In striving to blacken "our boyo", Nelson got "loco en el coco" (mad in the cap).

On page 189 (still the same chapter) he writes: "The essential difference between Drake's voyage on the one hand, and Frobisher's and Gilbert's on the other, is that Drake knew where to find gold - in Spanish ships and ports. By contrast, Frobisher and his successors went on speculative expeditions where the spiritualist John Dee told him he would find a north-west passage, or gold, or both. Oxford staked a fortune on the spiritualists, and lost."

First, I've copied all the entries between 1566 and 1582 from * Colonial Papers *, Nelson's source. Nelson does not give a source for his statement that John Dee was the spiritus rector of the gold rush. And here, I must admit, he is truly scholarly: he has none. Truly scholarly to pretend something based on no documentary evidence and not to list the missing document! The driving forces of the gold rush were Michael Lok and an Italian, Giovanni Baptista Agnello - which Nelson could have known, had he read George Best's reports edited by rear-admiral Richard Collinson. Dee was just one of the many supervisors, among them also Martin Frobisher himself and Sir Edward Dyer. I feel I should quote the only document in which the name Dee and "gold" occur. It is No 91 of * Colonial Papers *:

"Account taken at Muscovy House of 2 cwt. Of ore brought by Mr. Frobisher, molten and tried by Jonas Schutz, an Almain [a German], assisted by Humphrey Cole, John Brode, and Robert Denham, Englishmen. The 2 cwt. Yielded in silver 6 oz. 7dwt. 13 gr., valued at 5s. per oz.; in gold, 5 dwt. 5 gr., valued at 3s. the dwt.... Signed by Sir Wm. Wynter, Edward Dyar, Martin Frobisher, Rich. Yonge, Mathew Fyeld, Edmund Hogan, Michael Lok, and Andrew Palmer. In another copy „That is, John Dee signed separately, probably because he was absent on the first occasion.  The calculation of the silver content, which N  ascribes to John Dee, was the work of Jonas Schutz and the three others." N has not carefully read the document.

Secondly, the sole goal of Frobisher's first expedition was the Northwest passage.

Thirdly, the first expedition of John Davies, in which Oxford also invested, was purely exploratory and had nothing to do with gold.

Fourthly, the objective of the Fenton expedition was at first merely exploratory, but afterwards it was decided by the Privy Council to pursue only commecial aims.

Fifthly, should "the spiritualist John Dee" have been the driving force of the Fenton expedition, he would have made an even greater victim, the Earl of Leicester. Leicester invested £2,200.

Sixthly, John Dee's spiritual power must have been so strong as to be persuasive to an even larger extent than to Oxford to another man. Besides Leicester, another man invested more in the Fenton expedition than Oxford, first 1000 marks (£666.66), then rounded to £700. You never guess who he was. Ye, the man who according to Nelson, contrary to Frobisher and his successors, knew where to find gold: Sir Francis Drake.

But eventually Oxford most probably did not invest in the Fenton expedition. This Nelson did not remark because he proved unable to compare two different lists and to draw conclusions from it.

© Robert Detobel