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W - J^O C.J X) S Clues aLtumdr^/uvTi tn or fan ■ 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 

From Hollands ^' Herwologia Anglica.' 





fSt, JoAn^s, Newfoundland) 



AND development" 





Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, 

brunswick street, stamford street, s.e., 

and bungay, suffolk. 


I FEEL assured that readers of this Life of Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert will wonder why such an interesting and 
important character had not before received the attention 
of historians. It came as a surprise to me, I remember, 
when I wished to get particulars of his voyage to New- 
foundland, to find that no biography of England's First 
Empire Builder had been written, and I then determined 
to undertake the task myself. I had nearly completed my 
work when I learned that the Prince Society of Boston 
had published a life of Sir Humphrey Gilbert ; but being 
intended for members of the Society only, it is out of 
the reach of the general reader. 

I have been at great pains and considerable expense 
to obtain all possible information on every detail of his 
career, and can conscientiously affirm that every possible 
source of knowledge has been explored. In this connec- 
tion I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to the Rev. 
Walter Raleigh Gilbert, of the Priory, Bodmin, Corn- 
wall, for permission to examine his family records and 
papers. Mr. Gilbert is the direct lineal descendant of 
Sir Humphrey, and I had great hopes of obtaining some 
interesting new facts, although Mr. Gilbert warned me 
that he thought it very unlikely. The search was, unfor- 
tunately, fruitless, but I am none the less indebted to 
Mr. Gilbert. I have also to thank him for permission to 
reproduce the portraits of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and vSir 
Walter Ralegh now in his possession. These are thought 
to be very early portraits if not actually contemporary, 
and have not hitherto been published. 

W. G. Gosling. 

St. Johns^ 








SERVICE ........ 24 





OF ARTILLERY ....... 74 



achademy" 102 

vm 1574-1577 120 

IX 1578-1579 145 

X 1 580-1 583 183 

XI the eve OF DEPARTURE. 1 582- 1 583 . . . 2o6 


XIII HAiEs's NARRATIVE {continued) . . . -254 


XV 1583-1610 280 




anglica" Frontispiece 

A manuscript note in the British Museum copy says, 
" Taken frojn a picture in the Strand''' 

To face page 















To face page 





OF ST. JOHNS, AUGUST 1 5 83 233 

{From a painting by Mr. J. W. Hayward) 


{From a painting by Mr, J. W. Hayward ) 





Devonshire Pedigrees, recorded in 
the Herald's Visitation of 1620; with 
additions from the Harleian MSS., and 
the printed collections of Westcote and 
Pole, by John Tuckett. Published 


Thomas Gilber 

Geoffrey of Comptoi 
temp. Ed. II. 

William of Compto 

William of Comptc 

William of Comptc 


wife of 


wife of 

John of Ax minster 

Alice, dau. and cob. 
of John Mules. 

Otes, sheriff ( 
Devon, 15 Edv 
IV., 1474-5- 

Elizabeth, dau. of 
Sir John Crocker 
of Lyneham. 

Thomas of Cc 

Joan, wife of Richard 
Prideaux of Theo- 

Otes of Green wi 

Katherine, wife of 
George Raleigh 
of Fardel. 

Sir John Gilbert 
(ist son), no 

Sir John Gilbert = Elizabeth, dau. of 
sheriff of Devon, Sir Richard Chud- 
16 Eliz. 1573-4 leigh of Ashton. 
(no issue). 

. . . dau. of Sir 
Richard Molineux 
of Sefton. 

(2nd son). 

Sir Hu 



died in Belgiur 

(3rd son). 


Vmy, dau. of ... . 

ane, dau. and coh. of Wm. 
Compton of Compton. 

l^lizabeth, dau. and coh. of 
Oliver Champernon of 
North Tawton. 

Joan, wife of John Bampfield 
of Poltimore. 

Isabel, dau. of Gervise 
Moore of Columpton. 

ilsabel, dau. of Walter 
Gambon of Morestone. 

Elizabeth, dau. of John Hill 
of Shilston. 

wife of 

. wife of 
. Holway. 


Isabel, dau. and heir of John 
Reynward of Cornwall. 

Geoffrey, married and 
had a son Edward. 

Elizabeth, wife of Sir 
Thos. Grenville of 
Stow, Co. Cornwall. 

Katheriiie, dau. of Philip 
Champernon of Modbury, 
remarried Walter Raleigh. 

ey Gilbert = Elizabeth, dau. and heir of Adrian 

I at sea. Sir Anthony Ager of Co. a doctor of 

Kent. medicine. 

Emma, dau. of .... of 
Co. Line, widow of 
Andrew Fulford. 



(4th son), killed 

at the siege of 


(5th son). 

of Compton, 

Elizabeth, dau. and heir 
of John Kelley of 
K el ley. 

(ist son), 
aged 5. 


(2nd son), 

aged 4. 


13rd son) 

aged 3. 


(4th son), 

aged 2. 



(a daughtei 

aged 1 2. 

I To face p. i 

f/ 1 


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Until quite recently, historians seem to have taken it 
for granted that, for nearly one hundred years, England 
entirely neglected to take advantage of the discoveries 
made by the men of Bristol under the inspiration and 
guidance of John Cabot. 

That they first reached the continent of America, 
first told of the marvellous wealth of fish of all sorts 
found in the waters through which they journeyed, and 
first described the country, clothed with forests and 
abounding with game; that they then failed to make 
good their discoveries, and left the further exploration 
and enjoyment of the new-found lands to the Bretons, 
Normans, and Basques, is not in accordance with the 
genius of the race. 

Provoked by the taunt that the English nation, of all 
others, remained "in sluggishe securitie and continual 
neglect of any notable enterprises by sea or land," the 
industrious Hakluyt undertook to clear the fair fame 
of England from such undeserved obloquy, and began 
to compile that wonderful collection of Voyages so aptly 
termed by Froude "the great prose epic of the modern 
English nation." Without this great work England's 
maritime history in the sixteenth century could never 
have been written. But in recent years the gradual 
collection and classification of public and private docu- 
ments, both English and foreign, have laid open to us 

:2.;,:; .; ; THE LIFE OF 

a mass of material not available to the first vindicator 
of England's maritime prowess. 

But neither the whole nor yet the half has been told, 
nor ever can be told, for there were undoubtedly numer- 
ous voyages made by the English to the New World of 
which there is no record whatever. Voyages un- 
chronicled because unostentatious, not undertaken in 
quest of gold or for the acquisition of territory, but 
simply enterprised in search of the humble, unheroic 
codfish. The part played by the codfish in England's 
history is by no means inconsiderable. It was the quest 
of the codfish that first took England's mariners from 
the home waters, and it was from the ranks of the cod- 
fishers that the sailors were largely recruited for Eng- 
land's ever victorious fleet from the days of Elizabeth to 

The demand for dry salt codfish was so great that 
very early in the fifteenth century English fishermen had 
to go far afield for it. We learn from that quaint poem, 
**Ye English Policie to Kepe the Sea," and from many 
State documents, that fifty years and more before the 
date of Cabot's voyages fishermen, from both the east 
and west coast of England, had been in the habit of 
making their way, "by nedle and by ston," to Iceland, 
for "stocke fysche." 

It seems somewhat curious that such should have 
been the case when the home waters were teeming with 
fish. But only one fish, the codfish, could be prepared 
so that it would remain fit for food for an indefinite 
period, and that useful fish was to be obtained more 
abundantly in Iceland than elsewhere. Besides, the 
cold, dry climate of Iceland was particularly well 
adapted for transforming the cod into the ** stick" or 
"stock" fish of commerce. One is accustomed to speak 
of "the roast beef of Old England," and we picture our 
ancestors growing lusty and strong on a generous meat 
diet, but an examination of the account books of noble 
houses proves that in early times dry codfish and salt 


herrings appeared much oftener on the bill of fare than 
did the juicy roast. 

When John Cabot returned from his first voyage in 
1497, his partners, the Bristol men, said, "they can 
bring so many fish that this kingdom will have no more 
business with Iceland," and they immediately began to 
prove the truth of their assertion. Cabot sailed again 
for the New World in 1498 with a larger fleet, to be 
followed in 1501, 1503, 1504, and 1505 by other expedi- 
tions, undertaken by members of his first crews, 
undoubtedly all for the purpose of taking codfish. 

While it is somewhat a matter of controversy, there 
is good evidence for the belief that Sebastian Cabot and 
Sir Thomas Pert made an extended exploration of the 
American seaboard in 1508, with the assistance and 
under the aegis of the Crown of England. 

In 1521, Henry VIII and Wolsey determined to send 
out a powerful fleet to the new-found realms, pertaining 
to the Crown of England by virtue of Cabot's discovery. 
Sebastian Cabot, who, in the meanwhile, had taken 
service with Spain, was sent for to command the expedi- 
tion. When he arrived he found the vessels almost 
ready, and 30,000 ducats appropriated for their outfit. 
But disputes arose with the Great Livery Companies, 
who were sharing in the adventure. They objected to 
Sebastian Cabot being put in command, "as we here 
say was never in that lande hymself, all if he maks 
reporte of manie thyngs he hath heard his Father and 
other men speak in tymes past " — a jealous aspersion of 
Sebastian Cabot's knowledge and character, which his 
whole history seems to contradict. Wolsey had been 
chaplain to the Earl of Dorset, and lived at Bristol in 
the early years of the century, and therefore must have 
known all particulars of the Cabot voyages; that he 
chose Sebastian Cabot to command the expedition is 
sufficient evidence to offset the objection of the Drapers' 
Company. While their meaning is not quite clear, it 
appears that the Drapers' Company preferred to employ 
B 2 


English mariners instead of aliens. They said that 
the King and his counsellors "were duely and sub- 
stauncially informed in such manr. as perfite know- 
ledge might be had by credible reporte of maisters and 
mariners naturally borne within this Realm of England, 
having experienced and exercised in and about the fore- 
said Island, as well in knowledge of the land, the due 
courses of the sea thiderward and homeward, as in know- 
ledge of the havens dayngers and sholds there uppon 
that coste." As it stands, this statement implies that 
there were many English seamen well acquainted with 
the voyage; but the context seems to contradict it, "that 
then it were the lesse jepardy to aventer thider, than it 
is nowe, all though it may be furder hens than fewe 
English maryners can tell." 

There is no record of the sailing of this expedition. 
Cabot tells us that he wrote to Spain and suggested that 
he should be recalled, and presumably the adventure 
was therefore abandoned. 

It does not appear that Henry VIII, good Catholic 
as he then was, paid any heed to Pope Alexander VPs 
division of the New World between Spain and Portugal, 
in spite of the terrible threat annexed to that celebrated 
Bull^ "If any shall presume to infringe, he ought to 
know that he shall thereby incur the indignation of 
Almighty God, and his holy apostles Peter and Paul." 
Henry undoubtedly considered that the countries dis- 
covered by Cabot, and upon which the flag of England 
had been planted, properly belonged to him, and he 
made several efforts to substantiate his claim. We 
learn that in 1525 he endeavoured to secure the services 
of Centurini to conduct an exploratory expedition. 
Lord Edmund Howard, about the same time, petitioned 
Wolsey to employ him upon a similar enterprise. 

In 1527, he sent out John Rut, a naval officer, in the 
Mary Guildford, a King's ship. Rut's letter to Henry 
VIII, written from the harbour of St. John's, Newfound- 
land, "in bad English and worse writing," is the first 


written news from the New World in the English 
language. In it he describes his voyage, "to his utter- 
most of his power," and refers to instructions given 
him at his departure, to seek other islands. It would 
thus appear that this was not a fishing voyage, but 
had some other purpose, perhaps exploratory, perhaps 

There were several other English vessels upon the 
coast the same year, one of which conveyed Rut's letter 
to England, but Hakluyt was unable to obtain any 
particulars regarding them, to his great annoyance 
and ours. 

The only other English voyage to the new-found 
lands of which there is any account for over a genera- 
tion, is that of Master Hore, in 1536. Hore also sailed 
in a King's ship under the King's favour and patron- 
age. Hakluyt rode fifty miles to obtain the story from 
one of the survivors, and it was well worth the journey, 
for it is one of the quaintest in his repertoire. 

There then comes a long hiatus in the history of 
English voyages to the American Continent. Nowhere 
can there be found any record of any expedition, public 
or private, for many years. The Reformation and the 
breach with Rome absorbed men's minds, and no 
attempt was made to maintain England's title to any 
portion of the New World. 

But the demand for codfish still continued. 

M. Henri Harrisse, in his John Cabot, 1896, says — 

"Surely the English who had discovered the North- 
East Coast and who, with the Norman, Breton, and 
Portuguese fishermen, continued to frequent the fishing 
banks and even to make discoveries in that region, had 
nothing to learn from the Spaniards ! " But in a more 
recent publication, Decouverte et Evolution de Terre 
Neuve, M. Harrisse abandons this idea, and declares 
that Newfoundland remained une quantite negligeable 
for England until the Treaty of Utrecht. This theory 
is, I think, capable of most thorough disproof. 


But it is to Judge D. W. Prowse that the honour 
belongs of having demonstrated in his excellent History 
of Newfoundland, 1896, that, although the Crown of 
England had not by any executive act maintained its 
title, the hardy fishermen of the West Country had by 
no means surrendered what they had discovered, and 
doubtless continued steadily to pursue their calling in 
the prolific waters of Newfoundland. The evidence in 
support of this theory is rather relative than direct, but 
it is none the less convincing. 

In 1522, many complaints were made by English 
merchants that their ships were "spoyled of their goods " 
by the French ; whereupon the King sent Christopher 
Coo with five ships of war to cruise in the mouth of the 
Channel and protect the returning fleet, presumably 
from Newfoundland. Christopher Coo not only pro- 
tected the English fishermen, but made reprisals upon 
the French fleet, taking, among other ships, a Breton 
vessel loaded with fish from Newfoundland. 

Between the years 1 528-1 533, it is recorded that the 
Iceland fleet had been reduced in numbers from 149 to 
85. It seems probable that many of these vessels had 
been diverted to the trans-Atlantic fishery. The growth 
of England's marine was immense during the reign 
of Henry VIII. He took the greatest personal interest 
in his ships — in their models and sailing qualities. He 
brought shipwrights out of Italy expert In the building 
of galleys ; but instead of allowing them to build accord- 
ing to their own models, he set them to work on a 
design which he had invented himself. It was pre- 
sumably the vessel built from his own design, that he 
sent ten ladies from his court to inspect. These odd 
naval critics sent him a joint letter of approval in the 
following quaint terms: *'The newe greate shippe is so 
goodlie to behold that in all our liefs we have not scene 
(excepting your royal person and my lord the Prince 
your Sonne) a more pleasant sight." In i545j Henry, 
with one hundred vessels thoroughly efficient and up 
to date, was able to oppose successfully the French fleet. 


Many of these were merchant ships which had been 
generously subsidized by the King upon the under- 
standing that they were to do service whenever called 
upon. The Venetian Ambassador, writing a few years 
after, stated that there were numbers of English mariners 
conversant with the navigation of the Atlantic. 

A Spanish geographer of note, Alonzo de Santa 
Cruz, who had accompanied Sebastian Cabot on his 
voyage to La Plata in 1530, and who was associated with 
him in the Casa de Contratacion, left an unpublished 
.MS. geography dated 1536, entitled El Yslario General, 
in which he states of Labrador, "It is frequented by 
the English, who go there to take fish, which the natives 
catch in great numbers." The Casa de Contratacion 
was a nautical school, with special charge over the 
navigation of the New World. Information was drawn 
from every available source, and the statement of Santa 
Cruz may be considered excellent evidence. More direct 
evidence of these unchronicled voyages is to be obtained 
from several Acts of Parliament passed about the 
middle of the century, ostensibly for the maintenance of 

The first Act to mention the New World was passed 
in 1542. It had come to light that a good deal of 
foreign-caught fish was being surreptitiously brought 
into England. Instead of catching the fish themselves, 
certain English fishermen had been in the habit of pro- 
ceeding to mid-Channel, and there meeting the Breton 
vessels, had purchased their supplies from them. This 
Act imposed heavy penalties upon such offenders, but 
made exception to all such fish as might be bought in 
"Icelande, Orkney, Shetlands, Irelande or Newlande.'* 
The inference is therefore plain that trans-Atlantic fish- 
ing voyages were then of common occurrence, requiring 
statutory regulation. 

Another Act was passed in 1549, forbidding the levy- 
ing of tolls by the Royal Navy from any "Merchants 
and Fishermen as have used and practised the adven- 
tures and journeys into Icelande, Newfoundland, 


Irelande and other places commodious for fishing." 
Hakluyt quotes this Act, and points out that the trade 
to Newfoundland "was common and frequented in the 
reign of Edward VI." Lord Thomas Seymour was 
Admiral of the Fleet at this period, and one of the 
principal articles of his attainder was that he had 
obtained large sums by this illegal procedure; from 
which it may be deduced that the fishing fleets were 
of considerable proportions; a few isolated fishermen 
would have been robbed with impunity. 

In Elizabeth's reign several Acts were passed refer- 
ring to the fisheries in Newfoundland, but by that 
time the trade was in full evidence and a matter of 

The first description of Newfoundland by an English- 
man was that of Anthony Parkhurst in 1578, who at 
Hakluyt's request, wrote to him fully about the country. 
In his letter he made the remarkable statement that 
"The English are commonly lordes of the harbours 
wherein they fish, and do use all strangers help in fish- 
ing, if need require, according to an old custom of 
the country." Which statement is confirmed .a few 
years later by Edward Haies, the historian of Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert's voyage. We are led to conclude, 
therefore, that the English were recognized in some 
measure as "lords of the soil," by virtue of Cabot's 
discovery, — the right of England, while neglected by 
the Crown, having been maintained by a long succes- 
sion of humble codfishermen. How this rude but effica- 
cious authority was converted into actual possession and 
colonization, it is the object of this book to relate. To 
quote Mr. Edward Haies, "it is knit up in the person" 
of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 

It seems very extraordinary that no biography of this 
remarkable man has hitherto been written. The best 
account of him is contained in the Dictionary of National 
Biography J but this is naturally restricted. There is 
also a sketch of his life, with a collection of his letters 
and some of his writings, published by the Prince 


Society of Boston, strictly for the members of the 
Society, thus making it a difficult book to obtain and 
consequently expensive. 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was, as the title of this book 
declares, "England's first Empire Builder," and why 
the part he played in this most important of world 
stories has not been fully told, is somewhat of a mystery, 
except that it is human nature to forget the defeated, 
and Humphrey Gilbert failed in his great design. 

He has also suffered in reputation from being over- 
shadowed by his illustrious half-brother Walter Ralegh. 
The exploits of this picturesque favourite of Elizabeth 
have been ever a subject for historians. Numerous 
biographies have been written of him, and in the effort 
to belaud him, and to magnify his share in English 
colonization, Humphrey Gilbert has been pushed into 
the background. Very few of Ralegh's biographers 
have done Sir Humphrey Gilbert justice, and many of 
them have grossly wronged him. An effort is here 
made to restore these two celebrated men to their proper 
relative positions. Humphrey Gilbert will be found to 
be the author and the pioneer; Ralegh, the follower and 

Since this book was completed an amusing example 
of the general opinion held about Gilbert and Ralegh 
has come to the notice of the writer. In recent numbers 
of that staid weekly paper, the Spectator^ there has 
been a discussion about squirrels, and a correspondent 
has called attention to the fact that the little vessel in 
which Gilbert was cast away was named The Squirrel; 
he supposes that, roaming together through the woods 
of Devon, Gilbert had imbibed some of Ralegh's love 
of nature ! and had therefore bestowed this name upon 
his vessel ! The fact being, that if they had roamed 
the woods together, Gilbert would have led Ralegh by 
the hand, for he was a man when Ralegh was yet a 
little boy. 

A great many of the references to Gilbert by Ralegh's 
biographers are of similar tenor. 



The surname Gilbert is evidently of Norman origin, 
but it is certain that the Gilbert family was established 
in Devon long before the time of William the Con- 
queror. We find that in the reign of Edward the 
Confessor the Gilberts were already prominent and pos- 
sessed of considerable property at Manaton, near Dart- 
moor. From the number of grants and favours 
showered upon them by the Conqueror, it may be safely 
inferred that the Gilberts vigorously supported his cause, 
as might have been expected from their Norman descent. 
In Doomsday Book the name is written "Gislebert," to 
which was at one time added the proud prefix of "Fitz,'* 
but this was soon discarded, and the name written 
"Jilbert," "Jelbert," and "Gilbert." 

From the eleventh to the sixteenth century the family 
maintained its importance, furnishing many men of 
renown, soldiers and high sheriffs, priests and bishops, 
for the service of their country and Church. 

In the time of Edward II, a certain Geoffrey Gilbert 
married Jane, the daughter and heiress of William 
Compton, of Compton, near Torbay, thus bringing into 
the family Compton Castle, which remained their chief 
seat for ten or twelve generations. This building in a 
restored condition still stands, and is considered a most 
interesting example of a fortified manor house. It is 
defended by machicolations and a portcullis, and is said 
to have had a secret underground passage to one of the 
neighbouring houses (see Appendix). 

About the year 1535, the head of the family was Otho 
Gilbert, the second or third of that name, but while his 



O ^ 
^ .5 

o « 

> 5 


ancestors apparently lived at Compton Castle, he made 
his home at Greenway on the River Dart. An early 
county history thus describes this charming residence : 
"Greenway is very pleasantly and commodiously situ- 
ated, with delightsome prospect to behold the barks and 
boats to pass and repass upon the river flowing from 
Totnes to Dartmouth." 

In addition to these family residences Otho Gilbert 
possessed the manors of Brixham, Sandridge, (the birth- 
place of John Davies), and Hansford, and considerable 
other landed property. He was therefore a man of 
wealth and importance in the west country. His chief 
claim to distinction, however, so far as history informs 
us, was his marriage to Katherine, daughter of Sir 
Philip Champernoun, of Modbury, Kent, and thus 
becoming the father of the subject of this memoir. 

It was not the first time these families had inter- 
married, for we find that about two hundred years before 
a William Gilbert of Compton had married a Champer- 

At Greenway were born the five children of this 
marriage. Katherine, the eldest and the only daughter, 
(who married George Ralegh, her mother's step-son), 
John, Humphrey, and Adrian, all to become famous 
and achieve the honour of knighthood, and Otis who 
died in his youth. 

With their usual acquisitiveness, some biographers of 
Walter Ralegh have claimed Greenway as the home of 
his boyhood, but it does not seem that his connection 
with Greenway could have been anything more than an 
occasional visit to his half-brothers. 

In passing, it is interesting to observe that the Gilbert 
family at St. Malo, over the way, also furnished some 
men of note. One in particular, Guillaume Guilbert, 
was a member of Jacques Cartier's momentous expe- 
dition of 1535, when that intrepid explorer first dis- 
covered the River St. Lawrence, and ascended it as far 
as the site of the city of Montreal. 


There seems to have been a very close connection 
between many Devon and Norman families at that 
period, as may be learned from a letter written in 1554 
by Sir Peter Carew, a cousin of Katherine Gilbert. 
"Are we not allianced with Normandy?" said he. 
"Yea, what ancient family is either there or in France 
but we claim by them and they by us? Why should 
we not rather embrace their love than submit ourselves 
to the servitude of Spain ? " It is probable that he had 
the Gilbert and Champernoun families particularly in 
mind when he wrote. 

Otho Gilbert died in 1547, his will being proved on 
June 16 of that year. He directed that his body "be 
honestly buried within the church of Marledon," his 
heir male to have the use and occupancy of Compton 
Castle and Greenway during his life, the same to be 
left to the next heir male, and so on. To Humphrey he 
left the manor of Hansford, with sundry other lands, 
tenements, etc., in Borington and Offewell. To his 
wife Katherine he left the manor of Brixhampton, and 
sundry lands in Cornewoode, Plymouth, Ipplepen, Wol- 
borough, and Axminster. To the other children he 
left in trust the manor of Galmeton, and lands in 
Semley and Lisbury. To his mother, Isabelle, he 
bequeathed the not very munificent sum of £20. The 
youngest child, Otis, was to remain in the guardianship 
of his mother; Humphrey and Adrian to be in the 
keeping of their uncle, Philip Penkevell, and Katherine 
to be "where she will at her election." In after life, 
John Gilbert is generally spoken of as "of Greenway," 
and Humphrey as "of Compton," the reason for which 
is not easy to understand, both properties being entailed 
and belonging to John Gilbert, the heir-at-law. It is 
possible Compton might have been leased to Humphrey, 
although we have no information that he ever lived 

The date of Humphrey Gilbert's birth cannot be ascer- 
tained. Though generally stated to have taken place 


in 1539, it seems probable that it occurred at an earlier 

After a short period of widowhood, Katherine Gilbert 
married Walter Ralegh, of Fardell and Hayes, in Devon- 
shire, and by him had two sons, Carew and Walter, 
and a daughter, Margaret. Authorities differ as to which 
was the elder son, but the date of Walter Ralegh's birth 
is known to have been 1552, so that he was at least 
thirteen years younger than Humphrey Gilbert. This 
great difference in the ages of these famous half-brothers 
has been generally overlooked by historians, who, in 
their desire to eulogize Ralegh, have given him the 
credit of being the instigator of their joint enterprises, 
whereas he but followed in the footsteps of his elder 
brother. Gilbert's was the master mind. 

There is a famous picture by a well-known artist, in 
which Gilbert and Ralegh are depicted as two eager- 
eyed boys of about the ages of thirteen to fifteen years, 
listening with rapt attention to the tale of adventure 
unfolded by an ancient mariner. Though interesting, the 
picture is not historically correct, for when Ralegh was 
a boy of thirteen, Humphrey Gilbert was a man fighting 
for his Queen and country. 

Katherine Gilbert came herself from a famous family. 
Many times in English annals are the Champernouns 
mentioned with distinction and honour. At this time, 
her brother. Sir Arthur Champernoun, was Vice-Admiral 
of the West Country and owner of a small fleet of 
vessels, which, after the manner of the time, was not 
above doing a little privateering when occasion arose. 
His son Gawen Champernoun, Humphrey Gilbert's 
first cousin, married Gabrielle, daughter of the County 
Montgomerie, the celebrated Huguenot leader, thus pro- 
viding family reasons for the interest taken by Gilbert 
and Ralegh in the Huguenot Wars in France. The 
Carews, another celebrated West Country family, of 
whom more will be related hereafter, were cousins on 
their mother's side. The Grenvilles were relations 


through the Gilbert branch, the brave Sir Richard 
being often referred to as a cousin. 

Walter Ralegh, senior, achieved a temporary notoriety 
in 1549, about the time of his marriage with Katherine 
Gilbert. The adventure which befell him and had such 
important historical results, must have created a pro- 
found impression on the imaginations of the Gilbert 
boys. The story is related in Hooker's continuation 
of Holingshed's Chronicles. It was at the time of the 
"Rising in the West," when the peasantry, who up to 
that time had remained faithful to the old religion, 
rebelled against the laws enforcing the reformed mode 
of worship. Ralegh, accompanied by some mariners, 
was riding one day from Exeter to his home at Hayes, 
when he overtook an old peasant woman telling her 
beads. He said to her roughly, "What is the good of 
your beads ? " and told her of the laws which had just 
been passed putting down all idolatries. The old woman 
hobbled away, and breaking into the midst of the con- 
gregation which were assembled in the parish church, 
told the people what she had heard. "Ye must leave 
your beads now; no more Holy Bread nor Holy Water, 
it's all gone from us or to go, or the gentlemen will burn 
your houses over your heads." The congregation rushed 
out like a swarm of bees, overtook Ralegh, and im- 
prisoned him in the tower of the church ; where he was 
kept until the insurrection was crushed, "being many 
times threatened with death." 

The insurgents besieged Exeter, and thousands took 
the field ; but being almost without arms, and having no 
leaders of ability, they were speedily conquered by the 
Royal Army under Lord Grey of Wilton. It is said 
over 4000 poor peasants lost their lives in this hopeless 

When the disturbance first broke out. Sir Peter and 
Sir Gawen Carew, who were Katherine Gilbert's first 
cousins, were sent down from London to endeavour by 
their influence to pacify the people. Failing to accom- 


plish this, Sir Peter Carew hurried to London to report 
to the Lord Protector, only to find himself accused of 
having fanned a riot into a rebellion by his violent 

It seems possible that this incident in the career of 
Ralegh senior, and the association of the Carews might 
have led to his acquaintance with Katherine Gilbert 
and their subsequent marriage. 

It was to be expected that the mother of such famous 
sons would be a woman of remarkable character, a 
supposition amply borne out by a story of her preserved 
in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. It was retold by Edwards 
in his Life of Raleghy but cannot be omitted from a 
life of Gilbert, who was old enough at that time for the 
incident to make a great impression upon him. 

During the reign of Mary, Exeter was again the scene 
of religious persecutions, but the oppressed had now 
become the oppressor, and the adherents of the Reformed 
Church were being imprisoned, despoiled, and put to 
death for their religious beliefs. One of these, a poor 
woman named Agnes Prest, lay in prison in Exeter 
Castle. While ignorant and uneducated, she was firm 
in her devotion to the reformed faith, a devotion which 
was to carry her at last to the stake. Her brave attitude 
gained for her great notoriety through the country. 
Foxe relates : "There resorted to her the wife of Walter 
Ralegh, a woman of noble wit and godly opinions, who 
coming to the prison and talking with her, she said her 
creed to the gentlewoman," and discoursed so ably about 
religion that when Mrs. Ralegh "returned home to her 
husband, she declared to him that in her life she had 
never heard any woman, of such simplicity to see, to 
talk so godly and so earnestly; insomuch, that if God 
were not with her she could not speak such things. 
* I was not able to answer her, I who can read and she 
cannot.' " 

These were troublous times for Katherine Ralegh and 
her connections, all staunch Protestants. For her thus 


publicly to sympathize with one under trial for her faith 
was to share in the danger, and evidences great bravery 
and nobility of character. 

The West Country gentlemen were almost to a man 
bitterly opposed to the restoration of the Roman 
Catholic religion, and were more strenuous still in their 
opposition to the Spanish marriage. They had had 
more opportunities than others for knowing the cruel- 
ties inflicted upon their fellow-countrymen by the 
Inquisition in Seville, and had therefore more reason 
to dread the advent of Philip of Spain and possible 
introduction of that hated tribunal. 

When Sir Hugh Wyatt was planning his desperate 
attempt to dethrone Mary and restore the Protestant wor- 
ship, Sir Peter Carew and Sir Arthur Champernoun were 
known to be supporting him. Information was laid 
before the Queen in Council that these West Country 
knights had been plotting to prevent Philip from land- 
ing on English shores, but had hot been able to agree 
upon a plan. Wyatt's scheme, as afterwards disclosed, 
was that as soon as Philip landed, when indignation 
would be at fever heat, a rebellion was to be started. 
Courtenay was to lead the insurgents from Cornwall, 
Wyatt undertook to raise Kent, the Carews Devon, 
and others the Midland counties. But perhaps, in 
addition, these knights of Devon, relying confidently 
upon the assistance of every vessel and mariner in the 
West Country, may have contemplated attacking the 
Spanish fleet upon the seas and capturing Philip, or at 
least causing him to abandon the attempt to land in 
England. Such a deed of daring-do would not have 
appeared too desperate for them. They were already 
beginning to feel their power, and were quite willing 
to try conclusions with Spain. 

But through the weakness and treachery of Courtenay 
the plot failed, and Wyatt's rebellion was crushed. Sir 
Arthur Champernoun was arrested, but was released 
upon tendering his services as a loyal subject. Sir 



Peter and Sir Gawen Carew were proclaimed traitors, 
and Sir Thomas Dennys ^ was sent to arrest them. But 
receiving warning, Sir Peter Carew made his escape, 
"having persuaded Mr. Walter Ralegh to convey him 
away in his bark." They fled across the Channel to 
France, and were received with great cordiality by the 
French monarch, who dreaded the alliance of Spain and 
England as much as did the West Countrymen. Carew 
immediately continued his plans to prevent Philip from 
landing, and being supplied with ships from France, 
cruised about the Channel for months plundering the 
Spanish shipping. But before Philip put in an appear- 
ance France withdrew her support, and Carew perforce 
abandoned his design. 

Thus the boyhood of Humphrey Gilbert was spent 
among a galaxy of famous men, uncles, cousins, and 
other relations, all taking prominent parts in the stirring 
events of the times. One can imagine how deeply these 
incidents would impress themselves upon his mind, and 
how his boyish enthusiasm would have been aroused 
for the cause which his relations upheld so bravely, 
and for which he, when his turn came, was to fight 
so valiantly. 

They were all seamen. Walter Ralegh owned and 
sailed his bark. Sir Arthur Cfiampernoun had several 
vessels, as also had the Carews, employing them in the 
semi-trading, semi-piratical voyages of the time. Doubt- 
less some of the neighbouring shipping were also 
engaged in the distant trans-Atlantic fisheries, and 
stories of the strange New World would have been 
commonly current in the neighbourhood. 

The Gilbert and Ralegh families were rich in children. 
Walter Ralegh, senior, had been twice married before 
he espoused Katherine Gilbert, and had two sons and a 
daughter by these marriages. With the five Gilberts 
and the three children of his union with Katherine 

* Sir Humphrey Gilbert speaks later of " my cousin Dennys." 


Gilbert, there would thus have been eleven juniors to 
claim the attention of the parents. But owing to the 
difference between the ages of the first and last families, 
it is probable that the elders were out in the world while 
the younger members w^ere yet babies. After the 
marriage with Ralegh, Hayes became their home, and 
there the Ralegh children were born. There is no 
evidence that Greenway or Compton was ever the 
residence of the Ralegh family, as is so often stated in 
biographies of Ralegh, and it is probable that the 
Gilberts were not long at Hayes. 

In Hooker's Chronicles is found the following brief 
account of Humphrey Gilbert's boyhood : " From his 
childhood he was of a very pregnant wit and good dis- 
position ; his father died leaving him very young ; his 
mother did cause him to be sent to school to Eton 
College, and from thence, after he had profited in the 
elements and principal points of grammar, he was sent 
to Oxforde and did there prosper and increase very well 
in learning and knowledge." Anthony a Wood in 
Athence Oxoniensis says he devoted himself at Oxford 
to the study of navigation and the art of war. It is, 
however, impossible to find out when or how long he 
attended those seats of learning. 

In a letter written in 1581, Gilbert says he had served 
the Queen for twenty-seven years, "from a boy to the 
age of white heres," and confirms the statement in a 
letter written two years later, thus indicating that he had 
entered her service in 1554-55, when he was but fifteen 
years old. As there hardly seems time for him to have 
studied both at Eton and Oxford prior to that date, it is 
probable that his birth took place earlier than the date 
generally given. 

His subsequent history will show that his scholarly 
attainments were far above the average of his day, and 
if the groundwork only had been laid during his student 
days, it could not have been acquired without many 
years* study. Such of his writings as are left to 


us are lucid and masterly, and abound in lofty senti- 
ments expressed with poetic imagery. They display an 
intimate acquaintance with both Greek and Latin philo- 
sophers and poets, and Latin quotations are frequently 
used. He had also studied numerous French and 
Spanish authors, and could probably speak these 
languages fluently. 

But the greatest proof of his scholastic ability is to be 
found in the design which he drew up and presented 
to Elizabeth for the establishment of a University for 
the training of gentlemen's sons, to be called "Queen 
Elizabeth's Achademy." This remarkable treatise has 
been quoted recently in one of the leading weekly papers 
as offering suggestions for the improvement of educa- 
tion in our own day. It is of such interest and import- 
ance that later on in this volume some space will be 
devoted to its consideration. Suffice it here to say that 
the author of such a proposal must of necessity have 
been a man of learning and culture. 

It is a matter of regret that nothing more definite can 
be ascertained about Gilbert's boyhood and schooldays, 
nor how his uncle, Philip Penkevell, exercised his 

We gather from the document referred to above, that 
he had a profound contempt for guardians under the 
law, who brought up their wards "in idleness and 
lascivious pastimes, . . . obscurely drouned in education, 
of purpose to debase their minds, lest, being better 
qualified, they should disdain to stoop to the marriage 
of such purchasers' (guardians') daughters." 

The lot of the schoolboy of this period, "with his 
satchel and shining morning face," was not a happy 
one. No wonder he crept "like snail unwillingly to 
school." It is recorded of Humphrey Gilbert's cousin, 
Sir Peter Carew, that being a turbulent boy, he was 
chained up in the school-house yard like a dog, but 
that he broke his chain and ran away. 

The inculcation of learning was particularly strenu- 



ous at Eton. The oft-quoted experiences of Thomas 
Tusser are a case in point. He was first a chorister at 
St. Paul's, went to Eton about 1540, and afterwards to 
Cambridge. He took to farming and recorded his 
experiences in The Hundred Goode Pointes of Hus- 
bandrie (1557), and then blossomed out as a poet. Of 
his schooldays he says — 

"From Paul's I went, to Eton Sent, 
To learn straightways, the Latin phrase, 
When fifty three stripes given to me, 

At once I had 
For fault so small, or none at all. 
It came to pass, thus beat I was." 

As it was before, so it was after Gilbert's time at 
Eton. In 1563, a number of scholars were driven by 
ill-treatment to run away; occasioning the good old 
Ascham to write his Scholemaster, urging gentler and 
more attractive methods of imparting knowledge. 
Humphrey Gilbert's experiences at Eton were not likely 
to have been of a very pleasant description. 



From Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 


"Compton Castle, ancient manor house, E. Dev. 3 w. 
of Torquay. The castle is a very fine example of a 
fortified dwelling of the early part of the 15th cent. 
The buildings originally enclosed a quadrangle, and 
were surrounded by a wall twenty feet in height which 
remains almost intact. The tower at one angle was 


originally one of four; near it may be seen the postern 
gate, which had a portcullis. The chapel, which is 
well preserved, has a plain vault with a room over it 
apparently intended for the priest; two squints afford 
four views of the altar from adjoining rooms. The 
fortification displays a striking peculiarity, viz. the 
numerous machicolated bartizans which, in the absence 
of a moat, protect the approach to the castle. At the 
back there are the remains of the old-fashioned garden. 
The building is now used as a farmhouse." 


From The Panorama of Torquay, by Octavian Blewitt, 
London, 1832. 

** ... It is remarkable that so little is known about 
this ancient structure. It is by far the most interesting 
fortified mansion in the west of England, although we 
really know nothing more respecting it than the pos- 
sessor's names. We have, indeed, little besides some 
scanty information relative to the manorial lords, — but 
we trust some able person will, ere long, consult the 
public records and throw more light on its history. A 
part of the mansion has been modernized and is now 
occupied. The north front with its embattled tower and 
ancient gateway, and the broken windows of the chapel 
adjoining must engage the attention of every visitor; 
and the dilapidated walls look venerably grand in the 
sombre garb of ivy which entwines them. In the floor 
of the room over the gateway is an oblong opening of 
some size, used probably for concealing plate and other 
treasures. There is also a subterranean passage for a 
short way pointing to Berry Pomeroy. A local tradition 
mentions, we believe, that this communicated with 
Aptor in the same parish. 


"The brief history of the manor of Compton is as 
follows : At the time of Domesday Survey it was held 
by Stephen under Juhel de Tolnais; its ancient name 
was Contune, Osolf possessed it in the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, and in the time of Henry II it was in the 
hands of Maurice de Pola . . . ancestor of . . . Sir 
William Pole . . . hence Compton was designated 
Compton Pole. . . . Lady Alice de Pola gave the manor 
to the Comptons, in whose possession it remained for 
seven descents; a co-heiress of the Comptons, by 
marriage with the Gilberts, brought it in the reign of 
Edward II into the family of Sir Humphrey Gilbert." 


From Panorama of Torquay, by. O. Blewitt, p. 150. 

"After leaving Dartmouth . . . we . . . soon pass on 
the right the bathing and boathouse attached to the 
Green way estate. The river now turns at a right-angle 
and forms the bay of Greenway, which, from many 
parts, resembles a lake of great beauty. The Dart in 
one creek of this bay approaches Torquay by little more 
than a mile. Greenway, late the residence of Edward 
Marwood Elton, Esq., is romantically situated on the 
projecting neck of land on the east bank. It is 
embosomed in wood, and the estate commands some of 
the most enchanting scenery on the river. On the left 
we notice Dittisham Parsonage, delightfully situated on 
a rising ground; and a little beyond, the church and 
cottages of the little village, which is one of the most 
picturesque objects on the Dart. The country around 
is richly wooded, and the village is almost hid among 
the trees. . . . The scenery of this part of the Dart is 
unequalled either in richness or beauty. From Dittisham 


on the left and Greenway on the right shore to the point 
where the river again contracts, the grandeur of the 
stream strikes every tourist; the picturesque inequality 
of the ground on either side adds much to its effect, and 
the plantations which adorn each slope recline even to 
the water's edge." 




The years 1554-5, indicated by Gilbert as the date of 
his entry into Elizabeth's service, were a trying period 
for the young Princess. It was the time of Wyatt's 
rebellion, and every effort had been made to draw Eliza- 
beth into the plot. Letters, written to her by the King 
of France, offering the protection and shelter of his 
Court, were intercepted, and her strongest protestations 
hardly saved her from the charge of complicity in the 
proposal. It was a case of "save me from my friends,'* 
and Elizabeth displayed great firmness of character 
when, thus young and thus tempted, she contrived to 
walk circumspectly, and to keep herself clear of any act 
which could be construed into treason by her watchful 
enemies. It is now generally conceded by historians 
that she was cognizant of all that was being done, and 
that Mary's anger against her was quite justified. She 
was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower on March 18, 
1554. Renaud, the Spanish Ambassador, and Bishop 
Gardiner openly urged that she should be put to death. 
*' There would be no peace in England so long as she 
was alive," they said. For some time she was in great 
danger. The unfortunate Wyatt had been tortured into 
an admission that Elizabeth had shared in the plot, a 
statement which he afterward retracted when brought 
to the block. She was kept in the closest confinement, 
and none of her attendants were allowed to be with her. 
Several of the gentlemen of her household were im- 
prisoned in the Tower at the same time, and were even 



tortured in the attempt to make them give evidence 
against her. On one occasion, when Mary happened to 
be ill, Gardiner actually made out a warrant for her 
execution, and she was only saved by the refusal of the 
Lieutenant of the Tower to recognize the document 
which did not have the Queen*s signature. 

In spite, however, of the indiscretions of her friends 
and the machinations of her enemies, it was found im- 
possible to implicate her, and in May she was released 
from the Tower and sent to Woodstock. None of her 
devoted band of attendants were permitted to accom- 
pany her; the touching incident is related, however, 
that they waited along the roadside to greet her as she 
passed. In April 1555, Mary so far relented as to send 
for Elizabeth to join her at Hampton Court. On the 
way thither she was again met by the gentlemen and 
yeomen of her household to the number of sixty, but 
none were allowed to approach her. 

It was not until October 1555, that Elizabeth was 
entirely freed from suspicion and permitted to return 
to Hatfield, to resume once more the dignity of a 
Princess of the blood royal. She at once sent for all 
her old servants, and chief among them her old gover- 
ness, Mrs. Katherine Ashley. As her relations with 
Mrs. Ashley, and through her to Humphrey Gilbert, 
have a considerable bearing upon his after history, it is 
necessary to describe them somewhat in detail. 

Katherine Ashley was by birth a Champernoun, prob- 
ably an aunt of Katherine Gilbert, but it has been 
impossible to trace the exact relationship ; her husband, 
William Ashley, was a near relation of the unfortunate 
Anne Boleyn. It was a curious trait in Elizabeth's 
character that she was never known to mention her 
mother's name, although for her mother's relations she 
always showed great solicitude. 

When Elizabeth was quite a child Mrs. Ashley was 
appointed to the trusted position of governess, and in 
that capacity gained Elizabeth's life-long regard, in 


spite of the fact that by her intriguing disposition she 
on several occasions brought danger and trouble to her 
royal charge. The date at which Mrs. Ashley assumed 
the guardianship of Elizabeth has not been ascertained, 
but it was certainly before the death of Henry VIII on 
January 30, 1547. A letter of about this date from 
Roger Ascham to Mrs. Ashley, or Astley, as he calls 
her, possesses some interest. 

"Gentle Mrs. Astley. Would God my wit wist what 
words would express the thanks you have deserved of 
all true English hearts, for that noble imp (Elizabeth) 
by your labor and wisdom now flourishing in all goodly 
godliness, the fruit whereof doth even now redound to 
her Grace's high honour and profit. 

"I wish her Grace to come to that end in perfectness 
and likelihood of her wit, and painfulness in her study, 
true trade of her teaching, which your diligent oversee- 
ing doth most constantly promise. And although this 
one thing be sufficient for me to love you, yet the knot 
which hath knit Mr. Astley and you together, doth so 
bind me also to you, that if my ability would match 
my good will you should find no friend faster. He is a 
man I loved for his virtue before I knew him through 
acquaintance, whose friendship I account among my 
chief gains gotten at Court. . . . 

"My good will hath sent you this pen of silver for a 
token. Good Mistress, I would have you in any case to 
labour and not to give yourself to ease. I wish all 
increase of virtue and honour to that my good lady 
(Elizabeth) whose wit, good Mrs. Astley, I beseech you 
somewhat favour. ... I send my lady Elizabeth her 
pen, an Italian book, and a book of prayers. Send the 
silver pen which is broken and it shall be mended 
quickly. Your ever obliged friend, Roger Ascham. 

"To his very loving friend Mrs. Astley." 

It was about this time that Ascham became Eliza- 


beth's tutor, very possibly obtaining that position 
through the interest of Mr. and Mrs. Ashley. 

Immediately after the death of Henry VIII, Lord 
Thomas Seymour made a proposal of marriage to the 
Princess Elizabeth, but was refused by that wise young 
person. He then married Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's 
widow, and the Princess Elizabeth resided with them. 
While there she was the object of attentions from 
Seymour which were decidedly unseemly, to say the 
least. Katherine Parr died in 1548, and Seymour at 
once renewed his suit to Elizabeth, and apparently 
received considerable assistance in furthering the same 
from Mrs. Ashley. When the Council discovered the 
intrigue Seymour was arrested, and also Mrs. Ashley, 
and Parry, the Princess's cofferer, another most devoted 
retainer. For some time no information could be 
obtained from them, and it was suspected that they had 
been sworn to silence by Elizabeth ; but, under com- 
pulsion, they at length admitted that they knew of the 
Admiral's suit and had used their influence with Eliza- 
beth in his favour. Mrs. Ashley made some very 
damaging admissions as to the conduct of the Admiral 
to the girl Princess, who was then but fifteen years old. 
But even thus young, Elizabeth gave evidence of that 
wonderful talent for diplomacy, which was later to con- 
duct England to the highest place among European 
nations, and absolved herself from any complicity in 
the designs of Seymour. A letter she wrote at this 
time to the Lord Protector Somerset has greatly puzzled 
historians. Mrs. Ashley had been deprived of her post 
of governess, having shown herself "unmeet to occupy 
any such place," and was succeeded by Lady Tyrwhitt. 
Elizabeth was much put out, and wrote as follows to 
Somerset — 

^'^ Hatfield^ March 7, 1549. 

"My Lord. I have a request to make unto your 
Grace, which fear has made me omit till this time . . . 


peradventure your Lordship and the rest of the Council 
will think that I favour her evil doing, for whom I shall 
speak, which is Kateryn Ashley that it would please 
your Grace and the rest of the Council to be good unto 
her. Which thing I do, not to favour her in any evil 
(for that I would be sorry to do) but for these considera- 
tions that follow. . . . First because she has been with 
me a long time, and many years, and hath taken great 
labour and pain in bringing me up in learning and 
honesty; and therefore I ought of very duty speak for 
her. . . . The second is because I think that whatsoever 
she hath done in my Lord Admiral's matter, as concern- 
ing the marrying of me^ she did it because knowing him 
to be one of the Council, she thought he would not go 
about any such thing without the Council's consent 
thereto. . . . The third cause is because that it shall and 
doth make men think, that I am not clear of the deed 
myself (but that it is pardoned to me because of my 
youth) because that she I love so well is in such a place. 
. . . Written in haste from Hatfield, this Seventh day 
of March. Also if I may be so bold, not offending, I 
beseech your Grace and the rest of the Council to be 
good to Master Ashley, her husband, which because he 
is my kinsman, I would be glad he should do well. 
Your assured friend, to my little power, Elizabeth." 

If she had been entirely innocent would she not have 
been glad to see Mrs. Ashley punished? Or did she 
fear further and more compromising confessions, and 
endeavour to purchase Mrs. Ashley's silence by her 
intercession ? Was it because she saw that if Mrs. Ash- 
ley were kept in prison it in a measure implicated her, 
as showing that there had been improper conduct and 
plotting? Or did the poor child cling to the woman 
who had for so long been a mother to her, and act 
simply from motives of pure affection ? But whatever 
the facts, Elizabeth continued to protect the Ashleys for 
the rest of their lives, always keeping Kat Ashley, as 


she familiarly termed her, in close personal attendance. 
Once again, in 1556, Mrs. Ashley was suddenly arrested 
and kept in prison for some months, for what reason, 
except that of being Elizabeth's devoted attendant, is 
not known. Her passion for intrigue continued, never- 
theless, and we hear of her afterwards taking part in 
Elizabeth's many tangled love affairs. When Mrs. 
Ashley lay on her deathbed in 1565, Elizabeth continu- 
ally visited her; and when she died, mourned her 
sincerely and unaffectedly. 

Mrs. Ashley was, therefore, a person of very consider- 
able influence with Elizabeth. Hooker tells us that 
after young Humphrey was, "as his friends thought, 
very well furnisht, they would have put him to the Inns 
of Court. But an aunt of his. Mistress Ashley, after 
she saw the young gentleman and had some conference 
with him, fell in such liking with him that she preferred 
him to the Queen's service; and such was his counten- 
ance, forwardnesse and good behaviour that Hir 
Majestic had a special good liking to him, and verie 
oftentimes would familiarlie discourse and confer with 
him in matters of learning." 

It seems most probable that this occurred about 
October 1555, when Elizabeth returned to Hatfield, — a 
date which agrees very closely with that indicated by 
Gilbert as the beginning of his service at Court. At 
his age the office could only have been that of a page, 
and at that period the Princess Elizabeth required service 
of no other description. The habit of personal loyalty 
and devotion to his Queen, begun thus early, remained 
with Gilbert throughout his life. 

Elizabeth spent much of her time at Hatfield in study 
under Roger Ascham, to such good purpose that he 
continually held her up as an example to the male youth 
of England. "It is to your shame, young Gentlemen 
of England, that one maid should go beyond you all 
in excellency of learning and knowledge of divers 
tongues." Seeing the close friendship of Ascham with 


the Ashleys, it is not unlikely that young Humphrey 
may also have received the benefit of instruction from 
that wisest of schoolmasters, and have imbibed from him 
that interest in learning which he afterwards displayed. 

It has been stated above that it has been impossible 
to find out when Gilbert was at Oxford. He was only 
fifteen years of age in 1554, and could hardly have gone 
there prior to that date, and after October 1555 he was 
in the household of the Princess. 

One authority states that "such onely went to Uni- 
versities, who prove most ingenuous and towardly, and 
who in love of learning will begin to take paines of 
themselves, having attained in some sorte the former 
partes of learning; being good grammarians at least, 
able to understand, write and speak Latin in good sorte. 
Such as have good discretion how to governe themselves 
there and to moderate their expenses; which is seldom 
times before fifteen years of age; which is also the 
youngest age admitted by the statutes of the University 
as I take it." But when we are informed that the 
students were forbidden to play marbles, we conclude 
that many of them were mere youngsters. 

At this period Oxford was again the centre of 
Catholicism and was the scene chosen for the martyr- 
doms of Latimer and Ridley in 1555, and of Cranmer 
in 1556. As Gilbert's connections were all Protestants 
it is possible that he may have been removed from 
Oxford on account of religion, and have been placed 
with his aunt, Mrs. Ashley, in the comparative safety 
of Elizabeth's Court. Elizabeth "trimmed her sails" at 
this time, to quote old Camden, and outwardly at least 
professed Roman Catholicism, but Mrs. Ashley was 
always known to be a Protestant. When she was 
arrested in June 1556, sundry "scandalous books against 
the religion and the King and Queen " were found in 
her possession ; when she was set at liberty some months 
afterwards she was deprived of her office of governess 
and forbidden ever again to go to Elizabeth. Whether 


this prohibition continued during the short remaining 
period of Mary's life has not been ascertained. 

If young Humphrey Gilbert remained in Elizabeth's 
household he would have participated in the brave show 
made by Elizabeth, when on "the 28th of November, 
came riding through Smithfield and Old Bailey and 
through Fleet Street unto Somerset Place, my good 
lady Elizabeth's Grace, the Queen's sister, with a great 
company of velvet coats and chains, her Grace's gentle- 
men, and after, a great company of her men, all in red 
coats, guarded with a broad guard of black and cuts " 
(slashes). But after five days' visit only, she "rode 
bravely back again " to Hatfield. During 1557, Eliza- 
beth made several state visits to Mary, always attended 
by a noble company of lords and gentlemen. The 
anxiety to worship at the shrine of the rising star was a 
source of great embarrassment to Elizabeth, for she had 
to be most careful not to arouse the jealousy of the 
unhappy, dying Mary, while at the same time it was 
necessary for her to maintain her popularity. "There is 
not a lord or gentleman in the realm who has not sought 
to place himself, or a brother, or a son, in her service," 
writes the Venetian Ambassador. Sir Thomas Pope, 
who was now entrusted with the safe keeping of Eliza- 
beth, was a most amiable guardian, and did all he could 
to amuse and entertain his royal charge. Pageants and 
plays and hunting parties were arranged for her. On 
one of the latter occasions she was accompanied by 
"twelve ladies clothed in white satin on ambling 
palfreys, and twenty yeomen in green, all on horseback. 
On entering the forest she was met by fifty archers in 
scarlet boots with yellow caps armed with gilded bows; 
one of whom presented her with a silver-headed arrow 
winged with peacocks' feathers. At the close of the 
sport, her Grace was gratified with the privilege of 
cutting the buck's throat." 

After her many vicissitudes Elizabeth at length began 
to enjoy the state and royal pleasures of a Princess; 


and her retinue, doubtless to the youngest page, shared 
her gaiety, with the expectancy of favours to come to 
increase their joy. 

It must be again noted that we have only Gilbert's 
own statements as evidence of his service at the Princess 
Elizabeth's Court, for his name is not mentioned in the 
lists of her attendants at that time. Presumably he 
continued to form one of Elizabeth's retinue until he 
reached man's estate and was able to take up his chosen 
profession of arms. 

When in 1582, Ralegh's star first swam into the 
firmament of Elizabeth's Court, she thus worded the 
warrant appointing him a Captain in Ireland : — 

"But chiefly Our pleasure is to have our servant 
Walter Rawley trained some time longer in that Our 
Realme, for his better experience in martial affairs, and 
for the especial care We have to do him good, in respect 
to his kindred that have served Us, some of them (as 
you know) near about Our Person ; these are to require 
you that the leading of the said band may be committed 
to the said Rawley," etc. 

" His kindred " referred to were doubtless Mrs. Ashley 
and Humphrey Gilbert, but as Mrs. Ashley had been 
dead some seventeen years, one rather questions the 
validity of the excuse so far as she was concerned. 
Humphrey Gilbert, as we shall learn, continued to serve 
his Queen all his life long. 

As usual, Ralegh's introduction at Court also has 
been ascribed by his biographers to Mrs. Ashley; one 
of the latest says : "The Queen had heard of Humphrey 
Gilbert's nephew (sic half-brother) from Humphrey 
Gilbert's aunt, one of her intimate attendant women." 
That Mrs. Ashley, who died in 1565, should have told 
the Queen about her young nephew is not impossible, 
but that the Queen should have treasured the memory for 
nearly seventeen years is truly wonderful ! 

John Stow, that "paineful writer of English 
chronicles," says: "Sir Humphrey Gilbert first got his 


reputation at New Haven, where he served with great 
commendation." The occupation of New Haven 
occurred in 1562-3; Gilbert was therefore twenty-three 
years of age when he first saw active service. A 
rehgious war had broken out in France. The Catholic 
party, led by the Guises, were in the ascendency, held 
Paris, and were supported by Catherine de Medici and 
the young King. The Protestants were led by the 
Prince of Cond^, the brave old Admiral Coligny, the 
Vidame de Chartres and tHe County Montgomerie. The 
war centred around the sea-port towns on the Channel. 
Montgomerie was in command at Rouen, and the 
Vidame de Chartres at New Haven (Havre de Grace), 
and both places were closely besieged by the Guises. 
Frantic appeals for help were made to Queen Elizabeth 
in the name of the Reformed religion ; but she remained 
callous, until the offer was made to deliver to her the 
town of New Haven until such time as Calais was again 
restored to England. The loss of Calais still rankled 
deeply, and both Queen and people were eager to avail 
themselves of any chance to regain it. Besides, the 
triumph of the Catholic faction, and possible peace with 
Spain, would have been a serious menace to England, 
and the astute Cecil strongly urged the Queen to accept 
the proposal of the French Protestants. True to her 
avaricious nature she drove a hard bargain, and had New 
Haven positively secured to her in return for a loan of 
100,000 crowns and the support of 6000 troops. Half of 
the troops were to hold New Haven, and half to be 
employed in the defence of Rouen and Dieppe. Their 
value to the Huguenots was materially lessened, how- 
ever, by the strict instructions they had received not to 
take the open field, but to fortify and hold the hostage 
towns. The Huguenot leaders in vain protested, and 
pointed out that unless they received more active assist- 
ance they would be unable to maintain the fight, and the 
English troops would be then driven from France. This 
was exactly what happened in the end. Rouen and 


Dieppe were taken by the Guises, Coligny was taken 
prisoner, and Cond6, being practically left alone in the 
field, made peace with the Guises and combined with 
them to drive the English out of the country. Notice 
was sent to Warwick, that the war being over he was 
expected at once to withdraw his troops. But, as the 
main object of the English had been to regain a footing 
in France, they saw no reason for giving up their 
position so easily. 

It being soon discovered that the French townspeople 
of New Haven were plotting to deliver the town to the 
besiegers, all of them, men, women and children, were 
bundled out of city limits, and the English troops 
remained to fight it out alone. They were confident of 
being able to hold their position, and promised to spend 
their last drop of blood before a French foot should 
re-enter the place. But a deadlier foe than the French 
attacked the beleagured city. The dreaded plague made 
its appearance there, and the English troops died like 
flies. In spite of continual reinforcements, it was seen 
that to continue to hold it would mean a terrible loss of 
life, and Dudley, Earl of Warwick, who commanded the 
English forces, therefore capitulated on July 28, 1563, 
withdrawing with all the honours of war. The miserable 
remnants of the troops which returned to England were 
in terrible plight, and Elizabeth, although deeply 
chagrined at the loss of New Haven, was more than 
usually solicitous for their welfare. When ordering 
succour to be sent to them she made excuses for their 
defeat, saying, **they would have withstood the French 
to the utmost of their lives ; but it was thought the part 
of Christian wisdom not to tempt the Almighty to con- 
tend with the inevitable mortal enemy of the plague." 
A mortal enemy it proved, for tens of thousands of 
people died from the plague thus introduced into 

Such are the main features of the war in which 
Humphrey Gilbert was first engaged. Naturally the 


^ s-y* 

h y 



Plan of New Haven, 1562. 

From a contejitporary Manuscript in the British Museum. 


exploits of such a youthful combatant were not likely to 
be fully chronicled. In addition to the quotation already 
given, however, Stow informs us that in an encounter 
on June 5, 1563, Captain Jelbert was wounded. The 
Dictionary of National Biography states that this 
occurred on September 26, 1563, "fighting against the 
French Catholics " ; but, as we have seen, the English 
troops had been withdrawn at the end of July, and 
peace reigned in France at that date. Among the Eng- 
lish troops the West Countrymen held a prominent place, 
and were among the first to reach the scene of war. 
Tremayne, Strangeways, Kelligrews, Champernoun are 
among the names mentioned, and with them doubtless 
went young Humphrey Gilbert, eager to win his spurs. 
As has been already mentioned, Gawen Champernoun 
married the daughter of County Montgomerie, but 
whether the marriage had previously taken place, or 
was a romantic sequel to the New Haven campaign, 
has not been ascertained. In either case, Gilbert would 
have acquired a personal interest in the war, in addition 
to the desire to serve his Queen, and to assist the French 

D 2 



One would like to be able to eliminate this next 
chapter from the history of Humphrey Gilbert. Fate 
took him to that distressful country — Ireland, and the 
record of his exploits there will be found revolting to 
our modern ideas. We have become tender-hearted in 
these later days, and conduct our wars with a minimum 
of brutality; war is confined to the fighting man, and 
non-combatants are protected with solicitude. We have 
the spectacle of England, in her latest war, supporting 
a whole multitude of women and children while their 
fathers and husbands were in arms against her. In the 
days of Elizabeth these women and children would have 
been left to perish, if not, indeed, immediately put to 
the sword. Then, a conquered country was laid waste 
"with fire and sword," and the enemy was extirpated 
"root and branch." That such was the plan of cam- 
paign in Ireland, and that Gilbert was an unhappy agent 
in its execution, must not, therefore, be attributed to 
any specially bloodthirsty proclivities on his part, but 
rather to the custom of the age. 

We first hear of Humphrey Gilbert in Ireland under 
Sir Henry Sidney in 1566. Sidney was Lord President 
of Wales when he received the appointment to this 
command, — an honour thrust upon him in spite of his 
protests. He had had previous experience in Ireland, 
under Sussex, and knew it to have been the grave of 
many reputations. Besides he felt that his purse could 
not bear the strain that a military command under 
Elizabeth entailed, for she had the pleasant habit of leav- 
ing her commanders, both on sea and land, to pay their 



own troops. Sidney saw beggary, with a further pro- 
spect of disgrace, as a consequence of his new appoint- 
ment, and struggled to get himself relieved, but without 
avail. At length, in December 1565, he unwillingly 
took his departure to his new command, first stipulating 
that he was to be provided with such troops, money, 
and supplies as he should find necessary for the task 
which had been set him. 

The account given by him of the condition of the 
country on his arrival there marks that period as the 
most distressing in Ireland's sad history. Sidney's 
predecessor, Sussex, had left affairs in a terrible state, 
and the feuds between the Butlers and the Geraldines 
completed the ruin. The Emerald Isle was a blackened 
desert. Of Munster, he wrote: — 

"A man might ride twenty or thirty miles nor ever 
find a house standing, and the miserable poor were 
brought to such wretchedness that any stony heart would 
have rued the same. Out of every corner of the woods 
and glens they came creeping forth upon their hands, 
for their legs could not bear them; they looked like 
anatomies of death; they spoke like ghosts crying out 
of their graves; they did eat the dead carrions, happy 
when they could find them ; yea they did eat one another 
soon after, inasmuch as the very carcasses they spared 
not to drag out of their graves ; and if they found a plot 
of watercresses or shamrocks, there they flocked as to 
a feast for a time. Yet were they not at all long to 
continue therewithal, so that in short space there were 
none almost left, and a most populous and plentiful 
country was suddenly left void of man and beast; yet 
surely in all that war there perished not many by the 
sword, but all by the extremity of the famine which they 
themselves had wrought." 

Of the English garrison within the Pale, Sidney wrote 
in almost equally disparaging terms; half clad, unpaid, 
and without a proper supply of provisions, they were 
forced to pillage the surrounding country in order to 


sustain their lives. "The soldiers were worse than the 
people," wrote Sidney, "so beggarlike that it would 
abhor a general to look at them." With such an army 
and such an enemy, in so destitute a country, there could 
be none of the "pomp and circumstance of glorious 
war." The campaign was bound to become sordid and 

The immediate cause of the present outbreak was the 
rebellion of Shan O'Neil. This turbulent chief had 
visited London in 1562, his entry thereto being thus 
described by Camden : " He was accompanied by a 
guard of galloglasses armed with hatchets, all bare- 
headed, their hair flowing in locks upon their shoulders, 
on which were yellow surplices dyed with saffron, with 
long sleeves, short coats and thrum jackets, which caused 
as much staring and gaping as if they had come from 
China or America." There he vowed allegiance to 
Elizabeth, but returning to Ireland he broke his vows, 
declaring that they had been extorted from him. The 
explanation he gave of the affair is very plausible, and 
one cannot help feeling some sympathy for him, black- 
guard as he undoubtedly was. "When I was with the 
Queen, she said to me herself that I had, it was true, 
safe conduct to come and go, but it was not said when 
I might go; they kept me there until I had agreed to 
things so far against my honour and profit that I would 
never perform them while I live. . . . Ulster is mine 
and shall be mine." 

