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Title: Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea
Author: Franklin, John, 1786-1847, Richardson, John, 1787-1865
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                  OF A SECOND EXPEDITION
                     TO THE SHORES OF
                      THE POLAR SEA,
                       IN THE YEARS
                   1825, 1826, AND 1827,

                     BY JOHN FRANKLIN,


       BY JOHN RICHARDSON, M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., &c.



                       AND FRANCIS.


       *       *       *       *       *

              W. PILKINGTON & CO. PRINTERS.

       *       *       *       *       *


                  THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
                 THE EARL BATHURST, K.G.,
                       &c. &c. &c.

                      THE FOLLOWING
                     OF HIS LORDSHIP,
                        THE AUTHOR.



 Introductory Chapter                                                ix

 Official Instructions                                              xix


    Join the Boats in the Methye River--Cross the Long Portage--Arrival
    at Fort Chipewyan--Departure from thence with the whole party for
    Mackenzie River--Arrangements at Fort Norman--Descent to the
    Sea--Return to the Winter Quarters at Great Bear Lake             23


    Transactions at Fort Franklin, 1825-6                             61


    Voyage to the Sea--Part from the Eastern Detachment at Point
    Separation--Reach the Mouth of the Mackenzie--Interview and Contest
    with the Esquimaux--Detained by Ice--Meet friendly Esquimaux--Point
    Sabine                                                            87


    Babbage River--Meet Natives at Herschel Island--Their Trade with the
    Russians, through the Western Esquimaux--Ascend Mount
    Conybeare--Boundary of the British Dominions on this Coast--Delayed
    at Icy Reef--Barter Island--Detention at Foggy Island--Return
    Reef--Limit of outward Voyage                                    114


    Commence Return to the Mackenzie--Delayed again at Foggy Island--Ice
    packed on the Reefs near Beaufort Bay, and on the Coast about
    Clarence River--Pass the Channels near Herschel Island in a Gale and
    Fog--A sudden Gale--Escape an Attack which the Mountain Indians
    meditated--Enter the Mackenzie--Peel River--Arrival at Fort Franklin

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Dr. Richardson's Narrative of the Proceedings of the Eastern Detachment
 of the Expedition._


    Leave Point Separation, and descend the Eastern Channel of the
    Mackenzie--Arrive at Sacred Island--Esquimaux Graves--Interview with
    the Natives; their thievish disposition--Attempt to gain possession
    of the Union--Heavy Gale--Find shelter in Refuge Cove--Low
    Coast--Mirage--Stopped by Ice at Point Toker--Reach the Sea      162


    Detention by wind--Visited by the Esquimaux--Cross a large Stream of
    Fresh Water--Winter Houses on Atkinson Island--Gale of Wind and
    Fog--Run into Browell Cove--Double Cape Dalhousie--Liverpool Bay and
    Esquimaux Lake--Icy Cliffs--Meet another party of Esquimaux--Cape
    Bathurst                                                         180


    Double Cape Bathurst--Whales--Bituminous-shale Cliffs on Fire--Enter
    Franklin Bay--Heavy Gale--Peninsula of Cape Parry--Perforated
    Rock--Detention at Cape Lyon by Wind--Force of an Esquimaux
    Arrow--Meet with heavy Ice--Pass Union and Dolphin Straits--Double
    Cape Krusenstern, and enter George the Fourth's Coronation
    Gulph--Reach the Coppermine River--Remarks--Meteorological Table

    Ascend the Coppermine River--Abandon the Boats and
    Stores--Commence the Land Journey--Cross the Copper Mountains and
    Height of Land--Meet Indians who bring Provisions--Arrive at Great
    Bear Lake--Detained by want of a Boat--Send out Hunters--Arrival of
    Beaulieu--Collect the Party, and proceed to Fort
    Franklin--Conclusion                                             222

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Captain Franklin's Narrative resumed._


    Brief Notices of the Second Winter at Bear Lake--Traditions of the
    Dog-Ribs--Leave Fort Franklin--Winter Journey to Fort
    Chipewyan--Remarks on the progress of improvement in the Fur
    Countries--Set out in Canoes on the Voyage Homeward--Join Dr.
    Richardson at Cumberland House--Mr. Drummond's Narrative--Arrival in
    Canada, at New York, and London                                  238

       *       *       *       *       *


    Topographical and Geological Notices, by Dr. Richardson, R.N.    263

       *       *       *       *       *

An account of the objects of Natural History, collected on our journey
being too voluminous to be inserted in the Appendix, has been reserved
for a separate work which will be published as soon as possible, by Dr.
Richardson and Professor Hooker, under the sanction, and by the
assistance, of His Majesty's Government.


His Majesty's Government having, towards the close of the year 1823,
determined upon another attempt to effect a northern passage by sea
between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and Captain Parry, the highly
distinguished Commander of the two preceding Expeditions, having been
again entrusted with its execution, success, as far as ability,
enterprise, and experience could ensure it, appeared likely to be the
result. Yet, as the object was one for which Great Britain had thought
proper to contend for upwards of three centuries, it seemed to me that
it might be desirable to pursue it by more ways than one; I therefore
ventured to lay before His Majesty's Government a plan for an Expedition
overland to the mouth of the Mackenzie River, and thence, by sea, to the
northwestern extremity of America, with the combined object, also, of
surveying the coast between the Mackenzie and Coppermine Rivers.

I was well aware of the sympathy excited in the British public by the
sufferings of those engaged in the former overland Expedition to the
mouth of the Coppermine River, and of the humane repugnance of His
Majesty's Government to expose others to a like fate; but I was enabled
to show satisfactorily that, in the proposed course, similar dangers
were not to be apprehended, while the objects to be attained were
important at once to the naval character, scientific reputation, and
commercial interests of Great Britain; and I received directions from
the Right Honourable Earl Bathurst to make the necessary preparations
for the equipment of the Expedition, to the command of which I had the
honour to be nominated.

My much valued friend, Dr. Richardson, offered his services as
Naturalist and Surgeon, and also volunteered to undertake the survey of
the coast between the Mackenzie and Coppermine Rivers, while I should be
occupied in endeavouring to reach Icy Cape.

Lieutenant Bushnan, who had served under Captains Ross and Parry on
their voyages of discovery, was also appointed to accompany me; but,
long before the party was to leave England, I had to lament the
premature death of that excellent young officer, who was eminently
qualified for the situation, by his skill in astronomical observations,
surveying, and drawing. Many naval officers, distinguished for their
talent and ability, were desirous of filling the vacancy; but my friend
and former companion, Lieutenant Back, having returned from the West
Indies, the appointment was offered to him, and accepted with his wonted

Mr. E.N. Kendall, Admiralty Mate, and recently assistant Surveyor with
Captain Lyon, was appointed to accompany Dr. Richardson in his voyage to
the eastward, and to do the duty of an Assistant-Surveyor to the
Expedition at large, whilst it continued united. Lastly, Mr. Thomas
Drummond, of Forfar, was appointed Assistant Naturalist, on the
recommendation of Professor Hooker, and other eminent scientific men.

A residence in the northern parts of America, where the party must
necessarily depend for subsistence on the daily supply of fish, or on
the still more precarious success of Indian hunters, involves many
duties which require the superintendence of a person of long experience
in the management of the fisheries, and in the arrangement of the
Canadian voyagers and Indians: we had many opportunities, during the
former voyage, of being acquainted with the qualifications of Mr. Peter
Warren Dease, Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, for these
services, and I therefore procured the sanction of His Majesty's
Government for his being employed on the Expedition.

As soon as I had authority from Earl Bathurst, I entered into a
correspondence with the Governor and Directors of the Hudson's Bay
Company; and these gentlemen, taking the most lively interest in the
objects of the Expedition, promised their utmost support to it, and
forthwith sent injunctions to their officers in the Fur Countries to
provide the necessary depôts of provision at the places which I pointed
out, and to give every other aid in their power. I also wrote to the
different Chief Factors and Chief Traders of the Company, who resided on
the route of the Expedition, explaining its objects, and requesting
their co-operation.

_Pemmican_, the principal article of provision used in travelling, being
made during the winter and spring, the orders for providing the extra
quantity required for the Expedition, though sent out from England by
the earliest conveyance, so as to reach the provision posts in the
summer of 1824, could not be put into effect sooner than the spring of
1825; hence, it was not proper that the main body of the Expedition
should reach the Fur Countries before the latter period. Some stores
were forwarded from England, by way of New York, in March 1824, under
charge of Mr. Robert M'Vicar, Chief Trader, for the purpose of relieving
the Expedition as much as possible from the incumbrance of heavy
baggage, and thus enabling it, by marching quickly, to reach its
intended winter-quarters at Great Bear Lake, as well as to provide for
its more comfortable reception at that place. These stores, with the
addition of other articles obtained in Canada, sufficed to load three
north canoes, manned by eighteen voyagers; and they were delivered by
Mr. M'Vicar, before the winter set in, to Mr. Dease, at the Athabasca
Lake. Mr. Dease was instructed to support his party by fishing at Great
Slave Lake, during the winter of 1824-25; and, early in the spring of
1825, to proceed to Great Bear Lake, and commence the necessary
buildings for the reception of the Expedition. I may here cursorily
remark that, in selecting Great Bear Lake as our winter residence, I was
influenced by the information I had obtained of its being the place
nearest to the mouth of the Mackenzie, known to the traders, where a
sufficient supply of fish could be procured for the support of so large
a party.

Three light boats, which I shall soon more particularly describe, were
also sent out to York Factory, in June 1824, in the annual Hudson's Bay
ship, together with a further supply of stores, two carpenters, and a
party of men, with a view of their reaching Cumberland House, on the
Saskatchawan River, the same season; and starting from thence as soon as
the navigation opened in the following spring, that they might be as far
as possible advanced on their way to Bear Lake before they were
overtaken by the Officers of the Expedition. The latter proceeding by
way of New York and Canada, would have the advantage of an earlier
spring in travelling through the more southern districts; and, further
to expedite their progress, I directed two _large_ canoes (canôts de
maître,) with the necessary equipments and stores, to be deposited at
Penetanguishene, the naval depôt of Lake Huron, in the autumn of 1824,
to await our arrival in the following spring; having been informed
that, in ordinary seasons, we should, by commencing our voyage at that
place, arrive in the north-west country ten days earlier than by the
usual way of proceeding up the Utawas River from Montreal.

The return of the Hudson's Bay ship towards the close of the year 1824,
brought me satisfactory intelligence of the progress of the
above-mentioned parties, together with the most pleasing assurances from
the Gentlemen of the Company to whom I had written, of their zeal in our
cause; and here I must express the deep sense I have of the kindness of
the late Honourable William M'Gillivray, of Montreal, whose experience
enabled him to give me many valuable suggestions relating to the
clothing and subsistence of the party, and to the supplies proper for
the Indians.

In connexion with the above sketch of the preparatory steps taken in the
course of the year 1824, it may be proper to give, in this place, a
short account of the general equipments of the Expedition.

And first, with regard to the vessels intended for the navigation of the
Arctic Sea: birch-bark canoes, uniting lightness and facility of repair
with speed, are certainly well adapted for navigating the rivers of
America, but they are much too slight to bear the concussion of waves in
a rough sea, and they are still less fitted, from the tenderness of the
bark, for coming in contact with ice. I therefore requested of the Lords
Commissioners of the Admiralty that _three_ boats might be constructed
under my superintendence; and they were immediately ordered and promptly
finished under the directions of the Commissioners of the Navy. To fit
them for the ascent and descent of the many rapids between York Factory
and Mackenzie River; and to render their transport over the numerous
portages more easy, it was necessary to have them as small, and of as
light a construction as possible; and, in fact, as much like a north
canoe as was consistent with the stability and capacity required for
their voyage at sea. They were built of mahogany, with timbers of ash,
both ends exactly alike, and fitted to be steered either with a
sweep-oar or a rudder. The largest, twenty-six feet long, and five feet
four inches broad, was adapted for six rowers, a steersman, and an
officer; it could be borne on the shoulders of six men, and was found,
on trial, to be capable of carrying three tons weight in addition to the
crew. The two others were each twenty-four feet long, four feet ten
inches broad, and were capable of receiving a crew of five men, a
steersman, and an officer, with an additional weight of two and a half
tons. The greatest care was paid to their construction by Mr. Cow,
boat-builder of Woolwich Yard; and, as I could not often be present, my
friend Captain Buchan, R.N., kindly undertook to report their progress;
and I am further indebted to him for many valuable suggestions which
were acted upon.

When the boats were finished, they were tried at Woolwich, in the
presence of many naval and military officers, as to their qualities of
sailing, rowing, and paddling, and found to answer fully the
expectations that had been formed of them. At the same time we tried
another little vessel belonging to the Expedition, named the
Walnut-Shell, the invention and construction of which I owe to my friend
Lieutenant-Colonel Pasley, of the Royal Engineers. Its length was nine
feet, its breadth four feet four inches, and it was framed of
well-seasoned ash, fastened with thongs, covered with Mr. Mackintosh's
prepared canvas, and shaped like one valve of a walnut-shell, whence its
appellation. It weighed only eighty-five pounds, could, when taken to
pieces, be made up in five or six parcels, and was capable of being put
together in less than twenty minutes. So secure was this little vessel,
that several ladies, who had honoured the trial of the boats with their
presence, fearlessly embarked in it, and were paddled across the Thames
in a fresh breeze. It was intended to provide against a similar
detention in crossing rivers to that which proved so fatal to our party
on the former journey; and it was also thought, that this little bark
would be found useful in procuring water-fowl on the small lakes, to
which the boats could not be conveyed.

In the choice of astronomical instruments I was necessarily guided by
their portability. Our stock consisted of two small sextants, two
artificial horizons, two altitude instruments, a repeating circle for
lunar observations, and a small transit telescope for ascertaining the
rates of the chronometers. We had a dipping needle mounted on Meyer's
plan, a plain needle very delicately fitted for observing the diurnal
variation; two of Kater's azimuth compasses, and a pocket compass for
each officer. The atmospherical instruments were two electrometers, two
of Daniel's hygrometers, Leslie's photometer and hygrometer, besides a
good supply of mercurial and spirit thermometers of different sizes. The
magnetic instruments were examined in concert with my friend Captain
Sabine, previous to my departure from London; and the observations that
were obtained for dip and intensity, served as points of comparison for
our future results.

The stores consisted of bedding and clothing, including two suits of
waterproof dresses for each person, prepared by Mr. Mackintosh, of
Glasgow; our guns had the same bore with the fowling-pieces, supplied by
the Hudson's Bay Company to the Indian hunters, that is, twenty-eight
balls to the pound; their locks were tempered to withstand the cold of
the winter; and a broad Indian dagger, which could also be used as a
knife, was fitted to them, like a bayonet. Ammunition of the best
quality was provided by the Ordnance, the powder being secured in small
field or boat magazines. A quantity of wheaten-flour, arrow-root,
macaroni, portable-soup, chocolate, essence of coffee, sugar, and tea,
calculated to last two years, was also supplied, made up into packages
of eighty-five pounds, and covered with three layers of prepared
waterproof canvas, of which material coverings for the cargo of each
boat were also made.

There was likewise an ample stock of tobacco, a small quantity of wine
and spirits, marquees and tents for the men and officers, some books,
writing and drawing paper, a considerable quantity of cartridge-paper,
to be used in preserving specimens of plants; nets, twine, fishing-lines
and hooks, together with many articles to be used at winter-quarters,
for the service of the post, and for the supply of our Indian hunters,
such as cloth, blankets, shirts, coloured belts, chiefs' dresses, combs,
looking-glasses, beads, tapes, gartering, knives, guns and daggers,
hatchets, awls, gun-worms, flints, fire-steels, files, whip and
hand-saws, ice-chisels and trenching-irons, the latter to break open the
beaver lodges.

As the mode of travelling through the Hudson's Bay territories, with all
its difficulties and hazards, is now well known to the public, I think
it better to give in this Introductory Chapter a slight outline of our
route through the United States, Upper Canada, and Southern part of the
Fur Countries, and to commence the detailed Narrative of the proceedings
of the Expedition with its arrival in Methye River, where the officers
joined the boats that had been sent out from England in the preceding

On the 16th of February, 1825, I embarked with Lieutenant Back, Dr.
Richardson, Mr. Kendall, Mr. Drummond, and four marines, at Liverpool,
on board the American packet-ship, Columbia, Captain Lee; and, on
quitting the pier, we were honoured by a salute of three animating
cheers, from a crowd of the principal inhabitants, who had assembled to
witness our departure. The passage across the Atlantic was favourable
and pleasant, and our reception at New York kind in the extreme. We
landed at that city on the 15th of March, and our baggage and stores
were instantly passed through the Custom-House without inspection. Cards
of admission to the Public Scientific Institutions were forwarded to us
the same evening, and during our stay every other mark of attention was
shown by the civil and naval authorities, as well as by private
individuals, indicating the lively interest which they took in our

James Buchanan, Esq., the British Consul, in addition to many other
attentions, kindly undertook to accommodate a journey he had to make to
Upper Canada, so as to accompany us through the State of New York. After
a stay of eight days in the city, for the purpose of obtaining the rates
of the chronometers, and for making some other observations with Meyer's
dipping needle, we embarked under the Consul's guidance, in the
steam-boat Olive Branch, and ascended the Hudson River, to Albany, where
we experienced similar civilities to those we had received at New York.
Every body seemed to desire our success, and a fervent prayer for our
preservation and welfare was offered up by the Reverend Dr. Christie,
the minister of the church that we attended. The Honourable De Witt
Clinton, the Governor of the State, assured me, that had we not been
accompanied by a gentleman so conversant in the different routes and
modes of travelling as Mr. Buchanan, he would have sent his son with us,
or would himself have conducted us to the confines of the State.

From Albany, we travelled through Utica, Rochester, and Geneva, to
Leweston, in coaches, with more or less rapidity, according to the
condition of the roads; and, crossing the river Niagara, entered Canada,
and visited the Falls so justly celebrated as the first in the world for
grandeur. We next crossed Lake Ontario in a sailing boat, and came to
York the capital of Upper Canada, where we were kindly received by the
Lieutenant-Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland, and by Colonel Cockburn and
the Commissioners then employed on an inquiry respecting the value of
the Crown Lands. From York we passed on to Lake Simcoe, in carts and
other conveyances, halting for a night at the hospitable house of Mr.
Robinson of Newmarket. We crossed Lake Simcoe in canoes and boats, and
landed near the upper part of Kempenfeldt Bay, but not without being
obliged to break our way through the ice for a short distance. A journey
of nine miles, performed on foot, brought us to the River Nattawassaga,
which we descended in a boat; and passing through a part of Lake Huron,
arrived at Penetanguishene. At this place, we were hospitably
entertained by Lieutenant, now Captain Douglass, during eight days that
we waited for the arrival of our Canadian voyagers from Montreal.

We left Penetanguishene on St. George's day (23d April) in the two large
canoes, which had been deposited at that place in the preceding autumn,
our party, by the accession of the voyagers, now amounted to
thirty-three; and after a few days detention by ice, and bad weather, we
reached Sault de St. Marie on the 1st of May, being ten days or a
fortnight earlier than the oldest resident remembered a canoe from
Canada to have arrived. From the Sault de St. Marie, we coasted the
northern shore of Lake Superior to Fort William, formerly the great
depôt of the N.W. Company, where we arrived on the 10th of May. We now
exchanged our two _canôts de maître_ for four small north canoes, in one
of which, more lightly laden, Dr. Richardson and I embarked, with the
view of proceeding as rapidly as possible to arrange supplies of
provision at the different posts, while Lieutenant Back was left to
bring up the three remaining and more deeply laden canoes.

We proceeded by the route delineated in the maps through Rainy Lake, the
Lake of the Woods, Lake Winipeg, and the Saskatchawan River to
Cumberland House, where we arrived on the 15th of June, and learned that
our boats had left that place on the 2d of the same month. We found also
with deep regret, that Thomas Mathews, the principal carpenter who had
accompanied the boats from England, had had the misfortune to break his
leg the evening before their departure. But, fortunately, an officer of
the Hudson's Bay Company then present, had sufficient skill to set it,
and Dr. Richardson now pronounced that in two months he would be able to
come on in one of the Company's canoes, and join us at Bear Lake, which
he was very desirous of doing. I therefore made arrangements to this
effect, and also concerning supplies for Mr. Drummond the Assistant
Naturalist, who was to be employed, during our stay in the north, in
making collections in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains.

Having remained one night at Cumberland House, we resumed our voyage,
and passing through Pine Island Lake, Beaver Lake, crossing the Frog
Portage, and ascending the English River, with its dilatations, named
Bear Island, Sandfly, Serpent, Primeau, and Isle à la Crosse Lakes, we
came to the post situated on, and named from the latter sheet of water,
at four P.M. on the 25th June. In the course of this voyage, we met the
Gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company proceeding from the interior with
various brigades of canoes, carrying the returns of trade for the year
to York Factory, and I had not only the satisfaction of hearing frequent
news of the progress of our boats, but that the deposits of provisions I
had requested, and the other arrangements I had made, were all
punctually carried into effect. Mr. Spencer, the gentleman in charge at
Isle à la Crosse, informed us, that the boats had gone off a few hours
previous to our arrival, with the addition of a bateau laden with
pemmican, under the charge of Mr. Fraser, a clerk of the Hudson's Bay

I waited at this establishment one night to obtain astronomical
observations, and to bespeak an additional quantity of provisions, &c.,
which being satisfactorily done, we resumed our voyage on the 27th, and,
passing through Deep River, Clear and Buffalo Lakes, overtook the boats
in Methye River, at sunrise on the 29th of June.

Having brought this preliminary sketch up to the date at which the
ensuing Narrative of the proceedings of the Expedition commences, I turn
to the pleasing duty of rendering my best thanks to the many gentlemen
who have assisted me in forwarding its progress. To the Right Honourable
Earl Bathurst, I am greatly indebted for the readiness with which he
attended to every suggestion I had to make regarding the equipment of
the Expedition, and to the Right Honourable Wilmot Horton, the Under
Colonial Secretary, for his kindness and promptitude in facilitating all
my views. Nor can I feel less grateful to Lord Viscount Melville, and to
the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for their patronage and
support, as well as to Sir Byam Martin, the Comptroller, and to the
Commissioners of the Navy and Victualling offices, for the arrangements
depending on their boards. Mr. Pelly, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay
Company, and Mr. Garry, the Deputy-Governor, as well as every Member of
its Committee, claim my most sincere thanks for their unremitting
endeavours to promote the welfare of the Expedition through its whole
progress; and I feel truly obliged to Mr. Simpson, the Governor in the
Fur Countries; to Mr. M'Tavish, Mr. Haldane, Mr. M'Donald, Mr. Leith,
Mr. Stuart, and Messrs. James and George Keith, Chief Factors, who,
acting in the spirit of their instructions, were very assiduous in
collecting provisions and stores for the use of my party, and in
forwarding all our supplies. There were other gentlemen resident in the
more northern parts of the country, to whom I am no less obliged for
advice and assistance; but the brevity requisite in this place
necessarily compels me to refer to the Narrative, where their names,
and the services they rendered, are mentioned.

I cannot, however, close this introductory Chapter, without expressing
the deepest obligation to those kind friends and excellent officers with
whom I had the happiness of being associated, who constantly aided me by
their most cordial co-operation, and whose best efforts were devotedly
applied to every pursuit which could be interesting to science. Nor can
I omit to mention the gratitude I owe to each of the seamen, marines,
British and Canadian voyagers who composed our party at the
winter-quarters, for their steady obedience and truly good conduct,
whether in the days of relaxation during the winter, or in the more
arduous exertions of our summer occupations.


_Downing-street, 31st Jan. 1825._


His Majesty's Government having decided that an Expedition should be set
forth, for the purpose of exploring the Northern Coast of America,
between the Mouth of Mackenzie's River, and the Strait of Behring; and
confiding in your zeal and experience for the due execution of this
service, I have recommended you as a proper person to be charged with
the same. You are, therefore, to proceed with your party (a list of whom
is annexed) by the Packet from Liverpool to New York, and from thence
make the best of your way to Lake Huron, where the stores necessary for
your journey have already been sent. Embarking in Canoes, you are from
thence to follow the water communication to the western side of the
Great Bear Lake, where you are to establish your winter-quarters; and
having so done, your first care should be to endeavour to open a
friendly communication with the Esquimaux.

Early in the Spring of 1826, you are to proceed down the Mackenzie River
with all the necessary stores and provisions, in order to be prepared to
take advantage of the first opening of the ice on the Polar Sea, so as
to enable you to prosecute your voyage along the coast to Icy Cape,
round which you are to proceed to Kotzebue's Inlet, where you may expect
to find His Majesty's Ship Blossom, which the Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty will order to proceed to that rendezvous, in the Summer of
1826. But if, on your arrival at Icy Cape, or the northern point of
Behring's Strait, you should be of opinion that you could, with safety,
return the same season to the established winter-quarters, you are at
liberty to do so, instead of proceeding to join the Blossom. You will,
therefore, without loss of time, settle with Captain Beechey, her
commander, such a plan as may appear to you, both, best adapted for
ensuring your meeting together, and establish a code of signals, or
devise such other means as may tend to give you information, if
possible, previous to your reaching the longitude of Icy Cape.

On your arrival at the mouth of Mackenzie River, you are to despatch Dr.
Richardson with Mr. Kendall and five or six men, in one of the boats, to
examine the intermediate coast between the Mackenzie and Coppermine
Rivers; but if you should find that the stores and provisions you have
been able to accumulate are not sufficient for your own and Dr.
Richardson's party, you are, in that case, to direct Dr. Richardson to
employ himself and party on shore, in examining the country contiguous
to the Mackenzie River, the Rocky Mountains, the shores of the Great
Bear Lake, the Copper Mountains, and as far round as he can with safety,
collecting specimens of the animals, plants, and minerals, and also
laying in a stock of provisions sufficient for both parties, if, by any
unforeseen accident, you should find yourself compelled to return
without reaching the Blossom.

If, in proceeding westerly towards Icy Cape, you should make but slow
progress, and find yourself impeded by ice or land jutting out to the
northward farther than is calculated upon, or from accidents to the
boats, or any other unforeseen circumstance, so that it remains doubtful
whether you will be able to reach the neighbourhood of Kotzebue's Inlet
the same season, you are not to consider yourself authorized to risk
yourself and party to the chance of being obliged to winter on the
coast, but commence your return about the 15th or 20th of August to the
established winter-quarters on Bear Lake, unless you should be satisfied
that yourself and party could pass the winter with safety among the
Esquimaux, and that there was afforded a certainty of your reaching
Behring's Strait the following Season, when the Blossom will again
proceed to the appointed rendezvous.

In the event of your reaching Kotzebue's Inlet, the first season,
Captain Beechey will be instructed to convey you and your party in the
Blossom to the Sandwich Islands or Canton, as may seem most advisable to
you, from whence you will be able to take a passage to England in one of
the Company's Ships or Private Traders; and you will leave such
instructions with Dr. Richardson for his guidance, in the event of your
being able to accomplish this point, as you may deem fit and proper for
his return to England.

In the event of your death, or any accident which may prevent your
proceeding, the command of the Expedition must necessarily devolve on
Lieutenant Back, who is to follow these Instructions; but he is not to
alter any arrangement with regard to Dr. Richardson's proceedings which
you may have settled for him to pursue, the principal object of Dr.
Richardson's accompanying you, being that of completing, as far as can
be done, our knowledge of the Natural History of North America.
Lieutenant Back will, therefore, in the event above-mentioned, act in
concert with Dr. Richardson, but not direct him and his party from any
plan of operations which he and you may previously have settled.

You will take care to inform me from time to time, as opportunities may
occur, of your proceedings, and the progress made in the Expedition,
with the direction of which you are hereby entrusted.

  I have the honour to be,
      Your most obedient Servant,

 _To Captain Franklin, R.N.,
 &c. &c. &c._



Join the boats in the Methye River--Cross the Long Portage--Arrival to
Fort Chipewyan--Departure from thence with the whole party for Mackenzie
River--Arrangements at Fort Norman--Descent to the Sea--Return to the
Winter Quarters at Great Bear Lake.

The boats of the Expedition had advanced from Hudson's Bay into the
interior, twelve hundred miles, before they were joined by the officers;
whilst the latter, from taking a more circuitous route by New York and
Canada, as shown in the introductory chapter, travelled two thousand and
eight hundred miles, to reach the same point.

[Sidenote: June 29.] This junction took place early in the morning of
the 29th of June, 1825, in the Methye River, latitude 56 degrees 10
minutes N., longitude 108 degrees 55 minutes W., which is almost at the
head of the waters that flow from the north into Hudson's Bay.

In no part of the journey was the presence of the officers more
requisite to animate and encourage the crews, because the river itself,
beside being obstructed by three impassable rapids, is usually so
shallow, through its whole course of forty miles, as scarcely to admit
of a flat-bottomed bateau floating with half its cargo, much less our
boats, which drew, when loaded, from eighteen to twenty inches. This
river and its impediments being surmounted, the Methye Portage, ten
miles and three quarters long, was at no great distance, which is always
held up to the inexperienced voyager as the most laborious part of the
journey. But whatever apprehensions the men might have entertained on
this subject, seemed to vanish on our landing amongst them; and Dr.
Richardson and myself were received by all with cheerful, delighted
countenances, and by none more warmly than by our excellent friend and
former interpreter Augustus the Esquimaux, and Ooligbuck, whom he had
brought from Churchill, as his companion. A breakfast was quickly
prepared by Mr. Fraser, a clerk of the Hudson's Bay Company, under whose
charge the boats had been, since their departure from Cumberland House;
and I then inspected the boats and stores, which I was rejoiced to find
were in good order. We had brought letters from the relatives of several
of the party, and another hour was allowed to read them.

At ten A.M. we began to ascend the stream, but very soon found that it
was necessary for the whole party to walk in the water, and drag the
boats through the mud. Nor could we long advance even by this mode, but
were compelled either to carry some of the cargo along the shore, where
walking was at all practicable, or else to take half the lading in a
boat to a part where the river was deeper, and then return for the
remainder. From thus travelling the distance twice over, it was the
fifth day before we reached the lake from whence its waters flow.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 30.] On the evening of the 30th of June, we
witnessed one of those violent but momentary gusts of wind which occur
not unfrequently in the spring and autumn, and which prove so
destructive to the forests in this country. It was preceded by calm and
very sultry weather, with loud thunder and vivid lightning. In an
instant the tents were overthrown, and even very large trees were bent
by its force into a horizontal position; indeed, for a few seconds, the
scene around us appeared one of almost entire devastation. When the
violence of the squall was past, we had great reason to be pleased at
its occurrence, for the strong steady breeze and heavy rain that
succeeded, carried away the myriads of musquitoes by which we had been
tormented the whole day.

[Sidenote: Monday, 4.] Having crossed the Methye Lake, we arrived at the
portage of that name. Here it was necessary to make an equal division of
the cargoes, and to devise means for the conveyance of the boats. The
packages amounted to one hundred and sixteen, weighing from seventy to
ninety pounds each, exclusive of the three boats and the men's personal
luggage; and there were nineteen men of the boats' crews, two
Canadians, and two boys, to carry these burdens. At first the packages
were equally distributed among this party; but several of the men, who
had been reduced by their previous exertions, became lame: among these
were the Esquimaux, and we were, therefore, compelled to make other
arrangements, and ultimately to employ the crew of my canoe, though the
great fatigue they had suffered in our rapid journey from
Penetanguishene, made me desirous of sparing them for the present.

The boats were the heaviest and most difficult articles to transport.
One of the small boats was carried on the shoulders of eight men, of
whom Mr. Fraser undertook to be one, as an example to the rest. Another
of the same size was dragged by another eight men; and the largest was
conveyed on a truck made for the purpose on the spot, to which service
the lame were attached.

Each day's journey, and also the intermediate stages, were determined by
the places where water could be procured, and our mode of travelling was
as follows:--Rising at three A.M., the men carried a part of their
burden to the first stage, and continued to go backwards and forwards
till the whole was deposited. They then slept for a few hours, and in
the cool of the evening the boats were brought up. [Sidenote: Monday,
11th.] By these means every thing was ready at the western end of the
portage early on Monday, the 11th of July. The slight injuries which the
boats had received, principally from exposure to the sun, were soon
repaired; they were put into the water to tighten, and the whole party
were allowed to rest.

With reference to the Methye Portage I may remark, that, except the
steep hill at its western extremity, the road is good and tolerably
level, and it appeared to us that much fatigue and suffering might have
been spared by using trucks. Accordingly two were made by our carpenters
at Fort Chipewyan, in 1827, for the return of the Expedition, and they
answered extremely well. I mention this circumstance, in the hope that
some such expedient will be adopted by the Traders for the relief of
their voyagers, who have twice in every year to pass over this ridge of

[Sidenote: Tuesday 12th.] Being now in a fair way to reach the Athabasca
Lake, Dr. Richardson and I embarked, on the 12th, in the canoe, to
proceed to Fort Chipewyan, for the purpose of preparing the gentleman in
charge for the reception of the party.

By noon we got over the four Portages on Clear-Water river, and
descended, with some trouble, the series of rapids that follow them.
Once below these, the passage to the lake is generally considered as
free from fatigue; but we did not find it so, for, owing to the
shallowness of the water, the men had to get out and drag the canoe in
several places. The difference between the depth of water now and in
other years at the same period, was attributed to the snow having fallen
in the preceding autumn before the frost was sufficiently intense to
harden the ground, and, consequently, much of the moisture had
penetrated the earth, which, under other circumstances, would have
remained in a frozen state, for the supply of the river at the spring

In the course of the night we were under much alarm for one of our men,
who having incautiously lain down to sleep under a wet sail, while the
rain was pouring heavily, was seized with a cramp in the stomach, and
violent pain in the head. Having been brought into the tent and covered
with blankets, he became better before morning, but not sufficiently
strong to allow of our setting off at the usual hour. [Sidenote:
Wednesday, 13th.] We entered the Elk, or Athabasca River, at three P.M.,
on the 13th, and were carried swiftly down by its current to the
Hudson's Bay Company's post named Berens House, where we stayed the
night. Here we received a supply of dried meat. [Sidenote: Friday,
15th.] We safely arrived in the Athabasca Lake on the 15th, by the
channel of the "Rivière des Eaux remuées;" but in the subsequent
traverse between Bustard Island and Fort Chipewyan the canoe was in
danger of foundering in a sudden gale. Two large waves broke with full
force into it, and obliged us to bear away and steer for the nearest
shore; but the men having soon rested, and being now sheltered by
islands, we pushed on to Fort Chipewyan. Our arrival there caused great
surprise to its inmates, when they learned that we had come from England
to that advanced post so early in the season, being only two days later
than the time at which Dr. Richardson and Mr. Hood had arrived in 1819,
though they passed the winter at Cumberland House.

The stores at Fort Chipewyan being well furnished with warm clothing,
and other articles, which we required for the use of the men and Indians
at winter-quarters, I availed myself of the permission which the chief
factor of this department, Mr. James Keith, had given me to complete our
stock of cloth, blankets, nets, and twine, to a quantity sufficient for
two years' consumption. A supply of twine was indispensable, because,
by a letter from Mr. Dease, I had learned that the meshes of the nets
made in England, of the size generally required for fishing throughout
this country, were too large for the smaller fish that frequent that
part of Bear Lake where our house was to be constructed. Mr. Campbell,
the clerk in charge, cheerfully gave me the benefit of his experience in
making out lists of such things as we were likely to want, and in
assorting and packing them.

[Sidenote: Monday, 18th.] The boats rejoined on the 18th, and the crews
were allowed the following day to recruit themselves. A party of Indians
came very opportunely with fresh meat, which is always an agreeable
change to the voyager, who has generally to live on dried provision. The
Indians, as well as the women and children of the fort, spent the
greater part of the day by the side of our boats, admiring their whole
equipment, but more especially the gay figures painted on them. Many of
these were different from any animals or representations they had seen,
and, judging from the bursts of laughter, some curious remarks were made
on them.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 20th.] It being necessary that I should await the
arrival of Lieutenant Back's canoes, Dr. Richardson undertook to proceed
with the boats towards Slave Lake. Their lading was now increased by the
bales already mentioned, as well as by several bags of pemmican, which
Mr. Keith had stored up for our use. The crews, however, were reduced by
the discharge of three Englishmen, at their own desire, who thought
themselves unequal to the fatigue of the service.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 23d.] I had the happiness, on the 23rd, of
welcoming my friends, Lieutenant Back and Mr. Kendall, on their arrival
with three canoes. Their journey from Fort William had been expeditious,
notwithstanding the detention of eighteen days, by bad weather, on the
road. A serious misfortune had happened at the very outset of the
journey, through the unskilfulness of one of the bowmen, in allowing his
canoe to turn round and get before the current, while attempting to
ascend the Barrier Rapid, by which it was driven against a stone with
such force, as to be overset and broken. The stores were fortunately
saved, though completely drenched; but many of the delicate
atmospherical instruments were broken. Mr. Kendall was despatched to
Fort William for another canoe while the things were drying.

On a subsequent occasion, in the Winipeg River, the same man placed his
canoe in such a situation, as to endanger its being hurried down a steep
fall, and had it not been for the coolness of a man, named Lavallé, who
jumped into the water and held the canoe, while the rest of the crew
arranged themselves so as to drag it into a place of safety, every life
must have been sacrificed. The success, indeed the safety of this kind
of river navigation, among currents and rapids, depends on the skill of
the bowman; and after these proofs of his incapacity, Lieutenant Back
very properly engaged a substitute at the first fort to which he came.

At another time, in the Sturgeon-weir River, the canoe in which Mr.
Kendall was embarked, having been accidentally driven before the
current, she was only saved from destruction by his own powerful
exertion and activity.

These short details will convey an idea of the anxiety and trouble these
officers experienced in their journey to Chipewyan.

The party and the stores having now passed the more difficult part of
the road, I discharged as many of the Canadians as could be spared, and
furnished them with a canoe to take them home. Some went to Montreal;
and they were the first persons who had ever gone from that place to
Chipewyan, and returned in the same season.

[Sidenote: Monday, 25th.] The greater part of the 25th was employed in
obtaining astronomical observations, the results of which, we were
delighted to find, placed Fort Chipewyan within a few seconds of
longitude of the position in which it had been laid down on the former
Expedition. Our present azimuth compasses showed an increase in
variation, since 1820, of 2 degrees 16 minutes E. The dip was observed
81 degrees 26 minutes 47 seconds.

Fort Chipewyan was this summer visited, for the first time, by a large
flight of swallows, resembling the house-martins of England. They came
in a body on the 25th of June, and immediately began to construct their
earthy nests under the ledge of the south-front of the house. Some barn
or forked-tail swallows also arrived on the 15th of June, and took
possession of the store-houses and garrets, as they had in former years
done. Some of the young of the last-mentioned birds were sporting on the
tops of the houses as early as the 17th of July.

At sunset we embarked in four canoes, one having been procured here. The
descent to Slave Lake occupied four days, and was unattended with any
circumstance deserving mention, except that two of the canoes were
broken in consequence of the guide mistaking the proper channel in a
rapid; fortunately, these bark vessels are soon repaired, and we had
only to regret the delay the accident occasioned.

We halted at the Salt River to take in salt, as we found, by a note left
here, Dr. Richardson had done. The geese were moulting at this time, and
unable to fly; they afforded us much sport in their chase, and an
excellent supper every night.

A body of Indians were waiting near the entrance of the lake to welcome
our arrival; they were so numerous, that we were forced to omit our
general custom of giving a small present to each native, and thus
incurred the charge of stinginess, which the loud vociferations they
raised on our setting sail, were probably meant to convey.

[Sidenote: Friday, 29th.] At six, on the evening of the 29th, we reached
Fort Resolution, the only establishment now at Slave Lake, and we felt
happy in being once more under the roof of our hospitable friend, Mr.
Robert M'Vicar, to whom I am much indebted for the excellent order in
which he had brought up our supplies from Canada in the preceding year.
Dr. Richardson, after a halt of two days, had gone forward with the

All the portages on the road to Bear Lake being now passed, the
Canadians made a request, that we would allow them to commemorate the
event by a dance. It met with a ready compliance; and though they had
been paddling for thirty-six out of the thirty-nine preceding hours,
they kept up their favourite amusement until daylight, to the music of
bagpipes, relieved occasionally by the Jews' harp.

We rejoiced to find at this post our worthy old Copper-Indian friends,
Keskarrah and Humpy, the brother of Akaitcho, who had been waiting two
months for the express purpose of seeing us. These excellent men showed
that their gratification equalled ours, by repeatedly seizing our hands
and pressing them against their hearts, and exclaiming, "How much we
regret that we cannot tell what we feel for you here!" Akaitcho had left
the fort about two months on a hunting excursion, hoping to return, with
plenty of provision for our use, by the middle of August, which was as
early as he thought we should arrive. Keskarrah confirmed the melancholy
report we had heard in the more southern districts, that most of the
hunters who had been in our service at Fort Enterprise, had been
treacherously murdered, with many others of the tribe, by the Dog-Ribs,
with which nation we also learned the Copper-Indians had been at war,
since the year of our departure from them, till the last spring. The
peace had been effected through the mediation of Messrs. Dease and
M'Vicar, and we were gratified to find that Akaitcho and his tribe had
been principally induced to make this reconciliation, by a desire that
no impediment might be placed in the way of our present expedition. "We
have too much esteem," said Akaitcho, "for our father, and for the
service in which he is about to be again engaged, to impede its success
by our wars, and, therefore, they shall cease;" and on being asked by
Mr. Dease whether he and some of his young men would go to hunt for the
party at our winter quarters, he replied, "Our hearts will be with them,
but we will not go to those parts where the bones of our murdered
brethren lie, for fear our bad passions should be aroused at the sight
of their graves, and that we should be tempted to renew the war by the
recollection of the manner of their death. Let the Dog-Ribs who live in
the neighbourhood of Bear Lake furnish them with meat, though they are
our enemies." Such sentiments would do honour to any state of
civilization, and show that the most refined feelings may animate the
most untutored people. Happily we were now so circumstanced as to be
able to reward the friendship of these good men by allotting from our
stores a liberal present to the principal persons. On the delivery of
the articles to Keskarrah and Humpy, I desired them to communicate to
Akaitcho, and the whole tribe, the necessity of their strictly adhering
to the terms of peace, and assured them that I should not fail to urge
the same obligations on the Dog-Ribs. A silver royal medal, such as is
given to the Indian chiefs in Upper Canada, was likewise left with Mr.
M'Vicar, to be presented to Akaitcho, as a further mark of our regard
for his former services and present good wishes.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 31st.] The party was detained at Fort Resolution
until this morning by a strong south-west gale; and even when we
embarked, the wind and waves were still high, but time was too precious
to allow of our waiting when there was a prospect of making any advance.
As our future course inclined to the westward, we now quitted the track
of the former journey to Fort Enterprise, along which we had been
travelling from Lake Winipeg. We first steered for the Buffalo River,
and then along the south shore of Slave Lake, obtained the latitude 61
degrees 1 minute N. at noon, and afterwards the longitude 114 degrees
18-1/2 minutes W. at the Isle of the Dead. The islands and shores of
this part of the lake are composed of horizontal beds of limestone,
containing pitch and shells.

A small party of Chipewyan Indians, with their principal chief, joined
us at the encampment, from whom we learned that they had supplied Dr.
Richardson with dried meat the preceding noon, at Hay River. The Chief
was very importunate for rum, but I steadily adhered to the
determination I had formed this time, on my entering the Fur Country, of
not giving spirits to any Indian. A share of our supper and tea, and
some tobacco, were offered to him, and accepted, though with a bad
grace. The Fur Company ceased the following season to bring any rum to
this quarter, and I learned that this man was one of the few natives who
were highly displeased at this judicious change.

[Sidenote: Monday, 1st.] We coasted this day along the low shore of the
lake, steering from point to point to avoid the sinuosities of several
deep bays, and passed the mouth of the Sandy and Hay Rivers, whose
positions we settled by astronomical observations.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 2nd.] On the 2nd we came to the narrow part between
the Big Island of Mackenzie, and the main shore, and perceived that a
gentle current was setting towards the Mackenzie river. The water in
this strait is very shallow, and also in many places near the south
shore, though we know, from trial, on the former Expedition, that the
depth of the east end of the lake, at a distance from the land, exceeds
sixty and seventy fathoms. The beach, both of the north and south shores
of the strait, is strewed with drift timber. In clear weather the north
shore is visible from the point of the south shore nearest Big Island.

Below this _detroit_ the shores recede so as to form a small shallow
lake, about twenty-four miles long, by from four to twelve miles broad,
near the north-west end of which we encamped, in latitude 61 degrees 15
minutes N., longitude 117 degrees 6 minutes W. This spot may be
considered as the commencement of Mackenzie River. The ground is very
swampy, and nourishes willows only; but inland, at a short distance from
the beach, grow plenty of the spruce-fir, poplar, aspen, and birch
trees; and among the underwood, numerous shrubs and berry-bearing

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 3rd.] On the 3rd we travelled to another
contraction of the river about one mile broad, through which the current
sets between high banks with such force as to form strong eddies. There
are likewise in this part many sandy islands, and through the channels
between them the current rushed with no less rapidity than in that we
descended. For distinction's sake, these islands have been named the
"Isles of the Rapid:" below them occurs another expansion, which is
called by the voyagers "The Little Lake;" and Sandy Point at its
north-west end, is considered by them as the commencement of the
Mackenzie River.

When abreast of this point, a favouring breeze enabled us to use the
sail as well as the paddles, and with the assistance of the current
great progress was made. We had occasional glimpses of the Horn and
Rein-Deer Mountains as we passed along; but, until we were some way
below the rapids, our view was very limited, owing to the woods being on
fire in almost every direction. This I should have mentioned to have
been the case in many parts between Isle à la Crosse and the Mackenzie.
The cause of these extensive conflagrations I could not learn; some
attributed them to voluntary acts of the Indians, and others to their
negligence in leaving their fires burning.

We put up at sunset on a beach of gravel under a well-wooded bank of
moderate height, and the party regaled themselves with raspberries and
other indigenous fruits.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 4th.] At half past two A.M., on the 4th, the canoes
were again on the water, and being driven by sail and current, made good
way. We stopped at the Trout River, which flows in from the southward,
and ascertained its longitude 119 degrees 47 minutes W. The breadth of
the Mackenzie is here about two miles, and its banks are composed of a
muddy clay: the stones on the beach mostly limestone, with some boulders
of primitive rocks. The trees are of the kinds we had seen north of the
Athabasca Lake: they are here of a smaller size. Five miles below this
part, the Mackenzie is divided into several channels by islands, and the
current runs with increased swiftness, and strong eddies.

The latitude 61 degrees 26 minutes 30 seconds N. was obtained at noon;
it was the same as on the preceding day; so that our course, in the
interval, had been due west.

The banks now were higher, and for the next forty miles the breadth of
the stream did not exceed one mile, nor was less than half a mile; its
course inclined more to the north. We passed the site of the first
establishment that the North-West Company had made in these parts, which
was erected by Mr. Livingstone, one of the partners, who, with the whole
of the crew of his canoe, except one individual, were massacred by the
Esquimaux on the first attempt to open a trade with them.

At three P.M. a picturesque view opened upon us of a distant range of
mountains running east and west, and nearly at right angles to the
course of the river. The current being considerably increased by the
contribution of some streams near this place, we descended very swiftly.
Six miles below Pine Island, there is a strong but not a dangerous
rapid; and about fifteen miles farther is Fort Simpson, the principal
depôt of the Hudson Bay Company for this department, at which we arrived
by eight P.M., and thus escaped a very wet, comfortless night. Dr.
Richardson had departed for Fort Norman the preceding day.

This establishment, three hundred and thirty-eight miles from Fort
Resolution on Slave Lake, is situated at the confluence of the River of
the Mountains and the Mackenzie. The former is the channel of
communication with a fur post not far distant from the Rocky Mountain
Range, from whence the residents here procure much of their provision,
including a tolerable supply of potatoes, which have been recently
introduced from the southern parts. Mr. Smith, the chief factor of the
district, was fortunately at Fort Simpson, so that I had the opportunity
of arranging with him as to supplies of provision or stores that my
party might require during its residence at Bear Lake. He cheerfully
acceded to every suggestion that was made, and likewise furnished me
with a letter of instruction to the same effect, addressed to the
gentleman in charge of the lower posts.

I learned from Mr. Smith that, as yet, a few only of the Indians who
live nearest the mouth of the river, and none of the Esquimaux, had been
apprized of our intended visit, the traders at the lower posts having
considered that it would be better to defer this communication until we
should arrive in the river, for fear of disappointing these people,
which might have been attended with unpleasant results.

