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promise of supplies of any kind from the natives; the resources of the country were unknown to him; and the head of the bay had the character of being one of the most dreary and inhospitable of polar coasts. But Rae was inured to hardships, and, a first-rate sportsman, he had confidence in his own exertions. He selected a sheltered site for his winter dwelling, near the river, on the northern shore leading to the lakes, and here established his fishing-stations. Collecting his men, some were sent out to bring in stones for building a house, others to set nets, to hunt deer, and to gather fuel. The walls were built two feet thick, the stones being cemented with mud and clay. Squares of glass were fixed in three small apertures. As timber was un

known in this bleak region, he used the oars and masts of his boats for rafters, stretching over them oilcloth and skins for roofing. Deer-skins, nailed over a framework of wood, made a weather-tight door. The interior of this house, to serve for twelve persons through eight winter months, was twenty feet long by fourteen wide; seven and a half feet high in front, sloping down to five and a half feet behind. Yet in these narrow dimensions Rae found room for a great part of his stores, and, by a partition of oilcloth, secured separate quarters for himself, where he worked his observations and kept his journal.

His fishing and hunting proved successful. His sportingbook for September showed a total of 63 deer, 5 hares, 172 partridges, and 116 salmon and trout. In the following month 69 deer were shot, but the nets produced only 22 fish. He was most at a loss for fuel. His men brought in a scanty supply of withered moss, heather, and the like, and this, being dried in the house, was piled into stacks. As the season advanced he built two observatories of snow, one for a dip circle, the other for an horizontally suspended needle, to test the action of the aurora. Snow-houses were also built for the dogs, for stores, &c.; and all were connected together by passages cut under the frozen snow.

Early in January the thermometer sank 79° below the freezing point; and even indoors it was commonly below zero.

'This,' says Rae, 'would not have been unpleasant where there was a fire to warm the hands and feet, or even room to move about; but where there was neither the one nor the other, some few degrees more heat would have been preferable.'

Their fuel was so short that they could afford themselves but one meal a-day, and were obliged to discontinue the comfort of a cup of tea. Being short of oil also, and darkness and cold together being intolerable, they had no resource but to pass about


fourteen hours out of the twenty-four in bed. Rae was worse off than his companions; they could smoke at all hours; but that which was their greatest luxury was his greatest annoyance. Honest Jack's jerseys and trousers felt, from frozen moisture, as hard and prickly as any integuments of ascetical invention. When they went to bed their blankets sparkled with hoar-frost; Rae's own waistcoat became so stiff that he had much ado to get it buttoned. When he went to open his books he found that the leaves were fast frozen together, the damp from the walls having got into them before the frost set in; and every article bound with brass or silver burst its fastenings. Yet the men were cheerful, enjoyed excellent health, and made light of their hardships. When one poor fellow got his knee frozen in bed he was sorry that it became known, as the laugh was turned against him for his effeminacy. Christmas day they had all an excellent dinner of venison and plum-pudding,' and on the 1st of January 'capital fat venison-steaks and currant-dumplings.' A small supply of brandy was served out to drink to absent friends; and on the whole, Rae does not think that 'a happier party could have been found in America, large as it is.'

By the commencement of March deer began to migrate to the north, and during this month Rae got sledges finished and all preparations made for his spring survey. On the 3rd of April the thermometer rose above zero for the first time since the 12th of December. He started on the 4th, taking with him three of his men and two Esquimaux; his luggage and provisions being stowed in two sledges, each drawn by four dogs. He took no tent, as he found it much more convenient to erect snow-houses. Those which he built on his outward journey served on his way back. In these houses storm and cold were unfelt. On one occasion, when there was a stiff gale, with the thermometer 21° below zero, he says- We were as snug and comfortable in our snow-hive as if we had been lodged in the best house in England.'

In this journey he surveyed the whole western shore of the sea until he reached the furthest discovery of Ross to the south. In a second journey, made the same spring, he traversed the eastern coast till he reached Cape Crozier; from hence he could observe the line of coast some miles farther to the north-leaving, as he reckoned, not more than ten miles of shore to be surveyed up to the mouth of the Fury and Hecla Strait:-the shortness of his provisions would, however, allow him to go no farther. His thorough exploration of the shores of Committee Bay connects the discoveries of Parry on one side with those of Ross on the other.


The ice broke up late in 1847, and it was not till the 12th August that the boats were launched in open water. Rae safely arrived with all his men at York Factory on the 6th September: there the good health and high condition of the whole party excited unqualified admiration. By George!' exclaimed a stout corporal in charge of the sappers and miners destined to accompany Richardson in his boat voyage, 'I never saw such a set of men.' From none of the parties of Esquimaux Rae met with could he gather any tidings of Franklin.

We have dwelt on the particulars of this journey-interesting however for their own sake-because they support the idea that Franklin and his crews, if detained in some remote region of thick-ribbed ice, might not, even to this date, be reduced to utter extremity for want of food. If Rae, with provisions for only four months, could keep his men in high condition for fourteen, and could weather a winter of great severity almost without fuel, with no other shelter than they could erect for themselves, and with but scant supplies of clothing, it does not appear improbable that, with the two well-stored ships of Franklin, some brave fellows may yet be living, animated by the hope that succour will reach them at last. In the course of nature the crews would be much reduced by death, and the supplies be consequently available for a longer period than was calculated on.