To "extirpate this proud rebel" was the first task of 
Sir Henry Sidney, but it could not be undertaken until 
he was furnished with the men and money which had 
been promised him when he unwillingly accepted the 
appointment. Again and again he wrote, asking that 
this undertaking should be fulfilled, or that he should 
be immediately recalled; he even tried to bribe Cecil 
to effect this — " I will give you all my land in Rutland- 
shire to get me leave to go into Hungary, and think 
myself bound to you while I live. I take my leave in 


haste, as a thrall forced to live in loathsomeness." It 
was estimated that ;^36, ooo were required to pay the 
arrears due to the army, and to provide the necessary 
additional troops and arms; but to part with such a 
sum tore at Elizabeth's heartstrings, and she insisted 
that the reinforcements should be greatly reduced. It 
was July 1566, before the troops for this service, under 
Colonel Edward Randolphe, assembled at Bristol, and 
departed for Lough Foyle, Captain Gilbert command- 
ing a company of his own fellow-countrymen from 

Randolphe landed at Derry, and fortified himself 
securely there while waiting for vSidney, who was not 
able to join him until October 12. Leaving Randolphe 
in camp, Sidney made a short but most successful cam- 
paign into Shan's territory, and then retired again to 
headquarters at Drogheda. Shan then took the initi- 
ative, and arrived in the neighbourhood of the camp at 
Derry with all his men, intending to attack it. But 
Randolphe moved out of camp and took him by 
surprise near Lough Foyle, inflicting upon him the most 
severe defeat that the Irish had ever suffered at the 
hands of the English. In the pursuit of the flying rebels 
Randolphe was slain by a chance bullet. Captain 
Gilbert participated in this encounter, and as soon as 
it was over proceeded to Sidney at Drogheda to make 
a report. Sidney at once (October 12) sent him with 
dispatches for Elizabeth, informing her of the situa- 
tion, and saying that the bearer. Captain Gilbert, would 
relate all that befell in Colonel Randolphe's late 
encounter with the rebels. 

He had been in Ireland but four months, and there 
does not seem to have been sufficient reasons of State 
to occasion Sidney to send him so soon back to England. 
Neither the dispatches nor the news he carried were of 
such paramount importance as to require a messenger 
of his calibre; and we are therefore obliged to conclude 
that he had obtained leave of absence from the army to 


return to England for some private purpose of his own, 
and that Sidney merely took advantage of his departure 
to send dispatches to the Queen. 

What Gilbert's design was in obtaining leave he very 
soon disclosed. An idea long brooding in his mind 
had begun to take shape, an idea which was to be 
pregnant with vast consequences to the English nation, 
the possibility of finding a passage to Cathay by the 

An endeavour will be made in a subsequent chapter 
to trace the associations which caused Gilbert's mind 
to turn in this direction, and how the idea developed 
into a full-blown scheme of colonization ; but here it 
must suffice to say, that immediately upon his return 
to England, he presented a petition to Elizabeth for 
assistance "to enterprise and give the attempt with all 
possible speed for the discovery of a passage to 
Cathay . . . which taking good success shall be great 
honour and strength to your Majesty, with immortal 
fame throughout the world." But Elizabeth failed to 
be impressed by the flattering prospect held out to her, 
and dispatched him back to Ireland soon after, charged 
with the execution of a design of which she herself at 
the time was quite obsessed. 

The idea had been evolved, — whether by Elizabeth 
herself, or Humphrey Gilbert, or his West Country 
friends, cannot now be determined, — to plant an English 
colony in Ulster. But wherever the idea originated, 
Elizabeth saw in Humphrey Gilbert the man best fitted 
to carry out the enterprise. A trusted servant, a soldier 
of distinction, a man of great influence among the West 
Countrymen, having already some experience in Ireland. 
Fate had sent him to her just at the crucial moment, and 
his own great designs were ruthlessly set aside, in order 
that this scheme, fraught with woe for Ireland, should 
be attempted. 

In the meanwhile, many of Gilbert's company left by 
him in Ireland are reported "to have run away without 


licence or passport." As they had come most of them 
from Devon, it was surmised that they would make their 
way there, when they were to be arrested and sent back 
to their duty. 

Elizabeth wrote to Sidney on April 3, 1567, that "the 
English were to be allured to plant in Ulster," and on 
the 25th of the same month she directed that ;^ioo was to 
be paid to Gilbert, "he being sent to Ireland on special 
service." He was authorized to press men in Chester 
or elsewhere who were willing to go with him. 

Writing to Sidney on June 11, Elizabeth acknow- 
ledged his letter asking for further particulars of the 
plan, but declared that she could only "generally con- 
firm our fond determination that we do earnestly meane 
the same," and could not supply any further informa- 
tion, as it had not been determined how many settlers 
were needed, nor the cost of maintenance, nor the 
revenue to be expected. "But," she added, "this we 
think to give ease to your desire and to make you the 
principal Mynister for the execution of the same, for 
the furderance whereof we think it good ye do confere 
with our servant Gilbert now presently there, who as 
we know knoweth the meaning of sundry gentlemen of 
good accompt in his country that presently are gyven 
to be at charge with our assent to levy good nombers of 
men to repayre thither to those parts of Ireland there 
to serve us, and to take possession of some partes of 
landes there . . . yeilding to us both due obedience and 
reasonable yeerly revenue." On July 6, she wrote again, 
giving further particulars, and informed Sidney that 
"Our servant, Humfry Gilbert, is instructed from certain 
gents in the west parts here to deale with you in this 
behalf, which you shall best know of himself if he have 
not already imparted it to you." A suggestion was made 
by Vice-Chamberlain Knollys at the same time, that 
Gilbert should be made President of the Colony in 
Ulster, if he and his friends succeeded in establishing 
himself there. 


Very soon after Gilbert's return to Ireland Sir Arthur 
Champernoun, his uncle, went over to confer with him 
about the plantation, bearing also letters from Cecil to 
Sidney urging the furtherance of the scheme. But for 
some reason not now ascertainable, the design of 
colonizing Ulster was abandoned for a time. 

This was not due to lack of ardour on Gilbert's part, 
for he appears to have taken up the idea with some 
zeal. Early in 1568, he and some others petitioned the 
Queen for a grant of all those lands known by the name 
of Munster. The preamble to the petition begins thus 
plausibly: — "Sith it seemeth good to the Queen's 
Majesty to use means to reduce the Realm of Ireland to 
civility and obedience, it standeth with the duty of good 
subjects to offer their assistance for the furtherance of 
the same." They modestly asked for a grant of all the 
escheated and forfeited lands in Munster, and all the 
havens and islands lying between Rosse and the Sound 
of Blaskey, with the prerogative of fishing in the same. 
They offered to build a town in the haven of Baltymore, 
and to pay her Majesty rentals for all lands, and ;;£"200 
for the right of fishing. The profits and commodities 
to accrue to England were manifold; the rebellious Irish 
were to be replaced by loyal English citizens; the 
havens " now enjoyed by Spaniards and French " were 
to be secured to English fishermen and traders; the 
number of mariners was thus to be greatly increased; 
the "noisome number of pirates " who haunted the south 
coast were to be "discouraged," and finally these havens 
were to be made the base for attacks on the trade from 
France, Flanders, Scotland, Spain and Portugal. 

Sidney gave his approval to the scheme, but no great 
progress seems to have been made. In 1569, Sir Peter 
Carew, Sir Warham St. Leger, Sir Richard Grenville, 
and many others, having obtained some ancient title 
deeds to estates in Munster, went there with a number 
of their retainers, and endeavoured to take possession. 
This aroused the Irish holders of the property to frenzy, 


and they fell upon some of Carew's retainers and mas- 
sacred them with much brutality. Carew retaliated, 
and attacking the house of Sir Edward Butler, put every 
man, woman, and child found within the walls to the 
sword. All Munster was now in a blaze, and Humphrey 
Gilbert, now a Colonel, was charged with the task of 
beating out the flames of rebellion. 

Notwithstanding his colonization schemes, he had 
continued to serve with the army. On December i6, 
1567, he had mustered his company at Mullingar, some 
of whom were "harquebussiers on horseback," for which 
he received extra pay by special command of the Queen. 
There are several notices of small actions in which he 
was engaged during the first half of 1568, but being 
•^---^ounded, or falling ill, he was forced to retire to 
England. When he was sufficiently recovered to take 
up his duties again, Elizabeth wrote particularly to 
Sidney about him. She said: — "Our servant Humfry 
Gilbert who hath remayned here, as we have perceaved 
contrary to his own will, from his place of service there, 
by reason of his dangerous sickness this sommer, 
whereof being ones recovered he fell into the same again. 
So as until this present it seemed he could not con- 
veniently depart hence towardes his services there. 
And therefore we would have you to graunt him allow- 
ance of such interteynment as pertaineth to his charge 
and as largely as he should have been alowed if he had 
been there present all this tyme, which we do more 
favourably yeld unto him, becaus we judg him a 
faythful Servant and ocry ( ?) toward and well able to 
serve us not only in the place whereof he hath charg, 
but of somme better, if any such were there mayde, 
whereunto he might be preferred." 

This was unwonted solicitude on the part of Elizabeth. 

On July 12, 1569, Gilbert wrote to Cecil from Dublin 
asking that he be allowed to return to England "for 
the recovery of his eyes." As to his late services, he 
would leave them to be reported by others, "as he was 


one that served." These reports, if they were ever 
made, have not, however, come down to us, and we are 
not aware of what his services at that time particularly- 

A few months afterwards, (October 1569), we have a 
very long and flattering account of the services of Colonel 
Gilbert from the pen of Captain Ward, who served with 
him in the pacification (sic) of Munster. Gilbert lay with 
his "horseband" at Limerick, where he was joined by 
Captain Ward. "On the 23rd of September the Colonel 
departed with his company and mine to Killmallock, 
upon credible advertisement that the rebels under James 
FitzMaurice and McCarthy More would that night come 
to besiege and burn the town. And indeed they came 
the next day within half-a-mile of the town with 2000 
footmen and near sixty horsemen, meaning to have kept 
us all within the town and there to have famished us." 
Captain Ward with his company was given the charge 
to defend the gates of the town, "while the Colonel 
mounted himself and his band on horseback, meaning 
only to sally out and view them ; but being in the field 
they entered into a skirmish, the enemy dividing his 
forces into two parts, in which skirmish the Colonel him- 
self first charged the galloglasses, at the which charge 
the Colonel's horse was shot through with a harquebus 
and hurt with an axe, and his target struck through with 
a spear. After this some of the Colonel's company 
uncommanded passed over a ford, whereupon the 
Colonel with the rest of his company was enforced to 
follow them for their better direction. They were no 
sooner over the ford than the rebels with their whole 
force of horse and foot charged upon them, and they 
were forced to retire, which through the suddenness of 
the matter bred such disorder that they had all been 
distressed, if the Colonel had not most valiantly, being 
the last man, with his own hands defended the ford 
against all the enemy whilst all his band passed over. 
In this charge the Colonel with his own hands did 


unhorse two, slew one, and hurt six of them, they being 
above 20 horsemen which charged upon him, besides 
certain galloglasses that following his band were be- 
tween him and them, and yet, by the great blessing of 
God, he broke through them all and escaped unhurt to 
the preserving of his whole company saving one man." 

The next day Colonel Gilbert started for Cork to join 
forces with Captain Shute and to bring him with his 
band to Killmallock, which difficult feat, (the enemy 
lying between them), he succeeded in accomplishing 
without the loss of a man. The strain of this exploit 
threw him into a fever, but immediately upon his 
recovery, he took the field again, an'd besieged the 
important castle Garrystown, ^'And God be praised," 
Ward piously exclaims, "within three hours we won 
it and did put to sword forty persons, the Colonel com- 
manding me under pain of death to put them all to the 
sword." The effect of this terrible severity was imme- 
diate, for following closely upon the enemy "they 
accounting him more like a devil than a man, and are 
so afraid of him that they did leave and give up 26 
castles. ... I think they will not defend any castles 
against him." Many of the principal rebels came in 
and sued for the Queen's mercy upon their knees, "so 
that the evil through fear and the good subjects through 
his courtesy are both brought into such love and fear 
of him as I think the like was never seen before in so 
short a time. I assure your Honour that although I 
knew him to be a valiant and worthy gentleman, yet 
did I not, nor any one else, think that he would have 
been half so sufficient as he is for government in place 
of great charge." 

Gilbert also wrote to Cecil on the same day, inform- 
ing him of his appointment to the command in Munster, 
which, he stated, was done much against his will, "1 
making most earnest and humble suit to the contrary, 
knowing my insufficientories to be such, both for want 
of years, experience, and all other virtues necessary for 


such an officer. That authority was to me but a sweet 
poison, that would in the end turn to my confusion and 
utter discredit, rather than to the increase of my poor 
reputation. Most humbly desiring your Honour, there- 
fore, to revoke me from hence with expedition lest I 
should both hinder the Queen's Majesty's service and 
lose that little credit in a few days which I have all my 
life travailed for." He urged further, that his eyes were 
in such a condition, that if not attended to, he was 
in danger of losing his sight; and concluded his letter 
with praises of Captains Ward and Shute for their 
valiant service in the recent campaign. 

On December 6 he wrote again, giving full particulars 
of his manner of dealing wath the rebels. From the 
simple, matter-of-fact manner in which he describes his 
terrible plan of campaign, we can see that the hideous- 
ness of it was not apparent to him. He had been placed 
in command in Munster with orders to reduce the 
country to obedience, and unflinching severity seemed 
to him the best method of accomplishing that purpose. 
After describing the submission of the Earl of Glencarne 
and his chief follower, he says: — "But to God's glory 
be it spake I may now say in respect to my charge, with 
Hercules, ' Non plus Vetra.' And for that. Right 
Honourable, it may the better appear what course I have 
held in these parts, I thought it good to advertise Your 
Honour particularly thereof, to the end I might try by 
Your Honour's favourable advice and instructions take 
such order hereafter therein as may seem best for the 
well governing of myself and the country, and the 
furtherance of the Queen's Majesty's service, being 
hitherto enforced for want of assistance in counsel and 
experience in politic government, to follow my own 
simple opinion. 

*' First, Right Honourable, I refused to parley or to 
make peace with any rebels, neither have I received 
any upon protection without his humble submission 
presently swearing them to be true to the Queen's 


Majesty, and taking bonds and pledges of them for 
keeping of Her Highness peace, never practising directly 
or indirectly to bring in any rebels, for that I would 
not have them to think that the Queen's Majesty had 
more need of their service than they had of her mercy, 
neither that we were afraid of any number of them 
our quarrell being good, putting also all those from 
time to time to the sword that did belong, fed, accom- 
pany or maintain any outlaws or traitors. And after 
my first summoning of any castle or fort, if they w^ould 
not presently yeild it, I would not afterward take it of 
their gift but win it per force, how many lives so ever 
it cost, putting man, woman, and child of them to the 
sword, neither did I spare any malefactor unexecuted 
that came to my hands in any respect, using all those 
that I had protected with all courtesy and friendship, 
refusing to take any gift of any man lest my friendship 
should have been thought more hurtful unto them than 
my malice, neither did I make strange to infringe the 
pretended liberties of any city or town incorporate, 
not knowing their charters, to further the Queen's 
Majesty's service, answering them that the Prince had 
a regular and absolute power, and that which might 
not be done by the one I would do by the other in cases 
of necessity. Being for my part constantly of this 
opinion that no conquered nation will ever yeild will- 
ingly their obedience for love but rather for fear. 
Most humbly desiring your Lordship favourably to 
consider of me and my doings, for that Right Hon. it 
pleased your Lordship and the Council to leave me in 
this charge against my will, I having made to Your 
Honour and the Council most humble and often suit 
to the contrary, unfolding my own imperfections and 
want of ability for so great a charge, having put into 
my hands not only the sword martially, but the whole 
charge of Munster, being utterly unaccompanied by any 
lawyers or other for the aiding of me in that behalf, 
most humbly desiring your Honour presently to revoke 


me from hence for that I am overladen and utterly tired, 
but enforced for want of necessary servants not only 
to be mine own Secretary, but let myself run to spoil 
by intollerable expenses every way to my utter undoing 
if the Queen's Majesty do not favourably consider of me. 
And so I most humbly commit your Lordship to God. 
"From the City of Limerick, December 6th, 1569." 
There is no attempt at concealment or palliation about 
this letter. Gilbert had no misgiving that his conduct 
would be viewed in any but a favourable light. He 
took credit to himself for having evolved the plan, and 
was satisfied at his success; but he was weary of the 
strain and responsibility of this brutal warfare, and 
begged to be relieved of his command. Nor did Sidney, 
nor Cecil, nor the Council see anything unnecessarily 
cruel about these revolting scenes; Sidney wrote in 
high praise of his services : — "For the Colonel I cannot 
say enough. The highways are now made free where 
no man might travel undespoiled. The gates of the 
cities and towns are now left open, where before they 
were continually shut or guarded with armed men. 
There was none that was a rebel of any force but has 
submitted himself, entered into bond and delivered 
hostages, the arch-rebel James FitzMaurice only ex- 
cepted, who is become a bush-beggar, not having 20 
knaves to follow him, and yet this is not the most or 
the best that he hath done; for the estimation that he 
hath won to the name of Englishmen there, before 
almost not known, exceedeth all the rest; for he in 
battle brake so many of them, where he showed how far 
our soldiers in valour surpassed these rebels, and he 
in his own person any man he had. The name of an 
Englishman is more terrible now to them than the sight 
of a hundred was before. For all this I had nothing to 
present him with but the honour of knighthood, which 
I gave him (Jany. ist, 1570); for the rest I recommend 
him to your friendly support." 

That such methods of warfare were deemed worthy of 


the reward of knighthood indicates the opinion held of 
them. "For the rest," to quote Sidney, six years after- 
ward he was still trying to collect the sums due to him. 
The poet, Thomas Churchyard, in his Generall 
Rehersall of Warres, 1579, gives some terrible, grue- 
some details of this campaign in Ireland, and also offers 
some excuses for the harshness of the measures. He 
relates what we have already heard, that Gilbert always 
offered the Queen's pardon before attacking any castle 
or town, and if it were refused, never after gave them 
another chance, but exterminated them all, male and 
female, young and old. Churchyard says that this 
course in the end was merciful, because no one dared to 
resist him, but '* yielded without blows, bloodshed, or 
loss either to their party or his." "Also it gave him 
such expedition in his services as that thereby he recov- 
ered more Fortes in one dale then by strong hand would 
have been wonne in a yere, respectyng the smalness of 
his Companie, and the gayning of time was one of his 
chiefest cares, bothe because he had no provision of 
victuales for his people, but pulled it as it were out of 
the enemies mouth perforce. And also for that, his 
companie being so small in number, not knowyng how 
to have supplies, could not leave with the losse of menne 
to the winnyng of every pettie forte." Further to strike 
terror into the hearts of these unhappy creatures, "His 
maner was that the heddes of all those (of what sort 
soever thei were) which were killed in the daie should 
be cutte of from their bodies, and brought to the place 
where he encamped at night, and should there be layd 
on the grounde by each syde of the waie leadyng into 
his owne Tente, so that none could come into his Tente 
for any cause but commonly he must passe through a 
line of heddes, which he used ad terrorem, the dedde 
feeling nothying the more paines thereby; and yet did 
it bryng greater terror to the people, when they sawe 
the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, 
kinsfolk and friends, lye on the ground before their 



faces as they came to speake with the saide Colonell. 
Which course maie by some bee thought to be cruell, in 
excuse whereof it is answered, That he did but thenne 
beginne that order with theim, which thei had in effecte 
ever to fore used toward the Englishe. And further 
that he was out of doubte, that the dedde felt no paines 
by cutting of their heddes according to the example of 
Diogenes, who being asked by his friends what should 
be doen wyth hym when he dyed, answered in this sorte. 
' Caste me on a dunghill,' saith he, whereunto his 
friendes replied saying : ' The Dogges will thenne eat 
you,' his answer thereto was thus, ' Why then set 
a staffe by me ' ; Whereunto they answered, ' you shall 
not feele them,' to whom he again replied with these 
wordes, ' what neede I then to care ? ' 

"But certainly to this course of government there was 
much blood saved and great peace ensued in haste. 
For through the terror the people conceived thereby, 
it made short warres. For he reformed the whole 
country of Munster and broughte it into an universall 
pease and subjection within six weekes." 

Churchyard then gives some instances of his personal 
bravery in the field. At Knockfergus, with 150 footmen, 
"he withstood 4000 kernes and 600 horsemen of O'nyles 
companie and then killed and hurt of the enemie about 
200." At Kilkenny, he went with thirteen others to view 
the enemy's position, and finding them in battle array 
to the number of 1200, did not hesitate to attack them. 
"In this charge his black curtail horse, whereupon he 
then served, was verie sore hurt under hym in eight 

Again at Killmallock on September 13, 1569, he skir- 
mished with his band against about 3000 rebels, holding 
by himself a ford against thirty horsemen. "Also in this 
scirmouche his black Curtail horse, of whom I spoke 
before, was hurte in divers places of the bodie, and was 
shot through the necke with a Harquebush. And the 
said Colonell 's targette was stricken through with divers 






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Queen Elizabeth, 

From an Early Portrait. 


dartes, besides many blows upon his armour, but in 
person not hurte. Whereat the Irish wondered so much 
thei made sondrie songs and Rimes of hym and his 
black curtail horse, imagining himselfe to have been an 
enchaunter that no men could hurte, riding on a Devill." 

After returning to England, Churchyard says he lived 
for the most part at Court. 

The measures taken by Gilbert achieved their pur- 
pose, and Munster was quiet for a time. But allegiance 
is not won in this manner. No sooner had he retired 
from the command than James FitzMaurice returned. 
Immediately all Munster was in rebellion again, and 
the few Irish who had supported the English were seized 
and summarily hanged. The Earl of Glencarne, whose 
submission had been received with so much congratula- 
tion, found himself in considerable danger. In a letter 
to Gilbert, he told him how he had been approached by 
the Earl of Thomond and induced to join the rebellion, 
but that he had refused. He begged Gilbert to come 
again to Munster to keep the peace. 

Gilbert, however, had received the leave of absence 
for which he had pleaded, and left Dublin on January 24, 

1570, bearing a letter from Sidney to Sir William Cecil 
requesting that he should be paid the moneys due him, 
which letter, however, w^as of no avail. After a short 
holiday he returned to Ireland, and we learn from the 
accounts of his band, continued there at least until March 

1 57 1, but nothing of importance is chronicled regarding 
his actions. We do not know when his service in 
Ireland actually ceased. He was in England to attend 
Parliament from April 2 to May 29, 157 1 ; and on July 
14, the Queen wrote directing that Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
should receive his pay, though he had been absent from 
his charge in Ireland till May Day last, and as he 
declared large sums to be due him and his band for 
services in Ireland, ;£6oo was to be paid to him until 
they had particulars of his account. 

His departure from Ireland was a matter of very 



general regret, and for many years afterwards his 
services were referred to in terms of high praise. In 
1582, his illustrious half-brother, Ralegh, then serving 
as a Captain in Munster, where Gilbert had commanded 
thirteen years before, wrote thus of his services : — 
"Would God the service of Sir Humphrey Gilbert might 
be rightly looked into, who with the third part of the 
garrison now in Ireland ended a rebellion not much 
inferior to this in two months ! Or would God his own 
behaviour were such in peace as it did not make his 
good services forgotten, and hold him from the pre- 
ferment he is worthy of ! I take God to witness, I speak 
it not for affection but to discharge my duty to Her 
Majesty; for I never heard or read of any man more 
feared than he is among the Irish nation ! And I do 
assuredly know that the best about the Earl of Desmond, 
aye, and all the unbridled traitors of those parts, would 
come in here and yeild themselves to the Queen's mercy 
were it but known that he were to come among them. 
The end shall prove this to be true." Ralegh intended 
to pay a high tribute to the prowess of his elder brother, 
but from a twentieth-century standpoint it is questionable 
praise. It was a terrible reputation that he left behind 
him in Ireland. 

One of Humphrey Gilbert's "little bills," which he 
so long endeavoured to collect, is preserved at the 
Record Office, and is quite interesting. His pay, if he 
could have collected it, appears to have been good. As 
Colonel he received 20 shillings per diem, as Pettit- 
Captain 8 shillings, and as Captain of Kernes 4 
shillings, in all 32 shillings sterling per day. His total 
expenses for 100 " harquebusiers on horseback" and 
200 kernes, for about nine months, appear to have been 
£33^5 7^' sterling, against which he received on 
account ;^6oo. 

In 1572, Gilbert again endeavoured to obtain a grant 
of the south-east coast of Ireland. He drew up a 
memorandum for Sir John Parrott, describing the 


"yncyvyll " condition of Ireland and the advantages 
that would accrue to England were it made "cyvyll." 
He lays great stress upon the danger of allowing the 
French and Spaniards to get a footing there. Already 
large numbers of Spanish vessels resorted there fishing 
and trading. Were the coast granted to him as 
requested, all these irregular proceedings would be 
stopped, and the Spaniards made to contribute hand- 
somely to Her Majesty's Customs. For his share, 
like the Newfoundland clergyman described by Sidney 
Smith, he was "to pocket every tenth fish." Other 
privileges asked for were, the sole right to trade with 
the Irish and to work mines, to be admiral of those seas, 
to receive from Elizabeth a ship of loo tons to be 
employed in this service, to have power to apprehend 
pirates, and to have the grant of all such lands as he 
should win from the "wild Irish." Poor creatures! 
they were spared this last spoliation. 



In Studying the lives of great men we are perhaps 
inclined to be too analytical, too prone to seek for the 
influences which directed them upon the careers that 
made them famous. Very often a mere accident marks 
the turning-point in their lives, and determines their 
after existence, but in the generality of cases their careers 
seem to be marked out for them from the beginning, in 
fact to be almost "hereditarious," to quote one of the 
earliest "furtherers" of English exploration, and no 
subtle deductions are necessary to account for their 
actions. Gilbert undoubtedly belongs to the latter class. 
His boyhood was spent in an atmosphere of adventure 
by sea, and all his family connections, Champernouns, 
Carews, Grenvilles, Raleghs, and Gilberts, had "their 
business in great waters." 

In no part of England was the remarkable uplift and 
expansion of Elizabeth's reign more noticeable than in 
the West Country. It was there that the genius of the 
race found its birth, there that the nation discovered that 
its destiny lay upon the ocean. From there old William 
Hawkins, the father of trans-Atlantic trade, made his 
first West Indian voyages, from there sprang out the 
bold little ships that laid Spain's Armada low, and 
, placed England first among European nations. 

In Gilbert's case, therefore, it would have been more 
remarkable if he had not adopted the career of explorer 
and colonizer, and one is only surprised that from the 
first he did not make the sea the profession of his life. 
But the interest which his aunt, Mrs. Ashley, could 



exercise for him at Court no doubt occasioned his being 
sent there as offering the best opening, and influenced 
him to adopt the profession of arms as his chief pursuit. 
One can easily imagine how the "travellers' tales" of 
Dartmouth and Plymouth revolved in his mind during 
his youthful days at Eton and Oxford, and intensified 
his yearnings for his loved Greenaway ; how later the 
glamour of the sea laid hold of him and would not be 
denied, and in the midst of the fighting at Newhaven 
and the brutalities of the Irish rebellion, his mind ever 
turned to the realms of fable and adventure across the 
Western ocean. 

At Newhaven, or, as it was called by the French, Havre 
de Grace, he was in the thick of gossip about the New 
World. Havre had long been the centre of the Huguenot 
faction,^ and from there had departed the ill-fated 
expedition of Villegagnon and his devoted band of 
enthusiasts, who, driven to desperation by persecutions 
in the Old World, determined to make a home in the 
New, where they could worship in peace according to 
their belief. Again, a few months before the English 
occupation, Jean Ribault had sailed from Havre with 
another band of Huguenots intending to found a colony 
in Florida. We are not concerned with the sad histories 
of these colonies, — histories which we can be sure formed 
a constant topic of conversation among the Huguenot 
townspeople and their English sympathizers. The 
survivors of the Florida colony landed in England in 
1565. One of them, an artist named Le Moyne, settled 
at Blackfriars and was known to Sidney, Ralegh and 
doubtless to Gilbert also. 

Gilbert would also have met at Havre Richard Eden, 
whose translation of Peter Martyr's Decades, 1555, was 
the first publication in England to give any detailed 

^ The principal harbour in Conception Bay, Newfoundland, is 
called Harbour Grace, being undoubtedly named after Havre de 
Grace, indicating that fishermen from that town were the first to 
frequent it regularly. — Havre was built by Francis I about 1520-30. 


account of the New World. Eden was secretary to the 
Vidame de Chartres, and continued in his service for 
ten years. 

A curious document of a later date gives "sundry 
reports of the country Humphrey Gilbert goeth forth 
to discover," principally from that prince of romancers, 
David Ingram, but it also contains a synopsis of the 
experiences of other travellers and the opinions of 
geographers. Among those quoted is Andrew Thevett, 
with whom it is said Gilbert conferred in person. Where 
and when he met Thevett is unknown, but it is not 
unlikely that he encountered him also during the siege of 
Newhaven, and drew knowledge, if not inspiration, from 
that renowned geographer. 

But it is unnecessary to go abroad to seek for associa- 
tions which might have influenced Humphrey Gilbert 
to devote himself to maritime discovery; the very air 
at home was full of it. With Sebastian Cabot's return 
to England in 1547, there had been an outburst of 
enthusiasm for mercantile expansion. He was able to 
tell, not always truthfully it must be admitted, not only 
of the first great success of English mariners fifty years 
before, but also of the rapidly growing colonies of 

The career of Sebastian Cabot has been the subject of 
much heated debate among historians. Between the 
excessive admiration of the one school and the unquali- 
fied condemnation of the other, it is not easy to arrive 
at a proper appreciation of his character and achieve- 
ments. The indisputable facts are that he was trusted 
by both Spain and England with the highest offices in 
their marine, with Venice, the while, intriguing for his 
services. When he went to England in 1547, continual 
representations were made from Spain that he should 
be returned. We cannot believe that they were all 
deceived as to his ability and attainments. But withal 
he was a boaster and a liar, if contemporary chronicles 
reported him correctly; as a leader of men he was a 
failure, and he was a traitor, or a would-be traitor, to 


each country he served. Efforts have been made to 
minimize the effect of his arrival in England, but the 
fact remains that new enterprises were very shortly 
undertaken, in the preparation for, and direction of 
which, he was actively engaged. 

In the search for new marts the far-off Cathay was 
again considered, and the question of a shorter passage 
thereto by the north-east or north-west again debated. 
Cabot pronounced in favour of the former route, and 
thither accordingly were dispatched two expeditions at 
the risk and adventure of the revivified corporation of 
Merchant Adventurers; the first under Willoughby. in 
1553, and the second under Chancellor in 1555. They 
did not find the north-east passage, but by their means 
a lucrative trade was opened up with Russia. 

In the last year of Edward VI's reign the Merchant 
Adventurers had been promised exclusive privileges of 
trade with any countries discovered by them ; which 
promise was confirmed, and the company incorporated, 
by Mary in 1555, with Sebastian Cabot as Governor of 
the Company. In November 1566, Elizabeth renewed 
the grants made by her predecessors, the Company now 
being called "The Fellowship of English Merchants for 
the discovery of new trades." 

Humphrey Gilbert was a member of this Company, 
but when he joined it cannot now be ascertained. 

It is not impossible even that he may have known "the 
good old man Master Cabota," although he does not 
record the fact; but at least he knew many members of 
the Merchant Adventurers' Company who had been 
intimately associated with Cabot during the last few 
years of his life, prominent among whom were Stephen 
Burrough and Anthony Jenkinson. Cabot's experiences 
and sayings must have been daily referred to by mem- 
bers of the company, and Gilbert would have thus been 
au fait with all that was known of that first momentous 
attempt to find China by way of the north-west, and the 
consequent discovery of the "new lands." 

In addition to these ventures in which Gilbert was 


pecuniarily interested, his friend and neighbour in the 
West Country, John Hawkins, had just accomplished 
two most profitable voyages, slave trading to the Spanish 
West Indies, which may be said to have aroused the ire 
of the Spaniards and the cupidity of the English in 
about equal ratio. The West Country was ablaze with 
enthusiasm for voyages of discovery. Elizabeth herself 
became an "adventurer" in several expeditions, and 
ships of the Royal Navy were freely loaned for the 

Camden gives a spirited account of how "this wise 
and careful Princess rigged out her fleet with all manner 
of tacklin and ammunition, built a castle at Upnor for 
its defence, and augmented the pay of the sailors, so 
that she was justly called ' the restorer of the naval 
glory and Queen of the North Sea,'' The wealthier 
inhabitants of the Seacoast did likewise follow the 
Queen's example in building ships of war with all cheer- 
fulness, insomuch in a little time the Queen's fleet, in 
conjunction with her subjects shipping, was so potent, 
that it was able to furnish out 20,000 fighting men for 
sea service." 

It was undoubtedly a period of great mercantile ex- 
pansion. Last, but probably not least, there were the 
numerous yearly fishing voyages made by the humble 
West Country fishermen to the prolific waters of the 
new-found land. In our introductory chapter, reasons 
have been advanced which amount to clear proof that 
these voyages were common, although quite unrecorded. 
Gilbert himself furnishes us with further testimony. In 
his Discourse of a North-West Passage, published in 
1576, but written ten years before, he quotes the experi- 
ence "of our yeerly fishers to Labrador and Terra Nova." 
He knew these fishermen, had questioned them, and 
learned all they could tell him of the waters they fre- 
quented. But no other reference to these voyages can be 
found. From Hore's voyage in 1536, to Anthony Pank- 
hurst's in 1578, there is no record of any English voyage 


to Newfoundland, and it has been the custom to say that 
the country was therefore abandoned by England, but 
clearly such was not the case. 

There was therefore superabundant reason why Gilbert 
should desire to emulate his friends, should himself join 
the search for "Cathay and other unknown rich parts 
of the world," and also why he should revert to the 
route first chosen by Englishmen, that by the north- 

Gilbert was about twenty-four years old when he 
returned from Newhaven, he was in his twenty-seventh 
year when he went to Ireland, the interval he devoted 
to the study of the problem, and embodied the results in 
a pamphlet which was published ten years later under 
the title A Discourse of a Discoverie for a New Passage 
to Cataia. 

This pamphlet was given to the world, apparently 
without the consent of the author, by the poet Gascoigne 
in 1576. The story of its publication will be dealt with 
more at large in its proper place in this history; at 
present we are concerned only with its contents. 

Gascoigne, in his preface, tells us how it came to be 
written. Gilbert, with the impetuous ardour of youth, 
wished to set out at once on this voyage, which promised 
so much novelty and adventure; but, says Gascoigne, 
"You must herewith understand (good Reader) that the 
author havinge a worshippfull knight to his brother, 
who abashed at this enterprise (as well for that he him- 
self had none issue, nor other heier whome he ment to 
bestow his landes upon, but onely this authour, and 
that this voyage seemed strag and had not been com- 
monly spoken of before, as also because it seemed 
impossible to the common capacities) did seme partly 
to dislike his resolutions and to disuade him from the 
same; therupon he wrote this treatise unto his said 
brother, both to execuse and cleare himself from the 
note of rashnesse and also to set down such authorities, 
reasons and experiences, as had chiefly encouraged him 


unto the same, as may appear by the letter next follow- 
ing, the which I have inserted for that purpose." 

The letter itself is interesting, not only for the purpose 
mentioned by Gascoigne, but as an example of Gilbert's 
epistolary style. 

"A Letter of Sir Humfry Gilbert, Knight, sent to 
HIS Brother, Sir John Gilbert, of Compton, in 


Discourse of this Discoverie. 


"You might iustly have charged mee with an 
Vnsettled head if I had at any time taken in hand, to 
discover VtopiUy or any countrey fained by imagination : 
But Cataia is none such, it is a countrey, well knowen to 
be described and set foorth by all moderne Geographers y 
whose authoritie in this art (contraire to all other) beareth 
most credit, and the passage thereunto, by the North- 
west from vs, through a sea which lieth on the Northside 
of Labrador^ menciohed and proved, by no smal number 
of the most expert, and best learned amongst them. By 
whose authoritie, if I (amongest others) have beene 
moved, to hope of that passage, who can iustly blame 
me ? sith everie man is best to be credited and beleeved, 
in his own professed art and science, wherin he doth 
most excell. 

"And if I would not give that credit to those authours 
which they deserve, but were so wedded vnto my owne 
ignorance, that neither the authoritie of learned Geo- 
graphers ^ the reasons of wise Philosophers, nor the 
experience of painfull Travellers, might persuade me to 
believe a trueth : Then might I iustly be accompted 
selfe willed (which a learner ought chiefly to eschewe) 
holding for a Maxime, that, Discentem oportet credere. 
And knowing you to be one that may easily be induced 
to hearken, and yeelde to reason, I will briefly ope vnto 
you, some fewe of the grounds of mine opinion, to the 


ende you may better vnderstad, that my hope of this 
discoverie and passage was not so rashe, or foolishe, as 
you hertofore have deemed : but contrariwise, grounded 
vpon a very sure foundation, and that no Vnadvisedly, 
but after my long consideration and great conferece, 
had with such as I know to be both wise, learned, and 
of great experience, as well touching this passage, as 
the wonderfull w^elth and commodities, which might and 
would ensue thereby, it being once discovered : whose 
abundance of riches and treasure, no man of learning, 
and iudgement doubteth, for that the countreys them- 
selves, and their commodities are apparently knowen by 
sundry mens experience. 

"But as it is one thing to speak, and another by reason 
to confirme, so I will briefly do my endevour to prove 
the same. And have herewith all sent you, for your 
better vnderstandinge, a rough draught, of a vniversall 
Map in the end of the boke, sufficiet to explanethe matter, 
with those names only in effect which are mencioned in 
the discourse : to the ende that by resorting to this 
general Mappe, & finding without difficultie, everie 
particular place mencioned herein, you may the better 
gather my meaning, and conceive my reasons alledged 
for the proofe of this passage, nowe in question : which 
I will prove three way. 

"All which, I have divided into severall chapters, which 
may fully deliver vnto you the whole contents of this 
worke, by their severall titles : as followeth. 

"Fare you well from my lodging the last of June, 
Anno D. 1566, 

"Your loving Brother, 

"HuMFRY Gilbert.'* 

The General Map which accompanies the Discourse 
is, like all maps of the period, of a very crude descrip- 
tion. According to M. Henri Harrisse, it bears a 
strong family likeness to the maps of the Franco-Italian 
school, such as those of Verrazano and Maggioli. 


It shows Newfoundland (Baccalaos) as a group of 
islands, and Labrador stretching to the north and east, 
as it seemed to early navigators to do, owing to the 
variation of the compass. It also shows Greenland point- 
ing to the westward as the same variation would make 
it appear to any one approaching from the east. (See 
Labrador, Its Discovery y Exploration and Development, 
by W. G. Gosling. Alston Rivers, Ltd., 1910.) 

The Discourse itself is a remarkable document. Gil- 
bert first endeavoured to prove that America was an 
island, and ransacked both ancient and modern writers 
for evidence in support of the theory. Plato, Aristotle, 
and Strabo are made to yield proof of the contention, 
and all the modern geographers are quoted, especially 
Peter Martyr and Ortelius. He argues, with a certain 
amount of correctness, that Asia and America must be 
separated because there is such dissimilarity between 
both the human and animal species of the two continents. 
He then lays great stress upon the course of the currents ; 
one, which had been correctly observed by Jenkinson, 
running westward from the north parts of Russia; the 
other, evidently a confused idea of the Gulf Stream, 
running northerly along the coast of America, which 
currents, he argued, must find an outlet on the north 
coast of America. The experiences of early travellers are 
next brought to bear, many of them quite fabulous, but 
all of equal value in his eyes. Sebastian Cabot is 
particularly quoted, and, as usual, when speaking of 
this much-debated man, his statements are plainly at 
variance with fact, and add more confusion to the contro- 
versy. We note here a late addition to the Discourse, 
as Gilbert relates a story told him by Salvaterra, a 
Spanish gentleman, whom he met in Ireland in 1568. 
At some period Gilbert and Anthony Jenkinson had a 
dispute before the Queen and Lords on the respective 
merits of a north-east and north-west passage. The 
arguments used on both sides are given, but are not 
very convincing. Gilbert evidently had some knowledge 


of the prevailing winds in the North Atlantic in the 
spring and autumn, for he said one advantage of the 
North- West Passage was that one could sail thither with 
the easterly winds and return with the westerly. 

The case for the existence of a passage is now con- 
sidered closed, and he proceeds to dilate upon the advan- 
tages to be derived from a trade with China. Quite apart 
from the riches accruing from the purely mercantile 
transactions, he points out what a tremendous increase 
in shipping and mariners must result from this new 
trade. He then adds a most important suggestion. 
"Also," he says, "we might inhabite some part of these 
countreys and settle there such needy people of our 
countrey which now trouble the Commonwealth, and 
through want here at home are inforsed to commit out- 
ragious offences whereby they are dayly consumed of 
the gallows." In order that a resting-place to and from 
Cathay may be afforded, he suggests that some con- 
venient port near Sierra Nevada (Hudson's Straits?) 
should be inhabited. We will have occasion to return 
to these suggestions again. 

If his brother were not convinced by this "Brief and 
simple discourse written in haste," he would then impart 
a larger discourse which he had written on the same 
theme. He also informed his brother that he had been 
preparing himself to put his schemes into effect, that he 
had written a discourse on navigation wherein he devised 
to amend the errors of sea cards, which usually made 
degrees of longitude of the same size in every latitude; 
that he had invented a spherical instrument with a com- 
pass of variation for the perfect proving of the longi- 
tude ; had written directions for pricking a sea card, with 
certain infallible rules for determining upon its first 
discovery how far a bay or strait stretched into the land. 

All knowledge of these so-called inventions has been 
lost, but whether they added anything of value to the 
art of navigation of the day or not, they are at least 
evidence of years of study on his part. 



He closes his discourse with the following eloquent 
peroration, written in that lofty tone which will be often 
noted in his writings : — "Desiring you hereafter never to 
mislike with me, for the takinge in hande of any laudable 
and honest enterprise; for if through pleasure or idle- 
nesse we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but 
the shame remaineth for ever. 

"And therefore to give me leave without offence, 
always to live and die in this mind. That he is not 
worthy to live at all, that for fear or danger of death, 
shunneth his countrey's service and his own honour : 
seeing death is inevitable and the fame of vertue im- 
mortall. Wherefore in this behalf e, Mutare vel timere 

It will be found that in this declaration he was 
strangely prophetic. Upon it he modelled his life and 
his death. 

This treatise, with its false arguments and false deduc- 
tions, was yet a remarkable compilation for that time, 
and had far-reaching effects upon the course of English 
adventure. It no doubt materially assisted the expedi- 
tions of Frobisher in 1576-7-8, and from those voyages 
proceeded in natural sequence the voyages of Davis, 
Waymouth, Hall, Knight, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, 
Bylot, Baffin, Hawkridge, Fox, and James, to name 
the earlier adventurers only. Having once set them- 
selves to the task of finding of North- West Passage, the 
English never gave up the search. One expedition after 
another was prepared, thousands upon thousands of 
pounds spent, and hundreds of valuable lives lost in this 
vain pursuit. It was not until 1851, that Collinson and 
McClure proved that a passage did really exist, and not 
until 1905, nearly 340 years after Humphrey Gilbert's 
Discourse was written, that the passage was actually 
accomplished by the Norwegian expedition under the 
command of Captain Roald Amundsen in the little Gjoa. 

A recent historian sees in this Discourse "the hand of 
Ralegh." An examination of the facts concerning its 


composition shows that it was written when Ralegh was 
fourteen years old. Similar instances are found at every 
turn. Many of Ralegh's biographers treat Humphrey 
Gilbert as the Baconians do Shakespeare, — not a shred 
of authorship is left to him. 

But this unpretentious treatise, written to overcome 
the embarrassing solicitude of an elder brother, and 
published surreptitiously, has another and far greater 
claim to fame; for in it we have in the paragraphs 
already quoted the first definite proposal to plant an 
English colony in the New World. The evolution of 
the colonization idea in Humphrey Gilbert's mind can 
be plainly discerned henceforward, until in the end we 
will find that it grew into a vision of an English colony, 
so complete and well ordered that a hundred years 
hardly saw its fulfilment. Here, therefore, we have the 
germ from which sprang the present mighty Empire of 
the United States and those great colonies which are 
now the pride of the English race, destined, doubtless, 
to become themselves powerful world empires. 

This is not to say that Humphrey Gilbert originated 
the idea of colonization in England, but that he first 
crystallized the indefinite, and made of it a concrete 

The history of the world is a history of colonization 
enterprises, and the idea was doubtless as familiar in 
Elizabeth's day as it is in our own. England had experi- 
enced colonization at the hands of various invading 
peoples, beginning with the Romans under Julius 
Caesar ; Rome itself was colonized by a wandering band 
of exiles, if ancient myths are to be believed, and so on 
throughout the ages. It is quite unnecessary to point 
to the example of Spain and France, as some have done, 
for the origin of the idea in England. France and Eng- 
land arrived almost simultaneously at the colonization 
period, and succeeded in making permanent settlements 
within a few years of each other. Spain was their fore- 
runner in the path of colonization, but her action did not 


occasion theirs and was by no means the pattern which 
they followed. 

Curiously enough, the question of colonization is 
raised with the very first mention of the New World to 
be found in English literature. It is in a quaint little 
play entitled A newe Interlude and a mery of the iiij 
principal points of philosophy. Only one copy 
remains, and that not complete, for the colophon has 
been torn away, and it is therefore impossible to say 
exactly when it was printed. From internal evidence, 
however, it has been decided to have been in 15 17. The 
author tells how — 

" Within this xx yere 
Westward we found newe landes 
That we never hearde tell of before this." 

He bewails the pusillanimity of some English sailors 
that had prevented them from being further explored, 
and exclaims — 

"O what a thyng a had be than 
Yf they that be English men 
Myght have been the furst of all 
That there should take possessyon, 
And made first buyldynge and habytacion 
A memory perpetuall. 
And also what an honourable thynge 
Both to the realme and the kynge, 
To have had his dominion extendynge 
There into so farre a ground." 

The regret here expressed with so much feeling was 
undoubtedly not the personal opinion of the author only, 
but would have been the general sentiment of the day, 
the talk of the street, and was but enunciated in the little 
play, to be declaimed over and over again in the 
presence of thousands of people. 

But English literature in the first half of the sixteenth 
century is singularly free from any reference to the 
founding of colonies, or, as a matter of fact, to the New 
World at all. England had other affairs of more press- 
ing importance to attend to at that time. Her position 


among the nations of Europe had to be assured; and the 
progress of the Reformation left little room in men's 
minds for voyages of discovery. It is with nations as 
with the animal kingdom, maturity has to be attained 
before the species can be propagated, and England at 
this period had not reached that age. Her energies had 
to be conserved for her own growth, the populace had 
to be retained and not allowed to swell the ranks of other 
countries. In 1558, Vice-Admiral Martin was stationed 
in the Channel with a powerful squadron and directed 
to prevent all persons whatsoever from leaving the 
kingdom without a licence. Hence we find an Act 
passed even so late as 1571, authorizing the forfeiture of 
the lands of any person who should leave the kingdom 
without the Queen's licence and fail to return after warn- 
ing had been given to do so. When, at length, coloniza- 
tion schemes were debated, one of the principal objections 
was that the country would be drained of her needed 
populace ; and when Letters Patent for the purpose were 
finally granted, special clauses had to be inserted per- 
mitting the transport of such of her Majesty's subjects 
as were willing to go. 

England was not then over populated, although, 
strangely enough, several writers seemed to be of that 
opinion, and the old simile of the swarming bees cannot 
be advanced in her case. Nor were her first colonists 
induced by a desire for religious freedom, as were the 
two Huguenot attempts at colonization under Ville- 
gagnon and Ribaut. 

The first English colonists were not driven from their 
homes by religious persecutions, although we shall hear 
later of a proposal to plant a colony of English Catholics 
in America for which Gilbert assigned a portion of the 
rights granted to him. 

Richard Eden, in the preface of his translation of 
Peter Martyr's Decades y 1555, regrets that such a large 
portion of America remained unexplored, its oppor- 
tunities for trade unavailed of, and its inhabitants uncon- 

F 2 


verted. He urged his fellow-countrymen to undertake 
the glorious work, but does not suggest that it should 
be done by means of colonization. 

A few years later, 1563, that bombastical pirate, 
Thomas Stukeley ("Lusty Stukeley"), appeared before 
Elizabeth, and declared his intention of founding a king- 
dom in Florida, from whence he would write to her, "in 
the style of one prince to another, as his 'dear sister.' " 
His real design, however, was very shortly revealed; 
"the sea was his Florida," for he retired to his old haunts 
on the south coast of Ireland, and resumed his old trade 
of piracy. His empty boasting was not taken seriously, 
and cannot be said to have any historical significance. 

In fact, nowhere can there be found a definite genuine 
proposal to plant an English colony in the New World, 
until Humphrey Gilbert evolved and propounded the 
scheme. The idea did not come to him in its entirety 
at once, but gradually unfolded itself in his mind ; there- 
fore the importance of tracing all the little details in 
his life, especially all those bearing upon this question, 
is manifest, and is of surpassing interest, — seeing its 
stupendous issue. 

In passing let it be noted that Ralegh, to whom has 
been attributed the authorship of the colonization idea 
in England, was between thirteen and fourteen years old 
at this time. 

But Gilbert had to curb his adventurous spirit, and 
in July was obliged to accompany the troops to Ireland, 
as has been already related. As soon as he was able, 
however, he was back again in England. Carrying 
dispatches from Sidney to Elizabeth, he reached London 
in November 1566, at about the time when the Act of 
Incorporation of the Merchant Adventurers Company 
was passed, and doubtless thought it an opportune time 
for the furtherance of the scheme he had so much at 
heart. Counting no doubt upon his interest at Court, 
he presented the following petition for the gracious 
consideration of her Majesty : — 


" Forasmuch as it hath pleased your Majesty to estab- 
lish by Parliament the Corporation for the discovery of 
new trades, I, your Higness' humble servant and sub- 
ject, Humfrey Gylberte, being one of the same company, 
am thereby encouraged and mind with your Majesty's 
license and favour to enterprise and give the attempt 
with all possible speed, for the discovery of a passage to 
Cathay, and all the other rich parts of the world, hitherto 
not found. Which taking good success shall be great 
honour and strength to Your Majesty with immortal 
fame throughout the world, besides the great enriching 
of Your Higness and your country with increase and 
maintenance of your navy. It may therefore please Your 
Majesty to grant me these privileges following, as well 
in consideration of premises, as also of the great charges 
that I shall sustain by setting forward the same, besides 
the apparent miserable travell hazard and peril of my 
life. Wherein I submit my self to the good pleasure and 
will of God. 

"i. First that it may please Your Highness for 
the first four voyages, so as the same be performed 
within the space of ten years next following March 
come twelvemonths, viz. being in Anno 1568, to 
grant to me the use and occupation at Your 
Majesty's adventure, of such two of Your Majesty's 
ships with their furnitures mete for such a voyage 
as by Your Higness Lord Admiral shall be thought 
fit for such a service with Your Majesty's com- 
mission if need shall be for the oppressing of 
mariners and other persons mete for same. 

"2. And also that I and the heirs male of my 
body and for default of such issue then the heirs 
male of the body of Otis Gilbert deceased, may and 
shall pay but half the Custom and subsidy payable 
by English men born for such goods and mer- 
chandize as we shall by the space, of years by 
our selves deputies or assigns, being English born, 
transport or cause to be transported in one or two 


ships or vessels unto any place or places hereafter 
to be by me, my aid or advice discovered towards 
the northwest or any part of the west, and also 
shall pay but I2d. for every ton of merchandize 
brought from such places during the said time in 
two such ships aforesaid, and no more whatsoever 
might otherwise have growing to Your Highness 
heirs or successors for any such merchandize so 
brought or transplanted as aforesaid. 

"3. Also that I and my heirs may have and 
enjoy of Your Majesty's gift, the tenth part of all 
such lands, territories, and countries as shall be 
discovered as is aforesaid towards any part of the 
north and west as shall be by us chosen with all 
the profit thereto appertaining with free passage 
egress and regress to the same, holding the same 
of your Majesty, your heirs and succesors by the 
yearly rent of a knight's fee, for all manner of 
service and other payments to be set or taxed. 

"4. Also that it may please Your Majesty to 
grant me during my life the Captainship unto and 
government to Your Majesty's use of all such 
countries and territories as shall by me or my 
advice discovered as is aforesaid (with convenient 
fee and allowance for such a charge) and the same 
to be occupied and exercised by me or my deputy 
or deputies so as your Majesty shall allow of him 
or them by me to be nominated. 

"5. Also that it may please your Majesty to 
grant me and the heirs male of my body and for 
default of such issue to the heirs male of Otis 
Gilbert deceased, the one half of your Majesty's part 
of such goods, fines and forfeitures or penalties as 
shall hereafter fortune to be forfeited by infringing 
the privilege of the said corporation for any offence 
committed towards the northwest or taking any 
point of the west. 

"6. Also that all ships as shall from time to 


time be employed about the traffic into any of the 
discovered countries of any corporation for dis- 
covery of new trades, both outwards and home- 
wards with their gynge (?) may be free forever of 
all arrests, imprests, and impeachments for any 
common service of the Realm unless it be at the 
setting forth of a general army and navy and by 
virtue of your Highness special commission for 
the same under your Bill signed." 

The Act, just passed, granted to the Corporation of 
the Merchants Adventurers the sole right to trade with 
any places northwards, north-eastwards, or north-west- 
wards from London, not known or frequented prior to 
the recent voyages undertaken by the Company. There 
was therefore some question whether or not the 
privileges asked for by Humphrey Gilbert were an 
infringement of the rights of the Company, and his 
petition was accordingly submitted to them for their 
comment and approval. The reply made is tabulated 
side by side with his petition. 

To the first and second articles it was replied — 

"Touching the aid of shipping and releasement of 
custom it is not prejudicial to the Company if it please 
Her Majesty to grant them, notwithstanding since the 
Company have from the beginning of the first attempt 
minded the discovery of Cathay and have made divers 
attempts thereof and are determined so to do again 
either by the northeast or by the northwest. They 
desire to have the rule and ordering of all discoveries 
towards the said parts agreeing to their privileges 
wherein they will not refuse but desire the good advice 
helf and conference of Mr. Gilbert, if it please him, 
with reasonable conditions to enterprise it or to assist 
them therein. 

"Item, The said fellowship doth mislike wholly the 
third request as derogatory to their privileges. For it 
is granted to them that they shall and may subdue 


possess and occupy all manner of towns, isles, and 
main lands of the Infidels, lying northwards, northeast- 
wards, or northwestwards, which shall be found, as 
vassals and subjects of the realm, and to acquire the 
title dominion and jurisdiction of those places to be 
found, unto the Queen's majesty and her successors 
for ever. Moreover it is granted to the said fellowship 
that none shall traffic, visit, or sail to any such country 
^ying as is aforesaid undiscovered without the order 
and agreement of the said fellowship. 

"Touching the fourth request the said fellowship can 
very well like that Mr. Gilbert accepting the freedom 
of the said society may be appointed in person and not 
by substitute to be captain and governor of the countries 
by his travel to be found, so as the liberty of traffic and 
the privileges aforesaid be entirely preserved to the 
said fellowship. 

"To the fifth and sixth the said society submit them- 
selves to the Queen's Majesty's pleasure." 

In the preamble to his petition the discovery of a 
north-west passage to Cathay is offered as the first 
inducement, but the body of the petition treats mainly 
of the rights and privileges to be granted him in the 
countries he might discover. 

Following up the idea of colonization expressed in 
his Discourse, he petitions that he should be appointed 
governor of all the lands he might discover, and have 
a grant in fee of one-tenth of the same. Colonization is 
therefore implied, although it is not proposed in so 
many words. 

But again he was forced to control his ambitions. 
Prompted by the opposition of the Merchant Adven- 
turers Company, Elizabeth, as we have heard, sent him 
back to Ireland, charged with a mission to plant a 
colony there instead of in the New World. This 
association of ideas is certainly remarkable, and the 
speculation naturally arises whether the design for 
colonizing Ulster may not have originated with 


Humphrey Gilbert himself and have been proposed to 
Elizabeth by him, or whether his petition may not at 
least have suggested the idea to her, or to its projectors, 
whoever they were. 

Some years were to elapse before he could again 
return to his favourite project. 

There are two copies of Gilbert's petition in the 
Record Office, neither of them is signed nor dated, 
and but one is in Gilbert's handwriting. Owing to 
some internal differences in dates it is evident that one 
was written some months before the other, the first 
probably in May or June, and the second in November, 
1566. From a letter written by Anthony Jenkinson to 
Cecil early in 1566, it seems that he also was interested 
in this petition. He asks permission to undertake an 
expedition to discover Cathay, and says that he had 
talked the matter over with Gilbert, that they had 
determined to make the trial at their own charges, and 
that he had asked Gilbert to solicit the privilege on 
their joint account. The petitions, however, make no 
reference to him. 



During Sir Humphrey Gilbert's visit to England in 
1570, bearing upon him *'the blushing honours" of 
knighthood, he wooed and won Mistress Anne Ager, the 
daughter of Sir Anthony Ager, of Otterden, Kent, and 
heiress of a considerable fortune. Her father had been 
Marshal of Calais when it was taken by the French 
in 1558, and had lost his life in its defence, "having," 
says Stowe, "performed many notable deeds of valour." 
"Preferring to die rather than join those who betrayed 
the city," says another writer. 

Gilbert was then in his thirty-second year, and was 
doubtless a gallant figure when he went a-wooing 
Mistress Anne, and easily won her heart and hand. Of 
his personal appearance we have no accurate descrip^ 
tion, beyond the statement of Hooker that he was "a 
man of higher stature than the common sort and of 
complexion cholericke." Sir Walter Ralegh was about 
six feet in height, and of a powerful build, his hair and 
beard were black and wavy, his eyes dark and piercing ; 
a description which, with a change in colouring, would 
very probably answer for Sir Humphrey Gilbert. No 
striking family likeness, however, is to be observed in 
their portraits. Gilbert's is the handsomer, the more 
refined, the more intellectual face; but it lacks the 
strength and fire which are noticeable in all the portraits 
of Walter Ralegh. 

Gascoigne the poet, writing of Gilbert about this time, 
says he was "well and worshipfully born and bred, 
endowed with great gifts of the mind and well given 



to the advancement of knowledge and virtue." He had 
long familiarity with the Court of Elizabeth, was a 
soldier of renown, having distinguished himself by his 
recent services in Ireland, and was heir to his brother 
Sir John Gilbert, besides having considerable landed 
property of his own. He was undoubtedly quite a 
"parti," and the young couple doubtless began their 
wedded life with every prospect of happiness. 

We know little of Lady Gilbert, but cannot imagine 
that her life was a very happy one. The wives of 
enthusiasts are seldom happy. For Gilbert's coloniza- 
tion schemes were to become an absorbing passion, and 
upon them he lavished not only his own but his wife's 
fortune. But not to anticipate the story, their outset 
in life was no doubt brilliant. 

In the thirteen years of their married life she bore 
him six sons and one daughter. Their names were — 
(i) John, who succeeded to the title and left no issue; 
(2) Humphrey; (3) Otho, who died in Belgium; (4) 
Arthur, killed at the siege of Amiens; (5) Anthony; 
(6) Ralegh, who fell heir to the estates, and from whom 
the present family is descended. 

Their home may have been for a short time at 
Compton, and doubtless they often visited Greenway; 
from 1573 to 1578 they lived quietly at Limehouse,i and 
lastly at the Manor of Minster in Steppey. 

The next event to be recorded in Humphrey Gilbert's 
life is his representation of the town of Plymouth in 
Elizabeth's fourth Parliament, which sat from April 2 
to May 29 in the year 1571. Associated with him was 
Sir John Hawkins, who resided in Plymouth and 

1 Limehouse. — In Stowe's London we find the following interest- 
ing account of Limehouse : — " There hath been of late, in place of 
elm trees, many small tenements raised towards Ratcliffe ; and 
Ratcliffe itself hath been also increased in building eastward, in place 
where I have known a large highway, with fine elm trees on both 
sides, that the same hath now taken hold of Lime Hurst or Lime 
Host, corruptly called Lime House, sometime distant a mile from 


enjoyed great popularity with his fellow citizens. The 
Gilbert family owned a good deal of property both in 
and around Plymouth, and it was probably through this 
interest that he obtained his election. The seafaring 
population of Plymouth was well represented. 

Elizabeth was always extremely averse to summoning 
Parliament, and only dire necessity, in the shape of 
want of funds, ever compelled her to do so. This par- 
ticular Parliament was composed principally of the ultra- 
Protestant party, and proved to be more independent, 
and more determined to stand upon its rights than any 
Elizabeth had had to contend with before. She was a 
very masterful young woman at this period, and had 
a more exalted opinion of the prerogative of the Crown 
than even her august father, Henry VIII. But this 
session she met her match. The House quietly ignored 
the insignificant program laid down for them in the 
Speech from the Throne, and proceeded to discuss 
matters of graver import with a freedom of speech 
hitherto unknown. Theoretically, freedom of speech 
was the dearest privilege of the House, and had been 
frankly and fully admitted by Henry VIII, but Eliza- 
beth continually endeavoured to interfere in the debates, 
and even ordered members into arrest for daring to speak 
on subjects she declared to be taboo. When the matter 
of granting Letters Patent to some Bristol merchants, 
giving them a monopoly of the salt trade, was under 
discussion, she sent a peremptory message to the House 
telling them not to waste time debating matters which 
did not concern them. The granting of monopolies was 
one of the most treasured prerogatives of the Crown, 
and the source of considerable revenue. At first they 
had been instituted under the guise of fostering trade, 
but they had become gross impositions. From this time 
forth, in spite of Elizabeth's arbitrary message, they 
were freely criticized, and the principle condemned by 
the Commons, until, at her very last Parliament, the 
aged Queen bowed to the inevitable, and withdrew every 


patent she had granted, apostrophizing the patentees 
as "harpies and horse-leeches." 

But on this occasion she had a vaHant champion in 
the House in the person of Humphrey Gilbert. The 
Speaker, Fleetwood, on receipt of Elizabeth's message, 
called the attention of the House to the fact that the 
granting of patents was the prerogative of the Crown 
solely, when Humphrey Gilbert arose, and spoke 
vehemently in support of Fleetwood's statement. He 
denounced the motion which had been made condemn- 
ing the issue of the patent in question as a vain device, 
and an infringement of the prerogative of the Crown. 
"What was the difference," he asked, "between saying 
that the Queen was not to use the privileges of the 
Crown and saying that she was not Queen ? " He 
warned the House not to trespass upon her known 
clemency, that it was not good to sport with princes, 
and to take heed lest, if they persisted in their inter- 
ference, the Queen should exercise her powers, extirpate 
their challenged liberty, and assume an arbitrary sway. 

That Gilbert should have taken the part of the Queen 
against the Commons, was to be expected from his long 
and intimate connection with the Court, but one would 
hardly have expected a man of his enlightenment to have 
taken this particular opportunity to do so. The abuse 
was flagrant, and in this instance meant the ruin of some 
seven thousand industrious people for the enrichment of 
a few merchants who had "a pull" at Court. Nothing 
more was said at the time, but a few days afterwards a 
staunch patriot, Peter Wentworth,^ attacked Gilbert in 
unmeasured terms. He said the speech was an insult to 
the House of Commons, accused Gilbert of untruly in- 
forming her Majesty of a motion made in the House on 

^ Peter Wentworth was a patriot who deserves ever to be held in 
remembrance. Again and again in EHzabeth's Parliaments, he arose to 
defend the liberties and rights of the Commons. Twice he was ordered 
to the Tower as a punishment for his freedom of speech, the first 
occasion in 1576 for a month only, but on the second occasion he was 
imprisoned for a longer period and ended his days there. 


the Queen*s prerogative, of fawning upon his Sovereign, 
compared him to a chameleon which can change itself 
to all colours except white, and called him "a flatterer, 
a liar, and a naughtie man." Gilbert vainly endeavoured 
to defend himself against these accusations; three times 
he essayed to speak, but each time "received the denial 
of the House." 

