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SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND THE ARCTIC EXPEDITIONS.
A period in every age of the world has consists, but every attempt to reach it has been marked for its spirit of adventure ; failed. The broad Pacific, with its innueither for the discovery and exploration of merable islands, has been the field for unknown countries, or for the colonization maritime expeditions for more than two and settlement of countries previously centuries. In this, the United States has known. Curiosity is, doubtless, the first entered into competition with other nations,
, principle which directs human footsteps to and has contributed her share to the geopenetrate where they had not before trod- graphy, and the natural and physical science den; to scan the broad ocean in quest of of this region. In the Antarctic exploranew lands; or to explore the depths of the tion we have also done our part. Besides African continent, and amid her burning these several portions of the earth, where sands, and her pestilential climate, to trace the love of adventure and the promotion of the sources of her mysterious rivers. science has led the traveller, there are Again, it leads him into the icy regions of others in Africa, Asia, and America, into the Poles, to search for a north-west pass- which he has also found his way, and age across the American continent, or to where he has been amply rewarded for his reach those imaginary points which are the labors. centre of the earth's axis. Without going During the present century, in fact since back into the earlier periods of history, the year 1818, the most remarkable zeal when the love of adventure was as great and interest has been awakened in Engas in our time, it will suffice to speak of land for explorations in the Arctic regions it, as it has been exhibited to us.
of America. They originated, first, in a During the present century maritime desire to solve the problem of the existand inland adventure, and discovery, bave ence of a north-west passage, second, to both been prominent. For several years reach the North Pole; and, finally, when the desire was to penetrate into the interior neither of these ends could be accomplished, of Africa, to discover the source of the it resolved itself simply into a desire to mark river Niger. Mungo Park was the first out the geographical features of these dreary adventurer in this field, as well as the first and inaccessible solitudes, and to make cervictim to its deadly climate. Successive tain observations connected with physical expeditions were sent out by the British science. The discovery of a north-west Government, which only terminated with passage, it is known, would possess no the late attempt to ascend the Niger, with advantage, in a commercial point of view; steam vessels, from its mouth. To dis- nor would the feat of reaching the axis of cover the sources of the Nile has recently the earth’s rotation, be likely to confer a been the object of several expeditions, and benefit on mankind; but every lover of although traced almost to the centre of science, every bold adventurer, in fact, the continent, its head waters have not every one at all imbued with the rational yet been discovered. A vast region re- curiosity of knowing the physical condition mains unexplored within this continent, of this inaccessible portion of our globe, and several adventurers are, at the present feels a desire to see these questions solved. moment, pressing forward to penetrate it. The world would rejoice if the daring and In another quarter of the globe there has noble Franklin might yet be the means of been a great curiosity to know of what the solving these problems. No one has done centre of the vast island of New Holland more to earn these laurels than he, and
though the hope grows fainter, we ardently navigable than they had been for many pray that he may yet live to attain the years. “It was supposed that the great goal of his ambition.
icy barrier, which had during so many The revival of a desire for polar explo- ages obstructed these inaccessible regions, ration, mainly with a view to discover a had, by some revolution of our globe, been north-west passage, took place in the years broken up, and dispersed.” The ocean 1817 and 1818. This is said to have was reported to be full of gigantic icebergs grown up in consequence of accounts which had broken loose from their moorbrought home by the whaling ships from the ings, and it was stated in a Scottish newspolar seas, that great changes had taken paper, that "a stupendous mountain of place in the fixed ice of those seas, by ice had been stranded on one of the Shetwhich they were suddenly rendered more land Islands."
THE REV. DR. SCORESBY'S ARCTIC VOYAGES.
