« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which rise two hundred feet above the daunted by toil or danger, they went boldly water's level.
on, though by degrees it became clear to There are above head plenty of aquatic the leaders of the expedition, that they were birds; ashore, or on the ice, are bears, foxes, almost like mice upon a tread-mill cage., reindeer; and in the sea there are innumer-making a great expenditure of leg for little able animals. We shall not see so much gain. The ice was floating to the south life near the North Pole, that is certain. with them, as they were walking to the It would be worth while to go ashore upon north ; still they went on. Sleeping by an islet there, near Vogel Sang, to pay a day to avoid the glare, and to get greater visit to the eider-ducks. Their nests are so warmth during the time of rest, and travabundant that one cannot avoid treading on elling by night,-watchmakers' days and them. When the duck is driven by a hun- nights, for it was all one polar day,--the gry fox to leave her eggs, she covers them men soon were unable to distinguish poon with down in order that they may not cool from midnight. The great event of one day during her absence, and, moreover, glues on this dreary waste, was the discovery of the down into a case with a secretion sup-two flies upon an ice hummock; these, says plied to her by Nature for that purpose. Parry, became at once a topic of ridiculous The deserted eggs are safe, for that secretion importance. Presently, after twenty-three has an odor very disagreeable to the intru- miles walking, they only had gone one mile der's nose.
forward, the ice having industriously floated We still sail northward, among sheets of twenty-two miles in the opposite direction ; ice, whose boundaries are not beyond our vi- and then, after walking forward eleven sion from the mast-head-these are “floes; miles, they found themselves to be three between them we find easy way, it is fair miles behind the place from which they " sailing ice.” In the clear sky to the north started. The party accordingly returned, a streak of lucid white light is the reflec- not having reached the Pole, not having tion from an icy surface; that is, ice-blink,” | reached the eighty-third parallel, for the atin the language of these seas. The glare tainment of which there was a reward of a from snow is yellow, while open water gives thousand pounds held out by government. a dark reflection.
They reached the parallel of eighty-two Northward still ; but now we are in a fog degrees, forty-five minutes, which was, and the ice is troublesome; a gale is rising still is the most northerly point trodden by Now, if our ship had timbers they would the foot of man. From that point they recrack; and if she had a bell, it would be turned. In those high latitudes they met tolling: if we were shouting to each other with a phenomenon common in Alpine rewe should not hear, the sea is in a fury. gions, as well as at the Pole, red snow—the With wild force its breakers dash against a red color being caused by the abundance of heaped-up wall of broken ice, that grinds a minute plant, of low development, the last and strains and battles fiercely with the wa- dweller on the borders of the vegetable ter. This is “ the pack," the edge of a great kingdom. More interesting to the sailors ice-field broken by the swell. It is a peril- was a fat she-bear, which they killed and ous and an exciting thing to push through devoured with a zeal to be repented of; for pack ice in a gale.
on reaching navigable sea, and pushing in Now there is ice as far as eye can see, their boats to Table Island, where some that is " an ice-field.” Masses are forced up stores were left, they found that the bears like colossal tombstones on all sides ; our had eaten all their bread, whereon the men sailors call them “hummocks ;" here and agreed that “ Bruin was now square with there the broken ice displays large“ holes of them." An islet next to Table Island water.” Shall we go on? Upon this field, in they are both mere rocks-is the most 1827, Parry adventured with his men, to northern land discovered. Therefore Parry reach the North Pole, if that should be possi- applied to it the name of lieutenant-now ble. With sledges and portable boats they Sir James-Ross. This compliment Sir labored on, through snow; and over hum- James Ross bas acknowledged in the most mocks, launching their boats over the larger emphatic manner, by discovering on his holes of water. With stout hearts, un part, at the other pole, the most southern
land yet seen, and giving to it the name of along the western coast of Greenland into Parry : “ Parry Mountains."
