Henry Hudson's fourth voyage, 1610:
Part 5 of 6
- It had been five months since his last voyage. Although only a portion of
Hudson's journal survived, a record of the voyage was made by Abacuck
Prickett, and there are depositions from the survivors as to the events.
However, some of the dates after August 3, when Hudson's log ends, may be
inaccurate. Prickett's geography is also confused and sometimes wrong.
- His fourth voyage was financed by the merchant Sir Thomas Smith
of the East India Company, Sir Dudley Digges, a rich landowner and John
Wolstenholme, a Yorkshire landowner. They were backed by Henry Frederick,
Prince of Wales. Smith is shown in this contemporary portrait.
- At the urging of the three backers, Prince Henry agreed to receive Hudson
in a private audience. The prince later accompanied Hudson to a public
audience at Whitehall in mid-April.
- A new company (syndicate) was formed with the three, plus Prince Henry, as
directors, plus the Earl of Northampton, the Admiral of England and others.
But other investors still tried to get involved.
- Capt. Weymouth's (Waymouth) old ship, Discovery (sometimes called
Discoverer); was purchased by the new company. She was a stout-hulled barke
or flie (vlie), 55 ton, and was refitted for the voyage. She was larger than
either of Hudson's previous ships.
- Hudson hopes to see Bantam (Java) by Candlemas (2 Feb)
- Hudson had chart of Davis Strait based on Weymouth's earlier (1602)
exploration. But neither Davis nor Weymouth went into the strait any
distance, probably fearful of the 30-60-foot tides in it.
- He was guided to Greenland by mid-14th century sailing directions from
Greenlander Ivar Bardarsen (provided by eminent publisher, Hondicus and lent
to him for the voyage). These charts were also used by Norwegian skippers.
Hondicus had already credited Hudson with the discovery of the ice barrier
between Greenland & Spitzbergen in one of his maps.
after dawn, Discovery set sail from St Katherine's Pool, below the Tower of
London. On board are 20 men and two "boys": Henry Hudson, captain;
John Hudson, ship's boy; John King, quartermaster; Thomas Woodhouse; Arnold
Ludlow; Michael Butt; Adam Moore; Syracke Fanner; Philip Staffe, carpenter;
Robert Juet, mate; William Wilson: boatswain; Robert Bylot, leading seaman;
Edward Wilson, surgeon; Abacuck Prickett; Bennett Matheus, cook; Sylvanus
Bond; John Thomas; Francis Clements; Michael Perse; Nicholas Syms: ship's
boy; Henry Greene; Adrian Motter; Master Coleburne. Crew who had served
under Hudson before are Robert Juet, Phillip Staffe, Arnold Ludlow, John
Hudson and Michael Perse.
- The guests who assembled to see the Discovery off include Prince Henry,
Richard Hakluyt, Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Dudley Digges. The prince and Sir
Thomas toast Hudson in his cabin before leaving.
- Hakluyt, skeptical, was later to write, "It would be a boon to all
mankind if there were such a passage, but Nature is seldom that kind."
- 22: Coleburne is put off the ship. He had been put in crew by the
London merchants, possibly to oversee their investment and act as assistant
to Hudson. Hudson puts him ashore with a letter to the company, containing
his reasons. Hudson writes simply, "I caused Master Coleburne to be put
into a pinke bound for London." A pinke or pinkie was a small ship.
- Henry Greene is brought onboard at Gravesend without the knowledge of the
ship's owners. Greene had a bad reputation in London as a troublemaker,
gambler and roustabout, who had stayed as a guest in Hudson's London house .
- 2: Athwart of Flamborough Head, Yorkshire coast.
- 5: At the Orkney Islands.
- 6 at 55°22', at north end of Scotland.
- 8 Off Faroe (Farro) Islands.
- 11: Sights Iceland.
- 15 Off Iceland. Because of heavy fog, they shelter in a safe
harbour until bad weather ends.
- Mount Hekla, an active volcano, erupts as Discovery passes. "A sign of
foul weather in short time," wrote Prickett.
