries, live in matrimony, and are very jealous of their wives,—in which
things they much resemble the Laplanders, who also inhabit a northern latitude under 70° to 85°, subject to the
kings of Norway and Sweden."*
Upon these voyages of the Cortereals the Portuguese
attempted to establish a claim to the discovery of Newfoundland and the adjacent coasts of North America, though
there is ample historical evidence that both had been visited
by the two Cabots three years prior to the departure of Cortereal from Lisbon. Maps appear to have been forged to
support this unfair assumption ; and in a volume published
by Madrignanon at Milan in 1508, which represents itself
to be a translation of the Italian work entitled " Paesi
Nuovamente Ritrovati," the original letter of Pasquiligi,
describing the arrival of Gaspar Cortereal, is disgracefully
garbled and corrupted,—for the purpose, as it would seem,
of keeping the prior discoveries of the Cabots in the background, and advancing a fabricated claim for the Portuguese, t
It is unfortunate that this disingenuous process of poisoning
the sources of historic truth has succeeded, and that many
authors, not aware of its apocryphal character, which has
been acutely exposed by the biographer of Cabot, have
given a pernicious currency to the fable of Madrignanon.
About fourteen years after his return from the voyage of
1498, we have seen that Sebastian Cabot was induced to
enter the service of Spain ; but, though highly esteemed for
his eminent abilities, appointed one of the Council of the
Indies by Ferdinand, and nomfnated to the command of an
expedition to the north in search of a north-west passage,
he appears to have been baffled and thwarted in his plans by
the jealousy of the Spaniards, and was at last compelled to
abandon them on the death of Ferdinand. He then returned
to England ; and, indefatigable in the prosecution of that
great object which formed the prominent pursuit of his life,
induced Henry VIII. to fit out a small squadron for the discovery of the north-west passage to India. Unfortunately,
however, for the success of the voyage, Sir Thomas Pert,
at this time vice-admiral of England, was intrusted with the
* Damiano Goes, Chronica del Rey Dom. Manuel, parti, c. 66, p. 87.
t Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, p. 261, 252.
C 2 mm i
Uf !
supreme command, whose want of courage and resolution
was the cause of its ultimate failure. The object of Cabot
was to proceed by Iceland towards the American coast,
which he had already explored as far as 56°, according to
Ramusio, or, if we follow Gomara, 58° north. This would
lead him, to use the expression of Thorne,* by the back of
Newfoundland, and from this point, pursuing his voyage far-
ther to the northward, he expected to find a passage to the
kingdom of Cathay. The ships accordingly set sail, and
on the 11th of June they had reached the 674° of northern
latitude. They here found the sea open, and Cabot entertained a confident hope of sailing through a bay or | fret,"
which they had then entered, to the shores of the Eastern
Cathay, when a mutiny of the mariners, and the faint,
heartedness of Sir Thomas Pert, compelled him, much
against his inclination, to desist from the further prosecution
of the voyage, and return home.f    From the high latitude
* Letter of Robert Thome.—Hakluyt, edition of 1589, p, 250.—" And
if they will take their course, after they be past the Pole, towards the
Occident, they shall goe in the back side of the Newfoundland, which
of late was discovered by your grace's subjects, until they come to the
back side and south seas of the Indies Occidental: and so, continuing
their voyage, they may return thorow the Straight of Magellan to this
country, and so they compass also the world by that way ; and if they
goe this third way, and after they be past the Pole, goe right toward
the Pole Antarticke, and then decline towards the lands and islands
situated between the tropicks and under the equinoctial, without doubl
they shall find there the richest lands and islands of the world, of gold,
precious stones, balmis, spices, and other thinges that we here esteem
most, which come out of strange countries, and may return the same
way." See also Gomara, as quoted in the Memoir of Sebastian Cabot,
p. 21.
t It is evidently to this third voyage that the passage in Ramusio, vol.
i$. P- 4, of the " Discorso sopra il terzo volume," applies. Memoir of
Cabot, p. 117. It is valuable, as this author, though he appears by mistake to have put the name of Henry VII. for that of Henry VIIT., quotes
in it a letter which many years before he had received from Sebastian
Cabot himself. He (Ramusio) in speaking of the discoveries subsequently
made by Verazzano, and of the country of New-France, remarks, that of
this land it is not certain as yet whether it is joined to the continent of
Florida and New-Spain, or whether it is separated into islands, and may
thus admit of a passage to the kingdom of Cathay. " Come," he pro-
ceeds, " come mi fu scritto gia molti anni sono, ual Signor Sebastian
Gabotto nostroVinitiano huomodi grande esperienza et raro nell'arte
del navigare, e nella scienza di cosmografia : il quale avea navicato dis-
opra di questa terra della Nuova-Francia a spese del Re Henrico VH.
dlnghilterra e me diciva, come essendo egli andato lungamentealla volta
de ponente e quarta di Maestro dietro queste Isole poste lungo la delta tens
reached by this enterprising seaman, as well as from the expressions employed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in speaking
of the voyage, it appears certain that Cabot had entered the
great bay afterward explored by Hudson, and since known
by his name.* It is an extraordinary fact, therefore, but it
rests upon evidence which it would be difficult to controvert, that ninety years before the first voyage of Hudson
he had been anticipated in his principal discovery by an
early navigator, to whose merits the world have done little
justice. H
While the Portuguese, the Spaniards, and the English
had early entered upon the career of discovery, the French,
a people undoubtedly of the highest genius and enterprise,
evinced an unaccountable inactivity upon this great subject,
and appeared to view with indifference the brilliant successes of other nations. \At length Francis I., a monarch
who was deeply smit with the love of glory, caught the enthusiasm for maritime discovery, and, eager to cope upon
equal terms with his great rival Charles V., fitted out a
squadron of four ships, the command of which he intrusted
to Giovanni Verazzano, a Florentine navigator of great skill
and celebrity. The destination of the armament, however,
appears to have embraced the purposes of plunder as well
as of discovery ; and in a cruise three of his vessels were
so much damaged in a storm, that they were compelled, for
the purpose of refitting, to run into a port in Brittany, from
which, impatient of the delay, the admiral, in a single vessel
named the Dauphin, set sail with a determination to prosecute discoveries.    He first steered his course for Madeira,
fini a gradi sessanta sette e mezzo sotto il nqstro polo a xi. di Guigno e tro-
vandosi il mare aperto e senza impedimentb alcuno, pensaya fermamente
per quella via di poter passare alia volta del Cataio Orientale, e l'avrebbe
fatto, se la malignifa del padrone e de marineri sollevati non l'havessero
fatto tornare a dietro."   This discourse is dated 20th June, 1553.
* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 16. It must be recollected that Sir Humphrey
Gilbert had the advantage of having examined the charts of Sebastian
CalSft, which, he tells us, were then to be seen in the queen's privy
gallery at Whitehall. If has also been acutely remarked by a late writer
(Memoir of Cabot, p. 29), that Ortelius, who died nine years before Hudson undertook his first voyage, in the map of America, published in
his great geographical work, the "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum," has laid
down the form of Hudson's Bay with singular precision. Now we know
by the list of authorities cited by Ortelius, that he was in possession of
a map of the world by Sebastian Cabot. The source, therefore, from
which he derived his information is evident. C(
and thence sailed in a westerly direction for twenty-fivq
days,   making in that  time 500 leagues.    A storm  nofi
attacked him, in which his little vessel had nearly perished,
but he at last weathered the gale, and proceeding onwarda
for 400 leagues, arrived upon a coast that, according to his
own account, had never before been visited.*    It is probable
that this shore belonged either to North or South Carolina ;i
and the appearance of many large fires on the beach conl
vinced him that the country  was inhabited.    Verazzano,!
however, in vain sought for a port; and after exploring the
coast both to the south and north without success, he was!
compelled to anchor in the open sea, after which he sent hist
boat on shore to open an intercourse with the natives.   ThM
he effected not without some difficulty; for as soon as the
French landed the savages fled in great  trepidation ; yel
they soon after stole back, exhibiting signs of much wonder
and  curiosity.    At  last  being  convinced  that  they  had
nothing to fear, they completely recovered their confidence,
and not only brought provisions to the French, but assisted
them in drawing their boat on shore, and carefully and mi|
nutely scrutinized every thing belonging to the vessels and
the crew.    They admired the white skin of the  strangers,
handled their dress, and exhibited the utmost astonishment
and delight.    They themselves were a handsome race of
people, their eyes dark and large, their expression bold, open,
and cheerful; their chests were broad, and they combinea
middle stature and symmetry of limbs with great nimbleness
and swiftness of foot.    Their colour was tawny, not unlike
the Saracens, and they wore their hair, which was black
and thick, tied behind their head in a little tail, and sometimes ornamented with a garland of birds' feathers.    Their
bodies were not disfigured or tattooed in any way, and they
walked about perfectly naked, except that they wore short
aprons of furs fastened round their middle by a girdle of
woven grass.    In the immediate vieinity of the coast the
country was sandy, rising into gentle undulations ; as they
proceeded it became more elevated, and was covered! by
jnoble woods, consisting, not of the usual forest-trees, but
* Ramusio, Viaggi, vol. iii. p. 420.   " Dovi scopsimmo una terra nuova,
flOn piu dagPantiehi ne da moderni vista."
f " Sta questfa terra in gradi 34°."—Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 420.
of the palm, laurel, cypress, and others then unknown in
Europe, which grew to a great height, and diffused a delicious perfume that was discerned far out at sea. u The
land also," says Verazzano in his letter to Francis I., 1 is
full of many animals, as stags, deer, and hares, which were
seen sporting in the forests, and frequenting the banks of
pleasant lakes and rivers; nor were there wanting great
plenty and variety of birds of game, fitted to afford delight-
ml recreation for the sportsman. The sky was clear, the
air wholesome and temperate, the prevalent wind blowing
from the west, and the sea calm and placid. In short, a
country more full of amenity could not well be imagined."**
An excellent author and navigator thinks it probable that
the spot where Verazzano first landed was on the coast of
Georgia, near the present town of Savannah.f
From this he proceeded along the shore, which turned to
the eastward and appeared thickly inhabited, but so low and
open that landing in such a surf was impossible. In this
perplexity a young sailor undertook to swim to land and accost the natives; but when he saw the crowds which
thronged the beach he repented of his purpose, and although
within a few yards of the landing-place, his courage failed,
and he attempted to turn back. At this moment the water
only reached his waist; but, overcome with terror and exhaustion, he had scarcely strength to cast his presents and
trinkets upon the beach, when a high wave cast him stupi-
fied and senseless upon the shore. The savages ran immediately to his assistance, and carried him to a little distance
from the sea, where it was some time before he recovered
his recollection; and great was his terror when he found
himself entirely in their power. Stretching his hands towards the ship, he uttered a piercing shriek, to which his
friends of the New World replied by raising a loud yell, intended, as he afterward found, to encourage him. J3ut, if
this was sufficiently alarming, their further proceedings
proved still more formidable. They carried him to the foot
of a hill, turned his face towards the sun, kindled a large
fire, and stripped him naked. No doubt was now left in the
mind of the unhappy man that they were about to offer him
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 420.
t Forster's Discoveries in the North, p. 433. u
as a sacrifice to tne sun ; and his companions on board, who
watched the progress of the adventure, unable, from the violence of the sea, to lend him assistance, were of the same
opinion. They thought, to use Verazzano's own words,
that the natives were going to roast and eat him.* But
their fears were soon turned into gratitude and astonishment ; for they only dried his clothes, warmed him, and
showed him every mark of kindness, caressing and patting
his white skin ; and on observing that he still trembled and
looked suspicious, they assisted him to dress, conducted himl
to the beach, tenderly embraced him, and pointing to the
vessel, removed to a little distance to show that he was at
liberty to return to his friends. This he did by swimming
to the ship's boat, which had been put out to receive him,
followed by the kind gestures of the savages, who gazed
after him till they saw him safe among his friends. The
spot where Verazzano found this amiable people is conjee*
tured by Forster to have been somewhere between New*
Jersey and Staten Island.