There were two Canadians here belonging to the Expedition, whom Mr.
Dease had sent to serve as guides to Bear Lake. By letters which they
brought, I was informed that Indian hunters were engaged, and the
necessary buildings in course of preparation for our reception. As Fort
Simpson had been short of ammunition during the summer from some
accidental cause, I was glad to find that Mr. Dease had been enabled to
lend from our stores a barrel of powder, and a bag of balls and I now
increased the loan, so as to meet the probable demands of the Indians,
until the Company's supplies should arrive, when they would return to
Fort Norman the whole of what we had lent. Cloudy weather limited our
astronomical observations at this place to the dip of the needle, which
was observed 81 degrees 54 minutes.

[Sidenote: Friday, 5th.] We quitted the fort on the 5th, soon after noon,
whence the river preserving nearly a straight course for fifteen miles,
gradually extends itself to nearly two miles in breadth; in its channel
there are three islands. At two P.M. we obtained the first glimpse of
the Rocky Mountains, and kept them in view until we encamped, which was
early, as the canoes required gumming. The outline of the mountains was
very peaked, and at their easternmost part was a cone-shaped hill,
higher than the rest, whose summit was veiled by clouds. The general
appearance of the range somewhat reminded me of the east end of Jamaica.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 6th.] The morning of the 6th was beautifully fine:
we embarked at 2h 30m A.M., and by seven came within six or seven miles
of the mountain range, where the river suddenly changes its course from
W.b.N. to north, in longitude 123 degrees 31 minutes W.

A distinct stratification was perceptible on the face of the nearest
mountain: on one side of a nearly perpendicular ravine the strata dip to
the southward at an angle of 25 degrees; whilst on the other they are
nearly horizontal. There was a large accumulation of debris at its base:
every part of the hill was destitute of vegetation. Its altitude was
guessed at one thousand two hundred feet.

At noon, in latitude 62 degrees 49 minutes N., we saw a chain of
mountains, on the eastern side of the river, similar in their outline
and general character to those hitherto seen only on the opposite bank.
Between these ranges the river flowed in a channel two miles broad; but
as we advanced we receded from those on the western side, their
direction being W.N.W. In the brilliancy of the sunshine, the surfaces
of some of the eastern hills, which were entirely bare, appeared white
as marble, and for some time we fancied them to be covered with snow. By
four P.M. we reached the Rocky Island mentioned by Mackenzie, where,
from the river being contracted, the current flowed with great rapidity,
and soon brought us opposite to the remarkable hill close by the river
side, which that persevering traveller ascended in July, 1789. His
account renders a description of it unnecessary. It is composed of
limestone, and is about four hundred feet high.

We continued a N.b.W. course for eight miles, and encamped at sunset,
having travelled this day one hundred and twenty miles. A small supply
of fresh deer's meat was obtained from some Dog-Rib Indians. Their
canoes were made of the bark of the pine-tree, sewn at the ends and top
with the fibrous parts of the root of that tree, leaving only a space
sufficient for the legs of the sitter.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 7th.] We pursued our course at dawn of day, and at
the end of a few miles came to a more winding part of the river, where
the stream is interrupted by numerous sand banks and shoals which we had
some trouble to get round. Mr. Kendall, in his Journal, remarks of this
part, "That bubbles of air continually rose to the surface with a
hissing noise resembling the effervescence produced by pouring water on
quick lime."

We arrived at Fort Norman at ten, A.M., distant two hundred and
thirty-six miles from Fort Simpson, and five hundred and seventy-four
from Fort Resolution.

Being now only four days' journey from Bear Lake, and there remaining
yet five or six weeks of open season, I resolved on following up a plan
of a voyage to the sea, which I had cherished ever since leaving
England, without imparting it to my companions, until our departure from
Fort Chipewyan, because I was apprehensive that some unforeseen accident
might occur in the course of the very intricate and dangerous river
navigation between Fort William and the Athabasca Lake, which might
delay our arrival here to too late a period of the year. It was
arranged, _first_, that I should go down to the sea, accompanied by Mr.
Kendall, and collect whatever information could be obtained, either from
actual observation, or from the intelligence of the Loucheux Indians, or
the Esquimaux, respecting the general state of the ice in the summer and
autumn; the direction of the coast, east and west of the Mackenzie; and
whether we might calculate upon any supply of provision. _Secondly_, Dr.
Richardson, on his own suggestion was to proceed in a boat along the
northern shore of Bear Lake, to the part where it approached nearest to
the Coppermine River, and there fix upon a spot to which he might bring
the party the following year, on its return from the mouth of that
river. And, _thirdly_, that these undertakings might not interfere with
the important operations necessary for the comfortable residence and
subsistence of the Expedition during the following winter, Lieutenant
Back was to superintend them during my absence, with the assistance of
Mr. Dease, chief trader of the Hudson Bay Company, whose suggestions,
relative to the proper distribution of the Indian hunters, and the
station of the fishermen, he was to follow. Accordingly, Dr. Richardson,
on his quitting this place two days previous to our arrival, had left
the largest of the boats, the Lion, for my use and a well-selected crew
of six Englishmen, and Augustus the Esquimaux.

Lieutenant Back was directed to take the canoes forward to Bear Lake,
laden with such supplies as would be required for the winter, and was
further instructed to furnish Dr. Richardson with one of the boats, and
a good crew. The services of the Canadians who had brought the canoes
from Penetanguishene, being no longer required, I desired Lieutenant
Back to discharge them, and also all the voyagers of Mr. Dease's party
who could be spared. They were sent in canoes to Slave Lake, where I had
arranged with Mr. M'Vicar for their being supplied with the means of
gaining subsistence by fishing, during the winter; and the following
spring, they were to be forwarded to Canada, at the expense of
Government, according to the terms of their agreement.

Fort Norman being situated in our way to the sea, the pemmican and other
stores, intended for the voyage along the coast next season, were
deposited here, by permission of Mr. Smith, under the care of Mr.
Brisbois, the clerk in charge. Our observations place this establishment
in latitude 64 degrees 40 minutes 30 seconds N., and longitude 124
degrees 53 minutes 22 seconds W.

[Sidenote: Monday, 8th.] The above matters being satisfactorily settled,
and a few articles packed up as presents to the Indians and Esquimaux,
Mr. Kendall and I embarked on the 8th, at noon, taking, in addition to
our crew, a voyager, who was reported to be able to guide us through the
proper channels to Fort Good Hope, of which, however, we found him
altogether ignorant. We were accompanied by Lieutenant Back, with the
three canoes, each manned by five men. The crews of the canoes imagining
they could easily pass our English boat, were much surprised, on putting
it to the proof, to find the boat take and maintain the lead, both under
sail and with oars.

A few miles above the Bear Lake River, and near its mouth, the banks of
the Mackenzie contain much wood coal, which was on fire at the time we
passed, as it had been observed to be by Mackenzie in his voyage to the
sea. Its smell was very disagreeable. On a subsequent trial of this coal
at our winter quarters, we found that it emitted little heat, and was
unfit for the blacksmith's use. The banks likewise contain layers of a
kind of unctuous mud, similar, perhaps, to that found on the borders of
the Orinoco, which the Indians, in this neighbourhood, use occasionally
as food during seasons of famine, and even, at other times, chew as an
amusement. It has a milky taste, and the flavour is not disagreeable. We
used it for whitening the walls of our dwellings; for which purpose it
is well adapted.

The entrance of the Bear Lake River is distinguished by a very
remarkable mountain, whose summit displays a variety of insulated peaks,
crowded in the most irregular manner. It is composed of limestone; and
from the lower cliffs, which front the river, a dark, bituminous liquid
oozes and discolours the rock. There are likewise two streams of
sulphureous water that flow from its base into the Mackenzie. At this
place we parted from our friend, Lieutenant Back, who entered the clear
and beautiful stream that flows from Bear Lake, of whose pure waters we
had also the benefit, till they were overpowered by the muddy current of
the Mackenzie. The day was fine, the wind fair, the current swift, and
every circumstance concurred to put the party in high glee. There was
little in the scenery to attract our attention, now that we had become
familiar with the general appearance of the Mackenzie, and we passed
island after island, of the same alluvial mud, without further regard
than the delineation of them in the survey book. At length, however, a
most picturesque view of the Rocky Mountain range opened before us, and
excited general admiration, and we had also some portions of the
mountain range on the eastern side of the river, in view for the
remainder of the day's journey. The outline of these mountains is very
irregular, the highest parts being peaked hills. The general direction
of the ranges is between N.W. and N.W.b.W.

Being unwilling to lose the advantage of the wind, we only put ashore to
sup, and after two hours' delay, resumed our voyage under easy sail.
[Sidenote: Tuesday, 9th.] When the sun rose, the oars were used; and
then, as the current set at the rate of two miles and a half per hour,
the boat travelled swiftly down the stream. The eastern bank of the
river, along which we were passing, is about one hundred and twenty feet
high, almost perpendicular, and is composed of thin strata of bituminous
shale. Amongst the fragments of shale which strewed the beach, we found
many pieces of brown wood-coal. A reach, eighteen miles in length,
followed. It is bounded on both sides by high cliffs of sand-stone. We
landed to breakfast, and to obtain the longitude, 128 degrees 23 minutes

From the reach here described, are seen two hills, named by me the East
and West Mountains of the rapid, which seem to present a barrier to the
further progress of the stream; but the river, bending suddenly between
them to the north, dilates into a kind of basin, and, by so doing, opens
by far the most interesting view of the Rocky Mountains which the
Mackenzie affords. The river, too, makes its nearest approach to those
mountains at this spot, and probably, the easiest communication with
them would be by ascending a small stream that flows in here on the
western side. Here too are found the first rapids mentioned by
Mackenzie, which continue in succession for two miles, when the water is
low. The centre of the basin is occupied by low sandy islands; and the
channel on the western side is the deepest. The beauty of this scene
furnished employment for the able pencil of Lieutenant Back, on a
subsequent occasion. As the Mackenzie, in its further descent, continues
to hold a northerly course, and the range of mountains runs N.W.b.N., we
did not obtain any other view of them till we approached the sea.

At one P.M. we saw a party of Indians encamped on the beach of a small
stream, whom we invited to come off to us. They hesitated at first,
being doubtful who we were, from our boat being different in shape from
any they had seen, and carrying two sails; but after some time they
launched their canoes, and brought us a good supply of fresh deer's
meat. The sight of our boats seemed to delight them as much as the
ammunition and tobacco which they received. These were Hare Indians, the
tribe that follows next to the Dog-Ribs, in the line of country below
Bear Lake; and, like them, they speak a dialect of the Chipewyan
language. We admired the shape and appearance of their canoes, which
were larger than those used by the Chipewyans, and had the fore part
covered with bark, to fit them for the navigation of this broad river,
where the waves are often high.

The river varied from two to four miles in breadth, and its course was
interrupted by several small islands and sand-banks. At six P.M. we came
to an open space, bounded by lofty walls of sandstone. In this expansion
are found the second rapids of Mackenzie: at the first appearance they
seem dangerous, but are not so. The river becomes again contracted, and
rushes with great force for the space of seven miles through a kind of
defile, varying in breadth from four hundred to eight hundred yards,
which has been appropriately named "The Ramparts," by the traders. The
walls of this defile are from eighty to one hundred and fifty feet high,
and are composed of limestone, containing numerous shells: for a part of
the way the stone is very white, and in the rest it is blue. Several
streams of water were running over the summits of the cliffs, which had
worn the stone in some places, into a turreted shape; while the heaps,
overthrown by its action at their base, resemble mounds for defence. To
these appearances were occasionally added cavernous openings, and other
hollow parts, not unlike the arched windows or gateways of a castellated
building. I could not help fancying what delight a visit to this spot
would afford to any person of a romantic turn, especially at the time we
first saw it, when the broad shadows of a declining sun gave effect to
the picture. This is a place of resort for the Hare Indians to fish, and
we were visited by a large party of men and women of that tribe, who
brought fish, berries, and meat. They were all neatly clothed in new
leathern dresses, highly ornamented with beads and porcupine quills. The
paintings of animals on the sides of our boats were very attractive to
them; they scanned every figure over and over, bursting into laughter
whenever they recognised any of the animals. We encamped near a small
river below the ramparts, one hundred and ninety-three miles from Fort
Norman. Two young Indians followed us in their canoes, bringing some
musk-rat skins, and fish for sale. We purchased the fish, but declined
taking the furs. They were so pleased with their reception, that they
passed the night by our fire.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 10th.] At daylight we again embarked, and
descended the river pleasantly and swiftly under sail, having the
benefit of a strong current, especially where it was narrowed by islands
or sand-banks. The sides of the river are generally high cliffs of
limestone or sandstone, and its breadth from two to three miles. The
intervals between these cliffs are mostly occupied by hills of sand,
from eighty to one hundred feet high, whose intermediate valleys are
well wooded; and whenever these occur, the channel of the river is much
interrupted by banks, on which, as well as on the beach, there are vast
collections of drift timber, piled, in some places, twenty feet high, by
the spring floods.

At eleven P.M. we arrived at Fort Good Hope, the lowest of the
Company's establishments; it is distant from Fort Norman three hundred
and twelve miles, and is in latitude 67 degrees 28 minutes 21 seconds
N., and longitude 130 degrees 51 minutes 38 seconds W.: the variation of
the compass being 47 degrees 28 minutes 41 seconds E. Our arrival at
this period of the year, at least two months earlier than that of the
Company's boats from York Factory, caused great astonishment to the few
inmates of this dreary dwelling, and particularly to its master, Mr.
Charles Dease, who scarcely recovered from his surprise until we had
been seated some time in his room. But this over, he quickly put every
one in motion to prepare a meal for us, of which we stood in much need,
as it was then verging on midnight, and we had breakfasted at eight in
the morning. This post had been but recently established for the
convenience of the tribe of Indians whom Mackenzie calls the
Quarrellers, but whom the traders throughout the fur country name
Loucheux. As this name is now in general use, I shall adopt it, though
it is but justice to the people to say, that they have bright sparkling
eyes, without the least tendency to that obliquity which might be
inferred from the term. The fact is, that Loucheux, or Squinter, was
intended to convey the sense of the Indian name of the tribe--Deguthée
Dennee, which means "the people who avoid the arrows of their enemies,
by keeping a look out on both sides." None of the tribe was at this time
at the fort; but from Mr. Dease we learned the interesting fact, that
the Loucheux and Esquimaux, who are generally at war, had met amicably
the preceding spring, and that they were now at peace. We procured from
the store an assortment of beads, and such things as were most in
request with the Loucheux, and made up a small package of clothing to be
presented to each chief of that tribe, whose favour it was thought
advisable by this means to propitiate, as they were the next neighbours
to the Esquimaux.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 11th.] After the latitude had been observed, we
embarked, and were accompanied by Mr. Dease as far as Trading River,
where he expected there might still be a party of Indians, which did not
prove the case. This river being the usual limit of the trader's travels
towards the sea, the voyager who had come with us from Fort Norman
declined going any farther, and by permission of Mr. Dease he was
exchanged for a young half-breed named Baptiste, the interpreter of the
fort, who went under the promise of being left with the chief of the
Loucheux, to whom he was to introduce the party.

The reach below Trading River is remarkable, from the banks on the
eastern side consisting of hills of a light yellow marl-slate, nearly
uniform in shape, and strongly resembling piles of cannon shot. The name
of Cannon-Shot Reach was, therefore, bestowed on it. The channel of the
river is very intricate, winding amongst numerous sand-banks, and some
low alluvial islands, on which willows only grow. Its breadth is about
two miles, and the depth of water, in the autumn, from six to twelve
feet. In passing through Cannon-Shot Reach, we were hailed by an Indian
from the shore, and landed immediately, to inform him of the purport of
our visit. As soon as Baptiste had explained these matters to him, the
man, deeming it of importance that we should be properly introduced to
his relatives, offered to accompany us to the next party, providing we
would undertake to carry his baggage. This we consented to do, little
expecting, from the appearance of poverty in himself and his family, and
still less from that of his tent, a mere covering of bark and pine
branches, supported on three poles, that load upon load of unsavoury
fish would be tossed into the boat. However, we were unwilling to
retract our promise, and suffered our vessel to be completely lumbered.
We then pushed off, leaving the family to follow in the canoe, but in a
short time our ears were assailed by the loud cries of the man demanding
that we should stop. On his coming up, we found he was apprehensive of
the canoe sinking, it being very leaky and overloaded, and of his losing
his wife and infant child. The water being thrown out, the man proposed
going forward and keeping by our side. There was nothing now to fear,
yet the lamentations of the woman became louder and louder, and at last
the poor creature threw off her only covering, raised the most piteous
cries, and appeared a perfect object of despair. We learned from
Baptiste that she was mourning the loss of two near relatives who had
recently died near the spot we were passing. In this manner do these
simple people show their sorrow for the death of their connexions. As we
drew near the tents of the party on shore, the husband proclaimed with a
stentorian voice who we were; this produced a long reply, of which
Baptiste could only collect enough to inform us that many persons were
lying sick in the lodges, and that two had died the preceding day. Not
choosing to expose ourselves to the hazard of contagion, we put the
baggage of our friend on shore at some distance below the lodges. All
those who were able to manage a canoe, came off to receive presents, and
to see Augustus, the principal object of attraction. Each person
crowded to the side on which he sat to shake him by the hand; and two of
the party, who had been occasionally with the Esquimaux, contrived to
make him understand that, being accompanied by him, we need apprehend no
violence from them, though they were a treacherous people. At the end of
five miles farther we put on shore to sup, and afterwards slept in the
boat; but Augustus spread his blankets on the beach before the fire, and
allowed four of the Loucheux, who had followed us from the tents, to
share them with him.

[Sidenote: Friday, 12th.] At daylight we loosened from the beach, and
continued with the descent of the river; winding, in our course, as
numerous sand-banks rendered necessary. In a few hours we descried
another collection of Indian lodges. One of the party happened to be
examining his nets nearer to us than the tents; on espying the boat, he
immediately desisted, and paddled towards his friends with the utmost
speed, bawling the whole way for them to arm. The women and children
were seen hurrying up the bank to hide themselves; and by the time we
had got abreast of the lodges, the whole party were in a state of
defence. They stood on the beach gazing at us evidently with much
distrust; and for some time no one would accept our invitations to
approach. At length an adventurous youth, distinguishable among the rest
by the gaiety of his dress, and the quantity of beads that were
suspended around his neck, launched his canoe and paddled gently towards
the boat, till he discovered Augustus, whom he knew by his countenance
to be an Esquimaux; then rising from his seat, he threw up his hands for
joy, and desired every one of the party to embark at once. The summons
was instantly obeyed, and a friendly intercourse followed; each person
that had a gun discharging its contents, and taking the iron heads and
barbs from the arrows, to show their entire confidence. On landing to
breakfast, we found that the dialect of this party was different from
that of the men we had seen yesterday, and that Baptiste did not
understand their language; consequently our communications were carried
on by signs, except when they attempted to speak Esquimaux, which
Augustus, with difficulty, made out. He was still the centre of
attraction, notwithstanding Mr. Kendall and myself were dressed in
uniform, and were distributing presents to them. They caressed Augustus,
danced and played around him, to testify their joy at his appearance
among them, and we could not help admiring the demeanour of our
excellent little companion under such unusual and extravagant marks of
attention. He received every burst of applause, every shake of the hand,
with modesty and affability, but would not allow them to interrupt him
in the preparation of our breakfast, a task which he always delighted to
perform. As soon as we had finished our meal, he made his friends sit
down, and distributed to each person a portion of his own, but without
any affectation of superiority. When we were on the point of embarking,
the oldest Indian of the party intimated his desire that we should stop
until some one whom he had sent for should come. This proved to be his
son, in a very sickly state. Though the day was warm, the lad was
shivering with cold, and it was evident he was suffering from fever,
which the father had no doubt we could cure. The only remedy we could
apply was some warm tea, with a little brandy in it, which we afterwards
learned had the desired effect of restoring the invalid. Again we were
preparing to set off, when the same old man begged us to stop until the
women should come; these were no less pleased with Augustus, and with
the presents they received, than the men had been.

This good-natured tribe is distinguished by the traders as the Lower
Loucheux, but the literal meaning of their Indian name is the Sharp
Eyes. They are decidedly a well-looking people: in manner, and general
appearance, they resemble the Esquimaux near the mouth of the Mackenzie,
though not in their eyes, which are prominent and full. Their canoes,
too, are shaped like those of the Esquimaux, and made of birch bark,
which, by some process, is striped from the gunwale perpendicularly
downwards, for the purpose of ornament. Their summer dress, like that of
the Upper Loucheux and Esquimaux, is a jacket of leather, prolonged to a
point before and behind: the leggings, of the same material, are sewn to
the shoes, and tied by a string round the waist. The outer edges of
their dress are cut into fringes, coloured with red and yellow earth,
and generally decorated with beads. Beads are so much coveted by them,
that, for some years, they were the principal article of trade exchanged
for their furs; and even now the successful hunter, or the favourite
son, may be known by the quantity of strings of different coloured beads
which he has about his neck. These Indians are the only natives of
America, except the Esquimaux, whom I have seen with the septum of the
nose perforated, through which, like the Esquimaux, they thrust pieces
of bone, or small strings of shells, which they purchase from that
people. Few of them have guns, but each man is armed with a bow and
arrows. The bows are constructed of three pieces of wood, the middle one
straight, and those at each end crooked, and bound with sinews, of which
the string is also made. The dress of the women only differs from that
of the men by the hood being made sufficiently wide to admit of their
carrying a child on their back.

At ten A.M. we resumed our journey, followed by the young man who had
first spoken to us, and his brother, in their canoes, and in the course
of two hours came abreast of a remarkable round-backed hill, on which we
were informed Mr. Livingstone and his party had encamped in 1795, the
night before they were massacred. This hill marks the commencement of
another contraction of the river, which is here pent in between very
steep cliffs of blue limestone, which I have denominated the Narrows.
The Red River contributes its waters to the Mackenzie at the lower part
of the Narrows, in latitude 67 degrees 27 minutes N., longitude 133
degrees 31 minutes W.; and, though of inconsiderable size, is remarkable
as being the boundary between the lands claimed by the Loucheux Indians
and those of the Esquimaux, and likewise as the spot where the amicable
meeting between these tribes had been held in the preceding spring. We
did not find the chief of the Loucheux here, as had been expected, and
therefore passed on. The banks of the river, now entirely composed of
sand and sandstone, became gradually lower, and more bare of trees. At
the end of eight miles we arrived at a very spacious opening, in which
were numerous well-wooded islands, and various channels. The rocky
mountains on the west once more appeared in view, extending from S.W. to
N.W. and preserving a N.W.1/2W. direction; and of this range a very
lofty peak, and a table mountain, which I have named after the late Mr.
Gifford, form the most conspicuous features. We steered into the eastern
channel, as being that through which the current seemed to run swiftest;
and as soon as we came to a high bank we landed, for the purpose of
taking a survey of the surrounding scene. But even from its summit our
view was very limited, and all we could discover was, that we were
certainly in that expansion of the river that Mackenzie delineates in
his chart, and, therefore, in the fair way to the sea, whatever channel
we took. This might have been inferred, from the sudden departure of our
two Indian companions, who dropped behind and turned their canoes round,
without further ceremony, as soon as they saw our intention of entering
the eastern channel. Baptiste, who was asleep at the time, expressed
surprise at their having gone back, but consoled himself with the idea
of meeting the Indian chief the next morning, at a place he called the
Forks. We were amused at conjecturing how great his surprise would be
should he next be disturbed by the hallowing of a party of Esquimaux,
whom he greatly dreaded. At the end of twenty-three miles descent in the
middle channel, having passed one that branched off to the eastward, we
put up at an early hour, and caused the guns to be cleaned, and two
sentinels appointed to watch, lest the Esquimaux should come upon us
unawares. The banks of the river, as well as the islands, are entirely
alluvial, and support willows at the lower parts, and the spruce-fir
trees at the summits. The beach on which we were encamped was much
intersected with the recent tracts of the moose and rein-deer.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 13th.] We embarked at three A.M. on the 13th; and
as we were in momentary expectation of meeting the Esquimaux with whom I
wished to have an interview, the masts were struck, lest they should
discover the boat at a distance, and run off. We soon passed two of
their huts, which did not seem to have been recently inhabited. The
longitude 134 degrees 20 minutes 30 seconds W., and variation 51 degrees
4 minutes 20 seconds E., were observed at the time we halted to
breakfast, and the latitude 68 degrees 15 minutes 50 seconds N., at
noon. The Rein-deer mountains on the eastern side, came in view before
noon. The range on the west was also occasionally visible: we were
descending between the M'Gillivray and Simpson islands, in a channel
that did not exceed half a mile in breadth. A fine breeze sprung up
after noon, of which we took advantage by setting the sails, not having
seen any recent traces of the Esquimaux. At the extremity of Simpson
island there is a broad channel, which pours its waters into the one in
which we were, at a place where the stream is contracted by a small
island, and a strong rapid is the consequence of this junction. Here we
found many huts, and other indications of its being a place of resort
for fishing; here, too, it is supposed Mr. Livingstone and his crew fell
a sacrifice to the first party of Esquimaux whom they met. Several other
openings branched off to the eastward; but we continued to follow the
largest channel, in which the current was very strong, and kept nearly
parallel to, and about ten miles from, the Rein-deer mountains. Their
outline, viewed from this distance, appeared very regular, the only
remarkable parts being some eminences that were tinged with a deep pink
colour. Sailing by one of the huts at a quick rate, every one's
attention was arrested at hearing a shrill sound, which was supposed to
be a human voice; but on landing to ascertain the fact, we could find no
person, nor any footsteps. We, therefore, continued our journey. As we
proceeded, the river became more devious in its course, the huts on the
Esquimaux were now more frequent; none of them, however, seemed to have
been recently inhabited. The islands were of the same alluvial kind as
those seen yesterday, and the wood on them equally plentiful and large.
We stopped to sup at nine, extinguished the fire as soon as we had
finished, and then retired to sleep in the boat, keeping two men on

[Sidenote: Sunday, 14th.] We set off aided by a fresh breeze this
morning, and at the end of seven miles came to the last of the fir
trees, in latitude 68 degrees 40 minutes N., the only wood beyond this
being stunted willows, which became still more dwarfish at thirty miles
from the mouth of the river. There was plenty of drift-wood on the
borders of the islands, and some even on the higher parts, at a distance
from the water; from which it would appear that at certain seasons they
are inundated. At length the main stream took a turn to the S.S.W.,
which we followed, though there was a branch northwards, but it seemed
to be much impeded by mud-banks.[1] At the end of eight miles the river
again inclined to the north of west, round the southern extremity of
Halkett island, and there were openings to the north and south, which we
did not stop to examine. A fog-bank hung over the northern horizon,
which gave us no little uneasiness, from its strong resemblance to a
continuous line of ice-blink; and the clouds, from the sun-beams falling
on them, had the exact appearance of icebergs. However, the sun became
sufficiently powerful in the afternoon to dissipate the cause of this
illusion, and relieve us from anxiety on that score. A body of water,
nearly equal to that we were descending, poured in between the Colville
and Halkett islands with such force as to cause a very strong ripple at
the point of junction, which we avoided by keeping close to the shore of
Langley island. The channel, after the union of these streams, increased
to a breadth of two miles, preserving a N.N.W. course. We stood twelve
miles in this direction, and two to the westward, when we were gratified
by the delightful prospect of the shore suddenly diverging, and a wide
space of open water to the northward, which we doubted not would prove
to be the sea. Just at this time a seal made its appearance, and sported
about the boat as if in confirmation of this opinion. We attempted to
coast along the shore of Ellice island, but found the water too shallow,
and that the boat grounded whenever we got out of the channel of the
river, which was near the western side. The wind and waves were too high
for us to make any progress in the middle of the stream, and as the
clouds threatened more boisterous weather, we went to Pitt island to
encamp. The haze which had hidden all distant objects since five P.M.
passed off as the sun set, and we gained a very magnificent view of that
portion of the rocky mountain which I have called after my companion Dr.
Richardson, and of which the remarkable conical peak, named in honour of
my friend Dr. Fitton, President of the Geological Society, and the
Cupola mountain, are the most conspicuous objects. These were
subsequently found to be near sixty miles distant. The water was
entirely fresh, and there was no perceptible rise of tide. Our drowsy
companion Baptiste, when he looked upon the vast expanse of water, for
the first time, expressed some apprehension that we had passed the
Forks, and that there was a doubt of our seeing the Indian chief; but he
was by no means convinced of the fact until the following day, when he
tasted salt water, and lost sight of the main shore. After our Sunday
evening's supper, the party assembled in the tent to read prayers, and
return thanks to the Almighty, for having thus far crowned our labours
with success.

[Sidenote: Monday, 15th.] In the morning of the fifteenth the wind blew
a gale, as it had done through the night, and every object was obscured
by a thick fog. About six A.M. we took advantage of a temporary
abatement of the wind to cross over to some higher land on the eastern
side, which we had seen the preceding evening, appearing like islands.
Owing to the thickness of the fog, we were guided in our course at
starting solely by the compass. When we reached the channel of the
river, the gale returned with increased violence, and its direction
being opposite to the current, such high waves were raised, that the
boat took in a good deal of water. The fog now cleared away, and the
three eminences mistaken for islands were ascertained to be conical
hummocks, rising above the low eastern shore. We pushed for the nearest,
and landed a short distance from its base at eight A.M. On going to the
summit of this eminence, in the expectation of obtaining the bearings of
several distant points, we were a little disappointed to find that only
the low shores of Pitt Island were visible, extending from S.E. to
W.N.W., though we were repaid for our visit by observing two moose deer
quietly browsing on the tops of the willows, a short distance from us.
Mr. Kendall hastened down to despatch Baptiste in pursuit of them, who
returned an hour afterwards to inform us that he had wounded one, which
he had been prevented from following by the loss of his powder-horn. As
there was no possibility of our getting forward until the gale abated,
Baptiste and Augustus were sent out to hunt, there being numerous tracks
of moose and rein-deer in the neighbourhood of the tent. I also
despatched Mr. Kendall, with two seamen, to walk some distance into the
interior, and endeavour to clear up the doubt whether we were upon the
main shore, or upon an island. The astronomical observations obtained at
the encampment place it in latitude 69 degrees 3 minutes 45 seconds N.,
longitude 135 degrees 44 minutes 57 seconds W. A tide-pole was put up
immediately on our landing, and we perceived the water to rise about
three inches in the course of the forenoon, and to fall the same
quantity in the evening. The temperature of the air did not exceed
forty-eight degrees all this day: when in the river, it used to vary
from 55 degrees to 70 degrees. Mr. Kendall came back in the evening,
bringing the agreeable intelligence that he had assisted in killing a
female moose and her calf, and that Augustus had shot a rein-deer. Some
men were sent to carry the meat to the borders of a river which Mr.
Kendall had discovered, while the boat went round to its entrance about
one mile from the encampment. They returned at sunset. Many geese and
ducks were seen by our hunters. Throughout the whole of Mr. Kendall's
walk, of twelve or fourteen miles, he saw only the same kind of flat
land, covered with the dwarf willow and the moose-berry plant, as was
discovered from the tent, except one small lake, and the river that has
been mentioned, issuing from it.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 16th.] The atmosphere was so thick on the morning of
the 16th as to confine our view to a few yards; we therefore remained at
the encampment till the sun had sufficient power to remove the fog:
temperature of the air 39 degrees. Embarking at eleven A.M., we
continued our course along the shore of Ellice Island, until we found
its coast trending southward of east. There we landed, and were rejoiced
at the sea-like appearance to the northward. This point is in latitude
69 degrees 14 minutes N., longitude 135 degrees 57 minutes W., and forms
the north-eastern entrance to the main channel of the Mackenzie River,
which, from Slave Lake to this point, is one thousand and forty-five
miles according to our survey. An island was now discovered to the
N.E., looking blue from its distance, towards which the boat was
immediately directed. The water, which for the last eight miles had been
very shallow, became gradually deeper, and of a more green colour,
though still fresh, even when we had entirely lost sight of the eastern
land. In the middle of the traverse, we were caught by a strong contrary
wind, against which our crews cheerfully contended for five hours,
though drenched by the spray, and even by the waves, which came into the
boat. Unwilling to return without attaining the object of our search,
when the strength of the rowers was nearly exhausted, as a last
resource, the sails were set double-reefed, and our excellent boat
mounted over the waves in the most buoyant manner. An opportune
alteration of the wind enabled us, in the course of another hour, to
fetch into smoother water, under the shelter of the island. We then
pulled across a line of strong ripple which marked the termination of
the fresh water, that on the seaward side being brackish; and in the
further progress of three miles to the island, we had the indescribable
pleasure of finding the water decidedly salt.

The sun was setting as the boat touched the beach, and we hastened to
the most elevated part of the island, about two hundred and fifty feet
high, to look around; and never was a prospect more gratifying than that
which lay open to us. The Rocky Mountains were seen from S.W. to
W.1/2N.; and from the latter point, round by the north, the sea appeared
in all its majesty, entirely free from ice, and without any visible
obstruction to its navigation. Many seals, and black and white whales
were sporting on its waves; and the whole scene was calculated to excite
in our minds the most flattering expectations as to our own success, and
that of our friends in the Hecla and the Fury. There were two groups of
islands at no great distance; to the one bearing south-east I had the
pleasure of affixing the name of my excellent friend and companion Mr.
Kendall, and to that bearing north-east the name of Pelly was given, as
a tribute justly due to the Governor of the Hudson Bay Company, for his
earnest endeavours to promote the progress and welfare of the
Expedition. A similar feeling towards my much esteemed friend Mr. Garry,
the Deputy Governor of the Company, prompted me to appropriate his name
to the island on which we stood,--a poor, indeed, but heartfelt
expression of gratitude, for all his active kindness and indefatigable
attention to the comfort of myself and my companions.

During our absence the men had pitched the tent on the beach, and I
caused the silk union-flag to be hoisted, which my deeply-lamented wife
had made and presented to me, as a parting gift, under the express
injunction that it was not to be unfurled before the Expedition reached
the sea. I will not attempt to describe my emotions as it expanded to
the breeze--however natural, and, for the moment, irresistible, I felt
that it was my duty to suppress them, and that I had no right, by an
indulgence of my own sorrows, to cloud the animated countenances of my
companions. Joining, therefore, with the best grace that I could
command, in the general excitement, I endeavoured to return with
corresponding cheerfulness, their warm congratulations on having thus
planted the British flag on this remote island of the Polar Sea.

Some spirits, which had been saved for the occasion, were issued to the
men; and with three fervent cheers they drank to the health of our
beloved monarch, and to the continued success of our enterprize. Mr.
Kendall and I had also reserved a little of our brandy, in order to
celebrate this interesting event; but Baptiste, in his delight of
beholding the sea, had set before us some salt water, which having been
mixed with the brandy before the mistake was discovered, we were
reluctantly obliged to forego the intended draught, and to use it in the
more classical form of a libation poured on the ground.

Baptiste, on discovering that he had actually reached the ocean, stuck
his feathers in his hat, and exultingly exclaimed, "Now that I am one of
the _Gens de la mer_, you shall see how active I will be, and how I will
crow over the _Gens du nord_," the name by which the Athabasca voyagers
are designated. No fresh water was found on Garry Island until Augustus
discovered a small lake, the streams that poured down from the cliffs
being as salt as the sea. The temperature of the sea water was 51
degrees; the fresh water we had left at five miles from the island 55
degrees; and that of the air 52 degrees.

Garry Island is about five miles long, by two broad, and seems to be a
mass of frozen mud, which, in the parts exposed to the air and sun, has
a black earthy appearance. It is terminated to the north-west by a steep
cliff, through which protrude, in a highly inclined position, several
layers of wood-coal, similar to that found in the Mackenzie. There was
likewise observed a bituminous liquid trickling down in many parts, but
particularly near the south-west point of the cliff where the bank had
been broken away, and a hollow cavity was formed. The ravines and
gullies were still filled with ice, though none was seen on the level
ground. There were no stones above the sea level; those on the beach
consisted of granite, greenstone, quartz, and lydian-stone, of a small
size and completely rounded. The vegetable productions were grasses, a
few mosses, and some shrubs, the latter in flower. Four foxes were the
only land animals we saw; and a small hawk, some gulls, dotterels, and
phaleropes, composed the list of birds. A large medusa was found on the

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 17th.] The sky was cloudless on the morning of the
17th, which enabled us to ascertain the position of our encampment to be
in latitude 69 degrees 29 minutes N., longitude 135 degrees 41 minutes
W., and the variation of the magnetic needle to be 51 degrees 42 minutes
E. We likewise found that it was high water that day at one P.M. with a
rise and fall of eight inches, but the direction of the flood could not
be ascertained. I wrote for Captain Parry an account of our progress,
with such information as he might require, in case he wished to
communicate either with the Company's Post at Fort Good Hope, or our
party, and deposited my letter, with many others that I had in charge
for himself and the officers of the ships, under a pole erected for the
purpose, on which we left a blue and red flag flying, to attract his
attention. Another statement of our proceedings was encased in a
waterproof box, and committed to the sea, a mile to the northward of the
island. The wind blew strong off the land at the time, and there was a
gale from the north-west the next day, so that there is every chance of
the letter having made good way to the eastward.

Having completed the observations, we embarked at two P.M., and pulled
along the western shore of the island three miles to the sandy spit at
its south-west end, on which there was a vast quantity of drift-wood
piled by the action of the waves. From this point we launched forth to
cross towards the Mackenzie under double-reefed sails, as the wind was
blowing strong, and the waves high in the offing; but finding the boat
very stiff and buoyant, the sail was increased, and reaching the eastern
point of Ellice Island by seven P.M. we encamped at the foot of the
outermost of the three hummocks mentioned on the 15th of August. As we
passed along the shore of the island, we disturbed some moose and
rein-deer, and several geese, cranes, and swans, that were quietly
feeding near the water. At this period of the year, therefore, there
would be no lack of food, in this country, for the skilful hunter. In
the course of the evening I found that a piece of the wood-coal from
Garry's Island, which I had placed in my pocket, had ignited
spontaneously, and scorched the metal powder-horn by its side.

Our enterprising precursor, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, has been blamed for
asserting that he had reached the sea, without having ascertained that
the water was salt. He, in fact, clearly states that he never did reach
the salt water. The danger to which his canoe was exposed in venturing
two or three miles beyond Whale Island, (which lies to the eastward of
our route,) at a time when the sea was covered with ice to the north, is
a sufficient reason for his turning back; and we can abundantly testify
that those frail vessels are totally unfitted to contend against such
winds and seas as we experienced in advancing beyond the volume of fresh
water poured out by the Mackenzie. It is probable, therefore, that even
had the sea been free from ice at the time of his visit, he could not
have gone far enough to prove its saltness, though the boundless
horizon, the occurrence of a tide, and the sight of porpoises and
whales, naturally induced him to say that he had arrived at the ocean.
The survey of the Mackenzie made on this Expedition, differs very little
in its outline from that of its discoverer, whose general correctness we
had often occasion to admire. We had, indeed, to alter the latitude and
longitude of some of its points, which he most probably laid down from
magnetic bearings only; and it is proper to remark, that in comparing
our magnetic bearings with his, throughout the whole course of the
river, they were found to be about fifteen degrees more easterly; which
may, therefore, be considered as the amount of increase in variation
since 1789. In justice to the memory of Mackenzie, I hope the custom of
calling this the Great River, which is in general use among the traders
and voyagers, will be discontinued, and that the name of its eminent
discoverer may be universally adopted.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 18th.] The excursions to Garry Island having made
us acquainted with the state of the sea to the northward, and having
shown that, the bank at the mouth of the river being passed, there was
no visible impediment to a boat's proceeding eastward, I was desirous of
making further examination in aid of the future operations of the
Expedition, by going over to the western shore, and of reaching, if
possible, the foot of the Rocky Mountains. With these intentions we
embarked at nine A.M., but before we could get half way to the nearest
part of Pitt Island, a gale of wind came on from N.W., followed by
violent squalls, which, from the threatening appearance of the clouds,
and the rapid descent of the thermometer from 68 degrees to 51 degrees,
seemed likely to be of some continuance. The design was, therefore,
abandoned, and the boat's head directed towards the entrance of the
river. It proved, however, no easy task to get into the proper channel;
and to effect this object the officers and crew had to drag the boat
half a mile over a bar, while the waves were beating into it with such
force as to make us apprehensive of its being swamped. As soon as we
were in deep water, all the sail was set that the boat could bear, and
at two P.M. we arrived at the narrow part. Here, likewise, the waves
were high and breaking, and for the purpose of avoiding these and the
strength of the current, we kept as close to the shore as possible,
going through the water at seven miles an hour, and about four over the
current. The wild fowl, warned by the sudden change of the weather, took
advantage of this fair wind, and hastened away in large flights to the
southward. At ten P.M., the boat having twice grounded, from our not
being able to see our way clearly, we halted to sup, and laid down to
sleep before a good fire. Temperature at 45 degrees.

[Sidenote: Friday, 19th.] When daylight permitted us to distinguish the
channels, we embarked again, and scudded under the foresail before the
gale, which this day blew with increased violence. We halted to
breakfast near some winter habitations of the Esquimaux, which we
supposed, from the freshness of the wood-shavings, and the implements of
fishing that were scattered about them, had been abandoned only in the
preceding spring; and as it was probable they would revisit this spot,
we fixed to the pole of a tent a present of a kettle, knife, hatchet,
file, ice-chisel, some beads, and pieces of red and blue cloth. These
huts were constructed of drift wood, in a similar manner to those which
will be described in a subsequent part of the narrative. A second
present was deposited at some other huts, and a third at those below the
rapids. We imagined that some, if not all, of these would be found by
the Esquimaux, and would make them acquainted with our visit. By noon we
had advanced as far as the rapid, which we ascended under sail; and at a
few miles above this point, owing to the fogginess of the atmosphere, we
took a more western channel than that by which we descended. This proved
circuitous, though it ultimately brought us to the former route. It was
quite dark before we could find a secure place for the boat, and a
sheltered spot for the tent. The gale continued without abatement, the
weather was raw and cold, and it was with difficulty we collected some
sticks to kindle a fire. Temperature 40 degrees.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 20th.] On the 20th the wind was moderate. We
resumed our journey at four A.M.; past our sleeping-place of the 12th by
noon, and at sunset encamped at the narrow part of the river where the
numerous channels commence. Large flights of geese and swans were
observed passing to the southward all this day. The musquitoes again
made their appearance, though the temperature was at 45 degrees:
scarcely any of them had been seen on the descent to the sea.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 21st.] Temperature at day light, on the 21st, 37
degrees. We commenced our labour under oars, but a strong gale from the
southward soon rendered this mode of ascending the river ineffectual.
The men were, therefore, divided into two parties, who towed the boat by
line, relieving each other at intervals of an hour and a half. At fifty
minutes past one P.M. we were abreast of the Red River, and there met a
large party of the lower Loucheux Indians, who had assembled to wait our
arrival. They welcomed our return with every demonstration of joy, more
particularly that of Augustus and Baptiste, and at first cheerfully
assisted the men in towing, but, like Indians in general, they soon
became tired of this labour, and rather impeded than forwarded our
progress. So we distributed to each a present; made known as well as
well as we could by signs, that at our next visit we would purchase
whatever fish or meat they might collect, and took our leave of them.
Owing to the detention these men and another party occasioned, we were
caught by a heavy gale from N.W. before we could reach our encampment at
the head of the Narrows, and had to pitch the tent in pelting rain.
Temperature 43 degrees.

[Sidenote: Monday, 22nd.] On the 22nd, we started at four in a thick wet
fog, which gave place to snow and sleet, and sailed the whole day before
a strong N.W. wind, much to the annoyance of several Indians who tried
to keep pace with the boat, by running along the shore: each of them had
a present of tobacco thrown to him. We encamped near the bottom of
Cannon-Shot Reach; the weather was extremely cold, and, during the
night, ice was formed in the kettle. [Sidenote: Tuesday, 23rd.] On the
next day the wind came contrary from S.E., which obliged us to have
recourse to the tow-line. The frequent recurrence of sand-banks, to
avoid which we had either to pull round or cross the river, made this
day's operations very tedious. In turning round one of the points, we
came suddenly upon a party of Indians, who had not seen us on our way
down. Our appearance, therefore, created great alarm; the women and
children were instantly despatched to the woods, and the men came down
to the beach with their guns and arrows prepared, and knives drawn; but
the explanation that Baptiste gave, soon allayed their fears. They were,
indeed, objects of pity; all their property had been destroyed to
testify their grief at the death of some of their relations, and the
bodies of several were still sore from the deep gashes they had
inflicted on themselves in their demonstrations of sorrow. We
distributed such useful articles among them as we had remaining, but the
supply was not at all equal to their necessities. Several of them
attempted to follow us in their canoes by poling, which they dexterously
perform by pushing at the same time with a pole or paddle in each hand;
the boat however, was towed faster than they could ascend the stream,
and they were soon far behind. We arrived at six P.M. at the Trading
River, and there met another party of the Loucheux, among whom was the
woman whose tears had excited our sympathy on the 11th, now in high
glee, and one of the most importunate for beads. The boy was likewise
there to whom the tea had been given as a remedy for his fever,
completely recovered, which was, no doubt, ascribed to the efficacy of
the medicine. Not choosing to encamp near these people, we crossed the
river, and towed four hours longer, when we reached Fort Good Hope. Mr.
Dease, and all his fort, were overjoyed on seeing us again, because the
Indians had begun to surmise, and in fact had brought a report that we
had all been massacred by the Esquimaux; and had we been detained
another week, this statement would have gained entire credence, and, in
all probability, spread throughout the country.

The Indian whose fish we carried on our way down, happened to be at the
fort, and he cheerfully communicated, through the interpreter, a female,
all the information that he or his tribe possessed respecting the mouth
of the river, the sea-coast, and the Esquimaux, all topics highly
interesting to us, but we subsequently found that his knowledge of these
matters was very imperfect. We made known to him our wish that the
Esquimaux should be informed of our arrival as soon as possible, and
signified that a very substantial present would be given to any person
that would carry the intelligence to them in the course of the following
winter. Mr. Dease pressed this point strongly on his consideration. This
gentleman, indeed, was anxious to promote our desires in every respect,
and promised that his utmost exertions should be used to procure a good
supply of provision for our next summer's voyage, though he represented
the hunters in this vicinity as unskilful and inactive, and begged of me
not to rely too much on his collection. We left in his charge five bags
of pemmican, and the superfluous stores, to lighten the boats. We
quitted the fort in the afternoon with a contrary wind, and towed twenty
miles up the stream before we encamped, though the beach was composed of
sharp stones, which rendered walking very unpleasant.

The wind being contrary during the four following days, we could only
ascend the river by using the tracking line. Our crew cheerfully
performed this tedious service, though three of them had been much
reduced by dysentery, brought on by previous fatigue, exposure to wet,
and by their having lived for some time on dried provision. These men,
however, had gradually been gaining strength since the fresh meat was
procured on Ellice Island.

On the 25th we came to the aspen, poplar, and larch, in latitude 67
degrees 10 minutes N., and were not a little surprised to observe the
change in their foliage within the last fortnight. Their leaves had
assumed the autumnal tint, and were now fast falling. The wild fowl were
hastening in large flocks to the south, and every appearance warned us
that the fine season drew near its close.

[Sidenote: 28th.] In the passage through the rampart defile, several
families of the Hare Indians were observed encamped on the heights, for
the purpose of gathering berries which were at this time ripe, and in
the best flavour. At the first sight of the boat the women and children
scampered down wherever descent was practicable, to get at their canoes,
that they might cross over to us, but we travelled so fast that only a
few could overtake the boat. The Indians who reside near this river,
from their want of skill in hunting, principally subsist, from spring to
autumn, on the produce of their fishing nets, and on wild berries. At
the influx of small streams, or wherever there is any eddy, a net is
set. In shallow water it is suspended upon sticks planted in a
semicircle, so as to enclose the mouth of the river, or the sweep of the
eddy; but where the water is deep, and the shore bold or rocky, two
stout poles are firmly secured at a short distance from the water's
edge, the breadth of a net apart, to the ends of which pliable rods are
fastened, of a length sufficient to hang over the water, and to these
the net is attached. In the winter these Indians snare hares, which are
very abundant in this quarter.

[Sidenote: 29th.] On the 29th we arrived at the upper rapids, which were
scarcely discernible at the time of our descent; but from the falling of
the water since that time, there was a dry sand-bank of considerable
extent in the centre, and the waters on each side of it were broken and
covered with foam. Augustus being tired with tracking, had wandered from
us to the extremity of this bank, from whence he could not be extricated
without great hazard, unless by making him return to the bottom of the
rapid. As this, however, would have compelled the poor fellow to pass
the night upon the sand-bank, Mr. Kendall undertook to bring him off,
by running with the current to the point at the commencement of the
rapids, which he effected in a masterly manner, although the boat struck
twice, and was in considerable danger from the violence of the eddies.

