Biography of Henry Hudson


The early history of this distinguished navigator is unknown. He undertook his first voyage for the discovery of a north-east passage in 1607, in a small vessel with ten sailors, but failed in this attempt. In his second voyage in 1608, he reached Nova Zembla. He undertook a third voyage in 1609, from Amsterdam, at the expense of the East India Company. Giving up all hope of finding a north-east passage, he sailed for Davis' Strait, but came upon the American continent about 44 N. Lat., and steering southwards, discovered the mouth of the river which how bears his name. He sailed upon his last voyage in April 1610, and reached Greenland in June. Steering westward, he discovered the strait now known as Hudson's Strait, and sailing through it entered the great bay which has received the name of Hudson's Bay. Although very insufficiently supplied with provisions, he adopted the resolution of wintering in these desolate regions, in order to prosecute his discoveries further in the following spring. He proceeded to carry this design into execution, but his provisions became so much exhausted, that he was under the necessity of returning. An incautious utterance of the opinion that in the destitute condition to which he was reduced, he would be obliged to leave some of his people behind, led to his death. The sailors mutinied, and placed him with his son and some others who adhered to him, in a small boat at the mercy of the waves and the natives. His fate was revealed by one of the conspirators. An expedition was sent from England in quest of him, but no trace of him or of his companions in misfortune was ever discovered.