- They stop in another bay they call "English Louise." The crew
fared well, bathed in hot springs, ate well, shot lots of fowl and caught
many fish. They stay there until the end of the month.
- Greene and surgeon Wilson got into a fist fight. Hudson intervened and
Hudson defended Greene, while the crew supports Wilson. Hudson wrote of the
surgeon he "had a tongue that would wrong his best friend."
- Juet said Hudson had brought in Greene to "crack his credit" with
the crew (act as a spy report to Hudson on the crew). Hudson heard this and
wanted to turn around and put Juet ashore to catch a fishing boat home, but
is persuaded otherwise and does nothing about Juet's insubordination.
- 1: Start for Greenland from the west end of Iceland.
- 3: Sights ice at 65°30'N.
- 4: Greenland sighted but encumbered by ice, they can't get close.
The ship tacks back and forth.
- 9: Off Frobisher Strait, wind northerly, Discovery plied southwest
until the 15th.
- 15: Heads northwest until the 20th, arriving off land called
Desolation by John Davis. Prickett mentions seeing many whales in the
- Hudson noted an error in earlier geographies at 59°27'N.
- 21-23: Off Cape Elizabeth, Labrador "in sight of much ice."
- 24: Sights Resolution Island to the north (off the southeastern tip
of Baffin Island) , but loses sight of it. Discovery sails west.
tried to enter the Furious Overfall (now Hudson's Strait). He notes "mountaynes
of ice" passing. The strait is 450 miles long and dangerous until
mid-July, when it is navigable until late September, but Hudson did not know
this at the time.
- In his journal, Prickett noted "some of our men fell sick" and
said there were "signs of trouble" among the men. Winds push
- 5: Working along the south shore of Resolution Island, ice blocks
them from going further west. Discovery heads south into Ungava Bay to 59°16',
sighting land along the eastern shore of the bay. Continuing in the bay,
Hudson sighted an island north by northwest, and called it Desire Provoketh
(Akpatok Island, Inuit for "Place Where Auk Birds Are Caught"). He
wrote it was a "champagne land."
mutiny almost breaks out. The ship was caught in ice, the crew and captain
despairing (Hudson wrote he was "in despair" he would perish in the
ice). The crew wanted to go home (except Staffe). Hudson brought out his map
and boasted they've gone 100 leagues (300 miles) further than any Englishman
and should continue. The crew was unsure, but they got out and cleared the
ship of ice. Hudson continued northwest. Leaving the decision to the crew
whether or not to continue probably further eroded Hudson's authority with
- 8: Along the east coast of the island he calls Desire Provoketh
- 11: Continuing west, Discovery anchors from a storm near three
rocky islands he calls Isles of God's Mercies (now the Saddleback Islands).
Hudson noted a tide rise of 24 feet.
- 16: Hudson realizes he's in a bay, and heads northwest.
- Trapped in Ungava Bay by ice and current for three weeks, Hudson worked his
way slowly west and northwest, until he finally leaves around the 19th and
- 19: In the north part of Ungava Bay near the west shore he sights a
cap and calls it Hold with Hope.
- Names islands as he goes west: Prince Henry's Foreland, King James his Cape
and Queen Anne's Cape.
- 26: Reaches 62°40'.
- 28: Back in the Furious Overfall, heading west at 63°20'.
- 31: At 62°50'.
- 1: Sights a northern shore (Charles Island). Names land to the
south Cape Charles.
- 2: Calls a headland (island) to the north Salisburies Foreland
(Salisbury Island). The Discovery heads southwest and "suddenly came
into a great and whirling sea" and turns south into what is today
called Hudson Bay.
- Foggy morn: vessel driven by the tide into an inlet flowing from the
northwest. The depth of water and playing forward of the ice rouse Hudson to
believe it would prove to be the passage he sought. Hudson never lost his
faculty of hoping.
- 3: Travels six miles. Hudson sights and names two headlands. South:
Cape Wolstenholme, north: Digges Island, and reports "a sea to the
westwards." Hudson's diary ends here with this last entry at 61°20'.
