THE POLE AND AMERICA

The following year, 1610, notwithstanding all the mortifications which he had experienced, Hudson tried to renew his engagement with the Dutch company. But the terms which they named as the price of their concurrence compelled him to renounce the project, and induced him to submit to the requirements of the English Company. This company imposed on Hudson as a condition, that he should carry on board, rather as an assistant than as a subordinate, a clever seaman, named Coleburne, in whom they had full confidence. It is easy to understand how mortifying this condition was to Hudson. Accordingly, he took the earliest opportunity of ridding himself of the superintendent who had been imposed upon him. He had not yet left the Thames when he sent Coleburne back to shore with a letter for the Company, in which he endeavoured to palliate and justify this certainly very strange proceeding.

Towards the end of May, when the ship had cast anchor in one of the ports of the island, the crew formed on the subject of Coleburne, its first conspiracy, which was repressed without difficulty, and when Hudson quitted the island on June 1st, he had re-established his authority. After having passed Frobisher's Strait, he sighted the land of Desolation of Davis, entered the strait which has received his name, and speedily penetrated into a wide bay, the entire western coast of which he examined until the beginning of September. At this epoch, one of the inferior officers, continuing to excite revolt against his chief, was superseded; but this act of justice only exasperated the sailors. In the early part of November, Hudson, having arrived at the extremity of the bay, sought for an appropriate spot to winter in, and having soon found one, drew up the ship on dry land. It is difficult to understand such a resolution. On the one hand, Hudson had left England with provisions for six months only, which had already been largely reduced, and he could scarcely reckon, considering the barrenness of the country, upon procuring a further supply of nourishment; on the other, the crew had exhibited such numerous signs of mutiny, that he could hardly rely upon its discipline and good will. Nevertheless, although the English were often obliged to content themselves with scanty rations, they did not, owing to the arrival of great numbers of birds, pass a very distressing winter. But, on the return of spring, as soon as the ship was prepared to resume her route to England, Hudson found that his fate was decided. He made his arrangements accordingly, distributed to each his share of biscuit, paid the wages due, and awaited the course of events. He had not long to wait. The conspirators seized their captain, his son, a volunteer, the carpenter, and five sailors, put them on board a boat, without arms, provisions, or instruments, and abandoned them to the mercy of the ocean. The culprits reached England again, but not all; two were killed in an encounter with the Indians, another died of sickness, while the others were sorely tried by famine. Eventually, no prosecution was commenced against them. Only, the Company, in 1674, procured employment, on board a vessel, for the son of Henry Hudson, "lost in the discovery of the North-west," the son being entirely destitute of resources.

Hudson abandoned by his crew
Hudson abandoned by his crew.

The expeditions of Hudson were followed by those of Button and of Gibbons, to whom we owe, if not new discoveries, important observations on the tides, the variation of the weather and the temperature, and on a number of natural phenomena.

In 1615, the English Company entrusted to Byleth, who had taken part in the last voyages, the command of a vessel of fifty tons. Her name, the Discovery, was of good augury. She carried, as pilot, the famous William Baffin, whose renown has eclipsed that of his captain. Setting sail from England on April 13th, the English explorers sighted Cape Farewell by the 6th of May, passed from the Island of Desolation to the Savage Islands, where they met with a great number of natives, and ascended north-westward as high as 64°. On July 10th, land appeared on the starboard, and the tide flowed from the north; from which they conceived so much hope of the passage sought for, that they gave to the cape, discovered on this spot, the name of Comfort. It was probably Cape Walsingham, for they ascertained, after doubling it, that the land inclined towards the north-east, and the east. It was at the entry of Davis' Strait, that their discoveries came to an end for this year. They returned to Plymouth on September 9th, without having lost a single man.