Cavendish’s Last Voyage Part III: John Jane’s Narrative of the Voyage of the Desire

By R F Hitchcock, published February 2003


This is the last of three papers (see 1994/3 and 2001/1) on Cavendish’s disastrous 1591-93 expedition to the Pacific. This paper concentrates on the narrative of John Jane, who sailed in the fleet as supercargo on the Desire, commanded by John Davis. Cavendish blamed Davis for the failure of the expedition – rightly, it seems. Jane’s narrative was part of Davis’s defence. It emphasised Davis’s skills as a seaman, but also made claims about the roles in events of mutiny, the supernatural and even giant ship-eating worms. Davis was later exonerated by an enquiry, but seems to have lost his reputation. The paper ends with a log of events on the voyage.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Tudors | Mutiny & Discipline | Health at Sea | Pacific
Subjects include: Miscellaneous | Science & Exploration

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