Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BAFFIN, William, navigator, supposed to have been born in London about 1584 ; died in Kishm, Persia, 23 January 1622. He is first mentioned in 1612 as pilot of the "Patience," one of the vessels that accompanied James Hall in his voyage of discovery to Greenland. An account of the expedition was written by him on his return, part of which, published by Purchas, has been preserved. In 1613, having entered the service of the Muscovy Company, he became chief pilot of seven vessels, and visited the Spitzbergen coast for fishing. Purchas also preserved an account of this voyage, written by Baflin. Again, in 1614, he made a similar trip. In 1615 he piloted the "Discovery," commanded by Robert Bylot, in her search for the northwest passage. His original manuscript description of this voyage, containing much valuable information, is preserved in the British museum. In 1616 he again sailed with the "Discovery," passed up through Davis strait, reaching as far as 78° N. latitude, and cruised around the open sea now known as Bafiin's bay. His narrative of this voyage was published by Purchas, probably in an imperfect form, and his opinion is there recorded against the existence of a northwest passage. He then joined the East India Company and made voyages to the east under Captain Shilling in 1617 and 1620. His final voyage was made as master of the " London " in 1621, sent out for the purpose of driving the Portuguese from Ormuz. During the siege, while engaged in making measurements, he was shot, and died almost immediately. Baffin was the first to determine longitude by observing the time of the moon's culmination. See "The Voyages of William Baffin, 1612-'22," edited, with notes and an introduction, by Clements R. Markham, C. B., F. R. S., published by the Hakluyt society (London, 1881).
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