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The Longest Walk: David Ingram’s Amazing Journey
He was the first Englishman to give a detailed description of the North American wilderness. Was it a pack of lies?
April/May 1979 | Volume 30, Issue 3
“Does the name David Ingram mean anything to you?” I have been going around asking. The answer is almost always no. Yet if Ingram is to be believed, he and two others with him accomplished perhaps the outstanding walk in recorded history. It seems undeniable that they were the first Englishmen to see anything of North America behind the coast, as certainly Ingram was the first to report on it. David B. Quinn, one of the few historians to have looked much into the case, offers in conjunction with his collaborators in The Discovery of North America —W. P. Gumming and R. A. Skelton—the opinion that while it “appears to be impossible” for the three Englishmen to have gone as far as Ingram said they did in the time available, “The basic fact of his journey and survival, however, is little open to question; this English sailor penetrated some part of the interior on a remarkable walking trip.” I am not so sure about that “impossible”—but then, despite the time I have given him, I am not so sure about anything involving Ingram. I seem to have been left in the midst of intractable, if fascinating, contradictions. Maybe the reader will be the one to see where the truth lies. After all, it has to lie somewhere.
Ingram had shipped with John Hawkins in a fleet of five vessels that departed England in 1567. This was Hawkins’ third venture in capturing blacks from Portuguese slavers and in West African towns and, defying the trading bans of King Philip II, selling them at great profit in New Spain. He had disposed of most of his cargo when he took advantage of the right of vessels to seek haven from storms in the nearest port by entering the harbor of Veracruz despite the protests of the governor. Unfortunately for him, a Spanish fleet of thirteen ships followed him into port, bringing the new viceroy. After an initial pretense of accepting the unwelcome visitors’ presence, the Spanish launched an attack. Only two English ships escaped, the little Judith , under the command of Hawkins’ young cousin, Francis Drake, and the Minion , into which Hawkins loaded as many men as he could from the crew of his largest vessel, the stricken Jesus of Lübeck . “With manie sorowful hearts,” Hawkins related, “wee wandered in an unknown Sea by the space of fourteen days tyll hunger inforced us to seeke the lande.” This they made on October 8 “in the botome of the same Bay of Mexico in twenty three degrees and a hälfe where we hoped to haue founde inhabitantes of the Spanyardes, relief of victualles, and place for the repair of our shippe.… But all things happened to the contrary.” They were able only “to refresh our water.” The two hundred seamen crowded into her were obviously more than the battered Minion could carry home, and by their choice a hundred-odd men were put ashore.
These “thought it best to trauell along by the Sea coast, to seeke out some place of habitation: whether they were Christians or Sauages,” one recalled, “we were indifferent.” Eight soon were killed by Indians before the attackers discovered that they were not Spaniards. About half of the remainder headed westward and after ten or twelve days reached the Rio Pânuco, where they fell into the hands of the Spanish and were taken to nearby Tampico. The others pushed northward, and, after more attacks had thinned their ranks, chose for their leader “a common sailor,” as the English writer Rayner Unwin observes in his book The Defeat of John Hawkins , “whose gifts of fortitude and resolution were only exceeded by his erratic imagination”: David Ingram.
Those captured by the Spanish on the Pânuco and at Veracruz were forced to march to Mexico City, over two hundred miles, in pitiable condition. That was only the beginning of years of suffering. Parceled out to labor among their conquerors in Mexico and Spain and in the galleys, with two men burned as heretics, few ever made it back to England. But never have Englishmen been avenged more amply. It was only a final installment when Hawkins and Drake, admirals now and the scourge of New Spain, fell upon the Invincible Armada in 1588.
Hawkins had got the Minion back to England in January, 1569, after a ghastly voyage. (“Our men being oppressed with Famine, died continually,” he reported, until “wee were scantly able to manure [maneuver] our ship.”) He must have been astounded when, a year later, three men he had left on the coast of Mexico presented themselves to him. They were David Ingram, Richard Browne, and Richard Twide, the only members of the northward-marching body to return home.
What happened to the others in their party? All we know comes from Miles Phillips, one of those who surrendered at Tampico and who, after extreme vicissitudes, had got back to England fifteen years later. Phillips wrote that “as Ingram since hath often tolde me, there were not past three of theyr company slaine … so that of the company that went Northward, there is yet lacking, and not certainely heard of, the number of three and twentie men.” Evidently they had dropped out along the way. Phillips adds: “And verely I doe thinke that there are of them yet aliue, and marryed in the sayd countrey, at Sibola.” Cibola, somewhere northwest of Mexico, was the site of the legendary Seven Cities, of abounding treasure. Phillips promised to give his reasons for thinking as he did “hereafter,” and one would have liked to hear them.