| Davis' Straits. We observe that upon tbis It very probably would not be difficult western coast there is, by a great deal, less under such circumstances as Sir W. Parry ice than on the eastern. That is a rule has since recommended, to reach the North generally. Not only the configuration of Pole along this route. Then (especially if the straits and bays, but also the earth's roit be true, as many believe, that there is a tation from west to east, causes the currents region of open sea about the Pole itself) we here to set towards the west, and wash the might find it as easy to reach Behring western coasts, while they act very little on Straits, by travelling in a straight line over the eastern. We steer across Davis' Strait, the North Pole, as by threading the straits among “an infinite number of great coudand bays north of America.
treys and islands of yce ;" there, near the We turn our course until we have in sight entrance, we find Hudson's Strait, which does a portion of the ice-barred eastern coast of not now concern us. Islands probably sepaGreenland, Shannon Island. Somewhere rate this well-known channel from Frobisher about this spot, in the seventy-fifth parallel, Strait to the north of it, yet unexplored. is the most northern part of that coast Here let us recall to mind the fleet of fifteen known to us. Colonel—then Captain—Sa sail, under Sir Martin Frobisher, in 1578, bine in the “Griper," was landed there to tossing about and parting company among make magnetic, and other observations; for the ice. Let us remember how the crew of the same purpose he had previously visited the “ Anne Frances," in that expedition, Sierra Leone. That is where we differ from built a pinnace when their vessel struck upour forefathers. They commissioned hardy on a rock, although they wanted main timseamen to encounter peril for the search of ber and nails. How they made a mimic gold ore, or for a near road to Cathay; but forge, and, " for the easier making of nails, our peril is encountered for the gain of knowl. were forced to break their tongs, gridiron, edge, for the highest kind of service that and fire-shovel, in pieces.” How Master can now be rendered to the human race. Captain Best, in this frail bark, with its im
Before we leave the northern sea, we perfect timbers held together by the metamust not omit to mention the voyage by morphosed gridiron and fire-shovel, continSpitzbergen northward, in 1818, of Captain ued in his duty, and did “ depart up the Buchan in the “ Dorothea,” accompanied straights as before was pretended." How a by Lieutenant Franklin, in the “Trent." It terrific storm arose, and the fleet parted, and was Sir John Franklin's first voyage to the the intrepid captain was towed “in his Arctic regions. This trip forms the subject small pinnesse, at the stern of the Michael,' of a delightful book by Captain Beechey. thorow the raging seas; for the bark was
On our way to the south point of Green- not able to receive, or relieve half his comland we pass near Cape North, a point of pany.” The “ tongs, gridyron, and fire-shovIceland. Iceland we know, is the centre of ell,” performed their work only for as many a volcanic region, whereof Norway and minutes as were absolutely necessary, for Greenland are at opposite points of the cir- “ the pinnesse came no sooner aboord the cumference. In connection with this district ship, and the men entered, but she presently there is a remarkable fact : that by the shivered and fell in pieces, and sunke at the agency of subterranean forces, a large por-ship’s stern with all the poor men's furniture." tion of Norway and Sweden is being slowly Now, too, as we sail up the strait, explorupheaved. While Greenland, on the wested a few years after these events by Master coast, as gradually sinks into the sea, Norway John Davis, how proudly we remember him rises at the rate of about four feet in a cen- as a right worthy forerunner of those countury. In Greenland, the sinking is so well trymen of his and ours who since have known that the natives never build close to sailed over his track. Nor ought we to pass the water's edge, and the Moravian missiona-on without calling to mind the melancholy ries more than once have had to move far-fate, in 1606, of Master John Knight, driven ther inland the poles on which their boats in the “ Hopewell,” among huge masses of are rested.
