« PreviousContinue »
The accounts so far were discouraging | reached Port Clarence, and left that port on enough; but the Admiralty resolved that the 10th July, to renew her explorations to the search should be renewed — and on a yet north-east. more extended scale. The ships of Sir James Lieut. Pullen, with his boats, arrived at Ross were promptly refitted and despatched to the mouth of the Mackenzie on the 27th Behring's Strait; the Enterprise commanded August, having made the passage from Wainby Capt. Collinson, and the Investigator by wright's Inlet in thirty-three days. The most NI'Clure. They were instructed to sail with difficult part of the voyage was off Cape all speed, so as to pass the strait and reach Bathurst, very heavy hummocky ice being the edge of the ice by the end of August. met with. " It was one continued struggle The Plover was to remain out, and be secured from the 25th July to the 5th of August to in a safe harbor as far in advance as practica- get along that ice, it being so close in, and ble, to serve as a depôt for parties from the we were cutting all the time." Portions of other ships to fall back upon if necessary. his examination by the committee are of The Herald, under Capt. Kellett was to be value. sent home, volunteers being received from her for the other ships. This expedition left Capt. Beechy : Did you see any land to the Plymouth on the 20th January, 1850. The northward during your voyage ? — No.
Sir G. Back : There seems a remarkable ships communicated with the Herald, and Kellett assures the Arctic Committee of 1851, with Sir John Franklin, viz., that on the 15th
difference when you were there, and when I was that, from conversation he had with
August, 1826, there was a complete open sea, M'Clure
with the exception of one piece of ice to the
north and west. I am convinced that he will use every endeavor
What was its state when you to reach Melville Island with his parties, if he were there? - It was all ice to seaward, and fuiled with his ship. Should one of these parties along the coust east and west. reach Melville Island, or even the northern shore of Bauks' Land, they will endeavor to get home
Pullen in his boats ascended the Mackenzie, by the east, being a safer route than attempting and reached Fort Simpson on the 13th of to return to their ships.
October. Here he wintered, and while on
his way to York Factory the following spring This statement is confirmed by the official received instructions by express to attempt a and private letters of M'Clure. To Sir George passage in boats, across the sea to Melville Back, in particular, he states in a letter of Island. He immediately hurried back, and, July 28, 1850, that he has carte blanche from on being supplied with 4500 lbs. of jerked Collinson, and that he is determined to push venison and pemmican by Rae, he descended to the eastward to reach 130° W. long., and the Mackenzie in one of the Plover's boats take his chance of wintering, in the pack and a barge of the Hudson's Bay Company. wherever he may be caught by the ice. These The season of 1850 proved more severe, howbrave commanders had no sooner joined the ever, than that of the previous year ; he Plorer than they earnestly set to work to found the sea from the Mackenzie tu Cape fulfil their mission. M'Clure outsailed Col- Bathurst covered with unbroken ice, a small linson, and was last seen by the Plorer channel only existing in-shore, through which (August, 1850), in lat. 70° 44' N. long., 159o he threaded his way to the vicinity of the 52 W. M'Clure calculated that he might capo. Failing in finding a passage out to sea make Banks' Land, get to the northward of to the north of Cape Bathurst, he remained in Melville Island, and perhaps pass to the S.E. its vicinity, watching the ice for an opening, by Wellington Channel, or some other pas- until the approach of winter compelled him Sige, so as to return home at latest in 1853. return to the Mackenzie. He had reached Tu the Admiralty he says that, should he find the sea on the 22nd of July, and he did not no navigable channel after pushing ahead for quit it until the 1st of September. As he two seasons, he intends to desert his vessel on ascended the Mackenzie, ice was driving the third, and start on foot for Melville Island rapidly down. “ It was one continued drift and Leopold Harbor. It is impossible not to of ice and heavy snow-storms." He reached admire his energy and daring. But knowing Fort Simpson on the 5th October, and arrived how completely the plans of the most able in England to take the cominand of the and resolute are at the mercy of the seasons in North Star, and join in the expedition under those latitudes, we cannot accept his courage Sir E. Belcher. as à pledge of his success, nor avoid feeling al- To conclude here the researches from the ready some misgivings for his fate. Capt. Col- North American coast Mr. Rae left Fort linson, after penetrating some distance to the Confidence, on the Coppermine, April the N. and E. of the strait, repassed it to winter at 25th, 1851, with four men and three sledges Hong Kong, the Plover being left in reserve at drawn by dogs. He reached the coast on the Port Clarence, in the strait. The Enterprise 1st of May, and found the ice favorable for again quitted Hong Kong in May, 1851, travelling. On the 5th he landed at Douglas
