Thomas James

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Thomas James, 1593?–1635?, English navigator and explorer (1631) of James Bay. Financed by Bristol merchants, he sailed in command of the Henrietta Maria in the spring of 1631 to find the Northwest Passage to the East. Having explored James Bay (the south extension of Hudson Bay), which was named for him, he wintered on Charlton Island, and in the summer of 1632 continued his attempt to find the passage, a quest that Luke Fox was also undertaking independently (1631). Upon his return to England, James wrote his Strange and Dangerous Voyage (1633), which was later to have a strong influence on the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

See R. B. Bodilly, The Voyage of Captain Thomas James (1928); C. M. MacInnes, Captain Thomas James and the North West Passage (1967).

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Thomas James, 1782–1847, American fur trader and pioneer, b. Maryland. He accompanied the 1809 expedition of the Missouri Fur Company up the Missouri River. He left the expedition at the Mandan villages (in the vicinity of Bismarck, N.Dak.) and returned to St. Louis, where he became a merchant. With Robert McKnight he led an early expedition (1821–23) over the Santa Fe Trail. Later he settled in S Illinois. He is chiefly remembered for his valuable account of his early expedition, Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans (1846, ed. by W. B. Douglas, 1916).