While Rae was engaged in this expedition, attention was painfully excited in England by Franklin's prolonged absence. The opinion of the most experienced arctic navigators was that he had pushed to the south-west after passing Cape Walker, and had got inextricably involved in the ice somewhere south of Banks' Land. Thus Sir E. Parry expressed his conviction that the ships were directed to the south-west between 100° and 110° W. long.; Sir James Ross, taking the same view, expected the ships would be found about lat. 73° N. and long. 135° W.; and Richardson, likely to be informed of his old comrade's views, believed that he was blocked up in attempting, by sailing southwest of Cape Walker, to reach that open Polar Sea, which both of them had observed, east and west of the Mackenzie river, in their exploration of the North American coast. Similar views were expressed before the Committee of 1850.

The course indicated was that which Franklin had been expressly directed to take. Sir John Barrow, in proposing this voyage to the Royal Society, had dwelt mainly on the probability of a channel south-west of Cape Walker, whence—

'A distance of 300 leagues on a clear sea, keeping midway between the supposed Banks' Land and the coast of America, would accomplish


an object which, at intervals during 300 years, has engaged the attention of crowned heads, men of science, and mercantile bodies, whose expectations were frequently disappointed but not discouraged.'

The official Instructions to Franklin are, however, quite distinct on this point:

'In proceeding to the westward you will not stop to examine any openings either to the northward or southward of that strait [Barrow's], but continue to push to the westward without loss of time in the latitude of about 741, till you have reached the longitude of that portion of land on which Cape Walker is situated, or about 98° west. From that point we desire that every effort be used to endeavour to penetrate to the southward and westward in a course as direct towards Behring's Strait as the position and extent of the ice, or the existence of land at present unknown, may admit. We direct you to this particular part of the Polar Sea as affording the best prospect of accomplishing the passage to the Pacific. You are well aware, having yourself been one of the intelligent travellers who have traversed the American shore of the Polar Sea, that the groups of islands that stretch from that shore to the northward to a distance not yet known do not extend to the westward further than about the 120th degree of western longitude, and that beyond this and to Behring's Strait no land is visible from the American shore of the Polar Sea.'

That the search for this great seaman and his companions might be as complete as possible, the government, in 1848, fitted out three distinct expeditions-each, however, planned on the probability that he had taken the route prescribed for him, rather than with any special view to Wellington Channel. The principal one, under command of Sir James Ross, consisting of the Enterprise and Investigator, was directed to follow, as far as practicable, in the assumed wake of Franklin, proceeding direct to Lancaster Sound, and scrutinizing the shores north and south. It was supposed that one ship might winter near Cape Rennel or Cape Walker, and that the other might advance to Melville Island. Searching parties were to be sent from each vessel in the spring, some to explore the neighbouring coasts, and particularly the unknown space between Cape Walker and Banks' Land; and others to cross, if possible, to the coast of North America, and attempt to reach the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers, where Sir John Richardson's aids would meet them.

To Richardson had been intrusted the task of searching the North American shore between the Coppermine and the Mackenzie, and of depositing provisions at Fort Good Hope, on the latter river, at its mouth, and at Capes Bathurst, Parry, Krusenstern, and Hearne, along the coast.

A third expedition, consisting of the Herald, Captain Kellett, then employed on a survey in the Pacific, and the Plover,


under Commander Moore, were to penetrate through Behring's Strait, taking up positions as far north-east as might be consistent with their safety, and two whale-boats were to perform a coasting voyage to the Mackenzie to meet Richardson's party.

These arrangements were judicious, but, unfortunately, that expedition to which the chief service was intrusted was baffled by those natural causes which so often, in arctic regions, defeat the best-laid plans, and, inextricably enclosing ships in mighty fields of ice, deliver over the most experienced and courageous commanders to the mercy of winds and currents.

The vessels of Ross were not able to cross the middle ice of Baffin's Bay till the 20th July. He did not reach Cape York, at the entrance of Regent's Inlet, till the 1st September; and here he had the mortification to find that impenetrable barriers of ice prevented his approaching the entrance of Wellington Channel to the north, or Cape Rennell to the west. He put into Port Leopold on the 11th September, and on the following day both vessels were fast shut in by the main pack of ice closing with the land. He employed the winter and spring in all practicable measures for the discovery and relief of Franklin. A house was built at Port Leopold, and stored with provisions for twelve months, in case he might come that way after the ships had gone. Exploring parties searched both shores of North Somerset, down to Fury Point on one side, and Four Rivers Bay on the other.

The open season of 1849 was late. The vessels were not released till the 28th August, and three days later the ice closed round them, and defied every effort made for their relief. Helplessly beset, they remained fast until they drifted out of Lancaster Sound. When they were once more free the 25th of September had arrived, and winter had set in with rigour. The harbours on the coast were already closed against them, and, having done all that was possible to contend with adverse circumstances, Ross had no resource but to return home, thankful to the Providence which had so mercifully preserved him when all human effort was unavailing.

It had been his intention, were no tidings heard of Franklin by the close of the summer of 1849, to send home the Investigator, continuing the search through another year in the Enterprise alone. The Admiralty appreciated his zeal, but feared it might jeopardize his safety. Early in the spring of 1849 the North Star was supplied with stores, and in May sailed for Lancaster Sound, bearing despatches to Sir James Ross, instructing him to keep out both ships, and to make a particular examination of Wellington Channel. The North Star was not


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