CAPTAIN HENRY HUDSON
(Voyages from 1607 to 1611).
While Smith was in Jamestown, a company of London merchants sent out Captain Hudson to try to discover a passage to China and the Indies. When he left England, he sailed to the northwest, hoping that he could find a way open to the Pacific across the North Pole or not far below it.
If he found such a passage, he knew that it would be much shorter than a voyage round the globe further south; because, as any one can see, it is not nearly so far round the top of an apple, near the stem, as it is round the middle.
Hudson could not find the passage he was looking for; but he saw mountains of ice, and he went nearer to the North Pole than any one had ever done before.
He set out from the port of Amsterdam, in 1609, in a vessel named the Half Moon. After he had gone quite a long distance, the sailors got so tired of seeing nothing but fog and ice that they refused to go any further.
Then Captain Hudson turned his ship about and sailed for the coast of North America. He did that because his friend, Captain Smith of Virginia, had sent him a letter, with a map, which made him think that he could find such a passage as he wanted north of Chesapeake Bay.
1 See map in paragraph 62.
Then, some distance further up, Captain Hudson came to a place where the river breaks through great forest-covered hills, called the Highlands. At the end of the fifth day he came to a point on the eastern bank above the Highlands, where the city of Hudson now stands. Here an old Indian chief invited him to go ashore. Hudson had found the Indians, as he says, "very loving," so he thought he would accept the invitation. The savages made a great feast for the captain. They gave him not only roast pigeons, but also a roast dog, which they cooked specially for him: they wanted he should have the very best.
These Indians had never seen a white man before. They thought that the English captain, in his bright scarlet coat trimmed with gold lace, had come down from the sky to visit them. What puzzled them, however, was that he had such a pale face instead of having a red one like themselves.
At the end of the feast Hudson rose to go, but the Indians begged him to stay all night. Then one of them got up, gathered all the arrows, broke them to pieces, and threw them into the fire, in order to show the captain that he need not be afraid to stop with them.
2 Palisades: this name is given to the wall of rock on the Hudson, because, when seen near by, it somewhat resembles a palisade, or high fence made of stakes or posts set close together, upright in the ground.
On the way down stream a thievish Indian, who had come out in a canoe, managed to steal something from the ship. One of the crew chanced to see the Indian as he was slyly slipping off, and picking up a gun he fired and killed him. After that Hudson's men had several fights with the Indians.
The next year Captain Hudson made another voyage, and entered that immense bay in the northern part of America which we now know as Hudson Bay. There he got into trouble with his men. Some of them seized him and set him adrift with a few others in an open boat. Nothing more was ever heard of the brave English sailor. The bay which bears his name is probably his grave.
After the Dutch had held the country of New Netherland about fifty years, the English (1664) seized it. They changed its name to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who was brother to the king. The English also changed the name of New Amsterdam to that of New York City.
3 New Netherland: this is often incorrectly printed New Netherlands.
The silent harbor where Henry Hudson saw a few Indian canoes is now one of the busiest seaports in the world. The great statue of Liberty stands at its entrance. To it a fleet of ships and steamers is constantly coming from all parts of the globe; from it another fleet is constantly going. If Captain Hudson could see the river which bears his name, and Manhattan Island now covered with miles of buildings which make the largest and wealthiest city in America, he would say: There is no need of my looking any further for the riches of China and the Indies, for I have found them here.
4 In her right hand Liberty holds a torch to guide vessels at night.
Who was Henry Hudson? What did he try to find? What did the Dutch hire him to do? Where did he go? What did he call the river he discovered? What is said about that river? Tell what you can of Hudson's voyage up the river. What is said about the Indians? Why did Hudson turn back? What did he do then? What is the river he discovered called now? What happened to Captain Hudson the next year? What did the Dutch do? What did they name the country? Why? What did they build there on Manhattan Island? Who seized New Netherland? What name did they give it? What is said of the "Sons of Liberty"? What would Hudson say if he could see New York City now?