Biography

While the date is unknown, Button was born the fourth son of Miles Button of Worlton, Glamorganshire, and Margaret, daughter of Edward Lewis, of Van, Caerphilly, Glamorganshire. Button entered the navy c. 1588-1589, and served in the West Indies and Ireland, where his actions at the siege of Kinsale in 1601 won him a pension for life. Under the patronage of Sir Robert Mansel and Sir John Trevor, surveyor of the navy, he was selected to command the North West Company's 1612 expedition, after which he was appointed Admiral of the King's ships on the coast of Ireland, where he suppressed piracy. His success against rebels in the west of Scotland in 1615 earned him a knighthood the following year. He failed to resolve long-running disputes with the commissioners of the navy over costs of provisioning his squadron of ships and the nonpayment of his pension before Buckingham was assassinated in August 1628, and these issues remained unresolved at his death. Button married twice, and fathered at least seven children. He died "of a burning fever quickly" in April 1634.

Merrill Distad

See also Bylot, Robert

Further Reading

Burpee, Lawrence J., The Search for the Western Sea: The Story of the Exploration of North-western America, New York: D. Appleton, 1908; revised edition, 2 volumes, New York: Macmillan, 1936 Clark, George Thomas, Some Account of Sir Robert Mansel, Kt., Vice Admiral of England, and Member of Parliament for the County of Glamorgan; and of Admiral Sir Thomas Button Kt., of Worlton, and of Cardiff, in the County of Glamorgan, Dowlais, s.n., 1883 Crouse, Nellis M., In Quest of the Western Ocean, London: Dent, 1928

Dodge, Ernest S., Northwest by Sea, New York: Oxford

University Press, 1961 Fox, Luke, North-West Fox, or, Fox From the North-West Passage, Beginning with King Arthur, Malga, Octhvr, the Two Zeni's of Iseland, Estotiland, and Dorgia; Following with Briefe Abstracts of the Voyages of Cabot, Frobisher, Davis, Waymouth, Knight, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, Bylot, Baffin, Hawkridge, originally published 1635, reprinted New York: Johnson Reprint, 1965; also in Miller Christy (editor), The Voyages of Captain Luke Foxe of Hull, and Captain Thomas James of Bristol, in Search of a North-West Passage, in 1631-32; With Narratives of the Earlier NorthWest Voyages of Frobisher, Davis, Weymouth, Hall, Knight, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, Bylot, Baffin, Hawkridge, and Others, 2 volumes, 1894, reprinted New York: Burt Franklin, 1963

Graf, Miller, Arctic Journeys: A History of Exploration for the

Northwest Passage, New York: Peter Lang, 1992 Monson, Sir William, The Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson, 5 volumes, edited by Michael Oppenheim, London: Printed for the Navy Records Society, 1902-1914 Pennington, L.E. (editor), The Purchas Handbook: Studies of the Life, Times and Writings of Samuel Purchas, 1577-1626: With Bibliographies of His Books and Works About Him, 2 volumes, London: Hakluyt Society, 1997 Purchas, Samuel, Hakluytus Posthumus, or, Purchas His Pilgrimes: Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and Others, Glasgow: J. MacLehose and Sons, 1905-1907 Thomson, George Malcolm, The North-West Passage, London:

Secker and Warburg, 1975 Waters, David Watkin, The Art of Navigation in England in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Times, London, Hollis and Carter, 1958; 2nd edition, Greenwich: National Maritime Museum, 1978

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