All other notes are from the journal of Abacuck Prickett or statements made
to the Admiralty Court after the survivors returned to England.
- Explored Digges Island: commented that it had grass like in England, scurvy
grass (sorrel), deer, a great waterfall, (an overshot mill), flocks of fowl,
found Eskimo cairns (the crew thought at first they were the work of
Christians) with birds hanging inside to cure and store.
- Hudson calls crew back to the ship by firing of its guns. The crew
(Prickett) begs to stay longer, but Hudson pushes on before crew can plunder
cairns and gather the birds there.
- 4: to Oct 31 - Discovery travels down the east coast of
Hudson Bay, sailing in a "labyrinth without end." After 100
leagues they find themselves in a shallow bay (James), and the ship turns
north again looking for an exit along the western shore, but not for long.
- Discovery is still in James Bay.
- Hudson clashed with the crew as to direction to take.
- 10: After Juet jeers sarcastically at the master's vain "hope
to see Bantam by Candlemas," Hudson's frayed nerves snaps and he orders
a trial of Juet for mutiny. Hudson recalls Juet's perfidy in Ungava Bay and
makes an issue of it. He demotes Juet, replaces him with Bylot. Juet's wages
go to Bylot, boatswains overplus wages divided equally between Wm. Wilson
(made boatswain, replacing Clements) and King. Motter is made b o'sun's
Woodhouse wrote of the event in a journal discovered later in his desk on
"The tenth day of September, after dinner, our master
called all the company together to hear and bear witness of the abuse of
some of the company... after the master examined and heard with equity what
(Juet) would say for himself, there were proved so many and great abuses,
and mutinous matters against the master... that there was danger to have
suffered them longer: and it was fit time to punish and cut off farther
occasions of the like mutinies.
"It was proved to (Juet's)
face, first with Bennet Matthews, upon our first sight of Iceland, and he
confessed that he supposed that in the action would be manslaughter, and
prove bloody to some.
"Secondly, at our coming from Iceland, in
hearing of the company, he did threaten to turn the head of the ship home
from the action, which at that time was by our master widely pacified.
"Thirdly, it was deposed by Philip Staffe, our carpenter, and Arnold
Ludlow, to his face upon the Holy Bible, that he persuaded them to keep
muskets charged and swords ready in their cabins, for they should be charged
with shot ere the voyage was over.
"Fourthly, we being pestered in
the ice, he had used words tending to mutiny, discouragement and slander of
the action, which easily took effect in those that were timorous; and had
not the master in time prevented, it might easily have overthrown the
voyage: and now lately being imbayed in a deep bay, which the master had desire
to see, for some reasons to himself known, his word tended altogether to put
the company into a fray of extremity, by wintering in the cold.
the offenders yet behaved themselves henceforth honestly, he (Hudson) would be a
means for their good, and that he would forget injuries."
- Michaelmasse - reach a bay Henry Hudson calls Michaelmasse Bay
(Hannah Bay at the very southern end of James Bay). They lose their anchor
in the rocks and would have lost the cable too, except Staffe cut it before
it was torn away.
- The crew goes ashore hunting for food. They find human footprints on the
snowy rocks, plus a good wood store, which they bring back to the ship.
- Staffe warns Hudson to be ware of dangerous rocks in the water, but Hudson
ignores him and Discovery becomes wedged on some for 12 hours. They get off,
but the ship's bow is damaged and so is Hudson's standing among the crew.
- Hudson seems to meander in the Bay, going northwest, north, then south
again and finally east. Was he lost? Or just discouraged?
- At the end of October, realizing they would not get out, Hudson sends
Prickett and Staffe ashore to find a suitable place for winter quarters.
- 1: The crew hauls the ship aground at the bottom of the bay (the
- 3: to June 18 The crew winters near mouth of the Nottaway
River, (Rupert Bay) James Bay. "To speak of all our trouble would be
too tedious," wrote Prickett of the winter.
- 10: The bay - and the unlucky crew - are frozen in around 51
degrees north latitude in the subarctic bleakness of James Bay.