If three and twenty of Ingram’s band failed to make it back, how did three manage to? That, of course, is the question. Of Ingram’s explanation, historians accept at least his word that they were brought back across the ocean in a French ship. But where had they got to, to be picked up by her? You would never guess. According to Ingram, they had traveled, by land, from the Gulf of Mexico to within 180 miles of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia!
So far as is known, the only written record of the trio’s purported adventures consists of information given by David Ingram, in response to questions put by “Sir Frauncys Walsingham knight her majestes principall Secretarye and … Sir George Peckham knight” and Sir Humphrey Gilbert in the late summer of 1582. Ingram’s testimony was published the next year, but no copy of the publication is known to exist. Two manuscript versions survive, however, and the testimony was included in Richard Hakluyt’s The Principall Navigations Voiges and Discoveries of the English Nation of 1589 .
The Relation of Dauid Ingram of Barking, in the Countie of Essex Sayler comes to some forty-five hundred words, which is not much to cover a year of unprecedented travel. While interesting enough, it is disappointing and frustrating. More than half of it deals with the appurtenances and customs of the Indians, most of the rest with plants, mammals, and birds. Of the incidents of the march that would make it real for us, little is said. Dangers, illnesses, hardships receive no mention. Of specific encounters with the aborigines there is nothing. How did the travelers find their way? Shelter themselves at night? Communicate with the inhabitants? No hint is dropped.
We have, of course, no reason to believe that the printed record contains all that Ingram said. That it does is extremely unlikely. Moreover, it is not necessarily what he said. It is simply what a clerk took down. And Ingram probably would have been unable to read the transcript to correct it.
None of this, however, explains a startling discrepancy in the first sentence of the Relation , which has it that the hundred seamen were set on land by John Hawkins near a river “which standeth about 140 leagues west by north from the cape of Florida.” That would be in the neighborhood of present-day Apalachicola. The introductory note puts the disembarkation in “the most Northerly parts of the Baie of Mexico.” If, indeed, the three seamen had started from the western coast of Florida, then the “two thousand miles in the least” that Ingram said they traveled would be about right and the walk, though still epic, more believable. But that the men were set ashore near Tampico, at the western extremity of the Gulf, there can be no question. We shall have to come back to this glaring contradiction.
As striking as the omissions from the Relation are the infusions of fantasy. We are told of great towns a mile or more long, of kings with four-inch rubies, of “vessels of massie siluer” (in “euery house,” too), of “banqueting houses … builded with pillars of massie siluer and chrystall.” Impossibly exotic plants are referred to. We are asked to believe that the travelers saw elephants and red sheep of singular disposition. A “strange beast” is reported with “eyes and mouth … in his breast,” and “a very strange Bird, thrise as big as an Eagle” with “feathers more orient then a Peacockes” and a “head and thigh as big as a mans.…”
Ingram’s Relation did not appear in Hakluyt’s next edition. As Samuel Purchas, who continued Hakluyt’s work, wrote: “It seemeth some incredibilities of his reports caused him to leave him out in the next impression, the reward of lying [being] not to be believed in truths.” The incredibilities are apparent enough, but we may recognize, as Purchas did, the authentic ring of some of what Ingram said, and even the lineaments of actual animals in the monsters he describes. We owe it to him, too, to remember that the world of four centuries past was just emerging from belief in fabulous beasts. Better-educated men than Ingram were still seeing mermen and sea serpents. In 1582, moreover, when he was about forty, Ingram was recalling impressions of fourteen years earlier—a long time—and doubtless mixing up with them the memories of other lands to which he had voyaged, before and afterward, and hearsay as well. And, as Dr. William C. Sturtevant, curator of North American ethnology at the Smithsonian remarked: “He’d probably been cadging food and drink with his story for years, the wonders growing with every telling.”
