Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hall, James (d.1612)

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HALL, JAMES (d. 1612), navigator, a native of Hull, made four voyages to Greenland, and wrote an account of the first two. He made his first voyage in 1605, when he was chief pilot on an expedition sent by Christian IV of Denmark to discover the lost colony of Greenland. They landed on the western coast near the modern Holsteinborg, and Hall describes the Eskimos as 'a kind of Samoydes worshipping the sun,' and gives their mode of deceiving the seals by wearing sealskin garments. He went again on the same quest in 1606 as pilot under Admiral Lindenov, when he saw the natives' winter houses, made of whalebones and covered with earth. After joining a third Danish expedition to Greenland in 1607, he returned to England with a Scarborough youth, William Huntriss, who had accompanied him on all his voyages, and had a special allowance for his seamanship from Christian IV. Hall persuaded four rich merchants to join him in fitting out an English expedition for mineral ores, and sailed for Greenland on his fourth and last voyage, in command of two ships, the Patience and Heartsease, in 1612. The famous William Baffin [q. v.] was pilot of the Patience, and wrote an account (published by Purchas) of this, Hall's last voyage. The party reached Cockin Sound on 8 July, and on the 21st Hall was mortally wounded by an Eskimo, in revenge probably for having carried off or slain some natives on a previous voyage. Hall died 22 July 1612, his last wishes being that Barker, master of the Heartsease, should succeed him as commander, and Huntriss take Barker's post. By his own desire he was buried on an island, not at sea. Purchas gives accounts of Hall's first two voyages, somewhat abbreviated, and says he also possessed an account of the third voyage, illustrated by Josiah Hubert, but since the ship was forced to turn back he does not print it. Baffin's journal is also in Purchas.

[Purchas his Pilgrimes, ed. 1625, i. 814, 821, 827, 831; John Davis, by Clements Markham, pp. 249-51, 257.]

E. T. B.