- In London, Shakepeare's play, Winter's Tale was staged for the
first time this month.
- Hudson offers reward for any crew that killed any "beast, fish or fowl"
- Middle Nov.: John Williams (gunner) died of exposure and is buried
in a shallow grave dug out of the hard, frozen soil. Greene envies William's
heavy grey cloak and Hudson says he can have it, although traditionally,
clothes and other belongings were usually auctioned at the main mast when a
sailor died. The proceeds went to the sailor's next of kin when the ship
returned to port. Hudson's arbitrary gift angers the crew.
- Hudson demands Staffe build a house onshore, although he should have
ordered it built earlier when the conditions were better. The carpenter says
no, "He neither could nor would go in hand with such work," wrote
Prickett, and Staffe protests he is not a "house carpenter" and
that he knew "what belonged to his place" better than Hudson did.
- An angry Hudson goes to the cabin and finds him. He strikes Staffe and
threatens to hang him, although some sources say he later apologized for his
outburst of temper. After arguing, Staffe builds the house, but is out of
favour with Henry Hudson.
- Next day Greene gets Staffe and they go out hunting together. Seeing Greene
go out with the man he had fought with so recently enraged Hudson so much
that in a fit of pique he gave the cloak Greene wanted to Robert Bylot
instead. Greene challenges Hudson to keep his promise, but Hudson rails at
Greene with "so many words of disgrace," saying his friends would
not trust him with 20 shillings.
- Hudson reminded Greene that he had no wages except by Hudson's tolerance
(threatening the loss of his entire wages unless he behaved. Because Greene
was not on the crew manifest, he would not have been paid by the Company, so
any wages would have come from Hudson himself. Greene becomes Hudson's enemy
from this point on. Prickett wrote "He did the master what mischief he
could in seeking to discredit him."
- Lots of fowl are shot at first, about "100 dozen" in the first
three months, but they left the area come spring. Many fish are also caught
at first. After that, the food is scarce and the crew scours the woods for
food, reduced to eating moss and frogs to survive.
- The crew suffer from scurvy, a debilitating disease that robs its victim's
strength and will. They drank an antiscorbutic medicine made of boiled pine
tree or tamarack buds ("full of a turpentine substance") Thomas
Woodhouse brought back from one trip. Prickett writes this helps them: "I
received great and present ease of my pain."
- The ice had just begun to break up in the bay, when an Indian came to the
ship (called a "savage," the native first they'd seen on this
- Hudson treated him well, and "promises unto himself great matters by
his means." Hudson asked the crew for all of their knives and hatchets,
but only King, Prickett and Staffe gave him theirs. Hudson gave the Indian a
knife, a looking glass and some buttons. The Indian thanked him and made
signs that he would come again, which he did the next day.
- The native arrived with two deer skins and two beaver skins, but not food
(Powys says he came with "some meat"). He gave Hudson one beaver
skin for the goods he got the day before. Hudson offered him a hatchet. The
Indian wanted to give him one deer skin in return, but Hudson wanted both.
After bargaining, Hudson got both, but unwillingly.
- The Indian signed that there were many people to the north and south and
that after several sleeps he would be back. He never returned, possibly put
off by Hudson's greed.
- Wm. Wilson, Greene, Perse, Thomas, Motter, Mathews, and Ludlow go fishing
together and catch 500 small fish, the size of herrings or trout. At first
relieved because their food shortage appeared over, the men's confidence
proved premature. Although they tried, they never caught so many fish again.
- Greene, Wilson and some others plotted to take the shallop and leave to
fend for themselves, but their plans were upset. Hudson took it (with the
net - the seine - and 8 or 9 days victuals) for himself (possibly taking
King and others with him), and went south and southwest looking for Indians.
The natives saw him coming and set the woods on fire before him, rather than
let him approach, so he came back worse for wear. During his absence, the
crew gathered water, wood and ballast, getting ready to leave.
the ship left, Hudson took out all the remaining bread and distributed it,
weeping, with his promise to return to England. The ration came to a pound/man.