We found, at the place of our encampment, a solitary old woman, sitting
by a small fire, who seemed somewhat alarmed at her visitors, until she
was joined, after dark, by her husband and son. As soon as the man
understood from our signs that we were desirous of having some fish for
supper, he instantly embarked to examine his nets; but as they proved to
be empty, the woman generously dragged a pike out of a bundle on which
she was sitting, and presented it to us, though it was evidently
reserved for their own meal. In return we furnished them with a more
substantial supper, and made them some useful presents. The weather was
extremely sultry throughout this day; at two P.M. the thermometer stood
in the shade at 66 degrees, and at 76 degrees when exposed to the sun.
The refraction of the atmosphere, which we had often remarked to be
unusually great since we had entered the Mackenzie, was this day
particularly powerful. The mountains were distorted into the most
extraordinary shapes, and the banks of the river, which we knew to be
only from thirty to sixty feet high, appeared to have such an elevation,
that it would have been impossible for us to recognise the land. The air
became cooler in the evening, and the atmosphere less refractive. Soon
after sunset the objects appeared in their proper form, and we enjoyed
the prospect of the delightful mountain scenery that distinguishes this

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 30th.] Favoured by a N.W. gale, we made great
progress on the 30th. The temperature of the air varied in the course of
the day from 62 degrees to 41 degrees. The brulôts and sand-flies were
very teazing wherever we landed; but these, unlike the musquitoes,
disappear with the sun.

The upper parts of the Rocky Mountains on the western side of the river
were, at this time, covered with snow, but not those of the eastern
side, which are, probably, less elevated than the former. We had no
opportunity of ascertaining their height, though we conjectured that the
loftiest did not exceed two thousand feet, as it was free from snow in
the early part of August.

[Sidenote: September, 1st.] At sunset this evening we quitted the muddy
waters of the Mackenzie, and entered the clear stream that flows from
the Great Bear Lake; but owing to the shallowness of the water near its
mouth, and the beach being a mere collection of stones, we had to grope
our way long after dark in search of a place for an encampment,
stumbling and falling at every step. At length we espied a light about a
mile further up the river on the opposite shore; we, therefore, crossed
over, at the expense of some heavy blows to the boat, and tracked along
the base of a steep bank, until we reached the fire. There we found a
Canadian and two Indian boys who had been sent from Bear Lake three days
before in a canoe, to procure some white mud from the banks of the
MacKenzie to decorate our house. This man was the bearer of a letter
from Lieutenant Back to me, which detailed the proceedings at the Fort.

[Sidenote: Friday, 2nd.] We embarked at daylight, having the canoe in
company. The weather was cold and raw throughout the day; the
temperature from 34 degrees to 45 degrees; but the party were kept in
constant exercise, either in tracking or walking; the steersman and
bowman only being required in the boat. Except where the river was
bounded by steep cliffs, the path was pretty good. Its general breadth
varied from three hundred to five hundred yards, and its banks were
tolerably well wooded, but the trees were small.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 3rd.] This morning the ground was firmly frozen,
and the thermometer stood at 28 degrees, when we commenced our
operations. Early in the afternoon we arrived at the lower part of the
mountain, and which we had kept in view this day, and the greater part
of the preceding. As we had now to ascend a succession of rapids for
fifteen miles, and two of our crew were lame, I directed the canoe to be
laid up on the shore, and took the Canadian and the boys to assist at
the tow-line. We had not advanced more than two miles before we met with
an accident that was likely to have been attended with serious
consequences: in the act of hauling round a projecting point, and in the
strength of the current, the tow-line broke, and the boat was driven
with great force against a large stone at some distance from the shore,
having deep water on every side. There it lay with the broadside exposed
to the whole pressure of the current, beating violently against the
stone; and from this situation it could not have been extricated, had
not Gustavus Aird, the strongest man of the party, ventured to wade into
the river at the imminent risque of being swept off his feet, until he
could catch the rope that was thrown to him from the boat. As soon as it
was dragged to the shore, we found that part of the keel was gone, and
the remainder much twisted, and all the fastenings of the lowest plank
were loosened. The carpenter set to work to repair this mischief in the
best manner he could with the materials he had, and before night the
boat was again launched. The leaks, however, could not be quite stopped,
and in our further progress one of the men was constantly employed
baling out the water.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 4th.] The next day's operations were tedious and
hazardous as long as the rapids continued. The men had to walk with the
tow-line along a narrow ledge that jutted out from the base of a steep
rocky cliff, which was very slippery from the rain that had fallen in
the night: a false step might have proved fatal; and we rejoiced when,
having passed the rapids, we found earthy banks and a better path. The
services of Augustus and the Indian lads being no longer required, I
despatched them to the Fort, to apprize the party there of our approach.

We had a severe frost this night: at daylight in the morning the
thermometer was down to 20 degrees, and a raw fog contributed to make
the weather very cold and comfortless. The sun shone forth about eleven,
and soon dispersed the fog, and then the temperature gradually rose to
54 degrees.

[Sidenote: Monday, 5th.] At four P.M. we arrived at the foot of the
upper rapid, and in two hours afterwards entered the Great Bear Lake,
and reached the house at seven. Dr. Richardson having returned from his
voyage to the northern part of the lake, the members of the Expedition
were now, for the first time, all assembled. We heartily congratulated
each other on this circumstance, and also on the prospect of being
snugly settled in our winter-quarters before the severe weather. Dr.
Richardson had surveyed the Bear Lake to the influx of Dease's River,
near its N.E. termination, at which point it is nearest to the
Coppermine River. He fixed upon the first rapid in Dease River as the
best point to which the eastern detachment of the Expedition could
direct its steps, on its return from the mouth of the Coppermine River
the following season. The rapid was, by observation, in latitude 66
degrees 53 minutes N., and longitude 118 degrees 35 minutes W., and the
variation of the magnetic needle there, was 47 degrees 29 minutes E.


  Principal Places.                                       Statute Miles.
  From New York to Penetanguishene, by the route we travelled        760
    Lake Huron                                                       250
    Lake Superior                                                    406
  From Fort William to Cumberland House                             1018
    Cumberland House to Fort Chipewyan                               840
    Chipewyan to Fort Resolution, Slave Lake                         240
    Fort Resolution to the commencement of the Mackenzie             135
    Head of the Mackenzie to Fort Simpson                            103
    Fort Simpson to Bear Lake River                                  271
    Bear Lake River to, and the return from, Garry Island           1206
  Length of the Bear Lake River to the Fort                           91
  Dr. Richardson's excursion to the north-east termination of }
    Bear Lake                                                 }      483
  Distance travelled                                                5803
  Number of Miles surveyed                                          2593


[1] An attentive perusal of Sir Alexander Mackenzie's Narrative leads me
to the conclusion, that it was this northern branch which that traveller
pursued in his voyage to Whale Island.



Mr. Dease having passed the winter of 1824-25 at the Big Island of
Mackenzie, arrived here with fifteen Canadian voyagers, Beaulieu, the
interpreter, and four Chipewyan hunters, on the twenty-seventh of July,
1825; which, on account of the drifting of the ice, was as soon as he
could, with safety, ascend the Bear Lake River. Several of the Dog-Rib
Indians were on the spot, which enabled him to take immediate steps
towards procuring a supply of dried meat for our winter use, as well as
of fresh meat for present consumption. It having been ascertained that
the Rein-deer are most abundant in the north-east quarter of the lake,
during the months of August and September, a select party of Indians was
despatched to hunt thereabout, under the direction of the interpreter,
who took a large canoe for the purpose of bringing home the produce of
their hunt. Other men were sent to inform the Hare Indians of our wish
to purchase any meat they might bring to the establishment. Our
principal subsistence, however, was, to be derived from the water, and
Mr. Dease was determined in the selection of the spot on which our
residence was to be erected, by its proximity to that part of the lake
where the fish had usually been abundant. The place decided upon was the
site of an old fort belonging to the North-West Company, which had been
abandoned many years; our buildings being required of a much larger
size, we derived very little benefit from its materials. The wood in the
immediate vicinity having been all cut down for fuel by the former
residents, the party was obliged to convey the requisite timber in rafts
from a considerable distance, which, of course, occasioned trouble and
delay. We found, however, on our arrival, all the buildings in a
habitable state, but wanting many internal arrangements to fit them for
a comfortable winter residence. They were disposed so as to form three
sides of a square, the officers' house being in the centre, those for
the men on the right, with a house for the interpreter's family, and the
store on the left. A blacksmith's shop and meat store were added, and
the whole was inclosed by the stockading of the original fort, which we
found highly serviceable in screening us from the snow-drift and wintry
blasts. The officers' dwelling measured forty-four feet by twenty-four,
and contained a hall and four apartments, beside a kitchen. That of the
men was thirty-six feet by twenty-three, and was divided into three
rooms. These buildings were placed on a dry sandy bank, about eighty
yards from the lake, and twenty-five feet above it; at the distance of a
half a mile in our rear, the ground rose to the height of one hundred
and fifty feet, and continued in an even ridge, on which, though the
timber had been felled, we found plenty of small trees for fuel. This
ridge bounded our view to the north; and to the west, though confined to
less than two miles, the prospect was pretty, from its embracing a small
lake, and the mouth of a narrow stream that flowed in at its head. Our
southern view commanded the south-west arm of Bear Lake, which is here
four miles wide, and not deeper than from three to five fathoms, except
in the channel of the river, which conveys its waters to the Mackenzie.
We had also, in front, the Clark-hill, a mountain about thirty-six miles
distant, which was always visible in clear weather. When the refraction
was great, we saw the tops of some other hills, belonging to the range
that extends from Clark-hill to the rapid in Bear Lake River.

Immediately under the sandy soil on which the house stood, there is a
bed of tenacious bluish clay, of unknown thickness, which, even in the
months of August and September, was firmly frozen at the depth of
twenty-one inches from the surface. No rocks were exposed in any part,
and wherever the surface had been torn up, a clayey soil appeared. Many
boulder stones of granite, limestone, sandstone and trap rocks, were
scattered about the lake, not far from the shore.

The trees at some distance from our fort consisted of black and white
spruce, and larch, generally small, though a few of the better grown
measured from four to five feet in girth, and were from fifty to
fifty-five feet high. Dr. Richardson ascertained, by counting the annual
rings, that some of them, in a sound state, were upwards of one hundred
and thirty years old; while others, which were not much greater in size,
had two hundred and fifty rings, but these were decayed at the heart.

The officers had done me the honour, previous to my arrival, of giving
the name of Franklin to the fort, which I felt a grateful pleasure in
retaining at their desire, though I had intended naming it Fort
Reliance. The number of persons belonging to the establishment amounted
to fifty: consisting of five officers, including Mr. Dease; nineteen
British seamen, marines, and voyagers; nine Canadians; two Esquimaux;
Beaulieu, and four Chipewyan hunters; three women, six children, and
one Indian lad; besides a few infirm Indians, who required temporary
support. This party was far too large to gain subsistence by fishing at
one station only; two houses were, therefore, constructed at four and
seven miles distance, from the fort, to which parties were sent,
provided with the necessary fishing implements; and not more than thirty
persons were left to reside at the principal establishment. From fifteen
to twenty nets were kept in use, under the superintendence of Pascal
Coté, an experienced fisherman, who had two assistants. These were
placed opposite the house, and towards the end of summer, and in autumn,
they yielded daily from three to eight hundred fish, of the kind called
"the Herring Salmon of Bear Lake," and occasionally some trout,
tittameg, and carp. Four Dog-Rib Indians, who were engaged to hunt the
Rein-deer in the neighbourhood of the fort, from want of skill,
contributed very little fresh meat to our store. Augustus and Ooligbuck
employed themselves in the same service, but from not being accustomed
to hunt in a woody country, they were not more successful.

The consideration of next importance to furnishing the party with food,
was to provide regular occupation for the men, who had not the resources
to employ their time which the officers possessed. Accordingly, some
were appointed to attend exclusively to the fishing nets, others to
bring home the meat whenever the hunters killed any deer; some were
stationed to fell wood for fuel, others to convey it to the house, and a
third set to split it for use. Two of the most expert travellers on
snow-shoes were kept in nearly constant employment conveying letters to
and from the posts in the Mackenzie and Slave Lake. As the days
shortened, it was necessary to find employment during the long evenings,
for those resident at the house, and a school was, therefore,
established on three nights of the week, from seven o'clock to nine, for
their instruction, in reading, writing, and arithmetic; and it was
attended by most of the British party. They were divided in equal
portions amongst the officers, whose labour was amply repaid by the
advancement their pupils made: some of those who began with the
alphabet, learned to read and write with tolerable correctness. Sunday
was a day of rest; and, with the exception of two or three of the
Canadians, the whole party uniformly attended Divine service, morning
and evening. If, on the other evenings for which no particular
occupation was appointed, the men felt the time tedious, or if they
expressed a wish to vary their employments, the hall was at their
service, to play any game they might choose; and on these occasions they
were invariably joined by the officers. By thus participating in their
amusements, the men became more attached to us, at the same time that we
contributed to their health and cheerfulness. The hearts and feelings of
the whole party were united into one common desire to make the time pass
as agreeably as possible to each other, until the return of spring
should enable them to resume the great object of the Expedition.

The officers found employment in making and registering the
thermometrical, magnetical, and atmospherical observations, which were
hourly noted from eight A.M. to midnight; and, in addition to the duties
which they had in common, each had a peculiar department allotted to

Lieutenant Back had the superintendence of the men; and the accurate
drawings which he finished during the winter, from sketches taken on the
voyage, afford ample proof of his diligence and skill. Dr. Richardson,
besides the duties of medical officer, which, from the numerous
applications made by the natives, were not inconsiderable, devoted his
attention to natural history, as well as to a series of observations on
the force of the sun's radiation. Mr. Kendall constructed all the charts
after the data had been recalculated by myself; he also made several
drawings; and he undertook an interesting series of observations on the
velocity of sound. To Mr. Dease the charge was committed of whatever
related to the procuring and issuing of provision, and the entire
management of the Canadian voyagers and Indians.

Previous to the officers leaving London, Dr. Fitton, President of the
Geological Society, had the kindness to devote much of his time to their
instruction in geology; and having furnished them with a portable
collection for the purpose of reference on the voyage, Dr. Richardson,
when he had leisure, explained these specimens, weekly, to the party,
and assisted them in reading on this science, which proved a most
agreeable and useful recreation to us all.

Some of the preceding remarks refer to a period of our residence later
than that which I am about to enter upon; but I thought it best to
insert them here, that the mention of them might not interrupt the
narrative of occurrences which I shall now resume.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 8th.] On September 8th, two men were sent off to
Slave Lake, in a canoe, with a despatch, containing an account of our
proceedings, addressed to His Majesty's Secretary of State for the
Colonies; and as we expected letters from England, by the way of
Hudson's Bay, they directed to await their arrival at Slave Lake. There
was almost constant rain from the 11th to the 14th, which much retarded
the work going on out of doors, and particularly the construction of an
observatory, which we were desirous of completing as soon as possible,
that the magnetical observations might be commenced. We found
employment, however, in whitewashing and fitting up the interior of the
different houses. The 15th proving fine, we established a meridian line,
and ascertained the variation by each of the compasses.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 20th.] Beaulieu returned with his family, the
Chipewyan hunters, and some Dog-Ribs, bringing a supply of dried meat,
rein-deer tongues, and fat, sufficient for a month's consumption, which
was reserved for use when the fishing should become unproductive. These
men reported, that at the time they quitted the northern shores of the
lake, the deer were retiring towards this quarter; which intelligence
accounted for the Indians having killed four within a day's march from
the house.

[Sidenote: Friday, 23rd.] The chimney of the last of the buildings being
completed this morning, the flag-staff erected, and all the men
assembled, we commemorated these events by the festivities usual on the
opening of a new establishment in this country. The first part of the
ceremony was to salute the flag; the men having drawn themselves up in
line, and the women and children, and all the Indians resident at the
fort, being disposed in groups by their side, a deputation came to
solicit the presence of the officers. When we appeared, we found our
guns ornamented with blue ribbons, and we were requested to advance and
fire at a piece of money which was fastened to the flag-staff. The men
then fired two volleys and gave three hearty cheers, after which Wilson
the piper struck up a lively tune, and placing himself at the head of
his companions, marched with them round to the entrance of the hall,
where they drank to His Majesty's health, and to the success of the
Expedition. In the evening the hall was opened for a dance, which was
attended by the whole party, dressed in their gayest attire. The dancing
was kept up with spirit to the music of the violin and bagpipes, until

[Sidenote: Monday, 26th.] These entertainments over, Beaulieu and the
hunters were despatched to the chase, and they soon added two moose-deer
to our store.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 27th.] There had been much rain in the course of the
preceding week, and the temperature was generally mild, but a fall of
snow took place on the 27th. Some Dog-Ribs came to the fort on that day
with the produce of their autumnal hunt, which was very inconsiderable,
but they rendered good service to us by taking away with them several of
their relations, who had been subsisting on our bounty for some time.
After their departure there only remained one man of the tribe, who,
being afflicted with rheumatic fever, was retained under the care of Dr.
Richardson. Warm clothing was provided for him, and a comfortable
leathern lodge was erected for himself and family.

[Sidenote: October, 1st.] The month of October commenced with frost and
snow, and the party were now furnished with fur caps, leathern mittens
and trowsers, and the rest of their warm winter-clothing. This day we
completed the erection of the observatory, and adjusted an instrument to
the magnetic meridian, for the purpose of observing the variations of
the needle.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 11th.] Much snow fell on the night of the 7th, and
on the 11th the small lake was firmly frozen over, and the ground in the
same state. All the migratory birds being now gone, except a few ducks,
which still lingered in the open water of Bear Lake, we considered this
day to be the first of the winter. It was remarkably clear and fine, and
we hailed the commencement of this season with a degree of pleasure,
from its contrast with the wet unsettled weather which marks the close
of summer. A few clouds passing over the sun's disk, produced an
instantaneous depression of ten degrees of the mercury in a thermometer
exposed to the sun's rays. The atmospherical refraction was remarkably
strong at this time. We had repeated opportunities, in the course of the
winter, of observing it to be greatest in similar states of the

The boats were now secured for the winter in a sheltered place, and
screened as much as possible from the effects of the wind and snow
drift, by a strong fence made of boughs and branches.

[Sidenote: Friday, 14th.] We were surprised on the 14th by the arrival
of two Canadians from Fort Norman, with letters from Governor Simpson,
and other gentlemen in the southern districts, containing satisfactory
answers to the requisitions for stores that I had made in my passage
through the country. We were also pleased to learn that Thomas Matthews,
the carpenter, whom we had left at Cumberland House, on account of his
leg being broken, had reached Fort Norman, in the Company's canoe; and I
felt much indebted to Mr. James Keith, and Mr. Smith, Chief Factors,
for the care and tenderness with which they had conveyed him through the

The season at which the ice begins to form, is the most favourable for
fishing in the lakes of this country, and we then procured from four to
five hundred daily. Those not required for immediate consumption, were
hung on a stage to freeze, in which state they keep until the following
spring. But we could not derive the full advantage from the season,
because the drift ice, making it unsafe to keep the nets set in Bear
Lake, they were taken up on the 18th. Near a month elapsed before they
could be set with safety under the ice; our first attempts resulting in
the loss of three nets. We procured, however, a few fish from the small
lake, during this interval, and the rest of our food was supplied from
the store of dried meat.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 20th.] We were visited on the 20th by a storm of
snow, which continued, without intermission, for thirty-six hours.
Although it put an end to the skating, and the games on the ice, which
had been our evenings' amusement for the preceding week, yet the change
made every one glad, because the snow was now deep enough for winter
travelling. We had learned, some days before, that the hunters had
stored fifteen rein-deer in the woods, and on the 22nd four men were
despatched with sledges to bring them to the fort.

The first throw off of the dog-sledges for the season never fails to
attract general attention; accordingly the whole party was collected to
witness it on this occasion. They set off at full speed, and were soon
out of sight. From this time dog-sledges were used to drag the fuel,
which had been hitherto done by the men. We sent a party to cut down
timber, and saw it into planks, fit for the construction of another

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 26th.] On the 26th the thermometer first fell
below zero, but the month closed with a very calm, mild day. Mr. Kendall
and I were employed in measuring a geographical mile on the small lake,
preparatory to a series of observations on the velocity of sound. The
only ferine companions we now had were a few hardy quadrupeds and birds,
capable of enduring the winter. The variety of the former was confined
to wolves, foxes, martens, hares, mice, and a few rein-deer. Of the
feathered tribe, there were the raven and Canadian crow, some
snow-birds, wood-peckers, red-caps, crossbeaks, Canada, rock, and willow
partridges, and a few hawks and owls.

[Sidenote: November, 9th.] Having received information that the Hudson's
Bay Company intended sending their annual despatch from the Mackenzie
River to York Factory, by the close of this month, and the ice on Bear
Lake and the Mackenzie River being, on the 9th, sufficiently strong, we
forwarded a packet of letters to Fort Norman, and a dog-sledge to convey
Thomas Matthews to this place. On the 15th the nets were reset under the
ice, and we were relieved from the necessity of putting the party on
short allowance. We had the additional pleasure of learning that the
hunters had killed ten rein-deer. The men returned from Fort Norman on
the 18th, accompanied by Thomas Matthews, whose leg was yet too weak for
him to walk more than a short distance.

During the middle, and towards the close of November, parheliæ were
frequent; the most brilliant appeared on the 27th; it continued as long
as the sun was above the horizon. The atmosphere was cloudless, and
apparently free from haze, except just about the sun, which seemed to
gleam through a fog. The surrounding circle was nearly complete, and
displayed the prismatic colours vividly; from the centre of the sun's
disk a beam of bright light extended upwards several degrees beyond the
circle. The inner radius of the circle measured 21 degrees 34 minutes,
and the outer 22 degrees 50 minutes. The wind blew fresh all the day
from E.N.E., and the temperature was 10 degrees. In the evening the moon
was encircled by two distinct halos; temperature 7 degrees.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 29th.] This morning the principal leader of the
Dog-Ribs, and a large party of his tribe, came to the Fort. It is usual
for Indians, on the first visit to an establishment, to make their
approach in line, with much formality; but on this occasion our visitors
showed an unusual degree of caution. Their distrust had originated in a
very trifling occurrence at the close of our house-warming festivities
on the 23rd of September. Some of the Canadians having asked Mr. Dease
if our Highlandmen did not come from the same country with the rest of
the English party, were told that they were natives of the mountainous
lands, or _Montagnards_. This name unfortunately being used by the
voyagers to designate the Dog-Ribs, was considered by the Highlanders to
be a term of reproach when applied to themselves, and a scuffle ensued.
Harmony was soon restored by the officers sending the most noisy to bed,
and next morning the true meaning of the word Montagnard was explained
to the Highlandmen, and the party set about their usual occupations with
their wonted good feeling towards each other. Not so with an unlucky
Dog-Rib, who had been attracted to the scene by hearing the name
applied by the voyagers to his countrymen bandied about from one to the
other, and thrusting his head into the crowd had received a blow. This
at once confirmed all his fears, and he fled to spread a report amongst
his countrymen that the white people intended to destroy the Indians.
Although his report was not fully believed, yet it produced the feeling
of distrust which the Indians manifested on their approach to the house.
It was entirely removed by the explanation we gave. These Indians having
brought a quantity of furs for the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as
dried meat for ourselves, and I having understood from Mr. Dease that it
would be an accommodation to them if they were permitted to deposit
their furs at this place, instead of carrying them to Fort Norman, I
acceded to this suggestion, and directed Mr. Dease to advance from our
stores the goods required for the purchase of the furs, which were to be
returned when we should visit that fort in the spring.

An old man belonging to the Company's establishment at Fort Norman
arrived this day with his wife, to stay some time with us, because the
supply of provision had failed at that post. We felt much pleasure in
sharing our means with this aged couple, who were much reduced by their
late scanty fare.

The close of November was marked by a succession of strong east winds,
and a mildness of temperature, rare at this season. On the 30th the
thermometer rose from +18 degrees to 29 degrees above zero, on the
occurrence of a gale from the north.

[Sidenote: December, 1st.] The first of December being a cloudless day,
we endeavoured to observe the latitude at noon, but failed, owing to the
extraordinary atmospherical refraction. [Sidenote: Friday, 2nd.] At
midnight, on the 2nd, there was a shower of hail, so small that we could
hardly distinguish it from rain. Dr. Richardson thought he perceived
lightning. Temperature +22 degrees, calm. On the night of the 4th
another instance of a sudden increase of temperature from +7 degrees to
26 degrees was observed, on a north wind succeeding a calm.

The fishery having gradually declined for some days, our nets were
removed nearer to the entrance of Bear Lake River, where the current
continued to keep the water open for a considerable space. We then
procured a daily supply of fish sufficient for the rations of the
household, as well as the dogs, though our number was now increased by
the party from the more distant fishery, which had proved unproductive.
The allowance was seven of the herring salmon to a man per day, and two
to each dog.

The shortness of the days now precluding the Indians from hunting, many
came, according to their custom, to spear fish at the head of Bear Lake
River, and their numbers gradually increased. They were not, however,
successful, nor diligent, preferring to beg what they could from us, and
sending their women and children to subsist on the offal of the fish
used at the fort. To encourage them to greater exertion, I provided them
with nets, and other fishing materials, but their indolence led them to
make a very ungrateful return; for on several occasions they emptied our
nets in the night, and thus not only robbed us of what they took away,
but, by deranging the nets, deprived us of the whole of that day's
supply. We never could ascertain the perpetrators of these thefts. The
blame was invariably thrown on some aged and infirm men, who denied it.
Notwithstanding the straits to which they became reduced, they could not
be persuaded to go off to a more productive fishery, until we were
compelled to withhold all supplies, from fear of starving our own party.
These Indians showed more indolence, and less regard for truth and
honesty, than any other tribes with which we had dealings. Their
sufferings are often extreme, and some of them perish every year from
famine; although, from the abundance of fish in this country, but slight
exertion would be required to lay up, at the proper seasons, a stock for
the whole year.

The difficulty of procuring nourishment frequently induces the women of
this tribe to destroy their female children. Two pregnant women of the
party then at the fort, made known their intention of acting on this
inhuman custom, though Mr. Dease threatened them with our heaviest
displeasure if they put it into execution: we learned that, after they
left us, one actually did destroy her child; the infant of the other
woman proved to be a boy. Infanticide is mentioned by Hearne as a common
crime amongst the northern Indians, but this was the first instance that
came under our notice, and I understand it is now very rare amongst the
Chipewyan tribes;--an improvement in their moral character which may be
fairly attributed to the influence of the traders resident among them.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 18th.] On the 18th a party of sixteen Hare Indians,
two Copper Indians, and a Loucheux, arrived with sledges of dried
rein-deer meat and furs. While the house was in confusion from the
unpacking of their lading, a melancholy scene took place, which excited
the warmest sympathy. The wife of one of our Dog-Rib hunters brought her
only child, a female, for medical advice. As she entered the room it was
evident that the hand of death was upon it. In the absence of Dr.
Richardson, who happened to be out, all the remedies were applied that
were judged likely to be of service; and as soon as he returned, there
being yet a faint pulsation, other means were tried, but in vain. So
gentle was its last sigh, that the mother was not at first aware of its
death, and continued to press the child against her bosom. As soon,
however, as she perceived that life had fled, she cast herself on the
floor in agony, heightened by the consciousness of having delayed to
seek relief till too late, and by apprehension of the anger of her
husband, who was doatingly attached to the child. The Indians evinced
their participation in her affliction by silence, and a strong
expression of pity in their countenances. At the dawn of day the poor
creature, though almost exhausted by her ceaseless lamentation, carried
the body across the lake for interment.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 20th.] The 20th being a very stormy day, we were
surprised at the arrival of two voyagers from Fort Good Hope, bearers of
letters from Mr. C. Dease, conveying the gratifying intelligence that
the Loucheux had seen the Esquimaux since the autumn, and that the
latter had found the presents which had been left at their huts, and
would be delighted to welcome the return of the white people to the
Esquimaux lands next spring.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 22d.] Our constant occupations had made the time
pass so swiftly, that the shortest day came almost unexpectedly upon us.
The sun rose this morning, (the 22d,) at 10h 24m, thirteen minutes
earlier than its appearance was expected from calculation, owing to the
great refraction. Mr. Kendall and I measured its meridional altitude
from the lake with two instruments, the one bringing its upper limb to
the top of the land four miles distant, the elevation of which had been
ascertained to be eight minutes, and the other to its base, the
depression of which was two minutes. The mean of both these
observations, corrected for refraction by the tables in the Nautical
Almanack, gave a result of 65 degrees 11 minutes 56 seconds N., which
latitude exactly corresponds with the best observations made in the
preceding autumn. At 8h 30m P.M. a halo was observed, whose radius
measured 28 degrees 40 minutes from the moon; and at an equal altitude
with the latter body there were two paraselenæ, which, as well as the
moon, were intersected by a luminous circle, having the zenith for its
centre, and a diameter of 94 degrees 15 minutes. The length of our
shortest day did not exceed five hours, but the long nights were
enlivened by most brilliant moon-light, and we had frequent and very
fine appearances of the Aurora Borealis. The latter phenomenon made some
of its grandest displays on the 26th of October, the 2d of November,
and the 7th of December. On all these occasions the disturbed motions of
the magnetic needle were very remarkable, and a most careful series of
observations convinced the party that they had a close connexion with
the direction of the beams of light of which the aurora was composed. My
observations also led me to conclude that the deviations of the needle
were, in a certain degree, connected with changes in the weather; for,
previous to a gale or a snow-storm, the deviations were always
considerable; but during the continuance of the gale, the needle almost
invariably remained stationary.

Preparations were made for the celebration of Christmas. The house was
replastered with mud, all the rooms whitewashed and repainted, and
Matthews displayed his taste by ornamenting a chandelier with cut paper,
and trinkets. On the evening of the 24th the Indian hunters' women and
children were invited to share in a game of snap-dragon, to them an
entire novelty. It would be as difficult to describe the delight which
the sport afforded them after they recovered their first surprise, as to
convey the full effect of the scene. When the candles were extinguished,
the blue flame of the burning spirits shone on the rude features of our
native companions, in whose countenances were pourtrayed the eager desire
of possessing the fruit, and the fear of the penalty. Christmas Day
falling on a Sunday, the party were regaled with the best fare our
stores could supply; and on the following evening a dance was given, at
which were present sixty persons, including the Indians, who sat as
spectators of the merry scene. Seldom, perhaps, in such a confined space
as our hall, or in the same number of persons, was there greater variety
of character, or greater confusion of tongues. The party consisted of
Englishmen, Highlanders, (who mostly conversed with each other in
Gaelic,) Canadians, Esquimaux, Chipewyans, Dog-Ribs, Hare Indians, Cree
women and children, mingled together in perfect harmony. The amusements
were varied by English, Gaelic, and French songs. After these holidays
were over, the Dog-Ribs at length yielded to the repeated solicitations
of Mr. Dease, and removed in a body to a distant part of the lake, where
they now confessed the fishery was more abundant. As the hunters were
drawing rations from our store, he despatched them in quest of deer,
furnishing them also with nets. After which there remained at the
establishment, only one infirm Indian and his wife.

[Sidenote: January, 1st.] January 1st, 1826. This morning the men called
in the hall to offer the congratulations of the season to the officers,
and we afterwards assembled to read divine service. On the evening of
the 2nd, similar festivities were held to those at Christmas, to welcome
the new year. The temperature was at -49 degrees on the 1st, which was
its lowest state during this winter. This severe weather was of short
continuance, for on the 3rd there was a storm of snow, and the
thermometer rose to -9 degrees.

[Sidenote: 4th.] Accompanied by Mr. Dease, and Fuller, the carpenter, I
walked several miles in search of birch-trees fit for the keel and
timbers of the new boat. We found some that would answer for the latter
purpose, but none for the keel; we, therefore, substituted pine. The
general depth of snow in the woody and sheltered parts was two feet.
[Sidenote: Monday, 16th.] On the 16th, by the return of the two men who
had been sent to Slave Lake, we had the happiness of receiving a packet
of letters, which left England in the preceding June. Beside the more
interesting private communications, our friends had been kind enough to
forward piles of newspapers, and several periodical publications. The
'Quarterly Review,' the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,' and a series
of the 'Literary Gazette,' and the 'Mechanics' Magazine,' were spread
upon the table, and afforded us the most agreeable amusement, as well as
never-failing topics for conversation. Could any of our friends have
dropped in upon us, in the evening, they would have found us discussing
the events of the by-gone year, with all the earnestness and interest
which we could have shown had they been the occurrences of the day, and
depended upon our decision. This valuable packet had nigh been lost on
its way through the interior, owing to the treachery of an Indian. The
fellow had undertaken to guide the Canadian servants of the Hudson Bay
Company, who had it in charge, from York Factory to Cumberland House;
but supposing, from its being unusual to forward packets at that season,
that it must contain something of value, he seized an opportunity, when
the two men had gone a little way from the river side, to steal the
canoe, with its contents, and cross the river. There were no means of
pursuit, and the poor men, destitute of food, without a gun, or even the
means of making a fire, were obliged to march to the nearest
establishment, through a very rugged and thickly-wooded country. They
reached it after many days travelling, and much suffering, and as soon
as they arrived, Mr. Mackintosh, the chief of the department,
immediately sent off different parties in search of the culprit. They
did not find him, though they got possession of the packet, which was
torn open, and the letters scattered upon the ground. I need hardly
mention that I afterwards remunerated the Canadians for their
sufferings and good conduct on this occasion.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 22nd.] On the morning of the 22nd we perceived a gray
wolf crossing the lake, and Augustus and Ooligbuck went in pursuit. The
speed of the animal, however, so much outstripped theirs, that it cooly
halted to snap up an unfortunate fox which happened to cross its path,
and bore it off in triumph. The visits of this animal were repeated for
three successive days, and it at last became so bold as to steal fish,
on two occasions, from a sledge which the dogs were accustomed to draw
home from the nets, without a driver. The dogs were not touched, but
this was accounted for when the wolf was killed, and found to be a
female, as Mr. Dease informed us that at this season of the year the
female wolves never attack the dog.

[Sidenote: February.] The month of February was a very anxious period of
our winter's residence. The produce of the nets and fishing lines had
been gradually diminishing during January, until the supply did not
afford more than three or four of the small herrings per man; and none
could be furnished to the dogs. The stock of dried meat was expended,
and serious apprehensions were entertained of the party's suffering from
want of food. The fish too, from being out of season, afforded very
little nourishment, and frequent indisposition was the consequence with
us all. Three of the stoutest men with whom this diet particularly
disagreed, suffered very much from diarrhoea. It became, therefore,
necessary to draw upon the stores of provision which had been set apart
for the voyage along the sea-coast, and, on the 6th, we despatched three
sledges to Fort Norman, for some pemmican, arrow root, and portable
soup: they were likewise to bring any iron that could be procured from
that establishment fit for being converted into nails or fastenings for
the intended boat. This being the last opportunity of the season for
forwarding letters to the southern department, I wrote to Governor
Simpson and the council at York Factory, requesting that supplies of
provisions might be stored for the Expedition, on the route to Canada
and York Factory, and that the necessary means of conveyance might be
provided for its return in 1827. All these arrangements requiring to be
made a year in advance, I included the whole party in the estimate of
the numbers to be provided for, that there might be no want of
provision, if the western part of the Expedition should, from any cause,
be obliged to retrace its steps. By the same conveyance I sent an
account of our proceedings, with maps and drawings, to be forwarded to
the Colonial Office.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 4th.] On the 4th of this month, when all were
heartily tired of short allowance, a report was brought of the traces of
a moose deer having been seen about twelve miles from the fort. Had the
days been longer, and a crust formed upon the snow, the hunters would
have found no great difficulty in running down the animal, but our
principal hope lay in their getting within shot without "raising
it,"--the expression used when a deer is scared. Beaulieu being the most
expert moose-hunter, went out on this occasion, accompanied by two
others, Landré a Chipewyan lad, and a Dog-Rib hunter. When they arrived
on the deer's track, they found that it had been raised, probably by the
Indians who first discovered it; but anxious to procure meat for the
fort, they commenced the pursuit. From their knowledge of the habits of
the animal, and of the winding course it takes, they were enabled to
shorten the distance; but after running four successive days without
coming in sight, Beaulieu had the misfortune to fall over the stump of a
tree, and sprain his ankle; the other two hunters being previously tired
out. When this accident happened, they knew they were near the deer, and
that it would soon give in, because its footsteps were stained with
blood. Beaulieu, however, on account of his lameness, returned to the
house, and his companions came with him. During the chase they
bivouacked on the snow, and subsisted on a few ptarmigan which they
killed. Landré after a night's rest, again set out, and was successful
after two more day's running; not, however, without having nearly lost
his life, for the moose, on receiving a shot, made a rush at him,
striking furiously with his fore feet. He had just time to shelter
himself behind a tree, upon which the animal spent its efforts, until
his gun was again ready.

Landré's arrival with the joyful intelligence of his success, was hailed
as the commencement of a season of plenty. When the moose meat was
brought in, we had not an ounce of provision in store, and it was,
therefore, most acceptable; although, from the manner in which it was
hunted down, it proved exceedingly tough. [Sidenote: Friday, 10th.] In
the evening, to increase our satisfaction, an Indian arrived with the
information that the fish were plentiful at the station to which the
Dog-Ribs had removed, and likewise that the hunters belonging to the
fort had killed some rein-deer near their lodges. We immediately
equipped four men with nets and lines, and sent them back with the
Indian, giving them directions to report whether more persons could gain
subsistence there. Their report, a few days afterwards, being
favourable, four more men were despatched thither. They sent us some
tittameg, weighing from six to eight pounds, which were the more
acceptable, because none of that kind had been taken in our nets since
the lake had been frozen over. By the time the moose was finished, the
men came back from Fort Norman, with three bags of pemmican, which
enabled us to continue the daily issue of rations, though the fare was
still scanty.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 25th] On the 25th, Beaulieu, accompanied by two
men, went off in one direction, and the Dog-Rib hunters in another, in
search of deer. Both parties were successful. From the former we
received a summons, after four days' absence, to send sledges for meat,
but not so from the Dog-Ribs, for they, to compensate for their long
abstinence, consumed almost all the meat, and gorged themselves to such
a degree, that they were unable to move, and became quite ill. From this
period we had a sufficient supply of provision, because the fisheries
improved, and we received deer from time to time. The men who had been
indisposed gained strength, from the increased quantity, and amended
quality, of their food; and we had also the gratification of seeing the
dogs daily fatten, amidst the general plenty. The conduct of the men
during the season of scarcity was beyond all praise; and the following
anecdote is worthy of record, as displaying the excellent feeling of a
British seaman, and as speaking the sentiments of the whole party.
Talking with Robert Spinks as to the difference of his present food,
from that to which he had been accustomed on board ship, I said I was
glad the necessity was over of keeping them on short allowance. "Why,
sir," said he, "we never minded about the short allowance, but were
fearful of having to use the pemmican intended for next summer; we only
care about the next voyage, and shall all be glad when the spring comes,
that we may set off; besides, at the worst time, we could always spare a
fish for each of our dogs." During the period of short allowance, the
three dogs under the charge of this man were kept in better condition
than any of the others.

We now called the men home from the nearest fishery, and set their nets
near the Bear Lake River, but the men at the distant station with the
Indians were kept there, and occasionally supplied the fort with fine
tittameg and trout. The otters did considerable mischief to our nets at
this time; six of these animals were seen in one day.

Many parheliæ were observed this month. On the 14th, at forty-five
minutes after nine A.M., the arched form of the clouds, and the
appearance of a collection of rays projected from the sun's disk in the
shape of a fan, strongly resembled the coruscations of the aurora. The
atmosphere was misty; temperature in the shade +8 degrees 5 minutes; and
when the thermometer with a blackened bulb was exposed to the sun's
rays, it rose to +43 degrees. The magnetic needle, at nine A.M., was
perceived to have made a greater deviation to the westward than usual at
that hour, and I imagine that the cause of this increase probably arose
from the atmosphere being then in a state of electricity, similar to
that in which it is when the aurora appears in hazy weather; on which
occasions we have observed that its coruscations have the strongest
effect in causing aberrations of the needle. A violent gale from the
north-west commenced on the 26th, and lasted, without intermission, for
thirty-six hours.

[Sidenote: March, 1st.] The early part of this month was marked by a
succession of gales from the N.W., with a few intervals of moderate
weather, in which the wind came from the east, and was attended by a
clearer atmosphere than usually accompanies easterly winds in the colder
months. We observed, with pleasure, on the 7th, that the sun had
sufficient power to soften the snow in exposed places, and to form
icicles from the roofs which had a southern aspect, but the return of
strong winds from the W.N.W. brought back severe weather. [Sidenote:
Saturday, 11th.] On the 11th there was a violent gust of wind, which, in
its passage over the lake, gathered up the snow in a column, similar to
that of a waterspout. Dr. Richardson made an excursion for the purpose
of examining the rocks to the north of the establishment. He returned
after two days, the snow being too deep for him to obtain specimens. The
description he gave of a view from an eminence nine miles behind the
fort, induced Lieutenant Back and me to visit the spot, and we were
amply repaid for the walk. The view embraced the mountains on the
borders of the Mackenzie to the west, a considerable portion of Bear
Lake River, with the mountains near its rapids, Clark's Hill to the
south, and the range of elevated land stretching to the east till they
were lost in the distance. To the N.E. there appeared several small
lakes, and the view was terminated by a portion of Bear Lake.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 21st.] The Chipewyan hunters who had been absent
since Christmas, returned to us with their families, and brought with
them a Dog-Rib girl, about twelve years old, who had been deserted by
her tribe. When they found her, she was in the last stage of weakness,
from famine, sitting by the expiring embers of a fire, and but for their
timely appearance, death must soon have ended her sufferings. They fed
and clothed her, and waited until she gained strength to accompany them.
The wretches who had abandoned the poor creature, were on their way to a
fishing station, which they knew to be very productive, and not above a
day's march distant. She was unable to keep the pace at which they chose
to proceed, and having no near relation but an aged aunt, who could not
assist her, they left her at an encampment without any food. The hunters
met this party of Indians about a month afterwards, when they were
living in abundance. The girl, by that time, had perfectly recovered her
strength, and they desired that she should be restored to them, but the
hunters firmly resisted their importunity, and one of them adopted her
as his own child. It is singular that she was the only female of the
tribe that could be called good-looking. Her Indian name was
Aton-larree, which the interpreter translated, Burnt-weed. Lieutenant
Back made a sketch of her, in the dress which the hunter's wife gave to
her on their first meeting. When the Indians came to the fort, I took
the first opportunity of their being assembled in the hall, to send for
the hunters and their wives, and to reward them by a substantial present
of clothing and ammunition. I also gave to them some neat steel
instruments, consisting of gimblets, and other useful articles, which
they were desired to preserve, and show to other Indians, as a testimony
of our approbation of their humanity. A present was also bestowed upon
the girl, and then the Dog-Ribs were addressed as to their unfeeling
conduct towards her. They listened quietly, and merely stated her
weakness as the cause. There is little doubt but that the transactions
of this day were canvassed afterwards, and it is to be hoped that the
knowledge of our sentiments gaining circulation, may induce a
discontinuance of their inhuman practices.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 22nd.] By the men who had conveyed our last packet
to Fort Simpson, we received intelligence that some Chipewyans had
brought information to the Athabasca and Slave Lakes, of their having
seen many indications of a party of white people on the sea coast
eastward of the Coppermine River. The report stated, that they had
found, in the preceding autumn, on the borders of a river near the
sea-coast, a sawpit, some saws, and axes, and a store of deer's meat.
There was snow on the ground, and the footsteps of the party appeared
recent. We concluded from these statements, that Captain Parry had laid
up his ships in the vicinity of Bathurst's Inlet, and sent
hunting-parties up the river to augment his stock of provision. I
therefore despatched two men with letters to Mr. M'Vicar, at Slave Lake,
containing a series of questions, that the matter might be thoroughly
investigated, and requested him to transmit the answers to the
Admiralty. I likewise begged of him immediately to procure a party of
Indians to go to the spot, and convey a letter from me to Captain Parry,
in order that they might either be employed as hunters for the ships, or
carry their letters to the nearest establishment for conveyance to
England. Had the information reached us sooner, so that a party could
have gone from Bear Lake to the point at which the ships were, and
returned before the men were wanted, I should have sent to ascertain the
fact. The idea of the ships being on the northern coast, the prospect of
their success, and the expectation of the eastern detatchment meeting
them in the summer, afforded enlivening topics of conversation for
several days, and on the day the intelligence came, we celebrated its
arrival with a bowl of punch. The health of Captain Parry, and his
party, as well as that of Captain Beechey, was drank with enthusiasm.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 23rd.] We obtained observations for the time, from
which it appeared that the chronometer, No. 1733, generously lent to the
Expedition by my friend the late Mr. Moore, had only varied its rate two
hundredths of a second, since the 3rd of November. I had worn it next my
skin, suspended round my neck, the whole time; and, consequently, it was
not exposed to much variation of temperature.

After the middle of this month the N.W. winds gave place to a succession
of easterly breezes; whenever these prevailed, we observed the
terrestrial refraction was much increased; double refraction of the land
was not unfrequent, and twice the mist arising from the open water,
appeared like a wall of ice. When the moon shone, halos, and
occasionally paraselenæ, were visible; and towards the close of the
month the coruscations of the aurora were often very brilliant.

During this month I noticed that on several occasions the magnetic
needle oscillated when I approached it in a dress of waterproof cloth,
although it remained stationary when others of the party examined it in
their ordinary garments. The waterproof dress probably acted by exciting
electricity in the body, although this opinion is rather contradicted by
the fact of a fur cap, which had been rubbed by the hand until it
affected the gold leaf electrometer, producing no change in the needle,
and my approach to the electrometer not causing the gold-leaf to expand.

[Sidenote: April, 6th.] Having failed in an attempt to make charcoal for
the blacksmith's use at this place, we despatched William Duncan, and
the blacksmith, to make some at Fort Norman, where birch trees are
plentiful; and on the 6th of April we were glad to see them return with
the first load. The carpenters had already prepared the timbers and the
keel for the new boat, and we were waiting for the coals to get the
iron-work forward.

[Sidenote: Monday, 10th.] On the 10th Dr. Richardson and Mr. Kendall
left the fort on snow-shoes, accompanied by an Indian guide, and a man
driving a dog-sledge with provisions, for the purpose of completing the
survey of Great Bear Lake, which Dr. Richardson had commenced the
preceding autumn. The day was remarkably warm; the blackened
thermometer, exposed to the sun, rose to +90; and we hailed with delight
a complete thaw. Cheered by the prospect, a spot was cleared of snow,
the keel of the boat laid down, and that there might be no delay, all
the sledges we could spare were despatched to fetch the remainder of the
charcoal from Fort Norman. [Sidenote: Tuesday, 11th.] On the following
day water was dripping from the roofs, and the flies were active within
the rooms. The continuance of mild weather for six days caused a rapid
decay of the snow, but no spots of land became visible. The men returned
with the charcoal, and from them we learned that the season was more
backward here than in the vicinity of Fort Norman. In the evening of the
17th, a telescope was put up in the meridian for finding the rates of
the chronometers by the transit of Arcturus. [Sidenote: Wednesday,
19th.] On the 19th, thirty Hare-Indians arrived with sledges, bringing
their winter's collection of furs for the Hudson Bay Company, and a
large supply of dried meat for us, which, with the stock already in
store, put us quite at ease respecting food until the season for our
departure. The party consisted mostly of young lads, who, very
good-naturedly, sang and danced for our amusement all the evening. They
also gave us specimens of the dances in use among the Loucheux, which
were more graceful than their own. The tune they sung to the
Medicine-dance of the Loucheux, struck me as being soft and pretty. The
ludicrous attitudes and grotesque figures of the dancers, as they
wheeled in a circle, shaking the knives and feathers which they had
between their fingers were happily sketched by Lieutenant Back.

As the fish had withdrawn from the open water at the commencement of the
fine weather, the nets were brought nearer to the house; but we did not
obtain more than thirty fish daily. This diminution, however, gave us no
concern, as we had plenty of meat. Shortly afterwards the trout began
again to take bait, and we caught several of large size. Easterly winds
prevailed this month, and they blew uninterruptedly from the 21st to the
last day. A storm, on the 28th and 29th, delayed the carpenters working
at the boat: the patches of ground which had for the last few days been
visible, were again covered with snow, and the general aspect was bleak
and wintry.