Island, and on the 7th gained the opposite | found in that direction, as he was ignorant of shore. Traversing it to the east, until he the complete survey of the bottom of the gulf reached 110° W. long., where his survey met by Rae, and might have imagined that a that of Dease and Simpson, he retraced his passage thence, as was generally surmised steps, and advanced west until he turned when he sailed, led into the Polar Sea. The Cape Baring, past lat 70°, and long. 117° W. Felix, commanded by Sir John Ross, was From some elevated ground in this neighbor- equipped by subscription, under the auspices hood high land could be seen to the north, of the Hudson's Bay Company. An American but none was visible to the west. He got expedition of two schooners, fitted out by Mr. back to his provision station on the Kendal Henry Grinnell, of New York, was to pass River
upon the 10th June, having travelled through Lancaster Sound, and push to the 824 geographical or 942 English miles in forty west. Lastly, the North Star, sent out the days. In this lengthened journey his ar- previous year, to recruit the Enterprise and rangements were much the same as during Investigator, remained in the Arctic Sea with bis survey of Committee Bay. He slept in a large quantity of available stores. These snow houses, and, as he advanced, buried vessels, though sailing at different times, were provisions to serve for his return. In the all stopped by the middle ice of Baffin's Bay, month of July and August he explored the and got through it at nearly the same period. coast of Victoria Land, east and north, in The first traces of the missing ships were boats. His delineation of the land to Point discovered by Captain Ominaney, in the AsPelly, on the western shore of Victoria sistance, at Cape Riley, on 23. August. He Strait, is carefully laid down in Arrowsmith's found sundry pieces of rag, rope, and broken map. That red line, marking every indenta- bottles, and also the marks of five tent-places. tion of the coast, from the 101st to the 117th This Cape is a point at the eastern entrance degree of latitude, accomplished with limited of Wellington Channel ; about three miles means in a single season, is an achievement west of it rises the bold abrupt cost of Beechof which any officer might well be proud. ey Island ; and between the shores of this On this newly discovered coast he met many isle and the mainland lies a bay to which exparties of Esquimaux; but his inquiries as to traordinary interest is now attached. On its the grand subject were all fruitless. The coast were observed numerous sledge tracks, American coast has now been diligently ex- and at Cape Spencer, about ten miles from amined, from the entrance of Behring's Cape Riley, up Wellington Channel, the party Strait to the head of Hudson's Bay; and we discovered the ground-place of a tent, the floor may, therefore, surely conclude that Franklin neatly paved with small smooth stones. nerer reached so low a latitude. On the side of Baffin's Bay the search was
Around the tent a number of birds' bones, as prosecuted by no less than éleven vessels in well as remnants of meat-canisters, led Mr. Pen1850. The expedition under Captain Austin ny to imagine that it had been inhabited for some consisted of the Resolute and Assistance, with for which latter purpose it was admirably chosen,
time as a shooting station and a look-out place, their steam-tenders the Pioneer and Intrepid, commanding a good view of Barrow's strait and He was instructed that his main object should Wellington Channel. Osborn, p. 102. he to reach Melville Island -detaching vessels to examine Wellington Channel and the coast Some sledge-tracks led northward for about about Cape Walker, " to which point Sir twenty miles, but the trail ceased south of John Franklin was ordered to proceed. At Cape Bowden, and an empty bottle and a the same time — much having been said about piece of newspaper were the last things found. the probable advantage of employing old pro- The results of examining Beechey Island must fessional whalesmen — Mr. William Penny, be given in more detail. Lieutenant Osborn long experienced in the northern fishery, was
says empowered by government to purchase two small brigs, adapted for the service they A long point of land slopes gradually from the
to perform. All arrangements were southern bluffs of this now deeply-interesting left to himself, and he had the choice of his island, until it almost connects itself with the own officers. But, clumsily enough, instead land of North Devon, forming on either side of it of distinct objects being assigned him, his in- two good and commodious bays. On this slope structions were substantially the same as
a multitude of preserved meat-tins were strewed
; those given to Austin. Penny's ships sailed about; and near them, and on the ridge of the on the 15th April, 1850, and Austin's on the slope, a carefully-constructed cairn was discor4th of May following. The Prince Albert ered; it consisted of layers of fitted tins, filled
with gravel, and placed to form a firm and solid was purchased and equipped by public sub- foundatiou.' Beyond this, and along the northscription, Lady Franklin being a principal ern shore of Beechey Island, the following trices contributor. Its special object was to search were then quickly discovered : the embankment the shores of Boothia Gulf, it being thought of a house, with carpenters' and armorers' workpossible that traces of Franklin might be ling-places, washing-tubs, coal-bags, pieces of old
clothing, rope — and, lastly, the graves of three I will always find it alike ; it is the monument of the crew of the Erebus and Terror — bearing raised by rough hands but affectionate hearts date of the winter of 1815–6. We, therefore, over the last home of their messmate ; it breathes now had ascertained the first winter-quarters of the quiet churchyard in some of England's Of Sir John Franklin.