| ice with a tremendous surf, his rudder Our Phantom Ship stands fairly now knocked away, his ship half full of water,
at the entrance of these straits. Hoping to 1 is also very possible that by this channel find a harbor, he set forth to explore a large ships might get into the polar sea and sail island, and landed, leaving two men to by the north shore of Greenland to Spitzwatch the boat, while he, with three men and bergen. Turning that corner and descendthe mate, set forth and disappeared over a ing along the western coast of Baffin's Bay, hill. For thirteen hours the watchers kept there is another inlet called Jones's Sound their post; one had his trumpet with him, for by Baffin, also unexplored. These two inhe was a trumpeter, the other had a gun. lets, with their very British titles, Smith and They trumpeted often and loudly, they fired, Jones, are of exceeding interest. Jones's but no answer came. They watched ashore all Sound may lead by a back way to Melville night for the return of their captain and his Island. South of Jones's Sound there is a party," but they came not at all."
wide break in the shore, a great sound, The season is advanced. As we sail on, the named by Baffin, Lancaster's, which Sir sea steams like a lime-kiln, "frost-smoke" John Ross, in that first expedition, failed covers it. The water, cooled less rapidly, is also to explore. Like our transatlantic warmer now than the surrounding air, and friends at the South Pole, he laid down a yields this vapor in consequence. By the range of clouds as mountains, and considered time our vessel has reached Baffin's Bay, still the way impervious; so he came home. coasting along Greenland, in addition to old | Parry went out next year, as a lieutenant, floes and bergs, the water is beset with in command of his first and most successful "pancake ice.” That is the young ice when expedition. He sailed up Lancaster Sound, it first begins to cake upon the surface. In which was in that year (1819) unusually nocent enough it seems, but it is sadly clear of ice; and he is the discoverer whose clogging to the ships. It sticks about their track we now follow in our Phantom Ship. sides like treacle on a fly's wing ; collecting The whole ground being new, he had to unequally, it destroys all equilibrium, and name the points of country right and left of impedes the efforts of the steersman. Rocks him. The way was broad and open, due split on the Greenland coast, with loud ex- west, a most prosperous beginning for a plosions, and more icebergs fall. Icebergs northwest passage. If this continued, he we soon shall take our leave of; they are would soon reach Behring Strait. A broad only found where there is a coast on which channel to the right, directed, that is to say, glaciers can form; they are good for nothing southward, he entered on the Prince of but to yield fresh water to the vessels; it Wales's birthday, and so called it the will soon be all field, pack, and salt-water ice.“ Prince Regent's Inlet."
Now we are in Baffin's Bay, explored in After exploring this for some miles, he the voyages of Bylot and Baffin, 1615-16. turned back to resume his western course, When, in 1817, a great movement in the for still there was a broad strait leading Greenland ice caused many to believe that westward. This second part of Lancaster the northern passages would be found com- Sound he called after the Secretary of the paratively clear; and when, in consequence Admiralty who had so indefatigably labored of this impression, Sir John Barrow suc- to promote the expeditions, Barrow's Strait. ceeded in setting afoot that course of modern Then he came to a channel, turning to the Arctic exploration, which has been contin right or northward, and he named that ued to the present day, Sir John Ross was Wellington Channel. Then he had on his the first man sent to find the northwest right hand ice, islands large and small, and passage. Buchan and Parry were commis- intervening channels ; on the left, ice, and a sioned at the same time to attempt the cape visible, Cape Walker. At an island, North Sea route. Sir John Ross did little named after the First Lord of the Admiralmore on that occasion than effect a survey ty, Melville Island, the great frozen wilderof Baffin's Bay, and prove the accuracy of ness barred farther progress. There he the ancient pilot. In the extreme north of the wintered. On the coast of Melville Island bay there is an inlet or a channel, called by they had passed the latitude of one hundred Baffin, Smith's Sound; this Sir John saw, and ten degrees, and the men had become but did not enter. It never yet has been entitled to a royal bounty of five thousand explored. It may be an iulet only; but it pounds. This group of islands Parry called