Dr. Richardson and Mr. Kendall returned on the 1st of May, and we were
furnished with the following particulars of their journey. Their course,
on leaving us, was first directed to the fishery in Mac Vicar's Bay,
which they reached on the fourth day, and from whence, taking with them
another sledge-load of provisions and an additional attendant, they
continued their journey to the bottom of Mac Tavish Bay, the most
easterly part of the Lake. The reduction in their stock of provisions
now caused them to commence their return, and they reached the fort
after an absence of three weeks, during which, in very unfavourable
weather, they travelled about three hundred and eighty miles. Dr.
Richardson had sailed four hundred and eighty miles through the lake in
the autumn, and in the two excursions, five hundred miles of its shores
were delineated, and the positions of many points established by
astronomical observations. About twenty miles of the north shore of Mac
Tavish Bay are the only parts of the Bear Lake remaining unsurveyed.
[Sidenote: May, 1st.] The following brief description of Bear Lake is
extracted from Dr. Richardson's Journal:--

"Great Bear Lake is formed by the union of five arms or bays, which were
named after Messrs. Keith, Smith, Dease, Mac Tavish, and Mac Vicar, of
the Hudson's Bay Company. The principal feeding-stream, named Dease
River, rises in the Copper Mountains, and falls into the upper end of
Dease Bay, which is the most northern part of the lake, and Bear Lake
River, which conveys the waters of the lake to the Mackenzie, issues
from Keith Bay, the most southerly arm. Mac Tavish Bay is the most
easterly portion of the lake, and Smith Bay, which lies opposite to it,
runs to the westward. Mac Vicar Bay has a southerly direction nearly
parallel to Keith Bay. The length of the lake, from Dease River to Bear
Lake River, is about one hundred and seventy-five miles; and its
breadth, from the bottom of Smith Bay to the bottom of Mac Tavish Bay,
is one hundred and fifty miles. A range of granite hills skirts the
bottom of Mac Tavish Bay. The Great Bear Mountain, at whose base some
bituminous shale cliffs are exposed, is about nine hundred feet high,
and separates Mac Vicar and Keith Bays; a similar mountain lies betwixt
Keith and Smith Bays. In Dease Bay, limestone and sandstone are the
prevailing rocks. The waters of the lake are very clear, and of unknown
depth; forty-fathoms of line were let down near the shore, in Mac Tavish
Bay, without reaching the bottom. There is a considerable quantity of
good wood, principally white spruce, in the vicinity of the lake; but
there is reason to believe that, before many years elapse, it will
become scarce, for it is very slow of growth, and the natives every year
set fire to it in various quarters, and thus destroy it for many miles.
The finest timber was observed on the west side of Great Bear Lake
Mountain. There are good fisheries in Dease Bay, and in various other
quarters of the lake; but the fish taken in Mac Vicar Bay are remarkably
fine and abundant at all seasons of the year. The principal advantage of
the site chosen for Fort Franklin, is its vicinity to the Bear Lake
River, and the great quantity of fish that can be procured at certain
seasons, although they are small and of inferior quality."

On the 5th of this month, the men being called in from the fishery in
Mac Vicar Bay, the whole party was once more assembled at the house,
anxiously looking forward to the arrival of spring. We hailed the
appearance of swans, on the following day, as a sure sign of its
approach. A goose was seen on the 7th, two ducks on the 8th, and on the
9th several gulls were observed in the open water near the Bear Lake
River. The snow, at this time, was rapidly diminishing from the surface
of the lake, and there were many spots of ground visible. We, therefore,
commenced the preparations for the summer's voyage. The seamen were
employed in repairing the coverings and sails of the boats, as well as
in refitting their rigging, and occupation was allotted to every person
in the establishment. These operations requiring the constant
superintendence of the officers, the observations of the magnetic-needle
were discontinued. After the middle of the month, we were visited by
occasional showers of rain, which removed the snow, and produced a
perceptible decay of the ice.

On the 23d, the ice broke away from the shore of the small lake, and
also of Bear Lake, in front of the house. Swans and geese were now daily
passing to the northward; many shots were fired at them, both by the
Indians and our own party, but only a few were killed. The geese were
principally of the kind known to naturalists by the name of Canada
geese, and denominated bustards by the voyagers. Numbers of white geese
also passed; we saw only two flocks of laughing-geese. The first swallow
came on the 16th, and, on the following day, many others arrived. A
variety of ducks, gulls, and many of the small aquatic birds, now
frequented the marshy borders of the little lake, which afforded
constant amusement to the sportsmen, and full occupation to Dr.
Richardson in preparing the skins for specimens.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 24th.] On the 24th, the musquitoes appeared,
feeble at first, but, after a few days, they became vigorous and
tormenting. The first flower, a tussilago, was gathered on the 27th.
Before the close of the month, several others were in bloom, of which
the most abundant was the white anemone (_anemone tenella_.) The
leaf-buds had not yet burst, though just ready to open.

The carpenters had now finished the new boat, which received the name of
the Reliance. It was constructed of fir, with birch timbers, after the
model of our largest boat, the Lion, but with a more full bow, and a
finer run abaft. Its length was about twenty-six feet, and breadth five
feet eight inches. It was fastened in the same manner as the other
boats, but with iron instead of copper, and to procure sufficient nails
we were obliged to cut up all the spare axes, trenches[2], and
ice-chisels. Being without tar, we substituted strips of waterproof
canvas, soaked in some caoutchouc varnish, which we had brought out, to
lay between the seams of the planks; and for paint, we made use of
resin, procured from the pine-trees, boiled and mixed with grease. The
other boats were afterwards put in complete repair. The Lion required
the most, in consequence of the accident in Bear Lake River. The defects
in the other two principally arose from their having been repaired at
Cumberland House with the elm that grows in its vicinity, and is very
spongy. We now substituted white spruce fir, which, when grown in these
high latitudes, is an excellent wood for boat-building. We were
surprised to find, that, notwithstanding the many heavy blows these
boats had received in their passage to this place, there was not a
timber that required to be changed.

In our bustle, we would gladly have dispensed with the presence of the
Dog-Ribs, who now visited us in great numbers, without bringing any
supplies. They continued hanging about the fort, and their daily
drumming and singing over the sick, the squalling of the children, and
bawling of the men and women, proved no small annoyance. We were
pleased, however, at perceiving that the ammunition we had given to them
in return for meat, had enabled them to provide themselves with
leathern tents. Their only shelter from the wind, snow, or rain, before
this season, had been a rude barricade of pine branches. Fortunately,
for our comfort, they were obliged to remove before the expiration of
the month to a distant fishery to procure provision.

[Sidenote: June, 1st.] The preparations for the voyage along the coast
being now in a state of forwardness, my attention was directed to the
providing for the return of Dr. Richardson's party to this establishment
in the following autumn, and to the securing means of support for all
the members of the Expedition at this place, in the event of the western
party being likewise compelled to return to it. Respecting the first
point, it was arranged that Beaulieu the interpreter, and four
Canadians, should quit Fort Franklin on the 6th of August, and proceed
direct to Dease River with a bateau, and wait there until the 20th of
September, when, if Dr. Richardson did not appear, they were to come
back to the fort in canoes, and to leave the boat, with provision and
other necessaries, for the use of the eastern detachment. All these
points were explained to Beaulieu, and he not only understood every part
of the arrangement, but seemed very desirous to perform the important
duty entrusted to him. I next drew up written instructions for the
guidance of Mr. Dease, during the absence of the Expedition, directing
his attention first to the equipment and despatch of Beaulieu on the 6th
of August, and then to the keeping the establishment well stored with
provision. He was aware of the probability that the western party would
meet his Majesty's ship Blossom, and go to Canton in her. But as
unforeseen circumstances might compel us to winter on the coast, I
considered it necessary to warn him against inferring, from our not
returning in the following autumn, that we had reached the Blossom. He
was, therefore, directed to keep Fort Franklin complete, as to
provision, until the spring of 1828. Dr. Richardson was likewise
instructed, before he left the fort in 1827, on his return to England,
to see that Mr. Dease fully understood my motives for giving these
orders, and that he was provided with the means of purchasing the
necessary provision from the Indians.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 7th.] The long reign of the east wind was at
length terminated by a fresh N.W. breeze, and the ice yet remaining on
the small lake soon disappeared, under the softening effects of this
wind. This lake had been frozen eight months, wanting three days. A
narrow channel being opened along the western border of Bear Lake, on
the 14th Dr. Richardson took advantage of it, and went in a small canoe
with two men to examine the mountains on the borders of Bear Lake River,
and to collect specimens of the plants that were now in flower,
intending to rejoin the party at Fort Norman. On the same day, in 1821,
the former Expedition left Fort Enterprize for the sea.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 15th.] The equipments of the boats being now
complete, they were launched on the small lake, and tried under oars and
sails. In the afternoon the men were appointed to their respective
stations, and furnished with the sky-blue waterproof uniforms, and
feathers, as well as with the warm clothing which had been provided for
the voyage. I acquainted them fully with the object of the Expedition,
and pointed out their various duties. They received these communications
with satisfaction, were delighted with the prospect of the voyage, and
expressed their readiness to commence it immediately. Fourteen men,
including Augustus, were appointed to accompany myself and Lieutenant
Back, in the Lion and Reliance, the two larger boats; and ten, including
Ooligbuck, to go with Dr. Richardson and Mr. Kendall, in the Dolphin and
Union. In order to make up the complement of fourteen for the western
party, I proposed to receive two volunteers from the Canadian voyagers;
and to the credit of Canadian enterprise, every man came forward. I
chose François Felix and Alexis Vivier, because they were the first who
offered their services, and this too without any stipulation as to
increase of wages.

Spare blankets, and every thing that could be useful for the voyage, or
as presents to the Esquimaux, which our stores could furnish, were
divided between the eastern and western parties, and put up into bales
of a size convenient for stowage. This interesting day was closed by the
consumption of a small quantity of rum, reserved for the occasion,
followed by a merry dance, in which all joined with great glee, in their
working dresses. On the following Sunday the officers and men assembled
at Divine service, dressed in their new uniforms; and in addition to the
ordinary service of the day, the special protection of Providence was
implored on the enterprise we were about to commence. The guns were
cleaned the next day, and stowed in the arm chests, which had been made
to fit the boats. Tuesday and Wednesday were set apart for the officers
and men to pack their own things. A strong western breeze occurred on
the 21st, which removed the ice from the front of the house and opened a
passage to the Bear Lake River. The men were sent with the boats and
stores to the river in the evening, and were heartily cheered on
quitting the beach. The officers remained to pack up the charts,
drawings, and other documents, which were to be left at the fort; and,
in the event of none of the officers returning, Mr. Dease was directed
to forward them to England. We quitted the house at half past ten, on
Thursday morning, leaving Coté, the fisherman, in charge, until Mr.
Dease should return from Fort Norman. This worthy old man, sharing the
enthusiasm that animated the whole party, would not allow us to depart
without giving his hearty, though solitary cheer, which we returned in
full chorus.

The position of Fort Franklin was determined to be in latitude 65
degrees 11 minutes 56 seconds N., longitude 123 degrees 12 minutes 44
seconds W.; variation of the compass 39 degrees 9 minutes E.; dip of the
needle 82 degrees 58 minutes 15 seconds.


[2] Used by the Indians to break up the beaver lodges.


Voyage to the Sea--Part from the Eastern Detachment at Point
Separation--Reach the Mouth of the Mackenzie--Interview and Contest with
the Esquimaux--Detained by Ice--Meet friendly Esquimaux--Point Sabine.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 22nd.] On our arrival at the Bear Lake River, we
were mortified to find the ice drifting down in large masses, with such
rapidity as to render embarkation unsafe. The same cause detained us the
whole of the following day; and as we had brought no more provision from
the house than sufficient for an uninterrupted passage to Fort Norman,
we sent for a supply of fish. This was a very sultry day, the
thermometer in the shade being 71 degrees at noon, and 74 degrees at
three P.M.

The descent of the ice having ceased at eight in the morning of the
24th, we embarked. The heavy stores were put into a bateau, manned by
Canadians, who were experienced in the passage through rapids, and the
rest of the boats were ordered to follow in its wake, keeping at such a
distance from each other as to allow of any evolution that might be
necessary to avoid the stones. The boats struck several times, but
received no injury. At the foot of the rapid we met a canoe, manned by
four of our Canadian voyagers, whom Dr. Richardson had sent with some
letters that had arrived at Fort Norman from the Athabasca Lake; and as
the services of the men were wanted, they were embarked in the boats,
and the canoe was left. Shortly afterwards we overtook Beaulieu, who had
just killed a young moose deer, which afforded the party two substantial
meals. At this spot, and generally along the river, we found abundance
of wild onions.

We entered the Mackenzie River at eight in the evening, and the current
being too strong for us to advance against the stream with oars, we had
recourse to the tracking line, and travelled all night. It was
fatiguing, owing to large portions of the banks having been overthrown
by the disruption of the ice, and from the ground being so soft that the
men dragging the rope sank up to the knees at every step; but these
impediments were less regarded than the ceaseless torment of the
musquitoes. We halted to sup at the spot where Sir A. Mackenzie saw the
flame rising from the bank in 1789. The precipice was still on fire,
the smoke issuing through several apertures. Specimens of the coal were

[Sidenote: Sunday, 25th.] We reached Fort Norman at noon on the 25th. On
the following morning the provision and stores which had been left at
this place were examined, and found to be in excellent order, except the
powder in one of the magazines, which had become caked from damp. I had
ordered a supply of iron-work, knives, and beads, for the sea voyage
from Fort Simpson; they had arrived some days before us, and with our
stock thus augmented, we were well furnished with presents for the
natives. The packages being finished on the 27th, the boats received
their respective ladings, and we were rejoiced to find that each stowed
her cargo well, and with her crew embarked floated as buoyantly as our
most sanguine wishes had anticipated. The heavy stores, however, were
afterwards removed into a bateau that was to be taken to the mouth of
the river, to prevent the smaller boats from receiving injury in passing
over the shoals.

We waited one day to make some pounded meat we had brought into
pemmican. In the mean time the seamen enlarged the foresail of the

The letters which I received from the Athabasca department informed me
that the things I had required from the Company in February last, would
be duly forwarded; they likewise contained a very different version of
the story which had led us to suppose that Captain Parry was passing the
winter on the northern coast. We now learned that the Indians had only
seen some pieces of wood recently cut, and a deer that had been killed
by an arrow; these things we concluded were done by the Esquimaux. Three
men from Slave Lake, whom I had sent for to supply the place of our
Chipewyan hunters, who were very inactive last winter, joined us at this
place. They were to accompany Mr. Dease and the Canadians to Fort
Franklin; and that they, as well as the Indians, might have every
encouragement to exert themselves in procuring provisions during the
summer, I directed a supply of the goods they were likely to require, to
be sent from Fort Simpson, as soon as possible. The longitude of Fort
Norman was observed to be 124 degrees 44 minutes 47 seconds W., its
latitude 64 degrees 40 minutes 38 seconds N.; variation 39 degrees 57
minutes 52 seconds E.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 28th.] Early this morning the boats were laden and
decorated with their ensigns and pendants, and after breakfast we
quitted the fort, amidst the hearty cheers of our friends Mr. Dease, Mr.
Brisbois, and the Canadians, and I am sure carried their best wishes for
our success. We halted at noon to obtain the latitude, which placed the
entrance of Bear Lake River in 64 degrees 55 minutes 37 seconds N.; and
Dr. Richardson took advantage of this delay to visit the mountain at
that point, but his stay was short, in consequence of a favourable
breeze springing up. We perceived that the four boats sailed at nearly
an equal rate in light breezes, but that in strong winds the two larger
ones had the advantage. When we landed to sup the musquitoes beset us so
furiously that we hastily despatched the meal and re-embarked, to drive
under easy sail before the current. They continued, however, to pursue
us, and deprived us of all rest. On our arrival, next morning, at the
place of the first rapids, there was scarcely any appearance of broken
water, and the sand-bank on which Augustus had been so perilously
situated in the preceding autumn, was entirely covered. This was, of
course, to be ascribed to the spring floods; the increase of water to
produce such a change, must have exceeded six feet. In the afternoon we
were overtaken by a violent thunder-storm, with heavy rain, which made
us apprehensive for the pemmican, that spoils on being wet. [Sidenote:
Friday, 30th.] It unfortunately happened that a convenient place for
spreading out the bags that were injured could not be found, until we
reached the Hare-Skin River, below the Rampart Defile, which was at nine
o'clock. They were spread out the next morning, with the other
perishable parts of the cargo, and we remained until they were dry. We
embarked at ten, and, aided by a favourable breeze, made good progress
until six P.M., when the threatening appearance of the clouds induced us
to put on shore, and we had but just covered the baggage before heavy
rain fell, that continued throughout the night. Four Hare Indians came
to the encampment, to whom dried meat and ammunition were given, as they
were in want of food from being unable to set their nets in the present
high state of the water. These were the only natives seen since our
departure from Fort Norman; they informed us, that, in consequence of
not being able to procure a sufficiency of fish in the Mackenzie at this
season, their companions had withdrawn to gain their subsistence from
the small lakes in the interior.

[Sidenote: July, 1st.] We embarked at half past one on the morning of
the 1st of July. The sultry weather of the preceding day made us now
feel more keenly the chill of a strong western breeze, and the mist
which it brought on, about four hours after our departure. This wind
being contrary to the current, soon raised such high waves that the
boats took in a great deal of water; and as we made but little progress,
and were very cold, we landed to kindle a fire, and prepare breakfast;
after which we continued the voyage to Fort Good Hope, without any of
the interruptions from sand-banks that we had experienced in the autumn.

On our arrival we were saluted with a discharge of musketry by a large
party of Loucheux, who had been some time waiting at the fort, with
their wives and families, for the purpose of seeing us. After a short
conference with Mr. Bell, the master of the post, we were informed that
these Indians had lately met a numerous party of Esquimaux at the Red
River, by appointment, to purchase their furs; and that in consequence
of a misunderstanding respecting some bargain, a quarrel had ensued
between them, which fortunately terminated without bloodshed. We could
not, however, gain any satisfactory account of the movements of the
Esquimaux. The only answers to our repeated questions on these points
were, that the Esquimaux came in sixty canoes to Red River, and that
they supposed them to have gone down the eastern channel, for the
purpose of fishing near its mouth. The chief, however, informed us that
he had mentioned our coming to their lands this spring, and that they
had received the intelligence without comment; but from his not having
alluded to this communication until the question was pressed upon him,
and from the manner of his answering our inquiries, I thought it
doubtful whether such a communication had really been made.

We had been led to expect much information from the Loucheux respecting
the channels of the river, and the coast on the east and west side near
its mouth, but we were greatly disappointed. They were ignorant of the
channel we ought to follow in order to arrive at the western mouth of
the river; and the only intelligence they gave us respecting the coast
on that side was, that the Esquimaux represented it to be almost
constantly beset by ice. They said also that they were unacquainted with
the tribes who reside to the westward. Several of the party had been
down the eastern channel, of which they made a rude sketch; and their
account of the coast on that side was, that, as far as they were
acquainted with it, it was free from ice during the summer.

Mr. C. Dease, the former master of Fort Good Hope, had retained two of
the Loucheux to accompany the Expedition until we should meet the
Esquimaux: they spoke a few words of the language, which they had
learned during an occasional residence with the tribe that resides on
the eastern border of the river. But the knowledge of the recent
transactions at Red River had convinced us that their presence would be
more likely to irritate than pacify the Esquimaux. We also discovered
that their sole motive for accompanying us was the desire of trading
with that people; and further, that they expected we should take their
families and baggage in the boats. Their services were therefore
declined; and a compensation was offered to them for their loss of time
in waiting for us; but having fixed their minds on the gain to be
derived from us and from the trade with the Esquimaux, they expressed
great disappointment, and were very intemperate in their language. As I
was anxious, for the sake of the trade at the post, to leave them no
room to complain either of us, or of Mr. Dease who had acted for us, I
spent several hours in debate with them to very little purpose, and at
last discovered that the whole scene was got up for the purpose of
obtaining a few more goods. My compliance with their wish rendered them
quite contented. I afterwards added a present to the principal chief of
the party, who still expressed a wish to accompany us, but he frankly
said that if he went, all his young men must go also. They came in the
evening in great good humour to exhibit their dances in front of our
tent, a compliment we could well have dispensed with, as we were busy.

Having ascertained that the Esquimaux were likely to be seen in greater
numbers than had been at first imagined, I increased the stock of
presents from the store at this place, and exchanged two of our guns,
which were defective, that the party might have entire confidence in
their arms. And to provide against the casualty of either or both
branches of the Expedition having to return this way, I requested Mr.
Bell to store up as much meat as he could during the summer. We learned
from this gentleman that the supply of meat at this post was very
precarious, and that had we not left the five bags of pemmican in the
autumn, the residents would have been reduced to great distress for food
during the winter. These bags were now replaced. The arrangements being
concluded, we spent the greater part, of the night in writing to
England. I addressed to the Colonial Secretary an account of our
proceedings up to this time, and I felt happy to be able to state that
we were equipped with every requisite for the Expedition.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 2nd.] We quitted Fort Good Hope at five on the 2nd.
In the passage down the river we were visited by several Loucheux, who,
the instant we appeared, launched their canoes, and came off to welcome
us. We landed, at their request, to purchase fish; yet, after the
bargain had been completed, an old woman stepped forward, and would only
allow of our receiving two fish: she maintained her point, and carried
off the rest in spite of all remonstrance. The natives were all clothed
in new leathern dresses, and looked much neater, and in better health,
than last autumn. Being anxious to reach the Red River, we continued
rowing against the wind until after midnight. On reaching that place,
the ground proved too wet for us to encamp; we, therefore, proceeded a
short distance lower down, and put up under some sandstone cliffs, where
there was but just room for the tents. As we were now on the borders of
the Esquimaux territory, we devoted the following morning to cleaning
the arms; and a gun, dagger, and ammunition, were issued to each person.
We had no reason, indeed, to apprehend hostility from the Esquimaux,
after the messages they had sent to Fort Franklin, but vigilance and
precaution are never to be omitted in intercourse with strange tribes.

[Sidenote: Monday, 3rd.] Embarking at two in the afternoon of the 3rd,
we soon entered the expansion of the river whence the different channels
branch off, and steering along the western shore, we came to the head of
a branch that flowed towards the Rocky Mountain range. Being anxious not
to take the eastern detachment out of their course, I immediately
encamped to make the necessary arrangements for the separation of the
parties. The warm clothing, shoes, and articles for presents, had been
previously put up in separate packages, but the provisions remained to
be divided, which was done in due proportion. Twenty-six bags of
pemmican, and two of grease, were set apart for the Dolphin and Union,
with a supply of arrow-root, macaroni, flour, and portable soup, making
in all eighty days' provision, with an allowance for waste. The Lion and
Reliance received thirty-two bags of pemmican, and two of grease, with
sufficient arrow-root, &c., to make their supply proportionate to that
of the eastern party. Provided no accident occurred, neither party could
be in absolute want for the whole summer, because at two-thirds
allowance the pemmican could be made to last one hundred days; and we
had reason to expect to meet with deer occasionally.

In the evening I delivered my instructions to Dr. Richardson; they were
in substance as follows:--He was to take under his charge Mr. E.N.
Kendall, and ten men, and proceed in the Dolphin and Union to survey the
coast between the Mackenzie and Copper-Mine Rivers. On reaching the
latter river, he was to travel by land to the north-east arm of Great
Bear Lake, where Beaulieu was under orders to meet him with a boat for
the conveyance of his party to Fort Franklin. But if he should be so
much delayed on the coast as to have no prospect of reaching the
Copper-Mine River by the close of August, or the Bear Lake Portage by
the 20th of September, he was not to expose himself or his party to risk
by persevering beyond the 15th or 20th of August, but was to return to
Fort Franklin by way of the Mackenzie, or by any other route he might
discover. The only cause of regret I had respecting the equipment of the
eastern party was my being unable to provide Dr. Richardson with a
chronometer, the main-springs of two out of the three chronometers
furnished to us having been broken. I borrowed, however, from Mr. Dease,
a watch, made by Barraud, to enable Mr. Kendall to obtain the longitude
by lunar distances. They were likewise provided with that excellent
instrument Massey's Log; and knowing Mr. Kendall's intimate acquaintance
with marine surveying, I had no doubt of his being able to make a
correct survey of the coast. The spot where the above arrangements were
made, bears the name of Point Separation, and lies in latitude 67
degrees 38 minutes N., longitude 133 degrees 53 minutes W.

As the parties entertained for each other sentiments of true friendship
and regard, it will easily be imagined that the evening preceding our
separation was spent in the most cordial and cheerful manner. We felt
that we were only separating to be employed on services of equal
interest; and we looked forward with delight to our next meeting, when,
after a successful termination, we might recount the incidents of our
respective voyages. The best supper our means afforded was provided, and
a bowl of punch crowned the parting feast.

We were joined by an elderly Loucheux, who gave us a better account of
the eastern and western channels than we had hitherto obtained. "The
west branch," he said, "would take us to the sea, and flowed the whole
way at no great distance from the mountains." "The eastern was a good
channel, and passed close to the hills on that side." He further
informed us that the Esquimaux were generally to be found on an island
in the eastern channel, but were seldom seen in the western branch. He
was, however, unacquainted with the coast, and we found afterwards that
he knew little about the movements of the Esquimaux.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 4th.] By six in the morning of the 4th the boats
were all laden, and ready for departure. It was impossible not to be
struck with the difference between our present complete state of
equipment and that on which we had embarked on our former disastrous
voyage. Instead of a frail bark canoe, and a scanty supply of food, we
were now about to commence the sea voyage in excellent boats, stored
with three months' provision. At Dr. Richardson's desire the western
party embarked first. He and his companions saluted us with three hearty
cheers, which were warmly returned; and as we were passing round the
point that was to hide them from our view, we perceived them also
embarking. Augustus was rather melancholy, as might have been expected,
on his parting from Ooligbuck, to proceed he knew not whither; but he
recovered his wonted flow of spirits by the evening.

The western party were distributed as follows:--


John Franklin, _Captain R.N._ George Back, _Lieutenant R.N._ William
Duncan, _Cockswain_. Robert Spinks, _Cockswain_. Thomas Matthews,
_Carpenter_. Robert Hallom, _Corpl. of Marines_. Gustavus Aird,
_Bowman_. Charles Mackenzie, _Bowman_. George Wilson, _Marine_.
Alexander Currie, _Middle Man_. Archibald Stewart, _Soldier_. Robert
Spence, _Ditto_. Neil Mac Donald, _Voyager_. Alexis Vivier, _Canadian_.
Augustus, _Esquimaux_. François Felix, _Ditto_.

Our course was directly towards the Rocky Mountain range, till we came
near the low land that skirts its base; where, following the deepest
channel, we turned to the northward. I was desirous of coasting the main
shore, but finding some of the westernmost branches too shallow, we kept
on the outside of three islands for about twelve miles, when we entered
the channel that washes the west side of Simpson's Island. It was
winding, and its breadth seldom exceeded a quarter of a mile. During our
progress we occasionally caught a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, which
was an agreeable relief to the very dull picture that the muddy islands
in our neighbourhood afforded. We halted to breakfast just before noon,
and observed the latitude 67 degrees 51 minutes N.

In the afternoon one deer was seen, and many swans and geese; we did not
fire at them, for fear of alarming any Esquimaux that might be near.
Encamped at eight P.M., opposite Simpson's Island, in latitude 68
degrees 13 minutes N., longitude 134 degrees 27 minutes W. The boats
were secured without discharging the cargoes, and two men were placed on
guard, to be relieved every two hours.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 5th.] We set forward at four A.M., with a
favourable breeze, and made good progress, though the river was very
winding. At eight we entered a branch that turned to the westward round
the point of Halkett Island into the channel washing the main shore. We
soon afterwards arrived at a spot where a large body of Esquimaux had
been encamped in the spring, and supposing that they might revisit this
place, a present of an ice-chisel, kettle, and knife, was hung up in a
conspicuous situation. Soon after we had entered the channel that flows
by the main shore, we first perceived lop-sticks, or pine trees,
divested of their lower branches, for the purpose of land-marks, and
therefore concluded it was much frequented by the Esquimaux. Our course
was then altered to N.W., and we soon passed the last of the well-wooded
islands. The spruce fir-trees terminated in latitude 68 degrees 36
minutes N.; and dwarf willows only grew below this part. A very
picturesque view was obtained of the Rocky Mountains, and we saw the
entire outline of their peaked hills, table-land, and quoin shaped
terminations. Two lofty ranges were fronted by a lower line of
round-backed hills, in which we perceived the strata to be horizontal,
and the stone of a yellow colour. A few miles lower down we found hills
of sand close to the west border of the river. We passed several
deserted huts, and in one spot saw many chips and pieces of split
drift-wood, that appeared to have been recently cut. The channel varied
in breadth from a half to three-quarters of a mile, but, except in the
stream of the current, the water was so shallow as scarcely to float the
boats, and its greatest depth did not exceed five feet. We landed at
eight P.M., on Halkett Island, intending to encamp, but owing to the
swampiness of the ground the tent could not be pitched. Having made a
fire and cooked our supper, we retired to sleep under the coverings of
the boats, which afforded us good shelter from a gale and heavy rain
that came on before midnight. Latitude 68 degrees 39 minutes N.,
longitude 135 degrees 35 minutes W.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 6th.] The continuance of stormy weather detained us
until two P.M. of the 9th, when the rain ceasing, we embarked. After
passing through the expansion of the river near the west extreme of
Halkett Island, we turned into the narrower and more winding channel,
between Colvill Island and the main. A fog coming on at eight P.M. we
encamped, in latitude 68 degrees 48 minutes N., longitude 136 degrees 4
minutes W.; temperature of the air 42 degrees, that of the water being
47 degrees in the middle of the stream. Several of the glaucous gulls
were seen, and this circumstance, as well as a line of bright cloud to
the N.W. resembling the ice-blink, convinced us that the sea was not far
off. A rein-deer appearing near the encampment, two men were sent after
it, who returned unsuccessful. Augustus obtained a goose for supper.
Many geese, swans, and ducks, had been seen on the marshy shores of the
island in the course of the day.

[Sidenote: Friday, 7th.] The night was cold, and at daylight on the 7th
the thermometer indicated 36 degrees. Embarking at four A.M. we sailed
down the river for two hours, when our progress was arrested by the
shallowness of the water. Having endeavoured, without effect, to drag
the boats over the flat, we remounted the stream to examine an opening
to the westward, which we had passed. On reaching the opening we found
the current setting through it into the Mackenzie, by which we knew that
it could not afford a passage to the sea, but we pulled up it a little
way, in the hope of obtaining a view over the surrounding low grounds
from the top of an Esquimaux house which we saw before us. A low fog,
which had prevailed all the morning, cleared away, and we discovered
that the stream we had now ascended issued from a chain of lakes lying
betwixt us and the western hills, which were about six miles distant,
the whole intervening country between the hills and the Mackenzie being

After obtaining an observation for longitude in 136 degrees 19 minutes
W., and taking the bearing of several remarkable points of the Rocky
Mountain range, we returned to the Mackenzie, and passing the shallows
which had before impeded us, by taking one half the boats' cargoes over
at a time, we came in sight of the mouth of the river. Whilst the crews
were stowing the boats, I obtained an observation for latitude in 68
degrees 53 minutes N., and having walked towards the mouth of the river,
discovered on an island, which formed the east side of the bay into
which the river opened, a crowd of tents, with many Esquimaux strolling
amongst them. I instantly hastened to the boats, to make preparations
for opening a communication with them, agreeably to my instructions. A
selection of articles for presents and trade being made, the rest of the
lading was closely covered up; the arms were inspected, and every man
was directed to keep his gun ready for immediate use. I had previously
informed Lieutenant Back of my intention of opening the communication
with the Esquimaux by landing amongst them, accompanied only by
Augustus; and I now instructed him to keep the boats afloat, and the
crews with their arms ready to support us in the event of the natives
proving hostile; but on no account to fire until he was convinced that
our safety could be secured in no other way. Having received an
impression from the narratives of different navigators that the
sacrifices of life which had occurred in their interviews with savages,
had been generally occasioned by the crews mistaking noise and violent
gestures for decided hostility, I thought it necessary to explain my
sentiments on this point to all the men, and peremptorily forbade their
firing till I set the example, or till they were ordered to do so by
Lieutenant Back. They were also forbidden to trade with the natives on
any pretence, and were ordered to leave every thing of that kind to the

On quitting the channel of the river we entered into the bay, which was
about six miles wide, with an unbounded prospect to seaward, and steered
towards the tents under easy sail, with the ensigns flying. The water
became shallow as we drew towards the island, and the boats touched the
ground when about a mile from the beach; we shouted, and made signs to
the Esquimaux to come off, and then pulled a short way back to await
their arrival in deeper water. Three canoes instantly put off from the
shore, and before they could reach us others were launched in such quick
succession, that the whole space between the island and the boats was
covered by them. The Esquimaux canoes contain only one person, and are
named _kaiyacks_; but they have a kind of open boat capable of holding
six or eight people, which is named _oomiak_. The men alone use the
kaiyacks, and the oomiaks are allotted to the women and children. We
endeavoured to count their numbers as they approached, and had proceeded
as far as seventy-three canoes, and five oomiaks, when the sea became so
crowded by fresh arrivals, that we could advance no farther in our
reckoning. The three headmost canoes were paddled by elderly men, who,
most probably, had been selected to open the communication. They
advanced towards us with much caution, halting when just within speaking
distance, until they had been assured of our friendship, and repeatedly
invited by Augustus to approach and receive the present which I offered
to them. Augustus next explained to them in detail the purport of our
visit, and told them that if we succeeded in finding a navigable channel
for large ships, a trade highly beneficial to them would be opened. They
were delighted with this intelligence, and repeated it to their
countrymen, who testified their joy by tossing their hands aloft, and
raising the most deafening shout of applause I ever heard.

After the first present, I resolved to bestow no more gratuitously, but
always to exact something, however small, in return; the three elderly
men readily offered the ornaments they wore in their cheeks, their arms,
and knives, in exchange for the articles I gave them. Up to this time
the first three were the only kaiyacks that had ventured near the boats,
but the natives around us had now increased to two hundred and fifty or
three hundred persons, and they all became anxious to share in the
lucrative trade which they saw established, and pressed eagerly upon us,
offering for sale their bows, arrows, and spears, which they had
hitherto kept concealed within their canoes. I endeavoured in vain,
amidst the clamour and bustle of trade, to obtain some information
respecting the coast, but finding the natives becoming more and more
importunate and troublesome, I determined to leave them, and, therefore,
directed the boats' heads to be put to seaward. Notwithstanding the
forwardness of the Esquimaux, which we attributed solely to the desire
of a rude people to obtain the novel articles they saw in our
possession, they had hitherto shown no unfriendly disposition; and when
we told them of our intention of going to sea, they expressed no desire
to detain us, but, on the contrary, when the Lion grounded in the act of
turning, they assisted us in the kindest manner by dragging her round.
This manoeuvre was not of much advantage to us, for, from the rapid
ebbing of the tide, both boats lay aground; and the Esquimaux told us,
through the medium of Augustus, that the whole bay was alike flat, which
we afterwards found to be correct.

An accident happened at this time, which was productive of unforeseen
and very annoying consequences. A kaiyack being overset by one of the
Lion's oars, its owner was plunged into the water with his head in the
mud, and apparently in danger of being drowned. We instantly extricated
him from his unpleasant situation, and took him into the boat until the
water could be thrown out of his kaiyack, and Augustus, seeing him
shivering with cold, wrapped him up in his own great coat. At first he
was exceedingly angry, but soon became reconciled to his situation, and
looking about, discovered that we had many bales, and other articles, in
the boat, which had been concealed from the people in the kaiyacks, by
the coverings being carefully spread over all. He soon began to ask for
every thing he saw, and expressed much displeasure on our refusing to
comply with his demands; he also, as we afterwards learned, excited the
cupidity of others by his account of the inexhaustible riches in the
Lion, and several of the younger men endeavoured to get into both our
boats, but we resisted all their attempts. Though we had not hitherto
observed any of them stealing, yet they showed so much desire to obtain
my flag, that I had it furled and put out of sight, as well as every
thing else that I thought could prove a temptation to them. They
continued, however, to press upon us so closely, and made so many
efforts to get into the boats, that I accepted the offer of two chiefs,
who said that if they were allowed to come in, they would keep the
others out. For a time they kept their word, and the crews took
advantage of the respite thus afforded, to endeavour to force the boats
towards the river into deeper water. The Reliance floated, but the Lion
was immoveable, and Lieutenant Back dropping astern again made his boat
fast to the Lion by a rope. At this time one of the Lion's crew
perceived that the man whose kaiyack had been upset had a pistol under
his shirt, and was about to take it from him, but I ordered him to
desist, as I thought it might have been purchased from the Loucheux. It
had been, in fact, stolen from Lieutenant Back, and the thief,
perceiving our attention directed to it, leaped out of the boat, and
joined his countrymen, carrying with him the great coat which Augustus
had lent him.

The water had now ebbed so far, that it was not knee deep at the boats,
and the younger men wading in crowds around us, tried to steal every
thing within their reach; slyly, however, and with so much dexterity, as
almost to escape detection. The moment this disposition was manifested,
I directed the crews not to suffer any one to come alongside, and
desired Augustus to tell the two chiefs, who still remained seated in
the Lion, that the noise and confusion occasioned by the crowd around
the boats greatly impeded our exertions; and that if they would go on
shore and leave us for the present, we would hereafter return from the
ship which we expected to meet near this part of the coast, with a more
abundant supply of goods. They received this communication with much
apparent satisfaction, and jumping out of the boats repeated the speech
aloud to their companions. From the general exclamation of "_teyma_,"
which followed, and from perceiving many of the elderly men retire to a
distance, I conceived that they acquiesced in the propriety of the
suggestion, and that they were going away, but I was much deceived. They
only retired to concert a plan of attack, and returned in a short time
shouting some words which Augustus could not make out. We soon, however,
discovered their purport, by two of the three chiefs who were on board
the Reliance, jumping out, and, with the others who hurried to their
assistance, dragging her towards the south shore of the river.
Lieutenant Back desired the chief who remained with him to tell them to
desist, but he replied by pointing to the beach, and repeating the word
_teyma_, _teyma_, with a good-natured smile. He said, however, something
to those who were seated in the canoes that were alongside, on which
they threw their long knives and arrows into the boat, taking care, in
so doing, that the handles and feathered ends were turned towards the
crew, as an indication of pacific intentions.

As soon as I perceived the Reliance moving under the efforts of the
natives, I directed the Lion's crew to endeavour to follow her, but our
boat remained fast until the Esquimaux lent their aid and dragged her
after the Reliance. Two of the most powerful men, jumping on board at
the same time, seized me by the wrists and forced me to sit between
them; and as I shook them loose two or three times, a third Esquimaux
took his station in front to catch my arm whenever I attempted to lift
my gun, or the broad dagger which hung by my side. The whole way to the
shore they kept repeating the word "_teyma_," beating gently on my left
breast with their hands, and pressing mine against their breasts. As we
neared the beach, two oomiaks, full of women, arrived, and the
"_teymas_" and vociferation were redoubled. The Reliance was first
brought to the shore, and the Lion close to her a few seconds
afterwards. The three men who held me now leaped ashore, and those who
had remained in their canoes taking them out of the water, carried them
to a little distance. A numerous party then drawing their knives, and
stripping themselves to the waist, ran to the Reliance, and having first
hauled her as far up as they could, began a regular pillage, handing the
articles to the women, who, ranged in a row behind, quickly conveyed
them out of sight. Lieutenant Back and his crew strenuously, but
good-humouredly, resisted the attack, and rescued many things from their
grasp, but they were overpowered by numbers, and had even some
difficulty in preserving their arms. One fellow had the audacity to
snatch Vivier's knife from his breast, and to cut the buttons from his
coat, whilst three stout Esquimaux surrounded Lieutenant Back with
uplifted daggers, and were incessant in their demands for whatever
attracted their attention, especially for the anchor buttons which he
wore on his waistcoat. In this juncture a young chief coming to his aid,
drove the assailants away. In their retreat they carried off a writing
desk and cloak, which the chief rescued, and then seating himself on
Lieutenant Back's knee, he endeavoured to persuade his countrymen to
desist by vociferating "_teyma teyma_," and was, indeed, very active in
saving whatever he could from their depredations. The Lion had hitherto
been beset by smaller numbers, and her crew, by firmly keeping their
seats on the cover spread over the cargo, and by beating the natives off
with the butt-ends of their muskets, had been able to prevent any
article of importance from being carried away. But as soon as I
perceived that the work of plunder was going on so actively in the
Reliance, I went with Augustus to assist in repressing the tumult; and
our bold and active little interpreter rushed among the crowd on shore,
and harangued them on their treacherous conduct, until he was actually
hoarse. In a short time, however, I was summoned back by Duncan, who
called out to me that the Esquimaux had now commenced in earnest to
plunder the Lion, and on my return, I found the sides of the boat lined
with men as thick as they could stand, brandishing their knives in the
most furious manner, and attempting to seize every thing that was
moveable; whilst another party was ranged on the outside ready to bear
away the stolen goods. The Lion's crew still kept their seats, but as it
was impossible for so small a number to keep off such a formidable and
determined body, several articles were carried off. Our principal object
was to prevent the loss of the arms, oars, or masts, or any thing on
which the continuance of the voyage, or our personal safety, depended.
Many attempts were made to purloin the box containing the astronomical
instruments, and Duncan, after thrice rescuing it from their hands, made
it fast to his leg with a cord, determined that they should drag him
away also if they took it.

In the whole of this unequal contest, the self-possession of our men was
not more conspicuous than the coolness with which the Esquimaux received
the heavy blows dealt to them with the butts of the muskets. But at
length, irritated at being so often foiled in their attempts, several of
them jumped on board and forcibly endeavoured to take the daggers and
shot-belts that were about the men's persons; and I myself was engaged
with three of them who were trying to disarm me. Lieutenant Back
perceiving our situation, and fully appreciating my motives in not
coming to extremities, had the kindness to send to my assistance the
young chief who had protected him, and who, on his arrival, drove my
antagonists out of the boat. I then saw that my crew were nearly
overpowered in the fore part of the boat, and hastening to their aid, I
fortunately arrived in time to prevent George Wilson from discharging
the contents of his musket into the body of an Esquimaux. He had
received a provocation of which I was ignorant until the next day, for
the fellow had struck at him with a knife, and cut through his coat and
waistcoat; and it was only after the affray was over that I learned that
Gustavus Aird, the bowman of the Lion, and three of the Reliance's crew,
had also narrowly escaped from being wounded, their clothes being cut by
the blows made at them with knives. No sooner was the bow clear of one
set of marauders, than another party commenced their operations at the
stern. My gun was now the object of the struggle, which was beginning to
assume a more serious complexion, when the whole of the Esquimaux
suddenly fled, and hid themselves behind the drift timber and canoes on
the beach. It appears that by the exertions of the crew, the Reliance
was again afloat, and Lieutenant Back wisely judging that this was the
proper moment for more active interference, directed his men to level
their muskets, which had produced that sudden panic. The Lion happily
floated soon after, and both were retiring from the beach, when the
Esquimaux having recovered from their consternation, put their kaiyacks
in the water, and were preparing to follow us; but I desired Augustus to
say that I would shoot the first man who came within range of our
muskets, which prevented them.

It was now about eight o'clock in the evening, and we had been engaged
in this harrassing contest for several hours, yet the only things of
importance which they had carried off were the mess canteen and kettles,
a tent, a bale containing blankets and shoes, one of the men's bags, and
the jib-sails. The other articles they took could well be spared, and
they would, in fact, have been distributed amongst them, had they
remained quiet. The place to which the boats were dragged is designated
by the name of Pillage Point. I cannot sufficiently praise the fortitude
and obedience of both the boats' crews in abstaining from the use of
their arms. In the first instance I had been influenced by the desire of
preventing unnecessary bloodshed, and afterwards, when the critical
situation of my party might have well warranted me in employing more
decided means for their defence, I still endeavoured to temporize, being
convinced that as long as the boats lay aground, and we were beset by
such numbers, armed with long knives, bows, arrows, and spears, we could
not use fire-arms to advantage. The howling of the women, and the
clamour of the men, proved the high excitement to which they had wrought
themselves; and I am still of opinion that, mingled as we were with
them, the first blood we had shed would have been instantly revenged by
the sacrifice of all our lives.

The preceding narrative shows that, bad as the general conduct of the
Esquimaux was, we had some active friends amongst them; and I was
particularly desirous of cultivating a good understanding with them, for
we were as yet ignorant of the state of the ice at sea, and did not know
how long we should have to remain in their neighbourhood. I was
determined, however, now to keep them at bay, and to convince them, if
they made any further attempts to annoy us, that our forbearance had
proceeded from good-will, and not from the want of power to punish them.
We had not gone above a quarter of a mile from Pillage Point before the
boats again took the ground at the distance of one hundred and fifty
yards from the shore; and having ascertained by the men wading in every
direction, that there was no deeper water, we made the boats fast side
by side, and remained in that situation five hours.

Shortly after the boats had been secured, seven or eight of the natives
walked along the beach, and carrying on a conversation with Augustus,
invited him to a conference on shore. I was at first very unwilling to
permit him to go, but the brave little fellow entreated so earnestly
that I would suffer him to land and reprove the Esquimaux for their
conduct, that I at length consented, and the more readily, on seeing
that the young chief who had acted in so friendly a manner was amongst
the number on the beach. By the time that Augustus reached the shore,
the number of Esquimaux amounted to forty, and we watched with great
anxiety the animated conversation he carried on with them. On his return
he told us that its purport was as follows:--"Your conduct," said he,
"has been very bad, and unlike that of all other Esquimaux. Some of you
even stole from me, your countryman, but that I do not mind; I only
regret that you should have treated in this violent manner the white
people who came solely to do you kindness. My tribe were in the same
unhappy state in which you now are, before the white people came to
Churchill, but at present they are supplied with every thing they need,
and you see that I am well clothed; I get all that I want, and am very
comfortable. You cannot expect, after the transactions of this day, that
these people will ever bring goods to your country again, unless you
show your contrition by returning the stolen goods. The white people
love the Esquimaux, and wish to show them the same kindness that they
bestow upon the Indians: do not deceive yourselves, and suppose that
they are afraid of you; I tell you they are not, and that it is entirely
owing to their humanity that many of you were not killed to-day; for
they have all guns, with which they can destroy you either when near or
at a distance. I also have a gun, and can assure you that if a white man
had fallen, I would have been the first to have revenged his death."

The veracity of Augustus was beyond all question with us; such a speech
delivered in a circle of forty armed men, was a remarkable instance of
personal courage. We could perceive, by the shouts of applause with
which they filled the pauses in his harangue, that they assented to his
arguments, and he told us that they had expressed great sorrow for
having given us so much cause of offence, and pleaded, in mitigation of
their conduct, that they had never seen white people before, that every
thing in our possession was so new to them, and so desirable, that they
could not resist the temptation of stealing, and begged him to assure us
that they never would do the like again, for they were anxious to be on
terms of friendship with us, that they might partake of the benefits
which his tribe derived from their intercourse with the white people. I
told Augustus to put their sincerity to the test by desiring them to
bring back a large kettle and the tent, which they did, together with
some shoes, having sent for them to the island whither they had been
conveyed. After this act of restitution, Augustus requested to be
permitted to join a dance to which they had invited him, and he was, for
upwards of an hour, engaged in dancing and singing with all his might in
the midst of a company who were all armed with knives, or bows and
arrows. He afterwards told us that he was much delighted on finding that
the words of the song, and the different attitudes of the dances, were
precisely similar to those used in his own country when a friendly
meeting took place with strangers. Augustus now learned from them that
there was a regular ebb and flow of the tide in this bay, and that when
the sun came round to a particular point there would be water enough to
float the boats, if we kept along the western shore. This communication
relieved me from much anxiety, for the water was perfectly fresh, and
from the flood-tide having passed unperceived whilst we were engaged
with the Esquimaux, it appeared to us to have been subsiding for the
preceding twelve hours, which naturally excited doubts of our being able
to effect a passage to the sea in this direction.

The Esquimaux gradually retired as the night advanced; and when there
were only a few remaining, two of our men were sent to a fire which they
had made, to prepare chocolate for the refreshment of the party. Up to
this period we remained seated in the boats, with our muskets in our
hands, and keeping a vigilant look out on Augustus, and the natives
around him. [Sidenote: Saturday, 8th.] As they had foretold, the water
began to flow about midnight, and by half past one in the morning of the
8th it was sufficiently deep to allow of our dragging the boats forward
to a part where they floated. We pulled along the western shore about
six miles, till the appearance of the sky bespoke the immediate approach
of a gale; and we had scarcely landed before it came on with violence,
and attended with so much swell as to compel us to unload the boats and
drag them up on the beach.