Soon Wm. Wilson and Greene had eaten all of their bread rations. The boat
was sent out Friday morning and stayed out until Sunday noon, fishing, but
only brought back four score (80) small fish.
- 12: Finally ready to depart, the ship weighed anchor and went to
the mouth of the bay where Hudson distributed the remaining cheeses from the
stores. There were only five, although the company said there should have
been nine. Each member got three and a half pounds of cheese. Hudson wept as
he doled out the rations. But, as with their bread ration, several men ate
all their food too soon, including Greene and Wm.. Wilson. They accused
Hudson of holding back some of the cheese (at the trial, the muntineers said
they discovered 200 biscuits, a peck of meal, cheeses, a keg of beer and
aqua vitae brandy in a secret scuttle in his cabin). Hudson, however, says
the rest were spoilt and showed the remaining pieces to the crew.
- 18: Monday? (Prickett's narrative says 18th Monday but 21st is
Saturday). The ship departed, but was caught that night in ice until the
following Sunday. The crew despaired of ever leaving the area.
- 20: Hudson ordered the ship to sail west, intent again on finding
his passage. But the crew only wanted to return home. With food so short,
Hudson demanded the crew's chests be opened by Syms in search of hoarded
bread (although this should have been the rightful property of the men,
bread put away for hungry days ahead). Syms delivered 30 cakes to the Master
in a bag. The ship was becalmed and Hudson, in his despair had suggested
leaving some of the men on shore.
- 21: The conspiracy starts while the ship is moored in the ice.
- William Wilson and Greene came to Prickett's cabin, who is lying in his bed
with a lame leg. They said there was only a 14-day supply of food left. They
told Prickett about their plan to commandeer the ship, asking him to join
them. Prickett tried to argue them out of it, asking for a delay of several
days in their mutiny, but the two are adamant. They finally agree to wait
- Juet came in after Wilson and Greene leave. He had also joined the mutiny,
saying to Prickett he would justify his deed when he returned home. Then
John Thomas and Michael Perse ("birds of a feather") came in, and
finally Motter and Bennet.
- 22: Somewhere in the middle of James Bay (not far from the Cape
Hope Islands? or Pebble Island?), the mutineers act. King is the first on
deck, and is grabbed. He was shoved into the hold. When Hudson appeared, he
was taken by Matthews and Thomas and had his arms pinned and tied behind his
back. Meanwhile, several sick crew members were also rounded up and taken
- Juet went into the hold to fetch King, but King had found a sword there and
attacked Juet. Juet's cries brought help and King was outnumbered and
overpowered. Ludlow and Butte were also captured, as was Hudson's son,
- John. Hudson and the others are put in the ship's boat.
- Matthews and Thomas beg Greene not to put their friends, Francis Clements
and Sylvanus Bond, in the boat, and Greene reluctantly agrees.
- Although he had not be taken by the mutineers, Staffe insisted he be put in
the boat. The mutineers asked him to stay aboard with them. Staffe asked
Prickett to leave some token at the Capes (Digges & Wolstenholme), near
where the fowls bred, so the abandoned crew would know they had been there
(obviously believing they would also find their way out).
- After the boat had been put into the water, Hudson called out to Prickett,
warning him to beware of Juet. Prickett shouted back that Greene was the
leader of the mutiny, not Juet.
- The abandoned crew took clothes and bedding into the shallop, according to
- The mutineers cut the rope that held the boat to the ship, but the men in
the boat continue to pursue the ship. The mutineers put up Discovery's top
sails, and the ship sailed away. Looking back, they see the shallop still in
sight and growing closer, so they lowered the mainsail and finally rushed
out of sight, never seeing the others again.
- In a frenzy, the crew ransacked the ship and the Captain's cabin.The
captain's and abandoned crew's clothes were sold among the remaining crew
(the money allegedly paid to the relatives of the owners, when the crew
returned to England). Although they had expected to find a secret hoard, the
remaining food they found only came to a box and a half of meal, two small
tubs of butter, 27 pieces of pork, half a bushel of peas, a barrel of beer
and about 200 biscuits - a small amount for the remaining nine crew.
