Sivut kuvina

plies, sailed to Hong-Kong. Before leaving Grantley Harbour, Captain Collinson landed the second lieutenant of his ship, Mr. Barnard, with the assistant-surgeon, Mr. Adams, and a seaman, at Michaelowski, the Russian settlement in Norton Sound. Their orders were, to ascertain the practicability of communicating with the Polar Sea by means of the Russian advanced posts, and to investigate the origin and value of the reports given by the natives of ships and white men having been seen to the northward; of two boats having arrived at the Kopak, where the crews had been massacred by the natives; and of a ship having arrived near Point Barrow, where she was destroyed by the ice, and the crew starved, a considerable number of whom were represented as lying dead on the shore. All these reports had reached the Plover, and had been so frequently repeated, that it became the duty of the commanders to investigate them. The melancholy fate of Lieutenant Barnard, affords almost the only point of interest now to be related of the Behring's Straits expedition.

Of the proceedings of the Plover since she was left at her winter quarters in September, 1850, there is little to relate. The ship was housed in, the most bulky stores were landed, and the usual preparations made for relieving the dreary monotony of a winter among the ice, by amusements and healthy exercises. Expeditions were made on the main-land to gain information from the Russian posts, and to open up a communication with the Polar Seas by their means. Little, however, in relation to the object of search could be done; but the reports formerly referred

to, of the appearance and destruction of Europeans in the distant seas were again repeated, with So much uniformity, as to cause Captain Moore to feel increased anxiety. The ship was visited by numbers of natives, who supplied them with venison and fish, affording an occasional feast of fresh provisions very acceptable under their circumstances. The crews, however, were severely afflicted with scurvy during the winter. The chief episode which varied the monotony of an Arctic winter was the intelligence of the melancholy attack upon Lieutenant Barnard, and the means taken to render him assistance. This gallant and devoted officer having obtained information from the Russian commander of Norton Sound, of a native report that an European ship had been wrecked near Point Barrow, and that the crew had been murdered, proceeded to Darabin Redoubt, with the Russian Governor Maxemoft', for the purpose of investigating the rumour. On the morning of the 15th of February, 1851, the Governor, who was sleeping in the same room with Barnard and Pavil his native interpreter, hearing a noise outside, went to the door, and immediately on opening it was killed by a party of Indians who had surprised the village. The Indians rushed into the hut. The noise awoke poor Barnard, who seized and discharged his gun, and then defended himself bravely with the butt. Pavil also fought manfully. They succeeded in driving out the natives, and then kept up a fire on them until they had withdrawn. Poor Barnard was, however, frightfully wounded in many places; his abdomen was opened, so that

the entrails protruded, and he died in great agony on the following day. Pavil also received many wounds; he was sufficiently recovered to be brought away, but died soon after. The treacherous Indians now fell upon the inhabits ants of the settlement, unfortunately augmented by the natives of two adjoining villages to the number of 57. These, man, woman and child, they massacred save four only—one man, who made his escape, and three women, whom they took away captive. After eating part of one of the slain, the savages set fire to the houses, and then departed. No motive can be assigned for this treacherous attack.

Captain Collinson, with the Enterprise, arrived at Port Clarence, on the 3rd of July, 1851, and immediately resumed the search to the northward. No intelligence has yet been received of his proceedings, nor has anything yet been heard of the position in which the Investigator had passed the winter. The Plover at the same time was enabled to resume her active service, and sailed from Grantley Harbour on the 11th of July to Norton Sound, for the purpose of gaining information, and of assisting any parties from the Enterprise or Investigator; and returned to Port Clarence on the 30th of July. Commander Moore here found H.M.S. Dadalus, Captain Wellesley, which had been sent to assist the expedition. The Plover sailed again to the northward, but found the ice so far to the south, and so closely packed, that further progress was impossible; and having reasons to conclude that the Enterprise had succeeded in passing Point Barrow, Commander Moore returned to Grantley Har

bear on the 28th of August, to pass another winter in that dreary station—it being his duty to remain in reserve for the assistance of his consorts. Captain Wellesley removed from the Plover the officers and men who had proved unable to sustain the severities of those regions, replenished the Plover's stores, and left her to her winter's confinement on the 1st of October, 1851. In reward of the able conduct of Commander Moore, the Lords of the Admiralty promoted him to post rank, and appointed Commander Maguire to relieve him in his arduous duties.