This incident affords another example of the extrava- 
gant devotion offered to Elizabeth by her courtiers; no 
adulation was too gross and no language too florid in 
which to sing her praises; she was almost a deity in 
their eyes; and no doubt Gilbert was frankly aghast 
that any of her august prerogatives should be assailed. 

A short account of the transactions of this Parliament 
will not be amiss. On the first day it met for business 
a Bill was introduced compelling all persons to attend 
Church every Sunday, and to receive Communion twice 
a year according to the rites of the Church of England. 
For half the session the Commons debated this Bill, in 
spite of Elizabeth's warning that Church questions were 
outside of their province, — a position which she main- 
tained by refusing to give her assent to the Bill at the 
end of the session. 

Among the Acts passed were several upholding 
Elizabeth's title, declaring it to be high treason even 
to discuss the question of an heir to the throne, "except 
the same be the natural issue of her body." Camden, 
speaking of his personal knowledge says that a " double 
entendre " was conveyed in this sentence, which caused 
many unseemly jokes to be made. The publishing of 
Bulls, Pardons, or other documents from the See of 
Rome was made an act of high treason. The Act 
referred to in a previous chapter, forbidding any person 
to leave the country without licence, was passed. An 
important Act for the maintenance of navigation and 
increase of Mariners, renewing the permission to her 
Majesty's subjects to transport out of the Dominion any 
Herring or other Sea-fish ; permitting them to sell any 


Cods or Lings in barrels, "using no fraud or deceit in 
the barrelling thereof," decreeing a standard size for 
barrels of herring, and forbidding any fish caught by 
foreigners to be dried in England. An Act regulating 
the import of bow-staves, the preamble of which states, 
that "Whereas the use of Archery not only hath 
ever been but yet is, by God's special gift to the English 
nation, a singular defence to this Realm." An Act pro- 
hibiting any Hoy or Plate (small vessels) from trading 
to France or Norway, because the number of Hoys had 
marvellously increased to the decay of Mariners and 
Ships, — a line of reasoning which seems somewhat con- 
tradictory. Robert, Earle of Leicester, was permitted to 
found his Hospital at Warwick for the support of twelve 
old soldiers, which still continues its beneficent office, 
in the quaint manner then authorized, to the comfort 
of its favoured occupants and the delighted interest of 
visitors ever since. By another Act, all persons over the 
age of seven years were required to wear upon their 
heads, on Sundays and holy days, a cap of wool "knit, 
thicked, and dressed in England." Reforestation was 
enforced by another, in quite modern manner; and 
finally the whole raison d'etre of the Parliament, so 
far as Elizabeth was concerned, the granting to her of 
a subsidy of ;^ 100,000, was unanimously voted, and 
the session closed. 

Elizabeth, in her speech, expressed herself tolerably 
well satisfied with the work of the session, but remarked 
that "Some members of the Lower House had shown 
themselves arrogant and presumptuous, especially in 
venturing to question her prerogatives. They had for- 
gotten their duties by wasting their time in superfluous 
speech, and had meddled with matters not pertaining to 
them, nor within the capacity of their understanding. 
The audacious folly of this sort deserved her severest 

She had the right to the last word in this dispute, and 
she did not forget to use it. But, as we have had to 


record, Humphrey Gilbert was not among those con- 
temptuously termed "this sort." Probably as a reward 
for his devotion to his Queen at the expense of his 
country, Elizabeth issued Letters Patent on June 15, 
157 1, appointing him "Surveyor for seven years for 
executing the statutes, for the maintenance of artillery, 
horses, armour, and weapons, and the suppression of 
unlawful games, by which archery was greatly decayed." 
This appointment was renewed in 1575, also for a term 
of seven years. 

The statutes referred to principally are 33 Henry VH, 
Caps. 5 and 9, and 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, Cap. 2. 
By them were decreed the arms, armour, and horses 
each squire, knight and noble, according to his degree, 
was to maintain for the service of the Crown. These 
Acts apparently were more "honoured in the breach 
than in the observance," and it was determined to stir 
up the defaulters. Sir Humphrey was made General 
Surveyor, and six commissioners were appointed to 
assist him. Offenders against the laws were, however, 
to be permitted to compound their offences on payment 
of a fine, and of these fines Gilbert was to receive "one 
moiety and one-fifth of the other moiety," or three-fifths 
of the whole. We have no indication whether this 
office was genuine or merely a means by which Hum- 
phrey Gilbert could fill his purse, after the manner of 
similar patents showered upon Ralegh and other of 
Elizabeth's courtiers; nor have we any knowledge how 
he performed his duties. 

During the years 1571-72, Sir Humphrey was inter- 
ested with Sir Thomas Smyth, Lord Burleigh, and the 
Earl of Leicester in some experiments made by one 
Meadley, who declared he could turn iron into copper 
by means of vitriol. Strype gives us an account of the 
transaction in his Life of Sir Thomas Smyth,^ and some 

^ Sir Thomas Smyth was selected by Elizabeth for the post of 
Principal Secretary of State in succession to Lord Burleigh when he 
was advanced to the Lord Chancellorship. 


correspondence between Meadley and Lord Burleigh, 
preserved at the Record Office, fills in some details. 
Alchemy had not yet grown into the science of 
chemistry, and the transmutation of metals was firmly 
believed in. It nevertheless gives one somewhat of a 
shock to find these four men, leaders of thought in their 
day, so able and wise in many things, so easily duped 
by a common cheat. 

Sir Thomas Smyth seems to have been the leader in 
the matter, and to have induced first Gilbert and then 
the others, to join him. Strype thus describes the four 
partners. *'Sir Thomas Smythe," he says, "had a very 
busy active mind and a philosophical head," Lord 
Burleigh had also "a philosophical genius," Sir Hum- 
phrey Gilbert was **a learned knight and of a projecting 
head," and the Earl of Leicester "was very forward in 
offering iron and lead " to be transmuted. 

Meadley first changed iron into copper at Sir Thomas 
Smyth's house in London, but the process proved too 
expensive; he declared, however, that if he could find 
in England the "primum ens vitrioli," the cost would 
be very much less. Sir Thomas and Sir Humphrey 
furnished him with ;^ioo, and leased some property 
from Lady Mountjoy at ;^300 per annum, which would 
supply, Meadley declared, the necessary ingredients. 
Sir Thomas was now sent Ambassador to France, and 
the chief conduct of the affair devolved on Sir Hum- 
phrey. Presumably he either suspected Meadley of 
being an impostor, or perhaps thought he was con- 
cealing from them the knowledge he really possessed. 
Anyhow they immediately fell out. We don't know 
what Sir Humphrey said of Meadley, but Meadley wrote 
to Lord Burleigh in most virtuous indignation against 
Gilbert. He accused Smyth and Gilbert of sending a 
man to spy upon him, and to have taken Lady Mount- 
joy's house in their own name, excluding his. He com- 
plained that his name had been "scorched with ill 
report," and declares that he was ready to repay all the 



money he had received and "so cleanse his hands of 
such pytche." He said, Sir Humphrey "loketh to have 
attendance of me in things yt my nature can nott and 
wyll nott permitt," that "he regardeth neither word nor 
bonde," and that "if he offered violence he would do so 
at his perill." He then concludes by offering to let 
Burleigh into his secret and to make for him loo tons 
of perfect copper per annum. Another letter declares 
that he is still encountering "Mr. Gilbert's malice and 
foul policy," but offers, if his own name is included in 
the patent, and Gilbert's excluded, to proceed at once to 
work on Leicester's and Burleigh's soil. 

The patent he referred to was to incorporate into "The 
Society of the New Art," Burleigh, Smyth, Leicester, 
and Gilbert, to whom was granted the privilege of 
making copper and quicksilver by way of transmutation. 
Her Majesty was to receive two per cent, of the 

Gilbert now departed on his campaign to the Low 
Countries, but when Smyth came back, he was still so 
convinced of the possibility of the transaction that he 
made peace with Meadley and set him to work again, 
but the only result was a crop of debts. Smyth and 
Gilbert lost over ^400 in the transaction. How this 
august company finally became disillusionized and dis- 
solved partnership is not related. Strype says, "I make 
no doubt that Sir Thomas smarted in his purse for his 
chymical covetousness, and Gilbert seems to have been 
impoverished by it, while Meadley was beggared, for 
I find him two years after made prisoner for debt." 




Sir Humphrey Gilbert began his military career 
fighting with the Huguenots against the Catholic party 
in Normandy in 1562; and we now find him employed 
ten years later fighting on behalf of the Protestants in 
the Netherlands against their Spanish oppressors. The 
Spanish yoke had borne heavily upon the Low Countries, 
and at this period they appeared to be reduced to a con- 
dition of utter hopelessness. Rebellion seemed out of 
the question. 

Margaret of Parma, who governed in the Netherlands 
on behalf of her brother, Philip H, had ruled the 
unhappy country with a rod of iron. Among other 
ordinances, intended to quench the burning zeal of the 
Protestant Reformers, she gave orders that all heretics 
were to be slain, whether they had given in their allegiance 
or not ; and Alva, who had just succeeded her, continued 
this career of butchery, and openly boasted that, by his 
orders, he had done to death no less than 1 8,600 Protestants. 
William the Silent had been driven to exile, and the few 
who still had the hardihood to defy Spain, like the 
rebelling West Countrymen in Mary's reign, took to 
the sea and carried on an irregular warfare against the 
Spanish shipping. They were known as "Sea Gueux," 
or "water beggars," and conducted their operations 
largely from English ports, having the open sympathy 
of the people, and the connivance, if nothing more, of 
the Court. 

In January 1572, the Spanish Ambassador waited upon 
Elizabeth, and made formal complaint against the sup- 
port and assistance given to these patriot pirates by the 
English. It suited Elizabeth's policy at the time to 
G2 83 


stand well with Spain, and she accordingly issued a 
proclamation commanding all Netherlanders, suspected 
of hostile designs against Spain, at once to leave Eng- 
land, and ordering that all ships of war belonging to 
them then harbouring in English ports should be seized 
and confiscated. An additional reason for this edict 
was that the Easterling merchants complained that their 
trade was being interfered with by the Sea Gueux. 

It so happened that one of the most able of Dutch sea 
rovers, William Van der Merk, then lay in Dover with 
several ships. Being warned in time, he slipped away, 
and driven to desperation, made a descent upon the 
town of Brill, thus carrying out an intention which had 
been contemplated for some time. The townspeople 
fled in dismay, and the "water beggars" took posses- 
sion of the town, venting their enmity upon the Catholic 
priests and churches only. In a few days most of the 
townspeople returned and threw in their lot with their 
assailants. The revolt spread rapidly; Flushing and 
nearly all the other chief cities followed the example of 
Brill, and made a desperate effort to throw off the yoke 
of Spain. They invited William of Orange to return 
and assume the Government, and urgently appealed for 
help to the Protestant Queen of England. 

Elizabeth, whose policy was to "run with the hare 
and hunt with the hounds," desired to encourage the 
revolt without coming to an open breach with Spain. 
By the Treaty of Blois, April 19, 1572, France and 
England agreed surreptitiously to assist the Nether- 
landers. Bands of Englishmen were therefore encour- 
aged to go to their aid. Just at this time there was quite 
an outburst of military enthusiasm in London. All 
through the winter large numbers of recruits had 
mustered weekly for training in martial exercises. On 
May Day they paraded before the Queen at Greenwich, 
"where," says Stow, "they showed many warlike feats, 
but were hindered by the weather." 

Whether it was in the enthusiasm for their newly- 


acquired military exercises, or influenced by direct 
encouragement from the Queen, the troops which went 
across to the Netherlands appear to have been drawn 
largely from these musters. The first detachment, 
numbering about 300, was under the command of the 
bold Thomas Morgan. They were received into Flushing, 
and valiantly assisted the townspeople in repelling an 
attack from the Spaniards. Morgan wrote letters to 
England, telling of the strength and richness of the 
town, and induced Sir Humphrey Gilbert to contract 
with the Flushingers to raise troops and come to their 
assistance. Accordingly, in July he crossed the Channel 
with ten bands numbering altogether 1500 men. 

In examining into the circumstances surrounding this 
expedition under Gilbert, there is again unearthed one 
of those strange deeds of duplicity with which Elizabeth 
conducted her foreign policy. Not that Elizabeth was 
singular in this respect. Machiavelli's Prince ^ was then 
the guide-book for diplomatic conduct, and Qui nescit 
dissimulare nescit regnare was the motto generally 
acted upon. As in the case of the Huguenots, the assist- 
ance of Elizabeth had been gained by the offer to her of 
the town of Newhaven ; so now the Netherlanders tried 
to bribe her by the promise of Flushing. The Spanish 
Ambassador, De Guaras, wrote to the Duke of Alva on 
June 30: "She told me that emissaries were coming 
every day from Flushing to her, proposing to place 
the town in her hands. If it was for the service of his 
Majesty, and if his Majesty approved, she said, she 
would accept the offer. With the English who were 
already there and with others whom she would send 
over for the purpose, it would be easy for her to take 
entire possession of the place, and she would then make 
it over to the Duke of Alva or to any one whom the Duke 
w^ould appoint to receive it." 

* Even at that time this sinister motive was recognized. Arch- 
bishop Parker, writing to Lord Burleigh—" This Machiavell govern- 
ment is strange to me for it bringeth forth strange fruit." 


De Guaras could have had no object in misrepresenting 
Elizabeth, nor is it possible that he could have mis- 
understood her, and we can only conclude that Elizabeth 
either actually contemplated this piece of blackest 
treachery to the Netherlanders, or wished to make it 
appear to Spain that she intended it. Whatever the 
design may have been, Gilbert went over and fought 
desperately against the Spaniards, and every precaution 
was taken to make it appear that he did so entirely with- 
out the knowledge and support of the Queen and her 
Council. We are therefore encouraged to hope that the 
idea of winning Spain's neutrality by such a piece of 
treachery was abandoned.^ 

We are now faced with another problem. Was Eliza- 
beth moved by a genuine desire to help the Nether- 
landers against England's arch-enemy, Spain, or was 
the mainspring of her actions the intention to hold 
Flushing, and how far was Sir Humphrey Gilbert aware 
of the real design ? Before we can arrive at any con- 
clusion it is first necessary to follow exactly what 

Alva was kept carefully informed of the course of 
events in England. He had been advised that Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert was to be sent to Flushing some time 
before his departure ; and on July 22, he received a letter 
telling of the equipment of Gilbert's band and its arrival 
at Flushing. This seems to have taken place early in 
July, 1572. Sir Humphrey Gilbert found his position 
greatly complicated by the presence at Flushing of ^ 
number of Huguenots, who had gone to the assistance 
of their Protestant friends. On July 15, he agreed to a 
form of capitulation with the Governor and Borough- 
men of Flushing on behalf of both the French and 

* It appears that in addition to sending troops to the Netherlands, 
Elizabeth also lent them money. Ralegh, when on trial for his life, 
said, " I knew the Queen of England*lent not her money to the States, 
but she had Flushing, Brill, and other towns in assurance for it. She 
lent not her money to the King of France without she had Newhaven 
for it." 


English volunteers. Two hundred English and the 
same number of French were to remain in the town for 
a guard, and in case of attack equal numbers of both 
nations were to be received, but neither was allowed 
to control the situation. All the wounded and sick were 
to be sheltered in the town without respect to numbers. 
The gentlemen and soldiers of both nations were to have 
free access to the town if provided with proper pass- 

One would imagine from this that the townspeople 
of Flushing, knowing the offers which had been made 
to deliver their town to Elizabeth, were determined to 
guard themselves against any such eventuality. They 
evidently looked upon their volunteer allies with grave 
suspicion. Froude, who has examined this episode with 
great care, thinks that the rumour of Elizabeth's pro- 
posed treachery had reached their ears, and that "Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert, little knowing the service which 
Elizabeth had rendered him, was at a loss to compre- 
hend the hostility with which he found himself 

The commander of the Flushingers was t'Zaareets, 
or, as he is generally called in English accounts, Sara 
or Zara. With him Gilbert had a sort of divisum 
imperium, which was not properly defined, and led to 
many misunderstandings and jealousies. 

With the exception of Gilbert's letters and con- 
temporary State Papers, the only detailed account we 
have of this campaign was written by Sir Roger 
Williams, and published in 1618, under the title The 
Actions of the Lowe Countries. Sir Roger Williams 
served all through the campaign, and, as we shall see, 
had but a poor opinion of the manner in which it was 
conducted. One other account we have in the narrative 
poem of Gascoigne, called **Dulce Bellum," but this 
latter gives more particularly Gascoigne's personal 
adventures, gallant and ungallant, and is so confused 
that it is of little historical value. It is hard to dis- 


tinguish, to use his own phrase, *"twixt broyles and 
bloudie warres." 

Gilbert and t*Zaareets decided first to make an 
expedition into Flanders and to endeavour to take 
Bruges, which they were informed was poorly garrisoned. 
Landing opposite to Flushing with 1400 English, 400 
Walloons, and 600 French troops, they occupied the 
village of Ardenburgh, intending from thence to attack 
Sluys and Bruges. Some 800 troops were placed in 
ambush during the night, near the gates of Sluys, and 
when the gates were opened in the morning they might 
easily have taken the town; but having been told "to 
lie close," they did so literally, and lost their oppor- 
tunity. As soon as they were discovered by the towns- 
people, a smart artillery fire was opened on them, 
followed by a sortie. 

Sir Humphrey and t'Zaareets now arrived on the scene, 
and the townspeople were driven back. The Spanish 
commander then began a parley as if he intended to 
surrender the town, but in reality to gain time until he 
could communicate with the Duke of Alva. At the 
end of four days, when the allied troops went to receive 
his submission, they were greeted with such a hot 
artillery fire that they "retired faster than they came." 
Gilbert and t'Zaareets next decided to attack Bruges. 
Arriving opposite the town at break of day, they sent a 
trumpeter to demand its surrender. The commander, 
the Count de Reux, rudely replied that he would see 
them hanged first. This is not a figurative speech. 

The historian proceeds: "Sir Humphrey was then in 
great choler, swearing divers oathes that he would put 
all to the sworde unlesse they would yeeld." 

But t'Zaareets persuaded him to retire without making 
an assault, which was done all the more quickly 
when they heard that large reinforcements were on the 

Lying at Ardenburgh a few days afterwards, they 
heard of a convoy on the way to Bruges, and ambushing 


it successfully, killed many of the troops, and took the 
artillery and supplies. But being informed that a large 
body of Spanish troops, under Juliano Romero, was 
marching into Flanders, they hastily retreated. Roger 
Williams, who is not without a vein of humour, says, 
"this newes made us not to take counsell twice about 
our retraite. Whereupon we marched with all speed 
towards Flushing." 

But instead of returning at once to Flushing, they 
decided to cross to the island of South Beveland, and 
to besiege the town of Tergoes, having been informed 
that it was poorly garrisoned. But to their surprise 
and discomfiture they found it well defended by a Spanish 
garrison under Pedro Pacheco. 

The attacking party under Morgan was surprised by 
Pacheco, and defeated with considerable loss before 
Gilbert and t'Zaareets arrived. William says, "I per- 
suaded myself the moste of them were afraid. I am to 
blame to judge their minds, but let me speake troth. I 
doe assure you it was not without reason, for the most 
of us entered with Yorke were slaine; such as escaped 
swam and struggled through muddy ditches." 

The next day Pacheco sallied out and attacked his 
besiegers, but was driven back with much loss. 
Williams here blames his commanders for not having 
cut off Pacheco from the town, which would have been 
quite possible had they known the country. It was no 
excuse that they did not know the way. As Williams 
rightly remarks, "A commander who enters the enemie's 
countries ought to know the places he doth attempt, or 
be furnisht with guides. . . . But we were so ignor- 
ant that we knew not our own state, much less the 

The next day they abandoned the siege, "for want 
of artilleries," it was alleged, and returned to Flushing. 
Arriving at the town, they received a rebuff from the 
inhabitants, who refused to let them enter until they 
had wiped out the disgrace of their unsuccessful cam- 


paign, whereupon they retired to the Httle village of 

While lying there they were attacked by a powerful 
Spanish force from the city of Middleburgh, who, by 
way of striking terror into the hearts of the allied troops, 
"prepared a great number of haulters, giving them to 
their soldiers with a commandment to hang all the 
prisoners they should take." "But," continues Williams, 
"it is no surety to reckon without an host, — for the 
allied troops gave the enemy a complete overthrow, 
driving them clean out of the Campe, and follow- 
ing them in defeate half-way to Middleburgh. After, 
our men hung a number of them with their own 

This act of valour restored their prestige in the eyes 
of the townspeople, and they were again admitted into 
the town. 

Dissensions and jealousies now began to break out 
between the English and the French, and the towns- 
people apparently sided at first with the latter. Lord 
Burleigh, writing to the Earl of Leicester on Aug. lo, 
gives us an indication of the intention of Elizabeth and 
her Council in sending Gilbert to Flushing. He says, 
"Our people in Zealand and the Low Countrys do not 
prosper, but fall to pillage. And beside that we see 
the French will prevent them of the town of Flushing, 
which if they shall do, there is no cause why they should 
continue there. We therefore do send over one, Pyck- 
man, a very wise and valiant man, to confer with Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert upon the estate, and principally to 
devise how they may prevent the French in the taking 
of Flushing." "Prevent" is, of course, used in the 
same sense as it is in the Book of Common Prayer, and 
proves that Flushing was the goal of their ambition, 
and the desire of helping the Netherlanders but a 
secondary consideration. 

Fortunately copies of both the instructions given to 
Pyckman and the letter which he carried to Sir Hum- 


phrey Gilbert have been preserved. They are excellent 
examples of the diplomacy of the day. 

The letter to Sir Humphrey Gilbert begins by ex- 
pressing the great concern that the Queen and her 
Council had for her subjects serving under him, many 
of them *'a choyse sorte of gentlemen of good estima- 
tion and habilitie"; and "although your goinge thither 
was without our direction, yet seeing you are there, 
our desires and Counsells are that some good order and 
government mighte be established amongst you for your 
own better government, — and to recover the likinge of 
the people of that lowe countrie to whose succor your 
first cominge was by you, as we take it, ment." He is 
enjoined to take counsell of Pyckman, and to return 
him speedily with an answer. 

Pyckman was evidently to carry by word of mouth 
the gist of the instructions to Gilbert. He was cautioned 
not to let it be known that he went to the Low Countries 
except "of his own private mind," and he and Gilbert 
were to be doubly cautious that the matter of their con- 
ferences was not to get abroad. Pyckman was informed 
that Gilbert had left Flushing and made an incursion 
into Flanders which had not been very successful, 
although the English had acted with great bravery. 
The Council thought that Gilbert's troops had been 
unnecessarily made to bear the brunt of every encounter, 
and that the French had drawn him away from Flushing 
in order that they might take possession of it them- 

They then disclosed the real purpose of the expedition 
in the following : "And for that Sir Humphrey Gilberte 
well knoweth, that if that towne should so be by them 
possessed, the fruites of his journey were voide, and 
that wee see no purpose at all of the aboade of him or 
any of his Companie in those partes, if it be gotten 
and kept by the French, he shall there forthwith use 
all good policie to prevent the perill, and not to omit 
any occasion to recover the towne and to indevor to 


gayne the good will of the inhabitants by assuring of 
them that his intention is wholly to healpe them to their 
auncient liberties." How the town was to be got into his 
power, they left to his own consideration, "and of those 
who will be secreat with him. . . . For if the French 
have any inkling of his intent he will be prevented." 
Pyckman was instructed to tell Gilbert that the Duke of 
Alva had complained of the presence of his band in 
the Netherlands, who, Alva said, had given out that 
they were there by her Majesty's commands. As it 
was not true that her Majesty had sent them there, the 
statement must be contradicted, and in such a way that it 
should get to Alva's ears. Gilbert was to let it be known 
that, far from having any designs upon any territory 
of the King of Spain, they were only anxious to prevent 
it from falling into the hands of his enemies, "and in 
thus doinge the verie truthe of her majestie's intention 
shall be uttered." But in the next paragraph Gilbert 
is again instructed to give his attention to the keeping 
of Flushing and the recovery and keeping of Sluys. 

Another letter for Sir Humphrey was confided to 
Pyckman. It contained instructions to return to Eng- 
land with all his troops, but was only to be used if he 
happened "to be in any place distante from Flushing, 
and thereby take occasion to withdraw himself and his 
nombers to the enterprise of Flushing, upon pretence 
of his cominge awaye by the commandment of the same 

It would be hard to get more varieties of duplicity 
in one letter. The French, the Spaniards, the Nether- 
landers were all to be deceived in turn. Every action 
was but to be the blind for some other. One could be 
certain beforehand that it would not be possible to 
pursue such a devious path successfully. Gilbert, how- 
ever, appears to have succeeded in establishing himself 
in Flushing, whether by force or policy we are not 
informed, and to have held it until the final denouement. 

Gilbert wrote to Burleigh on Aug. 13, telling him that 


he had heard a large number of French were shortly to 
come to Flushing. He asked for instructions what to 
do therein, as he was otherwise determined to leave the 

"They practise here," he said, "to use our soldiers 
very evil, and to banish those of the townspeople that 
are our friends; and do in effect starve the English 
soldiers by practice, only to cause mutinies to have the 
soldiers run away, so that I and the few English that 
be in this town are sure to be murdered if I continue 
here. Therefore my most humble suit is that I know 
without delay what her Majesty will have done touch- 
ing this island and town. If her Majesty or your 
Honour will have me do it, I will procure a mutiny, if 
I can, between the townspeople and the French, and 
will take the townspeople's part, and will die for it and 
all my people, except we cut all the Frenchmen in pieces 
and the Governor also. I know this is the like plot laid 
for us." He asks for a galley and one or two frigates 
in order that the plot may be more certain. He praises 
his soldiers highly, saying they had fought valiantly 
on the 9th, "had killed diverse Spaniards, and made 
them run away towards Middleburgh three miles like 

He thanks Burleigh for his favours, and will be at all 
times ready to take anything in hand, "with Gideon's 

On Aug. 29, Sir Humphrey wrote again to Burleigh, 
informing him that they were to join forces with the 
Prince of Orange on the 31st; but in a postscript he 
adds that the project w^as deferred through the cowardice 
of t'Zaareets, the Dutch commander, "who hardly dares 
do anything that is accompanied by danger." Gilbert 
thought this an opportune time to press for the payment 
of the money due to himself and his troops for their 
services in Ireland three years previously, and begs 
Lord Burleigh "to procure that I may be paid the sum 
so soon as may be, for that my utter undoing dependeth 


thereon. I having mortgaged certain lands and entered 
into great bonds for the payment of money, all which 
if they be not paid will turn to my discredit for ever, 
and therefore I do desire your honour to stand my good 
Lord as always heretofore you have done, otherwise I 
had quailed long ere this." 

This was followed by a letter on Sept. 3, giving full 
particulars of the strength of the armies of the Prince 
of Orange and the Duke of Alva. Encouraged by their 
success at Souburg, they had decided to make another 
attack upon Tergoes on the 6th instant. Not a single 
French soldier remained at Flushing, so if there were 
more English sent over before the French should return, 
the place might be possessed without bloodshed. Yet 
nothing could be attempted unless the English were 
masters of the sea, otherwise the ships of war belonging 
to the town could cut off all their supplies. 

When he next wrote, three days afterwards, he had 
just heard of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, at 
which he was greatly moved, but trusted it was not so 
horrible as report said. He hoped that Burleigh would 
point out to the Queen the danger ready to fall on her if 
she did not look to taking revenge for these atrocities, 
seeing that if the opportunity favours, there is nothing 
else to look for but the tragical destruction of all the 
Protestants in Europe. He reported that affairs in the 
Low Countries were in such train that if the Prince of 
Orange had but moderate succour he would utterly over- 
throw the Duke of Alva, and consequently all the other 
enemies of Christianity. This letter was written from 
before Tergoes, the siege of which had been begun as 
intimated in the previous letter. On the next day he 
wrote again, declaring that with a little more help he 
would be able to place both the islands of Walchern and 
South Beveland in the hands of her Majesty, and added 
the following curious postscript, showing that he knew 
full well that her Majesty's instructions were often 
meant for show only, and not intended to be carried out. 


*'I do know that Her Majesty and My Lords of the 
Council are many times enforced to pretend that they 
nothing desire. Wherefore what letter soever shall be 
sent me from the Lords of the Council for revoking of 
me home, I will think them but for form, except your 
Honour do write me your private letters to return, and 
then I will without delay, God willing, obey them, other- 
wise proceed here as I shall see cause." 

As an indication of the close espionage kept by Spain 
on the English Court, Antonio Fogaza wrote to the 
Duke of Alva on Sept. 8, informing him that Gilbert 
had sent the copy of a letter received by the Governor 
of Flushing, containing promises from the Admiral of 
France, to the effect, that if the Queen would join France 
and break with Spain, they would pay her 200,000 

Froude argues that it was through Elizabeth's double 
dealing that the massacre of St. Bartholomew was 
brought about. While pretending to receive Alencon's 
addresses and to join France against Spain, she was all 
the while secretly treating with Alva to make her own 
advantage out of the matter. When Catherine de Medici 
discovered this rapprochement between England and 
Spain, and saw that no assistance was to be gained 
from Protestant England, she threw the whole of her 
influence on the side of the Guises against the Huguenots, 
and authorized the massacre. This reasoning seems 
somewhat strained. On the contrary, it appears that 
Elizabeth at the time favoured the French alliance, but 
after the massacre she shifted her position and again 
encouraged Spain. 

The siege of Tergoes was found to be a matter of 
more difficulty than was at first supposed. The town 
was well defended by Pedro Pacheco, and the besiegers 
were so badly provided with the munitions of war that 
they were unable to pursue their advantages. A quarrel 
also arose between Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Morgan. 
Morgan considered himself insulted, and wanted to 


withdraw from Sir Humphrey Gilbert's command ; but, 
the informant says, the matter was too trivial to be called 
an insult, and he had endeavoured to make peace 
between them. 

Gilbert, writing from Flushing on Sept. 27 to Bur- 
leigh, asks him not to give heed to any complaints made 
against him by those "who had misused themselves.*' 

He was then returning to Tergoes, where they had 
made a breach and intended to assault, "which he utterly 
misliked yet could not let it, being agreed on in my 
absence." Williams seems to think the assault had 
a fair chance of success, but that their actions were 
greatly hampered by "a great picke and jealousie which 
grewe between Sir Humphrey and Saras, so each would 
fain disgrace his fellow." The result was that the 
"camisado" was repelled, with ten persons hurt and 
slain; but, says Sir Humphrey, "it was a marvel it had 
not cost 500 lives." After praising several of the gentle- 
men who distinguished themselves in this foolhardy 
assault, he adds that it had taught the Spaniards a 
wholesome lesson, that "they would be glad to make 
good wars with us, for that we have hanged so many 
of them and are liker to take of them than they of us." 

Williams records that both Sir Humphrey and Saras 
served very valiantly, but the failure "so quailed our 
courage that we despaired of the towne." But receiving 
large reinforcements from the Prince of Orange, they 
continued the siege. These new troops were, however, 
"simpler men than ourselves, yea, so rawe that they 
brought us every day into more disorders," says 

But the siege of Tergoes was soon to be brought to a 
conclusion by a most daring and remarkable feat of 
arms. The Spanish troops under Avila and Mondragon 
were assembled at Bergen-op-Zoom, distant from the 
island of South Beveland about eight miles, and separ- 
ated therefrom by half-submerged lands known as 
"Verdronken Lands." The problem of transport was 


a difficult one, but finally a peasant declared that there 
was a fordable path across these lands, and offered to 
lead the troops. The aged veteran, Mondragon, imme- 
diately decided to attempt the crossing, and selecting 
3000 of his ablest troops, plunged in first with the guide, 
followed in double column by his soldiers, and accom- 
plished the crossing with the loss of but a few men. He 
at once got into communication with Tergoes by means 
of beacons; and the besiegers, seeing that it was hope- 
less to endeavour to oppose them, fled to their ships in 
disorder, pursued by the Spaniards. Numbers of them 
were slain, and many of them were drowned before 
they could get on shipboard. Gilbert has left us no 
account of this disaster, and our information is derived 
from Sir Roger Williams, who tersely closes his 
narrative with the remark, ''So ended our ignorant poor 

Sir Humphrey and his troops were so discomfited by 
this defeat, that they decided to return to England, not- 
withstanding that the Prince of Orange offered them 
many inducements to remain. 

The Spanish agent, De Guaras, wrote on Nov. 4 that 
Lord Burleigh had informed him that "although no 
notice had been taken of the Queen's offer to recall the 
English troops, she had ordered Sir Humphrey Gilbert 
to return." But the Spaniards were not deceived by 
this plausible attempt to make a virtue of necessity. 
De Guaras wrote a few days later that Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert had returned on Nov. 5 with about 800 troops, 
and Antonio Fogaza added the interesting information 
that he went secretly to Court as soon as he landed and 
gave an account of his proceedings. He was then sent 
away as secretly as he had come, and was ordered to 
make a public entry into the city as if he had not been 
at Court, and to pretend that he dared not go thither 
until his friends had interceded and obtained pardon 
for him for having gone on the expedition without leave. 
"This is the sort of strategy they usually employ. The 


purpose being, of course, to be able to show the King 
that it was not done by the Queen's wish, whereas in 
reality nothing can be done without her license. I beg 
your Excellency to be convinced that these Englishmen 
would not have come back had they any place to go to 

A humiliating close to a disgraceful episode in 
English foreign politics. Gilbert and his brave followers 
were dispatched under false colours, and had to return 
by stealth. But his reputation does not necessarily 
suffer thereby. He was given a difficult and thankless 
part to play. If successful he would be acknowledged, 
if he failed he was to be disowned. Elizabeth's prin- 
cipal inducement in allowing the departure of the ex- 
pedition was to gain Flushing, but she dared not let 
Spain, France, or the Netherlands know of her inten- 
tion. Each was to be given a different reason for the 

She had agreed with France to assist the Lowlanders 
surreptitiously. Spain was told that Gilbert and his 
band had acted entirely against her wishes, and would 
be recalled if Spain desired it. The Lowlanders were 
given to understand that the help they received from 
England was entirely disinterested, while Gilbert was 
instructed to take and hold Flushing, else there was no 
object in his staying there. After the massacre of St. 
Bartholomew she desired to be on friendlier terms with 
Spain, and Gilbert returned in pretended disgrace, but 
nevertheless a continual stream of men and money 
poured across the Channel to the assistance of William 
of Orange. 

Elizabeth was an opportunist. Her motto might very 
properly have been "sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof," for she lived from day to day only, always 
avoiding a decision, and satisfied with any temporary 
respite. She now sided with France and now with 
Spain, played off one courtier against another, and drove 
the many suitors for her hand frantic by her pretended 


indecision. Her whole life was a puzzle to her Court, 
and is an everlasting problem for historians. 

We conclude that Gilbert was aware from the first that 
if possible he was to obtain possession of Flushing, and 
that help for the Netherlanders was a secondary con- 
sideration. But yet we can see that he was deeply inter- 
ested in the cause of his co-religionists. He was thrilled 
with horror by the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and 
he begged Burleigh to use his influence with the Queen 
to send more help to William of Orange. Perhaps the 
hope held out of obtaining some portion of the Low 
Countries was diplomatic on his own part. If Elizabeth 
would not help the Protestants for the sake of their 
religion, she might do so in the hope of acquiring 
territory of importance. 

In any case there was no pretence about the help he 
gave to the Netherlanders. That at least was as genuine 
as it w^as important. With little assistance, and without 
even moral support, by his efforts the Spaniards were 
held at bay for months, giving time to the Prince of 
Orange to assemble his forces. The rebellion thus 
begun, ended after desperate fighting in the establish- 
ment of the Republic of the United Netherlands in 

It is somewhat surprising to find that Motley dis- 
misses the assistance of the English in a brief line. The 
Dutch commander, t'Zaareets, whom Gilbert charges 
with cowardice and bad generalship, is given the credit 
for the successful actions fought by Gilbert and his 
English volunteers. 

We learn from Howe's continuation of Stow's 
Annals, 1615, that Walter Ralegh accompanied his 
brother throughout this campaign, a statement which 
seems to have escaped the notice of Ralegh's 
biographers, both ancient and modern. It yet appears 
to have been a most probable occurrence. Ralegh's 
history, before he attracted the notice of Elizabeth, 
is almost unknown. Many efforts have been made to 

H 2 


lift the veil which obscures it, but hitherto without 

Camden says he accompanied Henry Champernoun 
to France in 1569, where he fought on the side of the 
Huguenots, and it has been generally assumed that he 
remained there until 1576, but this cannot be demon- 
strated satisfactorily. 

That Ralegh would wish to accompany his brother 
on his knight-errant expedition to the Low Countries 
is most natural, and by assuming that he did so, another 
problem in his career is also satisfactorily solved. He is 
first heard of in London in 1576. In that year the poet 
Gascoigne published his satirical poem, "The Steele 
Glasse," to which are prefixed some verses signed 
"Walter Rawley, of the Middle Temple." 

The verses themselves are of little value either as 
poetry or evidence, and are only interesting as they 
indicate a certain amount of friendship and familiarity 
with Gascoigne. This is confirmed by the fact that 
Ralegh afterward adopted the motto Tarn Marte quam 
Met curio f which had always been used by Gascoigne. 

Where and when this friendship developed has never 
been explained, beyond the fact that it was probably 
through the instrumentality of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 
Gascoigne had never been in France, where Ralegh was 
supposed to have spent the years 1569 to 1576. In his 
narrative poems, entitled "A Voyage into Holland," 
and " Dulce Bellum," he tells us that he left England in 
March 1572, and joined Morgan's band of volunteers 
at Flushing. He was in Brill shortly after it was taken 
by the "Sea Gueux," whose dissolute conduct he 
describes, and was all through the campaign under 
Gilbert and t'Zaareet. Of the siege of Tergoes he 
writes — 

" I was again in trench before Tergoes. 
Yet surely this withouten bragge or boast 
Our English bloudes did there full many a deede 
Which may be chronicled in every coaste 


For bold attempts ; and well it was agreed 
That had their heads been ruled by warie-heedt 
Some othere feat had been attempted then 
To show their force like worthie English men." 

This criticism is presumably directed against t'Zaa- 
reets, for of Gilbert he had the highest opinion, as 
expressed in his Preface to Gilbert's Discourse of a 
Discoverie of a Passage to Cathay. Gilbert returned 
to England in 1572, but Gascoigne stayed on until the 
summer of 1574. Probably in the winter of 1575, he 
paid the visit to Gilbert at Limehouse, described in the 
Preface above referred to. 

If it be admitted that the statement in Stowe's Annals 
is correct, a place and occasion are found for the 
acquaintance of Gascoigne and Ralegh. It is to be 
hoped that the chivalrous young Ralegh was only a 
companion in arms, and did not share in the dissolute 
adventures of the poetic soldier of fortune. 

An interesting antithesis is noted in the fact that 
Gascoigne's praise of Humphrey Gilbert and Walter 
Rawley's verses laudatory of Gascoigne both appeared 
by way of prefaces in the year 1576. Churchyard, in 
his Generall Rehersall of Warres, 1579, says Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert "had for his entertainement of his 
owne personne in wages and other allowances verie 
neere ten thousand marks per annum, besides verie 
large allowances for all the Officers, Capitaines and 
Soldiours under his regimente.'* 



For ten years, almost without intermission, Hum- 
phrey Gilbert had toiled "midst war's alarms." Two 
years in Newhaven, five in Ireland, and six months in 
the Low Countries, he had been actively engaged 
fighting for his Queen, his country, and his religion. 

His marriage, his career in Parliament, his aspira- 
tions towards the North- West Passage, his colonization 
schemes for Ireland, his duties as Surveyor of Artillery, 
and his interest in the chimerical experiments of Meadley, 
constitute a very full life, leaving, one would think, little 
room for other interests. But his appears to have been 
one of those active minds whose capacity for work 
increases the more fully it is employed. It is always 
the busy man who has time for something more, and the 
idle man who has time for nothing. We are now to find 
that Gilbert took the deepest interest in matters quite 
foreign to his usual avocations. 

Several references have been made to Gascoigne's 
Preface to the Discourse of a North-West Passage, 
While it may be thought that it should have accom- 
panied the description of that work, from point of time 
it is evident that it belongs more properly to the period 
now dealt with. The Discourse of a North-West 
Passage was written in 1566, but the Preface was 
written in 1575 or 1576, and the interesting contem- 
porary description it gives us of Gilbert during the 
" piping times of peace " belongs, therefore, to the latter 

Gascoigne was the most prominent man in literature 



in the early Elizabethan days. He was a gentleman 
by birth and education, a member of Gray's Inn, a 
traveller and a soldier. But he was a sad scamp. Just 
before he went to Holland in 1572, he had offered him- 
self as a "burgess" for the town of Bedford, but they 
would have none of him. The petition against his 
appointment, presented to the Lords of the Privy 
Council, gave the following good and sufficient 
reasons — 

"Firste he is indebted to a greate nomber of 
personnes etc. 

"Then he is a defamed person and noted as well 
for manslaughter as for other greate crymes. 

"Then he is a common Rymer and a deviser of 
slanderous Pasquelles against divers personnes of 
greate callinge. 

"Then he is a notorious ruffiane and especiallie 
noted to be bothe a Spie, an Athiest and a Godles 

Praise from such a source might reasonably be con- 
sidered questionable, but Gascoigne was not entirely 
void of good feeling, as many of his writings show, 
and in his last days (his death occurred in 1577) was 
quite a reformed character. 

The Discourse was reprinted by Hakluyt in 1589, 
but the Preface was not included, and is now repub- 
lished for the first time, being of interest, not only for 
the glimpse it gives us of Gilbert, but also as a speci- 
men of the work of a noted Elizabethan author. 

"Preface to 
A Discourse of a Discoverie 
/or a new Passage to Cataia, 
Written by Sir Hornfrey Gilherty Knight.^ 

* British Museum, C. 32, B. 29. 


"George Gascoigne 

Esquire to the Reader 

"Every man that is of iudgment and hath a reason- 
able disposition to the atteining of anie vertue, together 
with a discretion to vse the Benefites of nature, will 
confesse, that we are by as great reason bounde to 
encourage and commend the industrie of the diligent 
as to dispraise and punish the slouth or abuse of the 
negligent : For if princes doe not as well rewarde and 
cherish the well deserving subiecte, as their Judges and 
Magistrates are readie to correct the offendour, the 
Common Wealth might then quickly be deprived both 
of the one and the other : I meane that as fast as the 
sword of Justice should weede out the one, so fast the 
scourg of ingratitude woulde chase out the other. And 
so thereby their dominions might (in the end) become 
naked and altogether unfurnished. 

"We see the good huswife is no lesse curious to 
decke her bees hive, to rub and perfume it with sweete 
herbes, to cover and defend it from raine with clay 
and boordes, and to place it in the warme Sunshine 
safe from the Northerly blastes : then She is readie to 
wreck her malice on the drones, to smoke and smoulder 
them with Bunte and Brimstone, to fray and chase 
them out by soudain noyse, and to kill them and caste 
them away, as vnprofi table members in her Micro- 
cosmos. Yea, and with Melodic of Basons and Tim- 
brils will shee welcome home her swarme, if at anye 
time they doe (waspishly) goe astray, and yet at last 
retourne to their former abyding. 

"Thus muche (gentle reader) I have thought good 
(Allegorically) to write in the behalfe of the right 
worshipful and my very frend S. Humfrey Gilbert, 
Knight, the true author of this little (yet profitable) 
Pamphlet, intituled A Discourse of a Discoverie for a 
newe passage to Cataia, &c. In whose Commendation 
I would fayne writ^ as much as hee deserveth, w^re J 


not afrayde to bee condemned by him of flatterie : which 
blame (with my friendes) I vse not to deserve. But 
surely, over and besides that, hee is a gentleman wel 
and worshipfully borne and bredde, and well tryed to 
bee valiant in martiall affayres, wherby hee hath 
worthely beene constituted a Coronell and general! in 
places requisite, and hath with sufficiencie discharged 
the same, both in this Realme, and in forreigne 
Nations: hee is also indued withsundrie great gyftes 
of the mine, and generally well given to the aduaunce- 
mente of knowledge and verue. All whiche good 
partes I rather set downe constrained by the present 
occasion, then prompted by any vaine desire to currie 
fanoure [sic] with my friende : For his vertues are suffi- 
cient to praise themselves. And it shalbe a sufficient 
conclusion for my prayses, to wishe that our realme had 
store of suche Gentlemen. 

"But as the good Gardener doth cover his tender 
herbes in winter, and cherishe them also in summer : 
so have I thought my selfe bounden somewhat to say 
in the commendation of this present Treatise, and 
somewhat to answere vnto the obiections that might bee 
made by such as list to caville at everie commendable 

"And surely I cannot chuse, but highly prayse the 
noble minde and courage of the Authour, who wrote 
respectinge the publique profit that might ensue by 
this Discouerie, then the delicate life of a Courtier, 
well countenanced and fauoured both by his Prince 
and all the Nobilitie, had prepared his owne bodie to 
abide the malice of the windes and wanes, and was euen 
ready to have perfourmed the voyage in proper person, 
if he had not beene by her Maiestie otherwise com- 
manded and imployed in martiall affairs, as well in 
Ireland, as sithence in other places. 

"You must herewith vnderstand (good Reader) that 
the authour hauinge a worshipfull Knight to his 
brother, who abashed at this enterprise (as well for 


that he himselfe had none issue, nor other heier whome 
he ment to bestow his lands vpon, but onely this 
Authour, and that this voyage then seemed strage and 
had not beene commonly spoken of before, as also 
because it seemed vnpossible vnto the common capa- 
cities) did seeme partly to mislike his resolutions, and 
to disuade him from the same, thereupon he wrote this 
Treatise vnto his saide Brother, both to excuse and 
cleare himselfe from the note of rashnesse, and also to 
set downe such Authorities, reasons, and experiences, 
as had chiefly encouraged him vnto the same, as may 
appeare by the letter next following, the which I have 
here inserted for that purpose. And this was done 
about vii years now past, sithence which time the 
originall copies of the same have lien by the authour 
as one rather dreading to hazarde the Judgements of 
curious perusers, then greedie of glorie by hasty 

"Now it happened that my self being one (amongst 
manie) beholding to the said S. Humfrey Gilbert for 
sundrie curtesies, did come to visit him in Winter last 
passed at his house in Limehowse, and beeing verie 
bolde to demaunde of him howe he spente his time in 
the loytering vacation from martiall stratagemes, he 
curteously tooke me up into his Studie, and there 
shewed me sundrie profitable and verie comendable 
exercises, which he had perfected painefully with his 
owne penne : And amongst the rest this present Dis- 
couerie. The which as well because it was not long, 
as also because I vnderstoode that M. Fourboiser (a 
kinsman of mine) did pretend to trauaile in the same 
Discouerie, I craued it at the saide S. Humfreyes 
handes for two or three dayes to reade and to peruse. 
And he verie friendly granted my request, but stil 
seming to doubt that thereby the same might, contrarie 
to his former determination, be Imprinted. 

"And to be plaine, when I had at good leasure 
perused it, and therwithall conferred his allegations by 


the Tables of Ortelius, and by sundrie other Cosmo- 
graphicall Mappes and Charts, I seemed in my simple 
iudgement not only to like it singularly, but also 
thought it very meete (as the present occasion serueth) 
to give it out in publike. Whereupon I have (as you 
see) caused my friendes great trauaile and mine owne 
greater presumption to be registred in print. 

"But since I haue thus aduentured both his rebuke, 
and mine owne reproofe, let me thus muche alledge 
in both our defences. 

** I . First it is but a Pamphlet and no large discourse, 
and therefore the more to be borne withal : since the 
faults (if any be) shalbe the fewer, because the volume 
is not great. 

"2. Also it was ment by the authour, but as a priuate 
Letter vnto his Brother for his better satisfaction : and 
therefore his imperfections therein (if any were) are to 
be pardoned, since it is very likely that if he had ment 
to publish the same, he would with greater heede have 
obserued and perused the worke in everie parte. 

"3. Againe, it commeth foorth without his consent: 
so that he had neither warning nor time to examine, 
nor yet to amende anie thing that were worthie mis- 

"4. Furthermore it treateth of a matter wherof no 
man hath heretofore written particularly, nor shewed 
ani approued reason for the same. So that not only 
his trauaile and paine are very commendable (who out 
of sundrie Authorities woulde gather one reasonable 
coniecture) but also the worke is not to be thought 
bareine, although it doe not fully proove so much as 
may be expected, since he that plougheth in a flintie 
field, speedeth well if he reape but an indifferent crop. 

"5. And last of all it is to bee considered, that of 
things vncertaine, the greatest Gierke that euer was 
could write but probably. 

" Herewithall, as I have preposterously answered 
such obiections as might be made against it, So now 


let me say that a great learned man (euen M. Dee) doth 
seeme very well to like of this Discouerie and doth 
much commende the Authour, the which he declareth 
in his Mathematical preface to the english Euclide. I 
refer thee (Reader) to peruse the same, and thinke it 
not strange though I be encouraged by so learned a 
foreleader, to set forth a thing whiche hee so well 
liked of. 

"To conclude, whereas other Cosmographical workes 
doe but shew vs things already knowen and treated of, 
this Discouerie doeth tend to a very profitable and com- 
mendable practise of a thing to bee discouered. So 
that I thought it my part, both for great good will to 
the authour, and for publike perfourmance of a com- 
mon duetie, to commend a little Bee so much commend- 
able, to defend it from the stormes of obiections, with 
boords and clay of direct answers : To set it in the 
sunshine (as you see) and to ring it out with my best 
basons, for the better expressing of such ioye and 
comfort, as I have therein conceiued. 

"All whiche, together with the frendly costructions 
of th' authours travaile and my boldnes, I comend 
(gentle reader) vnto thy curteous consideration, wish- 
inge vnto thee, much profite by perusing this treatise, 
vnto the authour, much prayer according to his deserts, 
to my kinsman (who nowe attepteth to prove the same 
discouery) happy returne, and to my selfe, some 
thankes and none ill will, for my presumption. 

"So that the Authour being thereby incouraged, may 
be the more willing hereafter to publishe some other 
well worthy which he hath in readinesse, and whereof 
hee hath made me alreadie an eyedwitnes. Farewell. 

"From my lodging where I march amongst the 
Muses for lacke of exercise in Martiall exploytes, this 
12 of April 1576. 

"A friend to all well 

"willing Readers. 

"George Gascoine. 


**A Prophetical So 

net of the same George Gascoine 

vpon the commendable trauaile which 

Sir Humfrey Gilbert hath dis 

closed in this worke. 

Men praise Columbus for the passing skil 

Which he declared, in Cosmographie, 
And nam'd him first (as yet we cal him stil) 

The 2 Neptune, dubd by dignity 
Americus Vesputius, for his paine, 

Neptune the 3 ful worthely was named, 
And Magellanus by good right did gaine, 

Neptune the 4 ful fitly to be famed. 
But al those three, and al the world beside, 

Discouered not, a thing of more empricey 
Then in this booke, is learnedly descride, 

By vertue of my worthie friendes deuice, 
Yf such successe, to him {as them) then fall, 
Neptune the 5 we iustly may him call. 

Tam Marti quam Mercurio." 

The commendation of Dr. John Dee, referred to in 
the foregoing, does not amount to a great deal. In the 
preface to his Euclid, published in 1570, Dee contends 
that the English ought to be the most expert seamen, 
owing to the situation of their country, and that im- 
portant discoveries of famous and rich countries could 
be made if they were energetically undertaken. Not 
mentioning Gilbert by name, he says: "And though, 
of late, a young gentlemen, a courragious captaine, 
was in great readiness, with good hope, and great 
causes of persuasion, to have ventured for a discovery 
(either westerly by Cape de Paramantic or easterly 
above Nova Zembla) and was at the very nere tyme 
of attempting, called and employed otherwise (both 


then and since) in great good service to his country, as 
the Irish rebels have tasted : Yet I say, if the same 
Gentleman doo not hereafter deal therewith, some one 
or other should listen to the matter." 

Dee took great interest in all the voyages of dis- 
covery of the day, and was afterwards an adventurer 
or shareholder in the expeditions of both Frobisher and 

Gascoigne does not appear to be at all apologetic for 
having in a manner cribbed Gilbert^s pamphlet, but 
rather considers that he is doing the author a good 
turn, and at the same time advancing the project of his 
kinsman, Frobisher, by making public such an excellent 
argument for the success of the undertaking. 

Among the documents which Gilbert had in readi- 
ness and of which Gascoigne was an "eyed-witness," 
was doubtless that fuller study on the North-West 
Passage with which he had threatened his brother. 
What would we not give to have it now ! Many 
problems relating to the early voyages to the New 
World would doubtless be cleared up by it, and 
much new light shed on these earliest colonization 

Of the other "commendable exercises plainly per- 
fected by his own penne," referred to by Gascoigne, 
we have left to us an unpublished manuscript entitled 
How Hir Majesty may annoy the King of Spain, and 
a treatise called Queen Elizabeth's Achademy, It is 
of the latter we wish first to speak. 

The manuscript is preserved in the British Museum 
in the form in which it was presented to Queen Eliza- 
beth. It has been twice published in recent years, first 
by Sir H. Ellis in Archceologia, and secondly by the 
Early English Text Society, under the editorship of 
Dr. Furnivall. 

Sir H. Ellis is of opinion that it was presented to 
Elizabeth in 1570, but with the fuller knowledge we 
have of Gilbert's history we can be reasonably certain 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 1584.. 


that it was one of those studies which occupied his 
attention during his "loytering vacation from martial 
stratagemmes " in the years 1573-6. 

It may well have elicited Gascoigne*s praise, for it is 
an elaborately prepared scheme for a University, in 
some respects, even of a wider scope than the magni- 
ficent educational institutions of the present day. But 
while we are principally concerned in educating the 
masses, Sir Humphrey devoted his attention to the 
requirements of the classes, "the Queen's Wardes, and 
others the youth of the nobility and gentry." 

It had been a custom from Anglo-Saxon times for 
Kings and great nobles to receive into their houses the 
children, both male and female^, of relations and friends, 
in order that they might be trained in courtly manners 
and receive educational advantages unobtainable in 
their own homes. In the Royal Court these wards were 
originally called "Henxmen" or "Henchmen," and 
were under the control of the Lord Chancellor, who 
also held the post of Master of Wards. 

From the number of treatises on manners and morals 
written during the sixteenth century, principally in- 
tended as a guide to the upbringing of these youths, 
we gather that the practice was quite a common one. 
Ben Jonson thus comments on the custom : — 

" The noblest way 
Of breeding up our youths in letters, arms, 
Fair mien, discourses, civil exercises, 
And all the blazon of a gentleman — 
Where can he learn to vault, to ride, to fence, 
To move his body gracefuUer, to speak 
His language purer, or to turn his mind 
Or manners more to the harmony of nature 
Than in these nurseries of nobility ? " 

The Early English Text Society collected and repub- 
lished a number of the treatises above referred to, and 
issued them under the title of The Bahees Bookf appro- 
priately adopted from the first item contained in it. 
The pictures given of life in a nobleman's family of 


the day are both interesting and amusing. The ele- 
mentary character of the instructions conveys a very 
distinct impression of the crudeness of the times. The 
principal duty of the Wardes was to wait upon their lord's 
table, and perform other menial offices, in return for 
which they were trained in all courtly behaviour, and 
educated after the fashion of the times. Class interest 
was maintained by this custom ; a great noble would by 
its means obtain a large number of friends and sup- 
porters, the tendency of the youths being to continue 
their allegiance to their protector, even after they had 
withdrawn from his household. 

Many of the treatises are a long series of "Don'ts." 
"Don't pick your teeth, don't spit over the table, don't 
gobble your soup, don't speak with your mouth full, 
don't eat with your knife, and don't dip your meat in 
the salt-cellar may be taken as examples of the directions 
thought necessary for proper behaviour at meals. 

Sir Nicholas Bacon, father of the great Lord Bacon, 
was Master of the Wards in the early part of Elizabeth's 
reign, and was succeeded in office by Sir William Cecil 
in 1561. On his retirement he wrote a long letter to 
Cecil, recommending many changes in the treatment of 
the Wards. He said : *'That the proceeding hath been 
preposterous appeareth by this; the chief thing the 
most in price, in Wardship is the wardes mynde; and 
next to that is his bodie; the last and meanest is his 
land. Now hitherto the chiefe care of governance hath 
been to the land, being the meanest; and to the bodie 
being the better, very small; but the mynde, being the 
best, none at all; which methinks is plainly to set the 
carte before the horse." He then suggested a curri- 
culum for them, which, if carried out, would certainly 
have been efficient, so far as their education was 

Camden states that Cecil succeeded Sir Thomas 
Parry and not Sir Nicholas Bacon in this office, "which 
office he discharged, as he did all others, like a good 


husband for the Queen and the Wards, very modestly 
in respect to his private advantages, and not unprofit- 
ably for his followers and dependants, though without 
the least blemish to his integrity." Poor Wards ! The 
management of their affairs must have amounted to a 
popular scandal, and have been a continual subject of 
discussion at Court. Sir Nicholas Bacon's recommenda- 
tions passed unheeded, and no attempt was made by 
Cecil to remedy the abuses. 

Two notable treatises dealing with this subject had 
just been published in England, Roger Ascham's 
Scholemaster, 1570, and Sir Thomas Hobey's transla- 
tion of Baldissare Castiglioni's Cortigiano or Courtier y 

Of the latter William Michael Rossetti says : Castig- 
lioni's ideal Courtier is a truly noble and gallant gentle- 
man, furnished with all sorts of solid no less than 
splendid qualities. His ultimate raison d'etre is, that 
he should always, through good and evil report, tell 
his sovereign the strict truth of all things which it 
behoves him to know. The tone throughout is lofty, 
and of more than conventional or courtly rectitude: 
indeed the book as a whole is hardly what one asso- 
ciates mentally with the era of Pagan Popes, of a 
Caesar Borgia just cleared off from Romagne, and an 
Alessandro di Medici impending over Florence." As 
such it was an inspiring model for Humphrey Gilbert, 
who saw his own associates falling so far short of its 

Roger Ascham's little masterpiece is a model for 
schoolmasters for all time. He was moved to write it 
by hearing, when dining with Lord Burleigh, that 
some Eton scholars, driven by the cruelty of their 
masters had run away from college. While he wrote 
more particularly for "my little children and poor 
schoolhouse," he also had much to say about the youth 
of the gentry and nobility. He wished to see the young 
men "brought up in good order of living, and in some 


more severe discipline than commonly they be.'* . . . 
"From seven to seventeen young men commonly be 
carefully enough brought up. But from seventeen to 
seven-and-twenty, (the most dangerous time of a man's 
life and the most difficult to stay well in) they have 
commonly the rein of all license in their own hands, 
and specially such as do live at Court." . . . "The 
fault is in yourselves, ye noblemen's sons, and there- 
fore ye deserve the greater blame that commonly the 
meaner men's children come to be the wisest counsellors 
and greatest doers in the weighty affairs of this realm." 
. . . "Therefore ye great and noblemen's children if 
ye will have rightfully that praise and enjoy surely 
that place which your fathers have and elders had, and 
left unto you, ye must keep it as they got it, and that 
is the only way of virtue, wisdom and worthiness." 
Again he says: "Yet I hear say some young gentle- 
men of ours count it their shame to be counted learned ; 
and perchance they count it their shame to be counted 
honest also, for I hear say that they meddle as little 
with the one as the other. A marvellous case that 
gentlemen should be so ashamed of good learning and 
never a whit ashamed of ill manners." 

As has been already related, Humphrey Gilbert in 
his youth was probably brought under the influence of 
good old Ascham, and having been a ward himself, 
the publication of Ascham's little book and his own 
experiences moved him to suggest a remedy for the 
gross mismanagement in the upbringing of those unfor- 
tunate lads who were deprived of their natural 
guardians. Ascham deals only with the mental and 
moral training of the young; Gilbert goes further, and 
devises a complete scheme, not only for general educa- 
tion, but in addition, for physical training and for 
practical instruction jn every branch of knowledge 
necessary to fit a young man for the service of his 

We learn from Gilbert that the custody of these 


wards was often deputed to others. As an instance, in 
1558, Queen Mary granted "the wardship and mar- 
riage *' of the son of Sergeant Prideaux to the notorious 
Thomas Stukely. They were farmed out, and the 
farmers, seeing a profit in the transaction, were accus- 
tomed to pay a douceur to the Commissioner for the 
privilege. Naturally the education of the youths was 
neglected shamefully. Gilbert says they were **for the 
most parte brought up in idleness and lascivious 
pastimes, estranged from all serviceable vertues to 
their prince and countrey, obscurely drowned in educa- 
tion, of purpose to abase their mindes, leaste, being 
better qualified, they should disdaine to stoupe to the 
marriage of such purchasers daughters " ! 

Gilbert suggested that an Academy should be erected 
in London for their education, so that "there shall be 
hereafter no gentleman within this realme but is good 
for something; whereas now for the most parte of them 
are good for nothing." 

Gilbert went into the matter very thoroughly. He 
enumerated all the professors, as we would now call 
them, to be employed, the salaries to be paid them, and 
the duties they were expected to perform. The first on 
the list is the "scholemaster '* for Latin and Greek, 
who was to be assisted by two ushers; next in order 
are a "scholemaster " for Hebrew and another for Logic 
and Rhetoric. Gilbert pauses here to accentuate the 
importance of learning to speak one's own language 
with fluency, to which end, the "choyse of wordes, the 
buyldinge of sentences, the garnishment of figures, and 
the other beauties of Oratorie *' were to be taught. 
Oratory he considered a most important accomplish- 
ment for those who were bound to do Knight's service. 
The teaching of this art still leaves much to De desired, 
at least in English schools. 

A teacher of Moral Philosophy was to give instruc- 
tion in both civil and martial politics, by which means 
"they shall learn more at home than most old men do 
I 2 


which have travelled furthest abroad." He considered 
they would learn more wit and policy from these 
lectures than from "schole learnings, and therefore 
meetest for the best sorte, to whom it chiefly pertaineth 
to have the managing of matters of estate and policy." 
Chaucer is quoted in support of this opinion : ** For 
the greatest schole clerkes are not always the wisest 
men." ^ 

There were to be professors of mathematics and 
geometry. One of the duties of the latter was to teach 
the science of artillery, both in theory and practice. 
All were to be taught "to ride, make ready and handle 
a horse," and a soldier was to train them in all martial 
exercises. The Professor of Mathematics was to pay 
particular attention to teaching the art of navigation 
with the knowledge of the necessary stars and the use 
of nautical instruments. The model of a fully rigged 
ship was to be provided, so that every part thereof 
should be thoroughly understood. 

A Doctor of Physic was to give instruction in what 
we would call to-day "first aid to the wounded," and 
was to explain the use of all "simples." He was also 
to conduct experiments in chemistry, and was particu- 
larly directed to give an account of them in plain 
language, Gilbert*s experiences with Meadley no doubt 
making this latter stipulation seem to him most neces- 
sary. So thoroughly was the transmutation of metals 
believed in, that an Act had been passed in Henry IV's 
reign making the "Multuplication of metals" or coins 
a penal offence. Gilbert desired that the professors of 
the Academy should not be liable to punishment if their 
experiments proved successful. The Doctor of Physic 
was not only to deal in medicine, but also to give in- 
structions in surgery, "by reason that Chirugerie is not 
nowe to be learned in any other place than a Barber's 

^ Roger Ascham, in his Scholemaster^ by the bye, refers to this as a 
" lewd and spiteful proverb, sounding to the great hurt of learning 
and shame of learned men." 


shoppe, and in that shoppe most dangerous especially 
in tyme of plague, when the ordinary trimming of men 
for clenlynes must be done by those which have to 
do with infected personnes.'* In this Gilbert showed 
himself greatly in advance of his age. The association 
of surgery and medicine was an entirely new idea, and 
not in fact put in common practice until centuries 

There was to be a lecturer on Civil Law, and another 
in Divinity. A lawyer was to teach them the practice 
of the law, — "it being most necessary that noblemen and 
gentlemen should learne to be able to put their owne 
case in law, and to have some judgement in the office 
of a Justice of Peace and Sheriffe." 

The French, Italian, Spanish and High Dutch 
languages were to be taught by special instructors. 

