A Note made by me Michael Lok the elder, touching the Strait of Sea, commonly called Fretum Anian, in the South Sea, through the North-west passage of Meta incognita.
When I was at Venice, in Aprill 1596. happily arrived there an old man, about threescore yeares of age, called commonly Juan de Fuca, but named properly Apostolos Valerianos, of Nation a Greeke, borne in the Iland Cefalonia, of profession a Mariner, and an ancient Pilot of Shippes. This man being come lately out of Spaine, arrived first at Ligorno, and went thence to Florence in Italie, where he found one John Dowglas, an Englishman, a famous Mariner, ready comming for Venice, to be Pilot of a Venetian Ship, named Ragasona for England, in whose company they came both together to Venice. And John Dowglas being well acquainted with me before, he gave me knowledge of this Greeke Pilot, and brought him to my speech: and in long talke and conference betweene us, in presence of John Dowglas: this Greeke Pilot declared in the Italian and Spanish languages, thus much in effect as followeth.
First he said, that he had bin in the West Indies of Spaine by the space of fortie yeeres, and had sailed to and from many places thereof, as Mariner and Pilot, in the service of the Spaniards.
Also he said, that he was in the Spanish Shippe, which in returning from the Ilands, Philippinas and China, towards Nova Spania, was robbed and taken at the Cape California, by Captaine Candish Englishman, whereby he lost sixtie thousand Duckets, of his owne goods.
Also he said, that he was Pilot of three small Ships which the Vizeroy of Mexico sent from Mexico, armed with one hundred men, Souldiers, under a Captain, Spaniards, to discover the Straits of Anian, along the coast of the South-Sea, and to fortifie in that Strait, to resist the passage and proceedings of the English Nation, which were feared to passe through those Straits into the South Sea. And that by reason of a mutinie which happened among the Souldiers, for the Sodomie of their Captaine, that Voyage was overthrowne, and the Ships returned backe from California coast to Nova Spania, without any effect of thing done in that Voyage. And that after their returne, the Captaine was at Mexico punished by justice.
Also he said, that shortly after the said Voyage was so ill ended, the said Viceroy of Mexico, sent him out againe Anno 1592. with a small Caravela, and a Pinnace, armed with Mariners onely, to follow the said Voyage, for discovery of the same Straits of Anian, and the passage thereof, into the Sea which they call the North Sea, which is our North-west Sea. And that he followed his course in that Voyage West and North-west in the South Sea, all alongst the coast of Nova Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North America (all which Voyage hee signified to me in a great Map, and a Sea-card of mine owne, which I laied before him) untill hee came to the Latitude of fortie seven degrees, and that there finding that the Land trended North and North-east, with a broad Inlet of Sea, betweene 47. and 48. degrees of Latitude: hee entred thereinto, sayling therein more then twentie dayes, and found that Land trending still sometime North-west and North-east, and North, and also East and South-eastward, and very much broader Sea then was at the said entrance, and that hee passed by divers Ilands in that sayling. And that at the entrance of this said Strait, there is on the North-west coast thereof, a great Hedland or Iland, with an exceeding high Pinacle, or spired Rocke, like a piller thereupon.
Also he said, that he went on Land in divers places, and that he saw some people on Land, clad in Beasts skins: and that the Land is very fruitfull, and rich of gold, Silver, Pearle, and other things, like Nova Spania.
And also he said, that he being entred thus farre into the said Strait, and being come into the North Sea already, and finding the Sea wide enough every where, and to be about thirtie or fortie leagues wide in the mouth of the Straits, where hee entred; hee thought he had now well discharged his ofiice, and done the thing which he was sent to doe: and that hee not being armed to resist the force of the Salvage people that might happen, hee therefore set sayle and returned homewards againe towards Nova Spania, where hee arrived at Acapulco, Anno 1592. hoping to be rewarded greatly of the Viceroy, for this service done in this said Voyage.
Also he said, that after his comming to Mexico, hee was greatly welcommed by the Viceroy, and had great promises of great reward, but that having sued there two yeares time, and obtained nothing to his content, the Viceroy told him, that he should be rewarded in Spaine of the King himselfe very greatly, and willed him therefore to goe into Spaine, which Voyage hee did performe.
Also he said, that when he was come into Spaine, he was greatly welcommed there at the Kings Court, in wordes after the Spanish manner, but after long time of suite there also, hee could not get any reward there neither to his content. And that therefore at the length he stole away out of Spaine, and came into Italie, to goe home againe and live among his owne Kindred and Countrimen, he being very old.
Also he said, that hee thought the cause of his ill reward had of the Spaniards, to bee for that they did understand very well, that the English Nation had now given over all their voyages for discoverie of the North-west passage, wherefore they need not feare them any more to come that way into the South Sea, and therefore they needed not his service therein any more.
