« PreviousContinue »
Their fuel was so short that they could af-ever, allow him to go no farther.
ford themselves but one meal a-day, and were obliged to discontinue the comfort of a cup of tea. Being short of oil also, and darkness and cold together being intolerable, they had no resource but to pass about fourteen hours out of the twenty-four in bed. Rae was worse off than his companions; they could smoke at all hours; but that which was their greatest luxury was his greatest annoyance. Honest Jack's jerseys and trousers felt, from frozen moisture, as hard and prickly as any integuments of ascetical invention. When they went to bed their blankets sparkled with hoar-frost; Rae's own waistcoat became so stiff that he had much ado to get it buttoned. When he went to open his books he found that the leaves were fast frozen together, the damp from the walls having got into them before the frost set in; and every article bound with brass or silver burst its fastenings. Yet the men were cheerful, enjoyed excellent health, and made light of their hardships. When one poor fellow got his knee frozen in bed he was sorry that it became known, as the laugh was turned against him for his effeminacy. Christmas-day they had all "an excellent dinner of venison and plum-pudding," and on the 1st of January "capital fat venison-steaks and currant dumplings." A small supply of brandy was served out to drink to absent friends; and on the whole, Rae does not think that "a happier party could have been found in America, large as it is."
We have dwelt on the particulars of this journey - interesting however for their own sake because they support the idea that Franklin and his crews, if detained in some remote region of thick-ribbed ice, might not, even to this date, be reduced to utter extremity for want of food. If Rae, with provisions for only four months, could keep his men in high condition for fourteen, and could weather a winter of great severity almost without fuel, with no other shelter than they could erect for themselves, and with but scant supplies of clothing, it does appear improbable that, with the two well-stored ships of Franklin, some brave fellows may yet be living, animated by the hope that succor will reach them at last. In the course of nature the crews would be much reduced by death, and the supplies be consequently available for a longer period than was calculated on.
By the commencement of March deer began to migrate to the north, and during this month Rae got sledges finished and all preparations made for his spring survey. On the 3rd of While Rae was engaged in this expedition, April the thermometer rose above zero for the attention was painfully excited in England by first time since the 12th of December. He Franklin's prolonged absence. The opinion started on the 4th, taking with him three of of the most experienced arctic navigators was his men and two Esquimaux; his luggage that he had pushed to the south-west after and provisions being stowed in two sledges, passing Cape Walker, and had got inextricaeach drawn by four dogs. He took no tent, bly involved in the ice somewhere south of as he found it much more convenient to erect Banks' Land. Thus Sir E. Parry expressed snow-houses. Those which he built on his his conviction that the ships were directed to outward journey served on his way back. In the south-west between 100° and 110° W. these houses storm and cold were unfelt. On | Long.; Sir James Ross, taking the same view, one occasion, where there was a stiff gale, expected the ships would be found about lat. with the thermometer 21° below zero, he 73 N. and long. 135° W.; and Richardson, says "We were as snug and comfortable likely to be informed of his old comrade's in our snow-hive as if we had been lodged in views, believed that he was blocked up in atthe best house in England." tempting, by sailing south-west of Cape Walker, to reach that open Polar Sea, which both of them had observed, east and west of the Mackenzie river, in their exploration of the North American coast. Similar views were expressed before the Committee of 1850.
The course indicated was that which Franklin had been expressly directed to take. Sir John Barrow, in proposing this voyage to the Royal Society, had dwelt mainly on the probabilty of a channel south-west of Cape Walk
His thorough exploration of the shores of Committee Bay connects the discoveries of Parry on one side with those of Ross on the other.
The ice broke up late in 1847, and it was not till the 12th August that the boats were launched in open water. Rae safely arrived with all his men at York Factory on the 6th September: there the good health and high condition of the whole party excited unqualified admiration. “By George!" exclaimed a stout corporal in charge of the sappers and miners destined to accompany Richardson in his boat voyage, "I never saw such a set of men." From none of the parties of Esquimaux Rae met with could he gather any tidings of Franklin.
In this journey he surveyed the whole western shore of the sea until he reached the furthest discovery of Ross to the south. In a second journey, made the same spring, he traversed the eastern coast till he reached Cape Crozier; from hence he could observe the line of coast some miles farther to the north leaving, as he reckoned, not more than ten miles of shore to be surveyed up to the mouth of the Fury and Hecla Strait: the shortness of his provisions would, how-er, whence
A distance of 300 leagues on a clear sea, keep- | Bathurst, Parry, Krusenstern, and Hearne, ing midway between the supposed Banks' Land along the coast. and the coast of America, would accomplish A third expedition, consisting of the Ileran object which, at intervals during 300 years, ald, Captain Kellet, then employed on a surhas engaged the attention of crowned heads, men vey in the Pacific, and the Plover, under of science, and mercantile bodies, whose ex pec- Commander Moore, were to penetrate through tations were frequently disappointed but not discouraged.