From this the Florentine sailed onward, observing" the coasf
trending to the northward, and after a run of fifty league!
came to anchor off a delightful country covered with the finest
forests. The trees, although equally luxuriant, did not emii
the same perfume as those before seen ; but the region was
rich, covered with grass, and thickly peopled, although the
natives appeared more timid than the last, and avoided all
intercourse. The sailors, however, discovered and seized a
family who had concealed themselves in the underwood,
consisting of an old woman, a young girl of a tall and handsome figure, and six children. The two younger of th
little ones were squatted on the shoulders of the old womai^
and another child hung behind her back, while the girl ym
similarly loaded. On being approached both the female!
shrieked loudly ; but, having succeeded in pacifying them,
the sailors understood by their signs that all the men has1
escaped to the woods on the appearance of the ships. Much
persuasion was now used to induce them to go on board;
but although the elderly lady showed symptoms of acquiescence, and eagerly ate the food which was offered her, bo
entreaties  could soften  the obstinacy  and rage of the
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 421, VE&AZZANO.
yourtger. She uttered piercing cries, cast the meat indig-»
nantly on the ground, and rendered the task of dragging
her through the thick woods so tedious and distressing, that
they were obliged to desist and leave her, only carrying with
them a little boy, who could make no resistance.* The
people of this country possessed fairer complexions than
those whom they had just left, and were clad with large
leaves sewed together with threads of wild hemp* Their
common food was pulse, but they subsisted also by fishing, and
were very expert in catching birds with gins. Their bows
were made of hard wood, their arrows of canes headed with
fish-bone, and their boats constructed of one large tree hollowed by fire, for they appeared to have no instruments of
iron or other metal. Wild vines crept up the trunks of the
trees, hanging in rich festoons from the branches, and the
banks and meadows were covered with' roses, lilies, violets,
and many sorts of herbs different from those of Europe,
yielding a fresh and delightful fragrance*
Verazzano now proceeded one hundred leagues farther to &'
sheltered and beautiful bay surrounded by gently rising hillsj
and discovered a large river, which from its depth seemed navp
gable to a considerable distance.    Fearful, however, of any
accident, they ascended it in boats ; and the voyage conducted them through a country so full of sweetness and
attraction that they left it with much regret.f    Prosecuting'
their discoveries fifty leagues eastward, they reached another
island of a triangular shape, covered with rich wood, and
rising into gentle hills, which reminded them of Rhodes
both in its form and general aspect.    A contrary wind, however, rendered it impossible to land, and pursuing their
course about fifteen leagues farther along the coast, they
found a port where there- was an excellent anchorage.   Here
they were soon visited by the natives, who came in a squadron of twenty boats, and at first cautiously kept at the distance of fifty paces.    Observing, however, the friendly gestures of the strangers, they ventured nearer, and when the
French threw them bells, mirrors, and other trinkets, they
raised a loud and simultaneous shout expressive of joy and
security, no longer hesitating to row their boats to the ship's
feide and come  aboard.    They are described by Verazzano*
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 421..
Ibid, Wmi
■ jiiii''1
in his account of the voyage sent to Francis I., as the fined!
and handsomest race, and the most civilized in their manners, of any he had yet met in America.    Their colour was
fairer than that of the more southern people, and in the
symmetry of their forms, and the simplicity and gracefulness of their attitudes, they almost vied with the antique.
They soon became exceedingly friendly and intimate,  an!
conducted the French into the interior of the country, which
they found variegated with wood, and more delightful than]
can be easily described.    Adapted for every sort of cultivation, whether of corn, vines, or olives, it was interspersed
with plains of twenty-five or thirty leagues in length, open
and unencumbered with trees, and of such fertility, that
whatever fruit might be sown was certain to produce 1
rich and abundant return.     They  afterward entered the
woods, which were of great size, and so thick that a large
army might have been concealed in them.    The trees con«
sisted of oaks and cypresses, besides other species unknown
to Europe.    They found also apples, parsley, plums, anc
filberts, and many other kinds of fruit different from those
of Italy.    They saw likewise many animals,^uch as harts*
roes, wolves, and stags, which the  natives caught witl
snares, and destroyed with bows and arrows, their principa
weapons of offence.    The arrows were made with grea
neatness, and at the point instead of iron they inserted flints
jaspers, hard marble, and other kinds of cut stones.   Thesfi
they also made use of in felling trees, and in excavating
their boats, which with great  skill were made of a singl<
trunk, yet large enough to hold ten or twelve men commo
diously.    Their oars were short and broad at the extremity
which they plied in the sea without any accident happening
trusting solely to their strength of arm and skilful manage
ment, and seeming  able  to go at almost any rate the
pleased.   Their houses were constructed in a circular shape
ten or twelve paces in circuit, built of boards, and separate
from each other without any attention paid to arehitectuia
arrangement, covered with tiles made of clay, of excellen
workmanship, and effectually protected from the wind am
*ain.*    On one subject alone they showed suspicion, bein{
extremely jealous of the least intercourse between thi
* Ramusio, vol. iii, p. 422. VERAZZANO.
French and their women. These they would on no persuasion allow to enter the ship ; and on one occasion, while
the king came on board, and spent some hours in curiously
examining every part of the vessel, his royal consort was
left with her female attendants in a boat at some distance,
strictly watched and guarded.*
The French now bade adieu to this kind people, and pursued their discoveries for one hundred and fifty leagues, exploring a coast which extended first towards the east and
afterward to the north. The country still presented an
agreeable and inviting aspect, although the climate became
colder, and the regions along which they passed more hilly.
A progress of other fifty leagues brought them to a more
mountainous district than any yet seen, covered with dark
and dense forests, and possessed by a people whose habits
and temper seemed to partake of the severer nature of their
country. On attempting to open an intercourse, Verazzano
found them as fierce and sullen as those with whom he had
lately dealt were agreeable and generous. Twenty-five of
the crew who landed were received with a shower of
arrows; and although the exhibition of articles of barter
overcame their scruples, and tempted them to agree to an
interchange of commodities, the manner in which this was
effected evinced a striking mixture of avidity and suspicion.
They came down to the beach, choosing the spot where the
surf was breaking most violently, and insisted that the
French boat should remain on the other side; a rope was
then passed from it to the shore, and the different articles
were swung along it. Strings of beads, toys, or mirrors
they utterly despised; but eagerly received knives, fishing-
hooks, swords, saws, or any thing in the shape of cutting-
metal to be used in war or in the chase, though such was
their savage temper, that during the process of exchange
they expressed their aversion to the sjtrangers by uncouth
'gestures of contempt and derision. It seems probable that
the country now for the first time visited by Europeans
was the present state of Maine ; as we are told by Verazzano, that a further   run of fifty leagues  along the
* This country, according to Verazzano, was situated in 41§° of latitude (Ramusio, Vol. iii. p. 422), wmch, if correct, would point it out as
'tie present flourishing state of Massachusetts.
D I-'-, $$.;
coast brought him to a cluster of thirty islands separated by
narrow channels,—a description which points out, in precise
terms, the Bay of Penobscot.*
From this point he pursued his indefatigable course for one
hundred and fifty leagues farther, till he reached the land
already discovered, as he says, by the Britons in the latir
tude of 50°, which is evidently Newfoundland. Here his
provisions began to fail, and thinking it prudent to sail
for France, he reached home in safety in the month of
July, 1524.
Verazzano had thus completed the survey of a line of
coast extending for seven hundred leagues, and embracing
the whole of the United States, along with a large portion
of British America. It was undoubtedly an enterprise of
great magnitude and splendour, and deserves to be carefully
recorded, not only as comprehending one of the widest
ranges of early discovery, but as making us for the first time
acquainted with that noble country whose history is so important, and whose destinies, even after a progress un<?
rivalled in rapidity, appear at this moment only in their infancy. The Florentine gave to the whole region which he
had discovered the name of New-France ; he then laid before the king a plan for completing his survey of the coast,
penetrating into the interior, and establishing a colony ; and
he appears to have met with encouragement from Francis Ijjf
who embraced his proposals for colonization. From this
moment, however, his history is involved in obscurity.
Hakluyt affirms that he performed three voyages to North
America, and gave a map of the coast to Henry VIII. The
biographer of Cabot asserts, that he was the " Piedmontese
pilot" who was slain on the coast of America in 1527,f not
aware that Verazzano was a Florentine and alive in 1537;
and Ramusio could not ascertain the particulars of his last
expedition, or even discover in what year it took place. All
that is certainly known is, that it proved fatal to this great
navigator. Having landed incautiously upon the American
coast, he and his party were surrounded and cut to pieces
* Murray's North America, vol. i. p. 79. The veracity of the Florentine navigator, in his description of the ferocious habits of the natives,
is strikingly corroborated by the determined and rancorous hostility
evinced afterward by the Indians of this district in opposing eve*i
attempt at settlement.
t Memoir of Cabot, p. 278. cartier: 39
hy the savages ; after which they barbarously devoured them
in the sight of their companions.*
The death of Verazzano appears to have thrown a damp
over the further prosecution of discovery by the court of
France ; but at length, after an interval of ten years, Jacques
Cartier, an enterprising and able mariner of St. Malo, was
chosen by the Sieur de Melleraye, vice-admiral of France,
to conduct a voyage to Newfoundland, which, since its discovery by Cabot, had been seldom visited, and was imper*
fectly known. Cartier departed from St. Malo on the 20th
of April, 1534, with two ships, each of 60 tons burden, and
having on board a well-appointed crew of sixty-one men.f
The voyage appears to have been limited to a survey of the
northern coast of Newfoundland, of which he gives a
minute description, dwelling particularly on the zoological
features of the country. He found the land in most parts
extremely wild and barren, u insomuch thatphe did not
see a cartload of good earth ; and the inhabitants were of
stout make, but wild and unruly." They wore their hair
tied on the top like a bunch of hay, fixed with a wooden
bodkin, and ornamented with birds' feathers. Like their
companions whom Cabot had described, they were clothed
* Such is the account of Ramusio in his Discourse upon New-France,
vol. iii. p. 417. But Cardenas, in a work entitled " Ensajo Cronologico
para la Historia de la Floridas" (p. 8), has committed an error similar to
that of the writer of Cabot's life. He believes that Verazzano was the
same as Juan the Florentine, a pirate in the service of France, who was-.,
taken by the Spaniards in 1524, and hanged. The evidence which over-"
turns the theories of both these authors is to be found in a letter of
Annibal Caro, quoted byTiraboschi, Storiadella Letteratura Ital., vol., vii.
part i. p. 261, 262, from which it appears that Verazzano was alive in
1537. Lettere Familiari del. Comm. Annibal Caro, vol. i. p. 11. In his
great work, Tiraboschi has collected all that is known regarding the life
of this eminent discoverer; but this all is little or nothing. He was
born about the year 1485 ; his father was Pierandrea Verazzano, a noble
Florentine, his mother Fiametta Capelli. Of his youth, and for what
reasons he entered into the service of Francis I., nothing is known. The
only published work of Verazzano is the narrative in Ramusio, addressed
to Francis I., written with much simplicity and elegance. But in the
Strozzi Library at Florence is preserved a manuscript, in which he is said
to give, with great minuteness, a description of all the countries which
he had visited during his voyage, and from which, says Tiraboschi, we
derive the intelligence that he had formed the design of attempting a
passage through these seas to the East Indies. It is much to be desired
that some Italian scholar would favour the world with the publication
of this MS. of Verazzano.
t Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 435. CARTIER.
in beasts' skins, and ornamented their bodies by painting
them with roan-colours. They paddled about in boats made
of the bark of birch-trees, in which they carried on a constant trade of fishing, and caught great numbers of seals.
After having almost circumnavigated Newfoundland, Cartier
stood in towards the continent, and anchored in a bay which,
from the extreme heat, was denominated Baye du Chaleur.