Finally we must take account of the object of his interrogation, which was to help determine—or more likely, demonstrate—the suitability of North America for English settlement. Sir Humphrey Gilbert had been a leading proponent of a northwest passage to the Orient. In 1578 he had obtained a charter to discover and occupy “heathen lands” in that direction “not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people.” Later that year he had invested all his capital in an expedition to North America that had accomplished nothing. In 1583, taxing Sir Francis Walsingham for payment for services meanwhile rendered the government, he would manage to fit out another—taking Ingram!—and establish in Newfoundland the first English settlement in the New World. Sir George Peckham was interested in finding a new home overseas for English Catholics, upon whom ruinous penalties had been imposed. Walsingham was Elizabeth’s Secretary of State; an ardent Puritan and strongly anti-Spanish, he too would have supported Gilbert’s and Peckham’s plans.
Ingram could have been in little doubt as to how to ingratiate himself with his illustrious inquisitors. Unfriendly savages? Hunger? Ague? Why, it was a country through which one could walk for a year without untoward incident. There were cannibals—“they haue teeth like dogs teeth”—but “the people in those Countreys are professed enemies to the Canibals.…” As for the land, “The ground and Countrey is most excellent, fertile and pleasant.…” There were “great plaines, as large and as fayre in many places as may be seene.… And then great and huge woods of sundry kind of trees … and in other places great closes of pasture, environed with most delicate trees.” Riches? The kings are “carried by men in a sumptuous chaire of Siluer or Christal, garnished with diuers sortes of precious stones.” Moreover, “there is in some of those countries great abundance of pearle.…” Some pearls were as big as beans, and one of these Richard Browne took with him and gave to the captain of the ship that carried them to France. There was gold, too. The people generally wore bracelets and anklets “whereof commonly one is golde and two siluer. And many of the women also doe wear plates of golde, couering their bodies in a maner of payre of curets [cuirasses].”
Well.… Well, René Goulaine de Laudonnière, founder in 1564 of Fort Carolina near the present site of Jacksonville on the St. Johns River, wrote of the green valley inland of it that there “were the most beautiful prairies in all the world and herbage most suitable for pasturing livestock.” Pearls, albeit fresh-water ones from mussels, are a product of the region the three Englishmen would have traversed. A chest full of them was the only booty de Soto acquired in the bloody quest for treasure that took him across the Southeastern part of our country. Litter-borne red men? The Queen of Cafitachequi (near Augusta, Georgia) received de Soto’s company on an ornamented, covered litter carried by her noblemen, as did a Creek chief in Alabama. As for adornments of precious metals, Laudonnière wrote that “Gold and silver is found in quantity among the savages, which as I have understood from them, comes from ships that have been lost on the coast.… They aver that in the mountains of Appalesse there are mines of copper, which I think are of gold.” Those mountains are known to have produced nuggets at least a quarter the size of the “sundry pieces of golde, some as big as a mans fist,” that Ingram said they found at the heads of “great rivers,” adding, “the earth being washed away with the water.” Writing of the Roanoke Island colony two decades later, Ralph Lane spoke of Indians “dwelling more to the westward,” who were reported to obtain a metal like copper, but “very soft, and pale” by washing sand from a river bottom. “Of this metall,” said Lane, “the Mangoaks have so great store, by report of all the Savages adioyning, that they beautify their houses with greate plates of the same.” It sounds very like one of Ingram’s reports.
Giving Ingram the benefit of the doubt, one can picture the three hikers as they made their way northward, never remaining “in any one place aboue three or foure dayes, sauing onely at the Citie of Balma,” where they stayed “five or seuen dayes.” They passed from one king’s realm to the next, “commonly within a hundreth or a hundreth and twenty miles one from an other.” They learned how to approach a king, how to recognize noblemen in his favor (by “feathers in the haire of … a Byrde as bigge as a goose of russet collour”—clearly eagles’ feathers), and the Indians’ sign of friendship, by which “you may undoubtedly trust them.” They observed the methods of bargaining among the Indians and their weapons as they went “to the warres … in battell aray two and three in a ranck.” They heard their hosts play “instruments of Musicke made of a piece of a Cane, almost a foote long, being open at both endes: which sitting down, they smite upon their thighes …”; also one “like a Taber, covered with a white skinne somewhat like Parchment.” Here the recorder added, with, one fancies, a flicker of amusement, that “This Examinate can very well describe their gestures, dauncing, and songs.” Ingram found the people, as he usually calls them, “commonly … of good favour, feuter [feature] and shape of body.” Other than their being “so brutish and beastly, that they will not forbeare the use of their wiues in open presence"—surely an invention to widen the eyes of the Examinate’s tavern intimates—he considered them “naturally very courteous, if you do not abuse them. …”
To have walked so far so fast the three travelers would have required continuing help from the Indians. Visitors from outside the natural order, with white skins, they probably would have received it. They would have been fed, led from tribe to tribe over the trails that doubtless threaded the country, been perhaps at times even borne on litters, certainly conveyed over bodies of water. Says the Relation : “… they passed ouer many great Rivers … in Canoes or Boates: some foure, some five, some eight, some tenne miles ouer: whereof one was so large, that they could scarse crosse the same in foure and twentie houres.” Those would have been the great estuaries and bays, the last perhaps the Chesapeake. “After long trauaile,” the Relation goes on, they “came to the head of a riuer called Garinda, which is 60 Leagues West from Cape Britton: where they understood by the people of that Countrey of ye arrival of a Christian. Whereupon they made their repaire to the Sea side, and there found a French Capta ine named Monsieur Champaigne, who tooke them into his Shippe and brought them unto Newhauen, & from thence they were transported into England, Anno Dom. 1569.”
