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Sţiençe, Art, and History.
OUR SKET OH-BOOK ABROAD.
I.-THE ARCTIC REGIONS-SIR JOHN FRANKLIN'S EXPEDITIONS.
IT is well known that for many years Expedition after expedition has been sent out
past, the whole civilized world has vainly as to the recovery of these brave men. had its interest much attracted True, some discoveries were made, and certain
toward the Arctic Regions in con- relics and information brought to England by sequence of the lamentable issue of the last Dr. Rae, in 1854, which gave a clue as to where Franklin expedition. The labours of Great the missing navigators might possibly be Britain to discover what had become of her found; but not until Captain M'Clintock, of lost children, and the sums of money de. the British navy, in the spring of 1859, visited voted to that purpose (no less than £2,000,000 Boothia and King William's Land, was any. sterling) stand unparalleled in past history. thing for certain known. Then, åt last, we
were positively assured of the locality where says Franklin, “ have done honour to the most these martyrs to science had been, when, as a
civilized people." discovered document proved, the ships were With the greatest caution against repletion, abandoned, and the majority of the crews had they gradually recorered; and proceeding taken to the shore.
slowly from station to station, they at length It is not our purpose to give in detail, and reached York Factory in safety, having tra. at length, a narrative of Sir John Franklin's velled in all 5,559 miles, and endured, with expeditions with a view to the discovery of a almost unparalleled bravery, an amount of north-west passage. But a general sketch of hardship and suffering which very few have leading circumstances may be interesting to
had to encounter.
To any ordinary person it must be almost ing papers a series of engravings illustrative of inconceivable how, after enduring such almost Life in the Arctic Regions and amongst the unheard-of sufferings, Franklin should have Esquimaux.
been not only willing, but eager, to pursue his Franklin's first land expedition, in 1819, researches in the very same regions: neverwas intended to supplement and, if possible, theless, such was the fact. And what is more assist that of Parry by sea. It was attended extraordinary still, his enthusiasm was not with an amount of danger and suffering which confined to his own breast, but was so fully and might well have daunted any men not animated warmly shared by his wife, that, although she with the spirit of thoroughbred English sea- was lying on what was expected to be her
We may judge of the deprivations they death-bed, when the preparations were com. endured from a fact recorded in the diary kept plete she would not keep him a single day during the expedition :
beyond that fixed for departure, but entreated
him, “as he valued her peace of mind and his A partridge shot by one of the party, after being
own glory, not to delay a moment on her acheld to the fire, was divided into six portions, and
count;" adding that "it could be but to cluso ravenously devoured the first animal food which had been tasted for thirty-one days."
It was a heroism worthy of the highest causo Several of the men expired of utter exhaus
- too high, perhaps, most persons will think, tion, and Franklin and three other survivors
for a matter of mere discovery; but such men were reduced to a fearful state, mentally as as Franklin, and such women as Franklin's well as physically :
wife, are apt to regard the interests and glory They were so thin, that to lie on the floor-for of their profession, and still more of their they had no beds-produced soreness of the body; and country, as far beyond any considerations of so weak, that it was quite a toil to turn over. They private interest or feeling. We must remember seldom, however, spoke of their sufferings, or of the that, after all, had not our countrymen posprospect of relief, for their minds were too much sessed this spirit of devotion to her honour, weakened to dwell on such things. Sometimes they | England had never risen to her present place would read to each other, as they lay in bed, portions
among the nations. And it is cheering to think of some religious books, with which a lady had pro
that both our own and other lands can fur. vided them before leaving London, one of which was
nish a few examples of as high a courage in a Bickersteth's Scripture Help'; and the morning and evening services were never omitted. Sometimes,
still higher cause-witness the names of Hans also, they would converse on religious subjects; but Egede, of Captain Allan Gardiner, John in the daytime they commonly spoke only of ordinary
Williams, Adoniram Judson, and others. matters, as though nothing were amiss. In fact, each Franklin and his party again embarked on one thought the intellect of the other weakened, and the 16th of February, 1825; but although that they had need of forbearance and advice, although science gained much from the exertions of Dr. it was only in a measure that they perceived this in Richardson and others, as far as navigation themselves. They were fretful and pettish, too, in went the result of the expedition was disspite of themselves; and so conscious was one of their
couraging. number of this, that he once exclaimed, “Dear me, if
The second voyage of Sir John Ross, in we are spared to return to England, I wonder if we
1828, led to the important discovery of the shall recover our understandings!''