The description of the inhabitants of this spot is striking
and interesting. | Taking our way," says he, " along the
coast, we came in sight of the savages, who stood on the
borders of a lake in the low grounds, where they had lighted
their fires, which raised a great smoke. We went towards
them, and found that an arm of the sea ran into the lake,
into which we pushed with our boats. Upon this the
savages approached in one of their little barks, bringing
along with them pieces of roasted seals, which they placed
upon wooden boards, and afterward retired, making signs
that this was intended as a present for us. We immediately
put two men ashore, with hatchets, knives, garlands for the
head, and such-like wares. On seeing these ^articles they
appeared much delighted, and crowded to the bank where
we were, paddling their barks, and bringing skins and
other articles, which they meant to exchange for our merchandise. Their number, including men, women, and;
children, was upwards of three hundred. Some of the
women, who would not venture nearer, stood up to the
knees in water, singing and dancing. Others, who had
passed over, came to us with great familiarity, rubbing
our arms with their hands, which they afterward lifted up
to heaven, singing all the while and making signs of joy ;
such at last was their friendliness and security, that they
bartered away every thing they had, and stood beside us
quite naked ; for they scrupled not to give us all that was
on them, and indeed their whole wardrobe was not much to
speak of. It was evident that this people might be without
difficulty converted to our faith. They migrate from place
to place, and subsist themselves by fishing. Their country
is warmer than Spain, and as beautiful as can be imagined,—
level, and covered even in the smallest spots with trees, and
this although the soil is sandy. It is full also of wild corn,
which hath an ear similar to rye. We saw many beautiful
meadows full of rich grass, and lakes where there were ©ARTIER'S   SECOND  VOYAGE.
plerity of salmon. The savages called a hatchet cochi,
and a knife bacon."* All the navigators who had hitherto
visited Newfoundland, on reaching its northernmost point,
appear to have sailed across the Straits of Belleisle to Cape
Charles, upon the coast of Labrador; but the course of
Cartier led him through the straits into the great Gulf of St.
Lawrence, now for the first time visited by any European.
His predecessor, Verazzano, after reaching the shore of the
Bay of Fundy, had probably sailed along the coast of Nova
Scotia until he reached Cape Breton. Cartier, on the contrary, saw before* him a wide and extensive field of discovery
to the west, which he pursued for some time, directing his
course along the coast of the Bay of St. Lawrence; but, as
the season was far advanced, and the weather became precarious, he determined to reserve a more complete examination of this unknown country for a second voyage, and
returned safely to France, coming to anchor in the port of
St. Malo upon the 5th of September, 1534. t
Having been received with favour and distinction, Car-
tier, after a short interval, embarked upon a secorid voyage. His squadron consisted of three ships,—the Great
Hermina, of which Cartier himself was master, being a
vessel of about 120 tons; the Little Hermina of 60 tons,
and the Hermiriilon of 40 tons burden. The crews solemnly prepared themselves for their voyage by confession
and the reception of the sacrament; after which they entered ia a body into the choir of the cathedral, and stood
before the bishop, who was clothed in his canonicals, and
devoutly gave them his benediction. Having fulfilled these
rites, the fleet weighed anchor on the 15th of May, 1535,
and the admiral steered direct for Newfoundland. His
ships, however, were soon after separated in a storm, and
did not again join company till the 26th of June; after
which they proceeded to explore the large gulf which he
had already entered. " It was," to use the words of the
navigator himself, " a very fair gulf, full of islands, pass*
ages, and entrances to what winds soever you pleased to
bend, having a great island like a cape of land stretching
somewhat farther forth than the others." This island is evidently that named by the English Anticosti, being merely a
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 438.
f Ibid. p. 440. VOYAGE.
corruption of Natiscotec, the appellation at this day given
it by the natives. To the channel between it and the opposite coast of Labrador Cartier gave the name of St. Lawrence, which has since been extended to the whole gulf.
On reaching the eastern point of the island of Anticosti,
the French, who had along with them two of the natives of
the country, whom they had induced in their former voyage
to accompany them to France, requested their advice as to
their farther progress. The savages stated, that the gulf in
which they now lay gradually contracted its dimensions till
it terminated in the mouth of a mighty river named Hoche-
laga, flowing from a vast distance in the interior of a great
continent. That two days' sail above Anticosti would
bring them to the kingdom of Saguenay, beyond which,
along the bank of the same river, was a populous territory,
situated at its highest known point, where the stream was
only navigable by small boats. Having received this information, Cartier sailed onwards, exploring both sides of the
river, and opening a communication with the inhabitants
by means of the natives whom he carried along with him.
The good effects of this arrangement were soon seen; for
at first they fled in great^ alarm upon the approach of any
of the ships' crews ; but *on hearing the interpreters cry
out that they were Taignoagny and Domagaia,—names
which seemed to inspire immediate ideas of friendliness and
confidence,—they suddenly turned back ; after which they
began to dance and rejoice, running away with great speed,
and soon returning with eels, fishes, grain, and musk-
melons, which they cast into the boats, with gestures expressive of much kindness and courtesy.* This soon led
vto a more intimate and interesting intercourse ; and on the
following day the lord of the country, who was named
Donnaconna, made a formal visit to the admiral's ship, accompanied by twelve boats, in which were a great multitude
of his subjects. On approaching the vessel he ordered ten
of these* boats to ship their paddles and remain stationary,
while he himself, with the other two boats, and attended by I
a suite of sixteen of his subjects, advanced over-againsM
the smallest of the French ships, and standing up, commenced a long oration, throwing his body into a variety of
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 441, CARTIER'S   SECOND  VOYAGE.
strange and uncouth postures, which -wre afterward discovered to be signs indicating gladness and security. Don-
naconna now came aboard the admiral's ship, and an enthusiastic interview took place between him and the two
savages who had been in France.* They recounted with
much gesticulation the extraordinary things which they had
seen in that country, dwelling on the kind entertainment
they had experienced, and after many expressive looks of
wonder and gratitude, the king entreated the admiral to
stretch out his arm, which he kissed with devotion, laying
it fondly upon his neck, and showing, by gestures which
could not be mistaken, that he wished to make much of
him. Cartier, anxious to evince an equal confidence, entered Donnaconna's boat, carrying with him a collation of
bread and wine, with which the monarch was much pleased,
and the French, returning to their ships, ascended the river
ten leagues, till they arrived at a village where this friendly
potentate usually resided, and which was named Stadacona.
| It was," according to the original account of Cartier, jjj as
goodly a plot of ground as possibly might be seen, very
fruitful, and covered with noble trees similar to those of
France, such as oaks, elms, ashes, walnut-trees, maple-
trees, citrons, vines, and white thorns which brought forth
fruit like damsons; and beneath these woods grew as good
hemp as any in France, without its being either planted or
cultivated by man's labour."!
From this time the intercourse between the French and
Donnaconna continued with every expression of friendliness ; but on hearing that the admiral had determined to
go to Hochelaga, a sudden jealousy appeared to seize him,
lest he and his people should be deprived of the advantages
of an uninterrupted communication with the white strangers,
and every possible device was put in execution to deter
them from their purpose. One of these stratagems was so
ludierous that we may be permitted to give Cartier's account of it in an abridgment of the quaint translation of
Hakluyt: " The next day, being the 18th of September,
these men still endeavoured to seek all means possible to
hinder us from going to Hochelaga, and for this purpose
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 443.   SecondaRelatione di Jacques Cartier.
t Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 216. '.  '•■■;;;
cartier's second voyage.
mm .
j   .'. '
j g
devised a pretty guile.    They went and dressed three men
like devils, being wrapped in dogs' skins, white and black,
with their faces besmeared as black as a coal, and horns
upon their heads more than a yard long."    These figures
they caused to be secretly put into one of the boats, which
they concealed within a winding of the wooded bay, waiting
patiently for the tide.    When the proper moment had arrived, a multitude of the boats, crowded with natives and
conducted by  Taignaogny,  suddenly  emerged   from the
creek; on a signal given, the boat in which were the counterfeit devils came rushing out of its concealment, and the
middlemost devil, standing up, made a long oration, addressed
to the French ships, of which of course every syllable was
unintelligible.    | Then," to resume the words of Hakluyt,
I did King Donnaconna with all his people pursue them,
and lay hold on the boat and devils, who, so soon as the
men were come to them, fell prostrate, as if they had been
dead, upon which they were taken up and carried into the
wood, being but a stonecast off, at which time every one of
the savages withdrew himself into the wood, and when
there began to make a long discourse, so loud that it was
easy  for the French to hear them even in their ships.
When this oration or debate, which lasted for half an hour,
was ended, Cartier and his crew espied Taignaogny and
Domagaia coming towards them, holding their hands joined
together, carrying their hats under their upper garment,
showing a great admiration, and looking up to heaven.
Upon this the captain, hearing them, and seeing their gestures and ceremonies, asked them what they ailed, and
what was happened or chanced anew j to which they answered that there were very ill tidings befallen, saying in ;
their broken French, * Nenni est ii bon,' that is to say, it
was not good.    Our captain asked them again what it was,
and then they answered that their  god  Cudraigny had
spoken in Hochelaga, and that he had sent those three
devils to show unto them that there was so much ice anS
snow in that country that whosoever went there should!
die ;  which words when the French heard they laughed
and mocked them, saying that their god Cudraigny was but
a fool and a noddie, for he knew not what he said or didlj
They bade them also carry their compliments to his mes- CARTIERS  SECOND  VOYAGE.
sengers, and inform them that the God whom they served
would defend them from all cold if they would only believe
in him."*
Having thus failed in the object intended to be gained by
this extraordinary masquerade, the savages offered no
further opposition, and the French proceeded in their pinnace and two boats up the river St. Lawrence towards
Hochelaga. They found the country on both sides extremely rich and beautifully varied, covered with fine wood,
and abounding in vines, though the grapes, from want of
cultivation, were neither so large nor so sweet as those of
France. The prevalent trees were the same as in Europe,
—oaks, elms, walnut, cedar, fir, ash, box, and willow ; and
the natives on each side of the river, who appeared to exercise principally the trade of fishermen, entered into an
intercourse with the strangers as readily and kindly as if
they had been their own countrymen. One of the lords
of the country did not scruple after a short acquaintance
to make a present to Cartier of two of his children ; one
of whom, a little girl of seven or eight years old, he carried
away with him, while he returned the other, a boy, who
was considered too young to travel. They saw great
variety of birds, almost all of which were the same as those
of Europe. Cranes, swans, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, thrushes, blackbirds, turtles, finches, redbreasts,
nightingales, and sparrows of divers kinds were observed,
besides many other birds.
By this time the river had become narrow, and in some
places dangerous in its navigation, owing to the rapids ; and
the French, who had still three days' sailing before them,
left their pinnace and took to their boats, in which, after a
prosperous passage, they reached the city of Hochelaga. It
consisted of about fifty houses, built in the midst of large
and fair corn-fields near a great mountain, which the French
called Mont Royale, corrupted by time into Montreal, which
name the place still retains; while the original American
designation of Hochelaga has been long since forgotten.
The city, according to Cartier's description, was round,
compassed about with timber, and with three courses of ramparts, one within another, framed like a sharp spire, but laid
* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 818; and Ramusio, vol. iii. p, 444. cartier's second voyage.
