Thomas James (ca. 1593-ca. 1635)


  • Walter Kenyon



Biographies, Expeditions, Explorers, History, James, Thomas, ca. 1593-ca. 1635, Charlton Island, Nunavut, Hudson Bay, Hudson Bay region


... James emerged from the shadows for only one brief period. In 1631, he was selected by some Bristol merchants to see if there was a passage leading from Hudson's newly discovered bay into the fabled Pacific. After an unsuccessful search (for there was no passage), James wintered near the northeast corner of Charlton Island, and returned to Bristol the following summer. In 1633, James published an account of his expedition: The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captain Thomas James. ... Thomas James was the fourth explorer to winter in that vast, inland sea; he was preceded by Henry Hudson (1610-11), Thomas Button (1612-13), and Jens Munk (1619-20). If we compare James with his predecessors, he stands up very well. He explored more miles of coastline than any of the others. And being a thoughtful and experienced leader of men, he did not suffer the dissension that wracked Hudson's crew. Nor did he suffer the frightful mortality that almost wiped out the Button and Munk expeditions. Munk lost 61 of the total complement of 64 men who sailed with him. James, in contrast, lost only six out of a crew of 22 men - two to accident, and four to scurvy.






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