Behring's Strait, taking up positions as far
north-east as might be consistent with their The official instructions to Franklin are, how- safety, and two whale-boats were tv perform ever, quito distinct on this point :
a coasting voyage to the Mackenzie to meet
Richardson's party. In proceeding to the westward you will not stop These arrangements were judicious, but, to examine any openings either to the northward unfortunately that expedition to which the or southward of that strait (Barrow's] but con- chief service was intrusted was baffled by tinue to push to the westward without loss of those natural causes which so often, in arctic time in the latitude of about 744 till you have regions, defeat the best-laid plans, and, inexreached the longitude of that portion of land on which Cape Walker is situated, or about 98° tricably, enclosing ships in mighty fields of west. From that point we desire that every ef
ice, deliver over the most experienced and fort be used to endeavor to penetrate to the south- courageous commanders to the inercy of winds ward and westward in a course as direct towards and currents. Behring' Strait as the position and extent of the
The vessels of Ross were not able to cross ice, or the existence of land at present unknown, the middle ice of Baffin's Bay till the 20th may admit. We direct you to this particular July. He did not reach Cape York, at the part of the Polar Sea as affording the best pros- entrance of Regent's Inlet, till the 1st Seppect of accomplishing the passage to the Pacific. tember; and here he had the mortification to
You are well aware, having yourself find that impenetrable barriers of ice prebeen one of the intelligent travellers who have vented his approaching the entrance of Wel. traversed the American shore of the Polar Sea, lington Channel to the north, or Cape Renthat the groups of islands that stretch from that nell to the west. He put into Port Leopold shore to the northward to a distance not yet known, do not extend to the westward further
on the 11th September, and on the following than about the 120th degree of western longi- day both vessels were fast shut in by the main tude, and that beyond this and to Behring's pack of ice closing with the land. He emStrait no land is visible from the American shore ployed the winter and spring in all practicaof the Polar Sea.
ble measures for the discovery and relief of
Franklin. A house was built at Port LeoThat the search for this great seaman and pold, and stored with provisions for twelve his companions might be as complete as pos- months, in case he might come that way after sible, the government, in 1848, fitted out the ships had gone. Exploring parties searched three distinct expeditions — each, however, both shores of North Somerset, down to Fury planned on the probability that he had taken Point on one side, and Four Rivers Bay on the route prescribed for him, rather than with the other. any special view to Wellington Channel. The The open season of 1849 was late. The principal one, under command of Sir James vessels were not released till the 28th August, Ross, consisting of the Enterprise and Inves- and three days later the ice closed round tigator, was directed to follow, as far as prac- them, and defied every effort made for their ticable, in the asumed wake of Franklin, pro- relief. Helplessly beset, they remained fast ceeding direct to Lancaster Sound, and scruti- until they drifted out of Lancaster Sound. nizing the shores north and south. It was sup- When they were once more free the 25th of posed that one ship might winter near Cape September had arrived, and winter had set in Rennel or Cape Walker, and that the other with rigor. The harbors on the coast were might advance to Melville Island. Searching already closed against them, and, having done parties were to be sent from each vessel in all that was possible to contend with adverse the spring, some to explore the neighboring circumstances, Ross had no resource but to coasts, and particularly the unknown space return home, thankful to the Providence between Cape Walker and Banks' Land; and which had so mercifully preserved him when others to cross, if possible, to the coast of all human effort was unavailing. North America, and attempt to reach the It had been his intention, were no tidings Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers, where Sir heard of Franklin by the close of the summer John Richardson's aids would meet them. 1849, to send home the Investigator, continu
To Richardson had been intrusted the task ing the search through another year in the of searching the North American shore be- Enterprise alone. The Admiralty apprecitween the Coppermine and the Mackenzie, and ated his zeal, but feared it might jeopardize of depositing provisions at Fort Good Hope, his safety. Early in the spring of 1849 the on the latter river, at its mouth, and at Capes North Star was supplied with stores, and in
May sailed for Lancaster Sound, bearing de-| away, was dried in a malt-kiln over an oak fire spatches to Sir James Ross, instructing him until its moisture was entirely dissipated, and to keep out both ships, and to make a partic- the fibre of the meat became friable. It was ular examination of Wellington Channel. The then ground in a malt-mill, when it resembled North Star was not to hazard a winter in the finely-grated meat. Being next mixed with an ice ; , but the unusual severity of the season, equal quantity of melted beef-suet or lard, the which had carried Sir James out of Lancaster preparation of plain pemmican was complete ;
