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tions of the merchants, who feared in an unrestrained rival- Cuar. I. ry a diminution of their individual profits, and looking also
1600. to the political advantages which the republic itself might gain in its conflict with Spain, the States General now resolved that the various adventurers engaged in commerce with the East should be united in one corporate body. A charter was accordingly granted in the spring of 1602, by 1602. which those merchants were incorporated for a period of twenty-one years, under the name of the “ East India The Dutch Company," with a capital of 6,600,000 of livres, the ex- Company. clusive privilege of trading in the Eastern Seas beyond the Cape of Good Hope on the one side and the Straits of Magellan on the other, and large powers for conquest, colonization, and government within those limits.*
While this powerful commercial monopoly was covering 1607. the Eastern Ocean with its fleets, and returning to its shareholders, in a single year, three fourths of their invested capital, f men's minds had been earnestly considering whether the Western World might not also offer a tempting field for Dutch mercantile enterprise. William Usselinox, who had already suggested an association to trade in the West A West InIndies, was again among the most zealous to urge the im- ny promediate establishment of a company in the Netherlands, modeled after the one which had proved so successful in the East. He represented his project as an additional means of humbling their arrogant enemy on the very seas from which Philip was endeavoring to shut out the commerce of the republic; and besides the mercantile advantages which would result from securing the traffic with those affluent regions, he pressed the higher motive of the conversion of their heathen inhabitants to the Christian faith. The proposals which Usselinox circulated won general assent; and, aided by the influence of Plancius, Linschoten, and other leading scholars and merchants of Holland and Zealand, an application was made to the States
* Van Meteren, xxiv., 512. ' Cape Horn was not known to Europeans at this period. Schouten, who named it after his 'native city, “Hoorn," in North Holland, first sailed round the Cape in 1616.
+ In the year 1606, the East India Company divided 75 per cent. Moulton, 194.
Henry Hudson's voyages from Lon
CHAP. I. General for the incorporation of a “West India Company,
to trade exclusively, for thirty-six years, to the coast of 1607.
Africa, from the tropics to the Cape of Good Hope, and to Les organiz. America, from the Straits of Magellan to Newfoundland.
But the Dutch government was now engaged in negotiations for a peace with Spain, which Grotius and Barneveldt feared the proposed charter might prejudice; and the truce, which was finally concluded in 1609, suspended for several years any definite action on the subject.*
Meanwhile, a shorter passage to China and Cathay, by
way of the Northern Seas, continued to be a favorite thedon to the ory in England, as well as in Holland and Denmark. A
company of wealthy and energetic men in London, not discouraged by the ill-luck of all previous efforts, determined to attempt again, in 1607, the enterprise in which so many others had failed. Contributing the necessary means for an expedition, they intrusted the command to a skillful and experienced mariner, Henry Hudson, a native of England, and a friend of the famous Captain John Smith, who had just before sailed with the first colony for Virginia, and whom, in boldness, energy, and perseverance Hudson
strongly resembled. But the expedition was unsuccess1608. ful, as was also a second voyage in the following year, and
the London Company suspended further efforts.f
Not disheartened by his two failures, Hudson now re1609. solved to go to Holland, in the hope of meeting there encourgoes to Hol-agement to attempt again the venturesome enterprise he
was so ambitious to achieve. He was not disappointed. His proposition to the East India Company, though opposed by the Zealand department, where Balthazar Moucheron's long experience in former fruitless voyages influenced his
colleagues, found favor with the more liberal Amsterdam The Dutch directors. By their orders, a yacht, or Vlie-boat, called pany fit out the " Half Moon," belonging to the company, of forty
lasts or eighty tons burden,I was equipped for the voy
the Half Moon.
* Van Meteren, 527, 528, 553, 556, 601, 603; Grotius, 721; Bentivoglio, i., 37; Bancroft, ii., 262, 263; Muilkerk, A., 10–17; Davies, ii., 404, 405.
+ Purchas, iii., 567 ; N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., 61-102 ; Yates and Moulton, i., 198-200.
age, and manned by a crew of twenty sailors, partly Dutch Char. I. and partly English. The command was intrusted to Hud
1609. son ; a Dutch "under-schipper" or mate was appointed; and instructions were given to explore a passage to China by the northeast or northwest.*
The Half Moon left Amsterdam on the fourth of April, 1609, and on the sixth took her departure from the Texel. 6 April. Doubling the Cape of Norway on the fifth of May, Hudson sails from found the sea so full of ice, that he was obliged to abandon his purpose of penetrating eastward of Nova Zembla. Some of his motley crew, who had been used only to the East India service, could ill endure the severity of the cold, and now began to murmur. Upon this, Hudson proposed to them two alternatives. The first was to sail directly to America, in about latitude 40°, where, according to the letters and charts which Smith had sent him from Virginia, he would find a sea affording a passage to the East round the English colony. The other proposition was to penetrate westward, through Davis's Straits; and this being generally approved, Hudson sailed toward the island of Faro, where he arrived on the last of May, and remain- 31 May. ed a day to water. Thence he stretched westward across the Atlantic; but failing to see the islands which Frobisher's ships had visited in 1578, he shaped his course for Newfoundland. After a stormy and perilous voyage, in which he lost his foremast overboard, Hudson arrived, early in July, on the Banks, where he was becalmed long enough to catch more cod than his small store of salt” could cure.