-;;;;: vi
C( I
across above.    The enclosure which surrounded the town
was in height about two roods, having but one gate, which
was shut with piles, stakes, and bars.    Over it, and also in
various parts of the wall, were places to run along, and ladders to get up, with magazines or heaps of stones for its de-;
fence.   The houses were entirely of wood, with roofs of
bark very artificially joined together.    Each -house had a|
court in the midst of it, and consisted of many rooms, whihi
the family lighted their fire in the centre of the court, an&
during the day all lived in common ; at night the husbands,
wives, and children retired to their several chambers.    At
the top of the house were garners where they kept then!
corn, which was something like the miljet of Brazil, and
called by them carracony.     They had also stores of peasej
and beans, with musk-melons and great cucumbers.    Many!
large butts were observed in their houses, in which they'
preserved their dried fish; but this, as well as all their otheH
victuals, they dressed and ate without salt.    They slept
upon beds of bark spread on the ground, with coverings of \
skins similar to those of which their clothes were made.*
The reception of the French by the inhabitants of Hoche-1
laga Was in a high degree friendly ; and indeed such was
the extent of their credulity and admiration, that they considered the strangers as possessed of miraculous power, and
their commander a divine person.    This was shown by their
bringing their king, Agonhanna, an infirm paralytic about
fifty years of age, to be touched, and, as they trusted, cured
by the admiral, earnestly importuning him by expressive'
gestures to rub his arms and legs ; after which the savage
monarch took the wreath or crown which he wore upon his
head and gave it to Cartier.    Soon after this they brought
with them all the diseased and aged folks whom they could
collect, and besought him to heal them; on which occasion
his conduct appears to have been that of a man of sincere j
piety.    He neither arrogated to himself miraculous powers,
nor did he altogether refuse their earnest request; but read,
from the Gospel of St. John, the passion of our Saviour, and
praying that the Lord would be pleased to open the hearts
of these forlorn pagans, and teach them to know the truth,
he laid his hands upon them, and making the sign of the
* Ramusio, vol. ill. p. 445; and Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 220,221. caHtier's second voyage.
cross, left the issue of their being healed or not in the hand
of their Creator.*
On inquiring into their religious tenets, he found that
they were buried in the deepest ignorance and superstition,
unacquainted with the existence of the only true God, and
substituting in his place a capricious and horrid being of
(heir own imaginations, named Cudraigny; They affirmed
that he often spoke to them, and told them what kind of
weather they were to have; but, if angry, would punish
them by throwing dust in their eyes. They had a strange
and coniused idea regarding the immortality of the soul? believing that after death they went to the stars, and descended
like these bright sparks by degrees to the horizon, where
they wandered about in delicious green fields, which were
full of the most precious trees, and profusely sown with
fruits and flowers. Cartier explained as well as he could
the folly of such a creed, persuaded them that Cudraigny
was no god but a devil, and at his departure promised to return again, and bring some good and holy men, who would
instruct them in the knowledge of the true and only God,
and baptize them in the name of his Son, with which they
declared themselves well pleased.f " There groweth here,"
says Cartier, " a certain kind of herb, of which during the
summer they collect a great quantity for winter consumption, esteeming it much, and only permitting men to use it
in the ^following manner: It is first dried in the sun ; after
whjch they wear it about their necks, wrapped in a little
skin made in the shape of a bag, along with a hollow piece
of stone or of wood formed like a pipe ; after this they
bruise it into a powder, which is put into one of the ends of
the said cornet or pipe, and laying a coal of fire upon it at
the other end, they suck so long that they fill their bodies
full of smoke till it comes out of their mouth and nostrils,
even as out of the tunnel of a chimney. They say that this
keeps them warm and in health, and never go without some
of it about them." It is not impossible that the reader,
perplexed by this laboriously minute description, may have
foiled to recognise in it the first acquaintance made by the
French with the salubrious and far-famed plant of tobacco.}
Not long after this the ships' crews were seized with a
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 448. t 1W& p. 449. t Ibid. VOYAGE.
loathsome and dreadful disease, caught, as they supposed
from the  natives, which carried off twenty-five men, rel
ducing the survivors to a state of pitiable weakness ami
suffering.    The malady was then new to Europeans; bul
the symptoms detailed by Cartier,—swollen legs, extremj
debility, putrified gums, and discoloration of the skin an J
blood,—leave no doubt that this "strange, unknown," am j
cruel pestilence was the scurvy, since so fatally familiar til
the European mariner.    Providentially, however, they dis
covered from the savages a cure in the decoction of 1j§|
leaves and bark of a species of tree called in their languag
hannida, and since well known as the North AmeriS|
white pine.    "This medicine," says Cartier, | worked s
well, that if all the physicians of Montpellier and Louvai
had been there, with all the drugs of Alexandria, they wovji
not have done so much in one year as that tree did in si j
The French began now to make preparations for their de
parture ; but a dishonourable plot was first carried into exd
cution, by which they succeeded in seizing Donnaconnd
whose usefulness and liberality to them during their re$
dence in Canada merited a more generous return,
monarch, however, with the exception of a slight pers$|
restraint to prevent escape, was treated with kindness, an
soon became reconciled to his journey to Europe, althoug
his subjects, inconsolable for his loss, came nightly howlin
like wolves about the ships, till assured he was in safetj
Along with Donnaconna were secured  Taignaogny an
Domagaia, who had already been in France; and, after
prosperous voyage, the French ships arrived at St. Malo 01
tneffth July, 1536.f    It might have been expected that,afte
a discovery of such magnitude and importance, immediafr
measures would have been adopted to appropriate and colt
nize this fertile, populous, and extensive country.    9
seemed the more likely, as the arrival of Cartier and the I
troduction of the Indian king at court created an extraordi
nary sensation ; yet notwithstanding the manifest advan
tages, both commercial and political, likely to result from
settlement in Canada, the weak and shallow prejudice whicl
at this time prevailed in most of the nations qf Europe, tha
no countries were valuable except such as produced gold3p
ftamusio, vol. iii. p, 451,
t Ibid, p, 453.
silver, threw a damp over the project, and for nearly four
years the French monarch would listen to no proposals for
the establishment of a colony.
Private adventure at length came forward to accomplish
that which had been neglected by royal munificence, and the
Sieur de Roberval, a nobleman of Picardy, requested permission of Francis I. to pursue the discovery, and attempt
to form a settlement in the country. This the king readily
granted ; and as Roberval was opulent, the preparations
were made on a great scale. He was created by Francis, on
the 15th January, 1540, Lord of Norimbega, Lieutenant-
general and Viceroy in Canada, Hoc&higa, Saguenay,
Newfoundland, Belleisle, Carpon, Labradopf the,fGreat Bay,
and Baccalaos,—empty and ridiculous titles, wh$|j^ii|jper-
ited by any one, ought to have been conferred upon Cartier.
This eminent navigator, however, was only permitted to accept a subordinate command ; and as Roberval, who wished
to appear with splendour in his new dominions, was detained
in fitting out two vessels which were his own property, Car-
tier was ordered to sail before him with the five ships already
prepared. He accordingly did so;. but Donnaconna, the
Canadian king, had died in France, and the savages, justly
incensed at the breach of faith by which they lost their sovereign, received the French with an altered countenance, devising conspiracies against them that soon led to acts of
open hostility. The French now built for their defence,
near the present site of Quebec, a fort, which they named
Charlesbourg, being the first-European settlement formed in
that part of America. After a long interval Roberval arrived
at Newfoundland ; but a jealousy had broken out between
him and Cartier, who took the first opportunity during the
night to part from his principal, and return with his squadron
to France. This of course gave a death-blow to the whole
undertaking, for Roberval was nothing without Cartier;
and, after some unsuccessful attempts to discover a passage
to the East Indies, he abandoned the enterprise, and returned
to his native country. The passion for adventure, however,
again seized him in 1549, and he and his brother, one of
the bravest men of his time, set sail on a voyage of discovery ; but they shared the fate of Verazzano and the Cor-
tereals, being never again heard of.    These disasters effect- ually checked the enthusiasm of France, while in Englani
the country to whose enterprise we have seen Europe in<
deb ted for her first acquaintance with the American conti-*
nent, the spirit of maritime discovery appeared for some
years almost totally extinct.
The plan of this historical disquisition now leads us to
the examination of some remarkable enterprises of||the
Spaniards for the extension of their immense dominions in
the New World, along the more northern coasts of Amejica.
The bold and comprehensive mind of Cortes, the con- DISCOVERY   OF   CALIFORNIA.
queror of Mexico, not content with the acquisition of that
noble empire, formed the most extensive projects of discovery. Alarmed at the attempts of the English to dis-
jgyer a northern passage to China and Cathay, he resolved
to make a careful survey of the whole coast, extending
rom the river Panuco in Mexico to Florida, and thence
northwards to the Baccalaos, for the purpose of ascertaining
whether there might not exist in that quarter a communication with the South Sea. At the same time a squadron
in the Pacific was to sail along the western coast of America,
and by these simultaneous researches he trusted to find a
strait affording a far shorter and easier route to India and
the Moluccas, and connecting; top-ether the vast dominions
of the Spanish crown.* Charles V., to whom these proposals were presented, although willing to encourage every
scheme for the extension of his power, ungenerously threw
upon their author the whole expense of the undertaking;
in consequence of which, the idea of the voyage for the
discovery of a north-west passage was abandoned, and the
magnificent designs for the conquest of many great and
opulent kingdoms sank at last into the equipment of two
brigantines on the coast of the South Sea, the command of
which was intrusted to Diego de Hurtado. This expedition
ended calamitously in a mutiny of one of the crews, who
brought back their ship to Xalisco: the fate of Hurtado
was still more unfortunate, for, although he continued his
voyage, neither he nor any of his crew were ever more
heard of. A second expedition, intrusted by Cortes to two
Spanish captains, Grijalva and Mendoza, was scarcely more
fortunate. The vessels were separated on the first night
of their voyage, and never again joined company. Grijalva
penetrated to an island which he denominated Santa Tome,
supposed to have been situated near the northern point of
California, after which he returned to Tehuantepec ; while
Mendoza, by his haughty and tyrannical temper, having
rendered himself odious to his crew, was murdered by the
pilot, Ximenes, who assumed the command. Afraid of returning; to Mexico, the traitor sailed northward, and dis-
covered theilroast of California, where he was soon after
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 295.   Memoir offabot, p. 263. r
attacked and slain, along with twenty of his crew, by thef
savage natives.*
.The survivors, however, brought the vessel back to Cm|
ametta, with the tempting report that the coast abounded
in pearls.    Cortes now set out himself, with a squadron of
three ships ; and, although his vessels were dreadfully shall
tered in a storm, pursued his voyage with his accustomed!
energy, till compelled to return by a summons from Mexico,
where the breaking out of serious disturbances required his=
immediate presence.    He intrusted, however, the prosecution of the voyage to Francisco de Ulloa;  and this enterprising navigator, though at first obliged by want of provisions to return to Mexico, re victualled his ships, and again
set sail.    The pious  solemnity with which these ancient
mariners were accustomed to regard their proceedings is
strikingly shown by the first sentence of his journal:—
"We embarked," says he, "in the haven of Acapulco, on
the 8th of July, in the year of our Lord 1539, calling upon
Almighty God to guide us with his holy hand to those places
where he might be served, and his holy faith advanced;
and we sailed from the said port by the coast of Sacatula
and   Motin,   which   is  sweet and  pleasant, owing to the
abundance of trees that grow there, and the rivers which
pass through these countries, for which we often tharised
God, their Creator."!    A voyage  of twenty days brought
the squadron to the harbour of Colima, from which they set
out on the 23d of August, and after encountering a tempest, in  which their ships were severely shattered,  they
stood across the Gulf of California, and came to the mouth
of the river St. Peter and St. Paul.    On both sides of it
were rich and extensive plains, covered with beautiful trees
in full leaf; and farther within  the land exceeding high
mountains, clothed with wood, and  affording a charming
prospect; after which, in a course of fifteen  leagues, they
discovered two other rivers as great or greater than the
Guadalquiver, the currents of which were so strong that
they might be discerned three leagues off at sea.
Ulloa spent a year in examining the coasts  and havens
on each side of the Gulf of California.    In some places the
* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 364; and Ramusio, Viaggi, vol. iii. p. 355.
f Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 339.   Murray's North America, vol. ii. p. 68. ULLOA.