many nooks, where each had formed his idea of On the eastern slope of the ridge of Beechey what was due to departed worth ; and the ornaIsland a remnant of a garden (for remnant it ments that Nature decks herself with, even in now only was, having been dug up in the search) the desolation of the frozen zone, were carefully told an interesting tale ; its neatly-shaped oval culled to mark the dead seaman's home. The outline — the border carefully formed of moss good taste of the officers had prevented the genlichen, poppies, and anemones, transplanted eral simplicity of an oaken head and foot board from some more genial part of this dreary region to each of the three graves being marred by any - contrived still to show symptoms of vitality ; long and childish epitaphs, or the doggrel of a but the secus which doubtless they had sowed in lower-deck poet, and the three inscriptions were the garden had decayed away. Nearer to the as follows : beach, a heap of cinders and scraps of iron “ Sacred to the memory of J. Torrington, who showed the armorers' working-place; and along departed this life January 1st, 1816, on board an old water-course, now chained up by frost, of H. M. S. Terror, aged 20 years.” several tubs, constructed of the ends of salt-meat “Sacred to the memory of Wm. Braine, R. M., casks, left no doubt as to the washing-places of of H. M. 8. Erebus, died April 3d, 1816, aged the men of Franklin's squadron. Happening to 32 years. Choose ye this day whom ye will cross a level piece of ground, which as yet no - Josh. xxiv. 15.". one had lighted upon, I was pleased to see a pair “Sacred to the memory of J. Hartwell, A. B., of Cashmere gloves laid out to dry, with two of H. M. S. Erebus, died January 4th, 1816, small stones on the palms to prevent their blow- aged 25 years. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, ing away ; they had been there since 1816. I consider your ways. — Haggai i. 7." took them up carefully, as melancholy memen- I thought I traced in the epitaphs over the toes of my missing friends. In another spot a graves of the men from the Erebus the manly finnel was discovered ; and this, together with and Christian spirit of Franklin. In the true some things lying about, would, in my ignorance spirit of chivalry, he, their captain and lender, of wintering in the Arctio regions, have led me led them amidst dangers and unknown difficulties to suppose that there was considerable haste dis- with iron will stamped upon his brow, but the played in the departure of the Erebus and words of meekness, gentleness, and truth were Terror from this spot, had not Captain Austin his device. — Ibid., p.
111. assured me that there was nothing to ground such a belief upon, and that, from experience, With this discovery the work of the ships he could vouch for these being nothing more than for the season may be said to have closed. the ordinary traces of a winter station ; and this Wellington Channel, as far as vision extended, opinion was fully borne out by those officers who presented a continuous sheet of ice, much of had in the previous year wintered in Port Leo-it, as we learn from Dr. Sutherland and other pold, one of them asserting that people left experienced persons, appearing. “ to be at winter-quarters too well pleased to escape, to least three years old.” (ii. 124.) In midcare much for a handful of shavings, an old coal-channel of Barrow's Strait, at the same time bag, or a washing-tub. ence, now know to be true. - Osborn, pp. 107-|(Aug. 25), the pack was seen to westward, 110.
but From a number of minute facts, it was not the sea was as smooth as oil ; and thousands of difficult to assign the place where the ships seals, in which one could distinguish three must have lain through the winter : they were bearded seal, and the common seal
or Greenland seal, the so stationed, Osborn says, as to be
taking their pastime in the water. White whales effectually removed from all risk of being swept were also seen in great abundance. — Suth., i. out of the bay — which, by the by, from the fact | 293. of the enclosed area being many times broader Osborn also dwells upon the enormous shoals than the entrance of Erebus and Terror Bay, of white whales — the water appearing as if was about as probable as any stout gentleman being blown out of a house through the keyhole. filled with them; he states that eleven bears
were seen, and that large flights of wild fowl The most interesting traces of winter resi- came down Wellington Channel. By the dence were the graves of Franklin's three sea- middle of September Austin's ships were fast men. The following description is in all re- fixed in the ice, in the channel between Grifspects creditable to Mr. Osborn :
fith's Island and Cornwallis Land, and here The graves, like all that English seamen con- winter. Penny made his ships fast in As
they were secured as well as might be for the struct, were scrupulously neat. will over the globe's surface — afar in the east, sistance Harbor, on the south coast of Cornor afar in the west, down among the coralwallis Land, about 20 miles east of Austin's girded isles of the South Sea, or here, where the station; and here, also, Sir John Ross, in the grim North frowns on the sailor's grave -- you i Felix, wintered.
