We see, then, the determined desire to obtain the required information about a route to India obtained from the study of the very charts which the Portuguese made after some of their voyages, and by sending Englishmen out in their ships sufficiently expert in cosmography to learn all that could be known. It must not be forgotten, at the same time, that there were also land-travellers who journeyed to India and brought back alluring accounts of India. C?sar Frederick reenex cps , for instance, a Venetian merchant, set forth in the year 1563 with some merchandise bound for the East. From Venice he sailed in a vessel as far as Cyprus: from there he took passage in a smaller craft and landed in Syria, and then journeying to Aleppo got in touch with some Armenian and Moorish merchants whom he accompanied to Ormuz (on the Persian Gulf), where he found that the Portuguese had already established a factory and strengthened it, as the English East India Company’s servants were afterwards wont, with a fort. From Ormuz he went on to Goa and21 other places in India. Already, he pointed out, the Portuguese had a fleet or “Armada” of warships to guard their merchant craft in these parts from attack by pirates. Proceeding thence to Cochin, at the south-west of India, he found that the natives called all Christians coming from the West Portuguese, whether they were Italians, Frenchmen or whatever else: so powerful a hold had the first settlers from the Iberian Peninsula gained on the Indians. We need not follow this traveller on his way to Sumatra, to the Ganges and elsewhere, but it is enough to state that the accounts which he gave to his fellow-Europeans naturally whetted still more the appetites of the merchant traders anxious to get in touch with India by sea. He told them how rich the East was in pepper and ginger, nutmegs and sandalwood, aloes, pearls, rubies, sapphires, diamonds. It was a magnificent opportunity for an honest merchant to find wealth. “Now to finish that which I have begunne to write, I say that those parts of the Indies are very good, because that a man that hath little shall make a very great deale thereof: alwayes they must governe themselves that they be taken for honest men resorts world jobs .”

When Magellan set forth from Seville to find a new route to India he had gone via the straits which now bear his name, and then striking north-west across the wide Pacific had arrived at the Philippine Islands, where he was killed. But his ships proceeded thence to the Moluccas, and one of his little squadron of five actually arrived back at Seville, having thus encircled the globe. Englishmen, however, were so determined that there was a nearer route than this that, in the year 1582, the Indian frenzy which enthralled our countrymen culminated22 in the voyage of Edward Fenton that set forth bound for Asia. This expedition consisted of four ships. It was customary in those days to speak of the Commodore or Admiral of the expedition as the “Generall,” thus indicating, by the way, that not yet had the English navy got away from the influence of the land army. The flagship was spoken of as the “Admirall.” These four ships, then, consisted, firstly, of the Leicester, the “Admirall” of the squadron. She was a vessel of 400 tons, her “generall” being Captain Edward Fenton, with William Hawkins (the younger) as “Lieutenant General,” or second in command of the expedition, the master of the ship being Christopher Hall. The second ship was the Edward Bonaventure, a well-known sixteenth-century craft of 300 tons, which was commanded by Captain Luke Ward, and the master was Thomas Perrie. The third ship was the Francis, a little craft of only 40 tons, whose captain was John Drake and her master was William Markham. The fourth was the Elizabeth, of 50 tons; captain, Thomas Skevington, and master, Ralph Crane .

Before we proceed any further it may be as well to explain a point that might otherwise cause confusion. In the ships of that time the captain was in supreme command, but he was not necessarily a seaman or navigator. He was the leader of the ship or expedition, but he was not a specialist in the arts of the sea. As we know from Monson, Elizabethan captains “were gentlemen of worth and means, maintaining there diet at their own charge.” “The Captaines charge,” says the famous Elizabethan Captain John Smith, the first president of Virginia, “is to commaund all, and tell the Maister to what port23 he will go, or to what height” (i.e. latitude). In a fight he is “to giue direction for the managing thereof, and the Maister is to see to the cunning [of] the ship, and trimming the sailes.” The master is also, with his mate, “to direct the course, commaund all the saylors, for steering, trimming, and sayling the ship”: and the pilot is he who, “when they make land, doth take the charge of the ship till he bring her to harbour.” And, finally, not to weary the reader too much, there is just one other word which is often used in these expeditions that we may explain. The “cape-merchant” was the man who had shipped on board to look after the cargo of merchandise carried in the hold.