Among the distinguished polar naviga-, but they were involved in much obscurity. tors of the present century whose voyages The successful voyages of Captain and explorations in those regions have Scoresby, and the valuable contributions made us acquainted with new lands, and made by him, had greatly increased the who have made valuable contributions to desire for polar explorations. “They posphysical science, the name of Captain sessed,” says the United Service Journal, (now the Reverend Dr.) Scoresby, should “ more than ordinary claims to public attenbe first mentioned. This gentleman was tion and confidence, as emanating from a engaged in the Greenland whale fishery man peculiarly qualified to entertain corfor upwards of twenty years, and as early rect notions upon the subject. An accuas 1806, approached nearer the pole than rate and scientific observer of the phenoany known navigator at that time. The mena of these Boreal regions, trained from point reached by him was in lat. 81° 30°, or infancy in the navigation of the Arctic within 500 miles of the North Pole. In seas, it was scarcely possible to find a man order to reach this high latitude, Captain possessing the varied accomplishments of Scoresby found it necessary to cross a Mr. Scoresby, and having the actual expebroad barrier, or field of broken ice, which rience he possessed.” was accomplished with much labor, when These events led to the equipping of two he came to an open sea, extending north- expeditions. One was instructed to seek wards, as far as the eye could see. A fine for a north-west passage, and, through it, opportunity was now presented for enlarg- to penetrate to Behring's Strait. The other, ing the knowledge of the seas near to the to attempt to reach the North Pole, and pole; but he had been fitted out for other thence, to make the north west passage to objects, and he could not forego these for the same point mentioned. the sake of the most brilliant speculations We now propose to give a brief account of in science.
the several expeditions sent to the Arctic seas In subsequent voyages Captain Scoresby for these two objects, as well as those of geapproached the eastern shore of Greenland, ographical discovery, and the advancement and in the year 1822, when in search of science. Space compels us to confine ourof a new fishing ground, discovered and selves simply to the objects and results of traced nearly 400 miles of its coast. The these several expeditions. Dutch had previously seen some points,
CAPTAIN JOHN ROSS'S VOYAGE. 1818.
The ship Isabella, of 385 tons, under the Alexander, of 252 tons, commanded by command of Commander Ross, and the Licutenant Parry, sailed from England,
on the 18th of April, 1818. Their in- came mild and warm, the water much smoothstructions were, to proceed up Davis's er, and the atmosphere clear and serene. The Strait, thence to the head of Baffin's Bay, mountains on each side of the Strait had
beautiful tints of various colors. For the first examine the three openings, known as
time we discovered that the land extended Smith's, Jones's, and Lancaster Sounds, at
from the South two-thirds across this apparent the north-west side of that bay, and through Strait; but the fog, which continually occuthem, make their way westward to Behring's pied that quarter, obscured its real figure. Strait. On the 17th June the ships During this day, much interest was excited reached Waygat Island, in Baffin's Bay, by the appearance of this Strait; the general where a barrier of ice prevented their far- opinion, however
, was, that it was only an inlet.
Captain Sabine, who produced Baffin's acther progress. Mooring the ships to an
count, was of opinion that we were off Laniceberg, in company with forty-five whale
caster Sound, and that there were no hopes of ships, they awaited the breaking up of the
a passage, until we should arrive at Cumberice. They then pressed forward, and in land Strait;-to use his own words “there lat. 750 came to a part of the coast was no indication of a passage, no appearance which had never before been visited by of a current, no drift wood, and no swell from navigators, where they found a tribe of the north-west. Esquimaux living in the deepest seclusion. On the 18th of August they passed Wols
Thus was this important inlet again toneholme, and Whale Sounds, which ap- overlooked. The expedition continued its peared filled with ice. Next day they course along the coast southward, passing came to Smith's Sound, on the extreme two other openings in the land or inlets north of the bay. This opening had been closed with ice, after which it returned to described by Baffin as the most spa- England. cious in the whole circle of the coast, and it was believed that an opening might be
"On the return of Sir John Ross," says the found here. Captain Ross regarded it United Service Journal,“ his conclusion rewith attention, and becoming convinced garding Lancaster Sound, became the subject of that he saw it encompassed by land at the by those experienced in naval perspective, that
much skeptical discussion; and it was urged distance of eighteen leagues, he passed on. Sir John Ross had not sufficiently guarded Following the western coast he next came against a common optical illusion, and that he to Jones's Sound, at the bottom of which had not penetrated deep enough into the Sound he thought he discovered a ridge of very to form any accurate judgment upon the subhigh mountains, stretching nearly across, ject; for it was urged, that a sirait even of united to a less lofty ridge from the oppo- | capes, always presents to the spectator the
considerable breadth, if winding or varied by site side.