The expedition overland by the Mackenzie River is next in order of geographical distribution. The arduous journey of Sir John Richardson and Dr. Rae down that stream, and their unsuccessful search of the Arctic coast to the eastward; the equally unsuccessful attempt of Dr. Rae to reach Wollaston Land, and the more fortunate boat voyage of Commander Pullen from Behring's Straits to the Mackenzie, have already been narrated.

On the 17th of July, 1850, the latter persevering officer resumed his labours, descending the river in two boats, the Logan, in which he had made his former successful voyage, and the Try Again, a boat which he had built during the winter. He reached the Arctic Ocean on the 22nd. It is not to the main purpose of this narrative to follow the minute details of Commander Pullen's interesting journal; the labours he and his gallant crews underwent; their great perils from ice and sea; their sufferings and privations; the game that they shot, or the natives they encountered—all these incidents were met with a hearty good will which gives an admirable picture of British seamen. On the 9th of August, they had reached Cape Bathurst and Baillie's Islands in lat. 70° 30' N., when their further progress was effectually stopped by large masses of ice which completely closed around them. The Esquimaux, who were very friendly, seemed to know that this was their furthest point, and had assembled in large numbers. Here an animating incident occurred.

"As we were pulling in for the shore, I saw a large bear trot off from the top of the bank; the hunters got out of the boat as soon as possible and gave chase, but as they were long in starting, and did not see him at first, lost the chance. Soon after the arrival of the first Esquimaux, a woman came into the camp who had seen the animal on her way to us, and had to go down over the bank to avoid him, where she sunk nearly to her middle in the mud, and had a heavy and fatiguing walk; poor creature, she looked quite exhausted when she came in. Parties of both men and women were now flocking to us in numbers, but were quiet, and keeping a sharp look out for brain. At last they discovered him, and with a shout pointed out his whereabouts, in the act of swimming in for the shore, at the opposite point of the bay to where we were encamped. All hands were now on the move, Esquimaux and white men starting off together, each with their own weapon of destruction, and a most animated chase took place. On reaching the spot he was making for, seeing so many foes, he turned about, and swam for a more distant landing, and directly on getting out of the water received

a ball in his foot, which staggered him for a moment; recovering, he again took to the water, making for one of the large bergs, and on his passage received a ball in the back of the neck, causing him to turn and grin on his enemies; at last he gained the berg. The Logan, meanwhile, had been launched, and was close at his heels as he got out of the water, but did not succeed in bringing him down, only worrying him, until he took the water again, when another actor appeared on the arena, an Esquimaux in his kyak, who drove him fairly out to sea, inflicting many severe arrow wounds, and otherwise annoying him, until the brute received the death wound from a musket ball lodged in his brain by one of the Logan's crew. He was towed to the beach, and really a big fellow he was. The Esquimaux who followed him so perseveringly (it had lasted about four hours) was rewarded with a broad dagger and several beads,' greatly to his delight. It certainly wasamost exciting scene, to see this man playing about the animal in his light and tiny craft, driving his arrows into him, throwing water into his face with the paddle as he turned on the canoe, and keeping just out of his way, as if it was a matter of every-day occurrence, showing ready tact and great coolness, for the least blow of the brute's paw (whose endurance was truly astonishing) on the kyak would have upset her, and nothing could have saved the man from the infuriated animal. All this we could see from the bank, and he certainly would have escaped if it had not been for the Esquimaux." They now retraced their steps, and attempted a passage round Cape Bathurst by an inner channel; but this was equally impracticable; and the gallant fellows were compelled to the conclusion, that they must return to the Mackenzie. Commander Pullen resolved to wait until the 15th, when, if no change took place in the ice, he would set out on his return. Their detention here, beside the bitter disappointment of their hopes, was rendered more miserable by the loss of their Indian hunters, who were missing four days, having lost their way while tracking a wounded deer. On the 15th of August, the disappointed voyagers commenced to retrace their steps. On the 31st of August they reached the mouth of the Mackenzie thoroughly worn out. Their boats were in a wretched condition and could scarcely be kept afloat. The Logan was therefore cleared out, hauled up high and dry, and abandoned. On the 4th of September, they reached Fort Macpherson on the Peel River; and, being detained by other duties, arrived at Fort Simpson on the 5th of October. Not the slightest trace of Sir John Franklin and his party had been discovered.

