BALEY (Bayly, Bayley), HENRY, HBC captain and governor; d. 20 Dec. 1701.
After serving as chief mate to Captain Leonard Edgcombe*, Baley was given command of the company’s fireship, Prosperous, in 1692. In the summer of the same year he sailed to Hudson Bay as part of the expedition under James Knight to recover the James Bay posts, which had been in the hands of the French since 1686. Baley, who was wounded in action when Albany was retaken in the summer of 1693, was recommended by Knight for “behaving himself well.” He returned to England that year in the Royal Hudson’s Bay (Capt Michael Grimington). In 1694 Baley commanded the Dering [III] to and from the bay, calling both at York, where Thomas Walsh was governor, and at Albany Later that year York surrendered to the French.
Baley did not return to the bay until 1696 when he was again in command of the Dering in the expedition, comprising ships of both HBC and the Royal Navy, organized to recapture York Fort. The fort was taken in August of the same year, and in accordance with his instructions Baley assumed the governorship. The triumph was short-lived. York was to fall into French hands again the following summer. After Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville had beaten the English ships in the bay, he opened fire on York Fort; Baley did not capitulate immediately, but sought to arouse the fighting spirit of his men by promising £40 to their widows – an offer that did not meet with enthusiasm. He then sent two men – one of them Henry Kelsey – to negotiate surrender terms with Iberville. The English request to keep the company’s beaver was not granted, but otherwise the conditions of surrender were mild, and the governor was accorded all the honours of war. Baley arrived back in London in December 1697.
The following year he was assigned to the Pery and sailed to Albany. He served in James Bay under Knight, spending part of the time on the East Main. In 1700 Baley commanded the Pery on the return trip to England. He remained in the company’s employ in London until his death on 20 Dec 1701. He left his widow, Judith, sole executrix of his will.