The whole party having been exhausted by the labour and anxiety of the
preceding twenty-four hours, two men were appointed to keep watch, and
the rest slept until eleven o'clock in the morning, when we began to
repair the damage which the sails and rigging had sustained from the
attempts made by the Esquimaux to cut away the copper thimbles. We were
thus employed when Lieutenant Back espied, through the haze, the whole
body of the Esquimaux paddling towards us. Uncertain of the purport of
their visit, and not choosing to open a conference with so large a body
in a situation so disadvantageous as our present one, we hastened to
launch the boats through the surf, and load them with our utmost speed;
conceiving that when once fairly afloat, we could keep any number at
bay. We had scarcely pulled into deep water before some of the kaiyacks
had arrived within speaking distance, and the man in the headmost one,
holding out a kettle, called aloud that he wished to return it, and that
the oomiak which was some distance behind, contained the things that had
been stolen from us, which they were desirous of restoring, and
receiving in return any present that we might be disposed to give. I did
not deem it prudent, however, for the sake of the few things in their
possession which we required, to hazard their whole party collecting
around us, and, therefore, desired Augustus to tell them to go back; but
they continued to advance until I fired a ball ahead of the leading
canoe, which had the desired effect--the whole party veering round,
except four, who followed us for a little way, and then went back to
join their companions.

I have been minute in my details of our proceedings with these
Esquimaux, for the purpose of elucidating the character of the people we
had to deal with; and I feel that the account would be incomplete
without the mention, in this place, of some communications made to us in
the month of August following, which fully explained the motives of
their conduct. We learned that up to the time that the kaiyack was
upset, the Esquimaux were actuated by the most friendly feelings towards
us, but that the fellow whom we had treated so kindly after the
accident, discovering what the boats contained, proposed to the younger
men to pillage them. This suggestion was buzzed about, and led to the
conference which the old men held together when I desired them to go
away, in which the robbery was decided upon, and a pretty general wish
was expressed that it should be attended with the total massacre of our
party. Providentially a few suggested the impropriety of including
Augustus; and for a reason which could scarcely have been imagined. "If
we kill him," said they, "no more white people will visit our lands, and
we shall lose the opportunity of getting a supply of their valuable
goods; but if we spare him, he can be sent back with a story which we
shall invent to induce another party of white people to come among us."
This argument prevailed at the time; but after the interviews with
Augustus at the dance, they retired to their island, where they were so
much inflamed by the sight of the valuable articles which they had
obtained, that they all, without exception, regretted that they had
allowed us to escape. While in this frame of mind the smoke of our fire
being discovered, a consultation was immediately held, and a very artful
plan laid for the destruction of the party, including Augustus, whom
they conceived to be so firmly attached to us that it was in vain to
attempt to win him to their cause. They expected to find us on shore;
but to provide against the boats getting away if we should have
embarked, they caused some kettles to be fastened conspicuously to the
leading kaiyack, in order to induce us to stop. The kaiyacks were then
to be placed in such a position as to hamper the boats, and their owners
were to keep us in play until the whole party had come up, when the
attack was to commence. Through the blessing of Providence, their scheme
was frustrated.

But to resume the narrative of the voyage. The breeze became moderate
and fair; the sails were set, and we passed along the coast in a W.N.W.
direction, until eleven in the evening, when we halted on a low island,
covered with drift wood, to repair the sails, and to put the boats in
proper order for a sea voyage. [Sidenote: Sunday, 9th.] The continuance
and increase of the favourable wind urged us to make all possible
despatch, and at three in the morning of the 9th again embarking, we
kept in three fathoms water at the distance of two miles from the land.
After sailing twelve miles, our progress was completely stopped by the
ice adhering to the shore, and stretching beyond the limits of our view
to seaward. We could not effect a landing until we had gone back some
miles, as we had passed a sheet of ice which was fast to the shore; but
at length a convenient spot being found, the boats were hauled up on the
beach. We quickly ascended to the top of the bank to look around, and
from thence had the mortification to perceive that we had just arrived
in time to witness the first rupture of the ice. The only lane of water
in the direction of our course was that from which we had been forced to
retreat: in every other part the sea appeared as firmly frozen as in
winter; and even close to our encampment the masses of ice were piled up
to the height of thirty feet. Discouraging as was this prospect, we had
the consolation to know that our store of provision was sufficiently
ample to allow of a few days' detention.

The coast in this part consists of black earth, unmixed with stones of
any kind, and its general elevation is from sixty to eighty feet, though
in some places it swells into hills of two hundred and fifty feet. A
level plain, abounding in small lakes, extends from the top of these
banks to the base of a line of hills which lie in front of the Rocky
Mountains. The plain was clothed with grass and plants, then in flower,
specimens of which were collected. We recognised in the nearest range of
the Rocky Mountains, which I have named after my much-esteemed companion
Dr. Richardson, the Fitton and the Cupola Mountains, which we had seen
from Garry Island at the distance of sixty miles. Few patches of snow
were visible on any part of the range.

Having obtained observations for longitude and variation, we retired to
bed about eight A.M., but had only just fallen asleep when we were
roused by the men on guard calling out that a party of Esquimaux were
close to the tents; and, on going out, we found the whole of our party
under arms. Three Esquimaux had come upon us unawares, and, in terror at
seeing so many strangers, they were on the point of discharging their
arrows, when Augustus's voice arrested them, and by explaining the
purpose of our arrival, soon calmed their fears. Lieutenant Back and I
having made each of them a present, and received in return some arrows,
a very amicable conference followed, which was managed by Augustus with
equal tact and judgment. It was gratifying to observe our visitors
jumping for joy as he pointed out the advantages to be derived from an
intercourse with the white people, to whom they were now introduced for
the first time. We found that they belonged to a party whose tents were
pitched about two miles from us; and as they were very desirous that
their friends might also enjoy the gratification of seeing us, they
begged that Augustus would return with them to convey the invitation;
which request was granted at his desire.

Before their departure, marks being set up on the beach one hundred and
fifty yards in front of the tent, and twice that distance from the
boats, they were informed that this was the nearest approach which any
of their party would be permitted to make; and that at this boundary
only would gifts be made, and barter carried on. Augustus was likewise
desired to explain to them the destructive power of our guns, and to
assure them that every person would be shot who should pass the
prescribed limit. This plan was adopted in all succeeding interviews
with the Esquimaux. After five hours' absence Augustus returned,
accompanied by twenty men and two elderly women, who halted at the
boundary. They had come without bows or arrows, by the desire of
Augustus, and, following his instruction, each gave Lieutenant Back and
myself a hearty shake of the hand. We made presents to every one, of
beads, fish-hooks, awls, and trinkets; and that they might have entire
confidence in the whole party, our men were furnished with beads to
present to them. The men were directed to advance singly, and in such a
manner as to prevent the Esquimaux from counting our number, unless they
paid the greatest attention, which they were not likely to do while
their minds were occupied by a succession of novelties.

Our visitors were soon quite at ease, and we were preparing to question
them respecting the coast, and the time of removal of the ice, when
Augustus begged that he might put on his gayest dress, and his medals,
before the conference began. This was the work of a few seconds; but
when he returned, surprise and delight at his altered appearance and
numerous ornaments so engaged their minds, that their attention could
not be drawn to any other subject for the next half hour. "Ah," said an
old man, taking up his medals, "these must have been made by such people
as you have been describing, for none that we have seen could do any
thing like it;" then taking hold of his coat, he asked "what kind of
animal do these skins which you and the chiefs wear belong to? we have
none such in our country." The anchor buttons also excited their
admiration. At length we managed to gain their attention, and were
informed that, as soon as the wind should blow strong from the land, the
ice might be expected to remove from the shore, so as to open a passage
for boats, and that it would remain in the offing until the reappearance
of the stars. "Further to the westward," they continued, "the ice often
adheres to the land throughout the summer; and when it does break away,
it is carried but a short distance to seaward, and is brought back
whenever a strong wind blows on the coast. If there be any channels in
these parts, they are unsafe for boats, as the ice is continually
tossing about." "We wonder, therefore," they said, "that you are not
provided with sledges and dogs, as our men are, to travel along the
land, when these interruptions occur." They concluded by warning us not
to stay to the westward after the stars could be seen, because the
winds would then blow strong from the sea, and pack the ice on the
shore. On further inquiry we learned that this party is usually
employed, during the summer, in catching whales and seals, in the
vicinity of the Mackenzie, and that they seldom travel to the westward
beyond a few days' journey. We were, therefore, not much distressed by
intelligence which we supposed might have originated in exaggerated
accounts received from others. In the evening Augustus returned with
them to their tents, and two of the men undertook to fetch a specimen of
the rock from Mount Fitton, which was distant about twenty miles. The
following observations were obtained:--Latitude 69 degrees 1 minute 24
seconds N.; longitude 137 degrees 35 minutes W.; variation 46 degrees 41
minutes E.; dip 82 degrees 22 minutes.

The party assembled at divine service in the evening. The wind blew in
violent squalls during the night, which brought such a heavy swell upon
the ice, that the larger masses near the encampment were broken before
the morning of the 10th, but there was no change in the main body.

[Sidenote: Monday, 10th.] The Esquimaux revisited us in the morning,
with their women and children; the party consisted of forty-eight
persons. They seated themselves as before, in a semicircle, the men
being in front, and the women behind. Presents were made to those who
had not before received any; and we afterwards purchased several pairs
of seal-skin boots, a few pieces of dressed seal-skin, and some
deer-skin cut and twisted, to be used as cords. Beads, pins, needles,
and ornamental articles, were most in request by the women, to whom the
goods principally belonged, but the men were eager to get any thing that
was made of iron. They were supplied with hatchets, files, ice chisels,
fire-steels, Indian awls, and fish-hooks. They were very anxious to
procure knives, but as each was in possession of one, I reserved the few
which we had for another occasion. The quarter from whence these knives
were obtained, will appear in a subsequent part of the narrative. It was
amusing to see the purposes to which they applied the different articles
given to them; some of the men danced about with a large cod-fish hook
dangling from the nose, others stuck an awl through the same part, and
the women immediately decorated their dresses with the ear-rings,
thimbles, or whatever trinkets they received. There was in the party a
great proportion of elderly persons, who appeared in excellent health,
and were very active. The men were stout and robust, and taller than
Augustus, or than those seen on the east coast by Captain Parry. Their
cheek-bones were less projecting than the representations given of the
Esquimaux on the eastern coast, but they had the small eye, and broad
nose, which ever distinguish that people. Except the young persons, the
whole party were afflicted with sore eyes, arising from exposure to the
glare of ice and snow, and two of the old men were nearly blind. They
wore the hair on the upper lip and chin; the latter, as well as that on
their head, being permitted to grow long, though in some cases a
circular spot on the crown of the head was cut bare, like the tonsure of
the Roman catholic clergy. Every man had pieces of bone or shells thrust
through the septum of his nose; and holes were pierced on each side of
the under lip, in which were placed circular pieces of ivory, with a
large blue bead in the centre, similar to those represented in the
drawings of the natives on the N.W. coast of America, in Kotzebue's
Voyage. These ornaments were so much valued, that they declined selling
them; and when not rich enough to procure beads or ivory, stones and
pieces of bone were substituted. These perforations are made at the age
of puberty; and one of the party, who appeared to be about fourteen
years old, was pointed out, with delight, by his parents, as having to
undergo the operation in the following year. He was a good-looking boy,
and we could not fancy his countenance would be much improved by the
insertion of the bones or stones, which have the effect of depressing
the under lip, and keeping the mouth open.

Their dress consisted of a jacket of rein-deer skin, with a skirt behind
and before, and a small hood; breeches of the same material, and boots
of seal-skin. Their weapons for the chase were bows and arrows, very
neatly made; the latter being headed with bone or iron; and for fishing,
spears tipped with bone. They also catch fish with nets and lines. All
were armed with knives, which they either keep in their hand, or thrust
up the sleeve of their shirt. They had received from the Loucheux
Indians some account of the destructive effects of guns. The dress of
the women differed from that of the men only in their wearing wide
trowsers, and in the size of their hoods, which do not fit close to the
head, but are made large, for the purpose of receiving their children.
These are ornamented with stripes of different coloured skins, and round
the top is fastened a band of wolf's hair, made to stand erect. Their
own black hair is very tastefully turned up from behind to the top of
the head, and tied by strings of white and blue beads, or cords of white
deer-skin. It is divided in front, so as to form on each side a thick
tail, to which are appended strings of beads that reach to the waist.
The women were from four feet and a half to four and three quarters
high, and generally fat. Some of the younger females, and the children,
were pretty.

It would appear that the walrus does not visit this part of the coast,
as none of these people recognised a sketch of one, which Lieutenant
Back drew; but they at once knew the seal and rein-deer. We learned that
the polar bear is seldom seen, and only in the autumn; and likewise that
there are very few of the brown bears, which we frequently saw on the
coast eastward of the Coppermine River. We had already seen a few white
whales, and we understood that they would resort to this part of the
coast in greater numbers with the following moon.

The habits of these people were similar, in every respect, to those of
the tribes described by Captain Parry, and their dialect differed so
little from that used by Augustus, that he had no difficulty in
understanding them. He was, therefore, able to give them full
particulars relative to the attack made by the other party, and they
expressed themselves much hurt at their treacherous conduct. "Those are
bad men," they said, "and never fail either to quarrel with us, or steal
from us, when we meet. They come, every spring, from the eastern side of
the Mackenzie, to fish at the place where you saw them, and return as
soon as the ice opens. They are distinguished from us, who live to the
westward of the river, by the men being tattoed across the face. Among
our tribes the women only are tattoed;" having five or six blue lines
drawn perpendicular from the under lip to the chin. The speaker added,
"If you are obliged to return by this way, before these people remove,
we, with a reinforcement of young men, will be in the vicinity, and will
willingly accompany you to assist in repelling any attack." Augustus
returned with the Esquimaux to their tents, as there was not the least
prospect of our getting forward, though the ice was somewhat broken.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 11th.] A strong breeze from the westward during the
night, contributed, with the swell, to the further reduction of the ice,
in front of the encampment; and on the morning of the 11th, the wind
changed to the eastward, and removed the pieces a little way off shore,
though they were tossing too violently for the boats to proceed. The
swell having subsided in the afternoon, we embarked; but at the end of a
mile and a half were forced to land again, from the ice being fixed to
the shore; and as the wind had now become strong, and was driving the
loose pieces on the land, the boats were unloaded and landed on the
beach. From the summit of an adjoining hill we perceived an unbroken
field of ice to the west, and, consequently, a barrier to our progress.

We encamped on the spot which our Esquimaux friends had left in the
morning, to remove in their oomiaks and kaiyacks towards the Mackenzie,
where they could set their fishing nets, and catch whales and seals. One
of them showed his honesty, by returning some arrows, and a piece of a
pemmican bag, that we had left at our last resting-place. The men also
joined us here with specimens of rock from Mount Fitton.

The Esquimaux winter residences at this spot were constructed of drift
timber, with the roots of the trees upwards, and contained from one to
three small apartments, beside a cellar for their stores. There were
generally two entrances, north and south, so low as to make it necessary
to crawl through them. The only aperture was a hole at the top for the
smoke, which, as well as the doorways, could be filled up with a block
of snow at pleasure. When covered with snow, and with lamps of fire
burning within, these habitations must be extremely warm, though to our
ideas rather comfortless. Lofty stages were erected near them for the
purpose of receiving their canoes, and bulky articles. A north-east gale
came on in the evening, and rolled such a heavy surf on the beach, that
twice, during the night, we were obliged to drag the boats and cargoes
higher up.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 12th.] About three the next morning a heavy rain
commenced, and continued, without intermission, through the day; at
which we were delighted, however comfortless it made our situation,
because we saw the ice gradually loosening from the land under its
effects. We found the keeping a tide-pole fixed in the loose gravel
beach impracticable here, as well as at the last resting-place, on
account of the swell. It appeared to be high water this morning at half
past one A.M., and that the rise of tide was about two feet. I need
hardly observe that we had the sun constantly above the horizon, were it
not for the purpose of mentioning the amusing mistakes which the men
made as to the hour. In fact, when not employed, a question as to the
time of day never failed to puzzle them, except about midnight, when the
sun was near the northern horizon.

Lieutenant Back missing the protractor which he used for laying down his
bearings on the map, Augustus set off in the rain early this forenoon to
recover it from an Esquimaux woman, whom he had seen pick it up. The
rain ceased in the afternoon, the wind gradually abated, and by eight in
the evening it was calm. A south wind followed, which opened a passage
for the boat, but Augustus was not in sight. [Sidenote: Thursday, 13th.]
At midnight we became greatly alarmed for his safety, having now found
that he had taken his gun, which we supposed the natives might have
endeavoured to wrest from him, and we were on the point of despatching a
party in search of him, when he arrived at four in the morning of the
13th, much fatigued, accompanied by three of the natives. His journey
had been lengthened by the Esquimaux having gone farther to the eastward
than he had expected, but he had recovered the protractor which had been
kept in their ignorance of its utility to us. His companions brought
five white fish, and some specimens of crystal, with other stones, from
the mountains, which we purchased, and further rewarded them for their
kindness in not allowing Augustus to return alone.

The boats were immediately launched, and having pulled a short distance
from the land, we set the sails, our course being directed to the outer
point in view, to avoid the sinuosities of the coast. We passed a wide,
though not deep bay, whose points were named after my friends Captains
Sabine and P.P. King; and we were drawing near the next projection, when
a compact body of ice was discovered, which was joined to the land
ahead. At the same time a dense fog came on, that confined our view to a
few yards; it was accompanied by a gale from the land, and heavy rain.
We had still hopes of getting round the point, and approached the shore
in that expectation, but found the ice so closely packed that we could
neither advance nor effect a landing. We, therefore, pulled to seaward,
and turned the boat's head to the eastward, to trace the outer border of
the ice. In this situation we were exposed to great danger from the
sudden change of wind to S.E., which raised a heavy swell, and brought
down upon us masses of ice of a size that, tossed as they were by the
waves, would have injured a ship. We could only catch occasional
glimpses of the land through the fog, and were kept in the most anxious
suspense, pulling in and out between the floating masses of ice, for
five hours, before we could get near the shore. We landed a little to
the west of Point Sabine, and only found sufficient space for the boats
and tents between the bank and the water. The rain ceased for a short
time in the evening, and during this interval, we perceived, from the
top of the bank, that the whole space between us and the distant point,
as well as the channel by which we had advanced to the westward, were
now completely blocked; so that we had good reason to congratulate
ourselves on having reached the shore in safety.


Babbage River--Meet Natives at Herschel Island--Their Trade with the
Russians, through the Western Esquimaux--Ascend Mount Conybeare--Boundary
of the British Dominions on this Coast--Delayed at Icy Reef--Barter
Island--Detention at Foggy Island--Return Reef--Limit of outward Voyage.

[Sidenote: Friday, 14th.] Although it rained heavily during the night,
and the wind blew strong off the land for some hours, there was no other
change in the state of the ice on the morning of the 14th, than that the
smaller pieces were driven a short way from the beach. The day was foggy
and rainy, but the evening fine. The bank under which we were encamped
is of the same earthy kind as that described on the 9th, but rather
higher and steeper. It contains much wood coal, similar to that found in
the Mackenzie River, and at Garry's Island. The beach and the beds of
the rivulets that flow through the ravines, consist of coarse gravel.
Specimens of its stones, of the coal, and of the plants in flower, were
added to the collection. We saw two marmots, and two rein-deer, which
were too wary to allow of our getting within shot of them. Between noon
and ten P.M. the loose ice was driving in front of the encampment from
the N.W. to S.E., and at the latter hour it stopped. We could not detect
any difference in the height of the water, and there was a calm the
whole time. A light breeze from S.E. after midnight, brought the masses
close to the beach. [Sidenote: Saturday, 15th.] On the morning of the
15th, having perceived that the ice was loosened from the land near the
outer point, to which I have given the name of Kay, after some much
esteemed relatives, we embarked, and in the course of a few hours
succeeded in reaching it, by passing between the grounded masses of ice.
On landing at Point Kay, we observed that our progress must again be
stopped by a compact body of ice that was fast to the shore of a deep
bay, and extended to our utmost view seaward; and that we could not
advance farther than the mouth of a river which discharged its waters
just round the point. The boats were, therefore, pulled to its entrance,
and we encamped. Former checks had taught us to be patient, and we,
therefore, commenced such employments as would best serve to beguile the
time, consoling ourselves with the hope that a strong breeze would soon
spring up from the land and open a passage. Astronomical observations
were obtained, the map carried on, and Lieutenant Back sketched the
beautiful scenery afforded by a view of the Rocky Mountains, while I was
employed in collecting specimens of the plants in flower. The men amused
themselves in various ways, and Augustus went to visit an Esquimaux
family that were on an island contiguous to our encampment.

We now discovered that the Rocky Mountains do not form a continuous
chain, but that they run in detached ranges at unequal distances from
the coast. The Richardson chain commencing opposite the mouth of the
Mackenzie, terminates within view of our present situation. Another
range, which I have named in honour of Professor Buckland, begins on the
western side of Phillips Bay, and extending to the boundary of our view,
is terminated by the Conybeare Mountain.

It gave me great pleasure to affix the name of my friend Mr. Babbage to
the river we had discovered, and that of Mr. Phillips, Professor of
Painting at the Royal Academy, to the bay into which its waters are
emptied. We learned from the Esquimaux that this river, which they call
Cook-Keaktok, or Rocky River, descends from a very distant part of the
interior, though they are unacquainted with its course beyond the
mountains. It appeared to us to flow between the Cupola and Barn
mountains of the Richardson chain. There are many banks of gravel near
its mouth, but above these obstructions the channel appeared deep, and
to be about two miles broad. There were no rocks _in sitû_, or large
stones, near the encampment; the rolled pebbles on the beach were
sandstone of red and light brown colours, greenstone, and slaty
limestone. We gathered a fine specimen of tertiary pitch-coal.

Augustus returned in the evening with a young Esquimaux and his wife,
the only residents at the house he had visited. They had now quite
recovered the panic into which they had been thrown on our first
appearance, which was heightened by their being unable to escape from us
owing to the want of a canoe. We made them happy by purchasing the fish
they brought, and giving them a few presents; they continued to skip and
laugh as long as they staid. The man informed us that judging from the
rapid decay of the ice in the few preceding days, we might soon expect
it to break from the land, so as to allow of our reaching Herschel
Island, which was in view; but he represented the coast to the westward
of the island as being low, and so generally beset with ice, that he was
of opinion we should have great difficulty in getting along. This
couple had been left here to collect fish for the use of their
companions, who were to rejoin them for the purpose of killing whales,
as soon as the ice should break up; and they told us the black whales
would soon come after its rupture took place. It would be interesting to
ascertain where the whales retire in the winter, as they require to
inhale the air frequently. Those of the white kind make their appearance
when there are but small spaces of open water; and we afterwards saw two
black whales in a similar situation. One might almost infer from these
circumstances that they do not remove very far. Is it probable that they
go, at the close of the autumn, to a warmer climate? or can the sea be
less closely covered with ice in the high northern latitudes? The
situation of our encampment was observed to be, latitude 69 degrees 19
minutes N.; longitude 138 degrees 10-1/2 minutes W.; variation 46
degrees 16 minutes E.; and a rise and fall of nine inches in the water.
The wind blew from the west during the night, and drove much ice near
the boats; but as the masses took ground a little way from the shore, we
were spared the trouble of removing the boats higher up the beach.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 16th.] We were favoured in the forenoon of the 16th
by a strong breeze from the land, which, in the course of a few hours,
drove away many of these pieces towards Point Kay, and opened a passage
for the boats. We immediately embarked to sail over to the western side
of Phillips Bay, concluding, from the motion of the ice, that it must
now be detached from that shore. On reaching it, we had the pleasure of
finding an open channel close to the beach, although the entrance was
barred by a stream of ice lying aground on a reef. The boats being
forced by poles over this obstruction, we stood under sail along the
coast to about five miles beyond Point Stokes; but there we were again
compelled by the closeness of the ice to stop, and from the top of a
sand-hill we could not discover any water in the direction of our
course. The tents were therefore pitched, and the boats unloaded, and
hauled on the beach. Heavy rain came on in the evening, by which we
indulged the hope that the ice might be loosened. We were encamped on a
low bank of gravel which runs along the base of a chain of sand-hills
about one hundred and fifty feet high, and forms the coast line. The
bank was covered with drift timber, and is the site of a deserted
Esquimaux village. The snow still remaining in the ravines was tinged
with light red spots. [Sidenote: Monday, 17th.] The night was calm, and
the ice remained in the same fixed state until six in the morning of the
17th, when, perceiving the pieces in the offing to be in motion we
launched the boats, and by breaking our way at first with hatchets, and
then forcing with the poles through other streams of ice, we contrived
to reach some lanes of water, along which we navigated for four hours. A
strong breeze springing up from seaward, caused the ice to close so fast
upon the boat, that we were obliged to put again to the shore, and land
on a low bank, similar to that on which we had rested the night before.
It was intersected, however, by many pools and channels of water, which
cut off our communication with the land. As we could not obtain, from
our present station, any satisfactory view of the state of the ice to
the westward, I despatched Duncan and Augustus to take a survey of it
from Point Catton, while Lieutenant Back and I made some astronomical
observations. They returned after an absence of two hours, and reported
that there was water near Herschel Island, and a channel in the offing
that appeared to lead to it. We, therefore, embarked; and by pushing the
boats between the masses that lay aground, for some distance, we
succeeded in reaching open water at the entrance of the strait which
lies between the island and the main, and through which the loose pieces
of ice were driving fast to the westward. Having now the benefit of a
strong favourable breeze, we were enabled to keep clear of them, and
made good progress. Arriving opposite the S.E. end of Herschel Island,
we perceived a large herd of rein-deer just taking the water, and on
approaching the shore to get within shot, discovered three Esquimaux in
pursuit. These men stood gazing at the boats for some minutes, and after
a short consultation, we observed them to change the heads of their
arrows, and prepare their bows. They then walked along the south shore,
parallel to our course, for the purpose, as we soon found, of rejoining
their wives. We reached the place at which the ladies were before them,
and though invited to land, we were not able, on account of the surf.
Augustus was desired to assure them of our friendship, and of our
intention to stop at the first sheltered spot, to which they and their
husbands might come to receive a present. More than this our little
friend could not be prevailed upon to communicate, because they were
"old wives;" and it was evident that he considered any further
conversation with women to be beneath his dignity. On passing round the
point we discovered that the ice was closely packed to leeward, and such
a heavy swell setting upon it, that it was unsafe to proceed. We,
therefore, encamped, and Augustus set off immediately to introduce
himself to the Esquimaux. The tents were scarcely pitched, and the
sentinels placed, before he returned, accompanied by twelve men and
women, each bringing a piece of dried meat, or fish, to present to us.
We learned from them that the boats, when at a distance, had been taken
for pieces of ice; but when we drew near enough for them to distinguish
the crews, and they perceived them clothed differently from any men they
had seen, they became alarmed, and made ready their arrows, as we had
observed. On receiving some presents, they raised a loud halloo, which
brought five or six others from an adjoining island, and in the evening
there was a further addition to the party of some young men, who had
been hunting, and who afterwards sent their wives to bring us a part of
the spoils of their chase. They remained near the tents the greater part
of the night, and testified their delight by dancing and singing. An old
woman, whose hair was silvered by age, made a prominent figure in these

The information we obtained from them confirmed that which we had
received from the last party, namely, that they procure the iron,
knives, and beads, through two channels, but principally from a party of
Esquimaux who reside a great distance to the westward, and to meet whom
they send their young men every spring with furs, seal-skins, and oil,
to exchange for those articles; and also from the Indians, who come
every year from the interior to trade with them by a river that was
directly opposite our encampment; which I have, therefore, named the
Mountain Indian River. These Indians leave their families and canoes at
two days' march from the mouth of the river, and the men come alone,
bringing no more goods than they intend to barter. They were represented
to be tall stout men, clothed in deer-skins, and speaking a language
very dissimilar to their own. They also said that the Esquimaux to the
westward, speak a dialect so different from theirs, that at the first
opening of the communication, which was so recent as to be within the
memory of two of our present companions, they had great difficulty in
understanding them. Several quarrels took place at their first meetings,
in consequence of the western party attempting to steal; but latterly
there has been a good understanding between them, and the exchanges have
been fairly made.

Our visitors did not know from what people either the Indians or the
Esquimaux obtained the goods, but they supposed from some "Kabloonacht,"
(white people,) who reside far to the west. As the articles we saw were
not of British manufacture, and were very unlike those sold by the
Hudson's Bay Company to the Indians, it cannot be doubted that they are
furnished by the Russian Fur Traders, who receive in return for them all
the furs collected on this northern coast. Part of the Russian iron-work
is conveyed to the Esquimaux dwelling on the coast east of the
Mackenzie. The western Esquimaux use tobacco, and some of our visitors
had smoked it, but thought the flavour very disagreeable. Until I was
aware of their being acquainted with the use of it, I prohibited my men
from smoking in their presence, and afterwards from offering their pipes
to the Esquimaux at any time. At the conclusion of this conference, our
visitors assured us, that having now become acquainted with white
people, and being conscious that the trade with them would be
beneficial, they would gladly encourage a further intercourse, and do
all in their power to prevent future visitors from having such a
reception as we had on our arrival in these seas. We learned that this
island, which has been distinguished by the name of Herschel, is much
frequented by the natives at this season of the year, as it abounds with
deer, and its surrounding waters afford plenty of fish. It is composed
of black earth, rises, in its highest point, to about one hundred feet,
and at the time of our visit was covered with verdure. The strait
between it and the main shore, is the only place that we had seen, since
quitting the Mackenzie, in which a ship could find shelter; but even
this channel is much interrupted by shoals. Latitude 69 degrees 33-1/2
minutes N.; longitude 139 degrees 3 minutes W.; were observed at the

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 18th.] On the morning of the 18th the fog was so
thick that we could not see beyond the beach. It dispersed about noon,
and we discovered that there was a channel of open water near the main
shore, though in the centre of the strait the ice was heavy, and driving
rapidly to the north-west. We embarked at once, in the expectation of
being able to penetrate between the drift ice and the land, but the
attempt was frustrated by the shallowness of the water; and the fog
again spreading as thick as before, we landed on a sand-bank. We were
soon visited by another party of the Esquimaux, who brought deer's meat
for sale; and although the whole quantity did not amount to a deer, we
had to purchase it in small pieces. This practice of dividing the meat
among the party, we found to prevail throughout the voyage; and they
avowed as their reason for it, the desire that every one might obtain a
share of the good things we distributed. One of the men drew on the sand
a sketch of the coast to the westward, as far as he was acquainted with
it; from which it appeared that there was a line of reefs in front of
the coast the whole way; the water being deep on the outside of them,
but on the inside too shallow even for their oomiaks to float. We
subsequently found that his knowledge of the coast did not extend beyond
a few days' march.

The atmosphere becoming more clear about two P.M., we again embarked,
and endeavoured to get to seaward. The boats, however, soon grounded;
and finding all our attempts to push through any of the channels between
the reefs ineffectual, we pulled back close to Herschel Island.
Following, then, the course of the drift ice, we passed near to its
south-west point, which was found to be the only deep passage through
the strait. We afterwards entered into a fine sheet of open water, the
main body of the ice being about half a mile to seaward, and only a few
bergs lying aground in the direction of our course. The outer parts of
the island appeared closely beset with it. At the end of five miles we
discerned another large party of Esquimaux, encamped on a reef; they
waved their jackets as signals for us to land, which we declined doing,
as we perceived the water to be shallow between us and them. They ran
along the beach as far as the end of the reef, tempting us by holding up
meat. Only two of the party were provided with canoes, and they followed
us to a bluff point of the main shore, on which we landed. These proved
to be persons whom we had seen at Herschel Island, and who had visited
the Esquimaux in this quarter on purpose to make them acquainted with
our arrival. We were happy to learn from them that we should not see any
more of their countrymen for some time, because, while surrounded by
them, the necessity of closely watching their motions, prevented us from
paying due attention to other objects. Resuming our voyage, we pulled
along the outer border of a gravel reef, about two hundred yards broad,
that runs parallel to, and about half a mile from, the coast, having a
line of drift ice on the outside of us. The wind being contrary, and the
evening cold, temperature 40 degrees, we encamped on the reef at eight
P.M., where we found plenty of drift timber; the water was brackish. The
distance travelled this day was eight miles and a half. The main shore
opposite the encampment was low to a great distance from the coast; it
then appeared to ascend gradually to the base of the Buckland chain of

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 19th.] The following morning being calm, and very
fine, the boats were launched at three A.M., and we set off in high
spirits; but after pulling three miles, we perceived the channel of open
water becoming narrow, and the pieces of ice heavier than any we had
before seen, some of them being aground in three fathoms water. At six
A.M., after having gone five miles and a half, we were stopped by the
ice which adhered to the reef, and was unbroken to seaward. Imagining we
saw water at some distance beyond this barrier, we were induced to drag
the boats across the reef, and launch them into the channel on the
inside, in the hope of reaching it. This proved to be a bay, at the head
of which we arrived in a short time. It was then discovered that a fog
hanging over the ice had been mistaken for water. The boats were,
therefore, reconveyed across the reef, the tents pitched, and we had to
draw largely on our nearly exhausted stock of patience, as we
contemplated the dreary view of this compact icy field. A herd of
rein-deer appeared very opportunely to afford some employment, and most
of the men were despatched on the chase, but only one was successful.
The following observations were obtained:--Latitude 69 degrees 36
minutes N.; longitude 139 degrees 42 minutes W.; variation 46 degrees 13
minutes E. Being now abreast of Mount Conybeare, Lieutenant Back and I
were on the point of setting out to visit its summit, when we were
stopped by a very dense fog that accompanied a fresh breeze from the
N.W., followed by heavy rain. [Sidenote: Thursday, 20th.] The weather
continued bad, until ten the following morning; the ice near the beach
was broken into smaller pieces, but as yet too closely packed for our
proceeding. The water being brackish in front of the reef, we despatched
two men to bring some from the pools at a distance inland, which was
found to have the same taste; from this circumstance, as well as from
the piles of drift wood, thrown up far from the coast, one may infer
that the sea occasionally washes over this low shore. The ice broken off
from large masses, and permitted to drain before it was melted, did not
furnish us with better water. A couple of pin-tailed ducks were shot,
the only pair seen; the black kind were more numerous, but were not
fired at, as they are fishing ducks, and, therefore, not good to eat. We
also saw a few geese and swans.

[Sidenote: Friday, 21st.] The atmosphere was calm, and perfectly clear,
on the morning of the 21st; and as there was not any change in the
position of the ice, I visited Mount Conybeare, accompanied by Duncan
and Stewart. Though its distance was not more than twelve miles from the
coast, the journey proved to be very fatiguing, owing to the swampiness
of the ground between the mountain and the sea. We had also the
discomfort of being tormented the whole way by myriads of musquitoes.
The plain was intersected by a winding river, about forty yards broad,
which we forded, and on its western side found a thicket of willows,
none of which were above seven inches in circumference, and only five or
six feet high. At the foot of the mountain were three parallel
platforms, or terraces, whose heights we estimated at fifty, eighty, and
one hundred and thirty feet; composed of transition slate, the stone of
the lowest being of the closest texture. We found the task of climbing
above the upper terraces difficult, in consequence of the looseness of
the stones, which did not afford a firm footing, but after an hour's
labour, we succeeded in reaching the top. The mountain is also composed
of slate, but so much weathered near the summit, as to appear a mere
collection of stones. Its height above the sea we estimated at eight
hundred feet. Two or three hardy plants were in flower, at the highest
elevation, which we gathered, though they were of the same kind that had
been collected in the lower lands; and during the whole march we did not
meet with any plant different from the specimens we had already
obtained. On arriving at the top of the mountain, we were refreshed by a
strong south wind, which we fondly hoped might reach to the coast, and
be of service, by driving the ice from the land. This hope, however,
lasted only a few minutes; for, on casting our eyes to seaward, there
appeared no open water into which it could be moved, except near
Herschel Island. The view into the interior possessed the charm of
novelty, and attracted particular regard. We commanded a prospect over
three ranges of mountains, lying parallel to the Buckland chain, but of
less altitude. The view was bounded by a fourth range of high-peaked
mountains, for the most part covered with snow. This distant range was
afterwards distinguished by the name of the British Chain; and the
mountains at its extremities were named in honour of the then Chancellor
of the Exchequer, and President of the Board of Trade--the Right
Honourable Mr. Robinson, now Lord Goderich, and Mr. Huskisson. When seen
from the coast, the mountains of the Buckland chain appeared to form a
continuous line, extending from N.W. by N., to S.E. by S.; but from our
present situation we discovered that they were separated from each other
by a deep valley, and a rivulet, and that their longest direction was
N.N.E. and S.S.W. The same order prevailed in the three ranges behind
the Buckland chain; and the highest of their mountains, like Mount
Conybeare, were round and naked at the top; the vallies between them
were grassy. We erected a pile of stones of sufficient height to be seen
from the sea, and deposited underneath it a note, containing the
latitude, longitude, and some particulars relative to the Expedition.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 22nd.] The 22nd was a calm sultry day, the
temperature varying between 58 degrees and 63 degrees, and we were
tormented by musquitoes. The ice remained very close to the beach.
[Sidenote: Sunday, 23rd.] Impatient of our long detention, we gladly
availed ourselves, at three in the morning of the 23rd, of a small
opening in the ice, to launch the boats, and push them forward as far as
we could get them. We thus succeeded in reaching a lane of water,
through which we made tolerable progress, though after two hours and a
half of exertion, we were gradually hemmed in, and forced again to
encamp at the mouth of a small stream westward of Sir Pulteney Malcolm
River. We had, however, the satisfaction of finding, by the
observations, that we had gained ten miles. Latitude 69 degrees 36
minutes N.; longitude 140 degrees 12 minutes W.; variation 45 degrees 6
minutes E. The temperature of the water at the surface a quarter of a
mile from the shore was 40 degrees, that of the air being 49 degrees.
The water was two fathoms deep, ten yards from the beach.

The coast here was about fifteen feet high; and from the top of the bank
a level plain extended to the base of the mountains, which, though very
swampy, was covered with verdure. At this place we first found boulder
stones, which were deeply seated in the gravel of the beach. They
consisted of greenstone, sandstone, and limestone; the first mentioned
being the largest, and the last the most numerous. Having seen several
fish leaping in the river, a net was set across its mouth, though
without success, owing to the meshes being too large. Two men were
despatched to examine the state of the ice; and on their return from a
walk of several miles, they reported that, with the exception of a small
spot close to the beach, it was quite compact. They had observed, about
two miles from the encampment, stumps of drift wood fixed in the ground
at certain distances, extending from the coast across the plain towards
the Rocky Mountains, in the direction of two piles of stones, which were
erected on the top of the latter. We were at a loss to conjecture what
motive the Esquimaux could have had for taking so much trouble, unless
these posts were intended to serve as decoys for the rein-deer. The
party assembled at divine service in the evening, as had been our
practice every Sunday.

[Sidenote: Monday, 24th.] On the morning of the 24th we were able to
make a further advance of two miles and three quarters, by forcing the
boats between the masses of ice, as far as the debouche of another
rivulet, in latitude 69 degrees 36-1/2 minutes N., and longitude 140
degrees 19-1/2 minutes W. Under any other circumstance than that of
being beset by ice, the beautifully calm and clear weather we then had
would have been delightful; but as our hope of being released rested
solely on a strong wind, we never ceased to long for its occurrence. A
breeze would have been, at any rate, beneficial in driving away the
musquitoes, which were so numerous as to prevent any enjoyment of the
open air, and to keep us confined to a tent filled with smoke, the only
remedy against their annoyance.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 25th.] We were still detained the two following
days, and the only things we saw were a grey wolf, some seals, and some
ducks. More tedious hours than those passed by us in the present
situation, cannot well be imagined. After the astronomical observations
had been obtained and worked, the survey brought up, a sketch made of
the encampment, and specimens of the plants and stones in the vicinity
collected, there was, literally, nothing to do. The anxiety which was
inseparable from such an enterprize as ours, at such an advanced period
of the season, left but little disposition to read, even if there had
been a greater choice of books in our travelling library, and still less
composure to invent amusement. Even had the musquitoes been less
tormenting, the swampiness of the ground, in which we sank ankle deep at
every step, deprived us of the pleasure of walking. A visit to the Rocky
Mountains was often talked of, but they were now at a distance of two
days' journey, and we dared not to be absent from the boats so long,
lest the ice, in its fickle movements, should open for a short time.
Notwithstanding the closeness of the ice, we perceived a regular rise
and fall of the water, though it amounted only to seven inches, except
on the night of the 24th, when the rise was two feet; but the direction
of the flood was not yet ascertained. We found a greater proportion of
birch-wood, mixed with the drift timber to the westward of the Babbage
than we had done before; between the Mackenzie and that river it had
been so scarce, that we had to draw upon our store of bark to light the
fires. Some lunar observations were obtained in the afternoon of the
25th, and their results assured us that the chronometers were going
steadily. At midnight we were visited by a strong S.W. breeze,
accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning. This weather was succeeded
by calm, and a fog that continued throughout the next day, and confined
our view to a few yards. Temperature from 41 degrees to 43 degrees.
[Sidenote: Wednesday, 26th.] On the atmosphere becoming clear about nine
in the evening of the 26th, we discovered a lane of water, and
immediately embarking, we pulled, for an hour, without experiencing much
interruption from the ice. A fresh breeze then sprung up from the N.W.,
which brought with it a very dense fog, and likewise caused the ice to
close so fast upon us, that we were compelled to hasten to the shore. We
had just landed, when the channel was completely closed. We encamped on
the western side of a river about two hundred yards broad, which, at the
request of Lieutenant Back, was named after Mr. Backhouse, one of the
under Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs. It appeared that the
water that flowed from this channel had caused the opening by which we
had travelled from our last resting-place; for beyond it, the ice was
closely packed.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 27th.] Some heavy rain fell in the night, and the
morning of the 27th was foggy; but the sun, about noon, having dispersed
the fog, we discovered an open channel about half a mile from the shore.
No time was lost in pushing the boats into it. By following its course
to the end, and breaking our way through some streams of ice, we were
brought, at the end of eight miles, to the mouth of a wide river that
flows from the British range of mountains. This being the most westerly
river in the British dominions on this coast, and near the line of
demarcation between Great Britain and Russia, I named it the Clarence,
in honour of His Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral. Under a pile of
drift timber which we erected on the most elevated point of the coast
near its mouth, was deposited a tin box, containing a royal silver
medal, with an account of the proceedings of the Expedition; and the
union flag was hoisted under three hearty cheers, the only salute that
we could afford. This ceremony did not detain us longer than half an
hour; when we launched into a larger space of open water than we had
seen since the 9th of the month. This circumstance, together with the
appearance of several seals, and the water becoming more salt, created a
hope that we should soon enter upon a brisker navigation. But this too
sanguine expectation was dispelled in little more than an hour, by a
close and heavy field of ice, which obliged us to pull to the shore. The
tent was pitched under a steep bank of mud, in latitude 69 degrees 38
minutes N.; longitude 140 degrees 46 minutes W. The soundings this day
varied from two to ten fathoms; and the temperature of the air from 37
degrees to 45 degrees. [Sidenote: Friday, 28th.] The ice having opened
near the beach by noon of the 28th, so as to admit the boats, we
embarked, to try if we could not advance by thrusting the masses aside
with poles. After spending several hours in this labour, and gaining
only two miles, further exertion became ineffectual, owing to the ice
being closely packed, and many of the pieces from fifteen to twenty feet
high, lying aground. We had however, gained by the removal the comforts
of dry ground, and good water, which had been wanting at the last
encampment. Among the drift timber on the beach was a pine tree, seven
feet and a quarter in girth, by thirty-six long. We had previously seen
several, little inferior in size. The temperature this day varied from
39 degrees to 48 degrees. We had observed, for the preceding fortnight,
that the musquitoes assailed us as soon as the temperature rose to 45
degrees, and that they retired quickly on its descending below that

[Sidenote: Saturday, 29th.] The morning of the 29th opened with heavy
rain and fog; the precursors of a strong gale from E.N.E., which brought
back the ice we had already passed, and closely packed it along the
beach, but we could not perceive that the wind had the slightest effect
on the main body at a distance from the shore. This was a very cold,
comfortless day, the temperature between 38 degrees and 42 degrees.
[Sidenote: Sunday, 30th.] On the following morning a brilliant sun
contributed with the gale to the dispersion of the mist which had, for
some days past, overhung the Rocky Mountains, and we had the
gratification of seeing, for the first time, the whole length of the
British Chain of Mountains, which are more peaked and irregular in their
outline, and more picturesque than those of the Buckland Range. The
following observations were obtained here:--Latitude 69 degrees 38
minutes N.; longitude 140 degrees 51 minutes W.; variation 45 degrees 43
minutes E.; dip 83 degrees 27 minutes. In exploring the bed of a rivulet
we found several pieces of quartz, containing pyrites of a very bright
colour, which so much attracted the attention of the crews, that they
spent several hours in examining every stone, expecting to have their
labour rewarded by the discovery of some precious metal.

The gale having abated in the evening, we quickly loaded the boats, and
pulled them into a lane of water that we had observed about half a mile
from the shore. This, however, extended only a short way to the west,
and at the end of a mile and a half inclined towards the beach, the ice
beyond it being closely packed. Before the boats could be brought to the
land, they received several heavy blows in passing through narrow
channels, and over tongues of grounded ice. I walked to the extreme
point that we had in view from the tent, and was rejoiced by the sight
of a large space of water in the direction of our course; but up to the
point the ice was still compact, and heavy. On my way I passed another
Esquimaux village, where there were marks of recent visitors.

We witnessed the setting of the sun at eleven P.M.; an unwelcome sight,
which the gloomy weather had, till then, spared us; for it forced upon
our minds the conviction that the favourable season for our operations
was fast passing away, though we had, as yet, made so little progress.
This was not the only uncomfortable circumstance that attended us this
evening. Our friend Augustus was seized with a shivering fit, in
consequence of having imprudently rushed, when in full perspiration,
into a lake of cold water, to drag out a rein-deer which he had killed.
He was unable to walk on coming out of the water, and the consequence
would have been more serious had it not been for the kindness of his
companion, Wilson, who deprived himself of his flannels and waistcoat to
clothe him. On their arrival at the tent, Augustus was put between
blankets, and provided with warm chocolate, and the only inconvenience
that he felt next morning was pain in his limbs.

[Sidenote: Monday, 31st.] We had several showers of rain during the
night, with a steady S.W. breeze, and in the morning of the 31st were
delighted by perceiving the ice loosening and driving off the land. We
were afloat in a few minutes, and enjoyed the novelty of pulling through
an uninterrupted channel as far as Point Demarcation, which has been so
named from its being situated in longitude 141 degrees W., the boundary
between the British and Russian dominions on the northern coast of
America. This point seems to be much resorted to by the Esquimaux, as we
found here many winter houses, and four large stages. On the latter were
deposited several bundles of seal and deer skins, and several pair of
snow-shoes. The snow-shoes were netted with cords of deer-skin, and were
shaped like those used by the Indians near the Mackenzie. A favourable
breeze now sprang up; and having ascertained, by mounting one of the
Esquimaux stages, that there was still a channel of open water between a
low island and the main shore, we set sail to follow its course. At the
end of three miles we found the water gradually to decrease from three
fathoms to as many feet, and shortly afterwards the boats repeatedly
took the ground. In this situation we were enveloped by a thick fog,
which limited our view to a few yards. We, therefore, dragged the boats
to the land, until we could see our way; this did not happen before ten
in the evening, when it was discovered from the summit of an eminence,
about two miles distant, that though the channel was of some extent, it
was very shallow, and seemed to be barred by ice to the westward. We
also ascertained that it was bounded to the seaward by a long reef. The
night proved very stormy, and we were but scantily supplied with drift

[Sidenote: August 1st.] Though the morning of the 1st of August
commenced with a heavy gale from E.N.E., and very foggy weather, we
proceeded to the reef, after much fatigue in dragging the boats over
the flats, under the supposition that our best chance of getting forward
would be by passing on the outside of it. But there finding heavy ice
lying aground, and so closely packed as to preclude the possibility of
putting the boats into the water, it was determined to examine the
channel by walking along the shore of the reef. An outlet to the sea was
discovered, but the channel was so flat that gulls were, in most parts,
wading across; and there was, therefore, no other course than to await
the separation of the ice from the reef. On the dispersion of the fog in
the afternoon, we perceived that some of the masses of ice were from
twenty to thirty feet high; and we derived little comfort from
beholding, from the top of one of them, an unbroken surface of ice to

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 2nd.] The gale blew without the least abatement
throughout the night, and until noon of the 2nd, when it terminated in a
violent gust, which overthrew the tents. The field of ice was broken in
the offing, and the pieces put in motion; and in the evening there
appeared a large space of open water, but we could not take advantage of
these favourable circumstances, in consequence of the ice still closely
besetting the reef. We remarked large heaps of gravel, fifteen feet
above the surface of the reef, on the largest iceberg, which must have
been caused by the pressure of the ice; and from the top of this berg we
had the satisfaction of discovering that a large herd of rein-deer were
marching in line towards the opposite side of the channel. Our party was
instantly on the alert, and the best hunters were sent in the Reliance
in chase of them. The boat grounded about midway across, and the eager
sportsmen jumped overboard and hastened to the shore; but such was their
want of skill, that only three fawns were killed, out of a herd of three
or four hundred. The supply, however, was sufficient for our present
use, and the circumstances of the chase afforded amusing conversation
for the evening. The astronomical observations place our encampment in
latitude 69 degrees 43 minutes N.; longitude 141 degrees 30 minutes W.
The temperature this day varied from 40 degrees to 42 degrees.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 3rd.] On the morning of the 3rd a strong breeze set
in from the east, which we were rejoiced to find caused a higher flood
in the channel than we had yet seen, and the hope of effecting a passage
by its course was revived; as the ice was still fast to the reef, and
likely to continue so, it was considered better to occupy ourselves in
dragging the boats through the mud, than to continue longer in this
irksome spot, where the wood was already scarce, and the water
indifferent. The boats, therefore, proceeded with four men in each,
while the rest of the crew walked along the shore, and rendered
assistance wherever it was necessary, to drag them over the shallow
parts. After four hours' labour, we reached the eastern part of the bay,
which I have had the pleasure of naming after my friend Captain
Beaufort, R.N., and which was then covered with ice. We had also the
happiness of finding a channel that led to seaward, which enabled us to
get on the outside of the reef; but as we pushed as close as we could to
the border of the packed ice, our situation, for the next four hours,
was attended with no little anxiety. The appearance of the clouds
bespoke the return of fog, and we were sailing with a strong breeze
through narrow channels, between heavy pieces of drift ice, on the
outside of a chain of reefs that stretched across Beaufort Bay, which we
knew could not be approached within a mile, owing to the shallowness of
the water.