Spaniards found the inhabitants of great stature,* armed
with bows and arrows, speaking a language totally distinct
from any thing they had hitherto heard in America, and admirably dexterous in diving and swimming. On one occasion the crews, who had landed, were attacked with fierceness by two squadrons of Indians. These natives were as
swift as wild goats, exceedingly strong and active, and
leaped from rock to rock, assaulting the Spaniards with
their arrows and javelins, which broke and pierced their
armour, and inflicted grievous wounds. It is well known
that this nation had introduced the savage practice of employing bloodhounds in their wars against the Mexicans,
and JJlloa now used some of these ferocious animals. The
Indians, however, discharged a shower of arrows against
them, " by which," says Ulloa, " Berecillo, our mastiff, who
should have assisted us, was grievously wounded by three
arrows, so that we could by no entreaty get him to leave us ;
the dog was struck in the first assault of the Indians, after he
had behaved himself very gallantly, and greatly aided us,
having set upon them and put eight or ten of them out of
array. But the other mastiffs did us more harm than good,
for when they attacked the Indians, they shot at them with
their bows, and we received hurt and trouble in defending
From this unfriendly coast the  Spanish discoverer proceeded to the Baya del Abad, about a hundred leagues distant from the point of California, where he found a more
pacific people, who, though they exhibited great symptoms
of suspicion, were prevailed upon  to  traffic, exchanging
pearls and parrots' feathers for the beads and trinkets of the
strangers.    So little, however, were they to be trusted, that
they afterward assaulted the ships' crews, compelling them
to retreat to their vessels and pursue their voyage.    They
now discovered, in 28° north latitude, a great island, which
they denominated the Isle of Cedars, taking possession of
it in the name of the Spanish monarch.    It was inhabited
by a fierce race of Indians, powerful and well made, and
armed with bows and arrows, besides javelins, and long
staves thicker than a man's wrist; with these they struck
at the sailors, braving them with signs and rude gestures,
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 342.
| Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 409.   Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 345.
till at last it was found necessary to let loose the two mastiffs Berecillo and Achillo ; upon which they suddenly took
to flight, flying over the rough ground with the speed of
wild horses.* Beyond this island the Spaniards attempted
to continue their discoveries along the coast of California;
but a tempest having driven them back and damaged tfieir
vessels, they determined to return to New-Spain. In their
homeward voyage they were in danger from a new and extraordinary enemy ; for, when sailing in the main ocean at
a rapid rate, above 500 whales, in separate shoals, came
athwart them within one hour's space. Their monstrous
size created great astonishment, some of them approaching
so near the ship as to swim under the keel from one side to
the other ; " whereupon," says Francis Preciado, who wrote
the relation of the voyage, " we were in great fear lest they
should do us some hurt; but they could not, because the
ship had a prosperous and good wind, and made much way,
so that it received no harm although they touched and struck
In this voyage, which for the first time made the world
acquainted with the Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortes,
Ulloa had not been able to spend sufficient time either in a
survey of the coast or in establishing an intercourse witn
the natives. But not long after his return, Mendoza, the
viceroy of New-Spain, despatched Friar Marco de Nica
upon an expedition of discovery from Culeacan, at that
time the most northerly Spanish settlement, to a province
called Topira, situated in the mountains. The account
brought back of the riches and extent of the country proved
so tempting to the ambition of the Spaniards, that soon
after Vasquez de Coronado, an officer of great courage and
experience, was appointed by Mendoza to the command off
a large force, for the reduction of the new territory ; while,
to co-operate with this land expedition, a naval armament
was fitted out, of which Ferdinand de Alarchon was appointed admiral, with Orders to explore the Gulf of California. As far as conquest was intended, these mighty preparations conducted to no permanent results; but the voyage of Alarchon led to some important discoveries.
After a survey of the lower part of the coast of the gulf,
I £a?*usio>vo1- iii- P. 351.   Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 419.
t Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 424. ALARCHON.
he penetrated with much difficulty and hazard to the bottom of the bay, where he  found  a mighty river, flowing
with so furious a current that they could hardly sail against
it.*    This was evidently the noble river now known by the
name of the Colorado, which has its rise in the great mountain-range near the sources of the Rio Bravo del Norte,
and after a course of 900 miles falls into the head of the
Gulf of California.    Alarchon  determined  to  explore i£;
and taking with him two boats, with twenty men and some
small pieces of artillery, he ascended to an Indian village,
the inhabitants of which, by violent and furious gestures,
dissuaded the Spaniards from landing.    The party of natives, at first small, soon increased to a body of 250, drawn
up in warlike fashion, with bows and arrows, and displayed
banners.    The Spanish admiral appeased them by signs,
throwing his sword and target into the bottom of the boat,
and placing his feet upon them.    " They began," says he,
in his letter to the viceroy Mendoza, " to make a great murmuring among themselves, when suddenly one came out
from among them with a staff, upon which he had fixed
some small shells, and entered into the water to give them
to me.    I took them, and made signs to him that he should
approach.    On his doing so, I embraced him, giving him in
exchange some trinkets; and he returning to his fellows,
they began to look upon them and to parley together; and
within a while many of them cheerfully approached, to
whom I made signs that they should lay down their banners and leave their weapons ; which they did immediately."
Alarchon gives a minute description of the dress, weapons,
and appearance of these Indians.    They were decked after
sundry  fashions;   the  faces  of some were covered  with
tattooed marks, extending; lengthwise from the forehead to
the chin, others had only half the face thus ornamented ;
but all were besmeared with coal, and every one as it liked
him best.    Others carried vizards before them, which had
the shape of faces.f    They wore on their heads a piece of
deer-skin  two spans broad, like a helmet,  ornamented by
various sorts of feathers  stuck upon small sticks.    Their
weapons were bows and arrows, and two or three kinds of
* Ramusio, Viaggi, vol. iii. p. 363.
t Such is the translation of Hakluyt; but the passage in the original
is obscure.
^w LC
maces of wood hardened in the fire. Their features were
handsome and regular, but disfigured by holes bored through
the nostrils and in many parts of the ears, on which were
hung pendants, shells, and bones. About their loins was a
girdle of divers colours, with a large bunch of feathers in
the middle, which hung down like a tail. They cut their
hair short before, but allow it behind to grow down to theffl
waist. Their bodies were tattooed with coals, and the
women wore round their waist a great wreath of painted
feathers, glued together, and hanging down both before and
behind.* ~'M
Having procured by signs a pacific reception from this
new people, Alarchon found to his mortification that^ they
did not understand his interpreter ; biit, after a little intercourse, observing that they worshipped the sun, he unscrupulously intimated to them by significant gestures that he
came from that luminary; " upon which they marvelled,"
says he, 1 and began to survey me from top to toe, and showed
me more  favour than they did before."    Soon after this|
a man was found among them who could speak the language!
of the interpreter ; and an intercourse of a very extraordinary nature took place, in which the honesty and simplicity
of the Indians are strikingly contrasted with the false and-;
unprincipled policy of the Spaniards.    The passage is uncommonly graphic and interesting: " The Indian first desired to know what nation we were, and whence we came 1
Whether we came out of the water, or inhabited the earth,
or had fallen from the heaven !"    To this the admiral re-|
plied, that they were Christians, and came from far to see
them, being sent by the sun, to which he pointed.    " After
this introduction, the Indian," continues Alarchon in his
account of the voyage, " began again to ask me how the sun
had sent me, seeing he went aloft in the sky and never stood
still, and for these many years neither they nor their oldest
men had ever seen such as we were, and the sun till that
hour had never sent any other.    I answered him, it was
true the sun pursued his course aloft in the sky, and never
stood still, but nevertheless they might perceive that at his
setting and rising he came near the earth, where his dwelling
was, and that they always saw him come out of one place;
* Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 364 ALARCHON.
and he had created me in that land whence he came, in the
same way that he had made many others whom he sent into
other parts ; and now he had desired me to visit this same
river, and the people who dwelt near it, that I might speak
with them, and become their friend, and give them such
things as they needed, and charge them not to make war
against each other. On this he required me to tell them the
cause why the sun had not sent me sooner to pacify the wars
which had continued a long time among them, and wherein
many had been slain. I told him the reason was that I
was then but a child. He next inquired why we brought only
one interpreter with us who comprehended our language,
and wherefore we understood not all other men, seeing; we
were children of the sun ] To which our interpreter answered, that the sun had also begotten him, and given him
a language to understand him, his master the admiral^ and
others ; the sun knew well that they dwelt there, but because
that great light had many other businesses, and because his
master was but young, he sent him no sooner. The Indian
interpreter," continues Alarchon, " then turning to me, said
suddenly, f Comest thou, therefore, to be our lord, and that
we should serve thee V To which I answered, I came not
to be their lord, but rather their brother, and to o-ive them-
such things as I had. He then inquired whether I was the
sun's kinsman, or his child ? To which I replied I was his
son, but those who were with me, though all born in one
country, were not his children ; upon which he raised his
voice loudly and said, ' Seeing thou doest us so much good,
and dost not wish us to make war, and art the child of the
sun, we will all receive thee for our lord, and always serve
thee; therefore we pray thee not to depart hence and leave
us.' After which he suddenly turned to the people, and began to tell them that I was the child of the sun, and therefore
they should all choose me for their lord."* The Indians
appeared to be well pleased with this proposal, and assisted
the Spaniards in their ascent of the river to the distance of
eighty-five leagues ; but finding it impossible to open a communication with the army under Coronado, Alarchon put
about his ships, and returned to Mexico.!
* Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 429.   Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 356.
t Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 438,439. 9»
I.    :
i»  >
i -
58 DE   FUCJA.
After the expeditions of Coronado and Alarchon, in 1542,
the spirit of enterprise among the Spaniards experienced
some check, owing probably to the feeling of mortification
and disappointment which accompanied the return of these
officers. Yet Mendoza, unwilling wholly to renounce the
high hopes he had entertained, despatched a small squadron
under Rodriguez Cabrillo, which traced the yet undiscovered
coast of North America some degrees beyond Cape Mendocino | and in 1596 and 1602, Sebastian Viscaino extended
these discoveries along the coast of New-Albion to a river
which appears to have been the present Columbia. It has
even been asserted by some authors, that, four years prior to
the voyage of Viscaino, Juan de Fuca, a veteran Spanish
pilot, conducted a ship beyond the mouth of the Columbia,
and doubling Cape Flattery, entered the Straits of Georgia,
through which he passed till he came to Queen Charlotte's
Sound. De Fuca imagined, not unnaturally, considering the
imperfect and limited state of geographical knowledge, that
he had now sailed through the famous and fabulous Strait
of Anian : and that, instead of being in the Pacific as he
then actually was, he had conducted his vessel into the spacious expanse of the Atlantic. With this information he
returned to Acapulco ; but the Spanish viceroy received
him coldly, and withheld all encouragement or reward,—a
circumstance to which we may perhaps ascribe the cessation
from this period of all further attempts at discovery by this
nation upon the north-west coast of America. The whole
voyage of De Fuga, however, rests on apocryphal authority.
Russian and English Voyages.
Behring—Tchirikow— Cook and Clerke—Meares—Vancouver—
As the zeal of the Spanish government in extending their
discoveries upon the north-west coast of America abated,
another great nation, hitherto scarcely known to Europe,
undertook at a later period the task which they had aban-
doned. Russia, within little more than half a century, bad
grown up from a collection of savage, undisciplined, and
unconnected tribes, into a mighty people. Her conquests
had spread with amazing rapidity till they embraced the
whole of the north of Asia, and under the energetic administration of Peter the Great this empire assumed at once
that commanding influence in the scale of European nations
which it has continued to preserve till the present times.
Among the many great projects of this remarkable man,
the solution of the question, whether Asia, on the north-east,
was united with America, occupied a prominent place ; and
it appears that during his residence in Holland in 1717, he
had been solicited by some of the most eminent patrons of
discovery among the Dutch to institute, an expedition to
investigate the subject. The resolution he then formed to
set this great point at rest by a voyage of discovery was
never abandoned ; but his occupation in war, and the multiplicity of those state-affairs which engrossed his attention,
caused him to delay its execution from year to year, till he
was seized with his last illness. Upon his death-bed he
wrote, with his own hand, instructions to Admiral Apraxin,
and an order to have them carried into immediate execution.
They directed, first, that one or two boats with decks should
be built at Kamtschatka, or at any other convenient place;
secondly, that with these a survey should be made of the
most northerly coast of his Asiatic empire, to determine
whether they were or were not contiguous to America ; and,
thirdly, that the persons to whom the expedition was intrusted
should endeavour to ascertain whether on these coasts there
was any port belonging to Europeans, and keep a strict
look-out for any European ship, taking care also to employ
some skilful men in making inquiries regarding the name
and situation of the coasts which they discovered,—of all
which they were to keep an exact journal, and transmit it
to St. Petersburg.
