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For those readers interested in the voyages of the late-16th-early-17th century adventurer, Henry Hudson, or in the European explorations of North America, I have recently scanned and edited a copy of Juet’s Journal into Word format and placed it online here. Here is my website on Henry Hudson, too. I haven’t done much with it of late, but that may be slowly changing as I find I have more time these days, during my recovery.
The journal documents how Hudson and his crew ‘discovered’ parts of North America and sailed up the river that now bears his name. For Americans, especially those in New York state, this is important history.
I have long wanted to turn the journals of Hudson’s voyages — replicated in Samuel Purchas’ classic 17th-century work, Purchas His Pilgrimes (aka Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes, Contayning a History of the World, in Sea Voyages, & Lande Travels, by Englishmen and others — the 1625 publication was actually the fourth edition of his work that first came out in 1613 as Purchas His Pilgrimage) — into readable, copyable, modern text. However, because the original text is not suitable for scanning into OCR form, I tried to manually input it by reading the original and retyping it in Word.
My initial efforts to retype the text from the vintage typography into modern form were slow and frustrating. It’s difficult to read, even with a magnifying glass poring over the facsimile editions I have. The printer used the “long f” for an “s”, “v” for “u” and “i” for “j” — all of which need to be substituted. Plus he and the authors of the journals used forms of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization far from today’s standards. As much as I wanted to “correct” these for modern usage, I had to try to retain them for authenticity.
Although I put the project aside for the last decade to pursue other interests and ventures, while I was recently perusing my bookshelves for an unrelated title, I came across a reprint of Juet’s Journal of the third (1609) voyage. My interest was again piqued. I have spent several days scanning, editing, formatting this into a text format that can be used easily. This reprint came from the New Jersey Historical Society, published in 1959. As far as I can tell, it was the first and only reprint of Juet’s journal in modern type.
Robert Juet’s name appears in Purchas as “Ivet.” He is an odd, somewhat dark character. Although he sailed with Henry Hudson on at least three voyages, he was also behind at least one of the mutinies (1610) that Hudson faced on his voyages, but perhaps others. There was a mutiny in 1609 when the ship neared the Russian island of Nova Zembla, sometime between May 5 and 19, but although this was a major event, Juet didn’t mention it in his journal. This has lead some historians to believe he was at least a participant and wanted to record the rest in case the mutineers were ever brought to trial.
Juet’s position in the 1609 voyage is unclear. Although he is listed as Hudson’s mate in 1608, and again in 1610, there is no indication what role he served in 1609. He was likely an officer, but not mate. Nor is there an explanation of why he kept a journal of that voyage. Juet died in 1611 (apparently of starvation), while his mutineers were struggling to return to England after abandoning Hudson and his son in a boat on the water of the bay we now call Hudson Bay.
Another confounding factor is that Hudson’s 1609 voyage was financed not by the English as were his previous and final voyages, but by the Dutch United East India Company, with specific instructions to explore a Northeast passage through the Arctic above Russia. When the Half Moon (Halve Maen in Dutch) turned westward and headed towards North America, Hudson was in violation of his contract with the Dutch. That may explain why the ship returned to England first instead of back to Amsterdam. More on the voyage can be read here.
Hudson and his crew were the first Europeans to record their entry into Delaware Bay, and the first to sail upriver and explore the area that would become New Netherland (later Manhattan and New York) and what would be named the Hudson River.
Purchase His Pilgrimes is more than just Henry Hudson, of course, and serves as a marvellous record of exploration and discovery of his age. And it’s great fun to read, albeit not very easy in its original form.
The 1625 edition is described as “…a massive compendium of travel narratives, most of them concerning the journeys of English travelers in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. At the time it was the largest work in English ever published” and “…a trove of information on English activities in the Near East and it shows how English perceptions of Ottomans and Persians were developing in the Early Modern period. Purchas’ framing of the narratives provided an important articulation and ideological justification of England’s mercantile and imperial ambitions in the seventeenth century. The work is a central document for all researchers interested in England’s relations with the Near East.”
Purchas had worked as assistant to Richard Hakluyt, author of the massive, 1589 compendium of English travel narratives and journals, “The Principal Navigations Voyages Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation.” It has been described as, “…the most important collection of English travel writing ever published. The territories it describes cover every area of European activity and aspiration in the period, from the New World to Muscovy, the Levant, Persia, the East Indies and Africa. Published in three massive folio volumes (approx. 1.76 million words), the work was instrumental in promoting English expansion through colonial and trade ventures around the globe.”
Purchase published his own book of voyages and journals, Purchas His Pilgrimage, that ran through at least three editions (1613, 1614, and 1617). After Hakluyt’s death in 1616, Purchas acquired Hakluyt’s unpublished manuscripts and used them in his own updated and revised work in 1625. As far as I am aware there is no modernized edition, or OCR version of Purchas available, although there is of Hakluyt’s work, including a good paperback edition from Penguin (not sure if it remains in print, however).
- 1070 words
- 6647 characters
- Reading time: 348 s
- Speaking time: 535s