Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gosnold, Bartholomew

GOSNOLD, BARTHOLOMEW (d. 1607), navigator, sailed from Falmouth on 25 March 1602, in command of the Concord of Dartmouth, fitted out, it appears, mainly at the expense of Sir Walter Raleigh. After touching at the Azores, and holding a westerly course towards Virginia, the Concord finally made the land on 14 May, in latitude 43°; and standing south along the coast discovered Cape Cod, so named by them from the extraordinary abundance of cod-fish. Gosnold and four others of the party landed there. They afterwards sailed round the Cape and came in among ‘many fair islands.’ One of these, abounding in strawberries, grapes, and other fruit, they called Martha's Vineyard; to another, which they found to be extremely fertile, they gave the name of Elizabeth's Island. The natives were friendly, the climate delightful, and many of the men were inclined to stay. But quarrels arose and that purpose was foiled. Gosnold, taking on board a cargo of ‘sassafras, cedar, furs, skins, and other commodities as were thought convenient,’ returned to England, arriving at Exmouth on 23 July. The following years he seems to have spent in endeavouring to promote an expedition on a larger scale. In 1606 an association was formed consisting partly of London merchants, and partly of merchants in the west of England, influenced by Sir Ferdinando Gorges [q. v.] A charter was obtained from the king, and the affairs of the colony committed to the government of a council, the names of whose members were given under seal, to be opened only after landing at Virginia. In three ships, the largest of a hundred tons burden, under the command of Christopher Newport [q. v.], they put to sea on 19 Dec. 1606; and after a tedious voyage, watering at the Canaries, trading with the savages at Dominica, and refreshing at Guadeloupe. Towards the end of April they discovered the Capes of Virginia, to which they gave the names of Cape Henry and Cape Charles. Inside these, and on the banks of the river, which they called by the name of their king, they formed the settlement of Jamestown. Then they opened the list of council, of which Gosnold was one, and after some debate elected Edward Maria Wingfield as their president. But quarrelling began almost at once; John Smith (1579–1631) [q. v.] was turned out of the council, and was not readmitted till 20 June. Newport, with the ships, returned to England; provisions fell short; Wingfield proved incapable and selfish; deadly sickness broke out, and the colonists died fast. Out of 105 that were left there by Newport fifty were buried before the end of September; among these was Gosnold, who died on 22 Aug. A ‘most honest, worthy, and industrious gentleman’ of the same party, named Anthony Gosnold, was lost in a boat expedition on 7 Jan. 1609. ‘So violent was the wind that the boat sunk; but where or how none doth know, for they were all drowned,’ to the number of ten.

[All the contemporary accounts of Gosnold's voyages and the settlement of Virginia are included in Professor Arber's edition of the Works of John Smith, in the Scholar's Library (see Index).]

J. K. L.