Name

Henry Ellis

Career

Science

Occupation 1

Hydrographer

Occupation 2

sought Northwest Passage

Identifier

Georgia

Region

NA/North America

Era

Maritime Republic (1751-1815)

Born

1721

Died

1806

Source

ANB

Text

Explorer, scientist, and governor� [Ellis] sought his fortune at sea and by his twenty-fifth birthday was an experienced mariner. In 1746 he was offered command of a vessel engaged in a search for a northwest passage. Ellis declined but agreed to act as scientific observer and agent for the sponsors, one of whom was his father.

Ellis's account of the hazardous voyage along the coast of Hudson's Bay earned him a fellowship in the prestigious Royal Society and brought him to the attention of George Montagu Dunk, the earl of Halifax, who as president of the Board of Trade took an active interest in colonial administration. After his initiation into the Royal Society in 1749, Ellis wrote a second book urging exploration of a northwest passage by way of America's west coast, a route later followed by Captain James Cook.

Ellis returned to sea in the Bristol-based Earl of Halifax and conducted several experiments on behalf of Dr. Stephen Hales of the Royal Society. One of his innovations was a ventilator, a type of exhaust fan that cleared fetid air from the hold of the ship. Ellis wrote about the resulting improvement in the health of his human cargo�

Ellis lived long enough to celebrate the victory of Trafalgar, which guaranteed British maritime supremacy. He died peacefully in Naples�

Record ID: 488