Also he said, that in regard of this ill reward had of the Spaniards, and understanding of the noble minde of the Queene of England, and of her warres maintayned so valiantly against the Spaniards, and hoping that her Majestie would doe him justice for his goods lost by Captaine Candish, he would bee content to goe into England, and serve her Majestie in that voyage for the discoverie perfectly of the North-west passage into the South Sea, and would put his life into her Majesties hands to performe the same, if shee would furnish him with onely one ship of fortie tunnes burden and a Pinnasse, and that he would performe it in thirtie dayes time, from one end to the other of the Streights. And he willed me so to write into England.
And upon this conference had twise with the said Greeke Pilot, I did write thereof accordingly into England unto the right honourable the old Lord Treasurer Cecill, and to Sir Walter Raleigh, and to Master Richard Hakluyt that famous Cosmographer, certifying them hereof by my Letters. And in the behalfe of the said Greeke Pilot, I prayed them to disburse one hundred pounds of money, to bring him into England with my selfe, for that my owne purse would not stretch so wide at that time. And I had answere hereof by Letters of friends, that this action was very well liked, and greatly desired in England to bee effected; but the money was not readie, and therefore this action dyed at that time, though the said Greeke Pilot perchance liveth still this day at home in his owne Countrie in Cefalonia, towards the which place he went from me within a fortnight after this conference had at Venice.
And in the meane time, while I followed my owne businesse in Venice, being in Law suit against the Companie of Merchants of Turkie, and Sir John Spencer their Governour in London, to recover my pension due for my office of being their Consull at Aleppo in Turkie, which they held from me wrongfully. And when I was (as I thought) in a readinesse to returne home into England, for that it pleased the Lords of her Majesties honourable Privie Counsell in England, to looke into this Cause of my Law suit for my reliefe; I thought that I should be able of my owne purse to take with me into England the said Greeke Pilot. And therefore I wrote unto him from Venice a Letter, dated in July 1596. which is copied hereunder.
And I sent the said Letter from Venice to Zante, in the ship Cherubin. And shortly after I sent a copie thereof in the ship Mynyon. And also a third copie thereof by Manea Orlando Patron de Nave Venetian. And unto my said Letters he wrote mee answere to Venice by one Letter which came not to my hands. And also by another Letter which came to my hands, which is copied here-under.
And the said Letter came to my hands in Venice, the 16. day of November, 1596. but my Law suite with the Companie of Turkie was not yet ended, by reason of Sir John Spencers suite made in England at the Queenes Court to the contrarie, seeking onely to have his money discharged which I had attached in Venice for my said pension, and thereby my owne purse was not yet readie for the Greeke Pilot.
And neverthelesse, hoping that my said suite would have shortly a good end; I wrote another Letter to this Greeke Pilot from Venice, dated the 20. of November, 1596. which came not to his hands. And also another Letter, dated the 24. of Januarie 1596. which came to his hands. And thereof he wrote me answere, dated the 28. of May, 1597. which I received the first of August 1597. by Thomas Norden an English Merchant yet living in London, wherein he promised still to goe with me into England, to performe the said voyage for discoverie of the North-west passage into the South Sea, if I would send him money for his charges according to his former writing, without the which money, he said he could not goe, for that he said he was undone utterly, when he was in the ship Santa Anna, which came from China, and was robbed at California. And yet againe afterward I wrote him another Letter from Venice, whereunto he wrote me answere, by a Letter written in his Greeke language, dated the 20. of October, 1598. the which I have still by me, wherein he promiseth still to goe with me into England, and performe the said voyage of discoverie of the North-west passage into the South Sea by the said streights, which he calleth the Streight of Nova Spania, which he saith is but thirtie daies voyage in the streights, if I will send him the money formerly written for his charges. The which money I could not yet send him, for that I had not yet recovered my pension owing mee by the Companie of Turkie aforesaid. And so of long time I stayed from any furder proceeding with him in this matter.
And yet lastly, when I my selfe was at Zante, in the moneth of June 1602. minding to passe from thence for England by Sea, for that I had then recovered a little money from the Companie of Turkie, by an order of the Lords of the Privie Counsell of England, I wrote another Letter to this Greeke Pilot to Cefalonia, and required him to come to me to Zante, and goe with mee into England, but I had none answere thereof from him, for that as I heard afterward at Zante, he was then dead, or very likely to die of great sicknesse. Whereupon I returned my selfe by Sea from Zante to Venice, and from thence I went by land through France into England, where I arrived at Christmas, An. 1602. safely, I thanke God, after my absence from thence ten yeeres time; with great troubles had for the Company ot Turkies businesse, which hath cost me a great summe of money, for the which I am not yet satisfied of them.