Upon the death of Peter the Great, which happened
shortly after these instructions were drawn up, the Empress
Catherine entered fully into his views, and gave orders to
fit out an expedition for their accomplishment. The command was intrusted to Captain Vitus Behring. Under his
orders were two lieutenants, Martin Spangberg and Alexei
Tchirikow ; and, besides other subaltern officers, they en- IKi (Iji
gaged several excellent ship-carpenters. On the 5th of February, 1725, they set. out from St. Petersburg, and on the 16th
March arrived at Tobolsk, the capitalof Siberia^ After a
survey of the rivers Irtisch, Ob, Ket, Jenesei, Tungusca,
and Ilim, they wintered at Ilim, and, in the spring of 1726,
proceeded down the river Lena to Jakutzk. The naval stores
and part of the provisions were now intrusted to Lieutenant
Spangberg, who embarked on the Juduma, intending to sail
from it into the Maia, and then by the Aldan into the Lena.
He was followed by Captain Behring, who proceeded by
land with another part of the stores, while Lieutenant
Tchirikow staid at Jakutzk, with the design of transporting
the remainder overland. The cause of this complicate!
division of labour was the impassable nature of the country
between Jakutzk and Ochotzk, which is impracticable for
wagons in summer, or for sledges during winter. Such,
indeed, were the difficulties of transporting these large bales
of provisions, that it was the 30th July, 1727, before the
whole business was completed. In the mean time a vessel
had been built at Ochotzk, in which the naval stores were
conveyed to Bolscheretzkoi in Kamtschatka. From this
they proceeded to Nischnei Kamtschatkoi Ostrog, where a
boat was built similar to the packet-boats used in the Baltic
After the necessary articles were shipped, Captain Behring,
determining no longer to delay the most important part of his
enterprise, set sail from the mouth of the river Kamtschatka
on the 14th of July, steering north-east, and for the first
time laying down a survey of this remote and desolate coast.
When they reached the latitude of 64° 30', eight men of the
wild tribe of the Tschuktschi pushed off from the coast in a
leathern canoe, called a baidar, formed of seal-skins, and
fearlessly approached the Russian ship. A communication
was immediately opened by means of a Koriak interpreter's
and, on being invited, they came on board without hesita-1
tion. By these natives Behring was informed that the coast
turned towards the west. On reaching the promontory called
Serdze Kamen, the accuracy of this information was established, for the land was seen extending a great way in a
western direction,—a circumstance from which Behring
somewhat too hastily concluded, that he had reached the
extremest northern point of Asia. He was of opinion that
thence the coast must run to the west, and therefore no BEHRING 8 SECOND VOYAGE.
junction with America could take place. Satisfied that he
had now fulfilled his orders, he returned to the river Kamtschatka, and again took up his winter-quarters at Nischnei
Kamtschatkoi Ostrog.*
In this voyage it was conjectured by Behring and his
officers, from the reports of the Kamtschadales, that in all
probability another country must be situated towards the
east, at no great distance from Serdze Kamen ; yet no immediate steps were taken either to complete the survey of
the most northerly coasts of Ochozkoi, or to explore the
undiscovered region immediately opposite the promontory.
In the course of a campaign, however, against the fierce
and independent nation of the Tsohuktshi, Captain Paw-
lutzki penetrated by the rivers Nboina, Bela, and Teherna,
to the borders of the Frozen Sea ; and after defeating the
enemy in three battles, passed in triumph to a promontory
supposed to be the Tgchukotzkoi Noss. From this point
he sent part of his little army in canoes, while he himself
conducted the remaining division by land round the promontory, taking care to march along the seacoast, and to com- .
municate every evening with his canoes. In this manner
Pawlutzki reached the promontory which is conjectured to
have been the farthest limit of Behring's voyage, and thence
by an inland route returned, on the 21st October, 1730, to
Anadirsk, having advanced an important step in ascertaining the separation between America and the remote northeasterly coast of Asia.
Although the separation of the two continents had been
thus far fixed, a wide field of discovery yet remained unexplored; and in 1741, Behring, Spangberg, and Tchirikow
once more volunteered their services for this purpose. These
offers were immediately accepted;" the captain was promoted to the rank of a commander, the two lieutenants
were made captains, and instructions drawn up for the conduct of the expedition, in which it was directed that the
destination of the voyages should be eastward to the continent of America, and southward to Japan, while, at the
same time, an endeavour was to be made for the discovery
of that northern passage through the Frozen Sea which
* Harris's Collection of Voyages, vol. if. p. 1020,1021; Cbxe'ia Ru&*
•ian KscoVefcfes, p. 23,24, 94.
h- 82
had been  so repeatedly but unsuccessfully attempted bj
other European nations.    The voyage to Japan, under the
command of Captain  Spangberg and Lieutenant Walton!
was eminently successful; arid one of its material  results!
was the correction of a geographical error of considerable
magnitude, by which that island had hitherto been placed
under the  same meridian as Kamtschatka, instead of 11°
more to the westward.    The expedition of Behring, no less
important  and satisfactory, was destined to be fatal to its
excellent commander.   After a winter spent in the harbour
of Awatscha,  or  Petropalauska, on the  west  side of the
great peninsula of Kamtschatka, Behring got his stores I
board the two packet-boats built at Ochotzk,  expressly foi
the intended American discoveries.    The first of these, thi
St. Peter, was that in which the commander embarked ; th<
second, the St. Paul, was intrusted  to Captain Tchirikow,
Along with Behring went Lewis de Lisle de  la Croyere
Professor of Astronomy, while Mr. George William Stellei
an experienced chymist and botanist, accompanied Tchi
All things beino* ready, a council-of officers was held, i
which the question regarding the course they  should stee
was considered, and it happened, unfortunately for the ex
pedition, that an important error had -crept into the map pre
sented by the Academy of Sciences at St. Petersherrg toib
senate,  in  laying down a coast south-east from Awatschi
extending fifteen degrees from west to east, while no Ian
was marked due east.    At this spot were written on the maj
the words " Land seen by Don Jean de Gama :" and, tripl
ing to the accuracy of this information, it was determine
to steer first south-east-by-east, in the hope of discover^!
this continent; after which they might follow its coasts as:
guide towards the north and east.   On the 4th of June, 1741
they accordingly weighed anchor and steered south-east-bj
south, till, on the 12th, they found themselves in latitud
46°, without the slightest appearance of the coast of De Ga
ma.    Convinced at last of their error, they held on a north:
erly course as far as 50° north latitude, and were just aboutt
steer due east, with the hope of reaching the continent of
America, when the two ships were separated in a ||elen!
storm accompanied by a thick fog.    Behring exerted eveij]
effort to rejoin his consort; but all proved in vain.   H«
cruised for three days between 50° and 51° north latitude,
after which he steered back to the south-east as far as 45° ;
.but Tchirikow, after the storm, had taken an easterly course
from 48° north latitude, so that they never met again.
Both, however, pursued their discoveries simultaneously,!
and on the 15th of July, being in 56° north latitude, Tchirikow reached the coast of America.    The shore proved to
be steep and rocky, and, in consequence of the high sur£
Jie did not venture to approach it, but anchoring in deep
water, despatched his mate, Demetiew, with the long-boat
and ten men-on shore.    The boat was provisioned for some
days, the men armed and furnished with minnte instructions
as to their mode of proceeding, and the signals by which
they were to communicate with the ship.    But neither mate,
men, nor barge were ever again heard of.    This was the
more mysterious, as all at first appeared to go well with
them.    The ;harge was seen from the ship to row in,to a bay
behind a small cape, and the appointed signal's were made,
intimating that she had .landed in safety.    Day after day
the  signals   agreed   on  continued  from   the   shore.    The
people on board began at last to think that the barge had
probably received damage in landing, and could not return
till she was repaired, and it was resolved to send the small
Jtoat on  shore, with the boatswain Savwplow and six men.
Among these were  some carpenters and a careener, well
armed and provided with the necessary materials, and the
boatswain had orders to return with Demetiew in the longboat  the   moment  the necessary repairs were completed.
But neither mate nor boatswain ever came back; and the
most dark surmises of their fate were excited by the cessa-
tion of the signals, and the  continual ascent of a large
volume of smoke from the landing-place.    Next day, however, a revival of hope was felt at the sight of two boats
which were observed rowing from the land towards the ship.
It was believed to be Demetiew and Sawelow ; and Tchirikow ordered all hands on deck, to prepare for setting sail on
a moment's warning.    A few minutes changed these cheer-
ful anticipations into sorrow ; for, as the boats approached,
it was discovered that they were filled by American savages,
who, seeing many persons on deck, instantly shipped their
paddles and remained at a cautious distance.    They then
stood up, and crying with a loud voice " Agai, agai!" re- 64
turned with great speed to the shore. A strong west wind
now rose and threatened to dash the vessel on the rocky
coast, so that they were obliged to weigh anchor and put to
sea without the slightest hope of hearing any further intelligence of their men ; for they had no more small boats, and
all communication with the shore was cut off. Tchirikow,
however, cruised some days in the neighbourhood, and when
the weather became milder, returned towards the spot where
his people landed; but all appeared silent, lonely, and uninhabited : and in a council of the officers,, it was determined
to set out on their return, though with the most poignant
regret at being obliged to leave this remote and desolate
coast without hearing the slightest account of their companions. They arrived at Kamtschatka on the 27th of
July.* No news of the fate of Demetiew and Sawelow
ever reached Russia ; but it is evident that they had been
successively attacked and murdered by the savages. u The
natives of this part of the north-west coast of America,'
says Captain Burney, " live principally by hunting and
catching game, in which occupations they are in the continual practice of every species of decoy. They imitate
the whistlings of birds,—they have carved wooden masks
resembling the heads of animals, which they put on over
their own and enter the woods in masquerade. They had
observed the signals made to the ship by the Russian boat
which first came to land ; and the continuance of signals
afterward seen and heard by the Russians on board were
doubtless American imitations."!
Exactly three days after Tchirikow descried land, it
appears that Commodore Behring also got sight of the con*
tinent in 58° 28", or, according to another account, 60° north
latitude. The prospect was magnificent and awful, exhibiting high mountains covered from the summits with
snow. One of these, far inland, was particularly remarked:
it was plainly discernible sixteen German miles out at sea;
and Steller says in his journal, that in all Siberia he had
not met with a more lofty mountain.$ The commodore
being much in want of water, approached the coast with
* Muller, Decouvertes faites par lesRusses, vol. i. p. 254.
Barney's History of North-eastern Voyages of Discovery, p. 180,
t Ibid. p. 164.
the hope of being able to land. He accordingly reached the
shore on the 20th July, and anchored under a large island
not far from the continent. A point of land projecting into
the sea at this place they called St. Elias Cape, as it was
discovered on that saint's day; while another headland was
denominated St. Hermogenes; and between these lay a bay,
in which, if it became necessary to take shelter, they trusted
they would find security. Two boats were now launched,
in the first of which Kytrof, the master of the fleet, was
sent to examine the bay, while Steller proceeded with the
other tp fetch water. Kytrof fouad a convenient anchorage ;
and on an adjacent island were a few empty huts formed
of smooth boards, ornamented in some places with rude
carving. Within the huts they pieked up a small box of
poplar, a hollow earthen ball in which a stone rattled, con?
jectured to be a child's toy, and a whetstone, oh which it
appeared that copper knives had been sharpened.* Steller,
on the other hand, near the spot where he landed, discovered
a cellar in which was a store of red salmon, and a sweet
herb dressed for food in the same manner as in Kamtschatka.
Near them were ropes, and various pieces of household
furniture and of domestic utensils. At a short distance he
Came to a place where the savages had recently dined,—
beside which they found an arrow, and an instrument for
procuring fire exactly similar to that used for the same purpose in Kamtschatka. The sailors who fetched the fresh
water had found two fireplaces with the ashes newly extinguished, and near them a parcel of hewn wood, witfi
some smoked fishes like large carp. They observed also
marks of human footsteps in the grass, but no natives were
seen. In case, however, they should return, some small
presents, such as it was conjectured might be suited to their
taste or their wants, were left in the huts. These consisted
of a piece of green glazed linen, two iron kettles, two knives,
two iron Chinese tobacco-pipes, a pound of tobacco leaves,
and twenty large glass beads. Steller, an enthusiastic
naturalist, entreated that he might have the command of the
small boat and a few men, to complete a more accurate sur-
Ivey of this new coast; but Behring, who was from his advanced age rather timid and over-cautious, put a decided
* Coxe's Russian Discoveries, p. 42,4&
F2 C(
negative upon the proposal; and his scientific companion,
having climbed a steep rock to obtain a view of the aojacent
country, found his progress interrupted by an immediate
order to come on board. 11 On descending the mountain,
says he in his journal, | which was overspread with a forest
without any traces of a road, finding it impassable, I re-
ascended, looked mournfully at the limits of my progress,
turned my eyes towards the continent which it was not m
my power to explore, and observed at the distance of a few
versts some smoke ascending from a wooden eminence.