- The survivors would later testify to the Admiralty that Henry Hudson his
abandoned crew were not shot at by crew on Discovery as they sailed away.
- 23: The ship anchored off a small island and the crew go hunting,
but only return with two birds and "cocklegrass," similar to rye,
which they also eat.
- Greene takes over as captain. He accused Prickett of stealing and hoarding
30 cakes of bread. Prickett says he was accused of things Greene had done
himself. When the crew voiced fears for their safety, Greene promised he
would not land anywhere until "he had the king's majesty's hand and
seal to show for his safety."
- Juet and Bylot argued over navigation. Bylot's advice to head northeast
ends up with Discovery locked in the ice for 14 days, but they eventually
get free. Juet had wanted to head northwest.
- Greene put Prickett in Hudson's cabin, and gave him Hudson's journals and
log, telling Prickett to write an account of the voyage favourable to the
- 25: Mutineers reach Digge's Island after a long month of travel,
during much of which they wandered lost in Hudson Bay.
- 27: They send the boats out to get fowl they had encountered on
their first stop here, but cannot find the place where the fowl bred again.
They shoot 30 gulls before returning to the ship. The Discovery runs
aground, but is shortly freed.
- 28: The crew send boats out to Digges Island (called Digges Cape by
Prickett). While ashore, they are discovered by seven boats of 40-50 Eskimo
(including men, women and children), who offered the strangers food, and
showed them how to snare birds. The Inuit take the crew back to their camp
and hosted a banquet, with displays of dancing and leaping. Greene was so
convinced of the Inuit's peaceful intentions, that he wouldn't post a guard
crew sends the boat out again, this time going out of sight of the ship.
Greene and five men find the Eskimo again and tried to barter for more food. But
according to Prickett, unprovoked, the Eskimo attacked the crew instead, two
also trying to attack the boat where only Prickett stood guard.
- Prickett managed to kill one attacker, the other was knocked unconscious in
the boat. Thomas, Wilson, Greene and Perse were seriously wounded, but made
their way back to the boat. Motter, unharmed, swam from shore to the boat as
they leave. Greene and Motter were killed by arrows, Prickett was hit in the
back as they rowed back to the ship. Wilson and Thomas died later that day
on Discovery, Perse lived only two more days.
- Only Prickett and Motter survived the attack. There is no record of what
happened to the Inuit on the boat. Conveniently for the others, the major
conspirators had all died in this attack.
- 30: The next day, remaining crew went out and gathered about 200
fowl, then they left the island and headed home for England, piloted by
- Favourable winds helped them along the way. Juet tried to convince the crew
to find refuge in Newfoundland, possibly to become pirates from there.
- After a while, they ran out of food. The crew was forced to eat sea gulls.
Then finally eat they ate birds' bones fried in candle grease - each man
received a pound of candles ration/week.
- Juet assured the crew they had only 200 miles left to get home, but they
really had 600 to reach the Irish coast.
- Not long before they sighted land, Prickett wrote Juet died of hunger - "mere
want." The last ringleader was gone.
- 6: The ship reached Bantry Bay, off the southeast coast of Ireland,
and the crew was brought in by a fishing boat "more dead than alive."
- The crew sold their cable and anchor to John Weymouth, to buy food in
Ireland while they prepared for their last leg home.
- The ship sailed to Plymouth, then Gravesend and finally London.
- Total time since leaving: 1 year 4 months 3 weeks.
- 20: Discovery returned to London. Bylot reported to Sir Thomas, and
the directors interrogated the other survivors: Syms, Edward Wilson,
Prickett, Matheus, Bond, Clements and Motter.
- The crew was questioned, and a recommendation made that they be hanged.
However, the trial did not take place until 1618, after several had died.
Then, the Admiralty court would find the surviving mutineers not guilty and
free them. But this was not be the last voyage some of them made in
Discovery, nor the last time Discovery sailed the Arctic waters.
here for the next file.
here for the previous file.