The lighter arts were not be neglected, "dauncing 
and vawting *' and music were to be taught, each by its 
own professor. Nearly all the treatises on education 
at that time lay great stress upon the teaching of music, 
although it is not generally mentioned in the curriculum 
of the grammar schools. 

Lastly the youths were to be instructed in that essen- 
tially gentlemanly art — heraldry. 

A University must necessarily have a library attached, 
and for the support of this Gilbert asked for the follow- 
ing important decree, that "all printers in England for 
ever should be charged to deliver to the Library of the 
Academy, at their own charges, one copy, well bounde, 
of every booke, proclamacion, or pamphlet that they 
shall printe." This suggestion, adopted later for the 
British Museum Library, has occasioned it to become 
one of the greatest collection of books the world has 

The total yearly cost for the upkeep of the Academy 
was to be ;{^2,966 13s. ^d,y or, say, ^^24,000 of our 
money, which cannot be considered expensive, seeing 
the thorough and varied education provided. 


In addition to their scholastic duties the professors 
of the Academy were required to issue a series of pub- 
lications at stated intervals, embodying the results of 
their studies and experiments, a plan which is followed 
by many modern universities. Gilbert's intention was 
not only that the public should benefit by the learning 
of the University, but that the glory of the founder 
should be held in remembrance, which was to be 
emphasized by a sermon to be preached on the ani- 
versaries of the birth, and ascension to the Throne, of 
the Virgin Queen. 

Gilbert further urged on behalf of his proposal that 
book learning only was to be obtained at Oxford and 
Cambridge, and that all gentlemanly accomplishments 
were entirely neglected there. His dominant idea was 
to train the youth of the gentry to be of service to their 
country y who "in times past knew nothing but how to 
hollow a hound or to lure the hawk." Ascham says : 
"Commonly the young gentlemen of England go un- 
willingly to school, but run fast to the stable." The 
State had more interest in education of children than 
either parents or guardians, therefore attendance at the 
Academy was to be made compulsory. 

He apostrophizes Elizabeth, as the only means of 
bringing "this seely frozen island into everlasting 
honour." In the future when the face of an English 
gentleman appeared it would be known that he was 
either a soldier, philosopher, or courtier, and "no 
gentleman within the realm but good for somewhat, 
whereas nowe, the moste part of them are good for 

He ends his dissertation with a peroration in his 
usual lofty style : " Better is it to have Renoune among 
the good sorte than to be lorde over the whole world. 
For so shall your Majesty make yourself to live among 
men for ever and therewithall bring yourself into 
Godde's favour, so farre as the benefits of goode workes 
may prevaile." 


But Elizabeth must have been getting used to Gil- 
bert's high-flown proposals by that time, and his 
treatise was most carefully filed away. The niggard- 
liness, which left unpaid and half starved the sailors of 
the fleet that defeated the Armada, was not likely to 
expend any such sum on education as Gilbert pro- 
posed. A scholar herself, we are not aware that Eliza- 
beth ever evinced any extraordinary desire to educate her 

But at least the proposition does credit to Gilbert's 
heart and head. As a writer in a recent number of the 
Spectator says : ** It was a scheme fitting a great mind 
in a great age, when a new sense of responsibility was 
being called out to meet the new great needs of the 
time : and it was a scheme worthy the heroic temper 
of a man determined always to live and die in this mind 
— that he is not worthy to live at all that for fear, or 
danger of death, shunneth his country's service and 
his own honour seeing death is inevitable and the fame 
of virtue immortal ! " 

This writer urges the adoption for present day needs 
of Gilbert's great idea, that the end and aim of educa- 
tion was the service of the State, and urges that 
Patriotism should be included in the curriculum of 
every school. 

It is interesting to note the growing popularity of 
Empire Day, devoted to the inculcation of this some- 
what neglected virtue into the minds of the school 
children of the Empire, and to find one of the great 
London dailies quoting Humphrey Gilbert's long for- 
gotten treatise in connection therewith. 

Thus Gilbert's work is not entirely lost, and may 
bear some fruit even at this far-off date. 



Gilbert now put aside all extraneous occupations, and 
devoted himself wholly to the great purpose of his life. 
Ever since his first fruitless attempt to organize an 
expedition to seek out Cathay, the goal of so many 
maritime aspirations before and since, he had been 
maturing his plans for another attempt. Although 
busily engaged in the service of his Queen and country, 
we find his master passion asserting itself again and 
again, well-known geographers and adventurers were 
sought out and questioned, and his studies in navigation 
and seamanship steadily pursued. He felt that the time 
was ripe for another attempt. 

The Merchant Adventurers' Company had done nothing 
to justify their jealous opposition to his original plan. 
They had maintained their trade with Russia, but had 
since made no attempt for Cathay, either by the north- 
east or north-west. But they still pursued their dog in 
the manger policy, forcing Gilbert to direct his energies 
to another latitude. As the north-west route was barred 
to him, he decided to go south, to the temperate zone 
on the other side of the equator, where he would be free 
from monopolists. The London merchants and the 
Merchant Adventurers were not invited to share in this 
enterprise, it was reserved for his own particular friends 
and fellow-countrymen of Devon ; the close of the 
negotiations being apparently celebrated by a dinner, 
which was given to Sir Humphrey and others by the 
Municipality of Plymouth, the cost of which was duly 
entered in their records. The plan of the expedition 
was summed up in a petition to her Majesty dated 



March 22, 1574. It is not signed, but is endorsed as 
follows — 

"Supplicated of certen gents in ye Weste partes for a 
newe navigacion. 

"Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir George Peckham, Mr. 
Carlisle, Sir R. Grenville, and others — voiages." 

Sir George Peckham was a moderate Roman Catholic, 
a lifelong friend of Gilbert, and an executor of his will. 
Mr. Carlisle was a son-in-law of Walsingham, and ten 
years later proposed himself to carry on Gilbert's 
colonial enterprises; and the brave Sir Richard Gren- 
ville, the glorious finish of whose life at "Flores in the 
Azores " will ever thrill the British heart, was a cousin 
on the Gilbert side of the house. 

On the same day the same " gents of the west parts " 
solicited the support of the Lord High Admiral in 
another petition. The first document is a short one. 
Permission is asked to embark upon an enterprise for 
the discovery of rich and unknown lands, "Fatally, and 
as it seemeth by God's providence, reserved for Eng- 
land and for the honour of Your Majesty." The most 
attractive feature of the petition to the parsimonious 
Elizabeth was that these adventurous "gents" proposed 
to fit out the expedition at their own costs and charges. 
They asked only for her gracious permission to sail, 
and her blessing. If they were successful, and a new 
and lucrative trade were developed as the result of their 
expedition, they asked for a monopoly of the same. 
The introduction of Christianity and the blazoning 
abroad of her Majesty's sovereignty and noble virtues 
were added inducements. 

The petition to the Lord High Admiral is much more 
explicit. The preamble asks that he would take the 
affair into his protection and commend the same to 
her Majesty. The details of the enterprise are then 
specified under the following heads : — ^ 

" The matter hitself that has offred to be attempted. 
"That hit is feasible. 


"What means we have commodiously to atchieve it. 

"The commodities to grow of hit. 

"An answer to such difficulties and matters as may 
be objected. 

"That there is no injurie off red to any Prince or 
Contrey or an offence of amitie." 

"The offre for performance thereof wt^oute Her 
Majesty's charge or adventure." 

The countries which they designed to explore lay to 
the south of the equator, beyond any then occupied by 
either Spain or Portugal, where the climate was similar 
to that of England. They claimed to have ships of their 
own well prepared, and English mariners and sailors 
to whom the way thither almost was already known. 
This is an interesting statement, as at that time English 
mariners are not recorded as having been further south 
than the West Indies and the Spanish Main. The 
advantage of trading to a country of like climate to 
England would be that English cloths would find a 
ready sale there. As the Portuguese had monopolized 
the East, the Spaniards the West, and the French the 
North, the South only was left for the English, to whom 
in times past all the others had been first offered. The 
writers refer, no doubt, to the offer said to have been 
made by Columbus to Henry VII; they also appear to 
ignore the title of England to the north parts by reason 
of Cabot's discovery. They dilated on the advantages 
which would accrue to England from the increase of 
navigation, the importation of gold, silver, and spices 
direct, instead of through Spain, the employment of the 
idle populace in the manufacture of goods to be 
exported, and the introduction of Christianity "without 
the errors of papistry." 

To the objections which they imagined would be 
offered, probably the result of controversies with the 
faint-hearted, they boasted that they would be strong 
enough to withstand any attacks from the Spaniards 
or Portuguese, and besides they did not intend to enter 


their ports, but to continue south to the temperate zones. 
As to the dispeopling of England, was not England 
overrun with people who could not be supported and 
were driven to commit crimes, for which they were daily 
executed? Instead of causing the waste or decay of 
mariners and shipping, these distant voyages would 
occasion a great development of the merchant marine; 
it was absurd to say that these mariners might be absent 
on distant voyages when they might be urgently needed 
at home, for in that case they had better not go out 
of English waters at all. 

They had no intention of touching at Spanish or 
Portuguese possessions except in the way of friendly 
traffic, the principle of which had been already admitted 
in the case of Hawkins. Not only had traffic been 
permitted, but possession and planting of people also, 
as in the case of Stukely, who pretended that he was 
going to Florida. The French, although acknowledg- 
ing the authority of the Pope, had not hesitated to 
attempt colonization in both Florida and Brazil ; it was 
therefore hardly to be expected that other nations, not 
acknowledging the Pope, and not parties to the agree- 
ment, should be bound by his decision. 

The petitioners intended to fit out for the expedition 
four ships at a cost of ;^5ooo. 

All they asked from the Queen was permission to 
make the voyage, exclusive privileges of trade with the 
countries discovered, and **specialle orders to be 
appointed by Her Majestic for the stablishing of Her 
Majestie's dominion and amitie in such places as they 
shall arrive unto." 

Nothing more is heard of these petitions. It is 
possible that Elizabeth refused her consent at the in- 
stance of Spain ; it is possible that the petitioners them- 
selves were not able to put their intention into practice. 
Just at this time also Frobisher began to agitate for a 
voyage towards Cathay by the north-east. As we have 
heard, he had been associated with Gilbert in Ireland, 


and probably imbibed some of his enthusiasm for 

We learn, from a letter written by Michael Lok, in 
the latter part of 1576 or early 1577, that in 1574, the 
Privy Council wrote to the Muscovy Company, sug- 
gesting that it was time for them to attempt again to 
find the north-east passage to Cathay, and recommend- 
ing Frobisher for the purpose. The Company took the 
matter into consideration but came to no decision. 
Frobisher then obtained another letter from the Queen, 
or Privy Council, calling upon the Company either to 
undertake the enterprise themselves or to grant him 
permission to do so. During the controversy he 
changed the direction of his plan from the north-east to 
the north-west. It has been generally asserted that the 
publication of Gilbert's Discourse of a N,W, Passage 
occasioned Frobisher's voyage, but as the publication 
took place in May, and Frobisher started a few weeks 
afterward, the statement requires qualification. Lok 
distinctly disclaims it. He made Gilbert's acquaintance 
at Easter 1575, and learned that he had been for many 
years "a great good wilier to the enterprise." He grants 
that the object of the publication of the Discourse was 
the encouragement of the voyage, "although to say the 
truthe without giving offence, neither that boke, coming 
out so late, nor his former discourses " were the origin 
of the expedition, which had been decided on long 

This was Lok's point of view. But considering the 
previous friendship of Gilbert and Frobisher, and that 
Gascoigne borrowed Gilbert's treatise because his kins- 
man Frobisher was contemplating a like enterprise, it 
is reasonable to conclude that Gilbert largely influenced 
both the inception and direction of Frobisher's voyages. 
Gascoigne would undoubtedly have at once shown the 
Discourse to Frobisher, or that the latter had already 
seen it, for it is more than probable that he was early 
in consultation with Gilbert. 


Gilbert was a member of the Merchant Adventurers' 
Company, and he was one of the subscribers to, or 
"adventurers" in Frobisher's expedition. There was 
therefore no jealousy, but, on the contrary, suggestion, 
advice, and pecuniary assistance. Frobisher's voyages 
can be reasonably said to have been the outcome of 
Gilbert's agitation. The mere attempt by Lok to dis- 
prove it shows there was at the time a tendency to give 
him the credit of starting the enterprise. 

Camden gives the whole merit of the idea to Gilbert. 
He says: "At this time some studious heads, moved 
with a commendable desire to discover the more remote 
regions of the World and the secrets of the Ocean, put 
forward some well moneyed men, no less desirous to 
reap profit by it, to discover whether there were any 
Strait in the north part of America, through which men 
might sail to the nigh country of Cathay, and so the 
wealth of the East and West might be conjoined by a 
mutual commerce. These learned men argued, etc." 
He then quotes largely from Gilbert's Discourse, with- 
out, however, mentioning it by name ; and finally gives 
a short account of Frobisher's expeditions. Cause and 
effect could not be clearer shown. 

It is curious to note that the opponents of colonization 
argued that, by it, England would be denuded of her 
population, and that those who were in favour of it 
urged, on the other hand, that it would relieve England 
from pauperism and overcrowding. The latter theory 
was originated by Gilbert in his Discourse, and, 
strangely enough, it seems gradually to have out- 
weighed the contrary argument. It was used with much 
effect by the colony planters of the early seventeenth 

The fear of Spain and the authority of the Pope were 
still matters for mighty consideration, and Gilbert and 
his associates found it necessary to assemble arguments 
to prove that neither one nor the other should be 
regarded. The Popes' division of the world between 


Spain and Portugal no doubt greatly retarded foreign 
adventure while England was Catholic, but to Protestant 
England it was une quantite negligeable. And as 
for Spain, had not Hawkins already bearded her in 
her most treasured stronghold? 

The proposed enterprise required both moral and 
physical courage, and with these attributes the West 
Countrymen were well endowed. 

No. I, Vol. I, of the State Papers, Colonial Series, 
is entitled, "Pointes sett down by the Committee 
appointed to confer with Mr. Carlisle, etc.," and the 
date of 1574 is attributed to it. The editor thought it 
to be a commentary upon the petition of Gilbert, which 
we have just been considering. This is, however, an 
error. The paper appears in Hakluyt's Voyages under 
its proper date of 1583, and is a reply to a petition of 
Carlisle of the same period. It is rather a pity that 
the Colonial State Papers should have begun with an 

Frobisher's voyage in 1576 attracted a great deal of 
attention, not only because it appeared to support the 
theory of a North- West Passage to Cathay, but also 
because of the accidental finding of a piece of gold ore 
which ** kindled a great opinion in the heartes of many 
to advance the voyage again." A company was formed 
with the ambitious title of "The Company of Kathai," 
in which the Queen, Lord Burleigh, Walsingham, 
Leicester, and many notable lords and ladies of the 
Court became ''venturers," Of the success, or rather 
the failure of Frobisher's voyages we are not par- 
ticularly concerned. The acquisition of "gold ore" far 
outweighed the desire to discover the North- West Pas- 
sage, and to this vice of greed was attributed at the 
time the failure to find the passage. The stones with 
which they freighted their vessels, Camden says, "when 
neither gold nor silver nor any other metal could be 
extracted from them, we have seen cast forth to mend 
the highways." 


One part of the plan for Frobisher's last voyage seems 
particularly to betray the hand of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 
It was designed that loo men should be left in Meta 
Incognita to inhabit and possess the land, to form an 
outpost on the pathway to Cathay, and to guard the 
mines already found. A timber house was taken, all 
ready to be set up, and it was arranged for lOO men 
under the leadership of Capt. Fenton to remain over 
the winter. But Frobisher found it impossible to carry 
out this intention. So much of the provision for the 
fleet was destroyed by leakage, that the provisions 
which had been intended for this little colony had to 
be taken for the voyage home. The timber for the 
house, and the coal were landed. Remains of the latter 
were found by Capt. Hall in 1865 on an island in 
Frobisher*s Straits, called by the Eskimos "Kodlu- 
narn," or white man's island, thus showing that the 
tradition had remained for nearly 300 years. 

The next document to engage our attention is pre- 
served at the State Paper Office, and is endorsed "A 
discourse How Hir Majesty may annoy the King of 
Spayne, November 6, 1577." A signature appears at 
the end, which has been much defaced, but can yet be 
made out as "H. GYLBERTE." A doubt has there- 
fore been raised as to the authorship. Froude considers 
it to have been written by some "inspired old sea dog,'* 
but makes no attempt to decide who. Others have 
attributed it to Hawkins. There seems, however, to be 
but little doubt that the signature which has been erased 
denotes the real authorship. It is not in Gilbert's hand- 
writing, but the matter, the style, and the succeeding 
events all point to Gilbert as the author. We can be 
sure that the erasure was not made by the author, who 
could have had no possible object in concealing his 
identity from the Queen and Council. Reasons will 
be advanced later which will probably account for the 
action. It is to be noted also that the signature, so far 
as it can be made out, is "H. GYLBERTE," which is 


the way Sir Humphrey always spelt his name, while 
others spelt it in almost every other possible way except 

The luse of the word "annoy" in the title seems 
almost humorous when we consider the nature of the 
proposed "annoyance." 

The writer apologizes for touching upon affairs of 
State, as he is but a "syllie member" of the Common- 

"But, in their country's service the meanest and 
simplest ought not to yeild themselves second to the 
wisest and best. 

"And so to the matter." 

He pointed out that England's policy differed greatly 
from that of the Continental Powers, and he would 
therefore "spyn a thread propper for our English 

If England were to endure as a nation she must com- 
mand the sea. This "inspired old sea dog" saw as 
clearly as our modern publicists that England's safety, 
nay, her very existence, depended upon her being 
powerful enough at sea to ward off any blow that might 
be directed at her. But in opposition to our modern 
ideas he held that to compass this safety it was as 
necessary to cripple the enemy as to strengthen one- 
self. He said : " I hold it as lawful in christian policie 
to prevent a mischief betimes as to reveng it to late." 
Was not the malicious disposition of England's arch- 
enemy, Spain, manifestly seen ? It was folly to wait 
until the enemy had matured his plans and was ready 
to attack you. Take every advantage you can and 
attack him first before he accomplishes your un- 

Elizabeth is adjured to seek God's kingdom and to 
treat as "Mermayde's songs and sweet poisons" the 
advances of those of a different religion, for no assur- 

* The word " syllie " is used in the sense of humble, or rude ; in 
which sense it is also used in Queen Elizabeth's Achademy. 


ance could be placed in such leagues. " It is more than 
tyme to pare their nayles to the stumpes, that are most 
ready prest to pluck the crown from your highnes head." 
Therefore, all Papists and suspected adherents of Eng- 
land's enemies should be quietly and firmly suppressed. 
Then, before they can get breath, a swift and deadly 
blow must be struck at the naval power of Spain. 

The scheme now proposed would hardly recommend 
itself to modern politicians, but then no doubt it seemed 
quite in order. Under colour of Letters Patent for the 
discovery and inhabiting of St. Lawrence Island, the 
countries in the north lately discovered by Frobisher, or 
elsewhere, a fleet was to be prepared which should sail 
for "N.L." (meaning, of course, Newfoundland). There, 
every summer, were assembled large numbers of fishing 
vessels from Spain, Portugal, and France. While the 
fleets were scattered and the men away fishing, these 
vessels were to be taken piecemeal. The best were to 
be brought back and the poorest destroyed. We are 
left to guess what was to be done to the unfortunate 
fishermen. The measure which the Spaniards meted 
out to the crews of Hawkins's fleet was no doubt to be 
measured to them again. If not actually slain in the 
encounter, they would have been left to provide for 
themselves in a desolate and uninhabited country, 
where they would be powerless to help their country's 
navy. The Spaniards and Portuguese were to be par- 
ticularly selected for attack, the French to be spared as 
far as possible. The writer proposed to undertake this 
fell design without any cost to her Majesty; indeed, he 
expected to make considerable profit, for the Newfound- 
land fish, cautiously indicated by two letters, ''N.F.," 
"is a principal and rich and everywhere vendible 
merchandise, and by the gayne thereof, shipping, 
victuall, munition, and the transporting of five or six 
thousand soldiers may be defrayed." 

The captured vessels were to be taken into Holland 
or Ireland, or, masquerading as pirates, they were to 



•harbour in some unfrequented part of Her Majesty's 
[coasts, under the protection of some friendly Vice- 
:Admiral, where six months' provision of food and four 
^of drink were to be stored ready for their return. 

Gilbert had profited by his experience in the Low 
Countries, and in excuse for this covert attack upon a 
country with whom England was nominally at peace, 
suggested that the Queen and Council should disclaim 
any knowledge of it. So far as they were concerned it 
was a colonization enterprise, and the friendly Vice- 
Admiral, who was to shelter them, was to be made the 
scapegoat and "afterwards committed to prison as in 
displeasure of the same." 

Gilbert knew his Queen well, — no expense and much 
gain, a blow at her enemies and no blame; — a better 
scheme couldn't have been devised. 

If it were feared that this attack would end in break- 
ing off commercial relations with Spain and Portugal, 
and the price of tropical commodities thereby enhanced, 
it was proposed to follow up the attack. With the profits 
of the first enterprise an expedition was to be imme- 
diately fitted out for the "W.L" The "S" were to be 
driven out, and the country subdued to the Crown of 
England. *'By which meanes your Majesty's doubtfull 
frendes or rather apparaunt enemyes shall not only be 
made weake and poor, but therewith yourself and your 
realme made strong and riche, both by sea and lande, 
as well there as here." 

When the enemy's shipping was destroyed and no 
means left them to maintain shipping, then "of force 
this realme being an Island shalbe discharged from all 
forraine perills, if all the Monarchies of the world should 
join against us." He then prophetically sees England 
"Mistress of the Seas," and none able to cross them 
without her permission. 

If the Queen approves of the enterprise, he will then 
give full particulars for the attack on the "W.I." 

The "Discourse " then closes, in Gilbert's usual style, 
with an impassioned and poetic appeal: "But if your 


Majesty like to do it at all, then would I wish your High- 
ness to consider that delay doth often tymes prevent the 
performaunce of good thinges; for the winges of man's 
life are plumed with the feathers of death. And so 
submitting my self to your Majestis favourable judge- 
ment, I cease to trouble your highness any further. 
Novembris 6, 1577. 

" Your Mates, most faithful 
"Servaunte and subject." 

Connected with the above is another paper also bear- 
ing the title, "A Discourse how her Maiestie may meete 
with and annoy the King of Spaine." It is apparently 
intended to supplement the former, and gives particulars 
of the attack upon the West Indies, which he had 

The enormities of the Church of Rome and the horrors 
of the Inquisition are dilated upon. England would 
certainly be attacked as soon as the time arrived, but 
the King of Spain must be taught that peace at any 
price would be better for him than war with England — 
a sentiment which, extraordinarily enough, was after- 
wards voiced by the well-known Spanish proverb, "Con 
todo el mundo guerra, y paz con Inglaterra." A 
description then follows of Cuba and Hispaniola, which 
could be taken with but little risk; in addition, a fleet 
could be sent to the Bermudas, and from that coign of 
vantage pounce upon the returning Spanish galleons. 
The West Indies was Spain's most vulnerable point, 
and a blow struck there would be felt more seriously 
than elsewhere. Let England attack the West Indies, 
and the King of Spain would have little heart for 
making trouble in Europe. 

On the day that the first " Discourse " was signed, 
Nov. 6, 1577, Sir Humphrey Gilbert had an interview 
with Dr. Dee at Mortlake. This interesting personage, 
scientist, astrologer, and alchemist, w as greatly interested 
in the nautical enterprises of the day, and was consulted 
by many of the voyagers, but whether in pursuit of 

K 2 


information or to get their horoscopes cast, is open to 
question. No significance attached to the visit noted 
above, so far as can be ascertained, but another entry in 
Dr. Dee's Diary, under date August 5, 1578, is of con- 
siderable importance, as will be seen later. 

The style of these "Discourses" is unmistakably Gil- 
bert's; the suggestion that a patent for colonization 
should be used as a subterfuge, also points to him as the 
author. He was the only one at that time who had any 
idea of colonization, and he no doulbt intended the plan 
he proposed as an extra inducement for the issuance of 
his Patent. That the Queen should disclaim all know- 
ledge of the attack on the Newfoundland fishing fleets 
is a lesson that Gilbert had learned in Holland, to his 
sorrow. If the plan were to succeed, it must be kept an 
inviolable secret, hence the rather futile device of indicat- 
ing important places by letters only. After it had been 
received and studied by the Council it was even thought 
desirable that Gilbert's name should be erased. Spain 
had spies everywhere and watched every move. 

A few months afterward the long-looked-for Letters 
Patent were granted, ostensibly for colonization only; 
and as soon as possible he departed with a powerful 
fleet, the most important that had ever sailed from 
England; but its constitution was hardly that of a 
colonizing expedition ; its preparation had been hurried, 
and its destination and movements were so carefully 
concealed that it is difficult now to learn anything about 
them. As to the destination, the only hint we have is 
the entry in Dr. Dee's Diary above referred to. It 
reads : "Mr. Reynolds of Bridewell tok his leave of me 
as he passed toward Dartmouth to go with Sir Umfrey 
Gilbert toward Hocheleya." It will be remembered that 
in the "Discourse," St. Lawrence Island is suggested as 
the destination of the pretended colonization expedition. 
The connection between these " Discourses " and Gilbert's 
Letters Patent seems to be clearly established, but in the 
Letters Patent, now to be considered, there is no hint 
of any such purpose as is displayed by the "Discourses" ; 


on the contrary, piracy, or any attack upon the ships or 
territory of a friendly prince, is forbidden with suspicious 
insistence, considering the practice of the times. 


"A Discourse how hir Maistie may annoy 
"the Ki. of Spayne. 

''Nov. 6thy 1577. 

"I am bowld (most excellent Soueraigne) to exercise 
my pen touching matters of state, because I am a syllie 
member of this Comon Weale of England, and doe not 
offer myself therein as an Instructor, or a reformer, but 
as a Welwiller to yo Mstie. and my Countrie, wherein 
the meanest or simplest ought not to yeeld them selves 
second to the best, or wisest. In wch. respect I hope to 
be pdoned, if through want of judgement I be mistaken 
herein. And so to the matter. 

"The safety of Principates, Monarchies, and Comon 
Weales rest chiefly on making theire enemies weake, 
and poore, and themselves strong and rich. Both wch. 
god hath specially wrought for yor. maties. safety, if 
yor. highness shall not overpas good opportunities for 
the same, when they are offered. For yor. neighbs. 
infelicities through civill warres, hath weakened and im- 
poverished them both by sea, and land. And hath 
strengthened yor. Mates. Realme, both by throne, and 
thother, wch. thinge is so manyfest, that it weare more 
then in vayne, to go about to prove the same, And for 
that this yor. Mates. Realme of England requireth other 
consideracons then those wch. are of ther continent, I 
will omitt them, and spyn a threed propper for o' 
English homes. First yo' highnes owght undoubtedly 
to seeke the kingdome of heaven, and upon that foun- 
dacon to beleeve that there can never be constant, and 
firme league of amytie betwene those princes, whose 


division is planted by the woorme of thier conscience. 
So that their leagues and fayre wordes, ought to he held 
but as Mermaydes songes, sweete poysons, or macque- 
sites, that abuse wth. outward plawsabilytie, and gay 
showes. For in troth as in such leagues there is no 
assurance, so Christian princes ought not for any 
respect to combyne them selves in amytie, wth. such 
as are at open and professed warres wth. god himself e. 
For non est consilium omnino contra Deum. So that 
no state or comon weale can florishe, where the first and 
principall care is not for goddes glorie, and for thadvans- 
ing of the pollisies of his spirituall kingdom, wch. done, 
yo' matie. is to think that it is more then tyme to pare 
theire nayles by the stumpes, that are most readie prest 
to pluck the crowne (as it were in despite of god) from 
yo' highnes head, not only by foraine force ; but also 
by stirring up of home factions. And therefore the best 
waie is first to purge, or at least wise to redresse yo' 
owne kingdome of theire suspected adherentes, I meane 
not by banishment, or by fire, and sworde, but by 
dimynishing theire habilities by purse, creditt and force. 
Then to forsee by all diligente meanes, that yo* sus- 
pected neighbors may not have opportunity to recover 
breath whereby to repayre theire decayed losses; which 
for yo' safetie is principally to be don, by the farther 
weakening of their navies, and by p'serving and 
increasing of yo' owne. 

"And the deminishing of their forces by sea is to be 
done eyther by open hostilytie, or by some colorable 
meanes ; as by geving of lycence under Ires, patentes to 
discover and inhabyte some stranne place, wth. speciall 
proviso for their safetyes whome pollisy requyreth to 
have most anoyed by which means the doing of the 
contrarie shalbe imputed to the executors fawlt; yo' 
highnes Ires, patentes being a manyfest shew that it was 
not yo' Mates pleasure so to have it. After the publick 
notyse of wch. in fact, yo' Matie is either to avowe the 
same (if by the event thereof it shall so seme good) or 
to disavowe both them and the fact, as league breakers, 


leaving them to pretend yt as done wthout yo' privitie, 
either in the service of the prince of Orange or other- 

"This cloake being had for the raigne, the way to 
worke the feate is to sett forth under such like colour 
of discoverie, certayne shippes of warre to the N.L. wch. 
wth. yo' good licence I will undertake wthout yo' Maties. 
charge; in wch. place they shall certaynely once in the 
yeere meete in effecte all the great shipping of France, 
Spayne, and Portyngall, where I would haue take and 
bring awaye wth. these fraygthes and ladinges the best 
of those shippes and to burne the worst, and those that 
they take to carrie into Holland or Zeland, or as pirattes 
to shrowd them selves for a small time uppon yo' 
Mastes' coastes, under the friendship of come certayne 
vice-admirall of this Realme, who may be afterwardes 
comitted to prison, as in displeasure for the same, against 
whose returnes, six months provision of bread, and fower 
of drinck to be layd in some apt place : together with 
municion to serve for the number of five or six thou- 
sand men, wch. men wth. certaine other shippes of warr 
being in a readynes, shall p'tend to inhabit St. Lawrence 
Island, the late discouered Contries in the North, or else- 
where, and not to ioyne wth. the others but in some 
certaine remote place at sea. 

"The setting forth of shipping for this service will 
amounte to no great matter, and the returne shall cer- 
tainely be wth. great gayne, for the N.F. is a principal! 
and rich and everie where vendible merchandise : and 
by the gayne thereof, shipping, victuall, munition, and 
the transporting of five or six thousand soldiers may be 

" It may be sayd that a fewe shippes cannot possibilie 
distres so many : and that although by this service yow 
take or destroy all the shipping you find of theirs in 
those places : yet are they but subiectes shippes, theire 
owne p'ticular navies being nothing lesoned thereby, 
and therefore theire forces shall not so much be 
diminyshed, as yt is supposed, whereunto I answere : — 


''There is no doubt to perform it wthout danger. For 
although they may be many in number, and great of 
burthen, yet are they furnished with men, and munition, 
but like fishers, and when they come upon the coastes, 
they do awaies disperse them selves into sundry portes, 
and do disbarke the most of their people into small 
boates for the taking, and drying of theire fish, leauing 
fewe or none abore theire shippes, so that there is as 
little doubt of the easye taking and carrying of them 
away : as of the decaying hereby of those princes forces 
by sea. For theire owne proper shippinges are very 
fewe, and of small forces in respect of the others, and 
thiere subiectes shipping being once destroyed yt is 
likely that they will never be repaired, partly through 
the decaye of the owners, and p'tly through the losses 
of the trades whereby they mainteyned the same. For 
euerie man that is hable to build shippes doth not dis- 
pose his wealth that waye, so that their shipping being 
once spoyled, yt is likely that they will neuer be 
recouered to the like number and strength, but if they 
should, yt will require a long time to season timber for 
that purpose, all wch. space we shall have good oppor- 
tunity to proceed in our farther enterprises. And all the 
meanetyme the foresayd princes shall not only be 
disapointed of theire forces as aforesayd, but also lesse 
great revenues, whch. by traffick they formerly gayned; 
and shall therewthall endure great famine for want of 
such necessarie victualles &ces. as they former enioyed 
by those voyages. 

"It may also be obiected that although this may be 
done in act, yet is it not allowable, being against yo' 
Mates, league, for although by the reach of reason mens 
les may be obscured, yet unto God nothing is hidden, 
wch. 1 answere thus : — 

"I hold it as lawfull in Christian pollicie to pVent 
a mischief betimes : as to reveng it to late, especiallie 
seing that god him selfe is a party in the common 
quarrells now a foote, and his enemy malitiouse dis- 
position towardes yo' highnes, and his church mani- 


festlie seen although by godes mercifull providence not 
yet thoroughlie felt. 

"Further it may be saide that if this should be done by 
Englishmen under what colour soever they should 
shrowd themselves, yet will that cut us of from all 
trafficke wth those that shalbe annoyed by such meanes ; 
and thereby utterlie undoe the state of merchandise, 
decay the mayntenance of the shipping of this Realme 
and also greatly diminishe yo' mates' customes to whch 
I replie thus : — 

"To p*vent these danngers (that although yo' highnes 
may at the first distres both the French, Spanyshe, and 
Portengall yet there needeth none to be towched but the 
Spaniardes, and Portengall, or the Spaniards alone) by 
the w^ant of whose trafficke there is no necessity of such 
decaye and losses as p'tly appeared by the late restrainte 
betwene yo' Masty' and them. And the forces of the 
Spaniards, and Portingalls, being there so much decayed 
as aforesaid; The French of necessitie shalbe brought 
under your highnes lye assuring yo' msty' the case 
being as it is, it were better a thousand folde thus to 
gayne the start of them, rather then yerely to submitt 
o' selves subiect to haue all the merchanntes shippes of 
this Realme stayed in their handes; whereby they shal 
be armed at our costes, to beate us with roddes of our 
owne making, and ourselves thereby spoyled both of 
our owne wealth and strength. 

"And touching the contynuance of traffick wherewth 
to increase and maintaine our shipping, and yo' mates 
revenues, and also to provide that the prices of sotherne 
wares shall not be inhannced to the detriment of the 
Comon Weale there may be good meanes found for the 
p 'venting thereof, as hereafter followeth : — 

" It is true if we shold indure the losse of those trades, 
and not recover those commodities by some other 
meanes, that then yo' Maty might be both hindred in 
shippinge, and customes, to the great decaie of the 
Comon Weale. 

"But if yo' highnes will permit me with my associates 


eyther overtly or covertly to perfourme the aforesaide 
enterprise : then with the gayne thereof there may be 
easely such a competent companie transported to the 
W.I. as may be hable not only to disposses the S. 
thereof, but also to possesse for ever yo' Matie and 
Realme therewth, and thereby not only be countervail, 
but by farr to surmount wth gaine, the aforesaid sup- 
posed losses : besides the gowld and silver mynes, the 
profitt of the soyle, and the inward and outward customs 
from thence. By wch meanes yo' highnes doubtfull 
frendes, or rather apparante enemyes shall not be only 
made weake and poore, but therewth yo' selfe, and 
Realme made strong and rich, both by sea, and by 
lande, as well there, as here, and where both is wrought 
under one, it bringeth a most happy conclusion. So that 
if this may be well brought to passe (where of there is 
no doubt), then have we hitt the mark we shott at, and 
wonn the goale of our securities to the imortall fame of 
yo' Matie, For when yo' enemyes shall not have ship- 
ping, nor meanes left them wherby to maintayne 
shipping to annoye yo' Matie nor your subiectes be any 
longer enforced for want of other trades to submitt them 
selves to the dannger of theire arrestes, then of force 
this Realme being an Island shalbe discharged from all 
forraine y'ills if all the Monarchies of the world should 
ioyne against us, so long as Ireland shal be in safe 
keping, the league of Scotland maintayned, and further 
amitie concluded with the prince of Orange, and the 
King of Denmark. By wch. meanes also yo' matie 
shall ingraffe and glewe to yo' crowne, in effect all the 
Northerne and Sotherne viages of the World, so that 
none shalbe then well hable to crosse the seas, but subiect 
to yo' highnes devocion : considering the great increase 
of shippinge that will growe, and be mayntayned by 
those long vyages, extending them selves so many 
sundrie wayes. And if I may p'ceave that yo' highnes 
shall like of this enterprise, then will I most willinglie 
expresse my simple opinion, wch. waye the W.I. maye 
wthout difficultie be more surprised, and defended 


wthout wch resolution it were but labor lost, Bt if yo* 
Matie like to do it at all, then wold I wish yo' highnes 
to consider that delay doth often tymes prevent the 
p'fourmaunce of good thinges : for the Winges of mans 
life, are plumed wth the feathers of Death. And so 
submitting my selfe to yo' Maties favourable iudgement 
I cease to trouble yo' highnes any further. 

Nouembris : 6. 1577. 
"Yo' Maties most faithfull 

"servannt and subiect." 

Copy of note inserted in the Calendar of State Papers : 
"This has been signed, but the signature has been 
obliterated with a pen. It is, however, conjectured to be 
H. GYLBERTE. In the following year Sir Humfrey 
Gylberte received a patent for the occupation and settle- 
ment of Newfoundland." 

"A Discourse hoe hir Matie may meete with 
"and annoy the K. of Spayne. 

"It is most certaine and true that the king of Spayne 
is wholie addicted to the Pope, and is the chiefe mayn- 
tainer of the Romish religion, anH so hath sworne divers 
and sundry tymes to mayntayne the Church of Rome to 
the uttermost of his power, and thereby an enemie to all 
others that be not of the same religion, Also the whole 
troupe of Papists have reposed theire assured trust and 
confidence in him, and so arest hopeing for a daie to 
serve theire turne, wherefore so long as they be of that 
religion and we of ours there can be betwene us and 
them no good friendship. 

"Also in like manner the Clergie of Spaine with the 


holye Inquisitores, finding them selves to have such 
power in matters of rehgion as they have both ou the 
king and all his subiectes, do not forget what they haue 
to do in defence of theire quarrell, wherein wth all dili- 
gence like carefull persons losing no tyme that may 
serue for their purpose they execute the same to the 
losse both of lyfe and goodes of diuers strangeres trading 
into those Countries, wthout regard of any league or 
amitie of any religious prince whatsoever. 

"In like manner in all the dominions of the king of 
Spaine, where the sayd Inquisitores and Clergie do and 
may rule, the labour wth all diligence to make the people 
beleve that only theire religion is the thing that most 
pleaseth God, and that all other religions be abhominable 
heresies whereby the people are brought to hold us to 
be worse then Turkes, and that they may wth a goode 
conscience do to us any harme as to a Turke or Sarasen, 
assuringe themselves that in so doing they do God good 
service : Thus theise men, having this rooted in theire 
harts supersticon and false religion, must neades hate us 
that seeke to advannce only the sincere and pure religion 
of god according to his holy worde. 

"Item also it is right well knowne that the Queenes 
Mate, is the chief head of the Church of Christ and so 
an enemie to the Church of Rome, whereby it is certaine 
that the king of Spaine wth all those of his affinitie must 
neades be enemyes to the Queenes Matie and the realme 
of England. And it is most certayne if any time may 
serue them they will execute their malice to the utter- 
moste of their power, wthout any regard or respect of 
friendship p'mysed, so that it is right neadefull to p*vide 
before hand howe to be in a redines to wthstand theire 
great malice and hatred. And although that the p'sent 
necessity may breade some cloaked meanes of friendship, 
yet this cankered sore must neades rype and breake 
foorth to some great harme, happen it where and when 
it will, unles god alter the matter, the wch he maye when 
it pleaseth him, as it is most truly sayd man proposeth and 
god disposeth. It is godes will that men do theire best 


in all good causes, and then he will do the rest that they 
cannot p'fourme to wthstand so great enemies, and 
especiallie those that be meerely against the trewe 
religion of god as the Spainiardes be. 

"Item, who seeth not howe severe they be in Spaine in 
the gou'ment and maintenannce of the matters of their 
religion and how loose and careles we be in the maynte- 
nance of ors ? It is therefore to be looked for whether 
of those two is likelyest by mans reason to p'vayle. The 
same doth bread great cause to put this matter in ques- 
tion to feare the sequell and to p'vide for the same. 

"Nowe theise matters considered, it is good cause to 
pVide before hand howe and by what meanes such and 
so great a prince as the king of Spaine is, wth all the 
whole troupe of the Catholicks may best be withstanded 
and most endamaged wth least charges to the Queenes 
Matie, and most assurannce to the realme if at tyme he 
shall move warr to the Queenes Matie, as by all the 
reasons before alledged doth appeare that it is to be 
doubted he will. Therefore, according to my dutie and 
to the best af my poore knowledg, I do shewe hereafter 
following by what meanes the king of Spaine may be 
brought to knowe that any kinde of peace shalbe better 
for him then warres wth. England. 

"Although I knowe my self to be most unhable to take 
upon me to set foorth such matter as I have p'mised in 
such good order as it ought to be, to shewe by what 
meanes the Queenes Matie may not only withstand the 
king of Spayne if her grace be thereunto constrayned 
but also mightely endamage him, yet for so much as I 
have p'mysed the same, and as it is well knowne my 
long travell into diuers Countries of dutie ought to 
render some benefitt to this Countrie maketh me the 
bolder to take this in hand, and specially because yo' 
honor I trust will accept my good will and p'don this 
my plaine manner of writing. And thus coming to 
the matter that is p'mysed, I doe find that there is two 
waies in especiall by the wch this may be done : The 
same is to deale wth the king of Spaine in this West 


Indias, the wch landes is more estemed of him then any 
other that he possesseth els where, and there he is 
weakest and leste hable to ayde when any neade 
requireth, and for the Queene's Matie nothing more 
easyer or better to deale withall then that place, sth 
leste charges and most assurannce and not certayne the 
least of both theise wayes will so trouble him and 
utterly overthrowe his trades into theise partes as 
hetherto the like hath not been done, nor by any other 
meanes that I knowe can be don. 

"The first way by wch this may be done is to send 
a power of men and Shippes to the Hand called His- 
paniola, otherwise Sancta Domingo, and the Hand of 
Cuba, wch be ioyned both together, and to set the men 
a land and to take both the Hands, wch may easely be 
done, because there is but fewe people in them both, 
and those that be there, be only in the port townes by 
the sea side, and wthin the land is fewe people, or none 
at all. This being done, the place is such that hardly 
any power can remoue them, and the places be such, as 
it may let all the traude of the king of Spaine into the 
Indias, and thus the sayd company being set a land 
restes to be showed howe they may be pVided of victualls 
for the tyme of their continuannce there if it shalbe 
found neadfull to be so, the wch. is as hereafter 
followeth : — 

"First there is in the sayd Hand of Hispaniola great 
abundance of Cattell of all manner of sortes, so that 
there can be no lack of flesh to eate nor of good fish in 
the Rivers and in the Sea, were the Company never 
so many nor nev' so great. 

"Item, for bread there is a roote called Juca, of the 
wch is made good bread called Casserby, verie good as 
they do use it, and sufficient to serue at all times for 
any number of people that may go thither. 

"Item, there is a great number of excellent good 
horses of the breede of the Jennettes of Spaine, and 
sufficient of number to serue and it be for fiue or six 
thousand men, only they must carry saddells and bridells 


with them wth other furniture, for as for horses there 
can be no lack of them. 

"Item, in the said Hand is great store of Mynes of 
fyne gold, and in the Riuers is much found; There is 
no better in the whole Indias and in great quantity, so 
that being by skillfull men sought it will not only 
countervaile all charges, but also yield great treasures 
so long as the same is kept in the possession of whome 
soew' it be. 

"Item, there is great quantytie of sugers that many 
tymes and yeerely there are great shippes laden of iii/ 
or V tonn a peece wch goeth day lie for Spaine, and 
from thence laden to div's places of Christendome. 

"Item, there is in the sayd Hand great number of 
Negros, called in English Motions, that some tyme 
were slaves and haue ronn away from theire mes, and 
do dwell in many places of the Hand and haue wiues 
and children and be valiant men; theise will gladly 
receave ayde and libertie, and so they may be brought: 
to do great service and be most desirous to finde such 
an occasion. 

"Item, in the sayd Hand is a Cittie named Santam 
Domingo, by the wch name the sayd Hand is most 
commonly called; it is of no great strength, nor the 
people of no great knowledge howe to defend, nor of 
any great number. There is also a fewe Spanyardes 
in other portes of the said Hand but of no force, and 
wthin the land there is no place inhabited wth Spani- 
ardes. The saide Hand is one of the best in those partes 
of the world in abundance of all thinges. 

"The land of Cuba is a very healthfull and fertill Hand. 
There is in the saide Hand great abundannce of Cattle 
of all manner of sortes sufficient for a great number of 
men, and for bread the said Cassaby and a grayne called 
Maies wch. makes good bread; there is also great plenty 
of great hennes and div's other fowles wth plentie of 
fish both in the sea and in the Riuers. There is also 
many good mynes of div's sortes of Mettalles as Copper 
leade and silver, good portes for Shippes. 


The second waie by wch the king of Spaine may 
mightely be troubled when neade shall requier is by 
taking of the fleetes that comes out of the Ilandes 
homewardes for Spaine, in the wch cometh all the kinges 
treasure and of the Subiectes also the wch treasure hath 
been the principall aide wherewth to do all the great 
artes that the Emperor Charles did in his tyme and the 
pryde of t\ie Spanyardes to this day. 

*'And the waye wherby to do this most aptly and not 
to misse to meat wth the saide Fleetes in theire comyng 
home into Spaine is to appoint the Shippes that shall be 
neadef ull for the same to go from hence as secretly as 
they may to the Hand of Bearmunda, wch Hand is distant 
from the Canal or strait of Bahama 50 leagues through 
wch strait the fleetes that come out of the Indias for 
Spaine must neades come, and so they cannot faile to 
meete with them in that place, but the fleetes passing 
once the saide Hand may and do alter theire course, as 
it wilbe hard to meete wth them afterwardes, and to set 
upon them in the portes unles men can pointe theire 
tymes so redily as they may come even when they be 
readie to depart, wch cannot be done, the treasure will 
not be aboard, and so no good to be done. There may 
be many thinges more saide in this beahlfe wch I leave, 
becaue the tyme will best shewe them when this shalbe 
put in execution. It is also to be remembered that the 
lest losse that may happe in any p'te of the Indias to 
the king of Spayne wilbe more greavous unto him than 
any losse that can happen to him els where, and this is 
also most sure that the Queenes Matie at all tymes that 
neede shall require shall doe more by this meanes wth 
the charges of twentie thousand poundes then by any 
other meanes with a hundreth thousand poundes. And 
also it is most certayne that the king of Spaine being 
set a worke by theise ways, the Queenes Matie shall 
little neede to care for any harme that he can do in theise 

"ENDORSED. Discourses how hir Matie may annoy 
the king of Spayne." 



The first Letters Patent, permitting the planting of 
an English colony, were granted to Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert, of Compton, on June 11, 1578. It was a 
momentous document, and became the model for all 
subsequent grants for a similar purpose; as such, it 
may perhaps be called the Magna Charter of Greater 

Gilbert undoubtedly prepared it, and the conditions 
and arguments are the fruit of his fertile brain. The 
full document appears as an appendix. 

Sir Humphrey and his heirs for ever were granted 
permission to seek out and discover any heathen and 
barbarous lands not occupied by any Christian king; 
to inhabit and remain there, and to transport there 
"such and as many of our subjects as shall willingly 
accompany him." To legalize this action, all statutes 
against fugitives or absentees were repealed, so far as 
they related to Sir Humphrey and his colonists. 

The lands occupied were to be held in fee simple, 
upon payment to the Crown of one fifth part of all the 
gold and silver that in them might be found. Power 
was granted to resist and repel all persons who should 
attempt to settle or to trade within two hundred leagues 
either way of any of the countries so chosen and settled. 
While in the main portion of the grant the term "for 
ever " is always used, this clause provides that such 
lands and countries shall be occupied within six years. 

For the encouragement of the enterprise it was 
decreed that the countries occupied under this grant 
L 145 


should thenceforth appertain to the Crown of England, 
and that all the persons "who shall now in this first 
journey for discovery, or in the second journey for 
conquest hereafter" travel to or settle in such lands, 
and their heirs for ever, should enjoy all the privileges 
of free denizenship of England. 

Power was granted to Sir Humphrey, and his heirs 
for ever, to govern, to punish, to pardon, and to make 
laws, provided only that such laws were not contrary 
to the laws of England, nor against the true religion 
professed by her Church. 

The High Treasurer of England, and or any four 
of the Privy Council, were empowered to grant licenses 
to Sir Humphrey to transport from England or Ireland 
all goods and commodities that were necessary for the 

The final provision was made, that if Sir Humphrey, 
or any of his company, committed any act of piracy 
or hostility against the subjects of any king in amity 
with England, and failed to make restitution, then he 
and his followers were to be cast forthwith from out 
the allegiance of England, and might be pursued 
with hostility by any prince who found himself 

How far Elizabeth's practice was at variance with 
her precepts may be seen in the case of Drake, who 
was then away on his famous voyage. Remembering 
also her policy in regard to the Low Countries, one 
inclines to the opinion that this clause was added 
purely and solely for a ''cloak and a defence." 

In a paragraph quoted above it will be noted that 
the first expedition was to be for discovery, and a 
subsequent voyage for conquest, but from its composi- 
tion it is easy to see that the first expedition was at 
least well able to defend itself, or as Gilbert's earliest 
biographer, Haies, expresses it, "able to encounter a 
king's power at sea." 

We have no information about the preparation of this 


formidable fleet. It must have been a work of months, 
and could not have been accomplished between the date 
of the signing of Letters Patent, June ii, and the date 
of sailing, which, although it did not finally take place 
until September 23, had been intended for a much 
earlier date. We therefore conclude that Gilbert had 
received intimation that the Letters Patent were to be 
granted months before they were actually signed, and 
that the preparation of his fleet had occupied his atten- 
tion at least all the preceding winter. This intimation 
might very well be placed at about the time of the receipt 
of the "Discourse how her Majestie may annoy the 
King of Spain. 

The names of the venturers in this first voyage, 
either in monies or commodities, were — 

"Lord North, Mr. Edmondes of the Privy Chamber, 
Sir Matthew Arrundell, Sir Edward Horsey, Sir Wm. 
Morgan, Sir John Gilbert, Sir Geo. Peckham, Chas. 
Arrundell, Mr. Mackwilliam, Walter Rowley, Carew 
Rowley, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Edward, Henry Mowell, 
Mr. Wigmore, John Dudley, Thos. Dudley, Will 
Mohan, Edward Bartley, Thos. Smith (Customer of 
London), Edmund Eltoft, Geo. Carrowe of Okington, 
Mr. Rudgway, Lawrence Radford, Adrian Gilbert, 
Geo. Carrowe, Chas. Champernoune, Robt. Wraye, 
Thos. Hammond, Mr. Walet, Edward Snelling, Mr. 
Haies (gent of Liverpool), John Upton, Wm. Hawkins, 
Wm. Martin, Lawrence Barckham, John Rodford, 
Simon Bowiar, and Mr. Warckhope." 

It will be observed that Gilbert was ably supported 
by his relations and friends. When he was planning 
his second expedition he was careful to safeguard all 
who had first assisted him and to his relations he 
accorded special privileges. 

The following paper, from the Record Office, gives 
us a full account of the ships, officers, crews, and 
armaments of Humphrey Gilbert's fleet. 
L 2 



— The whole number of gents 
solgiars and mariners are: — 
CXXVI— 126. 

An Acer, admiral! of the fleete in Burdon 250 Tunns havinge 
caste peces 24, fowlers 4, one Brasse pece, Sir Humfry Gylbat 
generall, Henrye Pedley Mr., his mates, Richard Smythe Boteswane. 
John Inglish Mr. Battes deputye of his ship. 
Richard Wigmore esquie, 
Thomas Hamonde gent 
Thomas Skivington gent 
Edward Ventris gent 
Jaquis Harvye a french gent 

ThomTs} - ^°"°" &^^t 

Willm. Heringe gent ) 

Thomas Reboldes gent 

Willm. Stonewell gent 

Edward Dethicke gent 

John Friar phistion 





The Hope of Greneway, Vice Admirall of 160 Tunnes / havinge 
in her of caste peces — XVIII, fowlers fower. 
Carye Rawlye, brother to Syr Humfrye Gilberte, Capitayne, 
Jacobbe Whidon Mr. / his mate John Perden 
Willm. Horselye, Mr. Gouer, 
Henrye Noell espuier, an Ancient by Lande, 
Robert Wary gent \ 

Jame Fulford gent | 

George Whetstone gent 
Anthony Hamton gent 
Henry Barker gent 
Andrew Piper gent I 

Surgeo I, Trumpiter i, j 

The Falcon, w*=^ was the Quenes ship of 100 Tunnes havinge in 
her Caste peces 15, fowlers 4, doble bases 12, Capitayne Walter 
Rawlye, brother to Syr Humfrye Gilberte, a capitayne of An Ancient 
by Lande 

Fardinando, the Portugale, his Mr. 
Edward Eltofe, esquire, 
Charles Champemewme, gent, 
John Robtes gent 
John Flere gent 
Thomas Holbome gent 
John Antoll gent I 

Will. Higford gent J 

The Red Lyon, of a i 10 Tunnes, havinge caste peces XII, Doble 
bases VI, 

Myles Morgayne of Tredgar in the Countye of Mulmot, esquier, 

John Anthony his Mr., His mates Rise Sparowe, black Robin, Edward 
Marvayle boteswane, 

The whole number of gents 
solgiars and mariners are 80. 

- The whole number of gents, 
solggars and mariners are 70. 


The whole number of gents, 
solggars, and mariners, are 53. 

Drew Tonne Mr. Gow, 
George Harbart gent 
Edmond Mathew gent 
Charlet Bucly gent 
Rise Lewes gent 
John Martin gent 
Thomas Mychelas gent 
John Ameridath gent 
Lewis Jones gent 

The Gallion, of 40 Tunnes, havinge of caste peces 6, viz :— fower 
fawlconettes, one mynier, one falcon, 

Richard Veall, capitayne, , 

Corrte Feykinborow, Mr., his mate Richard Nycols, 
Thomas Fowler Mr. Gow, 

- The whole number of gents, 
solgiars, and mariners are 28 

Beniamin Butler gent 
Francis Rogers gent 
George Worselye gent 
Arthur Messinger gent 

The Swallow of 40 Tunnes, ") The whole number in her of sol- 
Capitayne John Vernye, gent J giars and mariners — 28 

The lytell Frigate or Squirrel of 8 Tunnes. The whole number 
of Solgiars and mariners are 8. 

The whole number of gent, solgiars, and mariners in this fleet are 
CCCLXV, 365., the said ships well vitaled at their deyture with Beef 
for thre monethes. 

Ite w^'' Fyshe and Byscate for a year at III byscates a day for a 
man, Wth pease and Benes for a yere, Besydes particular provisions. 

M"^ that Syr Humfre, his ships came to Dartmouthe August 25, 

Dyvers provisions for aparall stolle away by a pynisse Sep. 8 / 

Mr. Knollis came to Dartmouthe the X of September / 

It depte to Plymouth the 22 of September / 

Ite the 26 of September the sayd navy depted out of Dartmouth 
and wear dyspsed by contrary wyndes some to the Isle of Wyte some 
other wayes / 

Ite the sayd ships arived at Plynouth the 1 5 of October. 

Ite the 29 of October in barked agayne from thence and by tempest 
inforced to take harborow / whear they remayned untill the 19 of 

Sir Humphrey's flagship, or, as she was then called, 
the Admiral, bore the name of his forbearing wife — "An 
Ager," and for a motto: ''Quid Non'' ("Why Not"), 
which Gilbert had inscribed upon his own coat-of-arms, 
and which was typical of the originality of his mind 
and the daring with which he executed his designs. 
Among the gentlemen on board we notice Mr. 
Reynolds, who took his leave of Dr. Dee on August 5. 


Carew Ralegh commanded the "Hope of Greneway," 
bearing the appropriate motto ''Meliora spero " ("I hope 
for better things "), a hope which was, unhappily, but 
short-lived, for she sprang a leak and had to return. 

The "Falcon," a Queen's ship, flying the bold motto : 
''Nee mortem peto nee finem fugio'' ("I neither seek 
death nor flee the end "), was commanded by Walter 
Ralegh, then twenty-six years of age. It was no doubt 
his first command at sea, and was his initiation in a 
career to which he also largely devoted his life. As a 
soldier he had attained the rank of Captain of a com- 
pany. With him, as master, was Ferdinando, a 
Portuguese, of whom we shall hear more later. 

The "Red Lion," under Captain Miles Morgan, 
carried ''Now or Never" as her motto, unhappily all 
too appropriate. 

The last two of Sir Humphrey's particular fleet, the 
Swallow and the little Squirrel, lived to fight another 
day, and formed part of the ill-fated expedition of 1583. 

That portion of the fleet under the command of Henry 
Knowles, or Knollys, requires no particular mention, 
for reasons which will be developed later. 

In all there were ten or eleven ships and 525 men 
assembled under Gilbert's command, an unnecessarily 
powerful fleet, it will be surmised, for a peaceful voyage 
of discovery. 

So evidently thought the Spanish Ambassador, Bern- 
ardino de Mendoza. Writing to the King, on May 6, 
1578, he says — 

" Humphrey Gilbert, with a son of Knollys, treasurer 
of the household, and member of the Council, has four 
ships in the river, which he has bought with his own 
money, and fully armed, and intends to take out with 
other gentlemen. It is said that he is to accompany 
Stockwell wfth his six ships now ready in the West 
Country, on a voyage of discovery, but the design of 
Humphrey Gilbert is understood to be to land on the 
island of Santa Genela, and he is therefore to take with 

Statue of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 

Truro Cathedral. 


him a man of the Chaldean nation, who is here, and 
well versed in that navigation and language.'* 

We have no account of any expedition enterprised 
by Stockwell, nor has it been possible to find out what 
place was intended by Santa Genela. Over a month 
before Gilbert's patent was signed some of his ships 
were lying ready in the river, and Spanish spies were 
carefully watching him. 

On June 3, Mendoza writes again in reference to 
Gilbert's voyage: "Although it is given out that he is 
bound on a different voyage from that undertaken by 
Master Stockwell, it is believed that when they are out 
at sea, they will join together and go towards the Indies, 
unless there be some disturbance in Ireland or Scotland 
which should detain them. They are taking with them a 
Portuguese called Simon Fernandez, a great rogue, who 
knows that coast well, and has given them much in- 
formation about it. He has done the King of Portugal 
much dis-service in consequence of the large amount 
of property which his subjects have lost there through 
him. When Champigny was here, it was agreed with 
the Earl of Leicester, in his own chamber, the Queen 
being present, that the way to be safe from your Majesty 
and to injure your prosperity was to make the Indian 
voyage and rob the flotillas, if they could not set foot 
on the coast itself, as by this means, they might stop 
the receipt of so much money from there by your 
Majesty — Orange continues to urge this course, he 
being of the same opinion." 

Fernandez was no doubt " Fernandino the Portugale," 
who sailed with Ralegh. The ideas propounded by 
the author of How Hir Majesty may annoy the King 
of Spain had evidently become popular, and received 
the endorsation of both Leicester and William of 

On June 13, Mendoza writes again; "The Queen has 
given permission for Gilbert to sail and to Frobisher 
also. I am having this shipmaster shadowed by spies 


to discover whether he starts on the voyage, and to 
know for what purpose Gilbert wishes to take him." 

By "this shipmaster*' Mendoza undoubtedly meant 
Simon Fernandez. 

Another letter on August 14, says: '*I have sent a 
man expressly to make the voyage with Humphrey 
Gilbert, so that if he returns, he will give a full account 
of it to me. I have been fortunate in finding a person 
both faithful and competent, he being an Englishman, 
and if they should touch in Spain on their return, he 
is to go straight to Court and address himself to you." ^ 

In spite of having some of his vessels ready in May 
it was months before Gilbert was able to sail. Writing 
to Walsingham on September 23, he ascribes his delay 
to the non-arrival at Dartmouth of his London ship- 
ping, which were detained by head winds. He 
addresses Walsingham as his principal patron, to whose 
interest he owed the Letters Patent from the Queen, 
and always his good and honourable friend, and begs 
him to keep him in her Majesty's good countenance 
and credit. The time was late for his departure, but 
yet not unfit for travel. No hint is given as to his 
destination. Gilbert soon found that his hopeful view 
of the season was far from being correct. Leaving 
Dartmouth on September 26, his fleet was immediately 
dispersed by gales of wand, and forced to put back to 
the Isle of Wight. On October 29, they embarked 
again, but were again forced by a violent tempest to 
return to harbour, from whence they finally departed 
on November 19 for parts unknown. 

Nearly all historians have stated that he went to 
Newfoundland, but had to return immediately without 
accomplishing anything. Such, however, is certainly 
not the case. It is impossible that his fleet could have 
made the voyage across the North Atlantic in the winter 
season. It seems certain that he did not attempt it. 
Gilbert's destination is shrouded in mystery. The 

^ A spy was also sent with Frobisher's expedition in 1578. 


secret was well kept at the time, and is still unfathomed. 
In a letter written by Henry Kelligrew on August 23, 
1577, he says, that there was a rumour current that 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert was to go to Peru, to the 
assistance of John Oxenham, who was reported to have 
taken ;^i5o,ooo in gold. On October 10, 1578, he 
writes again : **Sir Humphrey Gilbert with his 10 ships 
set sail on Sept. 25th, but I know not whither." Even 
Mendoza, with his inside information, was at a 
loss, and could only make wild guesses at Gilbert's 

Although there is no express statement to that effect, 
we can be reasonably certain that this powerful fleet was 
organized to carry out the schemes proposed in How 
Hit Majesty may annoy the King of Spain, and in 
the endeavour to keep the secret is seen the reason why 
Gilbert's name was obliterated from that document. 

We have still other evidence of the care with which 
the destination of this fleet w^as kept secret. 

In 1578 was published a poem by Thomas Church- 
yard, called "The Entertaynement of the Queen's 
Majestic into Suffolke and Norfolke." In his Epistle 
Dedicatorie to Mr. Gilbert Gerrard, Attorney General, 
he says : *' I have placed at the end of this discourse a 
feawe verses in the honoring of good minds and travel- 
lyng bodies, meaning thereby Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
Master Henry Knolles and others, right worthy and 
honest gentlemen presently passed towards a happy 
voyage, as I hope." This quaint poem is reprinted as 
an appendix to this chapter, and will undoubtedly be 
read with much interest. Suffice it here to note that 
the poet's little lad, whom he sent to search for news, 
returns with the story that Sir Humphrey Gilbert and 
many of the poet's friends had taken leave of Court 
and slipped away to sea. 

"But whither, no man knowes, 
Save that they are in Barke. 
Who with one mind, and one consentj 
Do hope to hitte one marke." 


The poet then takes leave of them, apostrophizing 
each in turn. He cannot imagine why they should 
leave home, where they are so well off. 

" Some people happly think 
a greedie hope of gayne, 
And heaps of gold you hope to find 
doth make you take this payne. 
Oh sure that cannot be, 
Conceive the case who list, 
For having that which thousands want 
alreadie in your fist." 

For the poet's explanation of the problem we refer 
our readers to the poem itself. 

But before the final departure on November 19, 
Knollys separated himself from Gilbert's command, 
taking with him "as many of the company as either 
the long time of staie by contrary wyndes have tyred, 
or his affection altered." He was a contumacious, con- 
ceited man, and presuming upon his relationship to 
the Queen, openly stated that he was superior to twenty 
knights, and that he demeaned himself in taking service 
under Gilbert. "He used me so dissdainfullie," writes 
Gilbert to Walsingham, "as my rash and foolish con- 
dicion hath seldom been sene to indure." When Gil- 
bert, by way of healing the breach that had sprung up 
between them, asked Knollys to dine with him, he was 
met with the ungracious reply, "that he would leave 
my trencher for those beggars that were not able to pay 
for their meals which seemed a bare thank for my 
good will." 

Two of Knollys' men were under suspicion of having 
committed a murder in Plymouth, but Knollys refused 
to give them up. On another occasion he himself had 
shown sympathy with Holbeame, a notorious pirate. 
When Gilbert quietly and privately remonstrated with 
him about his conduct, he flew into a rage, and with- 
drew from the expedition. Gilbert was of opinion that 
Knollys was disaffected from the first, and only joined 
it to further some design of his own. 


A deposition was made as to the circumstance before 
the Mayor of Dartmouth, which was signed by Wm. 
Hawkins, Walter Rowley, Miles Morgan, John 
Robartes, and Edmund Eltoffe. But what connection 
Hawkins had with the matter it is difficult to surmise, 
except that he was one of the "venturers." 