* * I Again receiving a positive order to
ioin the ship, I returned with my collection."*
Havino- put to sea next day, the 21st of July, they found
it impossible, according to their original intention, to explore
the coast as far as 65° north latitude, as it seemed to extend,
indefinitely to the south-west.    It was studded with many
small  islands,  the navigation  through   which,   especially
during the night, was dangerous and tedious.    On the 30th
of July they discovered, in latitude 56°, an island which they
called Tumannoi Ostrog, or Foggy Island; and soon after
the scurvy broke, out with the most virulent symptoms in the
ship's crew;   so that, in hopes of procuring water, they
again ran to the north, and soon discovered the continent,
with a large group of islands near the shore, between which
they came to anchor.    These they called the Schumagins,
after the name of one of their men who died there.    While
at this anchorage the weather became boisterous, and some
brackish  water procured from  one of the largest islands
increased the virulence of the disease, which prevailed to
an alarming degree.    All attempts to put to sea proved for
some days unsuccessful, owing to the strong contrary winds;
and at length one morning they were roused by a loud cry
from one of the islands, upon which they saw a fire burning.
Soon after, two Americans rowed towards the ship in their
cwioes, which in shape resembled those of Greenland and
Davis's Strait.    They stopped, however, at some distance,
and it was discovered that they not only understoodJhe
language of the calumet, or pipe of peaee, employed by the
North American Indians, but had these symbolical instruments along with them.  They were sticks with hawks' wings
* Goxe's Russian Discoveries, p. 40, 4i, THEIR  SECOND  VOYAGE.
attached to one end.    It was at first impossible to induce
the natives to come on board;   and Behring, anxious to
establish a communication, and to become acquainted with
the country, despatched Lieutenant Waxei in the boat with
nine men well armed, among whom was a Tschuktschian
or  Koriak  interpreter.    It was found, however, that the
savages were utterly ignorant of his language ; and Waxel,
having sent some men on shore, who fastened the boat by a
long rope passed round a rock on the beach, commenced a
friendly intercourse by means of signs.    The Americans
were disposed to be on the most amicable terms with their
new acquaintances, giving them whales' flesh, the only provision they appeared to possess ; and at last one of them so
far overcame his fears as to ioin the Russian lieutenant in
the boat, which still lay a little way from the shore.    Anxious to conciliate his favour and treat him with distinction,
Waxel somewhat thoughtlessly presented him with a cup
of brandy ; but the effect proved the reverse of what was
expected.    He made the most ludicrous wry faces, spit violently out of his mouth all that he had not swallowed, and
cried   aloud to his companions on the shore, complaining
of the treatment he had experienced.    (< Our men," says
Mr. Steller in his journal,  | thought the Americans had
sailors' stomachs, and endeavoured to remove his disgust by
presenting him with a lighted pipe of tobacco, which he
accepted; but he was equally disgusted with his attempt to
smoke.    The most civilized European would be affected in
the same manner if presented with toad-stool, or rotten fish
and willow bark, which are delicacies with the Kamtscha-
dales."    It was evident he had  never tasted ardent spirits
or smoked tobacco till this moment; and although every
effort was made to sooth him and restore his confidence, by
offering him needles, glass beads, an iron kettle, and other
gifts, he would accept of nothing, and made the most eager
and imploring signs to be set on shore.    In this it was
judged right to gratify him, and Waxel, at the same time,
called out  to the sailors who were on the beach to come
back; the Americans made a violent attempt to detain them,
but two blunderbusses were fired over their heads, and had
the effect of making them fall flat on the ground, W&ile the
Russians escaped and rejoined their companion^.
This adventure gave them an opportunity of examining
fc V;.:
** fhis new people, now for the first time visited by Europeans.
f The islanders were of moderate stature, but tolerably well
proportioned ; their arms and legs v^ry fleshy. Their hair
was straight and of a glossy blackness ; their faces brown
and flat, but neither broad nor large ; their eyes were black,
|md their lips* %ick and turned upwards ; their necks were
fehort, their shoulders broad, and their bodies thick but not
corpulent. Their upper garment was made of whales'
Intestines* their breeches of seals' skins, and their caps
formed out of the hide of sea-lions, adorned with feathers
of various birds, especially the hawk. Their nostrils were
stopped with grass, and their noses as flat as Oalmueks' |
their faces painted, some with red, others with different
colours; and some of them, instead of caps, wore hats
bf hark, coloured green and red, open at the top, and
shaped like candle-screens, apparently for protecting the
eyes against the rays of the sun. These hats might lead
us to suppose that the natives of this part of America are
of Asiatic descent; for the Kamtschadales and Koriaks
wear the like, of which several specimens may be seen in
the Museum at St. Petersburg."*
At this time .Behring being confined by severe sickness,
the chief comman4 fell on Waxel, who was preparing to
sail, when seven Americans came in their boats to the ship's
Mule, and two of them catching hold of the entrance-ladder,
presented their bonnets and a carved image of bone, bearing
some resemblance to a human figure. They likewise held
up the calumet, and would have come aboard, but the sailors
were taking up the anchor, and the breeze freshening, tbey
were under the necessity of making towards the shore as
quickly as possible. There was time, however, to give a few
presents, and as the ship passed by the point where they
stood, she was saluted with loud and friendly shouts.f
They had now to struggle against a tedious continuance
of westerly wind, accompanied with thick fogs, which rendered the navigation in these unknown seas perilous in the
extreme. On the 24th of September the mist cleared away,:
and disclosed a high and desolate coast, which a strong;'
south wind made it dangerous to approach. The majority
of the crew were by this time disabled by the scurvy, and
* Coxe's Russian Discoveries, p. 63^
f Burrfey's North-eastern Voyages of Discovery, p. 170
the rest so weak, that to manage the vessel during the tempestuous weather was almost impossible. A violent gale
soon after began to blow from the west, which gradually increased, and drove the ship far to the south-east. The storm
continued for seventeen days,—a fact to which there are
few parallels in the history of shipwrecks ; and the pilot,
Andrew Hesselberg, who had served for fifty years in several parts of the world, declared he had never witnessed so
long and terrible a gale. Meanwhile they carried as little
sail as possible, and were driven for a fortnight at the mercy
of the wind, under a sky as black as midnight, so that all
the time they saw neither sun nor stars. When the storm
abated, they found themselves, by the ship's reckoning, in
48° 18" north latitude. Steller, in his journal, draws a
striking picture of their extreme misery :—" The general
distress and mortality," says he, 1 increased so fast, that
not only the sick died, but those who still struggled to be
numbered on the healthy list, when relieved from their posts,
fainted and fell down dead, of which the scantiness of water,
the want of biscuits and brandy, cold, wet, nakedness, vermin, fear, and terror were not the least causes."* In these
circumstances it became difficult to determine whether thev
should return to Kamtschatka or seek a harbour on the
nearest American coast. At last, in a council of officers,
they embraced the first of these alternatives, and again sailed
north, after which they steered towards the west.
On the 29th of October they approached two islands
resembling the two first of the Kurilian group. The long-
wished-for coast of Kamtschatka, however, did not appear,
and the condition of the vessel and crew began to be
deplorable. The men, notwithstanding their diseased state
and want of proper food, were obliged to work in the cold ;
and as the continual rains had now changed into hail and
snow, and the nights shortened and grew darker, their sufferings were extreme. The commodore, himself had been
for some time totally disabled by disease from taking an
active command, his wonted energy and strength of mind
left him, and he became childishly suspicious and indolent.
Amono- the seamen the sickness was so dreadful, that the
fwo sailors whose berth usod to be at the rudder were lea
I Coxe's Russian Discoveries, p. 65, Bill i
to it by others, who themselves could walk with difficulty.
When one could steer no longer, another equally feeble was
supported to his place.    Many sails they durst not hoist,
because no one was strong enough to lower them in case
of need, while some of the sheets were so thin and rotten
that a violent wind would have torn them to pieces.    The
rest of this interesting but deeply affecting voyage may be
given in the excellent abstract of Captain Burney.    " OlM
November 4th, at eight in the morning, they once more saw
land ; but only the tops of the mountains at first appeared,
and the shore was so distant,  that,   although they stood
towards it the whole day, night came on before they couldf
get near enough to look for anchorage.    At noon that day
they made their latitude by observation to be 56° north.    Oj$I
the morning of the 5th, it was discovered that'almosl; ajl tlifl
shrouds on the starboard side of the ship were broken,
which happened from contraction and tenseness caused by
the frost; for, without other mention made of the weather, '
it is complained that the cold was insupportable.    In this
distress the commodore ordered the lieutenant to call all the
officers together, to consult on their best modej^f proceed- I
ing; and the increased numbers of the sick, with the wan|i
of fresh water, determined them at all hazards to seek relie'fl
at this land.    The wind was northerly, and they had soundings at the depth  of thirty-seven fathoms, with a sandy
bottom.    They now steered in towards the land, west-south-i
west and south-west, and two hours  after, at five in the
evening, they anchored in twelve fathoms, the bottom sand,
and veered out three-quarters of a cable.    The sea now
began to run high, and at six the cable gave way.    Another!
anchor was let go, yet the ship struck twice, though they
found, by the lead, five fathoms depth of water.    The "cable
quickly parted ; and it was fortunate a third anchor was not
ready, for while they were preparing it a high wave threw
the ship over a bank of rocks, where all at once she was in
still water.    They now dropped their anchor in,four fathoms
and a half, about  600 yards from the land, and  lay quiet
during the rest of the night; but in the morning they found
themselves  surrounded  with  rocks  and breakers.    They
were certain that the coast of Kamtschatka was not far dis-
tant; but the condition of the ship and the crew, with the
advanced season of the year, rendered it apparent that they
must remain upon this land all winter. Those who were
able to work went on shore to prepare lodgings for the sick;
This they accomplished by digging pits or caverns between:
some sandhills near a brook which ran from a mountain to
the sea, using their sails as a temporary covering. There
was no appearance of inhabitants ; nor were any trees seen^
although driftwood was found along the shore. No grass
nor antiscorbutic herbs were discoverable; the island,
indeed, was so deeply covered with snow, that even if it
produced any antiseptic plants, the patients had not strength
to lay them open ; and at this time the Russians were little
acquainted with the proper remedies for this dreadful disease. On the 8th of November they began to transport the
sick to the miserable habitations which had been prepared
for them ; and it was remarkable that some who seemed the
least reduced, expired the moment they were exposed to the
fresh air, and others in making an attempt to stand upon
On the 9th of November, Behring himself was carried
ashore by four men on a handbarrow, carefully secured from
the air. The ship had been cast on the east side of the
island, and the coast was examined both to the north and
south ; but no traces of inhabitants were found. Along the
shores were many sea-otters, and the interior swarmed with
blue and white foxes. "We saw," says Steller in his journal, "the most dismal and terrifying objects : the foxes
mangled the dead before they could be buried, and were even
not afraid to approach the living and helpless who lay scattered here and there, and smell to them like dogs. This
man exclaimed that he was perishing of cold; the other
complained of hunger and thirst; and their mouths were so
much affected by scurvy that their gums grew over their
teeth like a sponge. The stone-foxes, which swarmed round
our dwellings, became so bold and mischievous, that they
carried away and destroyed different articles of provision
* " It must," says Captain Burney, " be within the memory of many,
the great care with which the apartments of the sick were guarded
against the admission of fresh air, and in few instances more than in
what was called the sick-berth on board a ship of war, where it was
customary to keep a number of diseased persons labouring under differ-
I ent maladies enclosed and crowded together; and fortunately, since the
► date of this expedition, the management ofthe sick with respect to air
has undergone a very essential reform.'* iifi I
and clothing.    One took a shoe, another a boot, a third a
glove, a fourth a coat; and they even stole the iron implements ; while all attempts to drive them away were ineffecj
Lieutenant Waxel, on whom, since the illness of the
commodore, the command devolved, and Kytrow, the shipmaster, continued healthy at sea; and the necessity for
exertion, in seeing every thing sent on shore, had a favourable effect in repelling the attacks of the disease. At last,
however, they too were laid up, and soon became so weak
that, on the 21st of November, they were carried ashore like
the rest. During this dreadful residence on the island, the
men lived chiefly on the flesh of the sea-otters, which was
so hard and tough that it could scarcely be torn to pieces by
the teeth. The intestines were mostly used for the sick;<
and Steller, in his descriptions of the marine animals of
these regions, reckons the flesh of the sea-otter as a specific
against the scurvy. When not wanted for food they were
killed for their fine skins, 900 being collected on the island,
and equally divided among the crew. A dead whale, which
was thrown upon the coast, they called their magazine, as
it proved a resource when nothing better could be got.
