History Timeline 1600s

Picture above: Pocahontas, Source: World Noted Women, D. Appleton and Company, 1883, Wikipedia Commons. Right: Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, New England Chromo. Lithograph Company, 1870. Courtesy Library of Congress.


Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s


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  • Timeline

  • 1610 Detail

    August 2, 1610 - Explorer Henry Hudson sails into Hudson Bay, this time for the English on the ship Discovery, searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient.

    Henry Hudson Abandoned

    Henry Hudson was back working for the English again after his successful, both financial and exploratory, trip for the Dutch in 1609 that eventually took the ship Half Moon west to Russia, then turned around to the east coast of the United States and discovery of the waters of the Hudson River up to Albany, establishing trade with the natives along the way.

    This trip for the English merchants was once again an exploration west to find a northwest passage to the Orient, that elusive goal for many an explorer whether under Dutch, English, French, or other crowns. Along for the ride again was his first mate, Robert Juit (Ivet), who was making his third excursion with Hudson in command. What had seemed like a good partnership on the other voyages would sour along this trip. The end, its consequences, would not be good, dire too weak a word to describe.

    In 1610, Hudson was commissioned by the Virginia Company (think Popham Colony in 1607 (failed), and the Jamestown Colony 1607 (success, for a while) and the British East India Company to find that elusive passage through the northern waters west of Greenland.

    The Voyage

    Hudson helmed the ship, the Discovery, a thirty-eight foot long, twenty ton vessel that had been one of the three ships, the smallest with twenty-one passengers, that made the first successful journey to Jamestown in 1607. However, now it would begin its voyages, six in total, to find that Northwest Passage to the Orient. The ship was owned by the British East India Company.

    The Discovery reached Iceland by May 11, Greenland by June 4, then rounded the tip of the island. It took twenty-one days before they reached the Hudson Strait on the northern tip of Labrador. They followed the southern part of the straight until entering Hudson Bay on August 2, 1610. There was excitement amongst the crew that they had found the entrance to the Northwest Passage. Hudson explored the entire circumference of the Hudson Bay, mapping its inlets for three months. He found nothing. When the ship got stuck in ice in James Bay, it was apparent that the crew must go ashore and spend the winter in northern Canadian territory.

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    The Mutiny and Abandonment

    The crew heartily lasted the cold winter months along the shore of Hudson Bay, but when spring thawed the bay, a difference of opinion was rampantly running through camp.

    "Wee were victualled for five months in good proportion, and of that which was good: if our Master would have had more, he might have had it at home and in other places. Here we were now, and therefore it behoued us so to spend, that wee might have (when time came) to bring us to the Capes where the Fowle bred, for that was all the hope wee had to bring us home. Wherefore our Master tooke order, first for the spending of that wee had, and then to increase it, by propounding a reward to them that killed either Bear??, Fish, or Fowle, as in his Iouruall (sic) you have seene. About the middle of this month of November, dyed Iohn Williams our Gunner. God pardon the Masters uncharitable dealing with this man. Now for that I am come to speake of him, out of whose ashes (as it were) that unhappy deed grew which brought a scandall upon all that are returned home, and upon the action it selfe, the multitude (like the dog) running after the stone, but not at the caster: therefore, not to wrong the living, nor slander the dead, I will (by the lease of God) deliver the truth as neere as I can," Abacut Pricket.

    Hudson wanted to continue his exploration, still thinking the Northwest Passage was at hand; the crew wanted to go home. The crew mutinied in June; they set Henry Hudson, his son, and seven other crew members aligned with Hudson onboard a shallop, a small boat with minimal supplies, to sea. For a time, the shallop broke out oars, attempting to keep up with the Discovery, hoping for a turnaround in the mutineers intent. That did not occur. The Discovery unfurled additional sails and pulled further away from the abandoned sailors.