So, what do the experts make of Ingram’s observations?
Dr. Sturtevant says: “There is nothing [in the transcript] that can be taken as definite indications that [Ingram] was familiar with the Indians between Pânuco and Cape Breton. There are a few elements that do make sense for these Indians: painted or colored garments, wearfing] feathers on [the] head, … olive or tawny skin color, body painting, heads partly shaved, skin shields, short broad bows, bone arrowheads, round houses, drills for making fire (badly described), good fishing, maize ears, … drums. But these features also occur elsewhere and could easily be invented. … The account also includes, of course, a great many elements that are known to be impossible for these Indians: wear[ing] rubies, silver or crystal palanquin, gold and silver bracelets and leg bands, gold-plate ‘curets/ gourd penis sheaths, kine, Guinea hens (or any domesticated birds), horsetail (there were no horses), iron heads on darts, silver arrowheads, iron swords, iron knives, silver and crystal pillars, sizes of towns, silver vessels, turf as fuel, much iron. … There are hints here of experience in the West Indies or the shores of the Caribbean …: gourd penis sheaths (known to have occurred on the Caribbean shore of South America), hammocks (only hinted at), emphasis on uses of palms, poisoned arrows, plantains, ‘cassua’ (i.e., cassava, manioc …), horses and kine and goats and sheep (by this time common in the West Indies), cannibals. …”
Dr. Sturtevant also remarked that “None of the place names nor the few words given … are readily recognizable.” I must say I was rather struck by Ingram’s statement that in “the language of some of the Countreis” Caricona meant a king, Carraccona a lord, and Fona bread (he cited them in succession) when I read in Carl Ortwin Sauer’s Sixteenth Century North America that Jacques Cartier in 1535 found that the “Lord of Canada” at Quebec was called “Donnacona” and bread “carraconny.” However, Dr. Sturtevant dismissed the similarity of these words as meaningless coincidence despite their juxtaposition by Ingram. And there could be no doubt of his warrant in attributing Ingram’s impressions pretty broadly to fancy and a tropical American experience. ”… it is the one (maybe the only) virtue of the adventure that it demonstrates that it was possible under aboriginal conditions,” he said, “to pass quickly across numerous tribal territories in eastern North America.”
The botanists Richard H. Eyde and Robert W. Read also noted the predominantly tropical character of the vegetation Ingram described, insofar as it was recognizable at all. A palm with remarkable properties sounded, they thought, like Leopoldinia of South America. Ingram’s statement that “In the South partes of these countreys they go all naked, sauing that the Noble mens priuaties are couered with the necke of a goorde and the womens priuaties with the hayre or leafe of the palme tree” prompted Dr. Eyde to send me an article on penis gourds by Charles B. Heiser, Jr., of the University of Indiana in which it was stated that they were used only in New Guinea, two parts of Africa, and Venezuela.
