THOMPSON, JOSEPH, HBC employee; fl. 1674–79.
Thompson entered the Company’s service in 1674 as mate on the Shaftesbury (Capt. Thomas Shepard.) In 1676 he was given “a medall and chayne” for sailing the same ship to Hudson Bay and back in six months and bringing home a cargo of beaver that realized £1,972. On the return voyage he committed the error of “wearing the King’s Jack” (flying the king’s flag) and the lords of Admiralty promptly called him to account. Pardon was immediately forthcoming when Prince Rupert answered on his behalf and it is of more than passing interest that Thompson’s journal of the 1676 voyage went to Prince Rupert for his library.
When Thompson was en route home in 1678 fortune turned fickle. After leaving Kinsale, Ireland, the Shaftesbury was wrecked off the Scilly Isles and that year’s cargo of furs was lost. Events following this mishap are obscure but Thompson assigned £50 of HBC stock in part satisfaction of his debt to the Company on a £1,000 bond, and his account shows a mystifying debit item in 1679 for “money pd. the Bayleys (bailiffs) for arresting you.”