western Magnetic Pole; but this success was At length, the long-expected relief arrived, arrested by circumstances which at length forwarded by three Indians, whose after-care, compelled Sir John to abandon his ship, the in cooking for them and tending them, would, Victory. After the greatest hardships, the crew
were rescued by the Isabella. As showing the countrymen. This we now know to have been state to which the men were physically re- the case; while the quantity of the abandoned duced, we are told "they had been so long food raised very melancholy apprehensions as used to sleeping on rocks and snow, that the to the state of their provisions. ordinary comforts of life had lost their charm. The voyage of Sir Robert M'Clure resulted They could not sleep in beds; and even the in the discovery of the long-sought Northcaptain was obliged to throw himself into an West Passage; but no information was obtained arm-chair in order to get any sleep."
of the missing men. Another expedition followed, in 1836, under At length Dr. Rae, lately the companion of Captain Back, which proved still more fruitless Richardson, having been appointed by the and disastrous.
Hudson's Bay Company, in 1853, to complete The courage of our countrymen seems to the survey of the western shore of Boothia, fell have been somewhat damped by these failures, in with a party of Esquimaux in Pelly Bay; and it was not until eight years later that and from one of them he learnt that “a party another Arctic expedition was proposed. This of kabloonas (white men) had died of hunger proposal originated with Sir John Barrow, and a long way to the west of where he then was, 80 great was the enthusiasm of Franklin, who and beyond a great river.” But the man said was anxious to undertake the charge of the that he had never been there himself, and could expedition, that when a doubt was raised about not travel with them so far. Dr. Rae at once the propriety of sending out so old a man, his pursued his inquiries, and elicited from dif. friend Sir Edward Parry said, “ If you do not ferent
persons other particulars, which led him let him go, the man will die of disappoint- to believe that the river spoken of was no other ment.” It proved, alas! his final voyage. than Back's, or the Great Fish River, and also
In May, 1845, Sir John Franklin sailed as that he was certainly on the track of a part of commander of the Erebus, and of the expedi. Franklin's expedition. tion-Captain Crozier being appointed captain From what he could gather, it appeared of the Terror; and the transport Barretto, that when first seen they were about forty under the command of Lieutenant Griffiths, in number, and headed by a man who seemed accompanied them. The two vessels were pro- to be an officer; they were dragging a boat visioned for more than three years, and the two and sledges southwards over the ice. They crews consisted of 138 men.
could not speak the Esquimaux language It was not expected that news could be re- well enough to be understood; but by signs ceived for nearly two years after entering the they made the natives understand that their ice. Lieutenant Griffiths, of the Barretto, left ships had been crushed by the ice, and that "all well and in good spirits;" and the Prince they were going where they hoped to find of Wales, whaling-vessel, saw them shortly deer. This was about the year 1850; and later afterwards moored to an iceberg in the middle in the same season, but before the breaking of Baffin's Bay,
up of the ice, some graves were found by From that time a terrible silence ensued; the Esquimaux, and about thirty corpses, some and when the allotted two years had fully ex. in a tent, others under a boat, and others scatpired, the suspense rapidly grew into a fearful tered about. But the most dreadful fact of all anxiety.
was that, from the mutilated state of some of In 1848, Sir John Richardson and Dr. Rae, the bodies, as well as from the contents of the and two other parties of explorers, one under cooking-vessels, there was reason to believe Sir James Ross, sailed in search of the missing that the unhappy men had been reduced even vessels; but although every effort was made, to cannibalism. the three expeditions proved failures.
At the same time there was nothing to lead From 1850 to 1854, numerous private voyages Dr. Rae to suppose that any violence had been were planned. In 1850, Captain Penny dis- offered to them by the natives; although some covered, on Beechey Island, at the entrance of of the articles thrown away by the white men Wellington Channel, three sailors' graves, and were in their possession, and Dr. Rae puran immense number of cases of preserved chased several things of them-amongst others, meats-apparently discarded because they had a silver star, on which were engrayed the words turned putrid. From these things the captain "Sir John Franklin." No writings or papers gathered that, at some time or other, this spot of any kind had come to hand; and many had been the wintering-place of his missing were the treasures supposed to be still lying on