precise appearance of an enclosed bay. DisThe 29th of August had now arrived, cussion soon gathered an element of angry and the sun had set after an uninterrupted sentiment, which made it assume a form that day of 1872 hours, or two months and a looked very much like persecution ; angry half. The season was passing away, and pamphlets were written on the subject, accuthe nights became gloomy. They now
sations and recriminations appeared; and the
zeal which was exhibited upon the occasion approached the last and principal opening, led to the adoption of a line
of conduet in some or that known as Lancaster Sound. This
of the opponents of Sir John's views, which great inlet, which proved to be forty-five were not very creditable to them, and we think miles in width, bordered by lofty moun- scarcely excusable or justifiable by any tains, was entered by the ships, which as- amount of zeal in the cause of science or po. cended it for thirty miles. During the pular enthusiasm." run, the officers and men crowded the topmast, filled with enthusiastic hope, and, differed in opinion from Captain Ross as
Lieutenant Parry, second in command, judging that it afforded a much fairer
prospect of success than any of those they had so
to the continuity of land across Lancaster hastily passed.”
Sound ; and the result was, a new expedi
tion was determined on which was to be “As the evening closed,” says Captain placed under the command of Lieutenant Ross, “the wind died away--the weather be- (now Sir Edward) Parry.
CAPTAIN BUCHAN'S VOYAGE TOWARD THE NORTH POLE. 1818.
The ships forming the expedition to reach produced by the collision of the ice and the the North Pole, were the Dorothy, Captain tempestuous occan.” Such was the noise Buchan, and the Trent, Lieutenant Frank- occasioned by the crashing of the ice, and lin. The former contained 12 officers and the roar of the wind, that it was with great 42 seamen ; the latter 10 officers and 28 difficulty the orders could be heard. Yet seamen and marines. On board the Trent the crew preserved the greatest calmness. was George Back, then Admiralty's mate, who afterwards' accompanied Captain tried," says Captain Buchan, “it was assuredly
"If ever the fortitude of seamen was fairly Franklin in his land expeditions, and other
not less so, than on this occasion; and I will wise distinguished himself in the Arctic ex- not conceal the pride I felt in witnessing the peditions.
bold and decisive tone in which the orders were The expedition left England on the 18th issued by the commander of our little vessel of April and on the 24th of May, had (Franklin) and the promptitude and steadiness reached Cherie Island, in latitude 740 33'.
with which they were executed by the crew. Their instructions were to proceed to the hold, and, with his eyes fixed upon the masts,
Each person instinctively secured his own Spitzbergen seas ; pass northward between
awaited in breathless anxiety, the moment of that island and Greenland, and make every concussion. It soon arrived; the brig cutting effort to reach the North Pole. A few her way through the light ice, came in violent days after the ships separated, Lieutenant contact with the main body. In an instant Franklin proceeded to Magdalena Bay in we all lost our footing, the masts bent with Spitzbergen, the place of rendezvous, where the impetus, and the cracking timbers from beboth soon after met. On the 7th of June
low bespoke a pressure which was calculated
to awaken our serious apprehensions.” they again sailed, and in a few days got beset in a floe of ice where they remained for Both vessels were so much injured by this thirteen days. Escaping from this impri- concussion, that when the gale abated and sonment, they again sought a shelter in the pack broke up, they made the best of Fair Haven, and continued there until the their way to Fair Haven ; the Dorothea in 6th of July. Putting to sea once more a foundering condition. Lieutenant Frankwith a favorable wind, they pressed forward lin was desirous to proceed with the Trent; but were soon brought up by the pack ice but this was contrary to their instructions. in latitude 809 34' N. Soon after a vio- Besides it would have been unsafe to risk lent gale came on, and to avoid inevitable the whole party again to the danger of shipwreck, both ships pressed forward into these seas without any means of escape, in the broken ice. Here they were exposed case an accident should befal them, in a to the heaving and subsiding of great masses a vessel, too, so much shattered. All of ice, grinding huge pieces to atoms, and further efforts to prosecute the voyage were threatening every moment to crush and useless, and after the necessary repairs, swallow up the ships. “No language,
both ships set sail for home on the 30th of says Captain Buchan, “can convey an August, and on the 22d of October reachadequate idea of the terrific grandeur now ed England.
