HEARNE, SAMUEL (1745–1792), English explorer, was born in London. In 1756 he entered the navy, and was some time with Lord Hood; at the end of the Seven Years’ War (1763) he took service with the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1768 he examined portions of the Hudson’s Bay coasts with a view to improving the cod fishery, and in 1769–1772 he was employed in north-western discovery, searching especially for certain copper mines described by Indians. His first attempt (from the 6th of November 1769) failed through the desertion of his Indians; his second (from the 23rd of February 1770) through the breaking of his quadrant; but in his third (December 1770 to June 1772) he was successful, not only discovering the copper of the Coppermine river basin, but tracing this river to the Arctic Ocean. He reappeared at Fort Prince of Wales on the 30th of June 1772. Becoming governor of this fort in 1775, he was taken prisoner by the French under La Pérouse in 1782. He returned to England in 1787 and died there in 1792.
See his posthumous Journey from Prince of Wales Fort in Hudson’s Bay to the Northern Ocean (London, 1795).