but to render it more agreeable to the unaccusSound, prevented the North Star from ap- tomed palate, a proportion of the best Zante proaching it. She wintered in Wolstenholme currants was added to part of it, and part was Sound, and hence originated that foolish sweetened with sugar. "Both these kinds were story of the wreck of Franklin's ships on the much approved of in the sequel, but more esnorth shore of Baffin's Bay, which imposed on pecially that to which the sugar had been the credulity of Sir John Ross. The impu- added." After the ingredients had been well dent fabrication is now conclusively exposed.* incorporated by stirring, they were transferred
The return of Sir James Ross' ships at the to tin canisters capable of containing 85 lbs. very time when it was supposed the North each, and having been firmly rammed down, and Star would have been in communication with allowed to contract further by cooling, the air them, replenishing them for a prolonged ab- was completely expelled and excluded by filling sence, excited some very unreasonable dissat- the canister to the brim with melted lari, isfaction in the minds of a few noisy people. then covered with a piece of tin and soldered up,
through a small hole left in the end, which was Eren had it been possible for Sir James to Finally, the canister was painted and lettered winter in some harbor of Baffin's Bay, it would according to its contents. The total quantity of clearly have been unadvisable for him to do pemmican thus made was 17,424 lbs., at a cost 80, as a fresh expedition from England would of 1s. 7fd. per lb.
As the meat in dryreach Lancaster Sound by about the time he ing loses more than three fourths of its original could expect to get released. It is not for weight, the quantity required was considerable, one unsuccessful adventure to dim the repu- being 35,651 lbs. (reduced by drying to about tation of this most skilful and gallant officer. 8000 lbs.) and the sudden abstraction of more The arctic and antartic zones equally bear than 1000 rounds of beef from Leadenball Marwitness to his high qualities and acquire-ket occasioned speculation among the dealers, ments. If second to any among Polar discov- and a temporary rise in the price of one penay erers, he is second to Parry alone ; and while per pound. — Rich., vol. i., 37, 38. he may justly claim part in the successes of It is curiously illustrative of the interest that able commander - having sailed with excited by this expedition, that Richardson him when the Parry Islands were discovered received numerous advances from volunteers - and accompanied him in his wonderful desirous of joining him. Among the applijourney over the ice towards the Pole — the cants he enumerates two clergymen, one merit is all his own of planting the British flag Welsh justice, several country gentlemen, and on the magnetic pole, and of discovering an some scientific foreigners. Rae was associantartic continent.
ated with Richardson. They left Liverpool The other expeditions were more successful for New York on the 25th of March, 1848, in fulfilling the parts assigned them. Prepar- taking with them necessary baggage to the ations for Richardson's journey had to be amount of 4000 lbs. They moved with all made in the summer of 1847. Four boats of practicable rapidity. Landing at New York the most approved construction were built in on the 10th of April, they arrived at Cumberthe royal yards ; and, with wise considera- land House 14th of June, the distance from tion for the commissariat, Sir John had that New York being 2850 miles. They found indespensable article for the arctic voyager, their party, which had left England the prepemmican, manufactured under his own eye. vious year, a fortnight in advance; it had The reader may not be displeased to see an been joined by Mr. Bell, chief trader of the authentic account of its preparation : Hudson's Bay Company, and by sixteen of The round or buttock of beef, of the best qual- the Mackenzie was favorable. On the 31st of
the Company's voyagers. Their journey down ity, having been cut into thin steaks, from July they reached Point Separation, and here which the fat and membranous parts were pared
a case of pemmican with memoranda was * Captain Inglefield, in a paper read at the Geo- buried for the Plover's boat party. To indigraphical Society November 22d last, giving an cate the spot to their friends, but conceal it account of his voyage in the Isabel, states that he from the natives, a fire was lit over the pit; paid a visit to Ominack, the spot named by Adam and, as this signal had been agreed on, the Beck as that on which Franklin and his crew had deposit was readily found by Pullen and his been murdered, and satisfied himself, “ beyond all doubt, that there was no truth whatever in the men when they arrived in the Plover's boats statement of that reprobate Adam Beck, and that fourteen months later. From the mouth of the no such fate as he had related had befallen their Mackenzie, Richardson's boats turned to the missing countrymen."