- were seen
The other ships turned homewards. The North Star left her winter-quarters in Wolstenholme Sound on the 3rd of August, and reached Port Leopold on the 12th. Being unable, however, from the ice, to land her stores there, she deposited them at Admiralty Inlet, where, as we have seen, Sir E. Belcher was unable to find any trace of them.
The American expedition made a most singular sweep. Lieut. de Haven parted company with the other searching vessels on the 13th of September, off Griffith's Island. But the frost had already set in, and, snow having fallen, the sea was covered with a tenacious coating through which it was impossible for the vessels to force their way. As the ice about them thickened they became entirely at the mercy of the winds and currents. To the astonishment of all on board, they were carried directly up Wellington Channel. Here, drifting about as the wind varied, they came, on the 22nd of September, in sight of that island which in our charts is named Baillie Hamilton. To the north-west was distinctly seen the cloud of "frost-smoke," indicative of open water, and signs of animal life became more abundant. For the remainder of September the vessels were nearly stationary; throughout October and November again they were drifted to and fro by the changing wind, but never passing out of Wellington Channel. On the 1st of November the new ice was upwards of three feet thick.
winter, the occupations and amusements most suitable for preserving the crews in health had been persevered in- but sledges and boats with stores were always ready in case of accident, each man being furnished with a bundle of clothes which he could catch up at a moment's notice.
From this extraordinary sweep we must conclude that the barrier of ice across Wellington Channel, apparently fixed firmly to the land on either side, was really in continual motion. It seems to have been obedient to the wind rather than to any settled current Of these facts our ships, safe in their winterquarters, were entirely ignorant; and when, so late as the 12th of August in the following season, they still saw the entrance of the Channel firmly closed against them by solid ice, we cannot feel surprised at their supposing it to have remained unmoved since the first day of their arrival. Here the principal business of the winter was preparation for the spring journeys. Amusements were not neglected; there were plays and masquerades; the general health of all the men was good; and we have more than one admission that throughout the long winter "hardships there were none."
The arrangements for the sledging parties were in both expeditions very complete. Every provision was made for the health and comfort of the men, and whoever glances into the blue-books will acknowledge that Austin most thoroughly fulfilled the duties of a skilful and humane commander. By an arrangement with Penny, made as early as 17th
Still frequent breaks would occur in it often in fearful proximity to the vessels. Hum-October, 1850, the latter undertook the com
mocks, consisting of massive granite-like blocks,
would be thrown up to the height of twenty and even thirty feet. This action in the ice was accompanied with a variety of sounds impossible
to be described, but which never failed to carry a feeling of awe into the stoutest hearts. De Haven's Report.
plete "search of Wellington Strait," while Austin's detachments were to examine the shores north and south of Barrow's Strait. The coasts newly explored by these parties are laid down in the charts of Arrowsmith and the Admiralty. We confine our notice to the three routes which it seemed most likely Franklin, might have taken to the west by Melville Island, to the south-west by Cape Walker, and to the north-west by Wellington Channel.
Of all Austin's parties, that under Lieutenant M'Clintock was most ably and successfully conducted. He left the ships on the 15th of April, and, taking a course due west,
By the beginning of December the ships were carried down the Channel, and entered Lancaster Sound. Westerly winds now prevailing, the vast field of ice, with the imprisoned ships, slowly drifted to the mouth of the Sound. In January they were fairly launched in Baffin's Bay, and a steady drift commenced to the southward, the vessels being carried along with the whole vast body of ice. On reached Point Griffith on the eastern shore of the 19th of May, Cape Serle was descried, Melville Island on the 11th of May. On the being the first land seen for four months; a 21st he sighted Winter Harbor, but there few days later Cape Walsingham was visible, being neither ships, tents, nor any sign of and the ships passed out of the Arctic zone. human habitation to be seen, he deferred any On the 6th of June, the whole immense floe close scrutiny of it until his return. By the in which they had been inextricably locked 27th of May he had reached Cape Dundas at for nearly nine months was rent in all direc- the western extremity of Melville Island, and tions, without violence or noise, leaving not on the following day, ascending a high cliff, a piece exceeding 100 yards in diameter. made out the coast of Banks' Land. Thenceforth the vessels were free, and in due time safely reached New York. During the
Its eastern extreme was indistinct; but its
western extreme terminated abruptly. Banks' I have never seen any animal in its natural Land appears to be very lofty, with steep cliffs state so perfectly fearless of man ; and there and large ravines, as about Cape Dundas. I cannot be a more convincing proof that our misscould make out the ravines and snow-patches ing countrymen bave not been here. A ptarinidistinctly with my glass. — M Clintock’s Re- gan alighted on the rock, and was shot, without port.
