Hudson, Captain Henky

, was an eminent English navigator, who flourished in high fame in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Where he was born and educated, we have no certain account; nor have we of any private circumstances of his life. The custom of discovering foreign countries for the benefit of trade not dying with queen Elizabeth, in whose reign it had been zealously pursued, Hudson, among others, attempted to find out a passage by the north to Japan and China. His first voyage was in 1607, at the charge of some London merchants; and his first attempt was for the north-east passage to the Indies. He departed therefore on the 1st of May; and after various adventures through icy seas, and regions intensely cold, returned to England, and arrived in the Thames Sept. 15. The year following he undertook a second voyage for discovering the same passage, and | accordingly set sail with fifteen persons only, April 22; but not succeeding, returned homewards, and arrived at Gravesend on Aug. 26.

Not disheartened by his former unsuccessful voyages, he undertook again, in 1609, a third voyage to the same parts, for further discoveries; and was fitted out by the Dutch East India company. He sailed from Amsterdam with twenty men English and Dutch, March 25; and on April 25, doubled the North Cape of Finmark, in Norway. He kept along the coasts of Lapland towards Nova Zembla, but found the sea so full of ice that he could not proceed. Then turning about, he went towards America, and arrived at the coast of New France on July 18. He sailed from place to place, without any hopes of succeeding in their grand scheme; and the ship’s crew disagreeing, and being in danger of mutinying, he pursued his way homewards, and arrived Nov. 7, at Dartmouth, in Devonshire; of which he gave advice to his directors in Holland, sending them also a journal of his voyage. In 1610, he was again fitted out by some gentlemen, with a commission to try, if through any of those American inlets which captain Davis saw, but durst not enter, on the western side of Davis’s Streights, any passage might be found to the South Sea. They sailed from St. Catharine’s April 17, and on June 4, came within sight of Greenland. On the 9th they were off Forbisher’s Streights, and on the 15th came in sight of Cape Desolation. Thence they proceeded north-westward, among great quantities of ice, until they came to the mouth of the Streights that bear Hudson’s name. They advanced in those Streights westerly, as the land and ice would permit, till they got into the bay, which has ever since been called by the bold discoverer’s name, “Hudson’s Bay.” He gave names to places as he %vent along; and called the country itself “Nova Britan^­nia,” or New Britain. He sailed above 100 leagues south into this bay, being confident that he had found the desired passage; but perceiving at last that it was only a bay, he resolved to winter in the most southern point of it, with, an intention of pursuing his discoveries the following spring. Upon this he was so intent, that he did not consider how unprovided he was with necessaries to support himself during a severe winter in that desolate place. On Nov. 3, however, they drew their ship into a small creek, where they would all infallibly have, perished, if they had | not been unexpectedly and providentially supplied with uncommon flights of wild fowl, which served them for provision. In the spring, when the ice began to waste, Hudson, in order to complete his discovery, made several efforts of various kinds; but notwithstanding all his endeavours, he found it necessary to abandon his enterprise, and to make the best of his way home; and therefore distributed to his men, with tears in his eyes, all the bread be had left, which was only a pound to each: though it is said other provisions were afterwards found in the ship. In his despair and uneasiness, he had let fall some threatening words, of setting some of his men on shore; upon which, a few of the sturdiest, who had before been very mutinous, entered his cabin in the night, tied his arms behind him, and exposed him in his own shallop at the west end of the streights, with his son, John Hudson, and seven of the most sick and infirm of his men. There they turned them adrift, and it is supposed that they all perished, being never heard of more. The crew proceeded with the ship for England; but going on shore near the streight’s mouth, four of them were killed by savages. The rest, after enduring the greatest hardships, and ready to die for want, arrived at Plymouth Sept. 1611. 1


Biog. Brit.