Henry Hudson Biography

Henry Hudson, the discoverer of the river that bears his name, was an English mariner, who, in the years 1607 and 1608, made two voyages in search of a northwest passage to India. He afterwards entered the service of the Dutch East India Company, and in April, 1609, sailed on a third voyage with the same purpose. Touching at Newfoundland, he continued his course till he sighted the American coast, and then turned southward, with the hope of finding a passage-way to the Pacific through the continent. He entered Penobscot Bay, and landed at Cape Cod, which he named New Holland.

THE Half Moon hence pursued a course south and west for the next ten days, and at length arrived, about the middle of August, at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, where the first effectual attempt to plant an English colony had been commenced only two years before. Hudson now retraced his steps, and in a few days afterwards discovered, in latitude thirty-nine degrees five minutes, a great bay, which has since been called Delaware. Here he anchored the Half Moon in eight fathom water, and took possession, it is said, of the country.

From this place he coasted northward, the shore appearing low, like sunken ground, dotted with islands, and at length descried the Highlands of Navesinck, which, the journalist remarks, is a very good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see. He found himself, on the following day, at the mouth of three great rivers, the northernmost of which he attempted to enter; but, having been prevented by a shoal bar at its mouth, he cast about to the southward, and, after due examination of the sounding, rounded a low "sandy hook," and moored the Half Moon, on the following morning, in latitude forty degrees thirty minutes, at a short distance from the shore, in the waters of "The Great North River of New Netherland."

While the ship lay here at anchor, the natives from the western shore came on board, and seemed to be highly pleased at the arrival of the Europeans. They brought green tobacco, which they desired to exchange for knives and beads. They had divers ornaments, as well as pipes, made of copper; plenty of maize, or Indian corn; dresses of deerskins, well cured, hung loosely around them.

The next day some men were sent in the boat to explore the bay farther up. They landed on the western bank, which was lined with men, women, and children, by whom they were very kindly received, and presented with tobacco and dried currants. They found the land covered with dried oaks. The natives continued to flock on board the ship, dressed in mantles of feathers and fine furs; their necks adorned with ornaments of copper, and some of the women had hemp.

Hudson, having ascended thus far, prepared now to explore the magnificent river which rolled its waters into the sea from unknown regions, in the probable hope that it would lead him to the long-sought-for passage to the Indies. He accordingly weighed in the afternoon of the 12th September, and commenced his memorable voyage up that majestic stream which has since handed his name down to posterity.

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