Beyond Point Humphrys, the water being deep close to the coast, we
travelled in more security, though the ice was less open than before. We
halted to sup on a gravel reef that extends from the main shore to Point
Griffin, having run twenty-eight miles, the greatest distance we had
made on one day since our departure from the Mackenzie.

A black whale, and several seals, having been seen just before we
landed, the water now decidedly salt, and the ice driving with great
rapidity to the westward, were circumstances that we hailed with
heartfelt joy; as affording the prospect of getting speedily forward,
and in the evening we lost sight of Mount Conybeare, which had been
visible since the 9th of July. There were several huts on the reef, and
one large tent, capable of holding forty persons, which appeared to have
been lately occupied, besides eighteen sledges, that we supposed to have
been left by the men who had gone from Herschel Island, to exchange
their furs with the western Esquimaux. Among the baggage we found a
spoon, made out of the musk ox horn, like those used by the Canadian
voyagers. At six this evening we passed the termination of the British
Chain of Mountains, and had now arrived opposite the commencement of
another range, which I named after the late Count Romanzoff, Chancellor
of the Russian Empire, as a tribute of respect to the memory of that
distinguished patron and promoter of discovery and science.

Having taken the precaution of supplying ourselves with fresh water, we
quitted the reef, to proceed on our voyage under sail, but shortly
afterwards arrived at very heavy ice, apparently packed. We found,
however, a narrow passage, and by forcing the boats through it, reached
a more open channel, where the oars could be used. This extended along a
reef, so that we could pursue our course with safety, being ready to
land in the event of the ice drifting upon us. [Sidenote: Friday, 4th.]
The sun set this evening at half past ten P.M.; and the temperature of
the air during its disappearance was 38 degrees. Between the reefs and
the low main land the water was entirely free from ice. After passing
Point Sir Henry Martin, we were tempted, by the appearance of a bay, to
steer within the reefs, as we could then use the sails, and make a more
direct course than by winding among the ice. The water proved so shallow
that the boats took the ground, at the distance of three miles from the
shore, which caused us to alter our plan, and follow the line of drift
ice near the border of the pack. The breeze died away; and in proceeding
under oars beyond Point Manning, we descried a collection of tents
planted on a low island, with many oomiaks, kaiyacks, and dogs around
them. The Esquimaux being fast asleep, Augustus was desired to hail
them, and after two or three loud calls, a female appeared in a state of
nudity; after a few seconds she called out to her husband, who awoke at
the first sound of her voice, and shouting out that strangers were close
at hand, the whole space between the tents and the water was, in a few
minutes, covered with armed, though naked, people. Their consternation
on being thus suddenly roused by strangers, of whose existence they had
never heard, can be better imagined than described. We drew near the
shore, to let Augustus inform them who we were, and of the purpose of
our visit, which produced a burst of acclamation, and an immediate
invitation to land. This we declined doing, having counted fifty-four
grown persons, and knowing that we had not the means of furnishing such
a number with the articles they might crave. Besides, it was evident,
from their hurried manner, that they were in a state of high excitement,
and might then, perhaps, have been disposed to seize upon everything
within their grasp. Four of the kaiyacks being launched, after we had
receded to a proper distance from the island, we allowed them to come
alongside; and presents were given to the men. We then learned that
these were the people who had conveyed the furs, &c., from Herschel
Island, and that the exchange with the Esquimaux had been made at the
place where they were encamped, only a few days before. They intended to
commence their return this day to Herschel Island, where the iron and
beads would be distributed among their relations, according to the
furs, &c. they had supplied. The Esquimaux saluted us at parting with
many vociferations of _teyma_, and we continued our journey for five
miles; at the end of which, the wind setting in strongly against us, we
landed at the western part of Barter Island, to refresh the crew. We
then found that a rapid tide was running to the eastward, and at eleven
the water had risen one foot, from the time of our landing. The tents
were scarcely pitched before we saw two kaiyacks coming towards us from
the westward, and the man in the headmost accepted, without hesitation,
our invitation to land. His companion was asleep, and his canoe was
driving with the wind and tide; but when awaked by the voice of
Augustus, he also came. These were young men returning from hunting to
the tents that we had passed; and being much fatigued, they made but a
short stay. The only information collected from them was, that the coast
before us was similar to that along which we had been travelling, and
that the ice was broken from the shore. The latitude 70 degrees 5
minutes N.; longitude 143 degrees 55 minutes W.; variation 45 degrees 36
minutes E.; were observed.

As soon as the latitude had been obtained, we embarked, favoured by wind
and tide, to cross the bay, which has been named in honour of the
Marquess Camden. The water was of a seagreen colour, perfectly salt, and
from three to five fathoms deep; the temperature 35 degrees at the
surface, that of the air, 43 degrees. The day was very clear, and
exposed to our view the outline of the Romanzoff chain of Mountains,
whose lofty peaks were covered with snow. At the end of ten miles we
observed four tents planted on a reef, and several women standing about
them, who made many signs for us to land, but the surf was rolling too
heavily on the beach. As we proceeded, their husbands were perceived on
the main shore, in pursuit of a large herd of rein-deer, which they
seemed to be surrounding so as to drive the deer into the water, where
they would probably spear them to more advantage.

Continuing along the shore beyond the reef at the distance of two miles
from the land, the boats touched the ground several times, which made us
conclude we were steering into a bay, though its outline could not be
seen. The wind changed at the time to the north, blew strong, and raised
a heavy swell, which induced us to haul out to seaward, and we soon
afterwards discovered an island, which we just reached under sail. From
its summit we perceived a chain of low reefs, extending from its
northern point for several miles to the westward, on which the wind was
then blowing, and bringing down the drift ice. We were, therefore,
compelled to halt, and await more moderate weather. This island, like
the projecting points of the main shore, is a mere deposit of earthly
mud, covered with verdure, about twenty or twenty-five feet high. There
was another island adjoining, which seemed to be a collection of boulder
stones; from whence it was named.

The ice appeared closely packed to the seaward; nearer to the island
were icebergs aground, and within these, streams of loose pieces driving
towards the reefs. In the hurry of embarkation from Barter Island, one
of the crew of the Reliance left his gun and ammunition, which we
regretted the more, from being apprehensive that an accident might
happen to the natives. The circumstance was not known before the boats
were a great distance from the island, or we should have put back to
have recovered it.

A very thick fog came on in the evening. This weather, however, did not
prevent our receiving a visit from two of the natives about midnight,
who told Augustus that, having scented the smoke of a fire from the
opposite side of the bay, they had come to ascertain who had made it.
They were armed with bows and arrows, and advanced towards the tent
without any alarm. We found that they had been hunting, with several
other men, at the foot of the Romanzoff Mountains, and that they were
now going to rejoin their friends at Barter Island, with the fruits of a
successful chase. Their knowledge of the coast terminated at this place,
which is as far to the westward as any of the party from Herschel Island

The western Esquimaux had parted from them seven nights before, but they
supposed that they had not made much progress, as their oomiaks were
heavily laden. Those people had informed them that the coast to the
westward was low, and fronted by reefs, like that we had already passed;
the water also was very shallow; they therefore recommended that we
should keep on the outside of every reef. Our visitors had no sooner
received their presents than they raised a loud cry, which was intended
to bring their friends. On the dispersion of the fog at the time, we
discovered an oomiak, filled with people paddling, and some other men
wading towards us. [Sidenote: Saturday, 5th.] It being calm, and the
swell having abated, we did not wait for their arrival, but embarked at
one in the morning of the 5th, and pursued our course to the westward,
keeping on the outside of the reefs. The water, however, was very
shallow, even at the distance of two miles, and we were much teased by
the boats repeatedly touching the ground. This was particularly the
case when we arrived opposite to the large river, which was named in
honour of the late Mr. Canning, where we found the water perfectly
fresh, three miles from the land. The ice being more loose abreast of
this river, we pulled out to seaward into deep water. The land was then
hidden from our view by the haze, though not more than four miles
distant, and our course was directed by the masses of ice lying aground;
but at the end of three miles, our further progress was stopped at six
A.M., by the ice being closely packed on the outer border of a reef, in
latitude 70 degrees 7 minutes N.; longitude 145 degrees 27 minutes W.

We perceived, on landing, by the driving of the loose pieces of ice,
that the tide was running strongly to the eastward, through the channel
we had passed along, and that it continued to do so, until ten this
morning, during which time the water was falling. It changed at ten, and
the water rose one foot before one P.M. This observation would indicate
the flood to come from the eastward, though contrary to what was
remarked at Barter Island the day before; but in a sea so closely beset
with ice, no accurate observations as to the direction of the tide could
be obtained.

The Rocky Mountains either terminated abreast of our present situation,
or receded so far to the southward as to be imperceptible from the coast
a few miles beyond this reef. The ice being somewhat loosened by the
flood tide, we embarked at one P.M., to force the boats through the
narrow channels, and in the course of two hours reached Point Brownlow,
where we landed, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the ice could
be avoided by passing into the bay that then opened to our view,
trending to the south. We perceived that this bay was in every part
flat, and strewed with stones; and that the only prospect of getting
forward was by entering the ice again, and pushing to an island about
two miles further to the west, which we reached after receiving several
heavy blows in passing through the loose ice at the entrance of the
strait, between the central reef and the island, where the pieces were
much tossed by the tide.

The view from the south-east part of the island led us, at first, to
suppose that we might proceed by keeping close to its south shore; but
in making the attempt, the boats repeatedly took the ground, and we were
obliged to seek a passage by the north side of the island. At the end of
a mile in that direction we were stopped by the ice being unbroken from
the shore, and closely packed to seaward. Since the day after our
departure from the Mackenzie, when we first came to the ice, we had not
witnessed a more unfavourable prospect than that before us. No water was
to be seen, either from the tents, or from the different points of the
island which we visited, for the purpose of examining into the state of
the ice. We were now scantily supplied with fuel; the drift timber being
covered by the ice high up the bank, except just where the boat had

[Sidenote: Sunday, 6th.] In the evening a gale came on from the east,
and blew throughout the following day: we vainly hoped this would
produce some favourable change; and the water froze in the kettle on the
night of the 5th. The position of the encampment was ascertained by
observation to be, latitude 70 degrees 11 minutes N.; longitude 145
degrees 50 minutes W.; variation 42 degrees 56 minutes E.; so that
notwithstanding the obstructions we had met, an advance of two degrees
of longitude had been made in the two preceding days.

This island received the name of Flaxman, in honour of the late eminent
sculptor. It is about four miles long and two broad, and rises, at its
highest elevation, about fifty feet. In one of the ravines, where a
portion of the bank had been carried away by the disruption of the ice,
we perceived that the stratum of loose earth was not more than eighteen
inches thick, the lower bed being frozen mud; yet this small quantity of
soil, though very swampy, nourished grasses, several of the arctic
plants, and some few willows, that were about three inches high. Several
boulder stones were scattered on its beach, and also in the channel that
separates it from the main shore.

[Sidenote: Monday, 7th.] An easterly wind gave place to a calm on the
morning of the 7th: and as this change, though it produced no effect in
loosening the ice to the north, caused more water to flow into the
channel between the island and the main, we succeeded with little
difficulty in crossing the flats that had before impeded us. Beyond this
bar the water gradually deepened to three fathoms; and a favourable
breeze springing up, we set the sail, and steered for the outer point of
land in sight. We continued in smooth water until we reached Point
Thompson, when, having lost the shelter of the ice which was aground on
a tongue of gravel projecting from Flaxman Island, we became exposed to
an unpleasant swell.

The Lion was very leaky, in consequence of the blows she had received
from the ice; but as we could keep her free by baling, we did not lose
the favourable moment by stopping to repair her. Our course was
continued past Point Bullen, until we came to an island lying three
miles from the shore, which proved to be connected with the main land by
a reef. Dazzled by the glare of the sun in our eyes, the surf, which was
breaking on this reef, was mistaken for a ripple of the tide; and
although the sails were lowered, as a measure of precaution, we were so
near before the mistake was discovered, that the strength of the wind
drove the Lion aground, by which accident she took in much water. The
exertions of the crew soon got her afloat, and both boats were pulled to
windward of the island. The sails were then set, but as the wind had by
this time increased to a strong gale, they were close reefed. We stood
along the coast, looking for a favourable landing place, that we might
obtain shelter from an approaching storm which the appearance of the sky
indicated, and to repair the damage which the Lion had sustained. At
length, some posts that had been erected by the Esquimaux on a point,
denoted an approachable part of the coast, and we effected a landing
after lightening the boats, by carrying part of the cargo two hundred
yards through the water. The main shore to the westward of Flaxman
Island is so low that it is not visible at the distance of three miles,
with the exception of three small hummocks, which look like islands.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 8th.] The carpenter had finished the repairs of the
boat by midnight, and we were prepared to go forward, but were prevented
from moving by a very thick fog, which continued throughout the night,
and till eleven on the morning of the 8th. The storm continued violent
throughout the day, but the fog cleared away for the space of two hours,
and enabled us to perceive that the ice, which in the preceding evening
had been at a considerable distance from the land, was now tossing
about, in large masses, close to the border of the shallow water. We
were also enabled, during the interval of clear weather, to ascertain,
by astronomical observations, the latitude 70 degrees 16 minutes 27
seconds N.; longitude 147 degrees 38 minutes W.; and variation 43
degrees 15 minutes E.

The hunters were sent out in pursuit of some deer that were seen, and
Augustus killed one. They ascertained, during the chase, that we were on
an island, separated from the main shore by a channel, fordable at low
water. At this encampment we remarked the first instance of regularity
in the tide. It was low water at half past nine on the evening of the
7th, and high water at half past two the following morning; the rise
being sixteen inches. An equally regular tide was observed on the 8th,
but we could not ascertain the direction of the flood. [Sidenote:
Wednesday, 9th.] After sunset the squalls became extremely violent; and
until three in the afternoon of the 9th, the fog was so dense that every
object more distant than forty yards, was hidden. After that period, a
partial clearness of the atmosphere discovered to us the waves more high
than the day before, and beating heavily against the weather beach of
the island. We rejoiced, however, at seeing a large stream of ice to
windward, supposing that its presence there would cause the swell to go
down, and that we should be able to proceed as soon as the wind should
fall. We employed ourselves in observing the dip with Meyer's and the
common needles, as well as the magnetic force. The mean dip was 82
degrees 26 minutes. The temperature of the air this day varied from 38
degrees to 45 degrees. High water took place at fifteen minutes after
three P.M., the rise being two feet. The water did not fall so low as
yesterday, owing to the wind blowing more across the mouth of the bay.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 10th.] On the 10th, the continuance of the gale,
and of the fog more opaque, if possible, than before, and more wet, were
not only productive of irksome detention, but they prevented us from
taking exercise; our walks being confined to a space between the marks
which the Esquimaux had put up on two projecting points, whither we went
at every glimpse of clearness, to examine into the state of the waves.
We witnessed with regret, in these short rambles, the havoc which this
dreary weather made amongst the flowers. Many that had been blooming on
our arrival, were now lying prostrate and withered. These symptoms of
decay could not fail painfully to remind us that the term of our
operations was fast approaching; and often, at this time, did every one
express a wish that we had some decked vessel, in which the provision
could be secured from the injury of salt water, and the crew sheltered
when they required rest, that we might quit this shallow coast, and
steer at once towards Icy Cape. We designated this dreary place by the
name of Foggy Island. As an instance of the illusion occasioned by the
fog, I may mention that our hunters sallied forth, on more than one
occasion, to fire at what they supposed to be deer, on the bank about
one hundred yards from the tents, which, to their surprise, took wing,
and proved to be cranes and geese.

[Sidenote: Friday, 11th.] The wind changed from east to west in the
course of the night, and at eight in the morning of the 11th, the fog
dispersed sufficiently to allow of our seeing a point bearing N.W. by
W., about three miles and a half distant which we supposed to be an
island. We, therefore, hastened to embark; but before the boats could be
dragged so far from the shore that they would float, the fog returned.
The wind, however, being light, we resolved to proceed, and steer by
compass, to the land that had been seen. Soon after quitting the beach
we met with shoals, which forced us to alter the course more to the
north; and having made the distance at which we estimated the point to
be, and being ignorant which way the coast trended beyond it, we rested
for some time upon the oars, in the hope that the fog would clear away,
even for a short time, to enable us to shape our course anew; but in
vain; all our movements in the bay being impeded by the flats that
surrounded us, we were compelled to return to Foggy Island. Scarcely had
the men made a fire to dry their clothes, which were thoroughly wet from
wading over the flats, than the fog again dispersing, we pushed off once
more. On this occasion we arrived abreast of the point whilst the
weather continued clear, but found a reef, over which the waves washed,
stretching to the north-west, beyond the extent of our view. Just as we
began to proceed along the reef, the recurrence of the fog rendered it
necessary for us to seek for shelter on the shore; and as we were
heartily tired of our late encampment, we endeavoured to find another,
but the shoals prevented our reaching any landing-place. We, therefore,
retraced our course, though with much reluctance, to Foggy Island, which
the men declared to be an enchanted island. Though our wanderings this
day did not exceed seven miles, the crews were employed upwards of two
hours in dragging the boats through the mud, when the temperature of the
water was at 40 degrees, and that of the air 41 degrees. They endured
this fatigue with the greatest cheerfulness, though it was evident they
suffered very much from the cold; and in the evening we witnessed the
ill effects of this kind of labour by finding their legs much swelled
and inflamed. The fear of their becoming ill from a frequent repetition
of such operations made me resolve not to attempt the passage of these
flats again till the weather should be so clear that we might ascertain
their extent, and see in what way they might be passed with less risk.
Fog is, of all others, the most hazardous state of the atmosphere for
navigation in an icy sea, especially when it is accompanied by strong
breezes, but particularly so for boats where the shore is
unapproachable. If caught by a gale, a heavy swell, or drifting ice, the
result must be their wreck, or the throwing the provisions overboard to
lighten them, so as to proceed into shoal water. Many large pieces of
ice were seen on the borders of the shallow water; and from the lowness
of the temperature, we concluded that the main body was at no great
distance. We had also passed through a stream of perfectly fresh water,
which we supposed was poured out from a large river in the intermediate
vicinity, but the fog prevented our seeing its outlet. [Sidenote:
Saturday, 12th.] The atmosphere was equally foggy throughout the night,
and all the 12th, although the wind had changed to the east, and blew a
strong breeze. Winds from this quarter had been extremely prevalent
since the preceding April: but on our former visit to the Polar Sea,
they had been of rare occurrence, and confined to the spring months,
which we passed at Fort Enterprize. The obstinate continuance of fog
forms another material difference between this season and the same
period of 1821. We were only detained three times in navigating along
the coast that year to the east of the Coppermine River; but on this
voyage hardly a day passed after our departure from the Mackenzie that
the atmosphere was not, at some time, so foggy as to hide every object
more distant than four or five miles. The day that I visited Mount
Conybeare, and that spent on Flaxman Island, form the only exceptions to
this remark. A question, therefore, suggests itself:--Whence arises this
difference? which, I presume, can be best answered by reference to the
greater accumulation of ice on this coast, and to the low and very
swampy nature of the land. There is a constant exhalation of moisture
from the ice and swamps during the summer months, which is, perhaps,
prevented from being carried off by the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains,
and, therefore, becomes condensed into a fog. The coast to the eastward
of the Coppermine River is high and dry, and far less encumbered with

Some deer appearing near the encampment, a party was despatched in
pursuit of them; but having been previously fired at by Augustus, they
proved too wary. The exertions of the men were, however, rewarded by the
capture of some geese and ducks. The whole of the vegetation had now
assumed the autumnal tint.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 13th.] There was not the least abatement in the wind,
or change in the murky atmosphere, throughout the 13th. The party
assembled at divine service, and afterwards amused themselves as they
could in their tents, which were now so saturated with wet as to be very
comfortless abodes; and in order to keep ourselves tolerably warm we
were obliged to cover the feet with blankets; our protracted stay
having caused such a great expenditure of the drift-wood, that we found
it necessary to be frugal in its use, and only to light the fire when we
wanted to cook the meals. The nights, too, we regretted to find, were
lengthening very fast; so that from ten P.M. to two A.M., there was too
little light for proceeding in any unknown tract.

[Sidenote: Monday, 14th.] The wind this day was moderate, but the fog
was more dense, and very wet. Tired, however, of the confinement of the
tent, most of the party wandered out in search of amusement, though we
could not see one hundred yards; and some partridges, ducks, and geese,
were shot.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 15th.] The fog was dispersed at seven in the morning
of the 15th, by a north-east gale, which created too great a surf on the
beach for us to launch the boats, and the fog returned in the evening.
The temperature fell to 35 degrees, and in the course of the night ice
was formed on the small pools near the encampment. Augustus set off in
the afternoon to cross over to the main shore for the purpose of
hunting, and to see whether there were any traces of the western
Esquimaux, but he found none, and only saw three rein-deer.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 16th.] The weather again became clear, after the
sun rose, on the 16th, and we embarked as soon as the flowing of the
tide enabled us to launch the boats, all in the highest spirits at the
prospect of escaping from this detestable island. We took advantage of
the fair wind, set the sails, and steered to the westward parallel to
the coast. We had never more than from three to six feet water, for the
first seven miles, until we had passed round the reef that projects from
the point we had so often attempted to reach, and which was named Point

Between Point Anxiety and Point Chandos, which is eight miles further to
the westward, the land was occasionally seen; but after rounding the
latter point we lost sight of it, and steered to the westward across the
mouth of Yarborough Inlet, the soundings varying from five feet to five
fathoms. The fog returned, and the wind freshening, soon created such a
swell upon the flats, that it became necessary to haul further from the
land; but the drift ice beginning to close around us, we could no longer
proceed with safety, and, therefore, endeavoured to find a
landing-place. An attempt was made at Point Herald, and another on the
western point of Prudhoe bay, but both were frustrated by the shoalness
of the water, and the height of the surf. The increasing violence of the
gale, however, and density of the fog, rendering it absolutely
necessary for us to obtain some shelter, we stood out to seaward, with
the view of making fast to a large piece of ice. In our way we fell
among gravelly reefs, and arriving at the same time suddenly in smooth
water, we effected a landing on one of them. A temporary dispersion of
the fog showed that we were surrounded with banks nearly on a level with
the water, and protected to seaward by a large body of ice lying
aground. The patch of gravel on which we were encamped, was about five
hundred yards in circumference, destitute of water, and with no more
drift wood than a few willow branches, sufficient to make one fire.


Commence Return to the Mackenzie--Delayed again at Foggy Island--Ice
packed on the Reefs near Beaufort Bay, and on the Coast about Clarence
River--Pass the Channels near Herschel Island in a Gale and Fog--A
sudden Gale--Escape an Attack which the Mountain Indians meditated--Enter
the Mackenzie--Peel River--Arrival at Fort Franklin.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 16th.] The period had now arrived when it was
incumbent on me to consider, whether the prospect of our attaining the
object of the voyage was sufficiently encouraging to warrant the
exposure of the party to daily increasing risk, by continuing on. We
were now only half way from the Mackenzie River to Icy Cape; and the
chance of reaching the latter, depended on the nature of the coast that
was yet unexplored, and the portion of the summer which yet remained for
our operations.

I knew, from the descriptions of Cook and Burney, that the shore about
Icy Cape resembled that we had already passed, in being flat, and
difficult of approach; while the general trending of the coast from the
Mackenzie to the west-north-west, nearly in the direction of Icy Cape,
combined with the information we had collected from the Esquimaux, led
me to conclude that no material change would be found in the
intermediate portion.

The preceding narrative shows the difficulties of navigating such a
coast, even during the finest part of the summer; if, indeed, any
portion of a season which had been marked by a constant succession of
fogs and gales could be called fine. No opportunity of advancing had
been let slip, after the time of our arrival in the Arctic Sea; and the
unwearied zeal and exertion of the crews had been required, for an
entire month, to explore the ten degrees of longitude between Herschel
Island and our present situation, I had, therefore, no reason to suppose
that the ten remaining degrees could be navigated in much less time. The
ice, it is true, was more broken up, and the sea around our present
encampment was clear; but we had lately seen how readily the drift ice
was packed upon the shoals by every breeze of wind blowing towards the
land. The summer, bad as it had been, was now nearly at an end, and on
this point I had the experience of the former voyage for a guide. At
Point Turn-again, two degrees to the south of our present situation,
the comparatively warm summer of 1821 was terminated on the 17th of
August, by severe storms of wind and snow; and in the space of a
fortnight afterwards, winter set in with all its severity. Last year,
too, on the 18th and following days of the same month, we had a heavy
gale at the mouth of the Mackenzie; and appearances did not indicate
that the present season would prove more favourable. The mean
temperature of the atmosphere had decreased rapidly since the sun had
begun to sink below the horizon, and the thermometer had not lately
shown a higher temperature than 37 degrees. Ice, of considerable
thickness, formed in the night, and the number of the flocks of geese
which were hourly seen pursuing their course to the westward, showed
that their autumnal flight had commenced.

While a hope remained of reaching Behring Straits, I looked upon the
hazard to which we had, on several occasions, been exposed, of shipwreck
on the flats, or on the ice, as inseparable from a voyage of the nature
of that which we had undertaken; and if such an accident had occurred, I
should have hoped, with a sufficient portion of the summer before me, to
conduct my party in safety back to the Mackenzie. But the loss of the
boats when we should have been far advanced, and at the end of the
season, would have been fatal. The deer hasten from the coast as soon as
the snow falls; no Esquimaux had been lately seen, nor any
winter-houses, to denote that this part of the coast was much
frequented; and if we did meet them under adverse circumstances, we
could not, with safety, trust to their assistance for a supply of
provision; nor do I believe that, if willing, even they would have been
able to support our party for any length of time.

Till our tedious detention at Foggy Island, we had had no doubt of
ultimate success; and it was with no ordinary pain that I could now
bring myself even to think of relinquishing the great object of my
ambition, and of disappointing the flattering confidence that had been
reposed in my exertions. But I had higher duties to perform than the
gratification of my own feelings; and a mature consideration of all the
above matters forced me to the conclusion, that we had reached that
point beyond which perseverance would be rashness, and our best efforts
must be fruitless. In order to put the reader completely in possession
of the motives which would have influenced me, had I been entirely a
free agent, I have mentioned them without allusion to the clause in my
instructions which directed me to commence my return on the 15th or 20th
of August, "if, in consequence of slow progress, or other unforeseen
accident, it should remain doubtful whether we should be able to reach
Kotzebue's Inlet the same season."

In the evening I communicated my determination to the whole party; they
received it with the good feeling that had marked their conduct
throughout the voyage, and they assured me of their cheerful
acquiescence in any order I should give. The readiness with which they
would have prosecuted the voyage, had it been advisable to do so, was
the more creditable, because many of them had their legs swelled and
inflamed from continually wading in ice-cold water while launching the
boats, not only when we accidentally ran on shore, but every time that
it was requisite to embark, or to land upon this shallow coast. Nor were
these symptoms to be overlooked in coming to a determination; for though
no one who knows the resolute disposition of British sailors can be
surprised at their more than readiness to proceed, I felt that it was my
business to judge of their capability of so doing, and not to allow
myself to be seduced by their ardour, however honourable to them, and
cheering to me.

Compelled as I was to come to the determination of returning, it is a
great satisfaction to me to know, as I now do, that the reasons which
induced me to take this step were well-founded. This will appear by the
following extract from Captain Beechey's official account of his
proceedings in advancing eastward from Icy Cape, with which I have been

"Mr. Elson, (the master,) after quitting the ship off Icy Cape, on the
18th August, had proceeded along the coast without interruption, until
the 22nd of the month, when he arrived off a very low sandy spit, beyond
which, to the eastward, the coast formed a bay, with a more easterly
trending than that on the west side; but it was so low that it could not
be traced far, and became blended with the ice before it reached the
horizon. It was found impossible to proceed round the spit, in
consequence of the ice being grounded upon it, and extending to the
horizon in every direction, except that by which the boat had advanced,
and was so compact that no openings were seen in any part of it. This
point, which is the most northern part of the continent yet known, lies
in latitude, by meridian altitude of the sun, 71 degrees 23 minutes 39
seconds N.; and longitude, by several sets of lunar distances, both
observed on an iceberg, 156 degrees 21 minutes W.; and is situated one
hundred and twenty miles beyond Icy Cape. Between these two stations,
and, indeed, to the southward of the latter, the coast is very flat,
abounding in lakes and rivers, which are too shallow to be entered by
anything but a baidar. The greater part of the coast is thickly
inhabited by Esquimaux, who have their winter-habitations close to the

"The barge had not been off this point sufficiently long to complete the
necessary observations, when the same westerly wind, which had induced
me to proceed round Cape Lisburn, brought the ice down upon the coast,
and left the boat no retreat. It at the same time occasioned a current
along shore to the northward, at the rate of three and four miles per
hour. The body of ice took the ground in six and seven fathoms water,
but pieces of a lighter draft filled up the space between it and the
shore, and, hurried along by the impetuosity of the current, drove the
barge ashore, but fortunately without staving her. By the exertions of
her officers and crew she was extricated from this perilous situation,
and attempts were made to track her along the land wherever openings
occurred, in execution of which the greatest fatigue was endured by all
her crew. At length all efforts proving ineffectual, and the spaces
between the ice and the shore becoming frozen over, it was proposed to
abandon the boat, and the crew to make their way along the coast to
Kotzebue Sound, before the season should be too far advanced.
Preparations were accordingly made; and that the boat might not be
irrevocably lost to the ship, it was determined to get her into one of
the lakes, and there sink her, that the natives might not break her up,
and from which she might be extricated the following summer, should the
ship return. During this period of their difficulties they received much
assistance from the natives, who, for a little tobacco, put their hands
to the tow-rope. Their conduct had, in the first instance, been
suspicious; but in the time of their greatest distress, they were well
disposed, bringing venison, seal's flesh, oil, &c., and offered up a
prayer that the wind would blow off the shore, and liberate the boat
from her critical situation. Before the necessary arrangements were made
respecting the barge, appearances took a more favourable turn; the ice
began to move off shore, and after much tracking, &c., the boat was got
clear, and made the best of her way toward the sound; but off Cape
Lisburn she met with a gale of wind, which blew in eddies so violently,
that it is said the spray was carried up to the tops of the mountains;
and the boat, during this trial, behaved so well, that not a moment's
anxiety for her safety was entertained. I must not close the account
without expressing my warm approbation of the conduct of Mr. Elson."

The barge rejoined Captain Beechey on the 10th September, at Chamisso
Island, the Blossom having gone thither to wood and water, and being
further forced to quit the coast to the northward, in consequence of
strong westerly winds.

Could I have known, or by possibility imagined, that a party from the
Blossom had been at the distance of only one hundred and sixty miles
from me, no difficulties, dangers, or discouraging circumstances, should
have prevailed on me to return; but taking into account the uncertainty
of all voyages in a sea obstructed by ice, I had no right to expect that
the Blossom had advanced beyond Kotzebue Inlet, or that any party from
her had doubled Icy Cape. It is useless now to speculate on the probable
result of a proceeding which did not take place; but I may observe,
that, had we gone forward as soon as the weather permitted, namely, on
the 18th, it is scarcely possible that any change of circumstances could
have enabled us to overtake the Blossom's barge.[3]

[Sidenote: Thursday, 17th.] The wind changed to N.E. after midnight, the
squalls were more violent, and in the morning of the 17th such a surf
was beating on the borders of the reef, that the boats could not be
launched. The fog disappeared before the gale about eleven, and during
the afternoon we enjoyed the clearest atmosphere that we had witnessed
since our departure from Mount Conybeare. This was the first opportunity
there had been, for the seven preceding days, of making astronomical
observations, and we gladly took advantage of it, to observe the
latitude, 70 degrees 26 minutes N.; longitude 148 degrees 52 minutes W.;
and variation 41 degrees 20 minutes E. We had likewise the gratification
of being able to trace the land round Gwydyr Bay, to its outer point,
bearing S. 79 W. ten miles, which I have named after my excellent
companion Lieutenant Back, and of seeing a still more westerly hummock,
bearing S. 84 W., about fifteen miles, that has been distinguished by
the name of my friend Captain Beechey; at which point, in latitude 70
degrees 24 minutes N., longitude 149 degrees 37 minutes W., our
discoveries terminated. The fog returned at sunset, and as the wind was
piercingly cold, and we had neither fire nor room for exercise, we crept
between the blankets, as the only means of keeping ourselves warm.

[Sidenote: Friday, 18th.] The gale having considerably abated, and the
weather being clear, we quitted Return Reef on the morning of the 18th,
and began to retrace our way towards the Mackenzie. As the waves were
still very high to seaward, we attempted to proceed inside of the reefs,
but as the boats were constantly taking the ground, we availed ourselves
of the first channel that was sufficiently deep to pull on the outside
of them. The swell being too great there for the use of the oars, the
sails were set double reefed, and the boats beat to the eastward against
the wind, between the drift ice and the shallow water.

A gale rose after noon from N.E. by N., which enabled us to shape a
course for Foggy Island, where we arrived at three P.M., just at a time
when the violence of the squalls, and the increased height of the swell,
would have rendered further proceeding very hazardous. We now enjoyed
the comforts of a good fire and a warm meal, which we had not had since
the evening of the 16th. The men were afterwards employed in erecting a
square pile of drift timber, on the highest part of the island fronting
the sea, on which a red cornet flag was left flying, and underneath it
was deposited, in a tin case, a letter for Captain Parry, containing an
account of our proceedings; also a silver medal and a halfpenny: and in
order that government might have some chance of hearing of our
proceedings, should any accident subsequently befal the party, there was
also deposited an unsealed letter, wrapped in bark, addressed to the
Russian Fur Traders, in the expectation that the Esquimaux might
probably convey it to their Establishment. An ice-chisel, a knife, a
file, and a hatchet, were hung up on the pile, for the Esquimaux. On
digging to erect these posts, the ground was found frozen at the depth
of sixteen inches; and the thermometer, during the day, seldom rose
above 37 degrees. This evening the temperature was 33 degrees.
[Sidenote: Saturday, 19th.] We were vexatiously detained the 19th, and
following day, by the continuance of the gale, and a thick fog; during
which time many large flocks of geese were observed passing away to the
westward. The tides were now much higher than during our first visit.

[Sidenote: Monday, 21st.] The breeze was moderate on the morning of the
21st, yet we were prevented from embarking until ten o'clock, by the
return of the fog. We then hastened to escape from this ill-omened
island. The boats were pulled to seaward, so as to gain a sufficient
offing for them to pass on the outside of the shallow water; and by the
aid of the oars and sails we made good progress, and encamped within
sight of Flaxman Island. A black whale, a seal of the largest kind, and
numerous flocks of geese were seen in the course of this day. Several
stars were visible after ten P.M. [Sidenote: Tuesday, 22nd.] Showers of
snow fell during the night, but the morning of the 22nd was calm and
clear. We embarked at daylight, and in the course of three hours arrived
abreast of the east end of Flaxman Island. The ice had broken from the
northern shore during our absence, and was now lying about a mile from
the land, apparently aground on reefs, as we had observed it to be along
the outer border of the one at the west end of the island. The water was
much deeper between Flaxman Island and the main than when we passed in
the early part of August. Eastward of Point Brownlow there was an open
channel of three or four miles wide. And by keeping close to the borders
of the drift ice we avoided the shallows at the mouth of the Canning
River, and arrived at Boulder Island about noon. Here we found an
Esquimaux grave, containing three bodies, covered with drift timber, and
by their side there were placed the canoes, arrows, and fishing
implements of the deceased. Not being able to procure fresh water here,
we set forward to cross Camden Bay, touched at one of the points to fill
the water-casks, and reached Barter Island after dark; the crews much
fatigued, having been pulling for nineteen hours. We regretted to find
the Esquimaux had visited this spot during our absence, and carried away
the gun and ammunition which had been left by mistake at the encampment
on the 4th of August, because we were not only apprehensive that some
accident might have occurred in the attempt to discharge the gun, but
were desirous to prevent the introduction of fire-arms among these
people. [Sidenote: Wednesday, 23rd.] Being now near the point of the
coast at which we had seen a considerable number of the natives, we
remained at the encampment until ten o'clock on the morning of the 23d,
to clean the guns and issue a fresh supply of ammunition to the party.
The day was calm and cloudless; the whole range of the Romanzoff
Mountains was in sight, and they appeared to be more covered with snow
than when we passed to the westward. A few musquitoes made their
appearance, but they were very feeble. Having landed at Point Manning to
replenish the water-casks, we afterwards pulled throughout the day close
to the edge of the ice, which was still heavy, though loose, and
encamped near Point Griffin. Some large-sized medusæ, and several of the
gelatinous substances known to seamen by the name of blubber, were found
on the beach, which accounted for the number of black ducks that had
been seen in the course of the day, as they feed on those substances.
The temperature varied this day from 35 degrees to 46 degrees; and the
thermometer rose to 64 degrees at two P.M., when exposed to the sun's

[Sidenote: Thursday, 24th.] The morning of the 24th was calm; we set
forward at daylight, and having proceeded a few miles between heavy
floating ice, about half a mile from the shore we met with a large sheet
of bay ice of last night's formation, of sufficient thickness to impede
though not to stop the boats. Having arrived abreast of Point Humphrys,
we steered out to seaward, for the purpose of avoiding the shallows that
extend across Beaufort Bay, intending to direct our course in a line for
Mount Conybeare, which was in sight. We were then exposed to a long
rolling swell, and we soon afterwards perceived that it had driven the
ice upon the reefs at the eastern extremity of the bay, which would have
precluded our retreat to the shore in the event of the wind rising. It
therefore became necessary to penetrate into the pack, and keep by the
side of the reefs; but in doing so, the boats were exposed to no little
danger of being broken in passing through the narrow channels between
the masses of ice which were tossing with the swell, and from which
large pieces frequently fell. At six P.M. we passed our former
encampment on Icy Reef, and afterwards proceeded through an open space
to Demarcation Point, where we encamped, and hauled up the boats to
prevent them from being injured by the surf. We found here two families
of Esquimaux, which belonged to the party that had been to Barter
Island, waiting the return of a man from hunting, in order to follow
their companions to the eastward. They showed much joy at seeing us
again, and remained the greater part of the night talking with Augustus.
The most active young man of the party, not thinking himself
sufficiently smart for the occasion, retired to the oomiak to change his
dress and mouth ornaments, capering about on his return, evidently proud
of his gayer appearance.

[Sidenote: Friday, 25th.] The morning was foggy, but there being little
wind, we launched the boats, and pulled for an hour close to the shore,
when we came to a body of ice so closely packed as scarcely to afford a
passage, and it was with difficulty that we arrived at Clarence River.
There we perceived four tents; near which we had been warned by our
visitors last night not to land, as the party had recently lost their
parents, and it was feared that, in the state of mind in which they then
were, they might be disposed to do us some injury. We pulled near enough
to inquire about the gun, and learned that the person who had it was
farther to the eastward. The difficulties of forcing a passage were not
diminished beyond this place, and we were further impeded in our
advance by new ice formed between the larger masses, which required
additional labour to break through. The fog cleared away at ten; we
halted to breakfast at Backhouse River, and remained whilst Augustus
went in pursuit of two rein-deer, one of which he killed.

Renewing our course, we passed on the outside of the ice until we were
nearly abreast of Mount Conybeare, when the wind came strong from the
eastward, and obliged us to have recourse again to its shelter. This
barrier, however, terminated at the end of five miles, and being then
exposed to the wind and swell, against which the men were unable to
pull, we encamped.

The experience we had now gained of the ice being packed upon this shore
by a wind from the sea, assured us of the correctness of the report
which the Esquimaux had given, and likewise afforded a reason for their
expression of surprise at our being unprovided with sledges, as it was
evident, unless a strong wind blew from the land, that the new ice would
soon unite the pack with the shore, and preclude the possibility of
making the passage in boats, unless by going outside of the ice, which
would be extremely hazardous, from the want of shelter in the event of a
gale springing up. The pieces of ice were generally from ten to fifteen
feet in height, many of them were from twenty to thirty feet: their
length was from twenty to one hundred yards. We saw several white whales
in the open water, and a flock of white geese at the encampment, which
were the first noticed on this coast. The rising of the wind from E.N.E.
this afternoon was accompanied by an increase of temperature from 43
degrees to 53 degrees, and we felt a comfortable sensation of warmth, to
which we had been strangers for the preceding month.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 26th.] We took advantage of a favourable breeze to
embark before daylight on the morning of the 26th; at sunrise it
increased to a gale, and raised a heavy sea. In two hours we ran to the
commencement of the intricate channels leading to Herschel Island, where
the Esquimaux seen at Barter Island were encamped on a reef, and
apparently gazing in astonishment at the speed of our boats. They made
many signs for us to land, which we were desirous of doing had it been
practicable for the surf. That the boats might be perfectly manageable,
we took two reefs in the sails, and shaped the course for Herschel
Island; but scarcely were the sails reset before a fog came on that
hid every mark that could guide us; a heavy swell was rolling at the
time, and to arrive at the island we had to pass through a channel only
about two hundred yards broad. To find this, surrounded as it was by
shoals, in the midst of a dense fog, was a task of considerable anxiety
and danger, and our situation was not rendered more agreeable by being
assailed the whole way with continued shouting from persons to us
invisible; our arrival having been communicated by the Esquimaux who
first descried us, to their companions on the neighbouring reefs. We
effected it, however, and landed in safety, though we did not discover
the island till we were within forty yards of its shore. We had scarcely
landed before the fog dispersed, and discovered to us a solitary tent on
an adjacent point. Three men soon paid us a visit, whom we had not seen
before, and they informed us that nearly the whole of the tribe was now
collected in the vicinity for the purpose of hunting deer, and catching
whales and seals for the winter's consumption. We quitted the island at
ten A.M., and steered directly for Point Kay, to avoid the sinuosities
of the coast, and the frequent interruption of the Esquimaux, whose
tents were observed to be scattered on the beach nearly the whole way to
Babbage River. Three men and some women came off to bring us fish, and
being liberally rewarded, they went away perfectly happy, singing the
praises of the white people. We passed round Point Kay at four P.M.,
with a moderate breeze from W.N.W., and steered for Point King, keeping
about two miles from the land. As the afternoon wore away, gloomy clouds
gathered in the north-west; and at six a violent squall came from that
quarter, attended with snow and sleet. The gale increased with rapidity:
in less than ten minutes the sea was white with foam, and such waves
were raised as I had never before been exposed to in a boat. The spray
and sea broke over us incessantly, and it was with difficulty that we
could keep free by baling. Our little vessels went through the water
with great velocity under a close-reefed sail, hoisted about three feet
up the main-mast, and proved themselves to be very buoyant. Their small
size, however, and the nature of their construction, necessarily adapted
for the navigation of shallow rivers, unfitting them for withstanding
the sea then running, we were in imminent danger of foundering. I
therefore resolved on making for the shore, as the only means of saving
the party, although I was aware that, in so doing, I incurred the hazard
of staving the boats, there being few places on this part of the coast
where there was sufficient beach under the broken cliffs. The wind
blowing along the land we could not venture on exposing the boat's side
to the sea by hauling directly in, but, edging away with the wind on the
quarter, we most providentially took the ground in a favourable spot.
The boats were instantly filled with the surf, but they were unloaded
and dragged up without having sustained any material damage. Impressed
with a sense of gratitude for the signal deliverance we had experienced
on this and other occasions, we assembled in the evening to offer up
praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 27th.] On the 27th the weather was calm; but as a
heavy surf prevented our embarkation, we took advantage of the delay to
dry our bedding, clothes, and pemmican. The guns were likewise cleaned,
and every thing put in order. There was an Esquimaux party at this spot,
which had witnessed the landing of the boats in the storm with
astonishment, having expected to see every man drowned. Augustus passed
the night at their tents; and having brought the whole party to our
encampment, the women, with much good nature, sewed soles of seal-skins
to the men's mocassins, in order to fit them better for the operation of
tracking, in which they were soon to be employed. These Esquimaux had
recently returned from a visit to the gang that had pillaged the boats
at the mouth of the Mackenzie; and we now learned the intention that had
been entertained of destroying our party, along with the other
particulars that have been already mentioned.

