THE NORTHEAST PASSAGE
Too Long; Didn't ReadLater in Henry the eighth’s reign, in 1527, a larger expedition, composed of “divers cunning men,” set out for Northern discovery, but with no more satisfactory results. Their enterprise was impelled by the weighty reasoning of Robert Thorne, the observant Bristol merchant, then in Seville (whom Hakluyt terms a “notable member and ornament of his country”), in his “large discourse” of that year to Dr. Ley, the English ambassador in Spain, urging the immediate need of English discovery in the north parts, “even to the North pole,” to overcome the advantages gained by Spain and Portugal in their discoveries of “all the Indies and seas Occidental and Oriental,” so “by this part of the Orient and Occident” compassing the world. Who were the “divers cunning men” composing this expedition Hakluyt endeavoured to ascertain through much enquiry among “such as by their years and delight in Navigation” might inform him. He learned, however, of one only, and his name he could not get—a certain canon of St. Paul’s in London, 97a “great mathematician, and indued with wealth,” apparently the leader. Two “fair ships” formed the squadron, one of them called “The Dominus Vobiscum.” They set forth out of the Thames on a mid-May day. When sailing “far northwestward” one of the ships was cast away as it entered into “a dangerous gulph about the great opening between the North parts of Newfoundland and the country lately called by her Majestie Meta Incognita.” Thereupon the other ship, “shaping her course toward Cape Briton and the coaste of Arambec, and oftentimes putting their men on land to search the state of those regions, returned home about the beginning of October.” So this story lamely ends.