Putting aside the elephants and red sheep, Michael A. Bogan, a mammalogist, said: “Most of the animals mentioned [by Ingram] would have been encountered by a voyager to [eastern North America] in 1568. … Black bears were probably common, grizzlies less so, and wolves, foxes, deer, hares and conies (= cottontail rabbits?) or their hides were probably common as well. But horses, cattle, sheep and goats … were probably found only in the areas of Spanish settlement. … The only deer in the area … is the white-tailed deer, the young of which is spotted. What Ingram meant by ‘red, white, and speckled deer’ is speculative. [Ingram could however, have said ‘red and white, and speckled.’] The ‘wild cattle’ may refer to elk, which occurred in northeastern North America. …”
Ingram had said, “There is very great store of those Buffes, which are beasts as big as two Oxen … their homes be crooked like Rams homes, their eyes blacke, their haires long, blacke, rough and shagged as a Goat.” Dr. Bogan felt that the “Buffes” certainly could be bison—which no Englishman had theretofore seen or described. Another “Monstrous beast” of which Ingram spoke was “in proportion like to an Horse … sauing it was small toward the hinder partes …” and had “two teeth or homes of a foote long growing straight forth by their nosethrilles.” Dr. Bogan thought there might be something in Rayner Unwin’s suggestion that descriptions of a moose and a walrus had got combined. (Cartier had seen “large beasts, like great oxen, with two teeth in their jaw, like an elephant,” in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.) He thought Unwin might have a point, too, in ascribing to a seal’s skin that “strange Beast bigger then a Beare. It had nether heade nor necke, his eyes and mouth were in his brest … it beareth a very fyne skynne like a Ratte, full of syluer heare.” If, as it would appear, Ingram was distinguishing the gray fox from the red in reporting that “The Foxes haue their skins more gristed then ours in England,” he deserves full marks for that.
That the “Guinie hennés which are tame Birds … as big as Geese, very blacke of colour,” were Mexican turkeys was probable. But if Ingram was to be taken seriously, his “abundance of Russet Parrots” was a puzzler. Ornithologist George E. Watson had an idea about them immediately persuasive to anyone who has noticed the striking similarity of fast-flying flocks of tapering-tailed species of parrots and doves: they were passenger pigeons. “The flamingo is well described—‘billed like a shovel’” he said, “but Ingram would have had to visit the West Indies to see numbers of them.” Referring to Ingram’s “very strange Bird, thrise as big as an Eagle, very beautifull to beholde … his head and thigh as big as a mans … His beake and talents in proportion like Egles, but very huge and large,” Dr. Watson recommended my looking at page 111 of The Auk , the journal of the American Ornithologists’ Union, for 1963. “That will give you some fun.” It did. What I found was an article describing the fossil discovered in a late Pleistocene fluvial deposit in northern Florida of “a bird of tremendous size, larger than the African ostrich,” of the superfamily Phorusrhacoidea. Is it possible that … ?
But let me get a grip on myself. Ingram had spoken of a “Foule,” obviously the great auk, “which hunteth the Riuers neere unto the Hands: They are of the shape and bignesse of a Goose but their wings are couered with small yelowe feathers, and cannot flie: You may driue them before you like sheepe: They are exceeding fatte and very delicate meate.” Dr. Watson thought that hunteth should be haunteth and that yelowe was the wrong word altogether and was proved right in both cases by one of the manuscript copies: the feathers were “callowe.” What struck him most was Ingram’s remark that “they have white heads, and therefore the Countrey men call them Penguins (which seemeth to be a Welsh name).” He said that “George Gaylord Simpson in his recent book on penguins suggests that the name may be derived from the Welsh words for ‘white head,’ pen gwyn , but I’m surprised to see it brought out so early.” I recalled that The Oxford English Dictionary cited Ingram’s use of the word for the auk as only the second on record. “But of course,” Dr. Watson added, “great auks have only a patch of white on the face, not white heads.”
Dr. Eyde got us out of that difficulty, finding lexicographical authority for the view that Penguin Island, off Newfoundland, was so named because of its snowcapped peak and may have given its name to the birds. That this is so is indicated, I found, by Hakluyt, who, in connection with the voyage in 1536 of “Master H’f6re and Divers Other Gentlemen,” refers to “the Island of Penguin … whereon they went and found it full of great fowls, white and gray, as big as geese, and they saw infinite number of their eggs.” There is no suggestion that the fowls were called penguins. That would have come later.
Such is the internal evidence about which the reader may make up his own mind. The view I have come to is that judgment of the character of Ingram’s interrogators should weigh equally in the balance. They were worldly, sophisticated men, Walsingham being known for the effective instrument he made of the English intelligence service. Ingram’s walk would have seemed as amazing to them as to us and surely they would have examined Ingram closely enough to satisfy themselves as to the truth of it had they wished to know . If we judge that they did, then I think we must accept the walk as fact. But were they, rather, without much scruple, simply using Ingram for what he could contribute to the promise of the New World? It looks to me as if they were.