[Sidenote: Monday, 28th.] Our approach to the Mackenzie was marked by
the quantity of drift timber floating about. We passed several families
of the natives, without visiting them, until we perceived one party
taking some fish from their nets, which tempted us to land. The fish
were large _tittameg_ and _inconnû_, and proved remarkably fine. We
again embarked, but having to pull head to the sea, we took in much
water, and were glad to seek shelter on a gravel reef, where three
Esquimaux tents were pitched. The whole party quickly mustered around
us, and we were not a little surprised to find so many inhabitants as
twenty-seven, including women and children, in three tents only; but on
inquiry we found that the number was not greater than usual. Two of the
men were very aged and feeble, the rest were young and active. They
practise jumping, as an amusement, from their youth; and we had an
opportunity of witnessing some of their feats, which displayed much
agility. The women cheerfully repaired our mocassins, and their
industry, as well as the good conduct of the men, were rewarded by some
valuable presents. We were astonished to learn that there had been fog
only a day and a half in this neighbourhood since we passed, but the
wind had been generally strong. Augustus gained some information
respecting the western Esquimaux, and the coast to the westward, which
he did not communicate to me until some days afterwards, otherwise I
should have endeavoured to elicit more satisfactory details. It was to
the following purport:--The western Esquimaux having purchased the furs
from those men that dwell near the Mackenzie, at Barter Island, proceed
to the westward again without delay. A few days journey beyond a part of
the coast which Augustus understood from description to be Return Reef,
the sea is still more shallow than that which we had navigated, and the
water is still, except at certain periods of the year, when it is
agitated like a strong rapid, by the efflux of the waters of a deep
inlet, or strait. The land is visible on both sides from the middle of
this opening; the Esquimaux make for the west side, and on reaching it
relinquish their canoes, and drag their furs overland to the Russian
establishments, which are situated in the interior, where the land is
more elevated than on the coast. The Mountain Indians come down annually
in large parties to this inlet, and warm contests often arise between
them and the Esquimaux. The latter are frequently worsted, from their
inferior numbers, and lose their property, which the Indians bring by
land to the neighbourhood of Herschel Island, to dispose of to the
Esquimaux in that quarter. The direction of the inlet was supposed, by
Augustus, to be about south-west. I am inclined to think that it is the
estuary of a large river, flowing to the west of the Rocky Mountains,
obstructed by sand-banks, like the mouth of the Mackenzie. In the course
of the day three Esquimaux, who had seen our tent from a distance, came
to visit us. One of them was recognised to have been of the party which
attacked us at the mouth of the Mackenzie. He gave Augustus a detailed
account of their schemes on that occasion, which exactly corresponded
with that we had received on the preceding day. He further told us that
the party which had assailed us had certainly removed to the eastward;
but if any of them should have remained, to watch our motions, they
could be avoided by entering the river by a more westerly branch than
the one which we had descended, and offered to guide us thither. This
man was very intelligent, and having carefully examined the boats,
intimated that he would construct an oomiak after the same plan. We
embarked at four in the evening with our new friend for a guide, and in
a short time arrived at the main shore where his tent stood, and where
he asked the party to encamp, as he intended to go no farther. We were
not, however, so disposed; and having filled the casks with fresh water,
and made some presents to the women, we pushed off to take advantage of
the remaining daylight in getting round a reef which projected far
seaward. We could not effect this, and at sunset, not being able to land
on the reef on account of the shallowness of the water, we put back to
within a mile and a half of the Esquimaux tents. Garry Island was seen
soon after sunset; and the aurora borealis appeared in the night for the
first time this season. The temperature of the air varied from 30
degrees to 49 degrees, and that of the sea water was 37 degrees 2
minutes, a quarter of a mile from the shore. [Sidenote: Tuesday, 29th.]
A gale coming on in the night, and continuing till the following
evening, detained us on shore. During our stay we were visited by a
numerous party of Esquimaux, and found it necessary to draw a line round
the tents, which they were not permitted to pass. These people told us
that Dr. Richardson's party had been seen clear of the Mackenzie, and
had given kettles to men in three canoes, after escaping an attempt made
by the Esquimaux to drag the boats on shore. This account, showing that
the propensity to plunder was not confined to the Esquimaux with whom we
had met, excited painful apprehensions for the safety of the eastern
party, if they should find it necessary to return by the Mackenzie,
because we now learned that the natives collect in numbers near its
mouth at the close of summer. In ordinary seasons the weather is mild,
and the winds variable until the ice breaks up, which is usually about
the end of August, when north-west winds, and stormy weather, are
expected. In this season, however, the winds had been so boisterous that
the Esquimaux had seldom been able to venture out to sea, and their
whale fishery had consequently failed. Our visitors left us about two
P.M.; but, shortly afterwards, we heard loud cries, and on looking round
saw two young Esquimaux running in breathless haste to announce that a
large party of Indians had come down from the mountains with the express
purpose of attacking the boats and killing every man of the party. They
desired us to embark instantly, as the only means of escape; for the
Indians, they said, were already at the tents within our view, and when
they left them they were on the point of spreading round us to commence
the onset. They further said, that the Indians, having been provoked by
our trading with the Esquimaux, had been along the coast in search of
us, and that it was only this afternoon they had espied our tents,
which, by the fluttering in the wind, they knew did not belong to the
Esquimaux. On this discovery they had come to the nearest party of
Esquimaux to make known their intention, and to request their aid. They
were met by our two young friends, who were out hunting, but who
returned with them to their tents, and after learning the plans in
agitation, had stolen off to apprize us of our danger. As soon as Spinks
returned, who had gone to shoot, we shoved off; and never were men more
delighted than our two Esquimaux friends seemed to be at our escape; and
especially at that of Augustus, to save whom, they asserted more than
once, was their principal motive in coming to us. While Spinks was out
of sight, they climbed up to the top of an old house to look for him,
with the greatest apparent solicitude, and were the first to discover
him returning. Up to the time of his arrival they kept repeating every
particular respecting the Indians, and pointing out the mode of avoiding
them. It was their intention, they said, to pursue us to the Mackenzie,
but that we should get there before them, because there were two rivers
in the way which the Indians would have great difficulty in crossing,
being unprovided with canoes. They urged us to make all speed, and not
to halt in the night, nor to go to sleep; but, if the crew became tired,
to put up on an island out of gun-shot of the main shore, because the
Indians were armed with guns as well as bows. They instructed Augustus
minutely as to the course we were to steer round the reef, and directed
us to keep along the main shore until we should come to a large opening,
which was the western outlet of the Mackenzie, and had a deep channel.
We rewarded their friendly conduct by a considerable present of iron,
which they received with an indifference that showed them not to have
been actuated by interested motives in making the communications.
Previous to the arrival of these men we had perceived the smoke of a
distant fire, which we had little regarded, supposing it to have been
made by some Esquimaux who were hunting, but which, it seems, was the
fire of the Indians. Having pulled round the reef, and being aided by a
westerly breeze, we soon regained the main shore, and passed the mouth
of the two rivers of which the Esquimaux had spoken. The night beginning
to close in we pulled up to the head of an inlet; when heavy rain and
squalls coming on, we determined to halt. [Sidenote: Wednesday, 30th.]
As soon as the day dawned, which was about half-past two in the morning,
we returned to Shoal Water Bay; and, sailing along the coast for two or
three miles to the eastward, arrived at another opening, in which the
water was fresh, and we did not doubt but it would prove the deep
channel by which we had been instructed to ascend. There was plenty of
water near its mouth, but it gradually shoaled; and, at the distance of
four miles, we ascertained that this promising opening was likewise an
inlet. I now relinquished the search for a more westerly outlet than the
one by which we had descended, and, therefore, steered for Pillage
Point, which soon afterwards came in sight. After dragging the boats
for two hours, over the shoals, we rounded Pillage Point at ten A.M.,
and reached the deep water most opportunely; for, almost at the instant,
a violent north-west gale came on, attended by thunder, lightning, and
torrents of rain. The wind, however, was fair, and brought so much water
into the channel of the river, that we passed, without obstruction, the
shallow parts above Pillage Point. A temporary cessation of the rain at
noon enabled us to land to breakfast; and we afterwards continued to
scud before the gale until sunset, when we encamped. The temperature
fell from 48 degrees to 40 degrees in the gale, and we had several
showers of snow.

During the above run Augustus entertained us with an account, which he
had learned from the two Esquimaux, respecting the Mountain Indians; the
substance was as follows:--Seven men of that tribe had been to Herschel
Island to trade with the Esquimaux, who showed them the different
articles they had received from us, and informed them of our being still
on the coast, and that our return by this route was not improbable. This
intelligence they set off at once to communicate to the rest of their
tribe, who, supposing that we should ruin their trade with the
Esquimaux, resolved on coming down in a body to destroy us; and that
they might travel with expedition, their wives and families were left
behind. They came to the sea coast by the Mountain Indian River,
opposite Herschel Island, and finding that we had not returned, but
supposing it possible that we might pass them there, as they had no
canoes to intercept us, they determined on travelling to the mouth of
the Mackenzie, where they could conveniently subsist by fishing and
hunting until our arrival. They had been informed of the manner in which
we had been robbed by the Esquimaux at that place, and they formed a
similar plan of operations. When our crews were wading and launching the
boats over the flats in Shoal Water Bay, a few of them were to have
offered their assistance, which they imagined would be readily accepted,
as we should probably take them for Indians belonging to the Loucheux
tribe, with whom we were acquainted. While pretending to aid us they
were to have watched an opportunity of staving the boats, so as to
prevent them from floating in the deeper channel, which runs close to
the land near Pillage Point. The rest of the party, on a signal being
given, were then to rush forth from their concealment, and join in the
assault. They were, in pursuance of this plan, travelling towards the
Mackenzie, when they discovered our tents; and it appeared that the two
young men who brought us the intelligence, had been sent as an act of
gratitude by an old Esquimaux, to whom we had given a knife and some
other things, on the preceding day. After hearing the plans of the
Indians, he called the young men aside and said to them, "These white
people have been kind to us, and they are few in number, why should we
suffer them to be killed? You are active young men, run and tell them to
depart instantly." The messengers suggested that we had guns, and could
defend ourselves. "True," said he, "against a small force, but not
against so large a body of Indians as this, who are likewise armed with
guns, and who will crawl under cover of the drift timber, so as to
surround them before they are aware; run, therefore, and tell them not
to lose a moment in getting away, and to be careful to avoid the flats
at the mouth of the river by entering the western channel."

As the goods which the Mountain Indians exchange with the Esquimaux at
Herschel Island, are very unlike those issued from any of the Hudson's
Bay Company's posts, I conclude that they obtain them from the Russians;
but the traders of that nation being prohibited by their government from
supplying guns to any Indians, I am at a loss to account for these
people having them;--perhaps, the prohibition only applies to the
Esquimaux, or the people on the sea coast. That the Mountain Indians
have fire-arms we learned, not only on the present occasion, but in our
first interview with the Esquimaux, at Herschel Island.

The few general remarks which I have to offer, on the subject of a
North-West Passage, will appear in a subsequent part of the narrative;
and here I shall only state, that we traced the coast, westward from the
mouth of the Mackenzie, three hundred and seventy-four miles, without
having found one harbour in which a ship could find shelter.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 31st.] On the 31st, we continued the ascent of the
river, and encamped in the evening within the limit of the spruce fir

[Sidenote: September 1st.] Favoured by a strong north-west gale, on the
1st of September, we sailed the whole day along the western main shore,
and, generally, within view of the Rocky Mountains. One of the numerous
bends of the river took us within eight miles of part of the mountains,
which appeared to be composed of a yellow stone, and was from eight
hundred to a thousand feet in height. In the course of the day we came
to the most northerly poplars, where the foliage had now assumed the
yellow autumnal hue. [Sidenote: Saturday, 2nd.] The gale continued with
strong squalls on the 2nd, and we advanced rapidly under double-reefed
sails, though the course of the river was very winding. The temperature
of the air varied from 41 degrees to 35 degrees. [Sidenote: Sunday,
3rd.] On the third we had calm weather, and still keeping the western
land aboard, we were led into a river which we had not discovered in our
descent. The course of this river, was, for a time, parallel to our
route, and we took it at first for one of the channels of the Mackenzie;
but, in the afternoon, we saw a mountain to the eastward, and
ascertained that we were to the Southward of Point Separation. We,
therefore, began to descend the river again, and encamped shortly after
sunset. Just after it became dark, voices were heard on the opposite
side of the river, to which we replied, and soon afterwards, three
Indians were observed crossing towards us in canoes. They approached
cautiously, but on being invited to land, they did so, though one of
them was so great a cripple as to require being carried from the canoe
to the fire-side. The alarm these poor people had felt, was soon
dissipated by kind treatment. They were armed with bows and arrows only,
and clothed in hare skins and leather. Their trowsers were similar to
those worn by the lower Loucheux, to which tribe they, probably,
belonged. We could communicate with them only by signs, except by using
a few words of Chipewyan, which one of them appeared to understand. We
collected from them that they knew of Fort Good Hope, but none of them
seemed to have visited it, as they had not a single article of European
manufacture about their persons. They delineated on a stone the course
of the Mackenzie, and of the river we had newly discovered, which
appears to flow from the Rocky Mountains, and to break through the same
ridge of hill that the Mackenzie does at the Narrows. It is probable,
that it was to this river the Loucheux alluded, when they told Sir
Alexander Mackenzie, opposite the present site of Fort Good Hope, that
there was a river which conducted them to the sea in five days. I have
distinguished this river by the name of Peel, in honour of His Majesty's
Secretary of State for the Home Department. It is from a quarter to half
a mile wide, and its banks are clothed with spruce, birch, and poplar
trees, like those of the Mackenzie in the same parallel. [Sidenote:
Monday, 4th.] We set forward at four A.M. on the 4th, with a strong
favourable breeze, and in an hour, passed another river descending from
the Rocky Mountains, and nearly as large as the Peel, into which it
flows. We regained the Mackenzie at noon, and at five P.M. arrived at
Point Separation, where we encamped. Here we found the boat, rope, and
kettle, in the same state in which we had deposited them. The kettle was
a great acquisition to us, because we had suffered much inconvenience in
having only one for cooking, after the Esquimaux had robbed us of the
others. The temperature varied during the day from 29 degrees to 55
degrees, and, in the evening, the sand flies were troublesome.
[Sidenote: Tuesday, 5th.] We quitted our encampment at day light on the
5th, and crossed the river to look for a mark which Dr. Richardson was
to have erected, if he returned by the Mackenzie; but not finding any,
we deposited a letter and a bag of pemmican, in case he should come at a
later period, and that his party should be in want of provision. In the
vicinity of the Red River, we met Barbue, the Chief of the Loucheux, and
two or three families, who seemed in a sorry condition from want of
food, the water being too low for fishing. The chief appeared very
anxious to communicate some intelligence, which he evidently considered
important, but we could not understand him. We learned afterwards at the
fort, that it related to the death of a chief by violence on the sea
coast; this had given rise to a rumour of the death of myself, and
afterwards of Dr. Richardson, which occasioned us, for a time, much
anxiety. The weather, on this and several days, was remarkably fine;
berries of various kinds were very abundant on the banks, and quite
ripe. [Sidenote: Thursday, 7th.] By the aid of the tracking line, with
the occasional use of the oars and sails, we proceeded up the river at a
quick rate, and reached Fort Good Hope, at half-past four on the 7th. In
consequence of the above-mentioned rumour, I requested Mr. Bell, the
gentleman in charge of the fort, to despatch two of the Loucheux as
quickly as possible to the eastern mouth of the river, in order to gain
any information the Esquimaux could give regarding Dr. Richardson's
party; and, that the messengers might not be delayed by hunting on the
way, I left a bag of pemmican for their use. We were sorry to learn that
there was some apprehension of a serious quarrel arising between the
upper and lower Loucheux, in consequence of one of Barbue's sons having
killed his wife, a woman of the latter tribe.

[Sidenote: Friday, 8th.] We quitted Fort Good Hope at noon on the 8th,
arrived at the entrance of Bear Lake River on the 16th, and on the 21st
reached Fort Franklin, where we had the happiness of meeting our friends
in safety. [Sidenote: Thursday, 21st.] The eastern detachment had
arrived on the 1st of September, after a most successful voyage; and Dr.
Richardson being anxious to extend his geological researches, as far as
the season would permit, had gone in a canoe to the Great Slave Lake,
having previously sent a report of his proceedings, to meet me at Fort
Good Hope, in case of our being obliged to return by the Mackenzie; but
the bearer of them passed us without being seen. Having read Mr.
Kendall's journal, I drew up a brief account of the proceedings of both
parties for the information of His Majesty's Government, and transmitted
it by canoe, to Slave Lake on the following morning.

The distance travelled in the three months of our absence from Fort
Franklin, amounted to two thousand and forty-eight statute miles, of
which six hundred and ten were through parts not previously discovered.

I cannot close this account of our sea voyage without expressing the
deep obligation I feel to Lieutenant Back for his cordial co-operation,
and for his zealous and unwearied assiduity during its progress. Beside
the daily delineation of the coast in the field book, the service is
indebted to him for numerous drawings of scenery, as well as of the
natives; and for an interesting collection of plants. My warmest thanks
are likewise due to the men of my party, who met every obstacle with an
ardent desire to surmount it, and cheerfully exerted themselves to the
utmost of their power. Their cool, steady conduct is the more
commendable, as the sea navigation was entirely novel to the whole,
except the seamen Duncan and Spinks, and Hallom, the corporal of
Marines. The Canadian voyagers, Felix and Vivier, first saw the ocean on
this occasion.

The following Chapters contain the narrative of the proceedings of Dr.
Richardson in his own words; and I embrace this opportunity of conveying
my sincere thanks to him, to Mr. Kendall, and to their respective crews.
I may be allowed to bear my testimony to the union of caution, talent,
and enterprise in the former, which enabled him to conduct, with
singular success, an arduous service of a kind so foreign from his
profession and ordinary pursuits; and to the science and skill, combined
with activity, of Mr. (now Lieutenant) Kendall, which must heighten the
character he has already obtained for general ability and energy in his
profession. I must not omit to state, that these officers describe the
conduct of their crews to have been excellent.

_ABSTRACT of the Mean Temperature for each Day during the Voyage along
the Sea Coast west of the Mackenzie, and on the return to Bear Lake._

  1826. Daily
  Date.  Mean  Wind and Weather.                Situation.
  July.  degs.
     1   52.8  NNW, WNW, moderate, gloomy       Fort Good Hope
     2   58.3  West, fresh, clear               } Mackenzie River,
     3   50.3  WNW, fresh, clear                } betwn lat. 67 deg.
     4   55.8  West, SSW, N, light, gloomy      } 28 min., & 60 deg.
     5   53.7  SW, NE, moderate, gloomy, foggy  } 53 min. N., longitude
     6   45.1  NNW, ENE, fresh, moderate, rain  } 130-1/2 deg. &
     7   41.6  SE, moderate, clear              } 136-1/2 deg. W.
     8 } Not                                    Mouth of the
       } regist'd.                              Mackenzie.
     9 } Thermom.    ENE, strong, fog and rain
    10 } stolen by                              } Between the
    11 } Esquimaux.                             } Mackenzie &
    12   51.6  EbyN. fresh, gloomy              } Herschel Isld.
    13   53.3  Variable, fog and rain           } lat 68 deg. 53 min. &
    14   50.5  Calm, rain, ENE, moderate, clear } 60 deg. 34 min. N.,
    15   48.6  Calm, clear, NW, moderate, foggy } long. 136 deg. 19. min
    16   47.3  SSE, moderate, snow, fog         } & 139 deg. 5 min. W.
    17   44.8  NW, North, moderate, hazy        Herschel Island.
    18   43.6  NW, moderate, clear              }
    19   43.4  NW, moderate, heavy rain and fog }
    20   39.3  NW, fresh, fog                   }
    21   51.3  East, SE, clear                  }
    22   58.5  SE, light, clear                 } Between Icy Reef &
    23   51.6  West, calm, East, clear          } Herschel Island,
    24   45.6  Calm, variable, clear            } latitude 69 deg. 34
    25   42.0  West, light, calm, foggy         } min. & 69 deg. 44
    26   44.3  Calm, NW, fog                    } min. N., longitude 139
    27   41.4  West, NW, moderate, fog          } deg. 5 min. and 141
    28   43.2  ENE, light, gloomy               } deg. 30 min. W.
    29   41.6  ENE, strong, misty               }
    30   40.3  ENE, fresh, moderate, clear      }
    31   42.7  NE, moderate, clear, fresh and   }
         -----                           foggy  }
  Mean   47.61
     1   42.0  NE, gale, foggy                  } Between Icy Reef &
     2   44.6  ENE, strong, moderate, clear     } Flaxman's Island, lat.
     3   44.1  ENE, moderate, clear             } 69 deg. 44 min. & 70
     4   40.7  East, moderate, clear            } deg. 11 min. N., long.
     5   42.6  Calm, WbyN, moderate             } 141 deg. 30 min. & 145
     6   43.2  Calm, ESE, light, clear          } deg. 50 min. W.
     7   42.8  ENE, fresh, clear               _}
     8   42.9  ENE, strong, fog                 }
     9   41.6  NE, strong, fog                  }
    10   39.5  ENE, strong, fog                 } Foggy Island, lat.
    11   41.1  NE, moderate, fog                } 70 deg. 16 min. N.
    12   41.1  East, moderate, very foggy       } longitude 147 deg.
    13   41.6  NE, strong, foggy                } 38 min. W.
    14   41.3  ENE, NE, moderate, foggy         }
    15   38.1  NE, fresh, hazy                  }

_ABSTRACT the Mean Temperature for each Day during the Voyage along the
Sea Coast west of the Mackenzie, and on the return to Bear Lake._

  1826. Daily
  Date.  Mean  Wind and Weather.                Situation.
   Aug.  degs.
    16   35.0  ENE, fresh, foggy                } Return Reef, lat.
    17   37.4  NE, gale, very foggy             } 70 deg. 26 min. N. lg.
    18   36.2  NE, strong, clear               _} 148 deg. 52 min. W.
    19   36.4  NE, strong, foggy                } Foggy
    20   36.4  NE, fresh, foggy                _} Island.
    21   35.7  NNE, North, moderate, clear      }
    22   37.6  North, NE, light, clear          } Between Foggy Island &
    23   41.0  Calm, clear                      } the Mouth of the
    24   39.4  Calm, clear, foggy in the night  } Mackenzie, lat. 70
    25   41.2  Calm, fog, NE, light, ESE, strong} deg. 16 min. and 68
    26   39.6  WNW, NW, heavy gale, snow, sleet } deg. 53 min. N. lon.
    27   39.8  Calm, ESE, light, clear          } 147 deg. 38 min. and
    28   43.0  SW, strong, clear                } 136 deg. 19 min. W.
    29   52.5  SSW, heavy gale                 _}
    30   45.6  NW, Heavy gale, rain             } Mackenzie
    31   42.4  Calm, SW, gloomy                 } River.
  Mean   40.85
     1   38.3  NW, gale, snow                   }
     2   38.6  NW, strong, clear                }
     3   41.1  Calm, moderate, SE, clear        }
     4   41.3  SE, NW, moderate, clear          }
     5   45.9  SE, light, clear                 }
     6   51.0  Variable, light, clear           }
     7   44.8  SE, light, NW, strong            }
     8   41.0  NW, strong, snow                 }
     9   39.3  East, moderate, clear            }
    10   45.8  SE, light, clear                 } Mackenzie
    11   45.8  NW, moderate rain                } River.
    12   37.3  NW, moderate, gloomy             }
    13   37.2  Calm, SE, light, clear           }
    14   37.9  ESE, moderate, clear             }
    15   42.7  Calm, moderate, fresh, gloomy    }
    16   44.5  Variable, light, gloomy          }
    17   36.9  Variable, moderate, rain         }
    18   29.4  NW, fresh, gloomy                }
    19   24.6  NW, moderate, gloomy             }
    20   29.2  ESE, fresh, clear                }
    21   31.1  ENE, fresh, clear                Fort Franklin.
  Mean   39.22
  NOTE.--The thermometer used in this register, was compared with those
  in use at Fort Franklin during ten days after our return, and found to
  coincide with them.


[3] I have recently learned, by letter from Captain Beechey, that the
barge turned back on the 25th of August, having been several days beset
by the ice. He likewise informs me, that the summer of 1827 was so
unfavourable for the navigation of the northern coast of America, that
the Blossom did not reach so high a latitude as in the preceding year;
nor could his boat get so far to the east of Icy Cape, by one hundred
miles. The natives, he says, were numerous, and, in some instances,



Leave Point Separation and descend the Eastern Channel of the
Mackenzie--Arrive at Sacred Island--Esquimaux Graves--Interview with the
Natives; their thievish disposition--Attempt to gain possession of the
Union--Heavy Gale--Find Shelter in Refuge Cove--Low
Coast--Mirage--Stopped by Ice at Point Toker--Reach the Sea.

[Sidenote: July 4th.] The two parties of which the Expedition was
composed, having spent the evening of the 3rd of July in cheerful
conversation about their future prospects, prepared to separate on the
morning of the 4th. By six o'clock all the boats were stowed; and
Captain Franklin, Lieutenant Back, and their party, had committed
themselves to the stream in the Lion and Reliance; while the Eastern
Detachment, drawn up on the beach, cheered them on their departure with
three hearty huzzas. The voices of our friends were heard in reply until
the current had carried their boats round a projecting point of land,
when we also embarked to proceed on our voyage. Our detachment was
composed of twelve individuals, distributed in two boats, named the
Dolphin and Union.

        IN THE DOLPHIN.                      IN THE UNION.

  Dr. Richardson.                    Mr. Kendall.
  Thomas Gillet, _Coxswain_.         John M'Leay, _Coxswain_.
  John M'Lellan, _Bowman_.           George Munroe, _Bowman_.
  Shadrach Tysoe, _Marine_.          William Money, _Marine_.
  Thomas Fuller, _Carpenter_.        John M'Duffey.
  Ooligbuck, _Esquimaux_.            George Harkness.

The instructions we received were, to trace the coast between the
Mackenzie and Coppermine Rivers, and to return from the latter overland
to Great Bear Lake. Ice was the only impediment we dreaded as likely to
prove an obstacle to the execution of these orders. We knew that the
direct distance between the two rivers did not amount to five hundred
miles; and, having provisions for upwards of eighty days stowed in the
boats, we were determined not to abandon the enterprize on light
grounds, especially after we had seen the friends that had just parted
from us embark with so much cheerfulness in their more arduous

On leaving Point Separation we pulled, for two hours, against the
current, to regain the entrance of the "Middle Channel," which was first
explored by Mackenzie, on his way to the sea, in 1798, and more
perfectly surveyed by Captain Franklin, on his voyage to Garry's Island,
last autumn. It has a breadth of nearly a mile, and a depth of from
three to five fathoms; though in one place, where there was a ripple,
the sounding lead struck against a flat bed of stone in nine feet water.
Having proceeded about ten miles in this channel, we entered a branch
flowing to the eastward, with the view of tracing the course of the main
land. Mackenzie, on his return from the sea by this route, observed many
trees having their upper branches lopped off by the Esquimaux, and we
saw several such trees in the course of the day. The lands are low and
marshy, and inclose small lakes which are skirted by willows. The
summits of the banks are loaded with drift-timber, showing that they are
all inundated by the spring floods, except a few sandy ridges which
bound the principal channels, and which are clothed with well-grown
white spruce trees. Our voyage amongst these uninteresting flats was
greatly enlivened by the busy flight and cheerful twittering of the
sand-martins, which had scooped out thousands of nests in the banks of
the river, and we witnessed with pleasure their activity in thinning the
ranks of our most tormenting foes the musquitoes. When our precursor,
Sir Alexander Mackenzie, passed through these channels on the 10th of
July, 1789, they were bounded by walls of ice veined with black earth,
but the present season was so much milder, that the surface of the banks
was every where thawed.

An hour before noon we put ashore to cook our breakfast, near a clump of
spruce trees, where several fires had recently been made by a party
which had left many foot-prints on the sand; probably a horde of
Esquimaux, on their return from trading with the Indians at the Narrows.
A thunder storm that obscured the sky, prevented Mr. Kendall from
ascertaining the latitude at noon, which was the hour we chose for
breakfast throughout the voyage, in order to economize time, as it was
necessary to land to obtain the meridian observation of the sun. In the
afternoon we continued to descend the same channel, which has a smooth
and moderately rapid current, and a general depth of two or three
fathoms. At four P.M. we obtained a view of a ridge of land to the
eastward, which we have since learned is named by the natives the
Rein-Deer Hills, and at seven encamped near two conical hills of
limestone, about two hundred feet high, and clothed with trees to their
tops. The length of the day's voyage was forty-two miles. We selected a
sandy bank, covered with willows sixteen feet high, for our encamping
place; and here again we found that a party of Esquimaux had lately
occupied the same spot, the ashes of their fires being still fresh, and
the leaves of the willow poles to which they had attached their nets,
unwithered. Before we retired to bed, the arms were examined, and a
watch was set; a practice which we kept up for the remainder of the
voyage. Much rain fell in the night.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 5th.] On the 5th we embarked at four in the
morning, and soon afterwards, the channel conducting us to the base of
the Rein-Deer Hills, Mr. Kendall and I ascended an eminence, which was
about four hundred feet high. Its summit was thinly coated with gravel,
and its sides were formed of sand and clay, inclosing some beds of
brownish-red sandstone, and of gray-coloured slate-clay. Clumps of trees
grew about half way up, but the top produced only a thin wiry grass. At
eleven A.M. we landed to breakfast, and remained on shore until noon, in
the hope of obtaining an observation for latitude, but the sun was
obscured by clouds. In the afternoon I had an extensive view from the
summit of a hill of flat alluvial lands, divided into islands by
inosculations of the channels of the river, and bounded, at the distance
of about forty miles to the westward, by the Rocky Mountains. As we
advanced to the northward, we perceived the trees to diminish in size,
becoming more scattered, and ascend a shorter way up the sides of the
hills, and they altogether terminated in latitude 68 degrees 40 minutes,
in an even line running across the islands; though one solitary spruce
fir was seen in 68 degrees 53 minutes. Perhaps the lands to the
northward of this abrupt line were too low and wet for the growth of the
white spruce, the tree which attains the highest latitude on this

We pitched our tents for the night on the site of another Esquimaux
encampment, where a small bit of moose deer's meat was still attached to
a piece of wood at the fire-place; and we saw, from the tracks of the
people and dogs in the sand, that a party had left the river here to
cross the Rein-Deer Hills. From information obtained through the
Sharp-eyed, or Quarreller tribe of Indians, this appears to be one of
the Esquimaux routes to a large piece of brackish water named Esquimaux
Lake, and alluded to by Mackenzie in several parts of his narrative. The
length of our voyage this day was forty-four miles, and our encampment
was opposite to an island named by Captain Franklin after William
Williams, Esq., late governor of Prince Rupert's land. We observed here
an unusually large spruce tree, considering the high latitude in which
it grew; it measured seven feet in circumference, at the height of four
feet from the ground. A hole was dug at the foot of the hill, in sandy
soil, to the depth of three feet without reaching frozen ground.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 6th.] On the 6th, heavy and continued rain delayed
our embarkation until ten o'clock in the forenoon, and the weather,
during the rest of the day, was hazy, with occasional showers of small
rain. Before leaving the encampment, we lopped the branches from a tree,
and suspended to it a small kettle, a hatchet, an ice-chisel, and a few
strings of beads, together with a letter written in hieroglyphics, by
Mr. Kendall, denoting that a party of white people presented these
articles to the Esquimaux as a token of friendship.[4] As we advanced,
we came to the union of several ramifications of the middle channel with
the eastern branch of the river, and the breadth of the latter increased
to two miles; its depth of water being rarely less than three fathoms.
In latitude 69 degrees, the eastern channel of the Mackenzie makes a
turn round the end of the Rein-deer-hills which terminate there, having
previously diminished in height to about two hundred feet. At the
commencement of this turn, there is a small island nearly equal to the
main land in height, and appearing when viewed from the southward, to be
a continuation of it. Its position pointing it out to be the one
described by Mackenzie as possessing "a sacred character," and being
still a burial place of the Esquimaux, I named it Sacred Island. We saw
here two recent, and several more ancient graves. The bodies were
wrapped in skins closely covered with drift-wood, and laid with their
heads to the west; so that the rule mentioned by Captain Lyon in his
account of Melville peninsula, does not obtain on this part of the
coast; for there none but the bodies of infants are placed in that
direction. Various articles, such as canoes, sledges, and fishing nets,
were deposited near the graves.

Sacred Island is formed entirely of layers of fine sand of different
colours, covered by a little vegetable mould. One of its sides being
steeply escarped by the waves, showed its structure completely. Amongst
the vegetable productions of this spot, we noticed the perennial lupine,
the narrow-leaved epilobium, and some currant bushes in full flower, and
growing with great luxuriance. From its summit we had a view of the
river flowing in many channels, both to the eastward and westward. The
islands lying in sight to the westward are low, and apparently inundated
when the river is flooded; but to the eastward, there are many islands
having hummocks as high as Sacred Island, and judging from those that
were near, they are, like it, composed of sand. The channels surrounding
the island appear to be shallow.

After leaving that island, we steered along the main shore to a sandy
point about four miles distant, and encamped near a very recent resting
place of a large party of Esquimaux, not fewer than ten fires having
been made since the heavy rain of the morning. There was also vestiges
of five or six winter-houses on this point. Richards' Island, which was
named in honour of the Governor of the Bank of England, forms the
opposite bank of the channel here, and exhibits, like the neighbouring
islands, some sandy hummocks and cliffs. The length of the day's voyage
was twenty-five miles, and our encampment was situated in lat. 69
degrees 4 minutes N., long. 134 degrees 10 minutes W.

[Sidenote: Friday, 7th.] We embarked on the morning on the 7th at four
o'clock, in cold, hazy weather, and soon came to a point of Richards'
Island, on which there were four or five Esquimaux tents, with several
skin canoes, and boats lying on the beach. I had previously arranged
that on our first interview with the Esquimaux, I was to land with
Ooligbuck, whilst Mr. Kendall kept the boats afloat ready to lend us
such aid as might be required; conceiving that this was the best way of
inspiring the natives with confidence, should they be distrustful, or of
securing freedom of action to our crews should they prove unfriendly.
The muskets were kept in the arm-chest out of sight, but ready for
instant use. As we drew near the point, two women, who were walking
along the shore, looked at us with amazement for some minutes, and then
ran into the tents and alarmed their inmates. Several men instantly
rushed out, nearly naked, with their bows and quivers in their hands,
making furious gestures and apparently much frightened. I desired
Ooligbuck to speak to them, and called to them myself in their own
language that we were friends; but their terror and confusion was so
great, that they did not appear to comprehend us. I then took a few
beads, files, and knives, in my hand, and landing with Ooligbuck, made
some presents to the men, and told them I was come to trade. The moment
I mentioned the word "trade" (_noowoerlook_), their fears subsided, and
they sent away their bows, but retained their long knives; those that
were clothed thrusting them into their pockets or up their sleeves. An
old woman who seemed to have greater self-possession than the rest, and
to understand my meaning more readily, ran and fetched some dried fish,
for which I gave her beads; and the others then began to manifest an
eager desire of exchanging their fish for any thing that I offered. More
people coming from the tents, a crowd was formed, who obtained all the
trading articles I had brought on shore. As their surprise subsided,
their boldness and clamour increased, and some few of them began again
to use threatening expressions and gestures, either from a dislike to
strangers coming into their country, or for the purpose of intimidation
and extortion. When the interview assumed this disagreeable character,
Ooligbuck said that they were very bad people, and entreating me to
embark, took me on his back and carried me on board. At the same time,
several of the natives ran into the water and attempted to drag the boat
ashore, but on my calling to them they desisted. One fellow, whose
countenance, naturally disagreeable, had been rendered hideous by the
insertion of a large brass thimble into a perforation in the under lip,
seized upon our tea-kettle, and endeavoured to conceal it under water,
but being seen from the Union, he was made to return it.

When we left the shore, all the males, twenty-one in number, embarked in
their small canoes or kaiyacks and accompanied us; and in less than a
quarter of an hour, the women had struck the tents and embarked them,
together with their children, dogs, and luggage, in their row boats or
oomiaks, and were in close pursuit. For a time we proceeded down the
river together in an amicable manner, bartering beads, steels, flints,
files, knives, hatchets, and kettles, for fish, adzes, spears, and
arrows. The natives seemed to have a correct idea of property, and
showed much tact in their commerce with us; circumstances which have
been held by an eminent historian to be evidences of a considerable
progress towards civilization[5]. They were particularly cautious not to
glut the market by too great a display of their stock in trade;
producing only one article at a time, and not attempting to out-bid each
other; nor did I ever observe them endeavour to deprive one another of
any thing obtained in barter or as a present. As is usual with other
tribes of Esquimaux, they asked our names and told us theirs, a practice
diametrically opposite to that of the Indians, who conceive it to be
improper to mention a man's name in his presence, and will not, on any
account, designate their near relatives, except by some indirect phrase.
They showed much more curiosity respecting the construction of our boats
than any of the tribes of Indians we had seen, and expressed great
admiration of the rudder, soon comprehending its mode of action,
although it is a contrivance of which they were previously ignorant.
They were incessant in their inquiries as to the use of every thing they
saw in our possession, but were sometimes content with an answer too
brief to afford much explanation; as in the following instance.
Ooligbuck had lighted his pipe and was puffing the smoke from his mouth,
when they shouted "_ookah, ookah_," (fire, fire,) and demanded to be
told what he was doing. He replied with the greatest gravity,
"_poo-yoo-al-letchee-rawmah_" (I smoke); and this answer sufficed. On my
referring to an Esquimaux vocabulary, Ooligbuck, in answer to their
questions, told them that the book spoke to me, when they entreated me
to put it away. I afterwards detected the rogue with the brass thimble
endeavouring to steal this book, and placed it, as I thought, out of his
reach; it was missing in the evening, but I never ascertained whether it
had been purloined by the Esquimaux or had fallen overboard in moving
some of the stores. Seeing me use my pocket telescope, they speedily
comprehended its use, and called it "_eetee-yawgah_" (far eyes) the name
that they give to the wooden shade which is used to protect their eyes
from the glare of the snow; and which, from the smallness of its
aperture, enables them to see distant objects more clearly. Of our
trading articles, light copper kettles were in the greatest request, and
we were often asked for the long knives which are used for flinching
whales. It is creditable to the Esquimaux habits of cleanliness, that
combs were in great demand, and we saw wooden ones of their own
manufacture, not dissimilar to ours in form. I distributed
looking-glasses to some of the young men, but they were mostly returned
again, although I do not know on what account.

This party of Esquimaux, being similar in features and dress to the
tribe seen by Captain Franklin, and not differing materially from the
Esquimaux inhabiting Melville peninsula which have been so fully
described by Captains Parry and Lyon, it is not necessary to enter into
any detail here on those points. Ooligbuck's dialect and theirs differed
a little, but they mutually understood one another. I observed that they
invariably sounded the letter _m_ instead of _g_, when in the middle of
a word, calling Ooligbuck, Oolimbauk. Ooligbuck's attempts to pronounce
"Doctor" were sufficiently imperfect, but to our visitors, the word
seemed utterly unattainable, and they could designate me only by the
term _Eheumattak_ or chief. They succeeded better with the names of some
of the men, readily naming Tysoe, and calling Gillet "_Hillet_." The
females, as they passed in their oomiaks, bestowed on us some glances
that could scarcely be misconstrued,--their manners, in this respect,
differed widely from those of the Indian women, who have a modest and
even shy demeanour. Some of the young girls had a considerable share of
beauty, and seemed to have spared no pains in ornamenting their persons.
Their hair was turned up in a neat knot, on the crown of the head, and a
lock or queue, tied by a fillet of beads, hung down by the ears, on each
side. Mr. Nuttall, in his account of the Quapaws or Arkansas, mentions
that the unmarried women wear their hair braided into two parts, brought
round to either ear in a cylindrical form and ornamented with beads; and
a similar attention to head-dress is paid by some of the Indian women
inhabiting the borders of the great Canada lakes, and also by the
Tawcullies or Carriers of New Caledonia;[6] but the females of all the
tribes of Indians that we saw in our route through the northern parts of
the fur countries, suffer their hair to hang loose about their ears,
and, in general, adorn their persons less than the men of the same
tribes. The Esquimaux women dressing better, and being required to
labour less, than the Indian females, may be considered as a proof that
the former nation has made the greater progress towards civilization;
and I am of opinion that the Esquimaux would adopt European habits and
customs much more readily than the Indians.

Though there are many circumstances which widely distinguish the
Esquimaux from their Indian neighbours, they might all, possibly, be
traced to the necessity of associating in numbers for the capture of the
whale, and of laying up large hoards of blubber for winter consumption.
Thus have they been induced to build villages for their common
residence, and from thence have originated those social habits which are
incompatible with the wandering and precarious life of an Indian hunter.
It would lead, however, to too long a digression, were I to enter into
details on this subject, and I resume, therefore, the narrative of the

In the course of the morning we came to several other encampments, one
of them consisting of nine tents; and each party no sooner learnt who we
were, than they embarked bag and baggage and followed us. Some of the
new comers were shy, and kept aloof, but in general they were too
forward. Emboldened by their increase of numbers, they gradually became
more daring, and running their kaiyacks alongside, laid hold of the
boat's gunwale, and attempted to steal any thing within their reach. To
lessen their opportunities of annoying us, I was obliged to keep the
crews constantly rowing, for when we attempted to rest, three or four
fellows would instantly seize the opportunity of lifting the blades of
the oars and pushing their kaiyacks alongside, whilst others would cling
on by the bows and quarters, nor could they be dislodged without much
trouble. They manifested great cunning and dexterity in their pilfering
attempts, and frequently acted in concert. Thus, one fellow would lay
hold of the boat with both his hands; and while the coxswain and I were
disengaging them, his comrade on the other side would make the best use
of his time in transferring some of our property into his canoe, with
all the coolness of a practised thief. The smaller things being,
however, put as well out of the way as possible, and a strict look-out
kept, they were, in almost every instance, detected; and they restored,
with the most perfect good humour, every article they had taken, as soon
as it was demanded, often laughing heartily at their own want of
address. They succeeded only in purloining a bag of ball, and a
powder-horn, as the theft was not perceived at the time. I was
unwilling to check this conduct by a display of arms, because I was
desirous of gaining the natives by kindness and forbearance, the more
especially, as our ignorance of the state of the ice rendered it
doubtful, whether we might not be under the necessity of encamping, for
some time, in their neighbourhood. Had we resented their pilfering
attempts too hastily, we should have appeared the aggressors, for they
expressed great good-will towards us, readily answered such questions as
we were able to put to them about the course of the river, pointed out
to us the deepest channels, invited us to go ashore to cook our
breakfast, and even offered to provide us with wives, if we would pass
the night at their tents. For very obvious reasons we declined all their
invitations; but our crews being fatigued with continual rowing, and
faint from want of food, we halted at one P.M., by the side of a steep
bank, and breakfasted in the boats, insisting on the Esquimaux keeping
aloof whilst we were so engaged.

In the afternoon we had to search for a passage amongst islands, there
being no longer water enough near the main shore to float our boats. The
Esquimaux undertook to guide us, but whether through accident or design,
they led us, on one occasion, into a shallow channel, where we grounded
on a sand-bank, over which there was a strong current setting; and we
had not only much difficulty in getting afloat, but had to pull, for an
hour, against the stream, to regain the passage we had left. Soon after
this, one of the natives made a forcible attempt to come into the
Dolphin, under the pretext of bartering two large knives which he held
in his hand; and the dexterity with which he leaped from his kaiyack was
remarkable. There were three other kaiyacks betwixt him and our boats,
which, on his giving the signal, were, by their owners laying their
broad paddles across, instantly converted into a platform, over which he
ran with velocity and sprang upon the stern seat of the Dolphin, but he
was immediately tumbled out again. Judging from the boldness of this
fellow's behaviour, and the general tenour of the conduct of the
natives, that sooner or later they might be tempted to make an attack
upon us, I adopted, as a measure of precaution, the plan of purchasing
their bows, which are their most powerful weapons. They were at first
unwilling to part with them; but finding that we would take nothing else
in exchange for the articles we had to dispose of, they ultimately let
us have a good number. The Esquimaux bows are formed of spruce-fir,
strengthened on the back by cords made of the sinews of the rein-deer,
and would have been prized, even beyond their favourite yew, by the
archers of Sherwood. They are far superior to the bows of the Indians,
and are fully capable of burying "the goose-wing of a cloth-yard shaft"
in the heart of a deer.

Several of the young men tried the speed of their kaiyacks against our
boats, and seemed to delight in showing us how much their little vessels
excelled ours in velocity. Towards evening the women's oomiaks had all
gone ahead, and we were given to understand that they were about to
encamp for the night. Thinking that they would choose the best route, we
followed them into a channel, which proved too shallow; and when we put
about to try another, the natives became more urgent than ever that we
should land and encamp along with them. Just as we were about to enter a
passage which the Esquimaux, doubtless, knew was deep enough, and led by
the shortest route to the sea, the Union grounded upon a bank, about
half a bow-shot from the shore. Seven or eight of the natives instantly
jumped out of their kaiyacks, and laying hold of the boat's bow and
steering-sweep, attempted to drag her ashore. They were speedily joined
by others, who hurried from the beach with knives in their hands; and
Mr. Kendall seeing that he would almost immediately be surrounded by a
force too great to permit his men to act, called to me that he should be
obliged to fire. Fully aware of the necessity of prompt measures, I
answered that he was at liberty to fire if necessary. Upon which,
snatching up his fowling-piece, he presented it at three of the most
daring who had hold of the sweep-oar, and his crew who were now in the
water endeavouring to shove the boat off, and struggling with the
natives, jumped on board and seized their muskets. The crew of the
Dolphin likewise displayed their arms and stood ready, but I ordered
that no individual should fire until called upon by name. They were,
however, the instant that a shot was fired from the Union, to lay the
Dolphin aground alongside of her, that thus we might present only two
assailable sides to the enemy. Happily there was no occasion to fire at
all; the contests of the Esquimaux with the Indians had taught them to
dread fire-arms, and on the sudden sight of every man armed with a
musket, they fled to the shore. Until that moment we had kept our guns
carefully concealed in the arm-chest, to prevent any of the natives from
snatching them away and disarming us, and also that they might not deem
our intentions to be other than pacific.

I do not believe that the natives had matured a plan of attack, but the
stranding of a boat on their own shore was too great a temptation to be
resisted. Some individuals had previously shown unequivocal signs of
good feeling towards us, such as bringing back the Union's sweep-oar,
which had slipped from the coxswain's hands; and also in pointing out
the channel we afterwards pursued to the sea, as preferable to the one
which the oomiaks had taken. Even the better-disposed, however, would,
doubtless, have joined the others, had they began to plunder with
success; for they told us in the forenoon that there was no one of their
horde acknowledged as a chief. It is probable that the Esquimaux were
doubtful as to the sex of some of our party, until they saw them prepare
for battle. None but women row in their oomiaks, and they had asked
Ooligbuck if all the white women had beards.

The crews on this occasion behaved with a coolness and resolution worthy
of the utmost praise, executing without the slightest confusion the
orders they received. Mr. Kendall acted with his usual judgment; and his
prudence and humanity, in refraining from firing, merit the highest
encomiums. The Union being speedily set afloat by her crew, we pulled
together through a wide channel, three feet deep. The spot where this
transaction took place has been named Point Encounter, and is in
latitude 69 degrees 16 minutes N., and longitude 136 degrees 20 minutes W.

The Esquimaux seemed to hold a consultation on the beach after we left
them; but, as none attempted to follow us immediately, we enjoyed the
respite from their forwardness and clamour, which had become very
harrassing, particularly to Mr. Kendall and myself, who had other duties
to attend to. He had full occupation in surveying and delineating the
route; and as the Dolphin led the way through a shoal and intricate
navigation, it was requisite that I should keep the sounding-lead
constantly going, and be on the watch for any change in the appearance
of the current which might indicate shoal water, the smallness of our
crews preventing me from appointing any man to that service. In about an
hour after leaving Point Encounter, we observed ten kaiyacks coming
towards us from a cluster of islands; they soon overtook us, but kept at
a reasonable distance, and no longer gave us any trouble by coming
alongside. We wished to show that we had no desire to hurt them,
notwithstanding their past conduct, and, therefore, began again to trade
with them; yet we were naturally anxious that they should leave us
before we encamped, because, from the fleetness of their kaiyacks, they
could soon collect a great number of their countrymen, and give us much
annoyance in the night. Our wishes were seconded by a fresh breeze of
wind springing up and enabling us to set the sails, by which the crews
enjoyed a rest, after fourteen hours' labour at the oars; and the
Esquimaux had greater difficulty in keeping up with the increased
velocity of our boats. Thinking that they would quit us as soon as they
lost the hope of getting more goods, I desired Ooligbuck to tell them I
would trade no more, and they accordingly, one by one, dropped behind
and left us. Three followed us longer than the others, and as they were
not of the party which attacked the Union, and had hitherto received
nothing from us, I made each of them a small present of beads and
fire-steels, when they also took leave, calling out "_teymah,
peechaw-ooloo_," "friendship is good."

We learned in the course of the day, from the natives, that they call
themselves _Kitte-garroe-oot_, (inhabitants of the land near the
mountains,) and that they were now on their way to a place favourable
for the capture of white whales, as in the sea, which they said was many
days' march distant, there was too much ice to take the black whales at
this season. It also appeared that they annually ascend to the Narrows
of Mackenzie River, for the purpose of trading with the Quarrellers, and
were accustomed to spend their summers in a large lake of brackish
water, (Esquimaux Lake,) lying to the eastward, where they occasionally
meet parties of Loucheux. They informed us that the land to the eastward
of Encounter Point is a collection of islands, and that there were many
of their countrymen fishing in the rivers which separate them. They had
heard of the Esquimaux at the mouth of the Coppermine River, and knew
them by their name of _Naggoe-ook-tor-moe-oot_, (or Deer-horns,) but
said they were very far off, and that they had no intercourse with them;
adding, that all the inhabitants of the coast to the eastward were bad
people. They knew white people by the name of _Kabloonacht_, and Indians
by that of _Eitkallig_, the same appellations that are used by the
Esquimaux of Hudson's Bay; but their name for the black whale was
different from that given to it by Ooligbuck; and they also gave names
to some of their utensils which he had never heard before. Ooligbuck was
not of much use as an interpreter, in our intercourse with these people,
for he spoke no English; but his presence answered the important purpose
of showing that the white people were on terms of friendship with the
distant tribes of Esquimaux. As a boatman he was of the greatest
service, being strongly attached to us, possessing an excellent temper,
and labouring cheerfully at his oar.

We could not ascertain the numbers of Esquimaux we saw in the course of
the day, because they were always coming and going, but we passed at
least thirty tents, and had reason to believe that on some of the
islands there were tents which we did not see. Four grown people is,
perhaps the average number of the inhabitants of each tent. A short time
before the attack on the Union, I counted forty kaiyacks round the two

The wind freshened, and the night began to look stormy, as we stood
across a wide sound which was open from the N.W. to the N.E., and had a
depth of water varying from three to seven feet. White whales were seen;
and some of the crew thought the water tasted brackish. About nine P.M.
a drizzling rain came on, attended with very dark weather, which induced
us to make for a round islet, with a view of encamping, and securing the
boats for the night; it was skirted by shoals that prevented us from
landing, and we therefore anchored the boats by poles stuck in the mud,
raised the coverings of the cargo on masts and oars, so as to turn off
the rain; and after eating our supper and setting a watch, we
endeavoured to get some repose by lying down in our clothes, wet as they
were. We had scarcely laid down, however, before the wind changed and
began to blow with violence directly on the shore, so as to render it
necessary for us to shift our situation without delay. An attempt was
made to row the boats round to the other side of the islet, but they
drifted upon the shoals in spite of the exertions of the crew, and began
to strike violently. [Sidenote: Saturday, 8th.] In this perilous
situation we perceived some smooth water to leeward, upon which setting
the foresails, the boats were pushed over a sandy bar into two fathoms
water. We then stood towards the eastern shore, and keeping in deep
water, entered a small inlet, which received the name of Refuge Cove;
where having made fast the boats to the beach, pitched a tent on the
shore, and set a watch, we attempted a second time to obtain some rest.