North Georgian, but they are usually called stunted grass, saxifrage, and a feeble wilby his own name, Parry Islands. This was low, are the plants of Melville Island, but the first European winter party in the in sheltered nooks there are found sorrel, Arctic circle. Its details are familiar poppy, and a yellow butter-cup. Halos and enough. How the men cut in three days double suns are very common consequences through ice seven inches thick, a canal of refraction in this quarter of the world. two miles and a half long, and so brought Parry returned from his first and most the ships into safe harbor. How the genius famous voyage with his men all safe and of Parry equalled the occasion ; how there sound, except the loss of a few fingere, frostwas established a theatre and a “North bitten. We sail back only as far as Regent's Georgian Gazette,” to cheer the tediousness Inlet, being bound for Behring Strait. of a night which continued for two thousand | The reputation of Sir John Ross being hours. The dreary dazzling waste in which clouded by the discontent expressed against there was that little patch of life, the stars, his first expedition, Mr. Felix Booth, a the fog, the moonlight, the glittering won rich distiller, provided seventeen thousand der of the northern lights, in which, as pounds to enable his friend to redeem his Greenlanders believe, souls of the wicked credit. Sir John accordingly, in 1829, went dance tormented, are familiar to us. The out in the “ Victory," provided with steamshe-bear stays at home, but the he-bear machinery that did not answer well. He hungers, and looks in vain for a stray seal was accompanied by Sir James Ross, his or walrus-woe to the unarmed man who nephew. He it was who, on this occasion, meets him in his hungry mood! Wolves first surveyed Regent's Inlet, down which are abroad, and pretty, white arctic foxes. we are now sailing with our Phantom Ship. The reindeer have sought other pasture. The coast on our right hand, westward, ground. The thermometer runs down to which Parry saw, is called North Somerset, more than sixty degrees below freezing, a but farther south, where the inlet widens, temperature tolerable in calm weather, but the land is named Boothia Felix. Five distressing in a wind. The eye-piece of the years before this, Parry, in his third voyage, telescope must be protected now with had attempted to pass down Regent's Inlet, leather, for the skin is destroyed that comes where among ice and storm, one of his ships, in contact with cold metal. The voice at a the “ Hecla,” had been driven violently mile's distance can be heard distinctly. ashore, and of necessity, abandoned. The Happy the day when first the sun is seen stores had been removed, and Sir John was to graze the edge of the horizon; but sum- able now to replenish his own veseel from mer must come, and the heat of a constant them. Rounding a point at the bottom of day must accumulate, and summer wane, Prince Regent's Inlet, we find Felix Harbor, before the ice is melted. Then the ice cracks where Sir John Ross wintered. His nephew like cannons over-charged, and moves with made from this point scientific explorations; a loud grinding noise. But not yet is discovered a strait, called after him the escape to be made with safety. After a Strait of James Ross, and on the northern detention of ten months, Parry got free ; shore of this strait, on the mainland of but, in escaping, narrowly missed the de- | Boothia, planted the British flag on the struction of both ships, by their being Northern Magnetic Pole. The ice broke up, “nipped” between the mighty mass and the so did the “Victory;" after a hairbreadth unyielding shore. What animals are found / escape, the party found a searching vessel, on Melville Island, we may judge from the and arrived home after an absence of four results of sport during ten months' detention. / years and five months, Sir John Ross having The island exceeds five thousand miles lost his ship, and won his reputation. The square, and yielded to the gun, three musk friend in need was made a baronet for his oxen, twenty-four deer, sixty-eight hares, munificence ; Sir John was reimbursed for fifty-three geese, fifty-nine ducks, and one all his losses, and the crew liberally taken hundred and forty-four ptarmigans, weighing care of. Sir James Ross had a rod and Aag together three thousand seven hundred and signifying “ Magnetic Pole,” given to him sixty-six pounds—not quite two ounces of for a new crest, by the Heralds' College, for meat per day to every man. Lichens, which