He then stood further to the west, and run
sterdam. A “Vlie-boat" is so called from its being built expressly for the difficult navi. gation of the Vlie and the Texel. It is a very fast-sailing vessel, with two masts, and usually of about one hundred tons burden. The name, as well as the model of this Dutch craft, was soon adopted in other countries. The French called it “Flibot ;" the English, “Fly-boat ;" and the Spaniards, “ Flibote.” Some of our writers have, unfortunately, altered the historical name of the “Half Moon” to the fanciful name of the “ Crescent." Hudson's vessel was really called hy her owners " de Halve-Maan," and not "de Wassende-Maan," of which latter phrase only is “Crescent” the proper English equivalent.
* Van Meteren, xxxi., 674; N. Y. H. S. Coll., ii. (second series), 368-370; Lambrechtsen, 9, 10, and in N. Y. H. S. Coll., i. (second series), 84, 85; Muilkerk, 18, 19. Robert Juet, of Limehouse, England, who wrote the Journal printed by Purchas, acted as Hudson's own clerk, but not as "under-schipper” of the Half Moon. Van Meteren expressly says that that officer was a Netherlander.
Chap. I. ning along the coast of Nova Scotia, arrived at Penobscot
Bay, where he remained a week, cutting a new foremast 1609
and mending his tattered rigging. While there, he was Hudson at visited by two French-built shallops full of Indians, some
of whom even spake some words of French," and proposed to traffic. But Hudson, suspicious of his visitors, kept a vigilant watch; while a part of his ship’s company seized one of the shallops, with which they landed, and wantonly despoiled the cabins of the friendly natives. Fearing that the lawless conduct of his turbulent crew might provoke retaliation, Hudson set sail the next day to
the southward, and kept at sea for a week, until he made 3 August. the land again, and sent his shallop in to sound the shore.
The next morning he anchored at the northern end of a headland, where his boat's crew landed, and found the natives rejoicing to see them. Supposing it to be an unknown island, Hudson named the region NEW HOLLAND, in honor of his patrons' fatherland. But after trying in vain to find an opening to the westward, he put about, and passing the southern headland, which he now perceived was the one which Gosnold had discovered in 1602 and named “ Cape Cod,” he stood off to sea again toward the southwest.
In a fortnight Hudson arrived off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, which he recognized as “the entrance into
the King's River in Virginia, where our Englishmen are.” Capes of the
But the temptation to meet his friend Smith, who, disgust. ed with the distractions in the colony at Jamestown, and maimed by accidental wounds, was preparing to return to England, did not divert Hudson from the great object of his voyage. Contenting himself with a few soundings, he
stood again to sea, and passing northward along the coast 28 August. of Maryland, he ran into a “great bay with rivers"-aftdiscovers erward called the “ South River," and " New Port May" Dreamers by the Dutch, and “ Delaware” by the English --- where
the Half Moon anchored.*
* Van der Donck, p.7, adds, and “took the first possession.” This bay and river the Dutch called the South River, to distinguish it from the North or Hudson River; and also New Port May, after Cornelis Jacobsen May, of Hoorn. Many of our writers assert that Lord Delawarr touched at this bay, on his way to Virginia in 1610. But this is an error. On that occasion Lord Delawarr sailed by way of the West Indies, and approached Virginia from the southward. Indeed, there is no evidence that Lord Delawarr ever saw the waters which now bear his name, as will be shown in a note (D) in the Appendix.
Finding the navigation so difficult, that “he that will Chap. I. thoroughly discover this great bay must have a small pin
1609. nace that must draw but four or five feet water, to sound before him," Hudson stood out to sea again, and, running northward several days along a low sandy coast, with “ broken islands," arrived, on the evening of the second of 2 Sept. September, in sight of the “high hills” of Navesinck, then, as now, "a very good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see." The next morning he sailed onward until 3 Sept he came to “ three great rivers,” the most northerly of which he attempted to enter, but was prevented by the “ very shoal bar before it."* So, sending his boat before him to sound the way, he went in past Sandy Hook, and on the evening of the third of September, 1609, anchored anchors in the Half Moon in the bay, where the waters were alive Hook Bay. with fish.†
For a week Hudson lingered in the lower bay, admiring Hudson in the “goodly oaks" which garnished the neighboring shores, sey. and holding frequent intercourse with the native savages of Monmouth, in New Jersey. The Half Moon was visited in return by the wondering Indians, who flocked on board the strange vessel, clothed with mantles of feathers and robes of fur, and adorned with rude copper necklaces. Meanwhile, a boat's crew was sent to sound the 6 Sept river, which opened to the northward. Passing through the Narrows, they found a noble harbor, with “very good riding for ships.” A little further on, they came to “ the
" between Staten Island and Bergen Neck, “a narrow river to the westward, between two islands." The lands
* Two of these were, no doubt, the Raritan and the Narrows; and the third one, to the northward, with the shoal bar before it, probably Rockaway Inlet.
† “So we weighed and went in, and rode in five fathoms ooze ground, and saw many salmons, and mullets, and rays very great. The height is forty degrees thirty minutes." This statement in Juet's Journal agrees, very nearly, with the actual latitude of Sandy Hook, which is forty degrees twenty-eight minutes. Doctor Mitchill, in N. Y.H.S. Coll., i., 41, however doubts the correctness of the accounts in the Journal respecting the abundance of salmon in the North River when first visited by Hudson, though he admits that that fish has been taken there.