in the least disturbing puss as she sat beneath
it. Ibid. To the north of Banks' Land, at a distance from it of about seventy miles, he discovered
On the 6th of June M'Clintock left Winter a range of land apparently running nearly Harbor, and reached the ships on the 4th of due west. “ This does not present steep July. The latter part of his journey was cliffs, but a bold and deeply indented coast; fatiguing, from the extensive pools of water the land rising to the interior, and intersected in the ice, but all his men arrived in excellent by valleys rather than ravines.” The sea he health and spirits. He was out 80 days, and imagined to continue to the westward. Fol- had travelled 770 miles. Several reindeer, lowing the coast of Melville Island to the musk-oxen, and bears were shot, besides north-east, he entered Liddon Gulf, and here numerous birds — and the food thus obtained saw fragments of coal of good quality. Lear- was of very material importance to the peoing the shore, he crossed the Gulf to gain ple. This journey inade it certain that FrankBushman Cove, where Parry, in his journey lin had not passed west of the Parry Islands. across the island in 1820, had left the " strong The expedition under Captain Ommaney but light cart," in which he had carried his and Lieut. Osborn south-west of Cape Walker tent and stores. On the 1st of June M'Clin- determined nothing. The cape was found to tock reached the west point of the Cove, and, be the north-eastern extremity of an island, leaving two men to prepare supper, he com- separated from the continent by a narrow menced a search with four others for Parry's channel. Beyond the cape the coast swept encampment of the 11th of June, 1820 : round to the south, until interrupted by a bay
about 20 miles wide. On reaching the ravine leading into the cove, ceeded to examine the shores of this bay Os
While Ommaney prowe spread across, and walked up, and easily born struck across it, and making the land found the encampment, although the pole had fallen down.
The very accurate report pub-/ again, which still trended southerly, he fullished of his journey saved us much labor in lowed it some miles further, and then travelled finding the tin cylinder and ammunition. The a few miles across the sea to the west. But, crevices between the stones piled over them were after a short journey, finding the ice exceedfilled with ice and snow; the powder completely ingly hummocky, he retraced his steps. From destroyed, anl cylinder eaten through with rust, his farthest point he saw a continuation of and filled with ice. From the extreme difficulty land to the south, but could perceive neither of descending into such a ravine with any land nor loom of land to the west or southvehicle, I supposed that the most direct route west. As the weather was clear, and he had where all seemed equally bad was selected, a good spy-glass, and as, moreover, he had adtherefore sent the men directly up the northern vanced westward fifteen miles from the coast, bank in search of the wheels which were left his view must have extended a considerable where the cart broke down. They fortunately distance. fuand them at once ; erected a cairn about the
Both Ommaney and Osborn are remains of the wall built to shelter the tent ;
clear that the coast they traversed could placed a record on it in one tin case within an- never be navigable for ships. Shoals extended other. We then collected a few relics of our for a considerable distance into the sea ; the predecessors, and returned with the remains of water, to the depth of several feet in-shore, the cart to our encampment. An excellent fire was frozen to the bottom, and enormous had been made with willow stems, and upon masses of ice were thrown up on the Aoe by this a kettle, containing Parry's cylinder, was pressure, and grounded on the strand. But placed. As soon as the ice was thawed out of it, the question is not whether that particular the record it contained was carefully taken out. coast was navigable, but whether there was I could only just distinguish the date. Had it any reason to suppose that a navigable sea been in a better state of preservation I would existed between the shore they followed to the have restored it to its lonely position. Ibid.
south, and the nearest coast to the west yet As the weather was misty, M'Clintock did discovered (Banks' Land). - a distance of 200 20t explore the head of the gulf, but struck miles at least. Lieut. Osbora had never directly across the land for Winter Harbor. been among ice before ; with more experience It was evident that no one had visited the he would have known that the enormous place since Parry's departure in 1820. The blocks he saw aground and on the floe surely inscription cut upon the face of the sandstone indicated motion at some time. It is common rock by Mr. Fisher appeared quite fresh. A enough to find coasts fast bound with ice, hare, discovered at the foot of this rock, was even in the open season, while open water so tame that she entered the tent, and would exisits some miles off. Thus Parry tells us almost allow the men to touch her.
that he found Prince Leobold's Islands “ en