he was no doubt greatly the better. We have sailed northward to get into wrought on him, that his flesh would slip up Hudson Strait, the high road into Hud- and down upon his bones, like a glove on a son Bay. Along the shore are Esqui. i man's hand. In the evening we buried him maux in boats, extremely active, but these by the others." These worthy souls, laid up filthy creatures we pass by; the Esquimaux with the agonies of scurvy, knety that in in Hudson Strait are like the negroes of action was their only hope; they forced the coast, demoralized by intercourse with their limbs to labor, among ice and water, European traders. These are not true pic-every day. They set about the building of tures of the loving children of the north. a boat, but the hard frozen wood had broken Our “ Phantom” floats on the wide waters all their axes, so they made shift with the of Hudson Bay--the grave of its discoverer. pieces. To fell a tree, it was first requisite Familiar as the story is of Henry Hudson's to light a fire around it, and the carpenter fate, for John King's sake how gladly we could only labor with his wood over a fire, repeat it. While sailing on the waters he or else it was like stone under his tools. discovered, in 1611, his men mutinied; the Before the boat was made they buried the mutiny was aided by Henry Green, a prodi- carpenter. The captain exhorted them to gal, whom Hudson had generously shielded put their trust in God; “ His will be done. from ruin. Hudson, the master, and his son, If it be our fortune to end our days here, we with six sick or disabled members of the are as near Heaven as in England. They crew, were driven from their cabins, forced all protested to work to the utmost of their into a little shallop. and committed belpless strength, and that they would refuse nothto the water and the ice. But there was ing that I should order them to do to the one stout man, John King, the carpenter, utmost hazard of their lives. I thanked who stepped into the boat, abjuring his com- them all.” Truly the North Pole has its panions, and chose rather to die than even triumphs. If we took no account of the passively be partaker in so foul a crime. John fields of trade opened by our Arctic exKing, we who live after, will remember you. plorers, if we thought nothing of the wants
Here on an island, Charlton Island, near of science in comparison with the lives lost our entrance to the bay, in 1631, wintered in supplying them, is not the loss of life a poor Captain James with his wrecked crew. gain, which proves and tests the fortitude of This is a point outside the Arctic circle, but noble hearts, and teaches us respect for quite cold enough. Of nights, with a good human nature? All the lives that have fire in the house they built, hoar frost cover been lost among these Polar regions, are less ed their beds, and the cook's water in a in number than the dead upon a battle-field. metal pan before the fire, was warm on one The battle-field inflicted shame upon our side and froze on the other. Here “it race-is it with shame that our hearts throb snowed and froze extremely, at which time in following these Arctic heroes ? March we, looking from the shore towards the 31st, says Captain James, “was very cold, ship, she appeared a piece of ice in the with snow and bail, which pinched our sick fashion of a ship, or a ship resembling a men more than any time this year. This piece of ice.” Here the gunner, who had evening, being May eve, we returned late lost his leg, besought that, “ for the little from our work to our house, and made a time he had to live, he might drink sack good fire, and chose ladies, and ceremoniousaltogether.” He died and was buried in the ly wore their names in our caps, endeavor. ice far from the vessel, but when afterwards ing to revive ourselves by any means. On two more were dead of scurvy, and the the 15th, I manured a little patch of ground others, in a miserable state, were working that was bare of snow, and sowed it with with faint hope about their shattered vessel, pease, hoping to have some shortly to eat, the gunner was found to have returned for as yet we could see no green thing to home to the old vessel ; his leg bad pene- comfort us." Those pease saved the party; trated through a port-hole. They “ digged as they came up the young shoots were him clear out, and he was as free from boiled and eaten, so their health began to noisomness,” the record says, “as when we mend, and they recovered from their scurvy. first committed him to the sea. This alter- Eventually, after other perils, they succeedation had the ice, and water, and time, only / ed in making their escape.