Voyages and Travels: Ancient and Modern. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT, the founder of the first English colony in North America, was born about 1539, the son of a Devonshire gentleman, whose widow afterward married the father of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, served under Sir Philip Sidneys father in Ireland, and fought for the Netherlands against Spain. After his return he composed a pamphlet urging the search for a northwest passage to Cathay, which led to Frobishers license for his explorations to that end.
In 1578 Gilbert obtained from Queen Elizabeth the charter he had long sought, to plant a colony in North America. His first attempt failed, and cost him his whole fortune; but, after further service in Ireland, he sailed again in 1583 for Newfoundland. In the August of that year he took possession of the harbor of St. John and founded his colony, but on the return voyage he went down with his ship in a storm south of the Azores.
The following narrative is an account of this last voyage of Gilberts, told by Edward Haies, commander of The Golden Hind, the only one to reach England of the three ships which set out from Newfoundland with Gilbert.
The settlement at St. John was viewed by its promoter as merely the beginning of a scheme for ousting Spain from America in favor of England. The plan did not progress as he hoped; but after long delays, and under far other impulses than Gilbert ever thought of, much of his dream was realized.