Commander Pullen and his men passed the winter at this station, suffering much indisposition from their hardships. On one occasion the thermometer marked 50° below zero, or 80° below the freezing point of water! In the following May, Commander Pullen returned to civilized life, making an interesting journey up the lakes; and arrived in England on the 4th of October, 1851; and immediately urged the Admiralty, in the strongest terms, to permit him to set out on a fresh exploration in a small steamer!

After the fruitless attempt made Vol. XCIII.

by Dr. Rae in the autumn of 1849 to reach Wollaston Land, that officer did not resume his efforts until the spring of 1851. The interval was spent in the performance of other duties at the Company's posts (whose servant he is), and was not unaccompanied by toil and privation; the weather had proved unpropitious to hunting and fishing; the Indians around them were starving; and on the 21st of January, the thermometer fell to 72° below zero, or 104° below the freezing point of water! Preparations were made during the winter for a foot journey from the Kendall River, in the direction of Banks's Land, through the supposed strait dividing Victoria and Wollaston Lands, with the hope of examining about 300 miles of coast. It will give a startling idea of the enthusiasm which must exist to make Arctic exploration endurable, when it is stated that this desolate and perilous journey was to be performed by Dr. Rae and two men only, aided by five dogs to draw their two sledges. The party left Fort Confidence on the 25th of April, 1851, and were accompanied by a fatigue party to within half a day's march of the coast, and then proceeded to the eastward on their dreary journey. They made a short cut overland, through an uninteresting tract of low ground, swamps, and lakes, until they struck the shore opposite some large rocky islands, which they named after Sir John Richardson. They reached lat. 68° 37' 48" N., long. 110° 2', to which point the survey of Dease and Simpson extended, and beyond which it was therefore unnecessary that they should proceed. The temperature was sometimes 22° below zero. It was now necessary I I

to decide on the further mode of proceeding—either to strike overland to the north in search of the sea-coast, or to return along the coast and travel westward, in hopes that some one of the spaces of Wollaston Land which were left blank in the charts would prove to be the desired strait. As it appeared that the ridges of the opposite land lay across their track, and would therefore render the draft of the sledges impracticable, the latter course was chosen. The party were greatly aided in their return by retracing their outward track, as they found their snow huts standing, and it was unnecessary to pause to take observations. Soon after passing to the westward of their former point of departure, they fell in with some Esquimaux who were harmless and friendly, but from whom no information could be obtained. On the night of the 23rd of May, Dr. Rae reached a high cape, which received the name of Sir George Back, and which was fully 300 feet high. The prospect afforded from the high land was an expanse of water, bounded by land 15 or 20 miles off, the view of the eastern extremity of which was cut off by Cape Back. From the information obtained from the Esquimaux, Dr. Kae believed this water to be a strait; but the time destined for this exploration had now expired, and he was unable to examine further. He therefore retraced his route, and reached the Kendall River on the 10th of June, 1851, having been absent 42 days. The result of the journey amounted to an examination of the shore of Wollaston Land to the eastward of latitude 110°, and westward as far as long. 117° 17' without finding any strait or passage leading to the

north, and without discovering any traces of Sir John Franklin's party or obtaining any tidings of them from the Esquimaux. The distance travelled over amounted to 942 miles.

The narrative of the proceedings of the national and private squadrons through Baffin's Bay and Lancaster Sound, broke off with the interesting discovery, by Captain Ommanney, on the 23rd of August 1850, of an encampment of Sir John Franklin's expedition on Cape Riley. This cape is the very point of land which divides Barrow's Strait from Wellington Strait, and may be considered as the threshold of north-west exploration. Intelligence so interesting was speedily made known to other ships of the squadron:—all hastened to the spot, and with renewed hope and spirit began a further search on the traces thus opened up. Their diligence was speedily rewarded. Close under Cape Riley is an island called Beechey Island, which closes in a small bay and secures it from the drifting of the ice from any quarter. It fell to the lot of Captain Penny, of the Lady Franklin, to discover that this island and bay had been the quarters of Sir John Franklin's expedition in the winter of 1845-6. The traces indicated most distinctly the encampment of a large and well-equipped civilized party; and what that party was was put beyond doubt by the existence, on the inner side of the island, of three graves, having the following inscriptions on their head-boards :—

"Sacred to the Memory of W. Braine, R.M..H.M.S. 'Erebus' DiedSrd April, 1846, aged 32 years.' Choose ye this day whom you will serve.'

"Sacred to the Memory of John Ilartnell, A. B., H.M.S. 'Erebus.' Aged 23

« EdellinenJatka »