Gilbert had still seven ships left, well manned and 
victualled, and he declared himself as well able as 
before to carry out *'that he had undertaken," but does 
not specify what that was. He was particularly hurt 
at the desertion of his cousin Denny, who had become 
dissatisfied because of a small reproof and therefore 
followed Knollys. 

The next news we have of the expedition is in a letter 
written by Sir John Gilbert to Walsingham, dated 
December 20. He contradicts the report that Humphrey 
Gilbert's fleet was poorly victualled, and declared that 
they had provisions enough for a year, and had re- 
victualled each time they had been forced to put back, 
on the last occasion in Ireland. 

We have only confused accounts of what happened 
after leaving Ireland. Haies, the historian of Gilbert's 
second voyage, relates only that "he adventured to 
sea, when having tasted of no less misfortune he was 
shortly after driven to retire home with the loss of a 
tall ship, and more to his grief a valiant gentleman 
Miles Morgan." 

In spite of considerable research no particulars can 
be obtained of this disaster. John Hooker in an address 
to Ralegh, obscurely refers to the expedition thus : — 
"Infinite commodities in sundry respects would have 
ensued from that voyage, if the fleet then accompany- 
ing you, had according to appointment followed you ; 
or yourself had escaped the dangerous sea-fight, where- 
in many of your company was slain, and your ships 
therewith also sore battered and disabled." This is the 
sole reference that can be found to a naval encounter 
with the Spaniards, but upon this slim formation some 


of Ralegh's biographers have built up quite a display of 
heroism on his part. 

On February 26, 1579, the watchful Mendoza reports 
that Gilbert and Knollys had returned, and that the 
sole result of their expedition was the capture of a 
French ship with merchandise. The spy had also 
returned, but what he reported is not related. If there 
had been a fight with Spaniards at sea, as indicated 
by Hooker, it is certain that the spy's accounts of it 
would have been transmitted to Spain. 

It seems very probable, therefore, that Miles Morgan 
and his tall ship were lost in a storm. 

What its destination may have been, or by what 
agency defeated, whether buffeted by storms or van- 
quished by the enemy, Gilbert's first expedition was a 
failure. A sympathizing contemporary expresses his 
regret that "So forward a mind should have so back- 
ward a success." Mendoza also writes: "Not only 
have they abandoned the navigation to Cathay, but 
they have been so sickened with the little profit pro- 
duced from their last voyage that not a man or a sailor 
has been paid his wages." Were it not for Mendoza's 
letter his return would have been unrecorded. A 
melancholy contrast to the returning fleet, pictured in 
the Discourse How Hir Majesty viay annoy the King 
of Spain, with strings of captured vessels in its wake, 
forced to hide in some Irish port until the "annoyance " 
of the King of Spain had blown over. 

The King of Spain was, however, quite sufficiently 
annoyed as it was. Gilbert intended, as soon as his fleet 
refitted, to have sailed again on his destined voyage, 
but fate, in the person of the Spanish Ambassador, 
intervened. Such strong representations were made to 
the Queen and her Council, as to the intended piracies 
of Gilbert, that the Council were forced to notice them, 
and on April 26 they wrote to Sir Humphrey " revoking 
him from his intended journey of the seas for seking 
of forryne cuntries, or if he shall proceede in it, that 

Bernardino de Mendoza. 


he putt in sureties," for himself and his associates, to 
refrain from any piratical action." 

This letter was evidently not delivered, for on May 28, 
they wrote to Sir John Gilbert, quoting the above letter, 
and saying that they understood that he had sailed 
before its receipt, and could not stay his enterprise 
without very considerable loss. Sir John had written 
defending his brothers against the charge of piracy, 
and had undertaken to be answerable for them. The 
Council informed him that further complaints had been 
received; that a Spanish vessel laden with oranges had 
been taken in Walfled Bay, which must be returned 
and her captain recompensed. They had heard that 
"Rouley" had returned to Dartmouth, and that Sir 
Humphrey was still on the coast, therefore Sir John was 
required "friendlie to advise them to surcease from 
proceeding anie further, and to remand them at home 
and answer such as have been by their company 

A letter was also sent to the Sheriff, Vice-Admirals, 
and Justices of the Peace, of the County of Devon, 
instructing them forthwith to charge Sir Humphrey and 
his company to repair to land, and that Rawley, Eltoffe, 
and others, who were said to be in Dartmouth, were 
to be instructed "to surcease from their intended journey 
and to medle no further therein without express order 
from their Lordships." The Sheriff was also instructed 
to make diligent inquiry about any piracies committed 
by Gilbert, Rawley, Fortescue or any others of the 
expedition, and to commit the perpetrators to prison, or 
take sureties from them to answer the charges. 

The accusations against Gilbert and his company are 
contained in the following paper — 

"Demands of the King of Spain's subjects against 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 

"First, the ship named MARY, Master Gellam 
Malerna, laden with linen-cloth, haberdash wares, and 
other merchandise; which, following her voyage from 


Spain, was taken by ships of the saide Sir Humfrey and 
one Master Miles Morgan, and part of the goods were 
sold in Cornwall, as it has been well proved. 

" Item, they demand restitution of the spoil committed 
by the aforesaid Ships in Galica, where they came aland 
and sacked the village, and did many outrages to the 
inhabitants and the church ; part of which spoil was 
likewise sold in Cornwall. 

"Item, restitution of certain iron taken from a 

"Item, a barque of Sir Humfreys's, one Mr. Wig- 
more being captain, had part of the linen-cloth. He 
bought of Derifall, master of Mr. Knowell's ship named 
the FRANCES, a cable and anchor belonging to the 
French ship that Mr. Knowell's ship took, and paid 
for them in linen-cloth, being pancel of our demand. 

"The Ambassador's request is that the king's subjects 
rnay be recompensed for the wrongs done [them, and 
that the male] factors may be punished according to the 
amity and league between their Majesties. 

"Endorsed. Information against Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert, One name corrected in Burghley's hand." 

Later on the Spanish ship was restored, and in order 
to recompense the Captain for his ruined cargo, he was 
permitted to purchase and transport three hundred 
quarters of grain from Devonshire. Gilbert, writing to 
VV^alsingham, on February 5, 1583, disclaims any 
participation in these piracies, and, indeed, claims par- 
ticular merit for having refrained from any illegal act. 
He says his first voyage involved him in heavy losses, 
because he would not himself nor suffer any of his com- 
pany to do anything contrary with his word given to 
Her Majesty; for if he had not preferred his credit to 
his gain he need not have returned as poor as he then 

Mendoza continues to refer to him scornfully as a 
pirate and robber. On June 29, 1579, he writes : 
"James FitzMaurice, the Irishman, is now said to be 


on the coast of Cornwall, with a ship of eight hundred 
tons and two small ones, with which he has captured 
a Bristol vessel, throwing all the crew into the sea. 
In consequence of this, Humphrey Gilbert, who was 
robbing on the Coast, has been ordered to go in pursuit 
of the Irishman, who although he has so few ships is 
causing them some anxiety." 

It is extraordinary how well informed Mendoza 
always was. The above letter was written on June 29, 
but it was not until July 24, that a Commission was 
given to Sir Humphrey Gilbert to attack James Fitz- 
Maurice. Some one exceptionally well posted in the 
intentions of the Privy Council was evidently in the 
pay of the Spanish Ambassador. 

The Commission empowered Sir Humphrey to com- 
mandeer any ships or vessels with their pilots and 
mariners that he might require, whether ''within 
liberties or without." He was instructed to "pursue, 
ponysshe, correct and plague the said James " and his 
rebellious navy. More particular instructions were 
appended. FitzMaurice was to be carefully watched 
and his movements at sea promptly reported. If he 
were encountered, and Gilbert found himself able to 
attack him, he was to do so, for Her Majesty's honour, 
and his own safety and credit. If FitzMaurice left 
Ireland, Gilbert was to follow him up and see in what 
country he took refuge. Finally, he was authorized to 
levy upon the most convenient towns for any supplies 
he needed.^ 

Gilbert continued in this employment until the follow- 
ing October 5, when Walsingham notified him that his 
ships were no longer required, and asked him to send 
some trustworthy person to Ireland to receive them. 

^ The result of this levy is amusing. Dublin was called upon for 
supplies, and sent some biscuits to Cork, but being made of musty 
corn " was wholly lost saving that little that was uttered to such ships 
as Sir Humphrey Gilbert had in entertainment whom hunger com- 
pelled to feed upon it." 


The letter is addressed to him, at Baldismyre near 
Feversham, Kent, so that at that time he was not in 
command of his vessels. Mendoza, as usual, kept 
watch, and reported early in September that Gilbert had 
landed in Galicia and sacked a monastery. He made 
complaint to the Queen on the matter, who at once, he 
says, ordered the men to be arrested, and assured him 
that they should be punished. 

Gilbert in due course sent in a bill for the hire of his 
ships and the payment of himself and crews, but, a's 
usual, it was quite another matter to get it paid. 

On July II, 1581, he wrote a letter to Walsingham, 
which is here given in full. Poor Sir Humphrey ! the 
lot of a public servant under Elizabeth was certainly a 
hard one ; he was drawm away from his colonizing plans 
to perform a duty for which he did not even have the 
small satisfaction of getting paid. Hard as was his lot, 
that of Lady Gilbert makes even greater demands upon 
our sympathy, although we trust that Gilbert spoke meta- 
phorically when he said that her clothes had been sold to 
pay his debts. 

"S^ greate extremitye enforceth me most humblie and 
earnestlie to crave your honors speedy furtherance of 
me, for the small some of monye w^h remaynethe duue 
for the service of her Majestic in Irelande; w^h weere 
stayed and employed ther, by the Lords Justices 
arrestes and not by my shuet : I did lose by yt above 
two thousand pundes : by meanes that I was stayed 
here and could not be permitted to retorne into Irelande 
to save my shippes and goodes : w^h weare stolen and 
carried awaye, as your Honor and my Lordes doe very 
well knowe. My recommeninge is sett down and per- 
fected and allowed, under the Awditor's hand of Ire- 
lande as you knowe. And my Lord Deputie that nowe 
is, wrotte his letters to my Lo. of the Counsell longe 
sythens, for my paymente, but as yet I can gett 
nothinge. A miserable thinge it ys that I, poore man, 

Sir Francis WalsixNgham. 


havinge served Her Ma^ie in warres and peace above 
seven and twenty yeres, shoulde be nowe subjecte to 
daylie arrestes, executions, and outlawries; yea and 
forside to gadge and sell my wyffes clothes from her 
backe, who browgthe me so good a lyvinge. The 
Queenes Matie hath allwaies said that her highness 
would releve me : and shall I now sterve without Her 
Maties privatie for wante of my owne. Her Ma^ie did 
never yet denye me anye thinge that that I wer asked, 
althoughe I never enjoyed anythynge to proffytt that 
ever Her Majestic gave me. So that my case is thus 
evill, not throwe wante of Her Mai^s most gracyous 
and bownterfulle consideration in my good, but throwe 
my evill happe otherwaies. Therfore my most humble 
shute is that your honor will wouchsafe without delaye 
to present this my pytteful peticion to her Mamies owne 
consideration ; whoe I am suer will never detain my 
owne from me, neyther yet denye me anye other reason- 
able shure for my releiffe, that have served her highness 
from a boye to the age of white heeres 

*'Menster in Shippey, the XI of July 1581. 
"Yor Honnors moste homble to commannde, 

**Hy Gylberte." 

It will be noted that he complains of being detained 
in England, and that during his absence his ships were 
despoiled. Although no direct evidence can be found 
on the matter, we infer that, as a result of Mendoza's 
complaint of his raid in Galicia, he was summoned to 
England to answer the charge, and during this enforced 
absence he suffered the loss of ;^2,ooo. 

But even this piteous appeal failed to secure payment, 
and on October 25 following, he wrote again to Wal- 
singham, explaining some of the items in his bill of 
expenses, and giving us, by the way, some account of 
the services he had rendered. 

"It seemeth yor. honor thincketh yt muche that I 



should be allowed the some sett downe by the awditor 
in my accomptes for the service of Three of my shippes 
in Irlande ; trulie I am not allowed so muche as I ought, 
for I was appointed admirall of all the ships that 
served then in Irelande vntill Sir John Parrett came 
over with her Mamies shipping, and am allowed but 
xviijii. a dale waiges, wch is ewy ordynarie Sea 
Captaines paie. 

"Also the Anne Ager was a shippe of Two hundred 
Four score and thirten tonnes or there abouts, and in 
my reckoninge she is sett donne but Two hundred and 
Fowertie tonnes, so that I am wronged thereby, Thirtie 
seven pundes tene shillinges. 

"Also I had in the Anne a hundred and twentie men 
of my owne company besides thirtie that were of Mr. 
Savelles and the p'vost marshalls men whome I 
victayled at my owne chardges, as I did all the rest, and 
am allowed but for a hundred men, so that I am 
wronged therein Twentie mens w^ages and fyftie mens 
victailes for one month, amountinge to Fortie one 
poundes Thirtenn shillings and Fower pence. 

"And when it pleased yor honor to thincke that her 
matie is duble charged in the accompte for the same 
shippe it is nothinge so vnder yor honors Correction, 
for the first chardge is for the Captaine and Seaventen 
officers wth Fower score and two men for one monthe 
and a dale, begynninge the one and twentieth dale of 
July 1579 and endinge the eyghten dale of August next 
followinge, wch tyme she wth the other shippes kept at 
Sea to garde the Coste. And was from the xixth. dale 
of August, being the next dale after, appointed to moer 
her selfe hard by the walls of kynsall for the defense 
of the towne, at wch tyme there was Thre score of her 
company dischardged, and had allowance but for fortie 
men afterwardes, from the said xixth. dale of August 
until the xijth. daie of October then next following, 
being the daie of her dischardge, so that there is 
not any double charge sett downe for the Anne, the 


latter allowannce begynninge at thende of the first 

"And to satisfie yor honor for the service my shippes 
did, trulie they did as they were directed by the 
governor and therfore not to be blamed were it more or 
lesse, but the Rebels did twise or thrise offer to assayell 
the towne of kynsall but durst not by meanes of the 
fear they had of the Artillerye of the Anne Ager, so 
that they did at that tyme the service of garrisoners for 
the defence of the towne, wch otherwise was lyke to 
have been spoyled. 

"And for the relief she wasted vyctailes and went to 
yohall, where were two frenche shippes well ordynanced 
and manned, and entred them by force and toke them 
bothe, they assystinge the Rebells of the towne against 
her Maties forces, vntill the doinge of wch service the 
Erie of Wormewood could not come over the River of 
yohall to assayle the towne by meanes of their artillerye. 

"And touching the frygott she was employed as a 
passenger betweene England and Ireland and brought 
over St. Drew Drewry and others with letters. 

"Farthere there was at that time of my owne powder 
spent in my said shippes and employed by the lorde 
Justice to the value of Sixteen poundes sterling, as 
appeareth by a note of Oliver Bramfordes who was then 
Gierke of the Checke, the wch note I have redye to 
shewe and am not allowed for the same. 

"I hope my case shall be measured as others hathe 
bene, who are paied both freight and wages, that spent 
her Matie much more money then the allowances of 
my shippes cometh vnto and yet did (wthout offence 
being spoken) as lytell service as they for any thinge I 
knowe, wch I hope should have bene better yf I might 
haue had leave to serue in them my selfe. 

" I trust yor honor maketh no doubt that theis shippes 
served the Queene in suche sorte as aforesaid, for that 
is manyfestlie knowne vnto my lordes of the Counsel! 
bothe by Sr. Willm Dreurys Ire, late lorde Justice, 



sent over by my selfe touchinge the same matter, as 
appereth by yor honors Ire directed to me dated the 
vth. of October 1579, as also by my lorde Greys Ires to 
my lordes of the Counsell dated the xxxth. of January 
1580, besides the testimonyall therof vnder the Auditors 
hande who hathe sett downe my particuler accomptes 
for the service of the said shippes. 

"And for the better proofe therof I have the lorde 
Justices Comission and instrucons to shewe vnder his 
hande and her Maties Counsell of Irelande and vnder 
the privie Scale of the same Realme. 

"I most humblie besechinge yor honor for yor better 
satisfacon that Sr. Warram Sellinger may be called 
before you and my lordes of the counsell to speake his 
knowledge herein, who aucthorised with others by the 
lorde justices warrant did first staye bothe me and my 
men and shippes for the aforesaide services, and did 
by the lyke aucthoritie dischardge the same. 

"Thus muche I thought good to advertise yor honor 
concerning yor late obiections for the entertaynment of 
my shippes in Ireland, wch were employed there by the 
governors arrest and commandment and not by any 
desire of myne, and in trothe it hathe in effecte vtterly 
vndone me, for when my shippes were dischardged 
wthout paie and my selfe stayed upon bonde and sureties 
in England by Commandement from my lordes of the 
privie Counsell, the Company stole, solde, and gaged 
all that I had there and ranne away with some of my 
shippes, to my hindrance above Two thousand poundes, 
as yor honor and my lordes of the Counsell p'tlie 
knoweth. So that if I should not be relieved wth the 
smale some that remaynethe dewe to me for those 
services I should be vterly vndone, not able to shewe 
my hedd for detts, wherefore I most humblie crave yor 
honors speedie furtherance herein, that I may eyther be 
allowed as the awditor hathe sett downe or otherwise 
as yt shall please my lordes of the Counsell to appoint, 
desiringe only their present resolution of this my sute, 


and so I most humblie Comytt yor honor to god. 
Westmir., dated the xxvth. dale of October 1581. 
"Yor ho. moste hble to co'ande 

"Hy Gylberte." 

No trace can be found of any action against him for 
the raid on Galicia. Mendoza's complaint had to be 
ostensibly recognized by ordering Gilbert to appear 
and answer the charges made against him, and there 
the matter probably ended. 

In July 1582, the sum of ^2747 185. g^d. was paid to 
Ed. Denney, Sir H. Gilbert and others, on account of 
services rendered in Ireland, which it is presumed 
covered the hire of his ships, for which he had so long 
been dunning the Government. 

He was fortunate in getting paid. Sir Henry Sidney 
ruined himself in Elizabeth's service. A State paper 
shows that he expended thirty pounds a week as Lord 
President of Wales, but was allowed only twenty pounds. 
In Ireland he spent a fortune, and was rewarded by 
abuse. Walsingham also spent his fortune in the 
Queen's service, and when he died was buried at mid- 
night because there was no money to pay for a State 


The Letters Patent graunted by her Majestic to Sir 
Humfrey Gilbert, knight, for the inhabiting and plant- 
ing of our people in America. Elizabeth by the grace 
of God Queene of England, &c. To all people to whom 
these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye that of 
our especiall grace, certaine science and meere motion, 
we have given and granted, and by these presents for 
us, our heires and successors, doe give and graunt to 
our trustie and welbeloved servaunt Sir Humfrey Gil- 
bert of Compton, in our Countie of Devonshire knight. 


and to his heires and assignes for ever, free libertie and 
licence from time to time and at all times for ever here- 
after, to discover, finde, search out, and view such 
remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countreys and 
territories not actually possessed of any Christian prince 
or people, as to him, his heires and assignes, and to 
every or any of them, shall seeme good : and the same 
to have, hold, occupie an enjoy to him, his heires and 
assignes for ever, with all commodities, jurisdictions, 
and royalties both by sea and land : and the sayd Sir 
Humfrey and all such as from time to time by licence 
of us, our heires and successours, shall goe and travell 
thither, to inhabite or remaine there, to build and 
fortifie at the discretion of the sayd sir Humfrey, and 
of his heires and assignes, the statutes or acts of Parlia- 
ment made against Fugitives, or against such as shall 
depart, remaine or continue out of our Realm of Eng- 
land without licence, or any other acte, statute, lawe, 
or matter whatsoever to the contrary in any wise not- 
withstanding. And wee doe likewise by these presents, 
for us, our heires and successours, give full authoritie 
and power to the saide Sir Humfrey, his heires and 
assignes, and every of them, that hee, they, and 
every or any of them, shall and may at all and every 
time and times hereafter, have, take, and lead in the 
same voyages, to travell thitherward, and to inhabite 
there with him, and every or any of them, such and 
so many Qf our subjects as shall willingly accom- 
pany him and them, and every or any of them, with 
sufficient shipping, and furniture for their transporta- 
tions, so that none of the same persons, nor any of 
them be such as hereafter shall be specially restrained 
by us, our heires and successours. And further, that 
he the said Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every 
or any of them, shall have, hold, and occupy and enjoy 
to him, his heires or assignes, and every of them for- 
ever, all the soyle of all such lands, countries, & 
territories so to be discovered or possessed as aforesaid, 
and of all cities, Castles, Townes and Villages, and 


places in the same, with the rites, royalties and juris- 
dictions, as well marine as other, within the sayd lands 
or countries of the seas thereunto adjoyning, to be had 
or used with ful power to dispose thereof, & of every 
part thereof in fee simple or otherwise, according to the 
order of the lawes of England, as nere as the same 
conveniently may be, at his, and their will & pleasure, 
to any person then being, or that shall remaine within 
the allegiance of us, our heires and successours, paying 
unto us for all services, dueties and demaunds, the fift 
part of all the oare of gold and silver, that from time to 
time, and at all times after such discoverie, subduing 
and possessing shall be there gotten : all which lands, 
countries and territories, shall for ever bee holden by 
the sayd Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes of us, 
our heires and successours by homage, and by the sayd 
payment of the sayd fift part before reserved onely for 
all services. 

**And moreover we doe by those presents for us, our 
heires and successours, give and graunt licence to the 
sayde Sir Humfrey Gilbert, his heires or assignes, and 
to every of them, that hee and they, and every or any 
of them shall, and may from time to time, and all times 
for ever hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter, 
expulse, repell, and resist, as well by Sea as by land, 
and by all other wayes whatsoever, as without the 
speciall licence the liking of the sayd Sir Humfrey, and 
his heires and assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within 
the sayd countreys, or any of them, or within the 
space of two hundreth leagues neere to the place or 
places within such countreys as aforesayd, with the 
subjects of any Christian prince, being in amitie with 
her Majesty, where the sayd Sir Humfrey, his heires 
or assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of 
their associates or companies, shall within sixe yeeres 
next ensuing, make their dwellings or abidings, or that 
shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlaw- 
fully to annoy either by Sea or land, the sayd Sir 
Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or his 


or their, or any of their companies : giving and graunt- 
ing by these presents, further power and authoritie to 
the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every 
of them from time to time hereafter to take and surprise 
by all maner of meanes whatsoever, all and every 
person and persons, with their shippes, vessels, and 
other goods and furniture, which without the licence 
of the sayd sir Humfrey, or his heires or assignes as 
aforesayd (the subjects of our Realmes and dominions, 
and all other persons in amitie with us, being driven 
by force of tempest or shipwracke onely excepted), and 
those persons, and every of them with their shippes 
vessels, goods, and furniture, to detaine and possess, 
as of good and lawfull prize, according to the discre- 
tion of him the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and 
assignes, and of every or any of them. And for unit- 
ing in more perfect league and amitie of such countreys, 
landes and territories so to bee possessed and inhabited 
as aforesayd, with our Realmes of England and Ireland, 
and for the better encouragement of men to this enter- 
prise : wee doe by these presents grant, and declare, 
that all such countreys so hereafter to bee possessed and 
inhabited as aforesayd, from thenceforth shall be of the 
allegiance of us, our heires, and successours. And wee 
doe graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and 
assignes, and to all and every of them, and to all and 
every other person and persons, being of our allegiance, 
whose names shall be noted or entered in some of our 
courts of Record, within this our Realme of England, 
and that with the assent of the sayd sir Humfrey, his 
heires or assignes, shall nowe in this journey for dis- 
coverie, or in the second journey for conquest hereafter 
travell to such lands, countries and territories afore- 
said, and to their and every of their heires : that they 
or every and any of them being either borne within our 
sayd Realmes of England or Ireland, or within any 
other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter 
shall be inhabiting with any the lands, countreys, and 
territories aforesayd, with such licence as aforesayd, 


shall, and may have, and enjoy all the privileges of 
free denizens and persons native of England, and with- 
in our allegiance : any law, custome, or usage to the 
contrary notwithstanding. 

"And forasmuch, as upon the finding out, discover- 
ing and inhabiting of such remote lands, countreys and 
territories, as aforesayd, it shall be necessarie for the 
safetie of all men that shall adventure themselves in 
those journeys or voiages, to determine to live together 
in Christian peace and civill quietnesse each with other, 
whereby every one may with more pleasure and profit, 
enjoy that whereunto they shall attaine with great paine 
and perill : wee for us our heires, and successours are 
likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents 
doe give and graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey and his 
heires and assignes for ever, that he and they, and 
every or any of them, shall and may from time to time 
for ever hereafter within the sayd mentioned remote 
lands and countreys, and in the way by the Seas 
thither, and from thence, have full and meere power 
and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, governe and 
rule by their, and every or any of their good discretions 
and pollicies, as well in causes capitall or criminall, as 
civill, both marine and other, all such our subjects and 
others, as shall from time to time hereafter adventure 
themselves in the sayd journeys or voyages habitative 
or possessive, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite 
any such lands, countreys or territories as aforesayd, or 
that shall abide within two hundred leagues of any the 
sayd place or places, where the sayd sir Humfrey or 
his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any of his 
or their associates or companies, shall inhabite within 
sixe yeeres next ensuing the date thereof, according to 
such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall be by him 
the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, or every, 
or any of them devised or established for the better 
government of the sayd people as aforesayd : so alwayes 
that the sayd statutes, lawes and ordinances may be as 
nere as conveniently may, agreeable to the forme of the 


lawes & pollicy of England : and also, that they be not 
against the true Christian faith or religion now pro- 
fessed in the church of England, nor in any wise to 
withdraw any of the subjects of people of those lands 
or places from the allegiance of us, our heires or suc- 
cessours, as their immediate Soveraignes under God. 
And further we doe by these present for us, our heires 
and successours, give and graunt full power and author- 
itie to our trustie and welbeloved counseller, sir William 
Ceceill knight, lord Burleigh, our high treasurer of 
England, and to the lord treasurer of England for us, 
for the time being, and to the privie counsell of us, our 
heires and successours, or any foure of them for the 
time being, that he, they, or any foure of them, shall, 
and may from time to time and at all times hereafter, 
under his or their handes or scales be vertue of these 
presents, authorize and licence the sayd sir Humfrey 
Gilbert, his heires and assignes, and every or any of 
them by him and themselves, or by their or any of their 
sufficient atturneys, deputies, officers, ministers, factors 
and servants, to imbarke and transport out of our 
Realmes of England and Ireland, all, or any of his or 
their goods, and all or any the goods of his or their 
associates and companies, and every or any of them, 
with such other necessaries and commodities of any 
our Realmes, as to the sayd lord treasurer or foure of 
the privie counsell of us, our heires or successours for 
the time being, as aforesayd, shall be from time to time 
by his or their wisdoms or discretions thought meete 
and convenient for the better reliefe and supportation 
of him the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, 
and every or any of them, and his and their and every 
or any of their sayd associates and companies, any act, 
statute, lawe, or other thing to the contrary in any 
wise notwithstanding. 

"Provided alwayes, and our will and pleasure is, and 
wee doe hereby declare to all Christian kings, princes 
and states, that if the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires or 
assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence 


or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter 
robbe or spoile by Sea or by land, or doe any acts of 
unjust and unlawfull hostilitie to any of the Subjects 
of us, our heires, or successours, or any of the subjects 
of any King, prince, ruler, governour or state being 
then in perfect league and amitie with us, our heires or 
successours : and that upon such injurie, or upon just 
complaint of any such prince, ruler, governour or state, 
or their subjects, wee our heires or successours shall 
make open proclamation within any the portes of our 
Realme of England commodious, that the sayd sir 
Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any other to whom 
these our Letters patent may extend, shall within the 
terme to be limited by such proclamations, make full 
restitution and satisfaction of all such injuries done, 
so as both we and the saide Princes, or others so com- 
playning, may holde themselves fully contended : And 
that if the saide sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, 
shall not make or cause to be made satisfaction accord- 
ingly, within such time to be limited : that then it shall 
be lawful to us, our heires and successours, to put the 
saide sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and 
adherents, and all the inhabitants of the saide places 
to be discovered as is aforesaide, or any of them, out 
of our allegiance and protection, and that from and 
after such time of putting out of protection the saide 
sir Humfrey, and his heires, assignes, adherents and 
others so to be put out, and the saide places within 
their habitation, possession and rule, shal be out of 
our protection and allegiance, and free for all Princes 
and others to pursue with hostilitie as being not our 
Subjects, nor by us any way to bee advowed, main- 
tained or defended, nor to bee holden as any of ours, 
nor to our protection, dominion or allegiance any way 
belonging, for that expresse mention, &c. In witnesse 
whereof &c. Witnesse our selfe at Westminster the 
ii day of June, the twentieth yeere of our raigne. 
Anno Dom. 1578. 

"Per ipsam Reginam, &c." 



The Entertaynemente of the Queenes Maistie into 
Suffolke and Norffolhe, by Thomas Churchyard, 157S. 

Extract from the " Epistle Dedicatorie " to Maister 
Gilbert Gerard. 

"... I have placed at the end of this discourse a 
fewe verses, in the honoring of good mindes, and travel- 
ling bodyes, meaning thereby Sir Humfrey Gilbert, 
Maister Henry Knolles, and others, right worthy and 
honest Gentlemen, presently passed towards a happy 
voyage as I hope. . . ." 

"A matter touching the lourney of 
Sir Humfrey Gilbarte, Knight. 

"The man that travels much, 

with mind and body both, 
(Whose restlesse lims, and labring thoughtes, 

through heaps of hazards goth,) 
A while would gladly rest, 

and so some sollace taste, 
To sharp the sense, and ease the heart, 

that toyle doth weare and waste. 
But though with charged brest, 

I seeke to steale a nappe, 
In hope sound sleepes would soone forget, 

the griefe of thanklesse happe : 
Some cause calls op my Muse, 

and bids my wits awake, 
That downe is layde on quiet coutch, 

a little ease to take : 
As lately loe you heard, 

by Verses penned well, 
Which soundes so shrilly through my eares 

and tings so like a Bell, 
That though in sadde dead sleepe, 

my wery body were, 
I must rise vp and whet my witts, 

and lend a louing eare. 
To that new tale I heare, 

of friends that hence do go 
Unto a soyle they never saw, 

another world I trow 


That few or none have found : 

well, what should more be sayd, 
The lourney that my friends do take, 

full long in head I wayed, 
Yet thought to pause awhile, 

(eare pen to paper past) 
To see how course of world wold go, 

and things fell out at last. 
And thus in my delay 

I caught a slumber sweete, 
And sure me thought in fearful dream, 

of sweauon, did I meete 
The Golden Heart, and other Ships, 

that to this voyage goes. 
Which Barks wer bravely vnder saile, 

where water ebbs and floes. 
And where the view of Countrey soile, 

was farre from Saylers sight. 
And men were forst to trie the Seas 

in storm or darkest night. 
But eare my dreame could ende, 

a voyce gan call alowde, 
Where is Churchyard ? doth he sleepe ? 

or is he crept in Clowde, 
To shun the use of penne 

and matter worthy note ? 
Whereat I started out of bedde, 

and streight way vp I gote, 
And to my Studie dore 

in haste therewith I went 
As one that fain would write some thing 

that might the worlde content. 
Then brought I vnto mind, 

the heauie Dreame I had. 
Yet eare I wrote one English verse, 

I cald my little ladde. 
And bad him runne with speede 

abroade, and bring some newes. 
And learne the truth of every thing, 

that I might shape my Muse 
To please the peoples eares 

with frute of Poets penne. 
My Lackey had not walkt in Powles 

not twentle paces then, 
But heard that sundrie friends 

of mine, had taken leaue 
At. Courte, and were all Shipte away. 

This brute may thee deceyue 
Thou foolish Boy (quoth I) 

nay sir, by sweete Sainct John 
(Quoth he) Sir Humfrey Gilbart sure 

and all his troupe is gone. 
But whether, no man knowes 

save that they are in Barke 


Who with one mind, and one consent, 

do hope to hitte one marke. 
A ha Sir boy (quoth I) 

I knew this long agoe, 
Shut study dore, packe hence awhile, 

and musing even so, 
I marueld howe this Knight, 

could leaue his Lady heere, 
His friends, and pretty tender babes 

that he did hold so deere, 
And take him to the Seas, 

where dayly dangers are. 
Then wayd I how, immortal Fame 

was more than worldly care, 
And where great mind remaynes 

the bodyes rest is small. 
For Countreys wealth, for priuate gayne 

or glory seeke we all. 
And such as markes this world, 

and notes the course of things 
The weake and tickle stay of states 

and great affayres of Kings, 
Desires to be abroade, 

for causes more than one, 
Content to liue as God appountes 

and let the world alone. 
Yea such as deepely looke, 

into these worldly toyes. 
And freedome of the body still 

and noble mind enioyes. 
Are glad to trudge and toyle 

and driue off time awhile. 
And at our ydle-leasures laughs 

or at our follies smyle : 
That will not take some paynes, 

and trye both land and Seas, 
For Knowledge seeke, and heape of happe 

to do our Country ease. 
O Gilbart, noble Knight, 

God send thee thy desire, 

manly Knolles, and worthy Wight 
whose heart doth stili aspire 

1 wish thee great renowne, 
and noble Carie too, 

And noble North, with Wigmore wise, 

I wish you well to do. 
O Rawley ripe of sprite, 

and rare right many wayes. 
And liuely Nowell, God you guide, 

to purchase endless prayse. 
Goe comely Cotton too, 

and march amidde the rancke, 
And honest Dennie with the best, 

must needes deserue some thanke 


George Carie forth I call, 

and sure John Roberts here, 
A speciall sparke with present witte, 

in person shall appeare. 
Miles Morgan gaynes good Fame, 

and Whetstone steps in place, 
And seekes by travell and by toyle, 

to winne him double grace. 
John Vdall is not hidde, 

nor Rowles I do forgette, 
The rest I vow to publish out, 

and so dwell in their dette. 
But though that Francis Knolles 

comes last vnto my mind. 
Among the first that shall do well, 

he will not be behind. 
O faithful friends farewell, 

I named you all aroe. 
For World to view, whiles world doth last, 

what courage you do shoe. 
What charges you are at, 

what venter you have made. 
And how you seeke to traffike there, 

where neuer yet was trade. = 
And most of you such men, 

as liuings have at home. 
So great and good, that sure abroade 

yee neede not for to rome : 
Faire houses, lands, and wiues, 

great friends, and of the best, 
Good stayes and pillers, wherevpon 

the strongest heere may rest : 
Well knowne, and honord both. 

In credite every way. 
In perfite plighte and state to Hue, 

and laugh, though world say nay. 
This strange adiew of youres 

doth argue noble harts. 
And in your brestes are noble giftes 

and many noble parts. 
For hauing wealth at will, 

and world at becke and call, 
Propt vp with Princes favoure still, 

so sure ye could not fall: 
And yet to leaue that hope, 

to seeke vncertayne happe, 
And so committe your goods and Hues 

to every stormy clappe 
That suddayne tempest brings : 

me think the venture great. 
The value of your valiant minds, 

surmounts the fire in heate. 
Whereof such hote desires 

of doing good, doth rise, 


The kindled coales and flames thereof 

do sparkle through the Skyes. 
Some people happly thinke 

a greedie hope of gayne, 
And heapes of gold you hope to find, 

doth make you take this payne. 
Oh sure that can not be, 

conceyue the case who list, 
For having that which thousands want, 

alreadie in your fist, 
You meane to clime for Fame 

as high as eye may looke, 
And search the Creekes and priuie Portes 

and every secret nooke. 
As farre as shippe may sayle : 

I trust for Countreys good : 
And for the common wealthes auayle, 

You offer life and bloud. 
Let world now speake the worst, 

and bable what they please. 
What thing could make you take those toyles 

and so forsake your ease. 
If God moud not your minds, 

to things he liketh well. 
And that your good and deepe consaytes, 

wherein you long did dwell, 
Did lead and haul you hence, 

as men prepared and wrought, 
To shew what witte and skill men haue, 

and serue the makers thought. 
That all thing cleerely sees : 

tis God and your good mind. 
That driues you to this high attempt, 

for any thing I find. 
And as he sent you out, 

so can he bring you in. 
Yea, safely home, that you shall shew 

at large where you have bin. 
And now to tell it plaine, 

not one of all your troupe, 
(Of gentle race) that heere at home, 

did hold down head or droupe. 
But bravely bore it out : 

which shews, no neede it was, 
That did procure those gallants gay, 

from hence it has to passe. 
Thus sure some other thing 

than gayne, did cause you goe, 
Some noble fire that burnes in brest, 

whose flames of force must shew 
Good meaning and good mind, 

good frute and grayne withall. 
When season serues, and harvest commas, 

and hope for hire doth call. 


You might have walkt the streetes, 

as other gallants do, 
Yea kept the Court and Countrey both, 

in Pawles have ietted too. 
If mind had not bin drawne, 

to things of greater weight, 
And had not harts held up your heads 

another kind of height. 
Perhaps in ydle dayes, 

you would set men a worke, 
And call them to accompt in hast, 

that close in corners lurke : 
And aske in open place, 

how they would spend their time, 
And if they say they had no mind 

the loftie Cloudes to clime 
Yet would you wish they should 

see what on earth is found 
And search the proofe, and sayle by arte, 

about the world so round. 
At home to tarrie still, 

but breedes grosse bloud and witte, 
Then better with the Fawcon flie, 

then heere on dunghill sitte. 
And see how browes do feede, 

on tainted carren bare, 
Or liue a lewd and wretched life 

vpon a hungry share. 
At home much time is lost 

and neuer found againe, 
Much household cares, and common griefes, 

do breake both sleepe and brayne. 
Abroade men win great wealth, 

or knowledge gayne at least. 
At home we runne to wanton sportes, 

and smell out euery fest. 
Abroade small bankers are, 

it will not quit the cost, 
At home is naught but making love 

to every painted post. 
Abroade the flesh is tamde, 

and brought in feare and frame. 
At home oft times pride goes before, 

and after cometh shame. 
Abroade we Wisdome leame, 

and do from follie flee. 
At home some daunce so in a nette, 

their selves they cannot see. 
Abroade where service is, 

much honor may be wonne. 
At home our gay vayneglory goes, 

like shadow in the Sunne. 
Abroade bare robes are best, 

and Manhoode makes the showe 


At home young Maister must be fine, 

or all is lost you know. 
Abroade few quarrels are, 

a brawle is bought so deere. 
At home they cogge, they foyst, they royst, 

and reuell all the yeare. 
Abroade is Courteys speech, 

and ciuill order still, 
At home when rudenesse keepes no rule, 

wilde wantons take their will. 
Abroade may health be got, 

for labour lengthens life, 
At home the Goute, the cramp, the cold, 

and each disease is rife. 
Abroade the sightes are strange, 

and wonders may be seene. 
At home a stale and balde deuice, 

but dubs the spreetes I weene. 
Abroade we learn to spare, 

to serue our turn in thend. 
At home men set the cocke on hoope, 

and vaynly spoyle and spend. 
Abroad few theeues you have, 

they find so little grace. 
At home foule shiftes and robbries both, 

abounde in every place. 
Thus proove I travells best, 

for body, soule, and sense, 
And ease a nurse to pamper vice, 

and buckler of defence. 
Where virtue cannot strike, 

nor enter any way. 
The buckler hath such wicked barres 

dame Vertues force to stay. 
With rest leawd lust doth rise, 

and soon subdues the mind. 
And toyle beates backe fond Venus toyes, 

and strikes vaine fancie blind. 
Much rest runnes riot still, 

and breatheth treasons oft. 
And toyle plucks downe those haugtie hearts 

that lookes to mount alofte. 
Rest maketh mischief ripe, 

and settes bad things abroch, 
Toyle teacheth men to conquer Fame, 

and flee from foule reproch. 
Rest loves to dallie much, 

like whelp that waues the tayle, 
Toyle is for vertue quicke as Bee, 

for Vice as slow as snayle. 
Rest sowes no blessed seede, 

yet reapes a curssed grayne, 
Toyle weedes the ground, and planteth floures 

where nettles did remayne. 


Rest will no dutie know, 

but shakes off schakels still, 
Toyle makes the body apt to stoupe, 

to bend and shew good will. 
Rest is a retchlesse ioy, 

that sees not his owne harmes, 
Toyle casts out many a vayne consayte, 

that rest brings in by swarmes. 
If toyle bring these good things 

that I have told before, 
And rest but want and beggrie breedes, 

with sundrie mischiefs more, 
They ought have endlesse lawd 

that in these loytring dayes 
Set ydle hands and heads a worke, 

to winne immortall prayse. 
And they that first found out 

the strange and forrayne soyle. 
Are gon themselves to win the prise, 

or take the open soyle, 
Which shews that more than men, 

halfe Gods if I say troth. 
Whole kingdomes scarcely ca suffice 

their minds and manhoode both. 
Now have they taken leave 

of worldly pleasures all. 
That young and lusty were to liue, 

and now to toyle they fall. 
That finely were brought vp, 

yea now they bidde adiew, 
The glittring Court, the gallat towne 

the gorgious garments new, 
The brauerie of this world, 

the pride and pomp of earth. 
And look not backward any way, 

to ritches, race, or birth. 
To worthy wife or friend, 

to babes, nor neerest kinne, 
But only to the Lord aboue, 

and iourney they are in. 
And all for Countreys cause, 

and to enrich the same. 
Now do they hazard all they have : 

and so for wealth and fame, 
They fare along the Seas, 

they sayle and tide it out. 
They hale and stretch the sheates aloft, 

they toyle and dread no doubt. 
They feed on Bisket hard, 

and drincke but simple beere. 
Salt beefe, and Stockfish drie as kecke, 

is now their greatest cheere. 
And still a fulsome smell 

of pitch and tarre they feele, 

N 2 


And when Seasicke (God wot) they are, 

about the shippe they reele. 
And stomacke belcheth vp, 

a dish that Hadocks seeke, 
A bitter mess of sundry meates, 

a Sirrope greene as leeke. ; 

Then head and hart doth heaue, 

and body waxeth cold, 
Yet face will sweat, a heauie sight, 

the same is to behold. 
But they must needes abide 

a greater brunt than this, 
And hope that after hellish paynes, 

there comes a time of blisse. 
Yet note the torments strange, 

that toyling saylers haue. 
Who Hues at mercie of the Seas ; 

yea surge and swelling wave, 
Would swallow vp the Shippe, 

if Pylots were not good, 
And some in time of great distresse 

vnto their tackle stood. 
Sometime a flaw of wind 

blowes Maister ore the Hatch, 
And boy fro toppe comes tumbling downe, 

and at a cord doth catch 
To save his sillie life, 

aloofe then cries my mates. 
No neerer short the Ship she tacks, 

and on the sand she grates. 
And plying for aboorde, 

about the vessell goes. 
And through the shroudes and clouted sayles 

a gale of winde there bloes. 
That seemes to shake the Barke, 

in sunder every ribbe, 
Then is no time to heaue the can, 

to crie carous and bibbe. 
But each man to his worke, 

they fall and flie apace, 
Innecke of this a man of warre 

that seekes to giue the chace. 
The spie in half a kenne, 

vp Souldyoures ho in hast 
The Captayne calls, yet vnder hatch, 

a sort of them are plast. 
To beate the enmie out, 

that should the Shippe assayle. 
At length the Cannon bullet flyes 

and shotte as thicke as hayle 
Goes off to murther men, 

and such a smoke doth rise, 
A few may well regard the Seas, 

or scarce behold the Skyes. 


Some grone and bidde goodnight, 

their day watch waxeth dimme, 
Some ca not speake, their heads are off, 

and some have lost a limme. 
Some lyes on hatches lame, 

they haue no legges to stand, 
And some have lost the vse of arme, 

or maymed of a hand. 
And some are fighting still, 

and gets no harm at all, 
But he that speedeth best the while, 

makes boast thereof but small. 
These brawles and bloudy broyles 

to end or quiet brought, 
A new begginnes, as yll a storme, 

that troubles more their thought. 
The Rockes and wretched streights, 

that they must safely passe. 
The narrow Creekes and doubts they find 

in compasse of their glasse, 
Is daunger wonders great, 

so that these Saylers toyle. 
Rests all on hazards, eare they come 

to any certayne soyle. 
I could rehearse a heape 

of sorrows that they haue. 
But you that Hue in peace at home, 

and mince the matter braue, 
Will scarce believe a troth. 

and toyle that travelers take. 
Well noble Pilgrims, as in Verse 

I write this for your sake. 
In Prose at your returne, 

looke for a greater prayse. 
A Booke that to the loftie Skyes, 

your rare renowne shall rayse. 
This write I for your friends 

that you have left behinde, 
Your worthy wives, whose patient hearts 

beare many things in mind. 
And sitte and shakes their heads 

at that they can not mend. 
And many a sigh and sadde consaite, 

along the Seas they send, 
To follow those that flie 

from them God wot too fast 
And carried are in rotten Barkes 

about with every blast, 
And tosses vp and downe 

the Seas, our Lord knowes where. 
O Husbands when you saw your wiues, 

shedde many a bitter teare, 
How could you part from them ? 

the cace is answered thus. 


You are not ruled by love of babes, 

nor womens willes yewus. 
But guided by such grace, 

as God himself hath sent, 
And that you do is done indeed 

vnto a good intent. 
God graunt you good successe, 

the whole harts ease you crave, 
As much of wealth and honour both 

as ever men may haue. 
A safe and short returne, 

not long from home to dwell, 
A quiet happy iourney still, 

and so deere friends farewell. 




Sir Humphrey now found himself in a very difficult 
position. After years of effort he had succeeded in 
obtaining his colonizing patent; by mortgaging his own 
property and that of his wife, and by importuning his 
friends, he had raised enough money for the expedi- 
tion of 1578, the ultimate object of which was to pave 
the way for his greater and more important project. 
Through dissensions, ill-luck, and mismanagement, it 
had proved a dismal failure; his stores and capital had 
been wasted, and himself, undeservedly, discredited. 

In the meanwhile the term of his patent was running 
out. Six years had been allotted to him in which to 
plant his colony, and about half of them had already 
slipped away without anything being accomplished. 

His ship, the Anne Agety disappears from history, 
and of the fleet of seven staunch ships that set sail in 
1578, but one remained to him, and that the least 
of the flock — the ill-fated little Squirrel of eight or ten 

Nevertheless, it appears that in 1581, he had some 
hope of setting forth again. Mendoza as usual knew 
all that was going on. In January 15S1, he wrote to the 
King of Spain as follows : " I wrote in former letters 
that ships were being fitted out to leave this in February 
to plunder in the East Indies and on the way thereto, 
— Drake going to the Moluccas and Knollys to Brazil. 
Humphrey Gilbert, who accompanied Knollys on his 
other voyage, is to go with six ships to Cuba with the 
intention of fortifying himself in some convenient spot, 
whence he may sally forth to attack the flotillas leaving 



San Domingo, New Spain, Peru, and other neighbour- 
ing places. The best way to stop their fit of activity- 
will be for your Majesty to order that not one of the 
ships that sail for the Indies shall be spared and that 
every man on board of them shall be sent to the bottom." 

The confident arrogance with which Mendoza con- 
signs the English ships and sailors to perdition is 
somewhat surprising, seeing that Drake, in spite of the 
orders that had been given to destroy him, had but 
three months before returned from his famous circuit 
of the globe, having flouted the Spanish flag in every 

Once again also we find Gilbert credited with the 
intention of putting into practice one of the schemes 
proposed for the ''annoyance" of the King of Spain. 

We learn from the Acts of the Privy Council, that in 
October of the same year. Sir Humphrey, on the 
strength of his patent, had made plans to transport 
grain and provisions out of the country into parts 
beyond the seas. It was held by the Council that he had 
had his chance and could no longer claim the privileges 
of his patent, and in addition it was decided that his 
hardly obtained Letters Patent should be revoked. 
Further consideration, however, resulted in the cancel- 
ling of this irritating and unjust ruling. One would 
have expected Gilbert to give up in the face of so many 
discouragements, but he still struggled on. 

Having nothing tangible left to mortgage, he evolved 
the brilliant idea of marketing some of the nebulous 
rights accorded to him by his Letters Patent. He ap- 
parently thought he could lay claim to all the Atlantic 
seaboard of North America, and, curiously enough, he 
found many who were willing to purchase from him 
specified tracts of that coast, solely on the strength of 
his patent. 

The first transaction of this sort, in point of date, 
was with that extraordinary personage. Dr. John Dee. 
In his diary under the date of August 28, 1580, he 


records that he had been in treaty with Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert for his grant of discovery, and on September lo 
he writes: "Sir Humfry Gilbert graunted me my 
request to him, made by letter, for the royaltyes of dis- 
covery all to the North above the parallel of the 50 
degree of latitude, in the presence of Stoner, Sir John 
Gilbert his servant or retainer; and thereupon he toke 
me by the hand with faithful promises in his lodging 
of John Cooke's house in Wichcross Street, where we 
dyned, only us three together, being Saturday." 

Dr. Dee thus became possessed of the barren land 
of Labrador. The details of the deal would have been 
interesting. Did he select the northern portion of the 
seaboard, still hoping that Frobisher's golden dreams 
would be realized? or did Gilbert "push it on him," to 
use an "Americanism," as being the least desirable 
portion of the continent? and what was the consider- 
ation for which it was transferred? 

The next to purchase an interest in his Letters Patent 
were Sir George Peckham and Sir Thomas Gerrard. 
Connected with this transaction is an extremely interest- 
ing item of history which seems generally to have 
escaped the notice of historians. 

Elizabeth's policy toward the two great religious 
bodies then contending for the mastery in England has 
been often ably demonstrated. Her own religious feel- 
ings were not deep. She had been carefully nurtured in 
the Protestant religion, but during Mary's reign found 
it advisable, outwardly at least, to conform to Roman 
Catholicism. As soon as she became Queen she began 
quietly to reinstate the Church of England. But she 
had no prejudices against the Catholic religion. Pro- 
vided she was Queen, she was willing that her people 
should worship how they pleased. The laws against 
the Catholics had not been enforced for many years, 
and Mass was regularly said in many private houses 
without any attempt on the part of the authorities to 
prevent it. Whether it was purely indifference, or a 


larger spirit of tolerance which governed her, may be 
open to question. At all events, there had been no 
religious persecution in her reign, and she proudly 
boasted that no one had as yet suffered for his religious 
opinions. This condition of things might have con- 
tinued, and quite a modern spirit of toleration have 
grown up in the land, but the pretensions of the Papacy 
to temporal power, and the dream of recovering Eng- 
land to the allegiance of the Papal See continually 
tempted aggressive methods from the Catholic party. 
The Jesuits, under Allen, Campion and Parsons, had 
just made a determined raid upon England. Deceived 
by the interest which their preaching naturally excited, 
they thought England about to become Catholic again, 
and not confining themselves to religious teaching they 
openly preached sedition and rebellion. Plots were 
hatched to assassinate Elizabeth, and once at least her 
life was in great danger. Matters were soon brought 
to such a pass that tolerance was no longer a virtue, 
and the Council decided to take action, and that quickly. 

Parliament was summoned in January 1581, to deal 
with the situation. A speaker, quoted by Froude, ex- 
pressed the sentiment of the House, when he said : 
"They have been encouraged by the lenity of the laws. 
We must show them that as the Pope's curses do not 
hurt us, so his blessings cannot save them. We must 
make laws to restrain these people, and we must prepare 
force to resist violence which may be offered here or 
abroad.'* An Act was then passed, 23 Elizabeth, 
chap, i., making it high treason to practise to withdraw 
subjects of the Crown of England to the Romish 
religion, forbidding the celebration of Mass, either 
publicly, or privately, and enforcing all to attend the 
services of the Established Church. 

Campion and his associates were arrested, tortured 
and put to death ; they endeavouring to show that they 
were martyrs for their religion, and the Queen and 
Council equally resolute to treat them solely as 
traitorous, rebellious subjects. 


The result of these stringent enactments and firm 
suppression of treason soon became apparent. A large 
section of English Catholics, while devoted to their 
religion, were still loyal to their Queen and country, 
and when they were forced to choose between them, 
gave in their allegiance to the Church established by 
law. Another small section, equally patriotic, were yet 
anxious to continue to worship after the manner of 
their forefathers ; to these Humphrey Gilbert's coloniza- 
tion scheme appeared to offer a solution of their diffi- 
culty. The leaders of this movement were Sir George 
Peckham and Sir Thomas Gerrard, who in 1582, obtained 
a grant from Sir Humphrey Gilbert of a portion of his 
rights under his Letters Patent. 

Two bands of Huguenots had made attempts to free 
themselves from religious persecution by seeking a 
home in the New World. Why should not English 
Catholics take pattern by them and found a colony 
over-seas where they could maintain their allegiance 
to the Crown and yet enjoy unmolested the services of 
the Roman Catholic religion. The money obtained by 
the sale of this portion of his rights would also assist 
Gilbert to continue his project, now in danger of 
collapsing for want of funds. It seemed a good scheme 
all round, and was at once taken up with some 

Sir George Peckham was the son of Sir Edmund 
Peckham, Treasurer of the Mint through three reigns, 
who voluntarily exiled himself in 1564, on account of 
the triumph of Protestantism, and died in Rome in the 
same year. Sir George Peckham was a life-long friend 
and supporter of Humphrey Gilbert. He had joined 
him in the first expedition of 1578, was now again 
assisting; after Gilbert's death he endeavoured to keep 
alive the ideals for which he had sacrificed his life, and 
was an executor of his will. He and Lady Peckham 
were prominent Roman Catholics. In December 1580, 
they were both arrested and confined to the Marechelsea 
charged with having harboured and entertained 


Campion the Jesuit, and one "Gilbarte a notorious 
practiser.'* On the same day Morice Pyckeringe, the 
keeper of the Gatehouse Prison, was also arrested, 
because he had received money from Sir George Peck- 
ham, and had distributed it to the poor CathoHcs whom 
he had in his keeping. When examined Pyckeringe 
told the following story : Lady Peckham came to him 
and asked if he had not many prisoners on account of 
their religion, to which he replied that he had too many 
poor people for that cause, and that they were likely 
to starve because he had no allowance for them. Lady 
Peckham then asked him if he would give them some 
money from Sir George and herself, to which he 
assented. Sir George Peckham then gave him two 
angells, which he handed to a poor scholar named 
Gifford, who had been a long time in prison, for dis- 
tribution among the prisoners. This, he declared, was 
all that transpired. We are not informed, but trust 
that Pyckeringe was shortly released, and that the 
kindly generosity of Sir George and Lady Peckham 
was not visited heavily upon them. 

Sir George Carey, Knight Marshall, was ordered to 
search Sir George Peckham 's house in Bucks for 
treasonable letters; but pesumably nothing was found, 
for very soon the rigour of their imprisonment was 

In February 1581, Lady Peckham was released from 
the Fleet Prison, to join her husband, who was in the 
Tower, or to repair to her own house, as she wished; 
and Sir George Peckham at the same time was granted 
much greater freedom within the precincts of the Tower, 
"the rather in consideracion of his presente conformitie 
in resorting to the churche." In the following month, 
at the intercession of his friends, (chief among whom 
was no doubt Gilbert), and upon his undertaking to con- 
tinue to conform, he was set at liberty. Perhaps in 
earnest of his conformity, at this time he presented the 
"Church House" at Denham, Bucks, for the use of 


the Parish. But while conforming himself, Sir George 
Peckham busied himself to bring about a happier con- 
dition of things for poor Catholics. (Or did the initiative 
again come from Lady Peckham 's tender heart?) 

Sir Thomas Gerrard, knight of Bryn, had been High 
Sheriff of Lancaster, but conspiring to assist Mary, 
Queen of Scots, he was committed to the Tower, from 
whence he obtained his release only by the payment of 
enormous fines. The family were prominent Roman 
Catholics, and the family seat, "Brynne Hall," had 
been the resort of Papish priests, and the scene of many 
surreptitious celebrations of the Mass. 

Sir Thomas was a cousin of Sir Gilbert Gerrard, the 
Attorney-General, to whom he was forced to relinquish 
the family seat, probably in return for his "interest 
exercised in sparing him from the punishment justly 
due on account of his treason." 

The first rumour that we have of this movement on 
the part of the Catholics, is in an anonymous letter to 
Walsingham dated April 19, 1582, which reads : 
"There is a muttering among ye papists that Sir 
Humfrye Gilbarde goeth to seeke a newe founde land. 
Sir George Peckham and Sir Thomas Gerrard goeth 
wt him. I have hearde it said among ye papistes 
yt they hope it will prove ye best journeye for England 
yt was made these fortie yeres." 

Mendoza, in a letter to the King of Spain, dated 
one week later, says : " Humphrey Gilbert is fitting out 
three more ships to go to Florida and land in the place 
where Stukely went, and subsequently Jean Ribault, 
who was killed by Pero Melandez. When the Queen 
was asked to assist this expedition, Gilbert was told in 
the Council that he was to go, and as soon as he had 
landed and fortified the place, the Queen would send 
him ten thousand men to conquer it, and hold the 

On June 6, the articles of agreement between Sir 
Humphrey Gylberte of Compton, Sir Thomas Gerarde 


of Brynne, and Sir George Peckham of Denham were 
signed and delivered; and also, on the same day, a 
further agreement with Sir George Peckham alone. 
The first document states that in consideration of certain 
amounts subscribed by Sir Thomas Gerrard and Sir 
George Peckham to Sir Humphrey Gilbert's proposed 
voyage of discovery, and for the more speedy execution 
of the Queen's grant to him, the said Sir Humphrey 
granted to the said Sir Thomas Gerrard and Sir George 
Peckham the right to explore all that portion of the 
American coast from Cape Breton to Cape of Florida, 
and to select two islands of any four found by them, 
to be occupied and planted with a colony, and also on the 
mainland adjoining the said island, 1,500,000 acres of 
land. The grantees were to pay a small rental for the 
land, and two-fifths of all gold, silver, pearls, or precious 
stones that may be found thereon. Sir Humphrey 
undertook to secure the Queen's consent to the transport 
of the would-be colonists, and to confirm the agreement 
upon his own return from his journey. The agreement 
with Sir George Peckham is expressed in almost the 
same words, and grants to him 500,000 acres adjoining 
the 1,500,000 granted to him and Sir Thomas Gerrard 

Mendoza was soon informed of the transaction, and 
made the following comment upon it — 

"As I wrote some time ago, Humphrey Gilbert was 
fitting out ships to gain a footing in Florida, and in 
order to make this not only prejudicial to your Majesty's 
interest, but injurious to the Catholics here, while 
benefiting the heretics, Walsingham indirectly ap- 
proached two Catholic gentlemen, whose estate had 
been ruined, and intimated to them that, if they would 
help Humphrey Gilbert in the voyage their lives and 
liberties might be saved, and the Queen, in considera- 
tion of the service, might be asked to allow them to 
settle there (Florida) in the enjoyment of freedom of 


conscience and of their property in England, for which 
purpose they might avail themselves of the intercession 
of Philip Sidney. As they were desirous of living as 
Catholics, without endangering their lives, they thought 
the proposal was a good one, and they gave an account 
of it to other Catholics, who also approved of it, and 
offered to aid the enterprise with money. Petitions 
were presented to the Queen upon the subject, and she 
granted them a patent under the Great Seal of England 
to colonize Florida on the banks of the river Norum- 
beage where they are to be allowed to live as their 
conscience dictates and to enjoy such revenues as they 
may possess in England. This privilege is not con- 
fined to those who leave here for the purpose of coloniza- 
tion, but is extended to all Englishmen away from 
England, even to those who may have been declared 
rebels, and whom the Queen now restores to her grace 
and favour, embracing them once more as loyal sub- 
jects. The only object of this is to weaken and destroy 
them by any means, since they have now discovered 
that persecution, imprisonment and the shedding of 
martyrs' blood only increase the number of Catholics; 
and if the proposed measure be adopted the seminaries 
abroad cannot be maintained, nor would it be possible 
for the priests who come hither to continue their pro- 
paganda, if there were no persons here to shelter and 
support them. By this means what little sound blood 
be left in this diseased body would be drained. I gave 
notice to the Catholics, through the priests who go 
amongst them, what are the real objects of the Queen 
and Council in extending this favour to them, and also 
that the country in question belonged to your Majesty 
and was defended by fortresses, so that directly they 
landed they would be slaughtered as Jean Ribaut was. 
In addition to this, I say, that their consciences will be 
touched, as they will be acting against the interests of 
his Holiness, who should be informed of the matter 
through Dr. Allen, so that they, the Catholics, might 


learn whether they could properly undertake the 

"This action of mine has caused some of them to 
withdraw whilst others, out of indifference, persist in 
their intention, believing that it is not really against 
your Majesty, because in the Map the country is called 
* New France,' which, they say, proves that it was 
discovered by Frenchmen, and that since Cortes fitted 
out ships on the coast to go and conquer countries for 
the Catholic church, they could do the same. I have 
also written about it to the Abbot Briceno in Rome, as 
well as to Dr. Allen, pointing out how important it 
is that they should make every effort to prevent the 
enterprise in the interest of the conversion of England." 

Mendoza either coloured his narrative to suit his 
correspondent, or was not so well informed as usual, 
for the proposition did not come originally from Wal- 
singham, however much he may have urged it on 
afterwards. Nor were there any Letters Patent issued 
to Peckham and Gerrard, so far as can now be ascer- 
tained. Sir Philip Sidney's part in the transaction will 
be explained later. 

Very shortly after finalizing their agreement with 
Gilbert, Gerrard and Peckham petitioned Walsingham 
for liberty to carry out the plan there outlined. They 
asked first, that all persons, whose names would be 
recorded in a book kept for the purpose, should be per- 
mitted to emigrate with their families to the New World, 
and to take with them all necessary provisions. All 
"recusances of abilitie," i.e. all well-to-do Roman 
Catholics, upon whom fines had been imposed for refus- 
ing to attend the services of the Established Church, 
should be permitted to make preparations for the voyage, 
so soon as they had paid their fines ; and all other recu- 
sants should have the same permission, upon their under- 
taking to pay their fines "at soche tyme as God shall 
make them able to paie the same." They undertook not to 


make the permission an excuse to transfer their allegiance 
to any foreign prince, nor to commit any breach of the 
peace. Every tenth person whom they took away was 
to be such as had no means of support in England. 

Permission was undoubtedly granted at once. Men- 
doza wrote on July 25, 1852: "The ships that the 
Catholics were fitting out here are reduced to two, which 
will be taken by Humphrey Gilbert for the purpose of 
reconnoitring the best place to land next year. These 
two vessels are already in Southampton Water, and are 
only waiting a fair wind to sail." 

On March 17, 1583, Mendoza writes: "The ships 
that Humphrey Gilbert was fitting out with the design 
of taking Catholics to the coast of Florida are now 
getting ready to sail, as the two ships they sent last 
summer to explore seem a long while gone." 

There is but one other slight reference to these "spiers 
out of the land," which will be given later. They 
undoubtedly sailed and returned, but no account of 
their adventures has been preserved. Not content with 
the evidence of their own emissaries, some well-wisher 
of Gilbert, probably Hakluyt, was at pains to collect 
information from other sources. The greatest living 
authority on the seaboard of North America was David 
Ingram, a sailor, then living at Barking. He, if any 
one, should know all about it, for he had walked the 
whole distance from Florida to Cape Breton, a 
pedestrian feat which probably has never been accom- 
plished by any one but himself and his two companions. 
He had been one of Hawkins' sailors in his disastrous 
voyage in 1568. After the defeat at San Juan de 
Ulloa, Hawkins found himself with one vessel, terribly 
overcrowded with his own men and those who had 
escaped from his captured ships. They had hardly 
any provisions, and would certainly have died of hunger 
and disease had they attempted the voyage home in 
such plight. A number of the men elected to be set 
on shore and take their chance of escape that way rather 


than to remain on board to certain death. One hundred 
and thirteen were therefore landed at some point on 
the coast of Florida. The greater part of them died or 
were killed by savages; some made their way back to 
Mexico; while another band set out to the northward. 
Incredible as it may appear, three men of this party, 
David Ingram, Browne, and Twide walked all the way 
to Cape Breton, and were rescued by a French vessel. 