    "Being thus in the Ice on Saturday, the one and twentieth of June at night, Wilson the Boatswayne, and Henry Greene came to mee lying (in my Cabbin) lame, and told mee that they and the rest of their Associates, would shift the Company, and turne the Master, and all the sicke men into the shallop, & let them shift for themselves. For, there was not fourteen daies victual left for all the Company, at that poore allowance they were at, and that there they lay, the Master not caring to goe one way or other: and that they had not eaten any thing there three dayes, and therefore were resolute, either to mend or end, and what they had begun they would goe through with it, or dye. When I heard this, I told them I marvelled to heare so much from them, considering that they were married men, and had wives and children, and that for their sake they should not commit so foule a thing in the sight of God and man, as that would bee; for why should they banish themselves from their native Countrie? Henry Greene bad me hold my peace, for he knew the worst, which was, to be hanged when hee came home, and therefore of the two he would rather be hanged at home then starved abroad: and for the good will they bare me, they would have mee stay in the Ship. I gave them thankes, and told them that I came into her, not to forsake her, yet not to hurt my selfe and others by any such deed. Henry Greene told me then, that I must take my fortune in the Shallop. If there bee no remedie (said I) the will of GOD bee done," Abacut Pricket.

    "In the meane time Henrie Greene, and another went to the Carpenter, and held him with a talke, till the Master came out of his Cabbin (which hee soone did) then came Iohn Thomas and Bennet before him, while Wilson bound his armes behind him. He asked them what they meant? They told him, he should know when he was in the Shallop. Now Iuet, while this was a doing, came to Iohn King into the Hold, who was provided for him, for he had got a sword of his own, and kept him at a bay, and might have killed him, but others came to helpe him: and so he came up to the Master. The Master called to the Carpenter, and told him that he was bound; but, I heard no answere he made. Now Arnold Lodlo, and Michael Bute rayled at them, and told them their knauerie would shew it selfe. Then was the Shallop haled up to the Ship side, and the poore, sicke, and lame men were called upon to get them out of their Cabbins into the Shallop. The Master called to me, who came out of my Cabbin as well as I could, to the Hatch way to speake with him: where, on my knees I besought them, for the love of God, to remember themselves, and to doe as they would be done unto. They bad me keepe my selfe well, and get me into my Cabbin; not suffering the Master to speake with me. But when I came into my Cabbin againe, hee called to me at the Horne, which gave light into my Cabbin, and told mee that Iuet would overthrow us all; nay (said I) it is that villaine Henrie Greene, and I spake it not softly," Abacut Pricket.

    So who led the mutiny? One, Henry Greene, and also accused in Pricket's journal, Robert Juit, Hudson's first mate. Pricket, the navigator of the Discovery, who wrote the later journal quoted above, signed an oath for the mutiny, but not the blame. But is that true? One man's word against those who were never found. Subsequent journeys by Thomas Button, 1612, and Zachariah Gillam, 1668, attempted to find the survivors, to no avail.

    So what happened to the mutineers. Only eight of the thirteen survived the journey back to England; neither Greene nor Juit (Iuit) made it. Without their survival, its difficult to know whether Greene and Juit had been leaders in the mutiny; they had all been close friends to Hudson, although it is also rightfully noted, that they apparently signed the oath and went along with sailing the Discovery home. Pricket apparently did, too, and thus, his journal is the only account to go on, with knowledge of its apparent bias to save himself upon their return.

    The English held an inquisition after their arrival home, held some for trial, including Pricket, but none were convicted. Pricket was not prosecuted for mutiny, but murder. The judges acquitted him on that charge for the reason that leaving experienced seamen near a habited shore (tribal) was not murder. The blame for the mutiny was laid on Hudson, and the remaining seamen held the only knowledge of the routes that would take them back to what could be a lucrative Hudson Bay.

    Image above: Lithograph of Henry Hudson, his son John, and seven crew members being abandoned during the second journey in June 1611, 1840/1860, F. Davignon, Lewis and Clark lithographers. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Indian family watching Hudson enter the Hudson River on September 11, 1609, 1898, Edward Moran. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: "A Larger Discourse of the Same Voyage," 1625, Abacuk Pricket, University of Toronto; Library of Congress; Wikipedia.

    Henry Hudson Journey up the Hudson River

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