east, passed Cape Bathurst on the 11th of
August, and soon after rounded Cape Parry. Ivanced than we had expected. He had built an The navigation from this point became more ample store-house, two houses for the men, and difficult, the boats having to make way through a dwelling-house for the officers, consisting of a crowded floes of ice. As they approached hall, three sleeping apartments, and store-closet
. Cape Krusenstern, the sea, as far as vision ex- Mr. Bell and Mr. Rae quartered themselves tended, was one dense, close pack, with not a with Bruce in the store-room, and I took poslane of water perceptible. On the night of session of my sleeping-room, which was put
I could there enjoy the the 26th of August a severe frost covered the temporarily in order.
luxury of a fire while I was preparing my desea and ponds with young ice, and glued spatches for the Admiralty, and writing my dothe Hoes immovably together. Progress mestic letters. I looked forward to the winter with the boats could now be made only by without anxiety. dragging them over the floes, when the surfuce was sufficiently smooth, by. cutting
The main business of the expedition was through tongues of ice, and by carrying them now ended. The men were sent home, and, budily over Hats and points of land. On one on the 7th of May, 1849, Richardson and Bell morning three hours of severe labor only ad- commenced their journey southwards, leaving vanced them a hundred yards. When about Rae as the best qualified to make another a dozen miles from Cape Krusenstern, one effort to reach Wollaston Land from Cape boat and her cargo had to be left on a rocky Krusenstern in the summer, with one boat's projection. From the cape itself nothing but crew of six men. Richardson landed at Livice in firmly compacted toes could be seen, erpool 6th November, 1849, after an absence and the sorrowful conclusion was forced on Sir of nineteen months. Rae's summer expediJohn that the sea-voyage was at an end. East tion of 1849, however, was a failure. On the of Cape Parry, says he, only six weeks of 30th of July he arrived at Cape Krusenstern summer can be reckoned on. All struggled from Fort Confidence, but found the channel forward, however, to Cape Hearne, and, as so choked with ice, that it was impossible to from this point the sea was covered with floes, get a boat through it. He waited at the and new ice formed rapidly, the abandonment Cape watching the channel for an opening of the other boats became inevitable. Rich- until the 23rd of August, when, the sea being ardson says :
completely closed by compacted floes, he re
luctantly returned by the Copperinine river I had hoped that, by conveying the boats and to his winter-quarters. The boats left the stores up the Coppermine river, beyond the range of the Eskimos, we could deposite them
in previous year had been much damaged by the a place of safety, to be available for a voyage to tents were uninjured, and the cache of pem
Esquimaux to obtain the iron-work, but the Wollaston Land next summer. But, abandoned
mican and ammunition untouched. as they now must be on the coast, we could not expect that they would escape the researches of
One encouraging fact runs through all these the hunting parties who would follow up our explorations of the North American coast foot-marks, and who were certain to break up and that is, the abundance of animal life to the boats to obtain their copper fastenings.
be met with. In 1848 the gun of Rae pro
cured a constant supply of fresh provisions for Preparations for a march to Fort Confidence, the whole party. In Richardson's journal we at the northern extremity of Great Bear Lake, read :were now set about. Packages were made up, each man taking with him thirteen days' pro- Aug. 19. Mr. Rae brought in two fine reindeer. rision. Six pieces of pemmican and å boat's – Aug. 20. Mr. Rae killed a fine buck reindeer. magazine of powder were buried under a cliff. In this quarter a skilful hunter like Mr. Rae The tents were left standing near the boats, could supply the whole party with venison without and a few useful articles, as hatchets and any loss of time. - Aug. 24. Many salmon were cooking utensils, were deposited in them for seen. — To the north of Coronation Gulf reindeer the use of the Esquimaus. On the 3rd of and musk oxen may be procured by skilful September — after solemn prayers, in which
hunters. With nets a large quantity of salmon all seemed to join with deep earnestness
and other fish might be captured in Dolphin and
Union Straits ; with percussion caps we might they started. At the end of their day's march have slain hundreds of seals. some scraps of drift-wood were collected for a fire to cook their supper; then, selecting the The experience of Rae, in his exploration of best sleeping-places they could find among Wollaston Land in 1851, is to the like efblocks of busalt, they passed, though the fect:weather continued cold, a pretty comfortable night.” In this way Sir John and his
7th May. — During the interval between takmen journeyed on for twelve days, reaching ing the observations for time and latitude I shot Fort Confidence on the 15th of September :
ten hares. These fine animals were very large
and tame, and several more might have been We were happy to find Mr. Bell and his peo- killed, as well as many partridges, had I thought ple well and the buildings much further ad- it expedient to follow them. On the 20 June
Cape Hearne formed our head-quarters, at which | Mackenzie, of proceeding up the river to await place eleven geese, all in fine condition, were the instructions of the Admiralty. killed. On the 9th a large musk-bull was shot, On the day following the departure of the and his flesh was found excellent. Our princi- boats the ships met with heavily packed ice pal food was geese, partridges, and lemmings. extending from the shore, as far as the eye The latter, being fat and large, were very fine could reach, from north-west by west to northwhen roasted before the fire or between two
east. These little animals were migrating
This pack was traced “ for forty northward, and were so numerous that our dogs,
leagues, m a series of steps westerly as they trotted on, killed as many as supported and northerly, the westerly being about ten them without any other food.