Consider this. The Relation , as we have seen, has got the three seamen back to England. It has said that about a fortnight after their return they “came to master John Hawkins … and unto eche of them he gave a reward.” And it tells of the manner of death in later years of Twide and Browne. There is then tacked on a new and different version of the conclusion of the seamen’s walk, viz: “Also the sayd Dauid Ingram traueiling towardes the north, found the maine sea upon the Northside of America, and trauailed in the sight thereof the space of two whole dayes, where the people signified unto him, that they had scene shippes on that coast, and did draw upon the ground the shape and figure of shippes, and of their sailes and flagges. Which thing especially proueth the passage of the Northwest, and is agreeable to the experience of Vasques de Coronado, which found a shippe of China or Cataia upon the Northwest of America.”
Clearly this addendum is contrived simply to support Gilbert’s case for a northwest passage. As such, it removes any doubt from my mind that the shift by twelve-hundred miles, by land, of the site at which Hawkins set the men ashore is the work of the interrogators, to make Ingram’s walk more credible. What strikes me at this point is that Hakluyt could not have failed to know that the facts of the landing had been falsified, for in his Principall Navigations the Relation is sandwiched between John Hawkins’ narrative and Miles Phillips’, both of which put the landing north of Tampico. But beginning in 1583, Hakluyt had spent five years serving Walsingham, collecting information in France, while also preparing a “discourse” in favor of English colonization of North America.
That leaves John Hawkins. After the first publication of Ingram’s testimony in 1583, he had years in which to protest the misrepresentation of the landing site, and Hakluyt surely would have published it if he had. Are we to believe that he was somehow brought into line? Or am I on the wrong track altogether?
If we accept the intervention of Walsingham et al. for the purpose of deception, does that mean that Ingram’s hike was fictitious? This brings up an awkward question that must have been on the reader’s mind all along. If the three seamen did not walk where Ingram said they did, how did they get home? David B. Quinn wrote me that “The only theory I have which makes sense is that a French ship picked him up somewhere along the Gulf and went up the North American coast on her way back, calling in as they did at places like St. Helena Sound [South Carolina] … and ultimately at … Cape Breton. … The object of the calls was to get water and fuel and perhaps trade a little with the Indians.” Quinn is an expert—yet I find it hard to see what would take French privateers around the cape of Florida and hundreds of miles beyond; and Sauer says that they did not enter the Gulf (granting, however, that in his history of the period he was able to avoid the problem of getting Ingram home by not mentioning him). Furthermore, the chance of a contact between a rare privateer and three men marching inland of the islands, sounds, and marshes of the coast would seem to be one in many thousands. Doubtless they would be much better along the Atlantic coast of Florida and South Carolina, and Quinn grants the possiblity of the travelers having reached it. If they did, and got home from there, their interrogators simply may have relocated the walk. If so, it was still a history-making march, of some fourteen hundred miles at least, through unknown wilderness. However, while there had been French forts on that coast, they had fallen to the Spanish in 1565, and thereafter the chance of meeting with a friendly ship on the Southeastern littoral would have been exceedingly slim, I should think.
The place where it would have been by far the best lay in just the direction Ingram would have us believe he took. The Newfoundland banks were visited annually by hundreds of ships. The walkers would have known they had to force the pace if they were to reach their goal before the fishing fleet sailed for home and left them to face a Canadian winter. But could they have done it, the distance from the Rio Pánuco being a good three thousand miles? My friend John B. George, who has hiked in Africa through equally wild country almost as untouched by whites, believes they could, with the help of the aborigines. Hundreds of persons have hiked the two-thousand-mile-long Appalachian Trail, up hill and down the whole way, under packs, in less than six months, and two septuagenarians did it in roughly four months and three weeks.
Three survivors out of eight or nine times that number, Ingram and his companions must, however they got home, have had adventures enough for the telling. Why, I ask myself, should they have claimed to walk where they had not, and have risked exposure by the truth following them home from the ship that brought them to France—the Gargarine , Ingram called her. As it was, Ingram declared that “divers” of the seamen in the Gargarine were “yet living in Homflewre,” he thought, “for he did speak with some of them within these three yeares.” Professor Quinn himself says that “There is no doubt that he believed his own story,” pointing out that he not only sailed with Gilbert in 1583 to prove his assertion but that after his return, according to Peckham, “was very desirous to be imployed thither againe.”
And now, reader, it is all yours.