The result of this inquiry is contained in two papers 
at the Record Office. One is entitled "Sundrie reportes 
of ye Contrie Sir Humphrey Gilberte goes to discover," 
and the other, "Certain questions to be demaunded of 
David Ingram, sayler dwelling at Barkinge in the 
county e of Essex. What he observed in his travell on 
the north side of the river of May where he remayned 
three months or thereabouts.*' The first paper, so far 
as it relates to David Ingram; is also reprinted by 
Hakluyt in his edition of 1589, substantially in the same 
language. We presume that the Record Office paper 
is the original evidence as given "before Sir Fraunceys 
Walsingham, Knight, and divers others of good judge- 
ment and credit in August and September 1582," upon 
which Hakluyt elaborated. The Calendar of State 
Papers first gave the date of this paper as 1580 and 
afterwards as 1583, neither of which is right. 

To deal first with Ingram's story. A bare narration 
of the facts would have been sufficiently marvellous, 
but he realized that, like Bottom, he was expected "to 
discourse wonders," and therefore gave glowing 
accounts of "rubies four inches long," pearls in 
"pottles" and "pecks," "bracelets of gold and silver," 
"breast plates of gold," "gold in the rivers in lumps 
as big as a man's fist," towns a mile or more in length, 
and in the houses utensils for humble purposes of 
massive silver. The fertility of the country was marvel- 
lous, palms, grapes, corn, cassaba, everywhere in pro- 
fusion. Numerous rivers full of fish. Wild animals 
of every kind, including elephants, and sheep with red 


wool. Of the people, their king and customs, he also 
gave wonderful accounts, especially of a nation of five 
or six thousand people governed by a negro. 

The second paper forcibly reminds one of the saying 
"Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies." To 
the leading questions put to him at his cross-examina- 
tion, Ingram replied in the manner evidently expected. 
Each of his statements is quaintly prefaced : " He hath 
confessed," which seems to convey a sense of something 
extorted; but Ingram evidently lied readily. How he 
must have enjoyed the amazement of his august 
listeners ! But apparently they at last became sceptical, 
for the final paragraph reads : " Divers other matters 
of great importance he hath confessed (yf they be true) 
which he sayeth that upon his lyfe he offereth to goe 
to the place to aprove the same true." Although he is 
not mentioned in Haies's narrative, it appears that he 
did accompany Sir Humphrey in 1583, for in Sir 
George Peckham's Westerne Planting, published im- 
mediately after Haies's return, there is the following 
note : "This David Ingram was in the last journey with 
Sir Humphrey and is very desirous to be employed 
thither again." Purchas tells us: "As for David In- 
gram's perambulation to the north parts. Master 
Hakluyt in his first edition published the same; but it 
seemeth some incredibilities of his reports caused him 
to leave him out in the next impression, the reward of 
lying not to be believed in truths." 

The first paper contains, in addition to David In- 
gram's wild statements, tabulated lists of minerals, 
precious stones, trees, grains, beasts, birds, etc., to be 
found in the country, derived from "Verrazimis, Jaques 
Cartier, John Barros, Andrew Thevett, and John 
Walker. Of which number Sir Humphrey Gilbert did 
confer in person with the last three named." It has 
been suggested already that he might have met Thevett 
while at Havre in 1561-62, but where he conferred with 

John Barros, the Portuguese Livy, cannot be surmised 
o 2 


from anything we know of his history. John Walker 
is unknown to fame — a humble fisherman, probably, 
who made yearly trips across the Atlantic for codfish. 

There are several interesting notes to these papers. 
One states that in 1579, "Simon Ferdinando, Mr. Secy, 
Walsingham's man^ went and came to and from the 
said coast in three months in the little Frigatt without 
any other consort and arrived at Dartmouth from 
whence he had embarked when he began his viage." 
Ferdinando, it will be remembered, was Master of the 
Falcon, commanded by Walter Ralegh in Gilbert's 
expedition in 1578, and was referred to by Mendoza as 
"a great rogue who knows the coast well." The map 
known as Dee's map was said to have been drawn from 
data furnished by Ferdinando. 

Another paragraph describes the finding of a silver 
mine, by John Walker on the river of Norumbega in 
1580, and his voyage home in seventeen days. 

A marginal note, to the description of the savages' 
houses by Ingram, reads: "Sir Humphrey Gilbert's 
man which he sent to discover the lande reporteth their 
houses to be built in lyke mannor rounde." We have 
a possible clue to the identity of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's 
man in the following — 

Peckham, in a marginal note to his Westerne Plant- 
ing, (which note by the bye may have been the work of 
his editor, Hakluyt) enumerates the English voyagers 
to America, and among them mentions William Battes. 
Among the officers of the An Ager in 1578 was a "Mr. 
Battes deputye of the ship," and it seems not unlikely 
that he was the man selected by Gilbert to make the 
preliminary voyage. 

During the absence of his harbingers, Gilbert made 
several other transfers to his Catholic friends. On 
February 28, 1583, in consideration of divers sums dis- 
bursed by them, he transferred to vSir George Peckham 
and his second son, George, "all that river and port 
called by Master John Dee, Dee River, which river, 
by the description of John Verazanus, a Florentine 


lyeth in septentrional latitude about 42 degrees, and 
hath his mouth lying open to the south, half a league 
broad on thereabouts, and entering the same bay 
between the east and north increaseth his breadth 
and continueth twelve leagues or thereabouts and then 
maketh a gulf of twenty leagues or thereabouts and 
containeth in itself five small islands, newly named 
the Cinq Isles, and the said Gulf and the five isles and 
all other isles lying within the said gulf together with 
1,500,000 acres of land within the supposed continent 
lying next adjoining upon said river." They were to 
pay seven shillings per annum for every thousand acres 
"manured," (i.e. cultivated), and two-fifths of all the 
gold and silver found. A curious stipulation is made 
that if any person should seek the subversion of the 
''Commonwealth of Sir Humphrey," his heirs or suc- 
cessors, the contract was to become null and void. Poor 
Sir Humphrey ! In imagination he saw himself over- 
lord of half the continent of America. 

Peckham then proceeded to sublet his interest; 
William Rowsell, of Cork Co., Devon, purchasing 
from him 500,000 acres, and paying "to Her Majesty 
and said patentee in all things as Sir George payeth, 
ratiably. And further paying to the said Sir George 
yearly on the first of January one steel target and one 
good arming sword in the name of Chiefage only." 

In July 1583, Sir Humphrey made another deal; this 
time with Sir Philip Sidney, that "preux chevalier, 
sans peur et sans reproche." To quote John Richard 
Green: "Sidney, the nephew of the Earl of Leicester, 
was the idol of the time, and perhaps no figure reflects 
the age more fully and more beautifully. Fair as he 
was brave ; quick of wit as of affection ; noble and 
generous in temper; dear to Elizabeth as to Spenser; 
the darling of the Court and of the Camp; his learning 
and genius made him the centre of the literary world 
which was springing into birth on English soil." ^ 

1 Sidney was the son of Sir Henry Sidney, Gilbert's old com- 
mander in Ireland. In a letter to the Earl of Stafford, on July 21, he 


Mendoza had reported some time before that Sidney 
was interested in the proposed Roman Catholic colony, 
now to take effect in duly executed Articles of Agree- 
ment with Sir Humphrey. It is a more interesting 
document than the others, and contains stipulations not 
found in any of them. The cause for the transaction 
is stated to be Sir Humphrey's anxiety for the more 
speedy execution of Her Majesty's grant to him, and 
the enlargement of Her Majesty's Dominions. Sidney, 
his heirs and successors, are empowered to discover and 
occupy 3,000,000 acres, paying for every 1000 acres so 
discovered and manured, fifteen pence and two-fifths of 
all the gold and silver that may be found therein. A 
further payment of one halfpenny sterling for every 
acre manured is to be made for the maintenance of a 
Navy and Soldiers, and for the general defence of those 

says, "We are half persuaded to enter into the journey of Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert very eagerlie, whereunto your Mr. Hackluit hath 
served for a very good trumpet." Hakluyt had intended to accom- 
pany Gilbert on his voyage, but just at this time receiving the appointment 
of Chaplain to the Earl of Stafford, was unable to do so. The Sidney 
and Gilbert families were also distantly connected by marriage. 
Philip Sidney's brother, Robert, married Barbara Gammage, a great 
beauty and heiress. Ralegh, at the Queen's instigation, tried to 
interfere in the disposal of the lady's hand, claiming that he was " her 
father's cousin germanye considering she hath not any neerer kin nor 

Since the above was written I have had the pleasure of reading 
the recently pubhshed, and most interesting Z(/"^ of Sir Philip Sidney^ 
by Mr. Percy Addleshaw. Mr. Addleshaw considers Sidney's chief 
characteristic to have been his uncompromising Protestantism. He 
says, " The greatest blot upon his career is his loathing for those of 
the old faith. He hated all Catholics with a bitterness quite un- 
warranted by facts." Yet we find him chosen by Sir George Peckham 
and Sir Thomas Gerrard to help them in their scheme to plant a 
Catholic colony in the New World. It is barely possible, of course, 
that in appearing to assist the Catholics in this matter, he was but 
pursuing the idea which Mendoza suggested, — that it was a plot 
devised against the Catholics, intended to get them out of the country 
and deposited where they would be unable to help the cause of their 
religion. Mr. Addleshaw, in commenting on Sidney's transaction with 
Peckham, has overlooked the fact that it was ostensibly to assist the 
Catholics. He has also mistaken the nature of the grant obtained by 
Sidney. It was not by a charter, procured by persuasion from Eliza- 
beth, but by articles of agreement with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, that he 
secured his principality in America. 


countries. This fund was to be kept in a treasure-house 
set apart for that purpose, and to be under the manage- 
ment of the chiefest governor and thirteen councillors 
for martial and marine causes to be chosen by the 
people. In addition, one-sixtieth part of all lands of 
every temporal person and one-fortieth part of all lands 
and revenues of every spiritual person were to be 
allowed for the maintenance of maimed soldiers and 
for the encouragement of learning — equally worthy 
objects, but here curiously associated. Sidney and his 
successors were to have the execution of all laws within 
their boundaries, but the whole tract remained within 
"the commonwealth of Sir Humphrey." Knowing the 
esteem in which Elizabeth held Sidney, "the chiefest 
jewel in her kingdom," his influence was enlisted to 
get permission for the promoters to transport would-be 
colonists out of the kingdom, it being a matter of grave 
question at the time, whether it was good policy for 
England to allow her populace to leave her shores, 
even for the purpose of founding a new Empire 

Sidney promptly made an agreement with Sir George 
Peckham by which he transferred to him all his recently 
acquired principality ; from which it seems probable, that 
the grant may have been intended for Peckham from 
the first, Sidney only lending it the weight of his name. 

The fact that the author of the Arcadia interested 
himself in Sir Humphrey Gilbert's colonizing project 
is perhaps not without literary significance. That 
curious romance was written about this time for the 
amusement of the Countess of Pembroke, during an 
enforced retirement at Wilton. Perhaps the stories 
current about the New World had set Sidney's imagina- 
tion working ; or perhaps it was the other way, and when 
Gilbert made his proposition, Sidney dreamed of another 
Arcadia in the proposed colony. However that may 
be, Sidney materially assisted Gilbert and readily entered 
into the scheme to plant a colony of English Catholics 
in the new-found land. 


It is a matter of great regret that the sums of money ^ 
paid to Gilbert for his impalpable rights cannot be 

Mendoza did all he could to thwart the scheme. 
Writing on May 6, 1583, he says : *'The Council have 
suggested to the Catholics to contribute a sum of money 
to carry on the enterprise in Florida, upon which 
Humphrey Gilbert has sailed with the ships I described 
to your Majesty, in which case they promise to release 
the prisoners and will allow them to live without perse- 
cution. As they have been warned that the expedition 
is an illicit one, and fear that the offer is only a trap to 
discover them, they are keeping in the background. 
Although some few Catholics out of indifference and 
penury have gone with Gilbert, selling what little pro- 
perty was left to them for the purpose." Here the 
incident closes, never to be revived again. 

In the next charter for the colonization of Newfound- 
land, granted in 161 o, the following clause was inserted : 
"And lastly because the principall effects which we can 
desire of this action is the conversion of the people in 
those parts, if any be there inhabiting, unto the true 
worship of God and Christian religion, in which respecte 
we would be loathe that any person should be permitted 
to passe that be suspected to asserte the superstitions of 
the Church of Rome." 

James, however, soon departed from this ultra-bigoted 
view, for in 1623, he granted a charter to Lx)rd Baltimore, 
a Catholic, whose design was to colonize with his co- 
religionists chiefly, if not entirely. His colony was 
planted at Ferryland, in Newfoundland, but was soon 
abandoned, — a scoffing West Country ship-master de- 
claring that "the air of Newfoundland agrees perfectly 
well with all God's creatures except Jesuits and schis- 
matics, a great mortality among whom so frightened my 
Lord Baltimore that he utterly left the country." 

1 Mr. Addleshaw says that at this time Sidney was in great 
financial difficulty. Possibly, therefore, he may have made money out 
of the deal by reselling to Sir George Peckham at a profit. 

Sir Walter Raleigh. 

From a portrait, Jj6g. 


Sir George Peckham, although apparently conform- 
ing, continued to assist the Roman Catholics. In 1584, 
and again in 1587, he was reported to be harbouring 
Jesuits and recusants. Sir Thomas Gerrard remained 
true to his faith. He was imprisoned for treason in 
1588, and was not released until 1594. Five years later, 
he again incurred the anger of the Queen by assisting 
a Catholic priest to escape from the Marshalsea. 

It is necessary now to return somewhat in point of 
date, and to discuss other matters preparatory to Gil- 
bert's departure on his great enterprise. As befitted 
every man with a family about to start upon a perilous 
voyage, Sir Humphrey first made his will. This 
"writing indented" is dated July 8, 1582. "Calling to 
mind the mortality of mankind and the uncertain event 
of long voyages in marine and martial affairs, and care- 
fully foreseeing least through his death, captivity, or 
other mishap, this intended enterprise might quaell, and 
for the avoiding of such inconveniences as might ensue 
to the hindrance of so godly and honourable an enter- 
prise," Sir Humphrey appointed his brother, Sir John 
Gilbert of Greenway, Devon, Sir George Peckham of 
Denham, Bucks, and William Archer (Ager) of Borne, 
Kent to be his trustees and executors. He placed in 
their hands the control of his kingdom, to be used for 
the benefit of his wife, and his children during their 
minority, in the following manner. All customs, rents, 
royalties, jurisdictions, and services were to be reserved 
for his heirs male. To Dame Anne his wife, he be- 
queathed one third of these revenues, during the minority 
of his heir male, to be reduced to one fifth after said heir 
attained his majority; in addition he gave to her one 
entire seignory or lordship, fifty English miles square, 
at her choice, which was to become a jointure for the 
wife of the Chief Governor of the country under the 
Crown of England for ever. 

To each one of his sons he gave "a like seignory at 
least," and to each daughter a lesser but still substantial 
portion of twenty square miles. Each was to have the 


execution of justice within his or her domain, and to 
pay a small fee to the general purse. In addition, 
each was to furnish, forty days out of every year, a well- 
armed soldier on horseback. 

His executors were empowered to dispose of lands to 
settlers, reserving sites for towns and forts, and making 
provision for commons and pasture land. For the 
better maintenance of poor inhabitants ten acres of land 
were to be given for every house built, on payment of 
a small rent. 

Every person sent over at the expense of the mother 
country was to have a lease for three lives, sixty acres 
of land, with allowance for "housebote, hedgebote, and 
ploughbote,*' — terms in ancient English law meaning 
an allowance of wood for the repairs of houses, hedges, 
and ploughs, or other farm implements. These tenants 
were to pay small rentals, and after death or alienation 
"a best beast for a Herriot" (?). 

Each emigrant was required to bring with him the 
following : a quarter of wheat, 20s. ; four bushels of 
barley, 65. 8d.; four bushels of oats, 3s. ^d. ; two 
bushels of beans, 5s. ; two bushels of peas, 45. ; one 
hatchet, i2d,; one pickaxe, i2d.; one hand saw, i2d.; 
one spade, 12^.; total, 43s. A modest but efficient 
outfit, providing for the building of their houses and the 
cultivation of the land. If they came furnished, at their 
own charge, with "a sword, a dagger, and a hargabusse 
of encrease," they were to have six score acres. Every 
gentleman, who brought with him five men fully 
equipped and furnished, was to receive two thousand 
acres in fee simple ; if ten men, four thousand acres, and 
so on in proportion. And each man so brought was 
to receive six score acres. 

Every tenant to sixty acres of land was bound to 
maintain a longbow and a sheaf of arrows, together with 
a sword, a dagger, and wooden target. Tenants of 
twenty-four acres were to maintain a fighting man 
besides themselves, and every gentleman leasing 2000 


acres was enjoined to keep a light horse furnished for 
the wars, ** after such time as God shall send sufficient 
horses in those parts, and in the meantime to keep two 
men for shot in lieu of such horses." One halfpenny 
sterling per acre was to be levied for the maintenance 
of an army and navy for the general defence of the 

Provision was made in addition for the maintenance 
of maimed soldiers, for learning, lectures, schools, and 
"other good and godly uses in such sort as is thought 
most meet by the chief magistrates and law makers." 

Sir Humphrey further decreed that every country 
parish should be just three miles square, "with the 
church in the midst thereof ; " every minister, besides 
his tythes, was to have three hundred acres of land as 
near his church as possible. Plurality of benefices was 
strictly prohibited, and if any minister absented himself 
for more than six months in any one year he was to be 
deprived of his living. Every bishop was endowed with 
ten thousand acres, and every archbishop with twenty 
thousand acres. \ 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Commonwealth was an ideal 
one. We can imagine the long hours spent by him 
in dreaming over its possibilities. He intended that it 
should be practically an absolute monarchy, although 
thirteen councillors elected by the people were to assist 
the Governor in organizing its defence. The law- 
making powers granted by his Patent made him almost 
absolute, and he evidently calculated to exercise them. 
It was an idyllic picture that he painted. The neatly- 
laid-out parishes centreing around the church and par- 
sonage; the schools, with a curriculum to be modelled 
doubtless upon "Queen Elizabeth's Achademy." Re- 
membering the Act passed for the establishment of 
Leicester's Hospital in Warwick, he also arranges for 
the maintenance of his old soldiers ; ministers, bishops, 
and archbishops are all to be provided for. One won- 
ders how the Roman Catholic colonists would have fared. 


and if they would have enjoyed the freedom promised 
them, for, as will be told later, the first English ordinance 
declared on the North American continent by Gilbert 
was that the public exercise of religion should be 
according to the Church of England. 

Sir Humphrey was a prophet and a seer, far ahead 
of his time, and many long years were to elapse before 
a Colony could be firmly established. 

It will be noted that no rentals were to be paid until 
seven or ten years after the lands had been occupied, 
showing that Gilbert realized the truth afterward 
enunciated by Bacon in his essay on " Plantations " : 
"Planting of countries is like planting of wood, for you 
must take account to leese almost twenty years profit 
and expect your recompense in the end. For the prin- 
cipal thing that hath been the destruction of most planta- 
tions hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit in 
the first years." ^ 

Gilbert did not, however, realize, as did Bacon, that 
the idle and vicious would not make good colonists. 
His proposal to employ them arose from a confusion of 
ideas; the mother country was to be benefited by re- 
lieving her of "those needy people who were daily con- 
sumed of the gallows." As such it was an argument in 
favour of colonization ; but from the point of view of the 
colonies it was a fatal error. Bacon detected the fallacy. 
"It is a shameful and unblessed thing," he writes, "to 
take the scum of the people and wicked, condemned men, 
to be the people with whom you plant, for they will ever 
live like rogues and not fall to work, but be lazy and do 
mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, to 
the discredit of the plantation." Painfully was Gilbert 
to realize this truth even in his short experience. Another 
sad error was fallen into by Gilbert, which Bacon de- 
tected and corrected. Deceived by the reports from the 

^ Bacon was himself a shareholder in the Company that planted 
the oldest colony now remaining under the Crown of England, that of 
Guy's Colony at Cupid's Cove, Newfoundland, in the year 1610. 


Spanish colonies, and by the accounts brought back by 
Ingram and John Walker, Gilbert thought the New 
World abounded in the precious metals. A condition of 
every grant made by him was, that he was to receive two- 
fifths of all the gold, silver, pearls or precious stones that 
might be found, one-half of which he was to pay as 
tribute to the Crown of England. The hope of finding 
gold was one of the principal inducements offered, and 
drew many subscribers. Bacon, however, with the wis- 
dom born of twenty-five years' longer experience, says : 
** Moil not too much underground, for the hope of mines 
is very uncertain and useth to make the planters lazy in 
other things." 

A passage in the letter written by Ralegh to Cecil 
about this time, which has already been quoted, excites 
our curiosity. Speaking of Gilbert, he says: ''Would 
God his own behaviour were such in times of peace as it 
did not make his good services forgotten." It seems to 
infer that Gilbert had acted in some reprehensible 
manner; but, apart from the false accusation of piracy 
trumped up by Mendoza, there is no rumour of any 
charge against him. Nor is it likely that it was this 
charge of piracy to which Ralegh referred, for he him- 
self was implicated in it. From all his contemporaries 
we hear nothing but high praise of Gilbert's character ; 
it seems likely, therefore, that the imputation in 
Ralegh's letter was not of this nature. Perhaps Gil- 
bert's absorption in his colonization enterprises for the 
moment caused Ralegh to be impatient with him. In 
Ralegh's opinion he should have kept himself in promi- 
nence and sought other military commands, putting 
to the sword and hanging unfortunate Irish kerns, for 
instance, instead of laying the foundation of Greater 




The money obtained from the Catholic would-be 
colonizers was not sufficient to enable Gilbert to fit 
out his expedition, and he therefore, in -quite modern 
style, converted himself and his schemes into what 
would now be called a Joint-Stock Company. The 
title of the Company was somewhat cumbrous — "The 
Merchant Adventurers with Sir Humphrey Gilbert," 
but it was thoughtfully provided that the name might 
be changed whenever *'it shall please God that ye 
Queen's Majesty or Sir Humphrey Gilbert shall give the 
contries some other name or names." The members of 
the Company, with their apprentices, were to be free 
of all manner of trade to the countries discovered, 
"all fishes and fishing thereabout excepted," — a very 
important exception when Newfoundland comes to be 

Nearly all the members of this new Company were 
inhabitants of the town of Southampton, and Sir 
Humphrey undertook that all merchandise from his 
"Commonwealth" should be imported into that city 
and no other, unless specially permitted by the officers 
of the Company. A Staple or Mart was to be established 
there especially for the marketing of the Company's 
goods. The Company was to be governed by four 
officers, to be chosen by Sir Humphrey before his 
departure — a Governor, a Treasurer, Agent, and Secre- 
tary. If any of these officers died or resigned while 
Gilbert was away. Sir Francis Walsingham, "Chief and 
Principal Patron of the Company," was to nominate 



their successors. The annual meeting of the Company 
was to be held on August i in each year, in South- 
ampton, at 8 o'clock in the morning, when, after divine 
service or sermon, "eight of the most wisest and dis- 
creetest " persons were to be elected directors of the 
Company, and all "convenient orders, decrees, and 
statutes " for the government of the Society were to be 
passed. The shares of the Company were to be p(,$ 
each, either in money or goods. And as land was plenty 
in the New World, and promises cheap, each holder of 
one share was entitled to looo acres of land. 

Every adventurer in person, and not in goods, was 
to be free of all trade in the countries occupied, that of 
fish and fishing again excepted, and those who adven- 
tured both their person and purse were entitled to a 
double portion of lands. In order to induce the adven- 
turers in person to settle in the country, "now intended 
to be discovered, conquered, seased or possessed," a 
redoubled portion of land was offered, provided they 
remained there at least eight months. Volunteers for 
the new colony were evidently not numerous, as was to 
be expected. It was an unheard-of thing at that time 
for English people to leave their homes to start afresh 
in a country about which so little was really known, and 
so many fabulous tales related. More than ordinary 
courage, or more than ordinary unhappiness at home, 
was required to make a colonist, but the grant of thou- 
sands of acres of land would doubtless attract many 

The lands were to be "in free soccage tenure," paying 
to Sir Humphrey, his heirs or assigns, after the first 
seven years, ten shillings for every lOOO acres. "In 
further reward and for perpetual memory " of these first 
adventurers, they were "fully discharged from all tor- 
tures, marshall laws, arrests or attachments," notwith- 
standing any powers or authority granted to Sir 
Humphrey for the governance of the countries dis- 
covered. A rash promise one would suppose, consider- 


ing the class from which he proposed to draw his first 

The blood relations of Sir Humphrey and Lady 
Gilbert, presumably to the remotest cousinship, seeing 
that no limit is placed to the tie of consanguinity, were 
made free of all liberties, immunities, and privileges in 
the countries about to be taken possession of. 

The next clause in the agreement is quite refreshing. 
Sir Humphrey indulges himself with a little revenge. 
For twelve years the Muscovy Company had thwarted 
his plans and balked his ambitions; now that he had 
obtained his charter in spite of their opposition, he took 
care that no one connected with that Company should 
share in the glorious results of his endeavours, now 
about to be enjoyed. He therefore expressly inhibited 
and forbade, that any member of the Muscovy Com- 
pany or their children, should hold shares in his Com- 
pany, or be admitted into his kingdom. Included in 
this terrible deprivation were such inhabitants of the 
town of Southampton as did not at once join his Com- 
pany. His attitude is natural. He considered that he 
was bestowing a great favour upon the town of South- 
ampton in thus singling it out before all other towns in 
the realm, and that any inhabitant should stand aloof 
and not recognize the privilege thus conferred upon 
him was certainly annoying. If any of these short- 
sighted people or any member of the Muscovy Company 
dared to set foot in his domains, he undertook to seize 
and confiscate their ships, and divide the proceeds 
between himself and his Company. 

While he remembered his enemies he did not forget 
his friends, and stipulated with his new Company, that 
all the adventurers in his first expedition of 1578, should 
be to all intents and purposes members of the present 
Company, and share with them in his generous partition 
of the North , American continent. 

For the relief of any poor and decayed members of 
the Company, Sir Humphrey set aside 10,000 acres of 


land and one per cent, of his rentals. The members of 
the Company, not to be outdone, also promised one per 
cent, of their receipts for the same charitable purpose. 

The last clause of the agreement provides that any 
dispute arising between Sir Humphrey and his Company 
should be referred for settlement to the Lord Chancellor 
of England for the time being. 

The date of this interesting document is November 2, 
1582. Viewed from our standpoint it was a preposterous 
proposition, but to Sir Humphrey and his colleagues it 
was real and genuine, and seriously they debated every 
clause. The foundations of their empire were to be 
well and truly laid. Sir Humphrey thought imperially, 
and saw a vision of a great commonwealth over which 
he was to reign supreme under the crown of England. 
He peopled it with England's surplus population, who 
had been unfortunate or unhappy at home, but who 
would now obtain another chance in a sphere where they 
were not handicapped by their past. 

We find nowhere in his writings any cant about con- 
verting the savage inhabitants of the New World, — an 
argument which was urged with so much insistence by 
Eden, Hakluyt, Peckham, and other early supporters 
of colonization, but which the early colonizers them- 
selves so entirely neglected. The Spaniards made a 
continual parade of the conversion of the natives, and 
more cruelty was perpetrated and more lives sacrificed 
in the name of religion, than even on the altar of the 
Gold Demon. 

Nor was mere gain the incentive which prompted 
Gilbert, although as much cannot be said for the Adven- 
turers with him, who, when not induced by friendship 
or relationship, undoubtedly dreamed of "Africa and 
golden joys," and were entirely mercenary in their 
interests. A list of the Adventurers is still preserved, 
among whom may be noted : Lord Burleigh, Earls 
Warwick, Sussex, Leicester, Sir Christopher Hatton, 
Sir Francis Knowles, Sir Henry Sidney, Philip Sidney, 


John Dee, and Anthony Parkhurst.^ A separate list 
is given of the Southampton Adventurers ^ and the 
amount each subscribed, headed by Sir Francis Wal- 
singham with £^0- The total amount subscribed was 
;^555j equal to about $22,000 of our money. 

Walsingham endeavoured to interest other cities in 
the enterprise. Hakluyt preserves some correspondence, 
consisting of letters from Walsingham to himself, and 
to Mr. Thomas Aldworth, Mayor of Bristol, and the reply 
of the Mayor, the gist of which seems to be that the 
Mayor in a letter to Walsingham had expressed the 
interest of himself and the city in maritime adventures; 
thereupon Walsingham wrote to Hakluyt commending 
him for his studies in that line, and entrusting to him 
a letter to the Mayor. In this letter he informed the 
Mayor that Sir Humphrey was then about to sail on a 
voyage of discovery, and urged him to send two ships 
to join the expedition. Mr. Thomas Aldworth forthwith 
called the merchants of Bristol together to hear Mr. 
Hakluyt on the subject, and to discuss the project ; with 
the result, that instead of helping Gilbert, they offered 
to fit out two vessels and to place them under the com- 
mand of Carlile — Walsingham 's son-in-law — to sail in 
six weeks. The date given in Hakluyt to the first two 
letters was March 1582, but from the context and the 
date of the reply it is certain that it should have been 


The merchants of Bristol intended to join hands with 
the Muscovy Company, and a committee of this Com- 
pany was appointed to confer with Carlile upon the 
intended attempt upon the hithermost parts of America. 
Their arguments and proposals were embodied in a 

1 Anthony Parkhurst accompanied Hawkins as a gentleman 
adventurer in 1563, and afterwards regularly prosecuted the fishery 
in Newfoundland. 

2 Among the Southampton Adventurers are found two named 
Capelin. This is the name given to a little fish found in Newfound- 
land waters in great abundance, and may possibly explain its derivation, 
which has been hitherto inexplicable. 


paper also preserved by Hakluyt, but as it was undated 
it has been generally misunderstood and the date 1574 
given to it. The Committee expressed themselves well 
persuaded of the suitableness of the country, and pro- 
posed that a colony of 100 men should be planted there 
to gain knowledge of the country. The cost was to be 
borne by the cities of Bristol and London. They recom- 
mended that her Majesty should grant Letters Patent to 
Carlile, conveying practically the same privileges as 
were contained in Gilbert's patent, especially the permis- 
sion to colonize. As Gilbert had carefully excluded them 
from any share in his privileges, they no doubt thought 
this an excellent opportunity to be revenged on him, and 
to secure the coveted prize for themselves. 

But Carlile was not altogether pleased with their pro- 
posals, and he wrote a long discourse in April 1583, 
which is also to be found in Hakluyt, to dissuade the 
merchants of the Muscovy Company from demanding 
too quick a return for their investment, seeing that the 
amounts they had at stake were quite insignificant. His 
proposition was mainly to colonize Newfoundland, — the 
many advantages of which he dilated on at considerable 

Neither he nor the Committee of the Muscovy Com- 
pany made any reference to Gilbert, whose thunder they 
were so barefacedly trying to steal. 

But the Queen and Council did not accede to this 
request for Letters Patent, undoubtedly considering that 
Gilbert held the field, and must be given a fair chance to 
operate under his grant. Nor does it appear that 
Walsingham went out of his way to forward his son-in- 
law's suit, for Gilbert still continued to address him as 
his chief friend and patron. On February 7, 1583, 
Gilbert wrote a most interesting letter to him. He had 
heard from Walsingham that her Majesty, having 
"especial care for his well being and success, desired him 
to stay at home, as a man noted for no good hap at sea." 

This was naturally a great shock to his enthusiasm, 
p 2 


and an awkward matter to deal with. He must express 
his obHgation for the Queen's interest in him; yet he 
bitterly resented the imputation on his ability. He is at 
much pains to explain the cause of the failure of his 
previous expedition, and darkly hints that it need not 
have turned out so badly had he not preferred his credit 
to his gain. He did not himself break the promise he 
had made to her Majesty, nor did he permit any of his 
Company to do so. The nature of the promise is not 
explicitly given, but one infers that it was his under- 
taking not to engage in piracy. It was rather hard, 
in the light of this statement, that he should have 
been charged with this crime and brought from 
Ireland at a critical moment to answer Mendoza's 
accusations. He then explains that the delay in 
the present voyage was not from any fault of his, 
but was God's doing, who sent such a violent head 
wind that he was unable to sail. It was well known 
that vessels had been blown from the Azores to England 
without setting a sail ; how was it possible for him to set 
out in the teeth of such a tempest? He next cunningly 
reminds Walsingham that the Queen was to receive one- 
fifth of all the gold, silver, and precious stones obtained, 
without any cost or risk to herself. Elizabeth's idio- 
syncrasies were evidently well known to him. Con- 
tinuing, he says: "The great desire I have to perform 
the same hath cost me first and last the selling and 
spending of a thousand marks land a year of my own 
getting, besides the scorn of all the world for conceiving 
so well of a matter that others held as ridiculous, 
although now by my means better thought of. If the 
doubt be my want of skill to execute the same, I will offer 
myself to be opposed by all the best navigators and 
cosmographers within this realm. If it be cowardliness, 
I seek no other purgation thereof than my former service 
done to Her Majesty. If it be the suspicion of daintiness 
of diet or sea sickness, in those both I will yeild myself 
second to no man living, because that comparison is 


rather hardiness of body than a boast of virtue. But how 
Httle account soever is made of the matter or of me, I 
trust Her Majesty, with the favour of my 28 years 
service, will allow me to get my living, as w^ell as I may 
honestly (which is every subject's right) and not to con- 
strain me by idle abode at home, to beg my bread with 
my wife and children, seeing I have Her Majesty's grant 
and license under the Great Seal of England for my 
departure, without the which I would not have spent a 
penny in this action ; wherein I am most borne to Her 
Majesty for her great favour, which of all things I most 

Gilbert claimed for himself the credit for having urged, 
in season and out of season, in the face of ridicule and 
abuse, his theories about colonization, until at last they 
were beginning to be generally accepted. 

The contents of this letter would at once have been 
made known to Elizabeth, and whether moved by the 
hope of gain held out to her, or by the justice of Gil- 
bert's plea, she withdrew her objections. 

But there was now another influence at work in 
Gilbert's interest. A few months before, Ralegh had 
returned from Ireland and attracted the notice of the 
Queen. Perhaps he had been introduced by Sir 
Humphrey. Perhaps old Fuller's story of his chivalrous 
action in spreading his cloak over "a plashy place" for 
Elizabeth to walk upon is true ; perhaps it was his able 
arguments before the Council on the Irish situation ; but 
more probably it was his own gallant figure that attracted 
the elderly susceptibilities of Elizabeth; in any case he 
had rapidly won the position of first favourite,^ tempor- 
arily replacing "her sweet Robin," Leicester. His influ- 
ence became at once so great that in May 1583, even the 
great Lord Burleigh himself asked for his support, and 
at the same period we find Ralegh writing to his rival 
Leicester that the Queen began again to have him in 

1 Ralegh was so ungrateful in after years as to refer to Elizabeth as 
" a lady whom time had surprised." 


regard. It thus happened that he was able to further 
the suit of his beloved and admired elder brother, and 
undoubtedly did so, for Elizabeth chose him to be the 
medium to convey to Gilbert her final assent to his 
departure. This he did in the following touching letter— 

^^ Richmond^ March 7,1583. 

"Brother: — I have sent you a token from Her 
Majestic, an ancor guided by a lady as you see; and 
farther, Her Highness willed me to send you worde that 
she wished you as great good hap and safty to your ship, 
as if she herself were thear in person ; desiring you to 
have care for your sealf , as of that which she tendereth ; 
and therefore for her sake you must provide for it accord- 

''Further, she commandeth me that you leve your 
picture with me. For the rest I leve till our meeting, or 
to the report of this bearer, who would needs be mes- 
senger of this good neuse. So I commit you to the will 
and protection of God, Who send us such life or death 
as He shall please, or hath appointed. 

"Your treu brother, 

"W. Ralegh." 

The portrait of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, here repro- 
duced, is in the possession of his lineal descendant the 
Rev. Walter Raleigh Gilbert. It bears the following 
inscription : "vSyr Humfrye Gilbert, Knight — drowned 
in the discovery of Virginia 1584"; the mistake in the 
date indicating that it is not quite contemporary, unless 
the inscription was added incorrectly at a later date. The 
portrait generally reproduced is that contained in 
Holland*s Hercoolgia Anglica (see Frontispiece). A 
manuscript note on the copy in the British Museum 
reads : "Taken from a picture in the Strand." It seems 
rather a delicate and refined type of face to accompany 
such a splendid physique. His brow is Shakespearian 
and thoughtful, and his demeanour dignified. It is a 


beautiful face, and seems to shadow forth his "prophetic 
soul." The motto "Quid Non" which appears on his 
portrait, and was generally used by him, is significant of 
the man. No idea was too original for him, no enterprise 
too daring. Why not a North- West Passage? Why 
not a London University? Why not England, Mistress 
of the Seas? Why not an Empire over-seas? The 
originality, and the "great unrest" of his mind, stand 
out even in that age of moral and intellectual upheaval. 

The assistance rendered by Ralegh was opportune. 
To have been stopped again at that time would have 
broken Gilbert's heart, even as already he was broken 
in purse and credit. The time of his charter would have 
elapsed, and the work of his lifetime been wasted. 

It is not, however, sufficient for the biographers of 
Ralegh to record the simple obvious fact of this brotherly 
assistance, but they must now magnify their hero into 
the position of prime mover and organizer of the expe- 
dition. Although Gilbert began his plans when Ralegh 
was a schoolboy, and had them practically matured 
before he was out of his teens; although he was a pro- 
minent man, a leader and commander in Ireland and the 
Low Countries, when Ralegh was an unknown subaltern 
serving under him ; although Ralegh obtained his first 
command at sea under Gilbert in 1578; although Gilbert 
was ceaselessly working cut his plans, pulling every 
string, making desperate efforts to raise money for his 
expedition, while Ralegh was serving in a subordinate 
position under Grey in Ireland; and although the pro- 
gression of Gilbert's ambitions is manifest, from the 
beginning in 1566 until the final attempt in 1583; yet, 
now, Ralegh becomes the leader, and Gilbert merely the 
tool ! Ralegh's latest biographer even credits him with 
having incited Walsingham to propose the Catholic 
colonization scheme; upon what grounds it is hard to 
imagine. It will be clear to any one who consults the 
records here collected, that Ralegh had absolutely 
nothing to do with the matter, but that it was the natural 


outcome of the friendship which had long subsisted 
between Gilbert and Sir George Peckham. Another 
writer declares that Gilbert obtained his Patent in 1578 
through Ralegh's influence,— a glaring historical ana- 
chronism ! 

When the mantle slipped from Gilbert's shoulders, as 
it was soon to do, Ralegh eagerly assumed it. The first 
English colonizing expedition under Gilbert failed miser- 
ably. The next under Ralegh achieved a little more 
and made a proportionately greater failure. But Gilbert 
was the originator and the leader, and Ralegh only the 

In addition to the influence Ralegh was able to use 
with Elizabeth he also rendered, or intended to render, 
most important practical assistance. He purchased, or 
some say had specially built from designs of his own, 
a vessel for the expedition, sparing no expense in her 
equipment. She was the largest of the fleet, being 200 
tons, but, as we shall hear, was the cause of bitter dis- 

The Queen's consent being thus obtained, the time 
grew on for departure. After the manner of the age, it 
was but fitting that a bard or herald should chronicle the 
auspicious event, and sing the praises of the hero of 
the expedition. On this occasion the office was filled by 
one Stephanus Parmenius of Buda, "late bedfellow" of 
Hakluyt at Oxford, in an "Embarkation Ode" of about 
300 elegant Latin hexameters, preceded by an address, 
"To the noble and illustrious Humphrey Gilbert, 

The bard first apologizes that he, "an unknown 
foreigner " should have attempted the lofty theme when 
there were so many gifted men better able to accomplish 
it. Born of Christian parents, amid Turkish slavery and 
degradation, he had been sent abroad to visit the univer- 
sities of Europe. During three years he had wandered 
about the Continent, viewing the cities, churches, and 
manners of the various nations, and making the acquaint- 


ance of famous men. But without being invidious he 
was compelled to say that no country had pleased him 
so much as Britain. "Wherefore I had long desired to 
display some token of gratitude for the kindness and 
consideration which had been shown me. While I was 
engaged calling upon and making the acquaintance of 
several excellent men in London, my friend Richard 
Hakluyt took me to visit you, informing me of your 
intention of founding, at an early date, a colony in the 
New World. While this object was under discussion, I 
had the opportunity of recognizing your powers both of 
body and mind as worthy of undying record, aye, and 1 
did so recognize them, and regarded them with such 
honour that when, shortly afterwards, I heard your 
virtues and exploits further extolled on all hands, I 
thought this by far the most favourable opportunity for 
me to discharge in some measure the debt of friendship 
and devotion due to you and to your country. This is 
the source to which my Embarkation Ode owes its 
origin. It remains for me, noble Sir, to wish you a 
safe and prosperous journey and return, and beg you 
to consider my great regard for you in accordance with 
your kindness, influence, and high renown. Farewell. 
March 31, 1583." 

The following is a som.ewhat free translation of the 
Ode, omitting some of the less pertinent parts. 

It begins with an address to the Thames " river blessed 
with unbroken repose," and promises a joyful celebration 
when the Argo, now to be dispatched, returns in 
triumph. It continues after this manner : "What means 
this gift of swiftly changing sky ? The heavy storm 
clouds are resolved into thin air, the mists disperse, 
calm seas shine in the sun, the South wind is lulled and 
the propitious East wind grows stronger. Sails are 
spread to catch the following breeze, sails with which 
Gilbert, that lasting ornament of the British race, directs 
his course to an unknown world across an almost 
unknown sea. When shall I be permitted to sing the 


song of praise of our hero, and telling of deeds accom- 
plished stir the hearts of wondering grandsons ? 

*' Father Nereus himself with favouring trident controls 
the waves. Here and there the dolphins leap from out 
the Ocean depths, as though offering their curved backs 
to bear up the keel which ploughs the friendly waters. 
Old Proteus too, who feeds deep down the herds of 
Neptune, draws back the veil of fate for future ages 
and sings of deeds to be achieved by children yet 

"O ! Anglia, happy island, famed for the blessings of 
peace and war, the glory of the wide world, now rich in 
resources and thickly peopled, having won renown by 
thy deeds, and reared thy head on high throughout the 
world, careful of thy destiny, lest some day thy wide 
spread dominions should fall by their own weight, now 
may'st thou win new city walls for thy sons and extend 
thy rule far and wide. 

" Hail Gilbert ! noble heart, to thee alone through all 
these ages is reserved a region never ruled by any king. 
A new land awaits thy search, a land which knows no 
Babylonian sceptre nor unconquered might of Macedon, 
no Persian valour ever reached, nor ever felt the blow 
of Latian arms. In that land never did Mohammed's 
tribe mutter their prayers, nor cunning Spaniards prac- 
tise their bloody cruelties in religion's name. 

"There a race of mortals dwells, of human stock 
unknown. Perhaps a remnant of the ancient family of 
Fauns ; sprung from mother earth, they still retain their 
ancient manners and lead the life of primitive man's 
rude age. What time, Saturn fleeing from the wrath 
of his son made his home in Latinus and estabHshed 
there the golden age, thence degenerating through the 
ages of silver and bronze to that of iron, once more (so 
sing the bards) to be restored to that of gold. Am I 
deceived, or is the golden age about to dawn again ? 
When I turn my eyes towards the Britains, dwelling 
amid the snows, I see many proofs of the returning 


golden era. For there God's will is held in honour 
great; there reigns an Amazon as dear to God as once 
was Hera; there golden liberty dwells in cities un- 
encompassed by walls; there sword and dirk, javelin 
and spear are welded into ploughshares, and warriors 
erstwhile well versed in war now pass the time in peace 
and court the sweets of friendship ; this country, inflict- 
ing no wrong on any other nation, yet bears arms, 
dulled indeed with the rust of peace but still a menace 
to her foes. Kow many heroes born for war, how many 
hearts of steel dost thou still nurse : Ten thousand chief- 
tains and a thousand captains bear evidence, and of these 
thousands most renowned our glorious Gilbert, to whom 
the Muses bear honour, to whose famed story Pallas 
lends a willing ear. 

"To pass all else, how great a thing it is for the peace 
and good of the human race to hazard all the chances 
and dangers of the seas. To leave a family yet young 
and the sweet embraces of his cherished wife. She, 
Ageria, counting one by one on her slender fingers the 
thousand dangers of a thousand seas. Whose father 
and brother too, comrades of high example, for their 
country's honour and renown, besieged within the 
gates of Calais, preferred to die rather than join those 
who betrayed the city with ignominy to preserve their 

"But if we may not yet admit that this golden age has 
come again in our world, what is there to prevent its 
existence in lands unknown ? I foretell, and may 
Heaven favour my words, I foretell the years in which 
a foreign people will be united under our Gilbert's sway ; 
when citizens, knowing naught of fraud or guile, may 
grow accustomed to find happiness in simple virtue, 
rather than, yielding to inclination of effeminacy, plunge 
their enervated frames into the depths of lazy self- 
indulgence and luxurious ease. There a man's value 
will not be measured by birth, nor the people's liberty 
crushed by riches. There, mother earth will give her 


fruits abundantly with little toil ; no care shall draw the 
young to premature decline; nor stern labour so rob 
them of all leisure that they may not enjoy the rewards 
of virtue. 

"Oh ! that it were mine to board your lucky ship, with 
thee to explore the far off sea and there to lay the 
foundation of a new and powerful nation. But me the 
fates forbid ; although I fain would sing thy noble deeds, 
1 am constrained unwillingly to return to Ister's sad 
stream. Yet may the fates reserve me for that office, 
and there will not be wanting a poet to sing in that 
New World of nature's many gifts unknown under our 

"While I write, the nymphs are gathering on the 
green sward, twining their hair with laurel and fresh 
olive leaves, thronging to honour our Elizabeth, Queen 
of the Sea. She, from her lofty tower near the cool 
river, looks forth, and even now on Father Thames she 
sees Gilbert's slanting sails gradually fade away in the 
distance. Grant thy favour, noble Queen, and aid the 
sails now ready at thy bidding, for thou alone dost 
wield a sceptre worthy to be carried forward over the 
world under such auspices. Thou alone hast so blessed 
thy people with unbroken peace, that now under thy 
guidance they can extend thy rule. If tradition may be 
trusted, of mothers such as you the demi-gods were born 
of old; of such a mother came the mighty Hector, or 
Achilles, mightier still. I lie, unhappy man, if virtue 
does not glitter in thy fair form as brightly as some 
jew^el glitters in its setting of gold. I lie and say no 
more, if thou dost not openly enjoy secure repose, 
while other princes confined as if within some dungeon 
dure, their very banquets spoiled by fear of death, enjoy 
sleep only in furtive intervals of rest, troubled by fearful 
portents. I lie, and say no more, if thy people do not 
wish for thee eternal life, since thou dost establish thy 
dominion by no stern lash, nor dread of death or 
punishment; but by thy countless merits hast thou won 


loyal service. Clemency unarmed sits guardian in thy 
wide open gates. 

"Dost thou not see how America, who lately humbly 
offered loyalty, now with hair dishevelled and unkempt, 
stretches forth her huge right hand, and says : * Hast 
thou any regard, sister Anglia, for our tears and dost 
thou mourn at all at our hard lot ? Hast thou the heart 
to ignore our troubles and all the disasters which we 
have borne, since the insatiable desire for gold, for 
surely 'twas no love of virtue induced the Spaniards to 
invade our land. From that time, hoping to learn of 
God, we have been taught to erect altars to mortal men 
and to pray to dumb imperfect images. Why are we 
dragged down to earth ? If our minds are clear, why 
cannot we seek God directly in the clear heaven ? Why 
do we see men reduced by fire, starvation, or the sword 
in the name of religion ? Not this way lies religion, not 
thus in my judgment does God delight to see His 
kingdom guarded ! 

'* ' If happy amid unbroken peace thou art averse to 
undertake to win our regions with expenditure of blood, 
there is a land hard by separated by a channel of the 
sea. This land hath been already discovered for thee, 
what time great hearted Cabot displayed his sails in our 
seas; a land there is neither made too cold by the 
adjacent north nor yet by immoderate heat into arid 
sand. Stretch thy beneficial hand toward this land and 
lay there thy sceptre. May it be ours to hope for some 
measure of rest through thee and may for us the day 
of gladness dawn.' " 

This unfortunate poet was so carried away by his 
poesy, that he decided to accompany the hero of his 
song, and lost his life in the unknown waters of the New 
World. There is a curious air of inspiration about all 
the writers of Elizabeth's day. Even this poor foreign 
scholar, coming to England, imbibes the prevalent 
enthusiasm and indulges in no mean vein of prophecy. 


"Queen of the Seas" was surely a new title to bestow 
on England's Queen, but how prophetic ! Then the 
picture of Anglia "rearing her head on high throughout 
the world, careful of her destiny, lest some day her wide 
spread dominions should fall by their own weight," might 
easily have been written for our day. And again, the 
contrast drawn between Elizabeth, openly at ease among 
her subjects, and other sovereigns dreading assassination 
and cowering prisoners in their own castles, could with 
equal truth be drawn to-day. "Clemency unarmed sits 
guardian in thy wide open gates " is happily still true 
in Britain and Greater Britain. 

The poet's vision of the New World has not been com- 
pletely realized, but in comparison with the Old has a 
semblance of truth. At least in the New World a man's 
value is not measured by birth, although in these days 
of multi-millionaires riches threaten the liberty of the 
people. Mother earth gives her fruits abundantly with 
comparatively little toil, and widespread efforts are 
made to shorten the hours of labour. But for the savage 
occupants of the New World, England's rule was to be 
almost as deadly as that of Spain. No "day of glad- 
ness" dawned for them, and nowhere was a more per- 
sistent exterminating war waged than in that island dis- 
covered by "great hearted Cabot" for England, her first 
colony in North America and, destiny would seem to 
say, her last. Canada may fall by her own weight, but 
Newfoundland is not likely to be tempted from her 

So far as we are aware this Latin poem has not been 
previously translated nor quoted by historians, yet we 
venture to think it furnishes a valuable picture of Eliza- 
beth's auspicious times. 


The tragedy of Humphrey Gilbert's life now rapidly 
culminates. The story of his last voyage has been told 
in an inimitable manner by Edward Haies, of "Lere- 
pool," owner and master of the Golden Hind — and "a 
principall actour in the same voyage who alone con- 
tinued unto the end, and by God's speciall assistance 
returned home with his retinue safe and entire." 

It would be presumption to try to improve upon the 
quaint phraseology of Haies, therefore, in the following 
narrative, it has been preserved whenever possible. He 
had been one of the subscribers to Gilbert's voyage in 
1578, but so far as can be ascertained did not accompany 
it in person. Now, however, he became, as he says, **a 
principall actour," and upon him it devolved to tell the 
unhappy tale. Perhaps his account appeared in pam- 
phlet form immediately after his return, but it is known 
to us only through the medium of Hakluyt's Voyages. 

One can imagine the interest and excitement of the 
worthy Hakluyt over Gilbert's projects. From boyhood 
to the last day of his life, voyages of adventure were 
his passion and delight. He tells with great empresse- 
ment how, when a lad, he paid a visit to his cousin 
Richard Hakluyt of the Middle Temple, and found him 
with a map of the world spread before him. "He, 
seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began 
to instruct my ignorance. . . . From the Mappe he 
brought me to the Bible and turning to the 107 Psalme 
directed me to the 23 and 24 verses, where I read, that 
they which go down to the sea in ships, and occupy by 
the great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and 



His wonders in the deepe, which words of the Prophet 
together with my cousin's discourse (things of high 
and rare delight to my young nature) took in me so 
deepe an impression, that I constantly resolved, if ever 
I were preferred to the University, I would by God's 
assistance prosecute that knowledge and kind of litera- 
ture, the doores whereof (of a sort) were so happily 
opened before me." Faithfully he fulfilled the duties 
thus self-imposed; but he himself, beyond crossing the 
Channel, never went down to the sea in ships or saw 
His wonders in the deep. At this time he was thirty 
years of age, and his enthusiasm had reached such a 
height that, as has been already mentioned, he fully 
intended to have accompanied Gilbert, but his appoint- 
ment as chaplain to Edward, Earl of Stafford, and 
departure to France, prevented him from indulging his 
adventurous longing. But he did what he could to 
help. To Sidney he had been a "worthy Trumpet," 
and the year before had dedicated to him the first edition 
of the Voyages. In this dedication he thus refers to 
Humphrey Gilbert's projected voyage. "The time 
approacheth," he says, "and now is, that we of England 
may share and part stakes (if we will ourselves) both 
with the Spaniard and Portingale, in part of America 
and other regions yet undiscovered." Hakluyt had 
imbibed to the full Gilbert's plan of colonization. Two 
arguments seemed to appeal to him most forcibly : the 
first, that it would relieve England from her surplus 
criminal population ; and second, that by this means the 
savage inhabitants of America might become converted 
to Christianity. In the "Dedication" to Sidney before 
mentioned, he says : "Yea if we woulde beholde with the 
eye of pitie howe al our prisons are pestered and filled 
with able men to serve their countrie, which for small 
robberies are dayly hanged up in great numbers, even 
twentie at a clap out of one jayle (as was seen at the 
last assizes at Rochester), we would hasten and further 
every man to his power, the deducting of some colonies 


of our superfluous people into those temperate and fertile 
parts of America, which being within sixe weekes sayl- 
ing of England are yet unpossessed of any Christians." 

In the same " Dedication " he urges the advancement 
of the Kingdom of Christ by spreading the Gospel to 
the heathen, using the somewhat peculiar argument that, 
as it is promised, if we first seek the Kingdom of God, 
all other things will be added unto us : ergOy if we wish 
to get rich we must serve God. In another place, he 
describes the people of America crying out unto the 
people of England, their next neighbours, to come and 
help them, and bring to them the glad tidings of the 
Gospel. He was also greatly chagrined, when asked by 
some Roman Catholics how many converts had Been 
made by the Protestants, not to be able to instance a 
single one. 

Sydney confessed himself to be greatly influenced by 
Hakluyt, and materially assisted Gilbert. Upon the 
Mayor and Aldermen of Bristol, Hakluyt had also 
exercised his persuasive powers in Gilbert's behalf, albeit 
ineffectually; and finally, not being able to go on the 
expedition himself, he had provided a substitute, the 
unfortunate Stephanus Parmenius, "who," says Haies, 
"of pietie and zeale to good attempts adventured in this 
action, minding to recorde in the Latin tongue, the 
gests and things worthy of remembrance happening in 
these discoveries, to the honour of our nation, the same 
being adorned with the eloquent stile of this orator and 
rare Poet of our time." But much as we regret the 
stately hexameters of his promised Gilbertiad, we can 
more easily spare him than our "industrious Hakluyt," 
whom fate fortunately preserved from the voyage. 

It was in the early part of June 1583, that Gilbert 
assembled his fleet at Causet Bay near Plymouth. 
Compared to that of 1578, it was very unpretentious; it 
certainly could not be said of it that "it was able to 
withstand a King's power at sea." The ships that now 
composed his fleet were: "i. The Delight^ alias the 


George, of burthen 120 tunnes was Admiral: in which 
went the General, and William Winter, Captaine in 
her and part owner, and Richard Clarke, master. 

"2. The Barke Ralegh, set forth by Mr. Walter 
Ralegh, of the burthen 200 tunnes, was then Viz 
Admirall, in which went Mr. Butler, Captaine and 
Robert Davis of Bristol Master. 

''3. The Golden Hind, of burthen 40 tunnes, was the 
Reare Admiral; in which went Edward Haies Captaine 
and Owner, and William Cox of Limehouse master. 

"4. The Swallow y of burthen 40 tunnes, in her was 
Captaine Maurice Browne. 

**5. The Squirrell of burthen 10 tunnes, in which went 
Captain William Andrews and one Cade master. 

"We were in number in all about 260 men; among 
whom we had of every faculty good choice, as Ship- 
wrights, Masons, Carpenters, Smiths and such like, 
requisite to such an action; also mineral men and 
refiners. Besides for solace of our people and allurment. 
of the savages we were provided of Musike in good 
variety; not omitting the least toys as Morris dancers, 
Hobly horses, and Maylike conceits to delight the 
savage people, whom we intended to winne by all faire 
meanes possible. And to that end we were indifferently 
furnished of all petty haberdashirie wares to barter with 
those simple people." But these kindly preparations 
were wasted, for in all their voyage they met with none 
of the inhabitants of the country. 

So far as can be traced, no member of the first expedi- 
tion now sailed under Gilbert's command — a somewhat 
significant circumstance, — and although there were a 
Swallow and Squirrell in each fleet, it is not certain that 
they were the same vessels. It seems probable that there 
were two vessels called the Swallow, but that the 
Squirrell was one and the same, and the sole relic of 
the former fleet. The Bark Ralegh is not to be con- 
fused with the Ark Ralegh or Ark Royal, which was 
of about 700 tuns burden, and was the flagship of Lord 


Howard of Effingham at the defeat of the Armada. 
Haies had chosen an auspicious name for his vessel, 
calling it after Drake's famous ship, then lying in dock 
at Deptford, where she remained for nearly a century, 
the cynosure of all nautical eyes. It was deservedly a 
fashionable name for ships at that time. 

After they had assembled, a great discussion took 
place as to the route to be followed — "whether from the 
south, northward, or from the north, southward." The 
former was the easier course, but the summer was well 
on, and if they made a southern landfall and then started 
to cruise northward, they were certain to be surprised 
by winter in inclement latitudes ; but if they went north 
first, the weather would improve as they went south, and 
they would be able to secure comfortable quarters for 
the winter. In addition to this excellent reason, their 
departure had been so long delayed that their provisions 
were already beginning to fall short, and it was neces- 
sary to consider carefully how best they could be re- 
plenished. It was therefore decided that they should 
"take the Newfoundland in our way, which was but 
seven hundred leagues from our English Coast; where 
being usually and until the fine of August, a multitude 
of ships repairing thither for fish, we should be relieved 
abundantly with many necessaries, which after the 
fishing ended, they might well spare and freely impart 
to us." 

" Not staying long upon that Newland Coast we might 
proceed southward, and follow still the sunne until we 
arrived at places more temperate to our content." 

" Wherefore suppressing all objections to the contrary 
we resolved to begin our course Northward and to follow 
directly as we might the trade way to Newfoundland ; from 
whence after refreshing and reparation of our wants we 
intended without delay to proceed into the south not 
omitting any river or bay which in all that large tract 
of land appeared to our view worthy of search." The 
"trade way to Newfoundland" is a rather remarkable 



phrase, and is further evidence of a regular and well- 
known visitation of fishing vessels, at a time when it 
has been supposed that the English entirely neglected 
the country. 

In the previous December, Gilbert had carefully 
selected the watchwords to be used upon the voyage, 
and had sealed them up "in two bullets or scrowles." 
That sealed with yellow wax was to be immediately 
opened, and was for use on the English and Irish coasts ; 
the other, sealed with red wax, was to be opened when 
the Irish coast had been left, and was to serve for the 
rest of the voyage. This seems rather a childish pre- 
caution, but as much importance appears to have been 
attached to it as to the guarding of signal code-books in 
the Navy in our own day. Gilbert also devised a clumsy 
method of communicating the ordinary nautical com- 
mands, by means of flags during the day, and lights by 

Leaving the Scilly Isles, the little fleet were directed 
to make the best of their way to that most famous land- 
mark, Cape Race (the first name, by the by, to appear 
on any map of the American seaboard), then proceeding 
northward, they were to rendezvous at Rogneux or 
Fermous, and there to stay for the space of at least 
ten days. If the ships became separated and failed to 
meet at the places named, they were then to rendezvous 
at some point in Cape Breton. If a ship left harbour, 
she was instructed to leave carefully arranged marks "of 
the General's private device written by himself, also 
sealed in close wax, whereby every man was certified 
what to leave for instruction of after comers." 

"Orders thus determined and promises mutually given 
to be observed, every man withdrewe himself into his 
charge, the ankers being already weyed and our ships 
under sail, having a soft gale of winde, we began our 
voyage upon Tuesday the eleventh day of June 1583 — 
In this manner we set forth the weather faire and goode 
all day, but a great storme of thunder and winde fell 


the same night. Thursday following when we hailed 
one another in the evening (according to the order before 
specified) they signified unto us out of the Vizadmirall 
that both the Captaine and very many of the men were 
fallen sicke. And about midnight the Vizadmirall for- 
sook us notwithstanding we had the winde east, faire 
and good. But it was afterwards credibly reported that 
they were infected with a contagious sicknesse and 
arrived greatly distressed at Plimmouth; the reason I 
never could understand, sure I am no cost was spared 
by their ouner Master Ralegh, in setting them forth ; 
Therefore I leave it unto God." 

Haies was evidently suspicious, but Sir Humphrey 
took a different view of the affair, and in a letter to Sir 
George Peckham told how he had been deserted in fine 
weather with a fair wind. *' I pray you," he said, "solicit 
my brother Ralegh to make them an example to all 

This letter will be given in full in its proper place. 

The loss to Gilbert was enormous and irreparable, 
and probably caused the failure of the enterprise. He 
could neither wait nor turn back. It was already the 
fifth anniversary of the granting of his charter, when 
he sailed, and but one year remained to him in which 
to bring his life work to a successful issue. He was 
justly incensed. Ralegh had expended ;£'2000 in the 
building and fitting up of this vessel, and when she 
returned to port was no doubt as disappointed as Gil- 
bert; unless the captain showed good cause for his 
action, we can be sure that Ralegh made an example 
of him, as requested. 

As a result of this desertion, the Golden Hind was 
promoted to be "Vizadmirall," and Captain Haies takes 
care to record that he therefore removed his flag from 
the mizen unto the foretop. 

For thirteen days they had thick fogs and heavy 
winds, and were driven far south of their course, to 
lat. 41°. When they came about on the other tack, they 


were driven almost as much too far to the north. This 
made the voyage a very long one, though Haies tells us 
it had often been performed in twenty-two days during 
March, April and May. The experience of centuries 
confirms these observations, for easterly winds prevail 
in the North Atlantic during the spring months, and 
westerly winds during June, July and August. 

They lost company with the Swallow and Squirrell, 
in spite of Sir Humphrey's elaborate instructions for 
keeping together, and did not meet with them again 
until they reached the coast of Newfoundland. They 
took soundings as they passed over the Banks, and 
recorded that *Hhe Portugals and French have a notable 
trade of fishing upon this banke, where are sometimes 
a hundred or more saile of ships, who commonly begin 
the fishing in April and end in July. That fish is large 
and always wet having no lande there to drie and is 
called Corre fish." Land was at last made in about 
lat. 51°, on July 30, seven weeks after their departure. 
As nearly as they could judge, they found themselves 
at the mouth of Grand Bay, that is, in the Straits of 
Bell Isle. The land they saw was probably Labrador, 
of which they gave as unflattering a description as did 
Cartier in 1534. "Forsaking this bay and uncomfortable 
coast (nothing appearing unto us but hideous rocks and 
mountains, bare of trees and voide of any green herbe) 
we followed the coast to the south with weather faire and 
cleare. We had sight of an island named Penguin, of 
a foule there breeding in abundance, almost incredible, 
which cannot flie, their wings not able to carry their 
bodie being very large (not much lesse than a goose) and 
exceeding fat; which the Frenchmen used to take with- 
out difficulty upon the Island and to barrell them up 
with sake. But for lingering of time we had made the 
like provision." 

The islands here described are now known as "The 
Funks." Cartier had visited them in 1534, and obtained 
two boatloads of penguins in about half-an-hour. Whit- 


bourne (1622) describes an ingenious method of taking 
them. A plank was laid from the rocks to the boat, and 
the foolish birds driven along it, thus making them 
walk the plank literally and metaphorically. This sea- 
fowl was the Great Auk, and continued to be found 
until about 1830, when the persistent slaughter of cen- 
turies had the usual effect, and the species became 
extinct. An egg of the Great Auk is one of the rarest 
natural history specimens, and is worth hundreds of 
pounds. Early voyagers declared that Penguin was a 
name used by the American aborigines, and, as it was 
undoubtedly of Welsh origin, argued from it the veri- 
fication of the voyages of Madoc of Wales. To continue 
Haies's narrative. *' Trending this coast we came to 
the island called Baccalaos, being not past two leagues 
from the maine; to the south thereof lieth Cape S. 
Francis, 5 leagues distant from Baccalaos between which 
goeth in a great Bay, of the vulgar sort, called the Bay 
of Conception." The name Baccalaos has been the 
subject of much controversy. It was said to have been 
the name given by Cabot to the country he discovered, 
because of the great quantity of codfish found there, 
which, he declared, the natives called "baccalaos." The 
word is, however, of European origin, in common use 
in several countries, and means a stick or stock-fish, 
i. e. a dry salted codfish. Cabot undoubtedly bestowed 
the name, and it appears upon many early maps; that 
it should have been retained by this little island is 
interesting, and perhaps not without significance. 