or twelve iniles, and the northerly twenty."
A water-sky was reported north of the park, In his journey of 1849 his party caught as which, however, was perfectly impenetrable. many salmon as they could consume, when- Returning to Wainwright's Inlet, “not 3 ever there was a piece of open water large particle of the ice seen on our foriner visit reenough for setting a net.
mained.” A boat went ashore, and purWhile Rae was anxiously watching the ice-chased from the natives 800 lbs. of reindeer choked sea from Cape Krusenstern, Captain meat -- as much as the boat would carry Kellett in the Herald was discovering land in for a small quantity of tobacco. More was to the Polar Sea far north of Behring's Strait, be had on the same terms. and Pullen in the boats of the Plover was
On the 17th of August, while cruising navigating the coast from Icy Cape to the north of North Cape, packed ice was seen Mackenzie. The Behring's Strait parties from south-south-west to north-north-west, were too late to do more than reconnoitre five miles distant, and soon after land was their destined course in 1848. The Plover reported from the mast-head. A group of arrived on the Asiatic coast only in time to small islands could be distinctly seen, and select winter-quarters just south of Cape further off a very extensive and high land was Tschukotskoi, outside the strait. The Herald
reported. went up the strait, visited Kotzebue Sound, the appointed rendezvous, and repassed the There was a fine, clear atmosphere (such an strait, before the Plover arrived. She re-one as can only be seen in this climate), except turned to South America to winter.
in the direction of this extended land, where the The Plover got out from her winter-port on clouds rolled in numerous immense masses, occzthe 30th June, 1848, and in a fortnight sionally leaving the very lofty peaks uncapped, renched Chainisso Island at the bottom of where could be distinctly seen columus, pillars, Kotzebue Sound. Here, on the next day, she characteristic of the high hendlands in this sea.
and very broken angles on their summits, very was joined by the Herald, and by the Nancy As far as a man can be certain, who has one Dawson, the private yacht of Mr. Shedden, hundred and thirty pairs of eyes to assist him, whose name deserves honorable mention in and all agreeing, I am certain we have discorevery notice of these expeditions. Hearing ered an extensive land. I think, also, it is more in China of the efforts on behalf of Franklin, than probable that these peaks we saw are a conhe at once sailed for Behring's Strait, putting tinuation of the range of mountains seen by the aside his purposed voyage round the globe, to natives off Cape Jakan (coast of Asia), mentioneul join in the search. Untortunately his death by Baron Wrangel in his Polar voyages. – Kelprevented him from doing more than show- lett. ing his zeal in the cause. The ships left the
An island was reached, four and a half Sound on the 18th July, and, taking an east- miles one way, by two and a half the other, erly course, on the 25th arrived at Wain- Here Kellet landed. It was in lat. 71 wright's Inlet. Here
19' N., long. 175° 16' W. It proved a solid The vast number of walruses that surrounded mass of granite, almost inaccessible on erery us, keeping up a continual bellowing or grunt- side, and literally alive with birus." * Ining; the barking of the innumerable seals numerable black and white divers (common to the small whales — and the immense flocks of this sea) here found a safe place to deposit ducks continually rising from the water as we their eggs and bring up their young." The neared them, warned us of our approach to the weather was bad ; and Kellett, fearing he ice, although the temperature of the sea was still might be caught by the pack, made all sail high.
for the south-east. As the commander of the From this point, as the packed ice forbade Plover had determined to pass his second the ships getting farther to the east, the boat winter in Kotzebue Sound, the Herald supexpedition was despatched on a coasting voy- plied all the Plover's wants, and on the 20th age to the Mackenzie. It consisted of two September sailed in company with the yacht, twenty-seven-foot whaleboats, each with a and arrived at Mazatlan on the 14th Novemcrew of six men. Pullen had with him a ber, 1849 — the same month in which Richhundred days' provisions for each man, and ardson returned to England from North intimated his intention, should he reach the America, and Sir James Russ from Baffin's Bay.