CAPTAIN PARRY'S FIRST VOYAGE, 1819-20.
Much disappointment, as well as dissa- , Lancaster Sound, it was determined to tisfaction, was manifested on the return of send another expedition immediately to Captain Ross, without having accomplished make a more thorough examination of that the object for which lie was sent; and as opening, as well those known as Jones's some of his officers, including Captain Sound, and Smith's Sound, further north. Parry, did not coincide with him in his This expedition was fitted out during the opinion of the continuity of land around / winter following Captain Ross's return, and placed under the command of Captain ! The sea was open before them, neither ice (now Sir Edward) Parry. The ships se- nor land being visible to the west. lected were the Hecla, of 375 tons, and the Griper, of 180 tons. The latter was
"It is more easy," says Captain Parry, " to commanded by Lieutenant Hoppner. On imagine, than to describe the almost breathboard Captain Parry's ship the Hecla less anxiety which was now visible in every were Captain (now Colonel) Sabine, Lieu- a fresh gale, we ran quickly up the Sound.
countenance, while, as the breeze increased to tenant (now Sir F. W.) Beechey, and The mast heads were crowded by the officers Midshipman (now Sir James) Clarke and men during the whole afternoon; and an Ross. All these gentlemen have since unconcerned observer, if any could have been distinguished themselves in other Arctic unconcerned on such an occasion, would have expeditions, as well as in scientific research been amused by the eagerness with which the es of an important character. The whole ceived, all, however, hitherto favorable to our
various reports from the crow's nest were recomplement of officers and men in the two
most sanguine hopes." ships was ninety-four. They were provisioned for two years.
A strong easterly wind having sprung On the 11th of May, 1819, they took up on the 3d, they were rapidly carried to their departure, and on the 3d of July the west. They passed several headlands crossed the Arctic Circle in Davis's Strait, and openings on both sides of the channel, passing on that day fifty icebergs of large up which they sailed, and to which the dimensions. One of these huge masses was name of Barrow's Strait was afterwards 140 feet high, and aground in 120 fathoms, given. The first day they sailed 150 making altogether a height exceeding 600 miles; the strait was still from forty to
On reaching the 73d degree of lati- fifty miles in breadth, and no land was tude, opposite Lancaster Sound, Captain visible westward. They now came to an Parry determined to make the attempt to opening ten leagues across the mouth, with cross the great barrier of ice which fills the no land visible to the south. As their promiddle of Baffin's Bay, instead of pursuing gress westward was obstructed by the ice, the usual route of the whalers, which was Parry determined to seek a passage to follow the eastern coast to the very through this new opening, afterwards called head of that bay, and then cross above the Prince Regent's Inlet, thinking that it barrier referred to, where the sea is usu- might lead, and be nearer to the coast of ally open. Seven days were spent in America, than to follow Barrow's Strait sailing and warping, before the ships again west. They sailed down this inlet 120 reached the open water, the barrier being miles, when they were stopped by the ice; not
less than eighty miles in width. after which they returned to Barrow's
The ship now stood for Lancaster Sound, Strait, which they reached on the 19th of and on the 30th of July reached its en- August. On the 21st, the ice had moved trance, just one month earlier than Captain off, and left an unobstructed passage westRoss reached it the previous year, when | ward. The ships now pressed on, passing he took the usual course around the shores islands, headlands, and a very broad openof Baffin's Bay. This was a most impor-ing, eight leagues across, up which neither tant gain for the expedition, as nearly the land nor ice were to be seen. To this was whole navigable season was before them. given the name of Wellington Channel. In approaching the magnificent channel, Proceeding westward, large and small which lay before them, bounded by lofty islands were passed on the north, while at cliffs, they felt an extraordinary emotion, the south land was occasionally seen. aware that the great question, on which Their compass on account of their proximrested the failure or success of the expedi- ity to the magnetic pole became useless, tion, would soon be settled. On the 2d of and it was with difficulty, except in clear August soundings were taken, and one weather, that they knew what course they thousand and fifty fathoms by the line, steered. The needle would now have were found.
But owing to the drift, pointed to the south. The officers landed Captain Parry did not think the depth of on some of the islands as they passed, and water more than 800 or 900 fathoms. found traces of the Esquimaux reindeer,