The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

IV. The Literature of the Sea

§ 8. Martin Frobisher

Meanwhile, the valiant Martin Frobisher had also been battling with the icy approaches to the north-west, in 1576 and 1577; and, in the following year, captain George Best, Frobisher’s trusted friend, printed in black letters A true discourse of the late voyages for the finding of a passage to Cathaya by the north-weast, under the conduct of Martin Frobisher, Generall. Hakluyt has collected narratives of all these voyages, but none are so lively and vigorous as those which captain Best has given us in his volume. What could be more direct and forcible than a letter which Frobisher wrote in August, 1577, to certain Englishmen who were held captive by truculent natives, and whom he was resolved to set free?

  • In the name of God, in whom we all believe, who, I trust, hath preserved your bodies and souls amongst these infidels, I commend me unto you. I will be glad to seek by all means you can devise for your deliverance either with force or with any commodities within my ships, which I will not spare for your sakes, or anything else I can do for you.
  • After telling them that he has some natives on board whom he would exchange, he proceeds,

  • Moreover you may declare unto them that if they deliver you not I will not leave a man alive in their country. And thus, if one of you can come to speak with me, they shall have either the man woman or child in pawn for you, and thus unto God, whom I trust you do serve, in haste I leave you, and to Him we will daily pray for you.… Yours to the uttermost of my power, Martin Frobisher.