IT seems to be not uncommonly believed, even to-day, that Henry Hudson was the discoverer of the river that bears his name. But the student of history gets accustomed to finding that the beginnings of things were earlier than had been supposed. So many famous discoveries have turned out to be rediscoveries that we become cautious about asserting that any event or achievement was the first of its kind. With regard to the Hudson River, there can be no sort of doubt that it was visited by many Europeans before Hudson, and in the story of these earlier voyages there is much that is of interest.
The expeditions of John and Sebastian Cabot, in 1497 and 1498, found no traces of civilization, or of spices, or gold, or precious stones, on the coasts which they visited, and hence their efforts were not followed up as otherwise they might have been. But one source of wealth attracted their attention, the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland. Englishmen were rather slow in availing themselves of this information, inasmuch as they had long been accustomed to find codfish and haddock in plenty in the waters about Iceland. But sailors from Portu
The Newfoundland fisheries.