In Conception Bay they met with the Swallow again, 
and found, to their surprise, that her crew had "suffered 
a sea-change." "All her men were altered into other 
apparell ; whereof it seemed their store was so amended 
that for joy and congratulation of our meeting, they 
spared not to cast up into the air and overboard, their 
caps and hats in good plenty. The Captaine, albeit 
himself was very honest and religious yet was he not 
appointed of men to his humour and desert; who for 


the most part were such as had bene by us surprised 
upon the narrow seas of England, being pirots and had 
taken at that instant certaine Frenchmen laden one barke 
with wines and another with salt. Both which we 
rescued and tooke the manne of warre and all her men, 
which was the same ship now called the Swallow^ follow- 
ing still their kind so oft as (being separated from the 
Generall) they found opportunity to robbe and spoile. 
And because God's justice did follow the same company 
even to destruction and to the overthrow also of the 
Captaine (though not consenting to their misdemeanour) 
I will not conceale anything to the manifestation and 
approbation of his judgements — Therefore with further 
enquiry it was known, how this company met with a 
barke returning home after the fishing with his freighte ; 
and because the men in the Swallow were very nere 
scanted of victual, and chiefly of apparell, doubtful 
withal where and when to find and meete with their 
Admirall, they besought the Captaine they might go 
aboard this Newlander, only to borrow what might be 
spared, and rather because the same was bound home- 
ward. Leave given, not without charge to deale favour- 
ably, they came aboard the fisherman, whom they rifled 
of tackle, sailes, cables, victuals, and the men of their 
apparell ; not sparing by torture (winding cords about 
their heads) to draw out what else they thought good. 
This done with expedition (like men skilfull in such 
mischiefe) as they tooke their cocke boate to go aboard 
their own ship, it was overwhelmed in the sea, and 
certaine of these men were drowned : the rest were pre- 
served only by those silly soules whom they had before 
spoyled, who saved and delivered them aboard the 
Swallow. What became afterwards of the poor New- 
lander, perhaps destitute of sails and furniture sufficient 
to carry them home (whither they had not lesse to run 
than 700 leagues) God alone knoweth, who took venge- 
ance not long after of the rest that escaped at this 


This is a curious story. Far from being piratically 
inclined, Sir Humphrey, at some time prior to the 
mustering in Causet Bay, had played the part of knight- 
errant and had rescued two French vessels from an 
English pirate. So far so good, but then he appears 
to have commandeered the pirate I We are left to 
imagine by what persuasive arts. The men of the 
Swullow also do not apjpear to have attempted any con- 
cealment of the piracy they had committed, nor to have 
dreaded any punishment at Sir Humphrey's hands. 
** There weren't no ten commandments" on the 
American main in those days. 

Haies continues: "Thus after we had met with the 
Swallow^ we held on our course southward, untill we 
came upon the harbor called S. John, about 5 leagues 
from the former Cape of S. Francis : where before the 
entrance of the harbor we found also the Frigate or 
Squirrell lying at anker. Whom the English merchants 
(that were and alwaies be Admirals by turnes inter- 
changeably over the fletes of fishermen within the same 
harbor) would not permit to enter into the harbor. Glad 
of so happy a meeting both of the Swallow and Frigate 
in one day (being Saturday the 3rd. of August) we made 
readie our fights and prepared to enter the harbor, and 
resistance to the contrary notwithstanding, there being 
within of all nations to the number of 36 sailes. But 
first the Generall despatched a boat to give them know- 
ledge of his coming for no ill intent, having commission 
from Her Majesty for his voiage he had in hand. And 
immediately we followed with a slacke gale, and in the 
very entrance which is but narrow, not above 2 buts 
lengths, the Admirall fell upon a rocke upon the larboard 
side by great oversighte in that the weather was faire, 
the rocke much above water fast by the shore where 
neither went any sea gate. But we found such readiness 
in the English merchants to help us in that danger, that 
without delay were brought a number of boats, which 
towed off the ship and cleared her of danger." 


The entrance to the Harbour of St. John's, called 
"The Narrows," is one of the most magnificent pieces 
of scenery to be found on the American seaboard. It 
is about half-a-mile long and from 200 to 300 yards wide. 
The hills on either side are almost perpendicular, and rise 
to the height of 700 feet. At the inner end of "The 
Narrows," as it opens out into the harbour, on the star- 
board or northern side stands the historic Chain Rock, 
so called on account of the chain or boom which used to 
be stretched from it across the mouth of the harbour in 
time of war, to prevent the entrance of hostile ships. On 
the south side, about fifty yards from the shore, there is 
another rock characteristically called "The Pancake." 
At low water, and in rough weather, the sea breaks over 
it, and it was upon this rock, no doubt, that the Delight 
ran ashore. " The Narrows " has been the scene of many 
notable occurrences, but probably never has a more 
picturesque or momentous incident been witnessed there 
than the entrance of Sir Humphrey's little fleet. In spite 
of the untoward accident, it must have been with great 
exultation that Sir Humphrey, after a lifetime of plan- 
ning, at length cast anchor in the new world. With 
what speculation must he have viewed the rugged hills 
surrounding the harbour ! But the expected gold-mine 
was not in those hills : it was on the fishing ledges 
outside ! 

The conduct of the English merchants then in St. 
John's was not creditable. They would not let the little 
Squirrell enter, but when Sir Humphrey made his way 
in with his "show of fight," there was a sudden change 
of sentiment, and when his vessel ran ashore they 
hastened to help him off. That the English "were and 
always be Admirals by turns interchangeably over the 
fleets of fishermen within the harbor" is a noteworthy 
piece of information. Later on, Haies says, "For our 
English merchants command all there," and we learn 
from the letter of Stephanus Parmenius to Hakluyt, 
which is given later, that out of 36 vessels in the har- 


hour, 20 were Spanish and Portuguese. Of the re- 
mainder some were French, so that the English must 
have been in a considerable minority. Five years pre- 
viously, Anthony Parkhurst, in a letter to Hakluyt, had 
given similar information. He estimated that there 
were fishing in Newfoundland waters 150 sail of French, 
100 Spanish, 50 Portuguese, and but 50 English ships; 
as an excuse for this backward state of things he in- 
stanced the great trade the English had in Iceland. But, 
he said, the Spanish "be better appointed for shipping 
and furniture of munition, than any nation saving the 
Englishmen, who commonly are lords of the harbors 
where they fish and do use all strangers helpe in fish- 
ing if need require according to an old custome of the 
country, which thing they do willingly, so that you take 
nothing more from them than a boate or twaine of salt, 
in respect to your protection of them against rovers or 
other violent intruders, who do often put them from 
good harbors, etc." Hakluyt, in a sidenote to Haies's 
statement quoted above, says, "English ships are the 
strongest and Admirals of other fleets, fishing upon the 
south parts of Newfoundland." But seeing that they 
were in such small numbers comparatively, the "old 
custom of the country," referred to by Parkhurst, must 
have been of more than usual efficacy. It is probable 
that the English were recognized in some measure as 
lords of the soil on account of the discoveries of Cabot, 
which, when backed by larger and better armed ships, 
easily gave them the precedence. 

To continue Haies's narrative : — 

"Having taken place convenient in the road we let 
fall ankers, the Captaines and masters repairing aboard 
our Admirall : whither also came immediately the 
Masters and owners of the fishing fleete of Englishmen, 
to understand the General's intent and cause of our 
arrival there. They were all satisfied when the General 
had shewed his commission and purpose to take pos- 
session of those lands to the behalfe of the crowne of 


England, and the advancement of Christian rehgion in 
those Paganish regions, requiring but their lawfull ayde 
for repayring of his fleete, and supply of some neces- 
saries, so farre as might conveniently be afforded him, 
both out of that and other harbors adjoyning. In lieu 
whereof, he made offer to gratifie them, with any favor 
or priveledge, which upon their better advise they 
should demand, the like being not to be obtained here- 
after for greater price. So craving expedition of his 
demand, minding to proceede further South without 
long detention in those partes, he dismissed them, after 
promise given of their best indevour to satisfie speedily 
his so reasonable request. The marchants with their 
Masters departed, they caused fortwith to be discharged 
all the great Ordinance of their fleete in token of our 

"It was further determined that every ship of our 
fleets should deliver unto the Marchants and masters of 
that harbour a note of all their wants : which done, the 
ships, as well English as strangers, were taxed at an 
easy rate to make supply. And besides, Commissioners 
were appointed, part of our owne companie and part of 
theirs, to go into other harbours adioyning (for our 
English marchants command all there) to leavie our 
provision : whereunto the Portugals (above other 
nations) did most willingly and liberally contribute. 
Insomuch as we were presented (above our allowance) 
with wines, marmalads, most fine ruske or bisket, sweet 
oyles and sundry delicacies. Also we wanted not of 
fresh salmons, trouts, lobsters and other fresh fish 
brought daily unto us. Moreover as the manner is in 
their fishing, every weeke to chose there Admirall a new, 
or rather they succeede in orderly course, and have 
weekly their Admirals feast solemnized : even so the 
General, Captaines and masters of our fleete were con- 
tinually invited and feasted. To grow short, in our 
abundance at home, the intertainment had bene delight- 
full, but after our wants and tedious passage through 


the Ocean, it seemed more acceptable and of greater 
contentation, by how much the same was unexpected in 
that desolate corner of the world : where at other times 
of the yeare, wilde beasts and birds have only the fruition 
of all these countries, which now seemed a place very 
populous and much frequented." 

Thus was fulfilled Sir Humphrey's first purpose in 
going to Newfoundland. By this easy and inexpensive 
method he had revictualed his ships. Haies' description 
of the proceedings conveys the idea that the fishing fleet 
were delighted to give of their substance, but behind it 
one can see the influence of the mailed fist; if Gilbert 
had not been sufficiently powerful to enforce his demands 
his men would have gone hungry. (See letter of Par- 
menius to Hakluyt, following.) 

Hakluyt, in a side-note to Haies's statement that the 
harbour was abandoned to the wild beasts and birds for 
the greater part of the year, says, *'No savages are in 
the south part of Newfoundland." This was probably 
true at that time, but the arrow- and spear-heads found 
on the banks of the river, about two miles to the west of 
St. John's are proof that the Beothuks, the aboriginal 
inhabitants of Newfoundland, did at one time inhabit 
this part of the island. 

"The next morning being Sunday and the 4 of 
August, the Generall and his Company were brought 
on land by English marchants, who showed unto us 
their accustomed walks unto a place they call the Garden. 
But nothing appered more than Nature it selfe without 
art : who confusedly had brought forth roses abundantly, 
wilde, but odoriferous, and to sense very comfortable. 
Also the like plentie of raspis berries, which doe grow 
in every place." 

The harbour of St. John's in its pristine condition must 
have been charmingly beautiful. Entering between the 
lofty hills of "The Narrows," the harbour turns sharply 
to the left; on the south, the hills at "The Narrows" 
continue their rugged and precipitous character; on the 


north the rise from the water's edge is less steep, and 
the hill not ever 400 feet high. The harbour is about 
half-a-mile wide and one and a half miles long; at 
the western end a substantial brook flows at the base 
of the hills, opening into a beautiful valley many miles 
in extent. The picturesque city of St. John's now covers 
the northern slope; fishermen's huts and stages cluster 
about the mouth of the harbour ; the south-side hills are 
rugged and bare of trees, but a mantle of shrubs and 
bushes makes them glow with colour as they catch the 
last rays of the setting sun. The harbour is still beauti- 
ful, but it must have been incomparably more so 
when it opened to the view of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. 
The hills on either side were then covered with the 
forest primeval, the dusky green of the spruce and fir 
enlivened by the lighter foliage of the birch, witch-hazel 
and aspen ; lofty pines reared their heads far above the 
other trees, and the open spaces were covered with 
bushes of luscious whortle-berries (locally ** hurts"), 
raspberries, and wild roses. The forest has gone, con- 
verted to the use of man or swept away by fire, but 
Nature's gardens, as described by Haies, are yet to be 
found on the outskirts of the city. The brilliance and 
freshness of the summer months in Newfoundland are 
unequalled in any part of the world, the atmosphere 
seems to have more than the usual allowance of ozone. 
Little wonder that Sir Humphrey became "a northern 
man," and decided at once to take formal possession of 
this beautiful harbour, so snug, so accessible, and so 
convenient, — for to this day the cod fishery off the 
harbour of St. John's ranks as one of the best in the 
island. Accordingly — 

" Munday following, the Generall had his tent set up, 
who being accompanied with his own followers, sum- 
moned the marchants and masters, both English and 
strangers to be present at his taking possession of those 
Countries. Before whom openly was read and inter- 
preted unto the strangers his Commission : by vertue 


whereof he took possession in the same harbor of St. 
Ihon, and 200 leagues every way, invested the Queenes 
Maiestie with the title and dignitie thereof, and delivered 
unto him (after the custome of England) a rod and a 
turffe of the same soile, entring possession also for him, 
his heires and assignes for ever : And signified unto al 
men, that from that time forward, they should take the 
same land as a territorrie appertaining to the Queene 
of England, and himselfe authorised under her Maistie 
to possesse and enioy it. And to ordaine lawes for the 
government thereof, agreeable (so neere as conveniently 
might be) unto the lawes of England : under which all 
people coming thither thereafter, either to inhabit or 
by way of traffique, should be subiected and governed. 
And especially at the same time for a beginning, he 
proposed and delivered three lawes to be in force imme- 
diatly. That is to say : the first for Religion, which in 
publique exercise should be according to the Church of 
England. The 2. for maintenance of her Maisties right 
and possession of those territories, against which if any- 
thing were attempted preiudiciall the partie or parties 
offending should be aduiged and executed as in case of 
high treason, according to the lawes of England. The 
3. if any person should utter words sounding to the 
dishonour of her Maiestie, he should loose his eares, and 
have his ship and goods confiscate. 

"These contents published, obedience was promised 
by generall voyce and consent of the multitude as well 
of Englishmen as strangers, praying for continuance of 
this possession and government begun. After this, the 
assembly was dismissed. And afterward were erected 
not farre from that place the Armes of England ingraven 
in lead, and infixed upon a pillar of wood. Yet further 
and actually to establish this possession taken in the 
right of Her Maiestie, and to the behoofe of Sir Hum- 
frey Gilbert knight, his heires and assigns for ever : 
the Generall granted in fee farme divers parcels of land 
lying on the water side, both in this harbour of S. lohn, 


and elsewhere, which was to the owners great com- 
moditie, being thereby assured (by their proper inherit- 
ance) of grounds convenient to dresse and drie their 
fish, whereof many times before they did fail, being pre- 
vented by them that came first into the harbour. For 
which grounds they did covenant to pay a certaine rent 
and service unto Sir Humfrey Gilbert, his heires or 
assignes for ever, and yeerely to maintain possession of 
the same, by themselves or their assignes." 

Thus, eighty-six years after the discovery by John 
Cabot and the men of Bristol, was the annexation of 
Newfoundland to the Crown of England confirmed by 
quaint and formal ceremony. But nearly a generation 
was yet to elapse before it was actually occupied by 
settlers. In spite of the obligations Gilbert was under to 
his Roman Catholic friends, the first law he ordained 
was that the public exercise of religion should be accord- 
ing to the Church of England. He perhaps thought it 
sufficient that the private exercise of religion should be 
free and untrammelled. 

His third law is significant. Had some whispering 
tongues already breathed scandals about Queen Eliza- 
beth ? Her sudden infatuation for Ralegh must have 
been well known, and its bearing upon the voyage could 
not but have been commented on. Rumours had doubt- 
less come to Gilbert's ears, which his loyalty, his long 
service, and his brotherly affection all called upon him 
to terminate instantly. Like Sheridan's "Critic," he 
would have no scandal about Queen Elizabeth. 

One of the English merchants in wSt. John's harbour 
at this time was Richard Whitbourne, — this being the 
fourth year in succession that he had fished at New- 
foundland. His first voyage was made in a ship 
belonging to a Southampton merchant. Master Cotton, 
who was one of the largest subscribers in Gilbert's 
Southampton Company, and was then in command 
of a "worthy ship of 220 tons" belonging to one 
Master Crooke, also of Southampton. In 1622, he pub- 


lished a pamphlet to induce colonists to go to New- 
foundland, and tells that about thirty-six years before, 
"Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a Devonshire Knight, came 
thither with two good ships and a pinnace, and brought 
with him a large Patent, from the late most renowned 
Queen Elizabeth^ and in her name took possession of 
the country, in the harbor of St. John's, whereof I was 
an eye-witness." 

Whitbourne continued to visit Newfoundland and 
became an enthusiastic supporter of colonization pro- 
jects. He saw the first permanent settlement made in 
1610, and in 16 15,' was sent out with a commission from 
the Court of Admiralty to impanel juries and settle 
disputes; this being the first exercise of English judica- 
ture in the Colony. The early history of the city of 
St. John's is unknown. It is not until 1626 that there 
is any record of houses being built or of people residing 
there, and it is therefore presumed that the recipients of 
Sir Humphrey's grants of land were not able to main- 
tain the titles he had given them. 

Haies continues — 

"Now remained only to take in provision granted, 
according as every ship was taxed, which did fish upon 
the coast adioyning. In the meane while, the Generall 
appointed men unto their charge : some to repaire and 
trim the ships, others to attend in gathering togither 
our supply and provision : others to search the com- 
modities and singularities of the countrey, to be found 
by sea or land, and to make relation unto the Generall 
what eyther themselves could knowe by their owne 
travaile and experience, or by good intelligence of Eng- 
lish men or strangers, who had longest frequented the 
same coast. Also some observed the elevation of the 
pole, and drewe plats of the countrey exactly graded. 
And by what I could gather by each mans severall 
relation, I have drawn a brief description of the New- 
foundland, with the commodities by sea or lande alreadie 
made, and such also as are in possibilitie and great 



likelihood to be made : Nevertheless the Cardes and 
plats that were drawing, with the due gradation of the 
harbors, bayes, and capes, did perish with the Admirall : 
whereof in the description following, I must omit the 
particulars of such things. 

A Briefe Relation of the New Founds Lande, and 
THE Commodities Thereof 

''That which we doe call the Newfound land, and the 
Frenchmen Bacalaos, is an Hand, or rather (after the 
opinion of some) it consisteth of sundry Hands and 
broken lands, situate in the North regions of America, 
upon the gulfe and entrance of the great river called 
S. Laurence in Canada. Into the which, navigation 
may be made both on the South and North side of this 
Hand. The land lyeth South and North, containing 
in length between three and 400 miles, accounting from 
Cape Race (which is 46 degree 25 minutes) unto the 
Grand Bay in 52 degrees of Septentrionall latitude. 
The Hand round about hath very many goodly bayes 
and harbors, safe roads for ships, the like not to be 
found in any part of the knowen world. The common 
opinion that is had of intemperature and extreme cold 
that should be in this country, as of some part it may 
be verified, namely the North, where I grant it is more 
colde then in countries of Europe, which are under 
the same elevation : even so it cannot stand with reason 
and nature of the clime, that the South parts should be 
so intemperate as the brute hath gone.^ For as the same 
doe lie under the climats of Briton, Anjou, Poictou in 
France, between 46 and 49 degrees, so can they not so 
much differ from the temperature of those countries : 

^ This prejudicial "brute" still persists. The winters in New- 
foundland are by no means so cold as the neighbouring provinces, 
and, one year with another, there are not twenty-four hours of zero 
weather in St. John's. The summers are delightfully bright and hot. 
In the interior and on the west coast, spring arrives much earlier than 
on the east coast, and agriculture is pursued with marked success. 
Newfoundland will yet be noted for its farm produce, cattle and 


unlesse upon the outcoast lying open unto the Ocean 
and sharp windes, it must in deede be subject to more 
colde, then further within the lande, where the moun- 
taines are interposed, as walks and bulwarkes, to defend 
and to resist the asperitie and rigor of the sea and 
weather. Some hold opinion that Newfound Land, 
might be the more subject to cold, by how much it 
lyeth high and neere unto the middle region. I grant 
that not in Newfound land alone, but in Germany, Italy 
and Afrike, even under the Equinoctiall line, the moun- 
taines are extreme cold, and seldom uncovered of snow, 
in their culme and highest tops, which commeth to passe 
by the same reason that they are extended towards the 
middle region : yet in the countries lying beneath them, 
it is found quite contrary. Even so all hils having their 
discents the vallies also and low grounds must be like- 
wise hot or temperate, as the climat doeth give in New- 
found land : though I am of opinion that the Sunnes 
reflection is much cooled, and cannot be so forcible in 
the Newfoundland, nor generally throughout Arherica, 
as in Europe or Afrike : by how much the Sunne in 
his diurnall course from East to West, passeth over (for 
the most part) dry land and sandy countries, before he 
arriveth at the West of Europe or Afrike whereby his 
motion increaseth heate, with little or no qualification 
by moyst vapours. Where, on the contrarie he passeth 
from Europe and Afrike unto America over the Ocean, 
from whence it draweth and carieth with him abundance 
of moyst vapours, which doe qualifie and infeeble greatly 
the Sunnes reverberation upon this countrey chiefly of 
Newfound land, being so much to the Northward. 
Neverthelesse (as I sayd before) the cold cannot be so 
intolerable under the latitude of 46 47 and 48 (especiall 
within land) that it should he unhabitable, as some doe 
suppose, seeing also there are very many people more 
to the North by a great deale. And in these South 
parts there are certain beastes. Ounces or Leopards, and 
birds in like manner which in the Sommer we have seene, 
K 2 


not heard of in countries of extreme and vehement cold- 
nesse. Besides as in the monethes of June, July, August 
and September, the heate is somewhat more then in 
England at those seasons : so men remaining upon the 
South parts neere unto Cape Rece, until after Holland- 
tide, have not found the cold so extreme, not much differ- 
ing from the temperature of England. Those which 
have arrived there after November and December, have 
found the snow exceeding deepe, whereat no marvaile, 
considering the ground upon the coast, is rough and 
uneven, and the snow is driven into the places most 
declyning as the like is to be scene with us. The like 
depth of snow happily shall not be found within land 
upon the playner countries, which also are defended by 
the mountaines, breaking off the violence of winds and 
weather. But admitting extraordinary cold in those 
South parts, above that with us here : it cannot be so 
great as in Swedland, much lesse in Moscovia or 
Russia : yet are the same countries very populous, and 
the rigor of cold is dispensed with by the commoditie 
of Stoves, warme clothing, meats and drinkes : all which 
neede not be wanting in the Newfound land, if we had 
intent there to habitate. 

" In the South parts we find no inhabitants, which by 
all likelihood have abandoned those coastes, the same 
being so much frequented by Christians : But in the 
North are savages altogether harmlesse. Touching the 
commodities of this countrie, serving either for susten- 
tation of inhabitants, or for maintainence of traffique, 
there are and may be made divers : so Yt it seemeth 
Nature hath recompenced that only defect and incom- 
moditie of some sharpe cold, by many benefits : viz. 
With incredible quantitie, and no lesse varietie of 
kindes of fish in the sea and fresh waters, as Trouts, 
Salmons and other fish to us unknowen : Also Cod 
which alone draweth many nations thither, and is to 
become the most famous fishing of the world. Abund- 
ance of whales, for which also is a very great trade in 
the bayes of Placentia and the Grand bay, where is made 


Traine oiles of the Whale : Herring the largest that have 
bene heard of, and exceeding the Malstrond herring of 
Norway : but hitherto was never benefit taken of the 
herring fishery. There are sundry other fish very deli- 
cate, namely the Bonito, Lobsters, Turbut, with others 
infinite sought after not : Oysters haveing pearle but not 
orient in colour : I tooke it by reason they were not 
gathered in season. 

"Concerning the inland commodities, aswel to be 
drawen from this land, as from the exceeding large 
countries adjoyning : there is nothing which our East 
and Northerly countries of Europe doe yeelde but the 
like also may be made in them as plentifully by time 
and industrie : Namely rosen, pitch, tarre, sopeashes, 
dealboord, mastes for ships, hides, furres, flaxe, hempe, 
corne, cables, cordage, linnen-cloth, mettals and many 
more. All which the countrie will aford and the soyle 
is apt to yeelde. 

"The trees for the most in those South parts, are 
Firretrees, Pine and Cypresse, all yeelding Gumme and 

"Cherrie trees bearing fruit no bigger than a small 
pease. Also peare trees but fruitlesse. Other trees of 
some sorts to us unknowen. 

The soyle along the coast is not deepe of earth, bring- 
ing foorth abundantly peason and small, yet good feed- 
ing for cattel. Roses passing sweet, like unto our muske 
roses in forme, raspases, a berry which we call Hurts, 
good and holesome to eat. The grasse and herbe doth 
fat sheep in very short space, proved by English mar- 
chants who have carried sheepe thither for fresh victuall 
and had them raised exceeding fat in lesse then three 
weekes. Peason which our countreymen have sown in 
the time of May, have come up faire, and bene gathered 
in the beginning of August, of which our Generall had 
a present, acceptable for the rareness, being the first 
fruits coming up by art and industrie in that desolate 
and dishabited land. 
" Lakes and pooles of fresh water, both on the tops of 


mountaines and in the vallies. In which are said to be 
muskles not unlike to have pearle, which I had put in 
triall, if by mischance falHng unto me, I had not bene 
letted from that and other good experiments I was 
minded to make. 

"Foule both of water and land in great plentie and 
diversitie. All kind of green foule : Others as bigge as 
Bustards, yet not the same. A great white foule called 
of some a Gaunt. 

"Upon the land divers sorts of haukes, as faulcons, 
and others by report : Partridge most plentifull larger 
than ours, gray and white of colour, and rough-footed 
like doves, which our men after one flight did kill with 
cudgels, they were so fat and unable to flie. Birds some 
like Blackbirds, linnets, canary birds, and other very 
small. Beasts of sundry kindes, red deare, bufiies or a 
beast, as it seemeth by a tract and foote very large in 
manner of an oxe. Bears, ounces or leopards, some 
greater and some lesser, wolves, foxes, which to the 
Northward a little further are black, whose furre is 
esteemed in some Countries of Europe very rich. Otters, 
bevers, marternes : And in the opinion of most men 
that saw it, the Generall had brought unto him a Sable 
alive, which he sent unto his brother sir John Gilbert 
knight of Devonshire : but it was never delivered, as 
after I understood. We could not observe the hundreth 
part of creatures in those uninhabited lands : but these 
mentioned may induce us to glorifie the magnificent 
God, who hath superabundantly replenished the earth 
with creatures serving for the use of man, though man 
hath not used a fift part of the same, which the more 
doth aggravate the fault and foolish slouth in many of 
our nation, chusing rather to live indirectly, and very 
miserably to live and die within this realme pestered 
with inhabitants, then to adventure as becometh men, 
to obtaine an habitation in those remote lands, in which 
Nature very prodigally doth minister unto mens en- 
devours, and for art to worke upon. 


"For besides these alreadie recounted and infinite 
moe, the mountaines generally make shew of mineral! 
substance : Iron very common, lead, and somewhere 
copper. I will not averre of richer mettals : albeit by 
the circumstances following, more then hope may be 
conceived thereof." 

In addition to this description of the country by Haies, 
we have another written by the official chronicler of the 
voyage — Stephanus Parmenius. A few days after 
their arrival in St. John's, taking advantage doubtless 
of some returning well-fished vessel, he indited a long 
letter in Latin "To the worshipful Master Richard 
Hackluit of the College of Christchurch in Oxford, 
Master of Arts and Philosophic, his friend and brother." 

Hackluyt thoughtfully gives us "the same in Eng- 
lish " as follows — 

"To the worshipfull, Master Richard Hakluit at 
Oxford in Christchurch, Master of Arts, and Philo- 
sophic, his friend and brother. 

"I had not purposed to write unto you, when the 
promise of your letters came to my mind : You thought 
in June last to have followed us your selfe, and therefore 
I had left order that you should be advertised of my 
state, by Master Doctor Humfrey : but so you would not 
be satisfied : I will write therefore to you almost in the 
same words, because I have no leasure at this time to 
meditate new matters, and to vary or multiply words. 

"The II of June we set saile at length from England 
in good earnest, and departed, leaving the haven and 
land behind us at Plimmouth : our Fleete consisted of 
five shippes : the greatest which the Admirals brother 
had lent us, withdrewe her selfe from us the third day, 
we know not upon what occasion : with the rest we sailed 
still together till the 23. July: at which time our view 
of one another being intercepted by the great mists, 
some of us sailed one way, and some another : to us 
alone the first land appeared, the first of August, about 


the latitude of 50. degrees, when as before we had 
descended beyond 41. degrees in hope of some Southerly 
windes, which notwithstanding never blew to us at any 
fit time. 

** It is an Island which your men call Penguin, because 
of the multitude of birdes of the same name. Yet wee 
neither sawe any birds, nor drew neere to the land, the 
windes serving for our course directed to another place, 
but we mette altogether at that place a little before the 
Haven, whereunto by common Councell we had deter- 
mined to come, and that within the space of two houres 
by the great goodnesse of God, and to our great joy. 
The place is situate in Newfound land, betweene 47. and 
48. degrees, called by the name of St. Johns : the 
Admirall himselfe by reason of the multitude of the 
men, and the smallnesse of his ship, had his company 
somewhat sickly, and had already lost two of the same 
company, which died of the Flixe : of the rest we con- 
ceive good hope. Of our company (for I joyned myself e 
with Maurice Browne, a very proper gentleman) two 
persons by a mischance were drowned; the rest are in 
safetie, and strong, and for mine owne part I was never 
more healthy. We arrived at this place the third of 
August : and the fift the Admirall took possession of 
the Countrey, for himselfe and the kingdome of Eng- 
land : having made and published certain lawes, con- 
cerning religion, and obedience to the Queen of Eng- 
land : at this time our fare is somewhat better, and 
daintier, than before : for in good sooth, the experience 
of so long time hath taugt us what contrary windes wee 
have found, and what great travell wee may endure 
hereafter : and therefore wee will take such order that 
wee will want nothing : for we found in this place about 
twenty Portugall and Spanish shippes besides the 
shippes of the English : which being not able to match 
us, suffer us not to bee hunger starved : the English 
although they were of themselves strong ynough, and 
safe from our force, yet seeing our authoritie, by the 


Queenes letters patents, they shewed us all manner of 
duety and humanitie. 

"The maner of this Countrey and people remaine now 
to be spoken of. But what shall I ^ay, my good 
Hakluyt, when I see nothing but a very wildernesse? 
Of fish here is incredible abundance, whereby great 
gaine growes to them, that travell to these parts : the 
hooke is no sooner throwne out, but it is eftsoones 
drawne up with some goodly fish : the whole land is full 
of hilles and woods. The trees for the most part are 
Pynes and of them some are very olde, and some yong : 
a great part of them being fallen by reason of their age, 
doth so hinder the sight of the land, and stop the way 
of those that seeke to travell, that they can go no wither : 
all the grasse here is long, and tall, and little differeth 
from ours. It seemeth also that the nature of this soyle 
is fit for corne : for I found certaine blades and eares in 
a manner bearded, so that it appeareth that by manuring 
and sowing, they may easily be framed for the use of 
man : here are in the woodes hush berries, or rather 
straw berries growing up like trees, of great sweetnesse. 
Beares also appear about the fishers stages of the 
Countrey, and are sometimes killed, but they seeme to 
bee white, as I conjectured by their skinnes, and some- 
what lesse than ours. Whether they bee any people in 
the Countrey I knowe not, neither have I scene any to 
witnesse it. And to say trueth, who can, when as it is 
not possible to passe any whither? In like sort it is 
unknowen, whither any metals lye under the hilles : the 
cause is all one, although the very colour and hue of the 
hilles seeme to have some mynes in them : we moved the 
Admirall to set the woods afire, that wee might have 
space, and entrance to take view of the Countrey, which 
motion did nothing displease him, were it not for feare 
of great inconvenience that might thereof insue : for it 
was reported and confirmed by very credible persons, 
that when ihe like happened by chance in another Port, 
the fish never came to the place about it, for the space of 


7. whole yeeres after, by reason of the waters made bitter 
by the Turpentine and Rosen of the trees, which ranne 
into the rivers upon the firing of them. The weather is 
so hot this time of the yeere, that except the very fish, 
which is layd out to be dryed by the sunne, be every 
day turned, it cannot possible bee preserved from burn- 
ing : but how cold it is in the winter, the great heapes, 
and mountaines of yce, in the middest of the Sea have 
taught us : some of our company report, that in May 
they were sometimes kept in, with such huge yce, for 
16. whole dayes together, as that the Islands thereof 
were threescore fathoms thicke, the sides whereof which 
were toward the sunne, when they were melted, the whole 
masse or heap was so inverted and turned in maner of 
balancing, that that part which was before downward 
rose upward, to the great peril 1 of those that are neere 
them, as by reason wee may gather. The ay re upon 
land is indifferent cleare, but at Sea towards the East 
there is nothing els but perpetuall mists, and in the 
Sea it selfe, about the Banke (for so they call the place 
where they find ground fourty leagues distant from the 
shore, and where they beginne to fish) there is no day 
without raine. When we have served, and supplied 
our necessitie in this place, we purpose by the helpe of 
God to passe towards the South, with so much the more 
hope every day, by how much the greater the things 
are, that are reported of those Countreys which we go 
to discover. Thus much touching our estate. 

" Now I desire to know somewhat concerning you, but 
I feare in vaine, but specially I desire out of measure to 
know how my Patrone Master Henry Umpton doth 
take my absence : my obedience and dutie shall alwayes 
bee ready toward him as long as I live : but in deede 
I hope that this journey of ours shalbe profitable to his 
intentions. It remaineth that you think me to be still 
yours and so yours as no mans more. The sonne of God 
blesse all our labors, so farre, as that you your selfe may 
be partaker of our blessing. Adieu my most friendly, 


most sweete, most vertuous Hakluyt : In Newfound 
land, at Saint Johns Port, the 6. of August 1583. 

"Buda, yours." 

The imagination of all had been inflamed by the stories 
of Davy Ingram, and the learned Parmenius, as well as 
Sir Humphrey and Haies, expected to find the country 
shining with the precious metals. Haies was doomed to 
bitter disappointment on this account ; he tells — 

"For amongst other charges given to inquire out the 
singularities of this country, the Generall was most 
curious in the search of metalls, commanding the 
mineral man and refiner, especially to be diligent. The 
same was a Saxone borne, honest and religious, named 
Daniel. Who after search brought at first some sort of 
Ore, seeming rather to be yron than other metall. The 
next time he found Ore, which with no small show of 
contentment he delivered unto the Generall, using pro- 
testion, that if silver were the thing which might satisfie 
the Generall and his followers, there it was, advising 
him to seeke no further : the perill w^hereof he under- 
tooke upon his life (as deare unto him as the Crowne of 
England unto Her Majestic, that I may use his owne 
words) if it fell not out accordingly. 

"My selfe at this instant liker to die than to live, by 
a mischance, could not follow this confident opinion of 
our refiner to my owne satisfaction : but afterward 
demanding our Generals opinion therein, and to have 
some part of the Ore, he replied : Contente yourselfe, I 
have scene ynough, and were it but to satifie my private 
humour, I would proceed no further. The promise 
unto my friends, and necessitie to bring also the South 
countries within compasse of my Patent neere expired, 
as we have alreadie done these North partes, do only 
perswade me further. And touchmg the Ore I have 
sent it aboard, whereof I would have no speech to be 
made so long as we remaine in harbor : here being both 


Portugals, Biscains, and Frenchmen not farre off, from 
whom must be kept any bruit or muttering of such 
matter. When we are at sea proofe shalbe made : if it 
be to our desire, we may returne the sooner hither 
againe. Whose answere I iudged reasonable, and con- 
tenting me well : wherewith will I conclude this narra- 
tion and description of the Newfound land, and proceed 
to the rest of our voyage, which ended tragically." 

Haies returns again to this subject, as will appear 

Sir Humphrey lay in St. John's harbour for seventeen 
days, and it is very improbable that Daniel could have 
explored the country at any distance from St. John's. 
It is possible that he reached Conception Bay and 
noted the immense mass of iron which capped Bell 
Island. Apparently it had already been discovered, for 
Parkhurst in his letter to Hakluyt in 1578, describing 
Newfoundland, tells of "ye island of yron." It remained 
unnoticed for centuries, and has only been developed 
within the past twenty years. Daniel probably obtained 
his sample of silver ore or galena in St. John's harbor 
itself. About fifty years ago great excitement was 
caused by the rumour of the discovery of silver near the 
mouth of the harbor. The prospectors were as sure that 
they had discovered an Eldorado as Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert had been. But the first blast that was fired blew 
away every trace of the ore. 

Contrary to his expectations. Sir Humphrey was well 
pleased at the prospects in Newfoundland. A few days 
after his arrival in St. John's, he wrote the following 
letter to his faithful friend and supporter. Sir George 
Peckham — 

"Sir George, I departed from Plymouth on the 
eleventh of June with five sails, and on the thirteenth 
the Barke Rawley ran from me in faire weather, having 
a large winde. I pray you solicit my brother Rawley 
to make them an example to all knaves. On the third 


of August we arrived at a port called St. John's, and will 
put to the sea from thence (God willing) so soon as our 
ships will be ready. Of the New Found Land I will say 
nothing until my next letters. Be of good cheare, for if 
there were no better expectation, it were a very rich 
demaynes, the Countrey being very good and full of all 
sorts of victuall, as fish both of the fesh water and Sea- 
fish. Deere, Pheasants, Partridges, Swannes, and divers 
Fowles else. I am in haste, you shall by every mes- 
senger heare more at large. On the fifth of August, I 
entred here in the right of the Crowne of England ; and 
have engraven the Armes of England, divers Spaniards, 
Portugals and other strangers witnessing the same. I 
can stay no longer ; fare you well with my good Lady : 
and be of good cheare, for I have comforted myselfe, 
answerable to all my hopes. From St. John's, in the 
New Found Land, the 8 of August 1583. 

"Yours wholly to command, no man more, 

"Hum. Gilbart." 

This is our last news from Sir Humphrey personally. 
He wrote, evidently in haste, to apprize Sir George 
Peckham of his arrival and his satisfaction with what 
he had seen. We feel sure that he must have written 
other letters also at that time, but unhappily nothing 
more has come down to us. The above letter to Sir 
George Peckham was printed in Purchas His Pilgrims, 
probably from the mass of material left by Hakluyt to 
which Purchas fell heir. 


HAiEs's NARRATIVE {continued) 

Sir Humphrey was now to pay the penalty for having 
recruited his men so largely from the ranks of the 
pirates and buccaneers that swarmed the English coast. 

** While the better sort of us," says Haies, "were 
seriously occupied in repairing our wants and continuing 
the matters for the commoditie of the voyage ; others of 
another sort and disposition were plotting of mischief. 
Some casting to steal away our shipping by night, 
watching opportunitie by the Generals and Captaines 
lying on shore : whose conspiricies discovered, they 
were prevented." 

It has been argued from the fact of Sir Humphrey 
and his officers sleeping on shore, that houses of some 
pretensions had been erected in St. John's. Haies does 
not, however, mention houses of any description ; and as 
the erection of "some houses" in St. John's is recorded 
as a matter of note in 1627, we are of opinion that Sir 
Humphrey and his officers slept in the tent which we are 
told he had set up. 

Defeated in their designs on their own shipping, the 
mutineers nevertheless accomplished their piratical in- 
tentions. Going to an adjoining harbour, probably the 
next to the southward. Bay Bulls, they seized a vessel 
laden with fish, and setting the fishermen on shore, 
sailed off to parts unknown. A great many more 
stole away into the woods, awaiting an opportunity to 
get home on some returning fishing vessel, which "daily 
departed from the coast : Some were sicke of fluxes 
and many dead : and, in briefe, by one meanes or other 
our company was diminished, and many by the Generall 



licensed to return home. Insomuch as after we had 
reviewed our people resolved to see an end to the voyage, 
we grewe scant of men to furnish all our shipping ; it 
seemed good, therefore, to the Generall to leave the 
Swallowe with such provision as might be spared for 
transporting home the sicke people. The Captaine of 
the Delight or Admirall returned into England, in whose 
stead was appointed Captaine Maurice Brown, before 
captaine of the Swallow, who also brought with him 
into the Delight all his men of the Swallow, which 
before have bene noted of outrage perpetrated and com- 
mitted upon fishermen they met at sea." 

We hear nothing more of the Swallow, but conclude 
that she got back safely, for otherwise Haies would have 
certainly noted it ; nor are we informed whether those 
that absconded with the fishing vessel met their just 
reward. Justice was not long of arm in those days, 
and escape could have been easily effected by making 
a port in France, and selling both ship and cargo. 

Sir Humphrey chose to continue on the voyage in the 
little Squirrell; "being most convenient to discover upon 
the coast, and to search into every harbour or creeke, 
which a great ship could not doe." To defend her 
against possible enemies she was therefore prepared 
"with nettings and fights and overcharged with bases 
and such small Ordinance, more to give a shew, than 
with judgment to foresee unto the safetie of her and the 
men, which afterward was an occasion of her overthrow." 

St. John's had been well chosen as a place to replenish 
their stores, for they now went on their way rejoicing, 
well supplied, not only with necessaries, but with 
luxuries: "Wines, bread or ruske, fish wette and drie, 
sweete oiles, besides many other such as marmalades, 
figs, lymmons barralled, and such like. In briefe we 
were supplied of our wants commodiously, as if we had 
beene in a countrey or some Citie populous and plentiful! 
of all things." 

On August 20, the Delight, Golden Hind and 


Squirrell again set sail from St. John's, which port from 
their observations they made out to be in 47°, 40^ In 
reality it is in 47°, 34', so that they were six miles too 
far north in their reckoning. The next day they passed 
Cape Race, which they said was in 46°, 25', which was 
again an error, this time on the other side, as it is in 
46°, 39'- 

"Under this Cape we were becalmed a small time, 
during which we layd out hookes and lines to take 
Codde, and drewe in less than two houres, fish so large 
and in such abondance that many dayes after we fed 
upon no other provision." 

They now shaped their course for that island of fogs 
and shifting sands, "Sable Island," not thus named for 
its dusky hue or blacker reputation, but because it is an 
island of sand — "sablon." They had met in St. John's 
a Portuguese who told them, that some thirty years 
before he had been in a ship which landed both cattle 
and swine there to breed. "This seemed unto us very 
happie tidings to have an island lying so neare unto the 
maine, which we intended to plant upon, such store of 
cattell whereby we might at all times conveniently be 
relieved of victuall, andi served of store for breed." 
Other accounts state that cattle were left on Sable Island 
in 15 18 by Baron de Heri, and yet others, that they 
escaped from the wreck of some Spanish ships. 

"In this course we trended along the coast, which 
from Cape Race stretcheth into the Northwest, making 
a bay with some called Trepassa. Then it goeth out 
againe toward the West, and maketh a point, which with 
Cape Race lieth in maner East and West. But this 
point inclineth to the North : to the west of which goeth 
in the bay of Placentia. We sent men on land to take 
view of the soyle along this coast, whereof they made 
good report, and some of them had wil to be planted 
there. They saw Pease growing in great abundance 

"The difference betweene Cape Race and Cape Briton 



is eighty-seven leagues. In which navigation we spent 
eight dayes, having many times the wind indifferent 
good ; yet could we never attaine sight of any land all 
that time, seeing we were hindered by the current. At 
last we fell into such flats and dangers, that hardly any 
of us escaped : where neverthelesse we lost our Admirall 
with al the men and provision, not knowingly certainly 
the place. Yet for inducing men of skill to make con- 
iecture, by our course and way we held from Cape Race 
thither (that thereby the flats and dangers may be in- 
serted in Sea cards, for warning to others that may 
follow the same course hereafter), I have set downe the 
best reckonings that were kept by expert men, William 
Cox Master of the Hindy and lohn Paul his mate, both 
of Limehouse. 

"Reckonings kept in our course from Cape Race to- 
wards Cape Briton, and the Island of Sablon, to the 
time and place where we lost our Admirall. 

August 22. West . . . .14 leagues. 

West and by south . 25 

Westnorthwest . .25 

Westnorthwest . . 9 

Southsouthwest . . 10 

Southwest . . .12 

Southsouthwest . .10 

Westnorthwest . .12 

Summe of these leagues 1 1 7 

Here we lost our 

The reckoning of John Paul Masters mate from Cape Race. 

August 22. 




West . 

North and by west 

Southwest and by south 

West and by south 

West and by north 





Northwest and by west 

14 leagues. 




Summe of all these leagues 1 2 1 

Here we lost our 

Our course we held in clearing us of these flats was 


Eastsoutheast, and Southeast, and south fourteen leagues 
with a marvellous scant winde." ^ 

The Maner how our Admirall was Lost. 

"Upon Thursday the 27 of August toward the evening 
our General caused them in the frigat to sound, who 
found white sand at 35 fathoms being then in latitude 
44 degrees." They were then evidently very close to 
Sable Island; but the wind coming South they stood 
to the Northwest, strongly against the advice of Master 
Coxe of the Golden Hind. Nevertheless they followed 
the Admiral, unable to prevent the mischief which they 
saw threatening. "The evening was fair and pleasant, 
yet not without token of storm to ensue, and most part 
of this Wednesday night, like the Swanne that singeth 
before her death, they in the Admirall or Delight con- 
tinued in sounding of Trumpets, with Drummes, and 
Fifes; also winding the Cornets, Haughtboyes; and in 
the end of their joUitie left with battell and ringing of 
doleful knels." Porpoises in herds circled round them, 
portending storm, and in the frigat, strange voices were 
heard, which scared the helmsman from his post. But 
Haies considered these reports "frivolous." 

On the 29th, they had a strong south-east gale, with 
thick fog, so that they could not see a cable length before 
them. In the early morning they found themselves 
entangled amongst flats and sands, with the depth of 
water varying considerably in a very short distance. 
They immediately signalled to the Delight to come about 
and stand to seaward. But it was too late; no watch 

1 The courses steered by Sir Humphrey Gilbert's fleet as laid 
down by William Coxe, master, and John Paul, master's mate of the 
Golden Hind^ have been carefully worked out for me by Capt. William 
English, Harbour Master of St. John's. They prove that John Paul 
was the better navigator, for his reckoning leads exactly to the northern 
end of Sable Island, where we may conclude that the Delight was 
lost ; while Coxe's reckoning indicates a point fifty or sixty miles to 
the Eastward. The description of the wreck, the flats and shoals, and 
the great variation in the soundings in short distances, confirm this 


had been kept, and they had no idea of their danger, 
and being a much larger vessel and some distance ahead 
of the Golden Hindy they almost immediately struck 
and soon went to pieces. The Golden Hind and 
Squirrell with difficulty managed to save themselves. 
"In this distresse wee had vigilant eyes unto the 
Admirall whom wee saw cast away, without power to 
give the men succour, neither could wee espie any of 
the men that leaped overboard to save themselves, either 
in the same Pinnasse or Cocke, or upon rafters, and such 
like maners, presenting themselves to men in those ex- 
tremities : for wee desired to save the men by every 
possible meanes. But all in vane, sith God had deter- 
mined their ruine : yet all that day, and part of the next, 
we beat up and down as neere unto the wreck as was 
possible for us, looking out if by good hap we might 
espie any of them. 

''This was a heavie and grievous event to lose at one 
blow our chief ship freighted with great provision, 
gathered together with much travell, care, long time, 
and difficultie. But more was the loss of our men, 
which perished to the number almost of a hundred 
soules. Amongst whom was drowned a learned man, 
an Hungarian, borne in the citie of Buda, called hereof 
Budaus, who of pietie and zeale to good attempts, ad- 
ventured in this action, minding to record in the Latin 
tongue, the gests and things worthy of remembrance, 
happening in the discoverie, to the honour of our nation, 
the same being adorned with the eloquent stile of this 
Orator, and rare Poet of our time." 

But here also perished one more mourned than Par- 
menius, even Daniel, the honest Saxon refiner, the dis- 
coverer of inestimable riches, as Haies firmly believed. 

"No lesse heavie was the loss of Captain Maurice 
Brown, vertuous, honest and descrete gentleman, who 
shewed himself a man resolved and never unprepared 
for death, as by his last act of this tragedie appeareth, 
by reporte of them that escaped this wrecke miraculously, 

S 2 


as shal bee hereafter declared. For when all hope was 
past of recovering the ship, and that men began to give 
over, and to save themselves, the Captaine was advised 
before to ship also for his life, by the Pinnesse at the 
Sterne of the ship ; but refusing that counsell he would 
not give example with the first to leave the shippe, but 
used all meanes to exhort his people not to despaire, nor 
so to leave off their labour choosing rather to die, than 
to incurre infamie by forsaking his charge, which then 
might be thought to have perished through his defaulte, 
shewing an ill president unto his men by leaving the 
ship himself. With this minde he mounted upon the 
highest decke, where hee attended imminent death and 
unavoidable how long I leave it to God who withdraweth 
not his comfort from his servants at such times. In the 
meane season, certaine to the number of 14 persons 
leaped into a small pinnesse (the bignes of a Thames 
barge, which was made in Newfound land) cut off the 
rope wherewith it was towed and committed themselves 
to God's mercie, amidest the storme, and rage of sea 
and windes, destitut of foode, not so much as a droppe 
of fresh water." 

The extraordinary voyage and escape of this boat's 
crew is best told in the language of "Master Richard 
Clarke of Weymouth, master of the ship called the 
Delight, going for the discovery of Norembega, with 
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 1583. Written in excuse of that 
fault of casting away the ship and men, imputed to his 

The imputation was undoubtedly made by Hakluyt, 
in addition to the strictures of Haies which we have 
already heard, for Hakluyt, in his Discourse of Western 
Planting, written in the following year but not published 
until 1877, strongly recommended that a school of 
navigation should be established, and all mariners 
compelled to pass an examination in seamanship 
before being allowed to take charge of a vessel. 
"Which order," he says, "if it had bene established in 


Memorial Window in the Guildhall, 


England, such grose and insufficient fellows as he that 
caste away the Admirall of Sir Humfrey's company with 
an C persons in her, to the West of Newfoundland this 
tyme twelve monthes, had not bene admitted to so great 
a chardge." 

Clarke endeavours to throw the blame upon Sir 
Humphrey, and declares that he kept on the course 
which brought them to destruction at Sir Humphrey's 
express injunction. Hakluyt in a marginal note says, 
"Herein Clarke untruly chargeth Sir Humphrey Gil- 
bert," making the statement, no doubt, after due inquiry 
and consultation with Captain Haies and Master Cox 
of the Golden Hind. That the discovery of their danger 
was first made by the Golden Hind, although a consider- 
able distance in the wake of the Delight, is condemnation 
sufficient of Clarke. 

"A relation of Richard Clarke of Weymouth, master 
of the ship called the Delight, going for the discovery 
of Morembega, with Sir Humfrey Gilbert 1583. 
Written in excuse of that fault of casting away the ship 
and men, imputed to his oversight. 

"Departing out of Saint Johns Harborough in the 
Newfound land the 20. of August unto Cape Raz, from 
thence we directed our course unto the He of Sablon or 
the Isle of Sand, which the Generall Sir Humfrey 
Gilbert would willingly have scene. But when we came 
within twentie leagues of the Isle of Sablon, we feel 
to controversie of our course. The Generall came up 
in his Frigot and demanded of mee Richard Clarke 
master of the Admirall what course was best to keepe : 
I said that Westsouthwest was best : because the wind 
was at south and night at hand and unknowen sands 
lay off a great way from the land. The Generall com- 
manded mee to go Westnorthwest. I told him again 
that the Isle of Sablon was Westnorthwest and but 15. 
leagues off, and that he should be upon the Island 
before day, if hee went that course. The Generall sayd, 
my reckoning was untrue, and charged me in her 


Majesties name, and as I would shewe my selfe in her 
Countrey, to follow him that night. I fearing his 
threatenings, because he presented her Majesties person, 
did follow his commaundment, and about seven of the 
clocke in the morning the ship stroke on ground, where 
shee was cast away. Then the Generall went off to sea, 
the course that I would have had them gone before, 
and saw the ship cast away men and all, and was not 
able to save a man, for there was not water upon the 
sand for either of them much lesse for the Admirall^ 
that drew fourteene foote. Now as God would the day 
before it was very calme, and a Souldier of the ship 
had killed some foule with his piece, and some of the 
company desired me that they might hoyse out the boat 
to recover the foule, which I granted them : and when 
they came aboord they did not hoyse it in againe that 
night. And when the ship was cast away the boate was 
asterne being in burthen one tunne and a halfe : there 
was left in the boate one oare and nothing els. Some 
of the company could swimme, and recovered the boate 
and did hale in out of the water as many men as they 
coulde : among the rest they had a care to watch for 
the Captaine or the Master : They happened on my 
selfe being the Master, but could never see the Cap- 
taine : Then they hailed into the boate as many men 
as they could in number i6. whose names hereafter I 
will rehearse. And when the i6 were in the boate, 
some had small remembrance and some had none : for 
they did not make account to live, but to prolong their 
lives as long as it pleased God, and looked every 
moment of an houre when the Sea would eate them up, 
the boate being so little and so many men in her, and 
so foule weather, that it was not possible for a shippe 
to brooke halfe a coarse of sayle. Thus while wee re- 
mayned two dayes and two nights, and that wee saw 
it pleased God our boate lived in the Sea (although we 
had nothing to help us withall but one oare, which we 
kept up the boate withall upon the Sea, and so went 


even as the Sea would drive us) there was in our Com- 
pany one Master Hedly that put foorth this question to 
me the Master. I doe see that it doth please God, that 
our boate lyveth in the Sea, and it may please God that 
some of us may come to the land if our boate were not 
overladen. Let us make sixteene lots, and those foure 
that have the foure shortest lots we will cast overboard 
preserving the Master among us all. I replied unto 
him, saying, no, we will live and die together. Master 
Hedly asked me if my remembrance were good : I 
answered I gave God prayse it was good, and knewe 
how farre I was off the land, and was in hope to come 
to the lande within two or three days, and sayde they 
were but three score leagues from the land (when they 
were seventie) all to put them in comfort. Thus we 
continued the third and fourth day without any susten- 
ance, save onley the weedes that swamme in the Sea, 
and salt water to drinke. The fifth day Hedly died and 
another moreover ; then wee desired all to die : for in 
all these five dayes and five nights we saw the sunne 
but once and the Starre but one night, it was so foule 
weather. Thus we did remaine the sixt day : then we 
were very weeke and wished all to die saving onely my 
selfe which did comfort them and promised they should 
come soone to lande by the help of God : but the com- 
pany were very importunate, and were in doubt they 
should never come to land, but that I promised them 
the seventh day they should come to shore, or els they 
should cast me overboord : which did happen true the 
seventh day, for at eleven of the clock wee had sight 
of the land, and at 3. of the clocke at afternoone we 
came on land. All these seven dayes and seven nights, 
the wind kept continually South. If the wind had in 
the meantime shifted upon any other point, wee had 
never come to land : we were no sooner come to land, 
but the wind came clean contrary at North within halfe 
an hour aftcx^ our arrivall. But we were so weake that 
one could scarcely helpe another of us out of the boate, 


yet with much adoe being come all on shore we kneeled 
down upon our knees and gave God praise that he had 
dealt so mercifully with us. Afterwards those which 
were strongest holpe their fellowes unto a fresh brooke, 
where we satisfied ourselves with water and berries very 
well. There were al sorts of berries plentie, & as goodly 
a countrey as ever I saw : we found a very fair plaine 
Champion ground that a man might see very farre 
every way : by the Sea side was here and there a little 
wood with goodly trees as good as ever I saw any in 
Norway, able to mast any shippe, of pyne trees, spruse 
trees, firre, and very great birch trees. Where we came 
on land we made a little house with boughes, where 
we rested all that night. In the morning I devided the 
company three and three to goe every way to see what 
foode they could find to sustaine themselves, and 
appointed them to meete their againe at noone with 
such foode as they could get. As we went aboord we 
found great store of peason as good as any we have in 
England : a man would thinke they had beene sowed 
there. We rested there three days and three nights 
and lived very well with peas and berries, wee named 
the place St. Laurence in Canada, and we found it 
very full of Salmons. When wee had well rested our 
selves wee rowed our boat along the shore, thinking 
to have gone to the Grand Bay to have come home with 
some Spanyards which are yeerely there to kill the 
Whale : And when wee were hungry or a thirst we 
put our boate on land and gathered peas and berries. 
Thus wee rowed our boate along the shore five dayes : 
about which time wee came to a very goodly river that 
ranne farre up in to the Countrey and saw very goodly 
growen trees of all sortes. There wee happened upon 
a ship of Saint John de Luz, which ship brought us 
into Biskay to an Harborough called The Passage. 
The master of the shippe was our great friend, or els 
wee had bene put to death if he had not kept our 
counsayle. For when the visitors came aboord, as it is 
the order in Spaine, they demaunding what we were. 


he sayd wee were poor fishermen that had cast away our 
shippe in Newfound land, and so the visitors inquired 
no more of the matter at that time. Assoone as night 
was come he put us on land and bad us shift for our 
selves. Then had wee but tenne or twelve miles into 
France, which we went that night, and then cared not 
for the Spanyard. And so shortly after we came into 
England toward the end of the year 1583." 

" After this heavie chance " they were greatly discom- 
fited. They were uncertain of their position, some 
thinking even that they were engulfed in the Bay of 
St. Lawrence; they continued beating up and down, 
thinking they must be near the land, continually 
sounding and getting from fifty to forty fathoms. 
When the wind was from the South they had flats and 
shoals to leeward and were fearful of sharing the fate 
of the Delight. The weather continued thick and 
blustering and the cold noticeably increased, their pro- 
visions began again to get scant and their clothes were 
worn out, all their surplus stores having been lost in 
the Delight. No wonder that they lost courage. In 
the little Frigat they were particularly distressed and 
continually besought Sir Humphrey to return to Eng- 
land. Whenever they drew near to the Golden Hind 
they made signs of their condition by pointing to their 
mouths and holding up their rags to view. Dissatis- 
faction soon spread to the people of the Golden Hind, 
and they also clamoured to return home. Sir Humphrey 
was naturally not insensible to these protests, and call- 
ing the Captain and Master of the Golden Hind into 
consultation, they finally decided to abandon any 
further exploration and to turn their prows homeward, 
"withal protesting himselfe greatly satisfied with that 
hee had sene and knewe already. Reiterating these 
words : Be content wee have scene enough, and take 
no care of expence past ; I will set you f oorth royally the 
next Spring, if God send us safe home. Therefore I 
pray you let us no longer strive here, where wee fight 
against the elements ! Omitting circumstances how 


unwillingly the Captaine and Master of the Hinde con- 
descended to this motion, his owne company can 
testifie : yet comforted with the Generall's promises of 
a speedie return at Spring, and induced by other 
apparent reasons, proving an impossibilitie to accom- 
plish the action at that time, it was concluded on all 
hands to retire. So upon Sunday in the afternoon the 
31 of August, we changed our course, and returned back 
for England." And, horrible portent ! at the very 
moment they came about there passed between them 
and the land "a very lion, in shape, hair, and colour," 
not swimming but sliding upon the water, with the 
greater part of his body well in view. He took no notice 
of their presence "beyond turning his head to and fro 
with ougly demonstration of long teeth, and to bidde 
us farewell he sent forth a horrible voyce, roaring or 

bellowing as doth a lion What opinion others had 

thereof, and chiefly the Generall himselfe I forbear to 
deliver; But he took it for Bonum Omen, rejoycing 
that he was to warre against such an enemie, if it were 
the devill." 

The days of enchantment were hardly passed. In 
this walrus, as it undoubtedly was, they saw the evil 
genus of the place, lying in hiding so long as they 
attempted to invade his domain, but coming out and 
exulting at their discomfiture the instant they turned 

"The winde was large (fair) for England at our 
returne, but very high and the sea rough, insomuch as 
the Frigate wherein the Generall went was almost 
swallowed up. Munday in the afternoon wee passed 
in the sight of Cape Race, having made as much way 
in little more than two days and nights backe againe 
as before wee had done in eight dayes from Cape Race, 
unto the place where our ship perished. Which hind- 
rance thitherward and speed backe againe is to be 
imputed unto the swift current, as well as to the windes, 
which we had more large in our return." 


Haies indicates that he and Cox, the master of his 
vessel, were unwilling to give up the voyage, but were 
overpersuaded by Sir Humphrey, on his assurance that 
he was more than satisfied with what he had already 
seen. There was nothing desperate about their situa- 
tion, and a few days' perseverance would have provided 
a change in the weather and a favourable opportunity 
to come up to the Nova Scotian shore, where they could 
have made a safe harbour until the equinoxes had 
passed. Thence, they might have comfortably con- 
tinued their exploration along the coast for two or three 
months. But the lure of gold and silver overcame other 
considerations. Their minds had been inflamed by the 
fabulous stories of Davy Ingram and "Sir Humphrey's 
man " ; Frobisher's sad experience was forgotten, and 
the reports of Daniel, the Saxon refiner, were taken for 
gospel. They Were therefore quite willing to be dis- 
couraged, they had seen enough, and only wanted to 
get to England in order that they might fit out a larger 
expedition to return to this northern Peru, where they 
might acquire riches to outvie the Spaniards. The 
planting of an English Colony, the spread of English 
commerce, religious freedom for loyal Roman Catholics, 
the relief of the poor in over-populated England, the 
conversion of the savages, all were forgotten and over- 
shadowed by the reputed discovery of silver by Daniel 
— a discovery which three hundred years of coloniza- 
tion has failed to verify ! 

On Monday Sir Humphrey, who had run a nail 
into his foot, came on board the Golden Hind to get 
the surgeon to dress it. They congratulated themselves 
that their dangers were then past and that they would 
soon be home. Haies entreated him to stay on the 
Hind, but we would not be persuaded, and returned 
to the little Squirrell. "Immediately after followed a 
sharpe storm which we overpassed for that time. 
Praysed be God." 

The weather being fair the General! again went on 


board the Hind "to make merry" with the Captain; 
and ship's company. They discoursed on many things 
touching their voyage, he lamenting greatly the loss 
of the Delight, more the loss of the men, and most of 
all the loss of his books and notes. In addition, he was 
out of measure grieved by the loss of "somewhat," which 
he refused to explain to Haies, of more importance than 
his books or anything else. This Haies concluded to 
be the ore which Daniel had brought to him while 
lying in St. John's. "Whatsoever it was, the remem- 
brance touched him so deepe, as not able to contain 
himselfe, he beat his boy in a great rage, even at the 
same time, so long after the miscarrying of the great 
ship, because upon a faire day, when wee were becalmed 
upon the coast of Newfoundland neere unto Cape Race, 
he sent his boy aboord the Admirall, to fetch certaine 
things : amongst which, this being chiefe was yet for- 
gotten and left behind. After which time, he could 
never conveniently send againe aboord the great ship, 
much lesse he doubted her ruine so neere to hand." 

This ineffectual display of temper added fresh con- 
firmation to Haies opinion that a mine had been dis- 
covered in Newfoundland which would make them rich 
beyond the dreams of avarice. More than that. Sir 
Humphrey had not been at all in favour of the northern 
parts, but he had changed his mind completely, and 
had become, as he said, "a Northern man altogether." 
At first he was quite willing to give grants of land in 
St. John's, but afterwards suddenly ceased to do so, 
although certain English merchants were most anxious 
to obtain them, "offering to imploy their money and 
travell upon the same; yet neither by their owne suite, 
nor of others of his own company, whom he seemed 
willing to pleasure at first, could it be obtained." This 
was all very suspicious; again, when talking of their 
return the next year, he arranged that Haies was to go 
South and discover in that direction, while he himself 
returned to St. John's. And when Haies asked how 


he intended to raise sufficient funds for such an extensive 
plan, he replied : " Leve that to mee, I will aske a 
pennie of no man. I will bring good tidings unto Her 
Majestie, who will be so gracious, to lend me 10,000 
pounds; for he did thanke God with al his heart for 
that he had seene, the same being enough for us al and 
that we needed not to seeke any further. And these 
last wordes he would often repeat, with demonstration 
of great fervencie of mind, being himselfe very con- 
fident and settled in beliefe of inestimable good by his 
voyage." Haies admits, nevertheless, that the greater 
part of his company "mistrusted altogether" these 
assurances, but that was because they had not been let 
into the secret. He continues: "Leaving the issue of 
this good hope unto God, who knoweth the truth only, 
and can at his pleasure bring the same to light : I will 
hasten to the end of this tragedie, which must be knit 
up in the person of our Generall. And as it was God's 
ordinance upon him, even so the vehement persuasion 
and intreatie of his friends could nothing availe to divert 
him from a wilfull resolution of going through in his 
Frigat, which was overcharged upon her decks, with 
fights nettings and small artillerie, too cumbersome for 
so small a boate, that was to pass through the ocean sea 
at fhis season of the yere, when by course we might 
expect much storme of foule weather, whereof indeed 
we had enough." 