The flesh was cut into small pieces, which they boiled a
long time to separate the oil from it as much as possible,
and the remaining hard and sinewy parts they swallowed
without chewing.
In this miserable manner they continued to support life;
but some of the crew sunk daily under the disease, and on
the 8th of December the commodore expired. Behring was
an officer of extraordinary merit; and, until reduced by the
disease of which he became the victim, endowed with
unshaken perseverance and energy. His voyage set at rest
the disputed point regarding the separation of the two continents of Avsia and America; and he has deservedly
bequeathed his name to the strait which he was the first to
explore, and the desolate island on which he died. It is
melancholy to think, that after the exertions he had made in
the cause of naval discovery, his life terminated so miser-
ably; for it may almost be said that he was buried alive:
the sand rolled down continually from the side of the cav-
* Coxe's Russian Discoveries', p. 73,74. STATE   OF   THE   EXPEDITION.
em in which he lay, and at last covered his feet; nor would
he suffer it to' be removed, saying he felt Warmth from it,
when he was cold in all other parts ; it thus gradually increased upon him till his body was more than half-concealed;
so that when he at last expired, it was found necessary to
unearth him previously to his being interred. "Behring,"
says Steller, who was by no means disposed to exaggerate
the good qualities of his commander, " displayed in his illness the most affecting resignation to the will of the Supreme Being, and enjoyed his understanding and speech to
the last. He was convinced that the crew had been driven
on an unknown land ; yet he would not terrify others by
declaring his opinion, but cherished their hopes and encouraged then* exertions. He was buried according to the Protestant ritual, and a cross was erected over his grave to mark
the spot, and to serve also as an evidence that the Russians
had taken possession of the country."*
Soon after the death of the commodore the whole crew
were sheltered from the severity of the winter in subterranean dwellings contiguous to each other, and recovered so
much strength by the use of sweet and excellent water, and
the flesh of the sea-animals killed in hunting, that their existence became comparatively comfortable. Of the manner
in which they passed their time during the dreary winter
months, from December to May, Steller has left us in his
journal a minute and interesting account. In March the
sea-otters disappeared, either from the instinct of changing
their abode at particular seasons of the year, or banished by
continual persecution; but their place was supplied by other
marine animals, which, in their turn, also left them. " To
supply ourselves with fuel," says Steller, l< was likewise a
considerable labour: as the island produced nothing but
willow-bushes, and the drift-wood was often deeply buried in
the snow till the end of March, we were compelled to bring
it from a distance of even fifteen or sixteen versts ; and our
load upon these expeditions amounted to from sixty to
eighty pounds, besides our hatchets and kettles, with the
necessary implements for mending our shoes and clothes.
In April, however, we were relieved from this labour by the
thaw and breaking up of the vessel."   An anecdote of an
* Coxe's Russian Discoveries, p- 79.
G »*
escape made by them in hunting, as it is given by the same
lively writer, presents us with a striking picture of their
manner of life upon the island.    " On the 5th of April,"'
says he, 1 during a gleam of favourable weather, Steneser
and myself, with my Cossack and a servant  of Behring,
went on a hunting expedition.    Having killed as many sea-
otters as we were able to carry, we made a fire in a cliff,]
where we proposed to pass the night.    At midnight a violent hurricane arose, and the snow fell in such quantities
that we should have been buried had we not run continually
backwards and forwards.    In the morning, after a long and
fruitless search for shelter, we resigned ourselves to our fate!
but the Cossack fortunately discovered a large cavern, which
seemed to have been formed by an earthquake, where we
entered with our provision and wood.    It afforded a secure
retreat from the weather, contained a cavity in which we
could hide our provisions from the depredations of the stone-
foxes, and was provided with an aperture which served the
purpose of a chimney.    The cave and bay, which were
named in compliment to me, were inhabited by numerous
foxes, which retired on our approach through the chimney;
but the smoke from our fire caused such a spitting and
sneezing among them as gave no small diversion to the
party.    At night, however}/they occasionally returned into
the cavern, and amused themselves with taking away our
caps, and playing other similar gambols.    On the 4th we
returned to our abode  with a  rich booty,  and  were  received with great delight by our companions, who thought
us lost."*
On the 6th of May, such of the crew as were able to.:j
work began to build from the relics of the wreck a vessel,
which was intended to carry the survivors to Kamtschatka.
Their number was now reduced to forty-five, thirty having
died on the island, including the three carpenters ; but a
Siberian Cossack named Starodubzow, who had for some
time worked as a shipwright at Ochotzk, superintended the
building of the new ship. At first they were put to great
inconvenience from a deficiency of tar ; but by an ingenious
contrivance it was extracted from the new cordage which
* We have availed ourselves of Coxe's translation of this passage, as
published m his Russian Discoveries, p. 85, 86. RETURN   TO   KAMTSCHATKA^
they had to spare.    After being cut and picked, they put it
into a large copper kettle, having a cover fitting close, with
a hole in the middle.    They then took another vessel with
a similar cover, which they fixed firm in the ground, and
upon this set the copper kettle turned upside down, the
apertures in the lids being placed exactly against each other.
Part of this machinery was then buried in the earth, and a
fire kindled round what was above ground, by which means
the tar of the new cordage melted, and ran into the inferior
vessel.    This contrivance having removed their greatest
difficulty, by the 10th of August the new vessel was launched,
and on the 16th, Lieutenant Waxel set sail with the melancholy  remnant of his crew ; but, owing to contrary winds,
they did not' make the coast of Kamtschatka till the 25th,
although from Behring's Island the distance was not more
than thirty German miles.    On the 27th they anchored in
Awatchka Bay ; and the Cossack Starodubzow, to whose
efforts in constructing the vessel the preservation of the
crew was mainly owing, received the rank of sinbojarski, a
degree of Siberian  nobility.    Such is an account of the
celebrated and unfortunate expedition of Commodore Behring, of which the results  were highly important to geographical  science,  although dearly bought by the death of
so many brave men.
Although Lord Mulgrave had failed in his attempt to discover, by a northerly course, a communication between the
Pacific and Atlantic Oceans,* the British government did
not abandon all hope ; and in 1776, Captain James Cook,
who had already established his reputation as the greatest
of modern navigators, was selected by the Admiralty to conduct another expedition, reversing only the plan, and endeavouring to sail from the Pacific into the Atlantic, instead
of from the Atlantic into the Pacific.
In prosecution of'this plan, on the 12th of July, 1776,
Cook sailed from Plymouth Sound in the Resolution, leaving
instructions for the Discovery, the command of which was
intrusted to Captain Charles Clerke, to join him at the Cape.
From that place the two ships proceeded, in a course marked
by important discoveries, through the southern hemisphere,
by Van Diemen's Land, New-Zealand, Otaheite, and the
* Polar Seas and Regions,   p. 260-267. 76
Sandwich Islands. They then steered north-eastward, and
on the 7th of March, in latitude 44i° north, came in sight
of the American continent at the coast of New-Albion.
Owing to unfavourable winds, which forced the ships to the
south, it was the 29th before Cook anchored in Nootka
Sound, where he was soon visited by thirty boats of the
natives, carrying each from three to seven or eight persons,
both men and women. At first none of the Americana
would venture within either ship, and from the circumstance
of their boats remaining at a short distance all night, as if|
on watch, it was evident they regarded the arrival of the
strangers with much suspicion. A friendly intercourse,
however, was soon established; and although theft, par-]
ticularly of any iron utensil, was unscrupulously committed,
they were pretty fair and honest in their mode of barter.
** They were," says Cook, " docile, courteous, and good-
natured ; but quick in resenting what they looked upon as
an injury, and, like most .other passionate people, as soon
forgetting it. Their stature was rather below the common
size of Europeans; and although at first, owing to the
paint and grease which covered their skins, it was believed
that they were of a copper complexion, it was afterward
discovered that they were in reality a white people. They]
were well armed #ith pikes, some headed with bone and
many with iron ; besides which they carried bows, slings,
knives, and a short club, like the patow of the New-Zealand ers; their arrows were barbed at the point, and the inner
end feathered." A dispute occurred after the arrival of the
English, between the inhabitants of the northern and southern coasts of the sound ; but a pacific treaty was concluded,
and the event celebrated by a species of music, in which
they bore alternate parts. | Their songs," says Captain
Burney, who was himself present, |were given in turn,!
the party singing having their pikes erected. When the!
first finished they laid down their pikes, and the other party
reared theirs. What they sang was composed of few notes,
and as wild as could have been expected ; yet it was solemn
and in unison, and, what I thought most extraordinary, they
were all well in tune with each other. The words were at
times given out by one man, as a parish-clerk gives out the
first line of a psalm."*
Burney's North-eastern Voyages of Discovery, p. 2I& SURVEY FROM NOOTKA TO NORTON SOUND. 77
It appeared evident to Captain Cook that previous to
this the inhabitants had never entertained any direct communication with Europeans. | They were not startled,"
• says he, " by the report of a musket, till one day, upon endeavouring to prove to us that arrows and spears would not
penetrate their war-dresses, a gentleman of our company
shot a musket-ball through one of them folded six times.
At this they were so much staggered, that their ignorance
of firearms was plainly seen. This was afterward confirmed when we used them to shoot birds, the manner of
i which confounded them." On the ships leaving Nootka
Sound, the natives accompanied their farewell with a singular exhibition : " When the anchor was heaving up," says
Burney, " they assembled in their boats, which covered the
cove, and began a song, in which they flourished the swords,
saws, hatchets, and other things which they had obtained
from us. In the midst of this valedictory chorus, one man,
mounted on a stage of loose boards, which was supported
by the people in the nearest canoes or boats, danced with a
wooden mask on, which he occasionally changed, making
himself resemble sometimes a man, sometimes a bird, and
sometimes an animal. Of these masks they have great
variety, and they parted with them willingly, except those
of the human face ; if they sold any of these, it seemed to
be with some repugnance, as if they were parting with the
image of a friend or a relation^ and were ashamed to be seen
'so doing."*
From Nootka Sound Captain Cook made a survey of the
coast by Mount St. Elias, till he arrived at a cape which
turned short to the north, to which he gave the name of Cape
Hinchinbroke; thence he proceeded to Prince William's
Sound ; after which he pursued the coast to the west, which
was found to take a southerly direction, as described by
Behring and Tchirikow. These navigators, however, as
we have seen, had not made a very particular examination ;
and although the tenor of Cook's instructions did not permit
him to devote much time to the exploring rivers or inlets, till
he reached the latitude of 65°, still that eminent officer
deemed himself at liberty to complete an accurate sur^|of
this hitherto undiscovered coast, from the arm of fj
* Burney's North-eastern Voyages of Discovery, p. 217, 218.
G2 TrJc
afterward denominated Cook's Inlet round the great penin
sula of Alaska, terminating in Cape Oonamak. He thence
proceeded along the shores of Bristol Bay, till he doubled
Cape Newenham, from which he steered in a north-easterly
direction and anchored in Norton Sound. Leaving this t