When they entreated him from the Hind to make 
the rest of his journey with them, this was his answer : 
"I will not forsake my little company going homeward 
with whom I have passed so many stormes and 

Haies rather uncharitably considers that he was in- 
fluenced in making this decision by fear of what men 
might say of him. Before leaving England the hard 
report had been circulated that he was afraid of the 
sea, and that he took this course to disprove the 
calumny, thus allowing the "winde of a vain report" 


to outweigh his own life. If any such feeling influenced 
him it was probably the solicitous, if somewhat frank, 
message sent to him by his Queen — that he was noted 
as a man "having no good hap at sea." For a seaman 
to be called unlucky was almost as bad as to be called 
a coward, and the statement had to be disproved at 
whatever cost. 

But we, who can claim to know him perhaps better 
than Haies did, can see no reason for attributing to 
him any but the highest motives in making this speech. 
It was an attitude of mind and an answer which 
his whole life leads us to expect. Long ago he had 
written : " He is not worthy to live at all, that for 
feare, or danger of death shunneth his countrey's 
service, and his owne honour : seeing death is inevitable 
and the fame of virtue immortal." It was an age of 
lofty ideals and great deeds. Only a few years later 
Sidney, his relative and friend, was to come as quickly 
to a decision, and to act with equally self-denying 
generosity. "Give it to him, his need is greater than 
mine, and " I will not forsake my little company " are 
speeches of immortal fame, and the devil's advocate 
can assail neither the one nor the other. 

Haies continues: "Seeing he would not bend to 
reason, he had provision out of the Hinde^ such as was 
wanting aboord his Frigat. And so we committed him 
to God's protection, and set him aboord his Pinnesse, 
wee being more than 300 leagues onward of our way 

They succeeded in reaching across to the longitude 
of the Azores in safety, and then sailed northward until 
they "got into the height and elevation of England." 
Here they encountered very foul weather with terrific 
seas, caused, Haies supposed, by the unevenness of 
the ocean bed; but whatever occasioned them, more 
outrageous seas had never been encountered by the 
oldest seamen on board. Also, at night, upon their 
main yard the weird corposant fires "flamed amaze- 


ment." A certain harbinger of dreadful weather and 
disaster at sea. 

"Munday the ninth of September, in the afternoon, 
the Frigat was neere cast away, oppressed by waves, 
yet at that time recovered; and giving forth signes of 
joy, the Generall sitting abaft with a booke in his hand, 
creid unto us into the Hinde (so oft as we did approach 
within hearing) ' We are as neere to heaven by sea as 
by land.' Reiterating the same speech^ well beseeming 
a souldier resolute in Jesus Christ, as I can testifie he 

"The same Munday night about twelve of the clock, 
or not long after, the Frigat being ahead of us in the 
Golden Hinde, suddenly her lights were out, whereof 
as it were in a moment we lost the sight, and withall 
our watch cryed, the Generall was cast away, which was 
too true. For in that moment the Frigat was devoured 
and swallowed up of the Sea. Yet still we looked out 
all that night, and ever after until we arrived upon 
the coast of England. Omitting no small saile at sea 
unto which we gave not the tokens betweenee us agreed 
upon to have perfect knowledge of each other, if at 
any time we should be separated." 

"In great torment of weather, and perill of drown- 
ing," Haies continued on his voyage. 

"Bound sadly home — 
Supposing that they saw the King^s ship wrecked 
And his great person perish." 

On September 22, they arrived at Falmouth, but pro- 
ceeded at once to Dartmouth, hoping that they might 
there hear news of Sir Humphrey. But it was their 
sad duty instead to inform Sir John Gilbert of their 
"hard successe." Haies asked Sir John to come on 
board the Golden Hind and make inquiry among the 
crew of all that had befallen, but he professed himself 
satisfied with the report made by Captain Haies, and 
did not altogether despair of his brother's safety. 
Eighteen years before he had opposed Sir Humphrey's 


adventurous designs, and thus at last were his fore- 
bodings to be realized. 

Haies took harbour at Weymouth, all his men tired 
with the tediousness of so unprofitable a voyage, but 
even so he found cause for congratulation, for ''amongst 
very many difficulties, disappointments, mutinies, con- 
spiracies, sicknesses, mortalite, spoylings and wrecke by 
sea which were afflictions more than in so small fleete 
or so short a time may be supposed, — it pleased God 
to support this company, of which only one man died 
of a maladie inveterate and long infested; the rest kept 
together in reasonable contentment and concord, begin- 
ing, continuing and ending the voyage, which none 
els did accomplish either not pleased with the action, or 
impatient of wants or prevented by death. 

"Thus have I delivered the contents of the enterprise 
and last action of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Knight, faith- 
fully, for so much as I thought meete to be published : 
wherein may alwaies appear (though he be extin- 
guished) some sparkes of his ventures, he remaining 
firm and resolute in a purpose by all pretence honest 
and Godly, as was this, to discover, possess and to 
reduce unto the service of God and Christian pietie, 
those remote and heathen countreys of America, not 
actually possessed by Christians and most rightly apper- 
taining unto the Crowne of England : unto the which, 
as his zeale deserveth high commendation : even so he 
may justly be taxed of temeritie and presumption rather 
in two respects." 

The strictures which Haies made upon Sir Hum- 
phrey's conduct are such as would naturally be expected 
from a disappointed shareholder ! They were, first, that 
"he was too prodigal of his own patrimony and too 
careless of other men's expences on a ground imagined 
good." That Sir Humphrey's plans were too indefinite, 
and his information about the countries he proposed to 
explore too slight, to have warranted him in inducing 
people to invest their money. 


Second, that when his first expedition failed, his 
pride occasioned him "to thruste himself againe into 
action for which he was not fit." 

In short, Haies felt that he had been induced to invest 
his money in a wild cat scheme; the disastrous ending 
of which was doubly galling when he felt so certain 
that Daniel had discovered a mine of great richness, all 
knowledge of which was lost. 



Thus died Sir Humphrey Gilbert, one of the noblest 
and most single-minded of the great Elizabethans, 
observing to the bitter end the golden rule which he had 
set up as his standard so many years before. Rather 
than appear to shun death he almost courted it. Mutate 
vel timer e sperno. As he returned to his little boat and 
his faithful companions, this adage so boastfully uttered 
must have recurred to his memory. It was a curiously 
exact illustration of the principle he had enunciated, and 
even more accurately has been measured out to him the 
reward which he promised to those who met death in 
their country's service. The fame of his virtue is 
immortal. Whenever brave deeds and noble words are 
enumerated his are not forgotten. That he first en- 
deavoured to enlarge, the boundaries of Britain has been 
generally overlooked, but the last great message which 
he left us is a legacy for all time, for the comfort of those 
who go down to sea in ships, and of those who are left 
behind. "We are as near to heaven by sea as by land," 
may have been said before, but never surely with such a 
tragic issue to stamp it upon the memory. 

The mainspring of his life was his <ievotion to his 
Queen. "From a boy to the age of white hairs " hehsEd 
occupied himself in her service. As a humble member 
of her household, a young soldier in France, a ruler in 
Ireland, a member of Parliament, a commander of 
troops in the Low Countries, and as a pioneer of 
colonization he had served her faithfully, always with 
regard to her wishes, and for the advancement of her 



His patriotism and his devotion to his Queen seem to 
merge, and it is difficult at times to distinguish between 
them, but when, during his session in Parliament, these 
interests appeared to clash, his lifelong habit of personal 
loyalty won the day. He would have had patriotism 
the basis of all education. The youth of the nobility 
were to be taught that their first duty was to the common- 
wealth, and in order that they might be of value, they 
were to be trained as soldiers, lawgivers, counsellors, 
and in all that pertained to high offices of state. No 
longer was their aim in life to be bounded by their ability 
"to hallo a hound or lure a hawk." Although intimately 
known to Elizabeth and the recipient of continual pre- 
ferment, yet their relationship was ever dignified and self- 
respecting. We find with him none of the grovelling 
flatteries which so often make the conduct of her courtiers 
appear despicable. His confidence in her favour and 
kindly feeling to himself are many times manifested. 
" Her Majestie never yet denied me of anything " 
was not a meaningless speech. Though his petitions 
were often delayed, they were always granted in the 

That this confidence was not misplaced her personal 
letters bear witness. Thus she wrote to Sir Henry 
Sidney, directing that he should be promoted; to 
Walsingham, expressing concern for his safety if he 
departed on his arduous journey; and through Ralegh 
her farewell, as to "a person whom she tendereth." 
There is an almost tender tone in her expressions of 
interest in his affairs, indicating the high esteem and 
respect with which she regarded him. 

The greatest blot upon his career which has been 
recorded, was the cruelty of his conduct to the unhappy 
Irish ; the only extenuation for which that can be sug- 
gested is that it was the custom of the age, and not a 
purely personal fault. Sir Henry Sidney, Essex, 
Ralegh, and many others are implicated in similar 
atrocities, and even the gentle Spenser witnessed and 

T 2 


condoned them. In the histories of the European wars 
of the period are found many parallel instances. 

But the raison d'etre of this book is to proclaim 
Humphrey Gilbert as the father of English colonization. 
His mind was strikingly original in an age when every 
man was a genius. In everything he showed himself a 
seer and a prophet, but in this particular he was "the voice 
crying in the wilderness." He was not aware himself 
at first of the extent to which his theories would develop. 
When he first propounded his schemes, all England 
looked askance ; it was an unheard-of thing for English 
people to leave their native land ; moreover, the law im- 
posed heavy fines and forfeitures upon absentees. It was 
a difficult task to overcome such deep-rooted prejudices. 
Well might he say that he hacl "to endure the scorn of 
all the world for conceiving so well of a matter that 
others held as ridiculous, although now by my meanes 
better thought of." In all great movements the same 
order may be observed, at first the "voice," then the few 
followers and a generation of education, and finally 
universal adoption. So it was in the beginning of this 
wonderful movement which has hardly yet reached its 
climax. Humphrey Gilbert at first recommended the 
planting of but one hundred men to hold the pass to 
Cathaia; when he soon proposed formal assumption of 
sovereignty over some part of the New World and the 
planting of a colony, he had but a few of his relations 
and personal friends to assist him — and perhaps their 
support was obtained rather by his persistence than 
from any conviction of their own — but in the end he 
reckoned among his associates some of the greatest men 
of the day. In the meanwhile his conception of a 
colony had grown to be almost Utopian. 

We have read how he endeavoured to accomplish his 
project, how unhappily he failed, and how nobly he 
died. But to him is the honour of being the first to 
make the attempt, and of having broken the path which 
was to lead England to the apex of her glory. 

Camden, writing about twenty years later, says of 


him, that he was "a quick and lively spirited gentleman, 
famous for his knowledge in matters relating to both 
war and peace " ; and of his colonization schemes he 
says, "learning too late himself and teaching others 
that it is a difficult thing to carry over colonies in too 
remote countries upon private men's purses, that he and 
others in an erroneous credulity had persuaded them- 
selves to their own cost and detriment." But neverthe- 
less it was thus that success was afterwards achieved. 

Of his personal character there seems to be nought but 
praise. Edmund Howes, in his continuation of Stowe's 
Annals, 1615, says: "He was a great favourer of the 
arts and learning, and despised Piracie." Yet we find 
him accused of that crime by Mendoza, and, for a time, 
somewhat under a cloud on account of it. But whether 
piracy was a crime or not depended on where and upon 
whom it was committed. If upon their own nation and 
in the home waters it was quickly punished by death, if 
upon the Spaniards and on the high seas it was a deed 
of renown for which the reward was knighthood and 
high honour. Whether Gilbert, on either of his voyages, 
was personally guilty of preying upon peaceful com- 
merce is not proven ; that he proposed the destruction 
of the helpless Spanish fleet at Newfoundland informs 
us in what light he regarded actions of the kind. It is 
permitted to scotch the snake before it is ready to strike ; 
to cripple Spanish power on the sea was therefore the 
duty of every Briton, a duty they all cheerfully per- 
formed. But this was not regarded as piracy by the 
English, whatever the Spanish ambassadors may have 
called it. Gilbert on several occasions disclaimed any 
piratical designs, and indeed flattered himself that he 
had abstained when he might have gathered sufficient 
booty to defray the expenses of his voyages. 

Gilbert confessed himself of a somewhat hot and 
choleric disposition. In the campaign in the Low 
Countries we find him several times reported as having 
given exhibitions of temper, and even on his last voyage 
he breaks out in a rage against the boy who had neg- 


lected his orders some weeks before. Haies comments 
on this weakness, but notes that "the crosses, turmoils, 
and afflictions, both in the preparation and execution of 
this voyage, did correct the intemperate humours which 
before wee noted to bee in this Gentleman, and made 
unsavourie and lesse delightful his other manifold 
vertues. Then as he was refined and made nearer draw- 
ing unto the image of God ; so it pleased the divine will 
to resume him unto himselfe, whither both his and every 
other high and noble mind have always aspired." 

Of his private life we have no information. His refer- 
ences to his wife in his letters show an apologetic attitude 
towards her, in that he had spent upon his visionary 
schemes her dower as well as his own patrimony. This 
is a habit common to all enthusiasts. They know they 
are jeopardizing the welfare of those dearest to them, but 
are yet irresistibly borne along on their career by the 
passion which absorbs them. 

As a leader of men Gilbert was not a success. Failure 
and disappointment met him on every hand. In Ireland 
alone was he judged to have succeeded, and there the 
peace which he procured at such dreadful cost lasted 
but a moment. In the Netherlands the conditions were 
such that success was well nigh impossible. The allied 
troops were distraught by jealousies, suspecting each 
other and suspected by those they went to succour. He 
cannot be held responsible for the reverses that naturally 
followed. Although his leadership might have been at 
fault, his bravery in the field was conspicuous; his 
subordinates and his superior officers are alike in their 
praise of him in this respect. 

And as to his great purpose, he was a generation ahead 
of his time. The art of colonization was unknown in 
England, and it took a generation of attempts and 
failures before the secret of success was learned. Per- 
haps the nation was not quite ready for it, and those that 
embarked upon it did so but half-heartedly. The idea 
was too new, and it was necessary for those destined to 


succeed to grow up in familiarity with it. They were a 
noble band of failures, those first colonizers — Gilbert, 
Ralegh, Grenville, Cavendish, Lane and White. 

Froude classes Gilbert amongst " England's Forgotten 
Worthies." To be sure his study was written fifty years 
ago, but have Gilbert, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, and 
Davis ever been forgotten ? In his masterly, lucid style 
he makes the age live again, but the details he gives are 
often far astray. His prejudices are notorious; still 
much may be forgiven the author of such an illuminat- 
ing paragraph as the following — 

"The springs of great actions are always difficult to 
analyze — impossible to analyze perfectly — possible to 
analyze only very proximately; and the force by which 
a man throws out of himself a good action is invisible 
and mystical, like that which brings out the blossom and 
the fruit upon the tree. The motives which we find men 
urging for their enterprises seem often insufficient to 
have prompted them to so large a daring. They did 
what they did from the great unrest in them which made 
them do it, and what it was may be best measured by 
the results in the present England and America." 

This seems particularly applicable to Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert. While in this study of his life an attempt has 
been made to analyze his motives and trace the influ- 
ences which surrounded him, perhaps Froude's explana- 
tion is nearer the truth, and he did what he did from the 
"great unrest" in him. An unrest born of the times — 
caused by the expansion of space, of thought, of learn- 
ing, of freedom, which makes Elizabeth's reign one of 
the most wonderful periods in history. When one tells 
over the names of the great Elizabethans, — great in 
every department of thought and of action, — it is evident 
that there was some force, common to all of them, which 
stirred them to the accomplishment of such great work. 
Gilbert's motto, so well chosen for himself, seems gener- 
ally appropriate for the age. 



The circumstances in which Lady Gilbert and her 
family of young children had been left were deplor- 
able, although Sir Humphrey thought that he had 
made ample provision for them. It appears that he had 
bought the Manor of Mynster in the Isle of Sheppey, 
from Lord Cheyney, and should have made the last pay- 
ment of 1000 marks on July 4, 1583. But before that 
day he had made a pro forma sale of the property to 
Sir Edward Hobey, and had taken a lease from him in 
return. It was proposed that Sir Edward Hobey was 
to default on the last payment to Lord Cheyney, thus 
allowing the property to revert to him, upon the assur- 
ance that Lord Cheyney would sell the property to him 
again for account of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, according 
to the original agreement. The object of this circuitous 
dealing was to enable Sir Humphrey, who had "en- 
tangled the land with dyvers remaynders and uses, to 
avoid those intanglements." But Sir Edward Hobey 
had abused the trust reposed in him, and in Sir Hum- 
phrey's absence had *'onely used the advantage of the 
new assurance (sale or lease) to the defraudinge of the 
lease made by him to Sir Humphrey — and hee no waye 
prejudyced to the value of one pennye." 

"Wherefore the Lady Gilbert moste humbly prayeth 
that she maye enjoye her lease accordinge to the true 
meaninge of the first bergayne, because it is the only 
staye that is lefte her to lyve by in her husband's 

We are not informed of the result of this extraordinary 
transaction, the commercial morality of which appears to 



be so questionable. Lady Gilbert continued in sore 
need of financial assistance, for in 1585, Sir Walter 
Ralegh was moved to interest himself in her behalf, 
and procured for her from Elizabeth "A graunte of all 
such lands in the countie of Kent as Richard Guilford, 
Esquire, was seased of at the time of his departure 
beyond the seas contrarie to a statute made against 
fugitives, with a further graunte to the saide Ladie of 
all the goods, chattels and debts anie way due to the said 
Guylford at his said departure, and that it shall be 
lawful for the said Ladie for the recoverie of the sayd 
goods and debts eyther to sue for ye same in Her 
Maistie's name or in her owne. The goods to have 
forever without anie accompt and the landes for so long 
time as they shall be in Her Majestie's hands. Sub- 
scribed by Mr. Attorney Generall. Procured by Sir 
Walter Ralegh xiij s, iiijd." 

But again peaceful enjoyment of her grant was not 
vouchsafed to her, for a year later, in October 1586, 
complaint was made to the Privy Council that Guilford's 
friends or retainers were trying to dispossess her, one 
"Moyle " having forcibly entered the house. The Privy 
Council directed that steps were to be taken to restore 
quiet possession to her and to maintain her in it. 

Before many years, however, her eldest son John 
succeeded to the title and estates of his uncle Sir John 
Gilbert, who died childless. He also died without issue, 
and in 1608, the estate devolved upon Ralegh Gilbert, 
Sir Humphrey's youngest son, from whom the present 
representatives of the family are descended. John Gil- 
bert the second accompanied his uncle. Sir Walter 
Ralegh, on his ill-fated expedition to Guiana, in 1595. 
After their return he and his uncle fell out over the 
division of profits of a privateering expedition. A copy 
of the letter, somewhat mutilated, which Ralegh wrote 
to him is reprinted in Edward's Life of Ralegh. He 
writes in a very reproachful, satirical strain, accusing 
his nephew of ingratitude. Among other things he 


reminds him that "the seat where you are — (Guilford's 
estate in Kent) that it was not alone for yourself that 
you had it, and that I have yett so many enemies for 
it bothe in courte and countrie. And — howsoever you 
may answer — the world knows well enough what I have 
dun, and will judge you accordingly, both for your 
father, your unkell, and your selfe." . . . He concludes : 
"And for your fortunes otherwise, fear not that I will 
labour to lessen them ; as I will not hereafter look after 
them. And when myne shall be at worst, yet they shal 
never neade your healpe, whatsoever yours have dun 
myne. Your Unkell, Walter Ralegh." 

Even before Sir Humphrey sailed on his last voyage, 
his brother Adrian Gilbert had been plotting in some 
measure to supplant him. Adrian Gilbert is spoken 
of as a doctor of medicine, and is thus described in 
Aubrey's Lives: "He was an excellent chymist and a 
great favourite of Mary, Countess of Pembroke, with 
whom he lived and was her operator. He was a man of 
great parts, but the greatest buffoon in England, cared 
not what he said to man or woman of what quality 
soever. Some curious ladies of our countries have rare 
receipts of his. 'Twas he that made the curious wall 
about Rollington Park at Wilton." He had inherited 
Sandridge from his father, so was early thrown into 
association with that famous scion of this hamlet, John 
Davis. In October 1579, John Dee records that Adrian 
Gilbert and John Davis had reconciled themselves to 
him, having been estranged through the wiles of one 
Emery; in June 1580, they visited him again. The 
object of these visits is not disclosed, but we may pre- 
sume that they were for the purpose of learning whether 
the stars were propitious for some intended undertaking. 

In January 1583, Mr. Secretary Walsingham and 
Adrian Gilbert visited him to discuss the North- West 
Passage and arranged to meet him the next day. At 
this meeting John Davis was present, and again they 
talked in secret of the North- West Passage. On March 6, 


there was another conference, when Adrian Gilbert, John 
Davis, Mr. Alderman Barnes, Mr. Towerson, Mr. Yong, 
and Mr. Hudson again discussed the possibility of a 
passage to Cathay.^ 

No sooner had all hope of the return of Sir Humphrey 
been abandoned, than Adrian Gilbert petitioned the 
Queen for Letters Patent empowering him to organize 
an expedition to seek the North- West Passage. This was 
Sir Humphrey's original idea, but, as we have seen, had 
been abandoned by him for a full colonization scheme. 
Letters Patent were therefore granted on February 6, 
1584, to Adrian Gilbert and his associates, who were to 
be known as "The colleagues of the fellowship for the 
discovery of the Northwest Passage." The original 
petition was in the name of Adrian Gilbert, John Dee, 
and John Davis, and included a request for liberty to 
colonize. A first draft of the Letters Patent substitutes 
Walter Ralegh for John Dee, but the final document, 
as executed, drops the colonization portion and is in the 
name of Adrian Gilbert only. Under this patent John 
Davis made his ever-memorable voyages to the North- 
west. The expeditions were financed chiefly by William 
Saunderson, whose wife was Sir Walter Ralegh's niece, 
being the daughter of his step-sister. Saunderson also 
bore the brunt of the expense of Sir Walter Ralegh's 
expeditions, being at one time security for him for over 
;^ 1 00,000. 

While Adrian Gilbert was thus prompt to take up 
one portion of Sir Humphrey's plans, Walter Ralegh 
was equally eager to appropriate another. The date of 
the expiry of Sir Humphrey's patent was June 11, 1584, 
but it must have been realized at once that there was 
no possibility for exercising the rights under the patent 
in the short time that remained. All Sir Humphrey's 
sub-leases became invalid with his patent; and Sir Philip 
Sidney, Sir George Peckham, Sir Thomas Gerrard, John 

^ Could this by any chance have been Henry Hudson? 


Dee and the Southampton Company had to submit to see 
their dreams of principalities vanish "like the baseless 
fabric of a dream." Sir George Peckham did indeed make 
an endeavour to keep alive interest in Sir Humphrey's 
patent, and as soon as possible after the return of Haies, 
published a pamphlet called "The Western Planting." 
In it he described the country Sir Humphrey had taken 
possession of in the right of the Crown of England, and 
all the benefits that must accrue if his scheme of coloniza- 
tion were carried out. But no action was taken by any 
of the leaseholders, and the patents of Adrian Gilbert 
and Walter Ralegh being issued a few months later, 
finally prevented any pretence of claim being made by 
the leaseholders. One wonders what became of the 
grants issued to the English fishermen in St. John's 
harbour. Doubtless they tried to keep them alive, but 
within a few years, having no legal title, must perforce 
have abandoned them. But seeing that St. John's was 
not settled until some years after other harbours, it is 
possible that claims arising out of Gilbert's grants were 
long maintained. 

Sir Walter Ralegh was now in the heyday of his rela- 
tionship with the Queen, and secured the reversion of Sir 
Humphrey's patent withaut difficulty. His patent was 
signed on March 25, 1584, and is almost word for word an 
exact duplicate of Sir Humphrey's. An important differ- 
ence is, however, worthy of notice. The monopoly of trade 
to the countries discovered is secured to the patentee 
with the exception of "the subjects of our Realmes and 
Dominions, and all other persons in amitie with us, 
trading to the Newfound lands for the fishing, as here- 
tofore they have commonly used." A similar clause to 
this is inserted in the patent granted to John Guy 
and others in 1610, under which the oldest colonial 
settlement now under the Crown of England was 

Walter Ralegh has been acclaimed as the founder of 
England's colonial empire upon the strength of this 


patent, the idea and the very words of which were taken 
direct from Sir Humphrey Gilbert. It was Ralegh's 
privilege to try to carry on his brother's work; he had 
learned his lesson well, had learned to think imperially, 
and saw a vision of Greater Britain. He followed Sir 
Humphrey's plans exactly and also sent harbingers to 
survey the land. Within a month he dispatched two 
barks under Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Bar- 
low, and with them, our former acquaintance Simon 
Ferdinando. Queen Elizabeth offered to defray all 
expenses provided he himself refrained from going. In 
a few months Barlow and Amadas returned telling of 
the charming fertile country they had found and taken 
possession of in the name of Queen Elizabeth, who forth- 
with named it after herself "Virginia." Of Ralegh's 
attempt in the following year to plant a colony in this 
auspiciously named country, of the errors made in the 
plans and the selection of colonists, of the estrangement 
of the natives by Grenville, and the abandonment of the 
colony the next year we need not tell. In 1587, another 
colony was sent out and left in the country. The Com- 
mander of the expedition was Captain John White and 
our old friend Simon Ferdinando the "continuall pilot." 
The account of this voyage says, the "all knowing Fer- 
dinando" did what he could to bring the voyage to 
confusion, and our last record of him is that he "with 
much adoe at last arrived at Portsmouth." A new school 
of navigators had evidently arisen. 

The coming of the Armada made it impossible to send 
succour to the little band of colonists the next year, and 
so in spite of continued efforts to reach them on the part 
of Ralegh, they were perforce abandoned and were 
murdered by the native Indians. 

Ralegh was able to carry the experiment a little 
further than Gilbert, and his failure was proportionately 
greater. As a consequence of this second failure colon- 
ization was dropped for nearly twenty years. It is 
evident that the country was not ready for it, the very 


novelty of the idea bred suspicion and fear in the people 
with whom the experiment was tried, and inclined them 
to be half-hearted in their attempts to overcome the first 
obstacles. It took just a generation from the time when 
Gilbert first sought and obtained his patent, to the first 
permanent establishment of the English people in the 
New World. 

Gilbert's programme found able advocates in Sir 
George Peckham and Richard Hakluyt. The former 
was very largely interested in trying to keep Gilbert's 
patent alive, seeing that he held such an extensive sub- 
lease under it. The pamphlet written by him, referred 
to above, was reprinted twice by Hakluyt, and no doubt 
had considerable influence in familiarizing the rising 
generation with the idea. Hakluyt himself never ceased 
to preach from this his favourite text. He religiously 
collected all the information available about the new 
countries and interviewed every traveller. He, a second 
time, had some intention of going himself to see the 
promised land. Writing to Walsingham from Paris on 
January 7, 1584, he says: "And now because I know 
this present enterprise is like soon to wax cold and fall 
to the ground unless in this second voyage all diligence 
in searching out every hope of gain be used, and calling 
to mind that your Honor made a motion heretofore unto 
me whether I could be contented to go myself into the 
action, these are to put your Honor out of doubt, that 
for mine own part I am most willing to go now in the 
same, this present setting forth, and in the service of 
God and my country to employ all my ample observa- 
tions, reading, and reference whatsoever." Why this 
offer was not accepted is not told. 

On April i he wrote again, this time strongly recom- 
mending the foundation of a* School for Navigation in 
England. "In my simple judgement it would be the 
best hundred punds bestowed, that was bestowed these 
five hundred years in England." He had received the 
support of Sir Francis Drake and the promise of a 


yearly subscription from that renowned navigator. He 
wrote again on the 7th complaining that the promise 
which had been made him of a prebendary at Bristol 
had not been fulfilled, and reminded Walsingham of 
all he had done to further the Western discoveries. He 
also referred to a book he had written in support of this 
design, with which the Queen had been greatly pleased. 
This was no doubt his own Discourse of Western Plant- 
ings which he modestly left out of his own publications, 
although it is considerably the most learned and able 
document on the subject, of the age. It remained in 
obscurity for nearly 300 years, when a manuscript copy 
of it was discovered and published by the Maine His- 
torical Society (1877). The advantages of colonization 
are fully argued. First, as became a preacher, he urged 
the conversion of the heathen. He then dwelt upon all 
the advantages of commerce with the new world. Of 
Newfoundland he wrote enthusiastically, quoting Peck- 
ham and Parmenius. Besides the great wealth of the 
fisheries, he stated that pitch, tar, resin, soap-ashes, 
masts for vessels and rich furs could be obtained from 
there. He took an idea from the author of " How Her 
Majestie may annoye the King of Spain," and pointed 
out how easy it would be to sweep the Spanish fishing 
fleet from those seas and thus deal Spain a paralysing 
blow. As to the fishery, he instanced that the French 
often made two trips to the Grand Banks yearly, thus 
making excellent gains. The increase of shipping would 
be enormous — "a taste of this increase we have had in 
our own selves by our trade of fishing in Newfoundland." 
But he counselled seeking the more southern fishing- 
grounds off Cape Breton or Nova Scotia, where they 
would be free of ice. Hakluyt also declares England 
to have become overcrowded during the long peace and 
freedom from disease, that the people were ready to eat 
one another up, the trades overcrowded and thousands 
of people idle. Colonization was to improve this con- 
dition of things by transferring some across the seas, 


and finding employment for those left at home by the 
great increase of commerce. 

It is an able presentation of the case, and it is a 
great pity that Hakluyt's contemporaries did not have 
the advantage of studying it. 

In 1585, the King of Spain at last had serious cause 
for annoyance, as Sir Bernard Drake was sent to New- 
foundland to seize the Spanish fishing vessels, and 
returned with a goodly number, containing over 600 
mariners. Sir John Gilbert, in whose charge these 
unfortunates were placed, was instructed that as Her 
Majesty's subjects in Spain had been used in "hard and 
unsufferable strain," the diet of the Spanish mariners 
was to be reduced to threepence per day, and to consist 
principally of salt fish. 

After the defeat of the Armada, the operations of 
British fishermen in Newfoundland waters increased 
apace. In 1594, Ralegh wrote to Robert Cecil, urging 
him to send some armed vessels to protect the fishing- 
fleet returning home from Newfoundland, which he 
estimated at over one hundred ships. "If thos should 
be lost," he wrote, "it would be the greatest blow that 
ever was given to Ingland." 

Voyages had been made within the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence, even as far as Anticosti, in search of whales and 
walrus. Quantities of the latter animals were discovered 
at the Magdalen Islands ; one successful fisherman wrote 
that they yielded an abundance of oil, "which, if it 
will make soap, the King of Spain can burn his olive- 

But except for the unsuccessful voyages for the relief 
of Ralegh's colony, there was no communication with 
the seaboard south of Cape Breton for many years, and 
no further attempt at colonization. 

In 1595, Ralegh sought to rehabilitate himself in the 
graces of Elizabeth by striving to find and win the 
fabled Eldorado, supposed to be situated in Guiana, 
and to exceed in riches either Mexico or Peru. The 
expedition was for conquest and spoils, without any idea 


of colonization. The disastrous result of the second 
attempt to settle in Virginia had disgusted Ralegh with 
the idea. He despised the day of small things, says 
one of his biographers. He therefore made over his 
patent to a company, and for himself desired to rival 
Pizarro and Hernando Cortes. 

The failure' of this expedition sunk Ralegh deeper in 
disgrace, instead of restoring him to favour, as he had 
hoped. But the great idea for which Gilbert gave his 
life was not dead. There still lived one who had been 
intimately associated with him, had adopted in its 
entirety his scheme of political economy, and saw with 
him that England's empire lay upon the seas and across 
the seas. Richard Hakluyt, now Prebendary of West- 
minster, was never tired of propagating this doctrine. 
In 1589, he published his greatest sermon, The Principal 
Navigation^ Voyages^ and Discoveries of the English 

When Ralegh sold out his grant, Hakluyt was one of 
the company to take it over; it is more than likely that 
he was the promoter of the plan. But nothing could be 
achieved in the few remaining years of the life of the 
patent. In 1598, 1599, 1600, he republished his famous 
book, greatly enlarged by the numerous voyages of the 
intervening years. In 1602, was made the next voyage 
to Virginia, under Capt. Gosnoll and Capt. Bartholomew 
Gilbert, sailing from Dartmouth ; but whether this Capt. 
Gilbert was a relative of Sir Humphrey cannot be ascer- 
tained. It was but a voyage of discovery, and was 
completed without misadventure. 

In 1603, "by the inducements and perswasions of 

1 A copy of this book is one of the writer's dearest possessions. It 
is in the original calf binding, now black and shining with the use of 
320 years. Its history, could it be told, would doubtless reveal num- 
berless instances when it has aroused an enthusiasm for exploration 
and adventure, and influenced England's sons to carry her flag yet 
further, to spread to some remoter clime those ideals of liberty, order, 
and justice which have enabled England to hold what her sons have 



Master Richard Hakluite, Master John Whitson being 
Mayor, with his brethren the Aldermen, and most of the 
merchants of the city of Bristow, reised a stock of ;^iooo 
to furnish out two Barkes," to resume once more the 
exploration of America. In 1605, further knowledge of 
the coast was obtained from the voyage of Capt. Wey- 
mouth. The time now seemed ripe for another attempt 
to be made to plant a colony in this latter promised 
land, of which such glowing reports were continually 
received. In 1606, therefore, another colonizing patent 
was issued to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, 
Rich. Hakluyt, Prebendary of Westminster, Edward 
Maria Wingfield, adventurers of London ; and to Thos. 
Hamon, Ralegh Gilbert, Wm. Parker, Geo. Popham, 
and others, adventurers of Plymouth. Licence was 
granted them "to deduce sundry of our people" into 
Virginia and other parts of America between 34° and 
45° N.L. Two colonies were to be planted, the first by 
the Merchant Adventurers of London aforesaid, and the 
second by the Merchant Adventurers of Plymouth. 

The history of the securing of this grant is not forth- 
coming, but we can surmise with safety that it was 
Richard Hakluyt and young Ralegh Gilbert who again 
revived the idea. 

Captain Newport was placed in command of the 
expedition sent out by the London adventurers, and 
succeeded in planting the first colony of Englishmen 
that was to endure. The spiritual affairs of the colony 
were entrusted to Hakluyt, who, however, prudently 
sent a substitute, Mr. Robert Hunt, to officiate for 

The second colony, which was to be planted in the 
northern portion of the companies' limits, was dispatched 
in May 1607, under Captains Popham and Ralegh 
Gilbert. During the winter, which was very severe, 
Captain Popham died, and the command devolved upon 
Captain Gilbert. But news coming from England that 
Sir John Gilbert was dead, Captain Gilbert, who sue- 


ceeded to the estates, was compelled to return to Eng- 
land, and the whole company "finding nothing but 
extreme extremities " in the New World, decided to 
return with him. 

There seemed to be a malign fate attaching to the 
enterprises of the Gilberts and Raleghs. 

At Newfoundland, as has already been stated, the 
fishing operations of the English were greatly increased. 
The setting up of the Arms of England by Humphrey 
Gilbert endorsed the rights derived from Cabot's dis- 
covery and marked it for the English Crown, doubtless 
giving additional reason to the domineering West 
Countrymen for lording it over the fishermen of other 
nations. But no attempt was made to settle in New- 
foundland until 1610. The claim has been made by 
some historians that St. John's had been populated even 
long before Sir Humphrey Gilbert's voyage. Lorenzo 
Sabine, History of American Fisheries, 1853, has been 
quoted in support, as he makes the statement that some 
forty or fifty houses for the accommodation of fishermen 
were built in Newfoundland so early as 1522. This state- 
ment is entirely unsupported, and is, in fact, contradicted 
directly by authentic accounts. It is beyond any question 
a misprint for 1622, and it seems strange that it should 
have been seriously considered. Sir Humphrey's patent 
only authorized him to take possession of and settle 
lands unpossessed of any Christian nation, and Haies. 
when relating their excellent entertainment in that deso- 
late corner of the world, concludes with the statement 
"where at other times of the year, wilde beastes and birds 
have only the fruition of all those countries, which now 
seemed a place very populous and much frequented." 
Thus clearly showing that it was only used as a fishing 
station in summer months. Haies and Peckham both 
assemble arguments to prove that it was habitable ; had 
it been inhabited already, their arguments would have 
been unnecessary. 

Richard Whitbourne, in his Discourse and Discovery 
u 2 


of Newfoundland, 1622, is at great pains to show how 
beneficial it would be for their fishing operations if each 
ship left one-fifth part of her crew to take care of the 
property left behind, and to make ready stages and 
fish flakes for the next summer. One of the harbours 
strongly recommended by him to be thus utilized was 
St. John's. This was a new and original proposition, 
and was urged with great insistence; if there had been 
at that time houses in St. John's and people living in 
them all the year round, he would have surely stated it, 
as he would have needed no other argument to prove its 
feasibility. It is 1626, before we have definite informa- 
tion of any houses erected at St. John's, although, as 
we shall hear later, a portion of Sir Wm. Alexander's 
company, intended for Nova Scotia, wintered there in 
1622-3. In 1627, one William Payne wrote to Catherine, 
Lady Conway, expressing the hope that Lord Conway 
would come in for a proportion in the lot of St. John's, 
Newfoundland, well known to be the chief and prime lot 
in the whole country. Great hope of good commodities 
from thence; some houses having been already built 
there, it would require no great charge to follow. Forty 
years, therefore, had elapsed after Sir Humphrey's 
assumption of sovereignty before St. John's was per- 
manently inhabited. 

But other parts of Newfoundland had been inhabited 
before St. John's. On February 9th, 1609, certain mer- 
chants of London and Bristol, who had been interested 
in the fishing trade to Newfoundland, petitioned the 
Privy Council for letters patent to permit the coloniza- 
tion of the country. The articles submitted by them 
began by stating their confidence that the country was 
habitable in winter, and their reasons for the belief. 
They said that 200 English ships and 6000 fishermen 
annually visited the country, and that if any foreign 
Power were to take possession and fortify it, the loss 
to English trade "would be of more consequence than 
now can be imagined." It was therefore highly import- 


ant that it should be settled by the English, thus secur- 
ing the valuable trade that had been developed. By 
which means also not only would the valuable fisheries 
be very greatly increased, but many other commodities 
of great commercial importance to England would be 
produced by the settlers. They therefore prayed for the 
grant of a portion of the country "never yet inhabited 
by any Christian people." 

These "Articles" were submitted to the Master and 
Wardens of Trinity House, who, after carefully debating 
upon them on February 24, 1609, declared their opinion 
"that people may very well lyve there," and recom- 
mended that the prayer of the petition should be granted. 
Accordingly, on May 2, 16 10, Letters Patent were 
granted to Henry, Earl of Northampton, Keeper of the 
Privy Seal; Sir Lawrence Tanfield, Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer; Sir John Dodderidge; Sir Francis Bacon, 
Solicitor General ; John Slaney ; Humphrey Slaney ; 
John Guy ; Philip Guy, and many others, incorporating 
them under the title of the "Company of Adventurers 
and Planters of the City of London and Bristol for the 
Colony or Plantation of Newfoundland." John Guy, a 
young and enterprising merchant of Bristol, and Hum- 
phrey Slaney, of London, were the leading spirits in 
the Company. They had been engaged in the fisheries 
in Newfoundland, and saw that if they were to be secured 
to the English nation, it was necessary to colonize the 
country. Purchase says that he had in his possession a 
tract written by Guy in 1609, urging the undertaking, 
but no copy of it is now extant. The Patent goes on to 
say : " Being desirous to establish a colony or colonies 
in the southern and eastern parts of Newfoundland, unto 
the coast and harbors whereof our subjects for fifty years 
and upwards yearly used to resort in no small numbers 
to fish, intending to secure the said trade of fishing for 
ever, We being well assured that the lands and countries 
adjoining said coasts where our subjects used to fish 
remain so desolate of inhabitants that scarce any one 


savage person hath in many years been seen in the most 
parts thereof, and well knowing that the same is very 
commodious to us and our dominion, and that by the 
law of nature and nations we may possess ourselves and 
make grant thereof without doing wrong to any other 
Prince or State considering they cannot justly pretend 
any soverignty or right thereto, in respect the same is 
not possessed or inhabited by any Christian or any other 

This preamble is conclusive evidence, first, that Eng- 
lish fishermen had continually fished on the coast of 
Newfoundland for fifty years and more, and, second, 
that, up to that date, no European had settled, or made 
any permanent habitation in the country. The grant 
made lo this company comprised all that portion of the 
country contained between the parallels passing through 
Cape Bonavista on the north, and Cape St. Mary's on 
the west, together with all the lands and islands within 
ten leagues of the coast from 46" to 52° N. Lat. Excep- 
tion is again made, as in Ralegh's Patent, to the rights 
of fishermen, both English and foreign, "who do at 
present or hereafter shall trade to the parts aforesaid for 

Rights of all sorts were conveyed to this Company — 
to the mines and minerals, fishing, huntings and com- 
modities, — ^to make and pass current such coins as may 
be required in Newfoundland, — to punish, pardon and 
to govern. All persons inhabiting the colony or to be. 
born there to become free denizens and natural subjects 
of England. Nothing was left out that could be thought 
of to give power to the Company, and to induce colonists 
to go out and tempt fate in the New World. 

We are surprised to find that Hakluyt was not a share- 
holder in this Company. Nor can there be traced a 
single member who was interested with Gilbert, Ralegh, 
or the Virginia Company. They were apparently chiefly 
merchants who had been engaged in the Newfound- 
land fisheries, and therefore readily supported Guy's 


Among the Company will be first noticed the great 
Lord Bacon, then Solicitor General. His influence at 
Court was not great at that time. In spite of many 
efforts to ingratiate himself, James held him at arm's 
length, and it was not until after Sir Robert Cecil's 
death in 1612, that he gained the ear of the King. But 
while he may have been unable to exercise any influence 
in the securing of the charter of Guy's Company, it is 
more than probable that he drafted it, and that its wise 
provisions are owing to his penetration and forethought. 
His counsels no doubt occasioned the selection of fit 
and proper persons as colonists, and it is not improbable 
that John Guy received from him, viva voce, his first 
speculations on Plantations^ if not, indeed, a MS. copy 
of that wise little essay. As it was not included in the 
first edition of the Essays in 1597, but first appeared in 
the second edition, 1612, it is reasonable to conclude that 
it was the direct outcome of his meditations upon the 
proposed colony in Newfoundland. 

One can imagine how the noble Ralegh, now under- 
going his fifteen years' imprisonment, chafed at his 
chains when he saw others taking up, and bringing to 
a successful issue, the designs of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 
in which he himself had made such a dismal failure. 
But colonization had ceased to occupy his attention. 
His case was desperate, and needed a more powerful 
remedy than such kudos as could be obtained by the 
slow and doubtful process of colonization. 

He still dreamed of El Dorado, and continually 
begged that he be set at liberty and allowed once more 
to go in search of it. Finally, James's cupidity was 
aroused, and the old eagle was again set free to seek for 
prey, once more to meet disaster and disappointment; 
and again to return and give himself up to captivity, 
from which the headsman's axe was to release him at 

But to return to Guy's Colony. As he was familiar 
with the country, and had instigated the enterprise, 
he was chosen to lead the little band of settlers who 


were again to attempt the colonization of Newfound- 

Some time in the spring of 1610, they set out, and, 
reaching the coast of Newfoundland in safety, took up 
their abode in Cowper's or Cuper's Cove, in Conception 
Bay. In process of time this name has been converted 
into Cupid's, by pure inadvertence, we are assured, and 
not on account of any amorous proclivities among the 

It was a beautiful little bay sheltered from the north 
and east, well wooded, with two rivers falling into it, 
and with excellent fishing grounds in close prox- 

That this was the first settlement in Newfoundland 
we have the evidence of several contemporary witnesses. 
The first of these is Sir William Alexander, who issued 
his little tract. An Encouragement to Colonies^ in 1624. 
Speaking of Newfoundland, he says : ** The first houses 
for a habitation were built in Cupids Cove within the 
Bay of Conception, where people did dwell for sundrie 
yeares together, and some well satisfied both for pleasure 
and profit are dwelling there still." He also furnishes 
us with the first record of any one spending the winter 
in St. John's. The first ship that he sent to take pos- 
session of his grant in Nova Scotia was late in getting 
out. Returning, they put into St. John's, where part 
of the company decided to stay, sending the ship back 
to England. Some of these people took service with the 
fishermen arriving at St. John's in the spring of 1623, 
and refused to go on to Nova Scotia in the vessel shortly 
after arriving from Sir William Alexander. It is very 
probable that the people who separated themselves from 
Sir William Alexander's colony remained at St. John's, 
and thus made the first permanent settlement there. The 
Bristol Company made a second settlement at Bristol's 
Hope (Harbour Grace) soon after that at Cupid's. A 
third attempt was made at Trepassey, with Welshmen 
as colonists, under the command of the eccentric Sir 


William Vaughan, but failed miserably. He was, how- 
ever, still full of the idea, and in his fantastic book. The 
Golden Fleece J published 1626, urged the colonization 
of Newfoundland. He several times stated that "John 
Guy, Alderman of Bristol, was the first Christian that 
planted and wintered in that Island, establishing 
an English colony at Cuper's Cove in Conception 
Bay." Vaughan was certainly acquainted with every 

Guy himself bears evidence to his claim of first settler. 
In his first letter to the Company, May 16, 161 1, he 
tells how he disproved by his own experience the doubt 
which had been entertained whether Newfoundland was 
habitable during the winter; and that many fishermen, 
"seeing their safety," had become in love with the 
country, and intended to settle in it. 

The little settlement of Cupid's still survives, as a 
humble fishing hamlet. It has been outstripped in the 
race in Newfoundland, and all around it are more 
flourishing villages; but it has a claim to notice which 
is unique, for it is the oldest colonial settlement now 
within the bounds of Greater Britain. Virginia and the 
New England colonies antedated it, but they are no 
longer within the empire. Quebec was also settled two 
years earlier, but the credit of it belongs to France. Sir 
George Somers was wrecked on the Bermudas in 1609, 
and remained there until 1610, when he went on to 
Virginia with all his company save three men who 
elected to remain behind; but it was not until 161 2 that 
a charter was granted authorizing the planting of a 
colony in Bermuda. 

Newfoundland was discovered by the first English 
sailors to cross the Atlantic Ocean, was formally taken 
possession of by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, and 
contains the oldest colonial settlement in the empire. 
It has therefore a triple reason for its title of the Most 
Ancient Colony of Newfoundland. 

Thus after many days was consummated the project 


which Sir Humphrey Gilbert first proclaimed, to which 
he devoted his life and fortune, and in the execution of 
which death overtook him. 

Such was the beginning of Greater Britain, — is the 
end in sight ? 

The rise of the British Empire has been accomplished; 
further expansion is undesirable, perhaps impossible; 
must we now watch its decline and fall ? Will Great 
Britain become a lesser Britain, and will Greater Britain 
cease to exist ? These are the most important questions 
a Britisher can ask himself to-day. For it is evident 
we are at the parting of the ways. Elements of disinte- 
gration are plainly noticeable in many parts of the 
Empire. Destiny seems to be gradually forcing from 
the Empire some of its most important parts, against 
their will and in spite of their protestations of loyalty. 

A continuation of the present " laissez-faire " policy 
will undoubtedly end in dissolution. It is imperative 
that a constructive policy should be formulated, if we 
wish to preserve intact this Great Empire which our 
forefathers have bequeathed to us. 

Can we not with advantage adopt Humphrey Gilbert's 
motto, ''Quid iVon," and ask. Why not a closer Federa- 
tion? Why not a Federal Parliament and Federal 
Laws ? Why not a Federal Defence Force ? Why not 
the Imperial Federation of Greater Britain ? 


Addleshaw, Percy, 198, 200 
Ager, Anne, 74. See also Gilbert, 
Lady Anne 

, Sir Anthony, 74 

Aid worth, Thomas, 210 
Alexander VI, Pope, 4 

, Sir William, 292 

Allen, the Jesuit, 186 

, Dr., 191, 192 

Alva, Duke of, 85, 86, 92, 94, 95 
Amadas, Captain Philip, 285 
Amundsen, Captain Roald, 64 
Andrews, Captain William, 226 
Anne Ager (ship), 148, 149, 162, 

163, 183 
Archer (Ager), William, 201 
Ardenburgh, 88 
Arundel, Charles, 147 

, Sir Matthew, 147 

Ascham, Roger, 26, 29-30, 113-4, 

Ashley, Mrs. Katherine, 25-30, 
32, 54 

, William, 25 

Avila, 96 

k Wood, Anthony, 18 

Axminster, 12 


" Babees Book, The " 1 1 1 
Baccaloes Island, 231 
Bacon, Lord Francis, 204, 205, 

, Sir Nicholas, 112 

Baffin, 64 
Baltimore, 200 
Barckham, Lawrence, 147 
Barlow, Arthur, 285 
Barnes, Alderman, 283 

Barros, John, 195 

Bartley, Edward, 147 

Battes, William, 196 

Bergen- op-Zoom, 96 

Bermuda, 297 

Borington, 12 

Bowiar, Simon, 147 

Bramford, Oliver, 163 

Briceno, Abbot, 192 

Brill, 84, 86 

Bristol Company, 290, 292-5, 

Brixham, 11 
Brixhampton, 12 
Browne (sailor), 194 

, Captain Maurice, 226, 255, 

Bruges, 88 
Burleigh, William Cecil, Lord, 

51, 80, 81, 90, 92, 93, 96, 97, 

126, 205, 209 
Burrough, Stephen, 57 
Butler, Sir Edward, 43 

, Captain, 226 

Button, 64 
Bylot, 64 

Cabot, John, 3, 240 

, Sebastian, 3, 56-7, 62, 122, 

Cade, Master, 226 
Camden, Richard, 58, 78, 100, 

126, 276 
Campion, the Jesuit, 186, 188 
Capelin, Mr., 210 
Carew, Sir Gawen, 14, 17 
, Sir Peter, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 

19, 42-3 

Family, 13 

Carey, Sir George, 188 




Carlile, Mr., 210, 211 
Carlisle, Mr., 121 
Carrowe, George, 147 
Cartier, Jacques, 11, 230 
Cathay, 59,69,71,72, 124 
Cecil, Sir William. See Burleigh 
Centurini, 4 

Champernoun, Sir Arthur, 13, 16, 

, Charles, 147 

, Gabrielle, 13 

, Gawen, 13 

, Henry, 100 

, Sir Philip, 1 1 

Family, 13 

Chancellor, 57 
Cheyney, Lord, 280 
China, trade with, 63 
Churchyard, Thomas (poet), 49- 

50, 51, loi, 153, 154, 172 
Clarke, Richard, 226, 261-6 
Collinson, 64 

Columbus, Christopher, 122 
" Company of Kathai, The" 126 
Compton, William, 10 
Castle, lo-ii, 12, 18,20-2, 

Conway, Catherine Lady, 292 
Coo, Christopher, 6 
Cooke, John, 185 
Cornewoode, 12 
Cotton, Mr., 147 

, Master, 240 

Cowper's Cove. See Cupid's Cove 
Cox, William, 226, 257, 258, 266 
Crooke, Master, 240 
Cuba, Island of, 142, 143 
Cupid's Cove, 296-297 


Daniel, Mr., 259, 267 
Davis, John, 11, 64, 282, 283 

. Robert, 226 

De Guaras, 85, 86, 97 

Dee, Dr. John, 109-10, 131, 132, 

149, 184, 185, 196, 210, 283, 

Z>^//^/2/ (ship), 225, 234, 255, 258- 

Dennys, Sir Thomas, 17, 155 
Derifall, Mr., 158 
Desmond, Earl of, 52 

"Discourse of a North- West 

Passage," 58, 59-65, 102-9 
Drake, Sir Bernard, 288 

, Sir Francis, 183, 184, 286 

Drewry, Sir William, 163 

, St. Drew, 163 

Dudley, John, 147 
, Thomas, 147 

Eden, Richard, 55, 56, 67-8 

Edmondes, Mr., 147 

Edward, Mr., 147 

Elizabeth, Queen, 24-33, 43, 51, 
57, 58, 76-80, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 
95, 98, 123, 126, 185-6, 213, 
275, 285 

Ellis, Sir H., no 

Eltoft, Edmund, 147, 155, 157 

Enghsh, Captain William, 258 

Exeter, 14, 15 

Falcon (ship), 148, 150, 196 
Fenton, Captain, 127 
Ferdinando, Simon, 150, 151, 152, 

196, 285 
FitzMaurice, James, 44, 48, 51, 

158, 159 
Fleetwood, Tj 
Florida, 55 
Flushing, 85-94 
Fogaza, Antonio, 95, 97 
Fortescue, 157 
Fox, 64 

Frances (ship), 158 
Frobisher, Martin, 64, 123, 126, 

127, 129, 151, 152 
Froude, 127, 279 

Galicia, 160-1, 165 
Gallion (ship), 149 
Galmeton, 12 
Gammage, Barbara, 198 
Gardiner, Bishop, 24, 25 
Garrystown, 45 

Gascoigne (poet), 59, 60, 74-5, Z^, 
100, loi, 102-4 



Gdtes, Sir Thomas, 290 

George (ship), 226 

Gerrard, Mr. Gilbert, 153 

, Sir Gilbert, 189 

, Sir Thomas, 185, 187, 189, 

190, 192, 198, 201, 283 

Gibbons, 64 

Gifford, Mr., 188 

Gilbert, Adrian, 11, 12, 147, 282, 

, Lady Anne, 75, 160, 201, 

278, 280-281. See also 

, Anthony, 75 

, Arthur, 75 

, Captain Bartholomew, 289 

, Geoffrey, 10 

, Sir Humphrey: birth, 11- 

13 ; family, 10-17 ; boy- 
hood, 17-20 ; at Court, 24- 
32 ; at Newhaven, 32-5 ; 
in Ireland, 36-53 ; "N.W. 
Passage, 54-73 ; marriage, 
74 ; appearance, 74 ; in the 
Netherlands, 83-101 ; Dis- 
course of a N.W. Passage, 
102-10; "Queen Eliza- 
beth's Academy," 1 10-19; 
preparations, 120-44; ex- 
pedition of, 1578, 145-82; 
expedition against James 
FitzMaurice, 159-65 ; ex- 
pedition to Galicia, 160-1, 
165 ; expedition to New- 
foundland, 183-271 ; will, 
201-3 ; death, 271 ; char- 
acter, 275-9 

', Humphrey (junior), 75 

, Isabella, 12 

, Jane, 10 

, John, 1 1, 12, 60, 75, 281 

, Sir John, 75, i47, i55, i57, 

201, 271, 281, 288 

, Katherine, 11, 12, 13, 15 

, Otis, 12 

, Otto, lo-ii, 12, 75 

, Ralegh, 75, 281, 290 

, Rev. Walter R., 214 

, William, 1 1 

Glencarne, Earl of, 46, 51 
Golden Hind (ship), 226, 227, 229, 

255, 265-6 
Gosnoll, Captain, 289 

Greenway, 11, 12, 18, 22-3, 75 
Grenville, Sir Richard, 42, 121 
Grenville family, 13-14 
Guilbert, Guillaume, 11 
Guilford, Richard, 281 
Guy, John, 293, 295, 297 
Guy's Colony, 295 


Haies, Captain Edward, 8, 147, 

223, 225, 226, 227, 229, 230-47, 

Hakluyt, Richard, i, 5, 193, 195, 

198, 210, 223-5, 247, 260-1, 286, 

Hall, Captain, 64, 127 
Hammond, Thomas, 147, 290 
Hansford, 11, 12 
Harbour Grace, 55, 296 
Harrisse, Henri, 5, 61 
Hatfield, 29 

Hatton, Sir Christopher, 209 
Havre, 55 

Hawkins, John, 58, 75, 127, 193, 

, William, 54, 147, 155 

Hawkridge, 64 
Hayes, 18 
Henry VII, 122 

VIII, 3, 4, 6 

Hispaniola Island, 142, 143 
Hobey, Sir Edward, 280 
Holbeame (pirate), 154 
Hooker, John, 155 
Hope of Greenway (ship), 148, 

Hore, 5, 58 

Horsey, Sir Edward, 147 
"How Hir Majesty may annoy 

the King of Spain," no, 127- 

Howard, Lord Edmund, 4 
Hower, Edmund, 277 
Hudson, 64, 283 
Hunt, Robert, 290 

Ingram, David, 56, 193, 194, I95, 

196, 205 
Ipplepen, 12 
Ireland, 36-53, 72-3 




James I, 200 

Jenkinson, Anthony, 57, 62, 73 
Jonson, Ben, in 


Kelligrew, Henry, 153 
Kilkenny, 50 
Kilmallock, 44, 45, 50 
Knockfergus, 50 
Knowles, Sir Francis, 209 
Knowles, Henry, 150, 153, 154, 
156, 158, 183 

Labrador, 230 
Le Moyne, 55 
Leicester, Robert Dudley, Earl of, 

79, 80, 81, 90, 126, 151, 209, 213 
Letters Patent for Colonization, 

145-6, 165-71 
Limehouse, 75 
Lisbury, 12 


Mackwilliam, Mr., 147 

Marledon, 12 

Martin, Vice-Admiral, 67 

, William, 147 

Mary, Queen, 25, 31, 57, 115 

Mary (ship), 1 57 

Mary Guildford (ship), 4 

McClure, 64 

Meadley, 80, 81, 82 

Medici, Catherine de, 95 

Melandez, Pero, 189 

Mendoza, Bernardino de, 150-65, 

183-4, 189-200 
Merchant adventurers, 57, 68, 

71-2, 120, 125, 206-10, 290 
Minster, 75, 280 
Mohan, Will, 147 
Mondragon, 96, 97 
Montgomerie, County, Z2> 
More, McCarthy, 44 
Morgan, Captain Miles, 150, 155, 
156, 158 

, Thomas, 85, 95, 147 

Motley, 99 
Mowell, Henry, 147 

Mullingar, 43 

Munster, 42-3, 46, 50, 51 

Muscovy, 208, 210, 211 


Newfoundland, 235-53, 287, 291 

Newhaven, 33, 34, 55, 56, 86 
Newport, 290 
North, Lord, 147 

Offewell, 12 

O'Neil, Shan, 38, 39 

Orange, William of, 84, 94, 97, 

98, 99, 151 
Oxenham, John, 153 

Pacheco, Pedro, 89, 95 
Parker, Archbishop, 85 

, W^illiam, 290 

Parkhurst, Anthony, 8, 58, 210, 

235, 252 
Parma, Margaret of, 83 
Parmenius,Stephanus(poet), 216- 

22,225, 247-51, 259 
Parr, Katherine, 27 
Parrott, Sir John, 52, 162 
Parry, Mr., 27 
Parsons, the Jesuit, 186 
Paul, John, 257, 258 
Payne, William, 292 
Peckham, Sir Edmund, 187 

, Sir George, 121, 147, 185- 

92, 195-201, 216, 252, 283, 
284, 286 

, Lady, 187, 188, 189 

Pembroke, Countess of, 199 
Penguin Island, 230-1, 248 
Penkevell, Philip, 12, 19 
Pert, Sir Thomas, 3 
Philip of Spain, 16-17 
Plague, 34 

Plymouth, 12, 75-6, 120, 290 
Pope, Sir Thomas, 31 
Popham, George, 290 
Prest, Agnes, 15 
Prideaux, Sergeant, 1 1 5 
Prince Society, 8 
Prowse, Judge D. W., 6 



Purchase, 293 
Pyckeringe, Morice, il 
Pyckman, 90, 91, 92 

Quebec, 297 

" Queen Elizabeth's Academy," 
1 10-19 


Radford, Lawrence, 147 

Ralegh, Carew, 13, 147, 150 

, George, n 

, Margaret, 13 

, Sir Walter, 1 1, 13, 32, 52, 74, 

86, 99-101, 147 150, 155, 
282, 284-6, 288-9, 295 

, Walter (senior), 13, 14, 17 

Ralegh (ship), 226-7 

Randolphe, Colonel Edward, 39 

Red Lyon (ship), 148, 150 

Renaud, The Spanish Ambas- 
sador, 24 

Reux, Count de, 88 

Reynolds, Mr., 149 

Ribault, Jean, 55, 67, 189, 191 

Rising in the W^est, 14 

Robartes, John, 155 

Rodford, John, 147 

Romero, Juliano, 89 

Rossetti, W. M., 113 

Rowsell, WiUiam, 197 

Rudgway, Mr., 147 

Rut, John, 4-5 

Sabine, Lorenzo, 291 
Sable Island, 256 
St. Bartholomew's Day, 94, 95 
St. John's, 233-4, 237-9, 241, 242, 
254, 256, 268, 284, 291, 292, 296 
St. Lawrence River, 1 1 
St. Leger, Sir Warham, 42 
Salvaterra, 62 
San Domingo, 142, 143 
Sandridge, 11 
Santa Cruz, Alonzo de, 7 
Sara, Saras, 96. See also t'Zaareets 
Saunderson, William, 283 
Secy, Mr., 196 

Sellinger, Sir Warram, 164 
Semley, 12 

Seymour, Lord Thomas, 8, 27 
Shute, Captain, 45, 46 
Sidney, Sir Henry, 36-7, 38, 39, 
165, 197, 209, 275 

, Sir Philip, 48, 49, 191, 192 

193, 197-200, 209, 225, 283 

, Robert, 198 

Slaney, Humphrey, 293 

Sluys, 88, 92 

Smyth, Sir Thomas, 80, 82, 147 

Snelling, Edward, 147 

Somers, Sir George, 290, 297 

Somerset, Lord Protector, 27 

Soubourg, 90, 94 

South Beveland, Island of, 94 

Southampton Company, 284 

Spectator, 9 

Squirrel (ship), 9, 149, 150, 183, 

Stafford, Earl of, 197 
Stockwell, Mr., 150, 151 
Stoner, Mr., 185 
Stow, John, 32 
Stukeley, Thomas, 68, 115, 123, 

Sussex, Earl of, 209 
Swallow (ship), 149, 150, 226, 

230-3, 255 

Tergoes, 89, 94-101 
Thevett, Andrew, 56, 195 
Thomond, Earl of, 51 
Towerson, Mr., 283 
Trepassey, 296 
Tusser Thomas, 20 
T wide (sailor), 194 
Tyrwhit, Lady, 27 
t'Zaareets, 87, 88, 93, 99 

Ulster Colony, 90-2 
Umpton, Henry, 250 
Upnor, 58 
Upton, John, 147 

Vidame de Chartres, 56 
Villegagnon, 55, 67 
Virginia, 284-6, 289, 297 




Walchern, Island of, 94 
Walet, Mr., 147 
Walker, John, 195, 196, 205 
Walsingham, Sir Francis, 126, 

159,165,189,190, 192, 194,206, 

210, 211, 215 
Warckhope, Mr., 147 
Ward, Captain, 44, 46 
Warwick, Earl of, 34, 209 
Warwick Hospital, 79 
Wentworth, Peter, 'j'j 
Weymouth, Captain, 64, 290 
Whitbourne, Richard, 240, 241, 

White, Captain John, 285 

Wigmore, Mr., 147, 158 
Williams, Sir Roger, 87, 89, 90, 

Willoughby, 57 
Wingfield, Edward M., 290 
Winter, Captain William, 226 
Wolborough, 12 
Wormwood, Earl of, 163 
Wraye, Robert, 147 
Wyatt, Sir Hugh, 16, 24 

Yong, Mr., 283 

Zara, 87. See also t'Zaareets 


Richard Clay ^ Sons, Limited, London and Bungay. 



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