We were not, however, destined to enjoy much repose that night, for we
had scarcely overcome the chilliness occasioned by lying down in wet
clothes, when the Union broke from her moorings in a violent gust of
wind, and began to drive across the inlet towards the lee-shore, on
which there was a considerable surf. Mr. Kendall and one of the crew,
who were sleeping on board, to be ready in case of accident, lowered the
covering with the utmost expedition, and taking the oars, kept her from
driving far, until the rest of the party arrived to their assistance in
the Dolphin. The boats were brought to the beach and secured, and we had
again retired to rest, when the tent-pegs, although loaded with drift
timber, were drawn up by the force of the wind, and the tent, drenched
with rain, fell upon us. It was in vain to attempt to sleep after this,
benumbed as we were by the coldness of the weather; but the rain ceasing
about four in the morning of the 8th, we were enabled to make a good
fire, and dry our clothes. The cargo of the boats was then landed, the
wet packages spread out to dry, and the boats were drawn upon the beach
so as to form, with the baggage, a three-sided breast-work, to which we
could retreat, should the Esquimaux pay us a hostile visit. These
arrangements being made, the tent was removed to a more sheltered spot,
and we slept quietly until ten o'clock in the morning. In the night an
accident happened to Mr. Kendall, which might have had fatal
consequences, and alarmed us at the time exceedingly. The point of a
small two-edged knife which he wore in a sheath slung from his neck,
was, by his falling against one of the tent-poles, forced through the
sheath into his side, exactly in the region of the heart. Through the
mercy of Providence, its progress was arrested by one of the ribs, and
the wound healed in the course of a few days. At noon a meridian
observation was obtained, which placed the mouth of Refuge Cove in
latitude 69 degrees 29 minutes N.; and the sun's bearing showed the
variation of the magnetic needle to be 49-1/2 degrees easterly. The
length of our voyage the preceding day was fifty-seven miles. Refuge
Cove has an irregular form; its length is about two miles and a half,
and its greatest width one mile. It is upwards of two fathoms deep at
the entrance, and for some distance within; but a bar runs from Shoal
Islet to its north side. Its shores are flat and sandy, but here and
there hummocks rise abruptly to the height of one hundred feet,
resembling the downs on the Norfolk coast. The sandy hummocks are bound
together by the creeping fibrous roots of a species of grass, named
_Elymus mollis_; and many of them are covered by a coat of black
vegetable mould. Ruins of Esquimaux houses, that appeared to have been
deserted for many years, were scattered along the borders of the cove,
and much drift-timber lay on the low grounds. We saw some ducks and
geese, and two of the crew went to hunt round the harbour for deer, but
they had no success.

The wind having moderated in the evening, we prepared to resume the
voyage, and had begun to load the boats, when I thought I saw a
_kaiyack_ paddle across the mouth of the cove. It was followed by many
others, that were in succession lost behind the point, with the
exception of one which seemed to return and look into the inlet. I
concluded that the natives were in search of us; and, as it was
desirable to have all the cargo on board when they arrived, the utmost
despatch was used in loading the boats. Before this operation was
completed, Mr. Kendall, on attentively examining one of the objects with
his telescope, suggested that it was not a kaiyack; and accompanying me
to a sandy eminence nearer the entrance of the cove, we ascertained that
the whole was an optical deception, caused by the haze of an easterly
wind magnifying the stumps of drift wood, over which the surf was
rolling. The imagination, no doubt, assisted in completing the
resemblance, but the deception, for a few minutes, was perfect.

We quitted Refuge Cove at nine o'clock in the evening, and rounding
Shoal Islet, steered to the northward along the coast. The circuit of
Shoal Islet was made because there was too little water to float our
boats over the bar, which we had crossed the preceding evening. The
temperature of the air on leaving the cove, was 36 degrees, but it fell
at midnight to 32 degrees; and the night proved fine. When resting on
our oars, the boats were drifted to the westward, by a current which we
ascertained, by subsequent observations, to be the flood tide.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 9th.] After pulling along the coast for some time,
the ice-blink appeared in the horizon, and about one o'clock in the
morning on the 9th, we could perceive a stream of ice lying at the
distance of eight or nine miles from the shore, and inclosing several
small icebergs. At four o'clock, a northerly breeze springing up,
brought a quantity of loose ice down upon us, and we made for the shore.
This part of the coast is skirted to the distance of two miles by flat
sands, on which there is not more than a foot or eighteen inches of
water. The depth of water gradually increases to four fathoms, which it
attains at the distance of six or seven miles from the shore, and the
heavy ice we saw outside, showed that the depth there was considerable.
Esquimaux winter-huts occur frequently on the coast, and the rows of
drift-trees planted in the sand with the roots uppermost, in their
vicinity, assume very curious forms, when seen through a hazy
atmosphere. They frequently resembled a crowd of people, and sometimes
we fancied they were not unlike the spires of a town just appearing
above the horizon. We learnt by experience that the shore was more
approachable at the points on which the Esquimaux had built, and we
effected a landing at one of those places, when, having discharged the
cargoes, we hauled the boats up, and pitched the tents. The water at our
landing-place was fresh, but too hard to make tea; and at four or five
miles from the shore, it was disagreeable to drink. Out of respect to
Captain Toker of the Royal Navy, under whom I had once the honour to
serve, his name was given to this Point. Mr. Kendall ascertained its
latitude to be 69 degrees 38 minutes N.; its longitude by reckoning, 132
degrees 18 minutes W.; and the variation of the magnetic needle 50-1/2
degrees easterly. The distance rowed from Refuge Cove was about twelve
miles. A tide pole was erected, by which it appeared that the ebb ran
from four o'clock, the time at which we landed, until ten in the
morning, producing a fall of eighteen inches; but the afternoon tide did
not rise so high, and at 10h. 50 minutes P.M. it was low water again,
the wind blowing fresh from the northward all the time.

The vicinity of Point Toker, like the rest of the lands to the eastward
of Point Encounter, consists of level sands, inclosing pieces of water
which communicate with the estuary of the river, and interspersed with
detached conical hills rising from one to two hundred feet above the
general level. These hills are sometimes escarped by the action of the
water, and are then seen to consist of sand of various colours, in which
very large logs of drift-timber are imbedded. They are covered by a coat
of black vegetable earth, from six inches to a foot in thickness, which
shows that they cannot be of very recent formation, though at some
distant period they may have been formed by the drifting of moveable
sands. At present, the highest floods reach only to the foot of the
hills, where they deposit a thick layer of drift-timber. One straight
log of spruce fir, thirty feet long, was seven feet in circumference at
the small end, and twelve a short distance above the root. The branches
and bark are almost always rubbed off from the drift-timber which
reaches the sea, but a few of the main divisions of the root are
generally left. Various instruments tied up in bundles were suspended to
poles near some of the Esquimaux houses, such as spear-heads and ice
chisels made from the tooth of the narwhal, and spoons of musk-ox horn.
The marine animals that frequent this part of the coast, according to
the information we obtained from the Esquimaux, are, the white whale,
the narwhal, large and small seals, (_oggoe-ook_ and _nat-choe-ook_,)
and a species of black whale, named _aggee-woerk_. There are also many
sea-fish, of which the capeline (_ang-mag-goe-ook_,) that abound on the
shoals at this season, are most easily caught. The natives are
unacquainted with sea-horses. Swans, Canada and white geese, and Arctic
ducks, are numerous, and we killed several. Ooligbuck likewise killed a
rein-deer, which afforded us an agreeable change of diet.

In the evening, having assembled in one of the tents, prayers were read,
a practice to which we adhered on every Sunday evening during the
voyage. At 10h. 45m. P.M., I lighted a piece of touchwood with a convex
lens, an inch in diameter, the altitude of the sun being then 3 degrees
6 minutes. It is seldom that the sun in warmer climates affords so much
heat at so low an altitude.

[Sidenote: Monday, 10th.] The ice opening a little, we resumed the
voyage at five o'clock in the morning of the 10th, but had not rowed
above five miles, when our further progress was impeded by a ridge of
grounded-ice, extending apparently far out to sea. We landed to obtain a
view from a height, and took advantage of the opportunity to prepare
breakfast. Whilst thus engaged, we discovered, on the opposite side of a
bay which we had just crossed, two of the natives couched upon the sand,
and evidently watching us; but before we had concluded our meal, they
went off. On re-embarking, we went round the ice which was aground on
extensive sandy spits, and then pulled in for the shore; but a fresh
breeze of wind created such a swell, that we did not advance above three
miles in two hours. Deeming it unadvisable to fatigue the crews, while
the progress was so small, we pulled into a sandy bay, and made the
boats fast to one of many large pieces of ice which were stranded on the
beach, having gained since setting out in the morning, eight miles.

Just as we made for the shore, we observed three Esquimaux regarding us
from an eminence, and two others soon afterwards joined them: the latter
being, as we discovered from the direction of their path over the sands,
the two we had seen at breakfast-time. They retired as we drew near the
beach, and on reconnoitring the neighbourhood, we discovered three
skin-tents, whose owners were running off with their effects in great
alarm. As we had experienced how troublesome the natives were, when
relieved from their fears, we did not seek an interview at this time;
and to guard against accidents from parties of them way-laying our men,
I determined that, while we remained in this anchorage, the crews should
land only to cook their provisions and then be accompanied either by Mr.
Kendall or myself. The water at our anchorage was decidedly brackish,
the beach was strewed with _sertulariæ_ and other marine productions,
and several white whales were seen in the offing; all which
circumstances being considered as decided evidences of our having
reached the mouth of the river, that event was celebrated by issuing to
each of the men a glass of grog, which had been reserved for the


[4] As the reader may desire to know what hieroglyphics were used to
express our intentions, a copy of the letter is annexed.


[5] Robertson's _History of America_.

[6] _Harmon's Journal_, p. 288.

[7] The Esquimaux method of settling disputes, which we learned from
Augustus, deserves to be mentioned, not only as being very different
from the sullen conduct of an affronted Indian, but from its coincidence
with the practice of a people widely separated from them--the native
inhabitants of Sydney, in New South Wales. Mr. Cunningham, in his
entertaining work on New South Wales, says, "The common practice of
fighting amongst the natives is still with the _waddie_, each
alternately stooping the head to receive the other's blows, until one
tumbles down, it being considered cowardly to evade a stroke." The
Esquimaux use the fist instead of the waddie, in these singular duels,
but there is no other difference betwixt their practice and that of the
New South Wales' people. Another coincidence betwixt the Esquimaux and
the inhabitants of Australasia, is the use of the throwing stick for
discharging their spears.



Detention by wind--Visited by Esquimaux--Cross a large Stream of fresh
Water--Winter Houses on Atkinson Island--Gale of Wind, and Fog--Run into
Browell Cove--Double Cape Dalhousie--Liverpool Bay and Esquimaux
Lake--Icy Cliffs--Meet another Party of Esquimaux--Cape Bathurst.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 11th.] The wind blew so strongly during the 11th,
that we remained in our mooring-place, landing occasionally to take a
little exercise on the beach; and as it continued to freshen from the
north-east in the evening, most of the ice in the offing had drifted out
of sight, while a great reduction took place at the same time in the
number and size of the pieces of stranded ice. One of them which had
grounded about a mile outside of us, and rose fifteen feet above the
water, fell over and floated away with the ebb tide. Mr. Kendall
obtained a meridian observation for latitude, and afterwards took
several sets of lunar distances, whose results placed our anchorage in
latitude 69 degrees 42-1/2 minutes N., and longitude 131 degrees 58
minutes W. In the afternoon two Esquimaux were seen walking fast over a
hill, and often stopping and looking anxiously around them. About
midnight two black foxes carried off the scraps of meat that had been
left at our cooking-place, and buried them carefully in the sand above
high-water mark. We observed that they dug separate hiding-places for
each piece, and that they were careful to carry the largest bits
farthest from the sea. The time spent inactively at the anchorage was so
irksome, that even the movements of these animals were a subject of much
interest to us, and we felt great regret when they were scared away by
the talking of the men in the boats.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 12th.] No material alteration took place in the
weather on the 12th. The temperature was 45 degrees; but from the force
of the wind, and our confinement in the boats, we felt cold. In the
evening two elderly Esquimaux came to us in their kaiyacks, shouting as
they approached the boats, and paddling boldly alongside. They told us
that they were the same two whom we had seen in the morning of the 10th
watching us while at breakfast, though they had first discovered us on
the 9th, and had seen Ooligbuck kill the deer, which had alarmed them
greatly; they had since been to inquire about us from the party at
Point Encounter, and having learnt that we were well-disposed, they had
come to open a communication. In allusion, I suppose, to the attempt on
the Union, they often said that the Esquimaux at the river's mouth were
bad people, but that they themselves were good-hearted men; and they
struck their breasts forcibly with their hands, to give energy to their
assurances. They told us that a large party of their countrymen, who
were at present fishing at the mouth of a river to the eastward, would
soon move in this direction to kill white whales. Eetkoo-yak, the
principal spokesman, invited us to go to his tents, where he said, the
women would be glad to receive us; and added, that next day he would
bring four of his countrymen to visit us. We made them a handsome
present of iron-work; and having paid, with beads, for some dried fish,
sent them away highly contented.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 13th.] At seven o'clock in the morning of the 13th,
nine Esquimaux came to us, amongst whom were our two acquaintances of
yesterday. Some of the young men inquired when we were going away, and
seemed to be anxious that we should depart; but our friend Eetkoo-yak
gave us a pressing invitation to his tents, and wished to embark in the
boats to conduct us thither. We declined his proposal, and the wind
having moderated, we unmoored the boats, and rowed along the coast. The
natives followed us, and soon afterwards four women and two boys came
off in an oomiak, and exchanged some boots, pieces of leather, deer's
meat, and fish for beads. The point on which their tents were pitched
was named Point Warren after my friend Captain Samuel Warren, R.N. As we
continued our course the oomiak returned to the shore, and the men also
left us soon afterwards, apparently pleased with our departure; for the
knowledge of the effect of our muskets seemed to have impressed them
with some dread. They were tattooed across the cheeks. The tribes to the
westward of the Mackenzie are described by Captain Franklin, (p. 111,)
as following a different fashion in the application of this ornament.

We coasted this day a flat shore, with dry sands running off to the
distance of two or three miles, and we passed within several shoals, on
which some heavy ice had grounded. Only a few small streams of ice were
seen, although the ice-blink was visible the whole day. Soon after
rounding Point Warren, we crossed the mouth of a large river, the water
being muddy and fresh for a breadth of three miles, and the sounding
lead was let down to the depth of five fathoms, without striking the
bottom. This river is, perhaps, a branch of the Mackenzie, and falls
into a bay, on which I have bestowed the name of my esteemed friend
Copland Hutchinson, Esq. Surgeon Extraordinary to His Royal Highness
the Duke of Clarence. On its east side there is an island, which was
named after Captain Charles Phillips, R.N. to whom the nautical world is
indebted for the double-capstan, and many other important inventions.

At five o'clock in the afternoon, rainy weather setting in, we made for
a small island, and mooring the boats as near the beach as we could,
covered them up, and landed to prepare supper. The length of the day's
voyage was twenty-eight miles and a half. Mr. Kendall named the island
in honour of Mr. Atkinson, of Berry-House; it is situated in latitude 69
degrees 55 minutes N., longitude 130 degrees 43 minutes W., and is
separated from a flat, and occasionally inundated shore, by a narrow
creek. It is bounded towards the sea by a bulwark of sand-hills, drifted
by the wind to the height of 30 feet. Under their shelter 17
winter-houses have been erected by the natives besides a large building
which from its structure, seemed to be intended for a place of assembly
for the tribe. Ooligbuck thought it was a general eating-room, but he
was not certain, as his tribe erect no such buildings.

I annex a section and ground plan of one of the largest of the
dwelling-houses. The centre (A) is a square of ten feet, having a level
flooring, with a post at each corner (D,D) to support the
ridge-poles,[8] on which the roof rests. The recesses (B) are intended
for sleeping-places. Their floors have a gentle inclination inwards, and
are raised a foot above the central flooring. Their back walls are a
foot high, and incline outwards like the back of a chair. The
ridge-poles are six feet above the floor, the roof being flat in the
centre, and sloping over the recesses. The inside of the building is
lined with split-wood, and the outside is strongly but roughly built of
logs, the whole being covered with earth. An inclined platform (C) forms
the ascent to the door, which is in the middle of one of the recesses,
and is four feet high; and the threshold, being on a level with the
central flooring, is raised three feet above the surrounding ground, to
guard against inundations. There is a square hole in the roof, near the
door, intended for ventilation, or for an occasional entrance. As we
observed no fire-places in these dwellings, it is probable that they are
heated, and the cookery performed in the winter, with lamps. Some of the
houses were built front to front, with a very narrow passage between
them leading to the doors, which were opposite to each other. This
passage must form a snug porch in the winter when it is covered with
slabs of frozen snow, and one end stopped up. Some of the larger houses
which stood single, had log-porches to shelter their doors; and near
each house there was a square or oblong pit, four feet beneath the
surface of the ground, lined and covered with drift timber, which was
evidently intended for a store-house.


The large building for an assembly-room was, in the interior, a square
of 27 feet, having the log-roof supported on two strong ridge poles, two
feet apart, and resting on four upright posts. The floor in the centre,
formed of split logs, dressed and laid with great care, was surrounded
by a raised border about three feet wide, which was, no doubt, meant for
seats. The walls, three feet high, were inclined outwards, for the
convenience of leaning the back against them, and the ascent to the
door, which was on the south side was formed of logs. The outside,
covered with earth, had nearly a hemispherical form, and round its base
there were ranged the skulls of 21 whales. There was a square hole in
the roof, and the central log of the floor had a basin-shaped cavity,
one foot in diameter, which was, perhaps, intended for a lamp. The
general attention to comfort in the construction of the village, and the
erection of a building of such magnitude, requiring a union of purpose
in a considerable number of people, are evidences of no small progress
towards civilization. Whale skulls were confined to the large building,
and to one of the dwelling-houses, which had 3 or 4 placed round it.
Many wooden trays, and hand-barrows for carrying whale blubber, were
lying on the ground, most of them in a state of decay.

Myriads of musquitoes, which reposed among the grass, rose in clouds
when disturbed, and gave us much annoyance. Many snow birds were
hatching on the Point, and we saw swans, Canada geese, eider, king,
arctic, and surf ducks; several glaucous, silvery, black-headed, and
ivory gulls, together with terns and northern divers. Some laughing
geese passed to the northward in the evening, which may be considered as
a sure indication of land in that direction. The sea-water at Atkinson
Island being quite salt, and the ponds on the shore brackish, we had
recourse to the ice that lay aground for a supply of fresh water. Strong
gales of wind, with heavy rain, continued all night.

[Sidenote: Friday, 14th.] The rain ceasing at four o'clock in the
morning of the 14th, we embarked, and pulled along a sandy bar which
projected five or six miles from Atkinson Island, and was covered by
masses of ice. We had not left the beach above an hour, when a thick fog
hid the land from our view, and a noise of breakers being at the same
time heard, we deemed it prudent to moor the boats to a piece of
grounded ice, and wait for clear weather. After a time, the fog
dispersing partially, we made sail before a fresh breeze towards the
most easterly point of land in sight, but we had not advanced above five
or six miles before the looming of the shore on the larboard bow made it
necessary to haul to the wind; and the fog becoming as dense as ever, we
ran aground on some flats, where the surf nearly filled the boats. On
lowering the sails, deeper water was attained, but the wind began to
blow hard directly upon the shore, and we could not discover a
landing-place, nor did we even know our distance from the beach. In this
dilemma we saw a long line of floating sea-weed, and Ooligbuck
suggesting that it came from the mouth of a river, we followed its
direction, and, with the aid of the sounding lead, groped our way
betwixt two shoals into a well sheltered inlet. Here there was a good
landing-place, and we deemed ourselves peculiarly fortunate in reaching
so snug a harbour, for the fog continued all day, and the wind increased
to a heavy gale.

The inlet was named Browell Cove, in honour of the Lieutenant-Governor
of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, and the bay to the westward of it,
M'Kinley Bay, out of respect to Captain George M'Kinley, of the Naval
Asylum. The latitude of the mouth of Browell Cove is 70 degrees N., and
the longitude 130 degrees 19 minutes W. We did not ascertain its extent,
but as its water is brackish, it probably communicates with Esquimaux
Lake, which, according to Indian report, lies behind the islands that
form this part of the coast. Several large basins of salt water
communicate with the cove. Some herds of deer were seen, but too many
hunters going in pursuit of them they were frightened away. The
temperature throughout the day was 42 degrees.

I observed forty species of plants in flower here, of which nearly
one-third were grasses and carices. The Thrift common on the sandy parts
of the British coast is a frequent ornament of Browell Cove; and seven
or eight of the other plants seen there, are natives of the Scottish
hills. Two dwarf species of willows were the only shrubs.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 15th.] The fog clearing away, and the wind
moderating, we embarked about three in the morning of the 15th; and
steering along the coast, came to a group of low sandy islands, that
were separated by wide but very shallow channels, and skirted, to the
distance of five or six miles, by sand-banks, which were nearly dry at
low water. In rounding these banks our soundings varied from two feet to
two fathoms, and we were occasionally led almost out of sight of the
land. During the whole day we saw much ice to seaward, and in some
places it was so closely packed as to render it doubtful whether a ship
would have been able to make way through it. The line of deep water was
marked by large masses of ice lying aground, and was about ten miles
from the shore. As we could not reach the beach, we disembarked upon a
piece of ice at noon, and cutting up a spare seat for fire-wood,
proceeded to cook our breakfast, and make observations for latitude and
magnetic variation.

After rounding the shoals, we made a traverse of ten miles across an
inlet, where the water ran out with a strong current; and, though five
fathoms deep, it was nearly fresh. This I supposed to be another
communication betwixt Esquimaux Lake and the sea, and named it Russel
Inlet, after the distinguished Professor of Clinical Surgery in the
University of Edinburgh. The land on its western side was called Cape
Brown, out of respect to the eminent botanist, whose scientific
researches reflect so much credit on British talent; and that to the
eastward of the inlet received the name of Dalhousie, in honour of His
Excellency the Governor-in-Chief of the Canadas. Cape Dalhousie consists
of a number of high, sandy islands, resembling those seen from Sacred
Island, in the mouth of the Mackenzie. We entered some deep inlets
amongst them, in search of a landing-place, but the beach was every
where too flat. At length, after dragging the boats through the mud for
a considerable way, and carrying the cargoes for a quarter of a mile
over a flat sand, we reached the shore, and pitched the tents. The
island on which we encamped was similar to the others, being from one
hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high above the water, and bounded
on all sides by steep, sandy cliffs, which were skirted by flat sands.
From the summit of the island we had the unpleasant view of a sea
covered with floating ice, as far as the eye could reach to the
eastward. Temperature during the greater part of the day 55 degrees; at
nine P.M. 52 degrees. Wind easterly. The length of this day's voyage was
thirty miles and a half; the latitude of the encampment 70 degrees 12
minutes, and longitude 129 degrees 21 minutes W.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 16th.] On the 16th the boats were afloat, and loaded
by seven in the morning, when we pulled round Cape Dalhousie, and found
the land trending as we wished to the south-east. Since reaching the
sea, the coast had gradually inclined to the northward, which with the
increased quantity of ice seen on the two or three last days, led us to
fear that a cape might exist, extending so far to the northward, as to
prevent us from reaching the Coppermine River within the period to which
our voyage was limited. It was, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction,
that, on putting ashore to cook breakfast, we saw distant land to the
S.E., apparently of greater height than that which we had recently
coasted; and we now flattered ourselves that we were about to leave
behind us the low coasts and shoals, which render the boat navigation
across the mouths of the Mackenzie and Esquimaux Lake so perplexing and
hazardous. Many deer were seen at our breakfasting-place, and the
musquitoes annoyed them so much that there would have been no difficulty
in approaching them, if we could have spared time to send out the

Having obtained an observation for latitude, we directed our course to a
projecting point across an inlet, with no land visible towards its
bottom. The soundings in the middle of the opening exceeded nine
fathoms; the water became less salt as we advanced, and at last could
only be termed brackish. The point proved to be an Island sixteen miles
distant from our breakfasting-place; and as we approached it, we had the
mortification to perceive a coast seven or eight miles beyond it,
apparently continuous, and trending away to the north-north-west. The
island was named Nicholson Island, as a mark of my esteem for William
Nicholson, Esq., of Rochester. It is bounded by high cliffs of sand and
mud, and rises in the interior to the height of four hundred feet above
the sea. The cliffs were thawed to the depth of three feet, but frozen
underneath, and the water issuing from the thawing ground caused the mud
to boil out and flow down the banks. There were many small lakes on the
island, and a tolerably good vegetation. Amongst other plants I gathered
here a very beautiful American cowslip, (_dodecatheon_,) which grew in
the moist valleys. From the summit of the island a piece of water,
resembling a large river, and bearing south, was seen winding through a
country pleasantly varied by gently swelling hills and dales, and
differing so much in character from the alluvial islands we had just
left, that I thought myself justified in considering it to be part of
the main land. From S.W. to W.N.W. open water was seen, broken only by a
few islands, that were named after Major-General Campbell, of the Royal
Marines. This large sheet of water is undoubtedly the Esquimaux Lake,
which, according to the natives, not only communicates with the eastern
branch of the Mackenzie, but receives, besides, two large rivers; and,
consequently, the whole of the land which we coasted from Point
Encounter, is a collection of islands. The temperature varied this day
from 38 degrees to 55 degrees. The length of the day's voyage was
thirty-three miles, the latitude of our encampment 69 degrees 57
minutes, and longitude 128 degrees 18 minutes W.

[Sidenote: Monday, 17th.] On the 17th a thick fog detained us until nine
o'clock in the morning, when it dispersed, and we left our encampment.
About two miles from Nicholson's Island the water was nine fathoms deep,
and had a brackish taste; but as we continued our course to the
northward, it became shoaler and salter. This added to the probability
of the winding channel, which bore south, being a large river; and that
opinion was further strengthened by our observing, when we landed to
breakfast, the shore to be strewed with tide-wrack, resembling that
which is generally found on the banks of rivers in this country, such as
pieces of willows, fragments of fresh-water plants, and lumps of peat
earth. We were delighted to find here a beach of sand and fine gravel,
bold enough to admit of our running the boats upon it. The fresh
footsteps of a party of Esquimaux were seen on the sand.

After obtaining an observation for latitude, we embarked, and continued
our course along the coast until we came to the extremity of a cape,
which was formed by an island separated from the main by a shallow
channel. The cliffs of this island were about forty feet high, and the
snow which had accumulated under them in the winter, was not yet
dissolved, but, owing to the infiltration and freezing of water, now
formed an inclined bank of ice, nearly two-thirds of the height of the
cliff. This bank, or iceberg, being undermined by the action of the
waves, maintained its position only by its adhesion to the frozen cliffs
behind it. In some places large masses had broken off and floated away,
whilst in others the currents of melting snow floating from the flat
land above, had covered the ice with a thick coating of earth; so that
at first sight it appeared as if the bank had broken down; the real
structure of the iceberg being perceptible only where rents existed. In
a similar manner the frozen banks, or icebergs, covered with earth,
mentioned by Lieutenant Kotzebue, in his voyage to Behring Straits,
might have been formed. Had the whole mass of frozen snow broken off
from this bank, an iceberg would have been produced thirty feet wide at
its base, and covered on one side to the depth of a foot, or more, with
black earth. The island was composed of sand and slaty clay, into which
the thaw had not penetrated above a foot. The ravines were lined with
fragments of compact white limestone, and a few dwarf-birches and
willows grew on their sides. The sun's rays were very powerful this day,
and the heat was oppressive, even while sitting at rest in the boat; the
temperature of the air at noon being, in the shade, 62 degrees, and that
of the surface water, where the soundings were three fathoms, 55

Immediately after rounding the cape, which was named after His
Excellency Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada,
we entered a channel ten miles wide, running to the eastward, with an
open horizon in that direction; and a doubt arose as to whether it was a
strait, or merely a bay. Many large masses of ice were floating in it,
which proved to us that it had considerable depth; but the water being
only brackish, excited a suspicion that there was no passage through it.
While we were hesitating whether to hazard a loss of time by exploring
the opening, or to cross over at once to the northern land, several deer
were seen, and the hope of procuring a supply of fresh meat, induced us
to put ashore and encamp for the night, that the hunters might go in
chase. The beach here was strewed with fragments of dark-red sandstone,
white sandstone, white compact limestone, and a few pieces of syenite.
There were many large trunks of spruce-firs lying on the sand,
completely denuded of their bark and branches; and numerous exuviæ of a
marine crustaceous animal (_gammarus borealis_) lay at high water mark.
Our hunters were successful, Ooligbuck and M'Leay each killing a deer.
Many of these animals had fled to the cool moist sands on the coast, but
even there the musquitoes tormented them so much as to render them
regardless of the approach of the hunters. The latitude of our
encampment was 70 degrees 7 minutes, longitude 127 degrees 45 minutes;
and the length of the day's voyage twenty-three miles. The temperature
varied from 52 degrees to 63 degrees. By watching the motion of the tide
for the greater part of the night, I fully satisfied myself that the ebb
set out of the opening, and that the flood came round the land on the
north side; hence I concluded that there could be no passage to the
eastward in this direction, and that the opening led into a bay, to
which the name of Harrowby was given, in honour of the Right Honourable
the Earl of Harrowby.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 18th.] Embarking on the 18th at three in the
morning, we set the sails to a favourable though light breeze, and using
the oars at the same time, crossed Harrowby Bay, at its mouth. During
the traverse, land was seen round the bottom of the bay. On nearing the
shore we distinguished twelve Esquimaux tents on an eminence; and a
woman who was walking on the beach gave the alarm, but not until we were
near enough to speak to her, her surprise having fixed her to the spot
for a time. The men then rushed out, brandishing their knives, and,
using the most threatening expressions, forbade us to land, and desired
us to return by the way we came. Ooligbuck endeavoured to calm their
fears, by telling them that we were friends, but they replied only by
repeating their threats, and by hideous grimaces and gestures, which
displayed great agility; frequently standing on one foot and throwing
the other nearly as high as the head. At length on my bawling
"_noowoerlawgo_," (I wish to barter,) they became quiet at once, and one
of them running to his kaiyack, and paddling off to us, was followed by
many of the others, even before they could witness the reception we gave
him. They came boldly alongside, and exchanged their spears, arrows,
bows, and some pieces of well-dressed seal-skin, for bits of old
iron-hoop, files and beads. They were not so well furnished with
iron-work as the Esquimaux we had seen further to the westward, and very
eagerly received a supply from us. In our intercourse with them we
experienced much advantage from a simple contrivance suggested by Mr.
Kendall, and constructed during our halt in Refuge Cove: it was a
barricade formed by raising the masts and spare oars eighteen inches
above the gunwale on two crutches or davits, which not only prevented
our Esquimaux visitors from stealing out of the boats, but, in the event
of a quarrel, could have been rendered arrow proof by throwing the
blankets or sails over it. On a light breeze springing up we set the
sails, and continuing to ply the oars, advanced at the rate of four
miles an hour, attended by eleven kaiyacks. Three oomiaks with the
women followed us, and we found that, when rowed by two women, and
steered by a third, they surpassed our boats in speed.

The females, unlike those of the Indian tribes, had much handsomer
features than the men; and one young woman of the party would have been
deemed pretty even in Europe. Our presents seemed to render them
perfectly happy, and they danced with such ecstasy in their slender
boats as to incur, more than once, great hazard of being overset. A
bundle of strings of beads being thrown into an oomiak, it was caught by
an old woman, who hugged the treasure to her breast with the strongest
expression of rapture, while another elderly dame, who had stretched out
her arms in vain, became the very picture of despair. On my explaining,
however that the present was for the whole, an amicable division
instantly took place; and to show their gratitude, they sang a song to a
pleasing air, keeping time with their oars. They gave us many pressing
invitations to pass the night at their tents, in which they were joined
by the men; and to excite our liberality the mothers drew their children
out of their wide hoods, where they are accustomed to carry them naked,
and holding them up begged beads for them. Their entreaties were, for a
time, successful; but being desirous of getting clear of our visitors
before breakfast-time, we at length told them that our stock was
exhausted, and they took leave.

These Esquimaux were as inquisitive as the others we had seen respecting
our names, and were very desirous of teaching us the true pronunciation
of theirs. They informed us that they had seen Indians, and had heard of
white people, but had never seen any before. My giving a little deer's
meat to one of them in exchange for fish, led to an inquiry as to how we
killed the animal. On which Ooligbuck showed them his gun, and obtaining
permission, fired it off after cautioning them not to be alarmed. The
report astonished them much, and an echo from some neighbouring pieces
of ice made them think that the ball had struck the shore, then upwards
of a mile distant. The women had left us previously; several of the men
departed the instant they heard the report; and the rest, in a short
time, followed their example. They applied to the gun the same name
they give to their harpoons for killing whales.

We learned from these people that the shore we were now coasting was
part of the main land, and that some land to the northward, which
appeared soon after we had passed their tents, consisted of two islands;
between which and the main shore, there was a passage leading to the
open sea. On landing to cook breakfast and obtain a meridian observation
for latitude, we observed the interior of the country to be similar to
that seen from Nicholson's Island. The soil was in some spots sandy,
but, generally, it consisted of a tenacious clay which cracks in the
sun. The air was perfumed by numerous tufts of a beautiful phlox, and of
a still handsomer and very fragrant cruciform flower, of a genus
hitherto undescribed.

On re-embarking we pulled about eight miles farther betwixt the islands
and the main, and found a narrow opening to the sea nearly barred up.
The bottom was so soft and muddy that the poles sunk deep into it, and
we could not carry the cargo ashore to lighten the boats. We succeeded,
however, in getting through, after much labour, and the moment we
crossed the bar, the water was greenish, and perfectly salt. The cape
forming the eastern point of this entrance lies in latitude 70 degrees
36 minutes N., longitude 127 degrees 35 minutes W. and proved to be the
most northerly part of the main shore which we saw during the voyage. It
is a few miles farther north than Return Reef of Captain Franklin, and
is most probably, with the exception of the land near Icy Cape, since
discovered by Captain Beechey, in the Blossom, the most northern point
of the American Continent. It was called Cape Bathurst, in honour of the
Right Honourable the Earl of Bathurst, and the islands lying off it were
named after George Baillie, Esq., of the Colonial Office. I could not
account in any other way for the comparative freshness of the sheet of
water we had left, than by supposing that a sand-bank extended from Cape
Dalhousie to Baillie's Islands, impeding the communication with the sea,
and this notion was supported by a line of heavy ice which was seen both
from Cape Bathurst and Cape Dalhousie, in the direction of the supposed
bar, and apparently aground.

Taking for granted that the accounts we received from the natives were
(as our own observations led us to believe) correct, Esquimaux Lake is a
very extensive and curious piece of water. The Indians say that it
reaches to within four days' march of Fort Good Hope; and the Esquimaux
informed us that it extends from Point Encounter to Cape Bathurst, thus
ascribing to it an extent from north to south of more than one hundred
and forty miles, and from east to west of one hundred and fifty. It is
reported to be full of islands, to be every where brackish; and, besides
its communication with the eastern branch of the Mackenzie, to receive
two other large rivers. If a conjecture may be hazarded about the
original formation of a lake which we had so few opportunities of
examining, it seems probable that the alluvial matters brought down by
the Mackenzie, and other rivers, have gradually formed a barrier of
islands and shoals, which, by preventing the free access of the tide,
enables the fresh water to maintain the predominance behind it. The
action of the waves of the sea has a tendency to increase the height of
the barrier, while the currents of the rivers and ebb-tide preserve the
depth of the lake. A great formation of wood-coal will, I doubt not, be
ultimately formed by the immense quantities of drift-timber annually
deposited on the borders of Esquimaux Lake.


[8] The ridge-poles were omitted in the section by mistake.



Double Cape Bathurst--Whales--Bituminous-shale Cliffs on Fire--Enter
Franklin Bay--Heavy Gale--Peninsula of Cape Parry--Perforated
Rock--Detention at Cape Lyon by Wind--Force of an Esquimaux Arrow--Meet
with heavy Ice--Pass Union and Dolphin Straits--Double Cape Krusenstern,
and enter George the Fourth's Coronation Gulph--Reach the Coppermine
River--Remarks--Meteorological Table.

As soon as we entered the clear green water off Cape Bathurst, we
perceived a strong flood tide setting against us, and saw several white
whales, and some black ones of a large size, but of a species unknown to
Ooligbuck.[9] The natives term them _aggeewoerk_, which is the name
given, by the Esquimaux of Hudson's Bay, to the black whales that
frequent the Welcome. Many large masses of ice were floating about, but
they were no impediment to the boats. The beach, from the time we left
Esquimaux Lake, was bold, there being two or three fathoms water close
to the shore. We hailed this change of circumstances with pleasure, for
the shoals and islands skirting Esquimaux Lake had embarrassed us much,
and the brackishness of the water, combined with the trending of the
coast to the northward, and even westward, had excited in our minds an
apprehension, that we might possibly be obliged to make a great circuit
in search of a passage, out of that extraordinary piece of water, and
that the opening, when found, might lie so far to the northward as to be
obstructed by an icy sea. Fortunately our fears were groundless; and, to
increase our joy, the coast-line from Cape Bathurst appeared to run in a
straight direction for Coppermine River. There were many winter-houses
built by the Esquimaux on Cape Bathurst. The cliffs facing the sea were
still frozen, but the water trickling down their sides showed that they
were thawing rapidly. We encamped on the beach in latitude 70 degrees
32-1/2 minutes N., longitude 127 degrees 21 minutes W., having sailed
that day thirty-seven miles. A plentiful supply of very fine sorrel
(_oxyria reniformis_) being obtained from the banks, proved an agreeable
addition to our supper.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 19th.] Embarking at four o'clock in the morning of
the 19th, we rowed along the coast close to the beach, in from two to
three fathoms water. We landed at noon to observe the latitude; and at
four P.M. a thunder-storm coming on, induced us to encamp for the night.
The day's voyage was thirty-two miles, and our encampment was situated
in latitude 70 degrees 11 minutes N., longitude 126 degrees 15 minutes
W., on a point which was named after Dr. Fitton, the distinguished
President of the Geological Society. No land was visible to seaward, nor
were any fields of ice or large floes seen, but we passed many smaller
pieces and some masses, that, having stranded on the beach, were
dissolving with great rapidity. A regular tide of six hours affecting
the rate of our progress, an allowance was made for it in the reckoning.

The coast consists of precipitous banks, similar in structure to the
bituminous-shale cliffs at Whitby, in Yorkshire. They gradually increase
in altitude from Cape Bathurst, and near our encampment their height
exceeded two hundred and fifty feet. The shale was in a state of
ignition in many places, and the hot sulphureous airs from the land were
strongly contrasted with cold sea-breezes with which, in the morning,
they alternated. The combustion had proceeded to a considerable extent
on the point where we landed at noon. Much alum had formed, and the
baked clays of yellow, brown, white, and red colours, caused the place
to resemble a brick-field or a pottery. This point, which was named
after Dr. Traill, of Liverpool, lies in latitude 70 degrees 19 minutes
N. The interior of the country, as seen from the top of the cliffs,
appeared to be nearly level, and to abound in small lakes. The soil was
clayey, and from the recent thaw wet and soft. Tufts of the beautiful
phlox, before mentioned, were scattered over these, otherwise unsightly
wastes; and, notwithstanding the scanty vegetation, rein-deer were
numerous. Some of the young ones, to whom man was doubtless a novel
object, came trotting up to gratify their curiosity, and were suffered
to depart unmolested. The sea here abounds in molluscæ, and many black
whales were seen; also king-ducks, eiders, snow-birds, hawks, and a
large moth.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 20th.] We embarked at half-past two on the morning
of the 20th, and ran alongshore for two hours with a strong and
favourable breeze, when shoals lying off the mouth of a pretty large
river, led us six or seven miles from the coast. The breeze, which was
off the land, freshened considerably, and raised a short breaking sea,
through which we attempted to pull towards the shore, but the boats
shipped much water, and made little head-way. We, therefore, set the
sails again, and, fortunately fetched under a headland, and effected a
landing. The whole of the pemmican in the Union, and some of that in the
Dolphin, was wet on this occasion. In the morning we had passed two
Esquimaux tents, pitched on the beach, but the inmates seeming to be
asleep, we did not disturb them, being unwilling to lose the fair wind
by any delay.

Soon after landing the weather became very foggy, and the wind increased
to a heavy gale. The cliffs at our encampment consisted of slate-clay,
and bituminous alum-slate, and were six hundred feet high. The river,
whose mouth we passed, ran close behind them, having a course parallel
to the coast for some miles before it makes its way to the sea. It was
named Wilmot Horton River, in honour of the Under Secretary of State for
the Colonial Department. Its breadth is about three hundred yards, and
it seems, from the quantity of drift-timber that was piled on the shoals
at its mouth, to flow through a wooded country. The length of this day's
voyage was twenty-four miles, and the position of our encampment was in
latitude 69 degrees 50 minutes N., longitude 125 degrees 55 minutes W.
At high-water, which took place at a quarter past four in the afternoon,
the small slip of beach on which we had encamped was almost covered, and
we had to pile the baggage on the shelving cliff. A very showy species
of gromwell grew near our encampment, in company with the common
sea-gromwell, (_lithospermum maritimum_.)

[Sidenote: Friday, 21st.] On the 21st strong winds and foggy weather,
with a considerable surf on the beach, detained us until after eight
o'clock in the morning, when many large masses of ice coming in, took
the ground near the shore, and smoothed the water sufficiently to enable
us to embark. The fog was dense to seaward and over the land, but the
height of the cliffs left a space of about a mile from the beach, over
which it was carried by the violence of the wind.

About two miles from our late encampment, the bituminous shale was again
noticed to be on fire, giving out much smoke; and as we advanced, the
cliffs became less precipitous, appearing as if they had fallen down
from the consumption of the combustible strata. They gradually
terminated in a green and sloping bank, whose summit, about two miles
from the sea, rose to the height of about six hundred feet. For the
information of the general reader, I may mention that the shale takes
fire in consequence of its containing a considerable quantity of sulphur
in a state of such minute division, that it very readily attracts oxygen
from the atmosphere, and inflames. The combustion is rendered more
lively by the presence of bitumen; and the sulphuric acid, which is one
of its products, unites with the alumina of the shale to form, with the
addition of a small quantity of potass, the triple salt, well known by
the name of alum. The moistening of the strata by the sea-spray
accelerates the process. In some alum-works, where nature has not been
so favourable as in the cliffs of Cape Bathurst, a deficiency of the
bituminous matter requisite to keep up the proper intensity of
combustion, is supplied by brush-wood, which is strewed in alternate
layers with shale that has been previously much divided by long exposure
to the weather, and the whole is then moistened with salt-water. A
further account of these cliffs is given in page xl. of the Appendix.

In the forenoon we passed the mouths of two small rivers, which were
designated after Sir Henry Jardine, Bart., King's Remembrancer in the
Court of Exchequer for Scotland; and Dr. Burnett, Commissioner of the
Victualling Board. A meridian observation was obtained in latitude 69
degrees 38 minutes N.

In the afternoon the wind blowing more on the shore, caused a tumbling
sea. We sailed amongst much stranded ice, and, following the line of
coast, were gradually led into a deep bay, whose east side, having a
northerly direction, was formed by low land, and so much broken by
numerous and extensive inlets, as to look more like a collection of
islands than a part of the main land. We were now, reckoning by degrees
of longitude, fully half way from Point Separation to the Coppermine
River, and the coast from Cape Bathurst had been so exactly in the
proper direction, as to excite high hopes of a short and prosperous
voyage: it was, therefore, no pleasant sight to us to behold land
running out at right angles to our course, and we were willing to
believe that a passage existed betwixt it and the main. This opinion was
supported by the direction of the high land, which had hitherto skirted
the shore, continuing to be south-easterly, until lost to the sight at
the distance of fifteen or twenty miles. We, therefore, endeavoured to
find a passage, but the first opening that we came to, led into a
circular basin of water, apparently land-locked, and about five miles in
diameter. We halted at its entrance to cook our supper, and, during our
stay, perceiving that the ebb-tide set out of it, we determined on
searching for a passage elsewhere. This inlet is six fathoms deep at its
entrance, and would prove an excellent harbour for a ship, only for the
sand-banks, which skirt this part of the coast, and which render the
passage into it too intricate for vessels having a greater draught of
water than our boats. It was named Langton Harbour, after the agent for
the Hudson's Bay Company at Liverpool.

Leaving this harbour, and steering to the northward, we passed several
inlets, into which the flood-tide set with a strong current. We could
not see land towards their bottoms, but their mouths were shoal, and we
felt convinced that there was no passage through them, because the
flood-tide entered them from the westward. [Sidenote: Saturday, 22nd.]
We, therefore, proceeded on our voyage without wasting time in examining
them; and at two o'clock, on the morning of the 22nd, having come
fifty-four miles, we encamped on a beach composed of small fragments of
limestone, and strewed with sea-weed. This beach, which received the
name of Point Stivens, separates an extensive sheet of salt-water from
the sea, and is similar in character to the Chesil Beach, that connects
the Isle of Portland to the shore. It varies in breadth from one hundred
yards to a quarter of a mile, is several miles long, has a northern
direction, and seems to have been formed by the sweep of the tide round
the bay, meeting the ebb from the basins that intersects the peninsular
promontory with which it is connected. There are several narrow breaches
in it through which the tide flows. Anxious to discover the termination
of this promontory which was leading us so much out of the direct course
to the Coppermine, I went to the summit of a rising ground, about five
miles distant, but the view was closed by some small hills, two or three
miles off. The soil was clayey, and vegetation scanty.

In taking wood to make a fire, from a large pile of drift-timber which
had been collected by the Esquimaux, the nest of a snow-bird, containing
four young, was discovered. The parent bird was at first scared away,
but affection for its offspring at length gave it courage to approach
them with food; and as it was not molested it soon became quite
fearless, and fed them with the larvæ of insects, whilst the party were
seated at breakfast close by the nest.

At nine o'clock, A.M., we embarked again, and running before a
favourable breeze, came to a point consisting of cliffs of limestone,
twenty feet high, with a small island of the same kind of rock at its
extremity. Many large boulders of greenstone were seen here. After
ascertaining the latitude by meridian observation to be 69 degrees 42
minutes N., we continued our voyage along a bold shore, consisting of
precipices of limestone, forty or fifty feet high, with three or four
fathoms of water at the base. In the evening, having reached a
projection which appeared to be the western pitch of the cape, we
encamped in a bay near a remarkable perforated rock, having come
twenty-six miles since leaving Point Stivens. In the course of the day's
voyage we had to make our way through some pretty extensive streams of
ice, composed of pieces which rose eight or ten feet above the water;
and we saw a considerable quantity of what is termed sailing ice to
seaward, being such as a ship could make her way through. I had now the
gratification of naming the extensive bay we had been coasting for three
days, after my friend and commanding officer; and to the several inlets
on its eastern side I assigned the names of Wright, Cracroft, and
Sellwood, in honour of his near relatives. A group of islands to the
northward was named Booth Islands on the same account.

In bestowing the name of Franklin on this remarkable bay, I paid an
appropriate compliment to the officer, under whose orders and by whose
arrangements the delineation of all that is known of the northern coast
of the American Continent has been effected; with the exception of the
parts in the vicinity of Icy Cape discovered by Captain Beechey. It
would not be proper, nor is it my intention, to descant on the
professional merits of my superior officer; but after having served
under Captain Franklin for nearly seven years, in two successive voyages
of discovery, I trust I may be allowed to say, that however high his
brother officers may rate his courage and talents, either in the
ordinary line of his professional duty, or in the field of discovery,
the hold he acquires upon the affections of those under his command, by
a continued series of the most conciliating attentions to their
feelings, and an uniform and unremitting regard to their best interests,
is not less conspicuous. I feel that the sentiments of my friends and
companions, Captain Back and Lieutenant Kendall, are in unison with my
own, when I affirm, that gratitude and attachment to our late commanding
officer will animate our breasts to the latest period of our lives.
After this feeble but sincere tribute of respect and regard, in which I
hope I have not overstepped the proper bounds of a narrative, I hasten
to resume the details of the voyage.

The country in the neighbourhood of the encampment consisted entirely of
limestone, mostly of the variety named dolomite, and, as is usual where
that stone prevails, it was extremely barren. The cliffs and points of
land present many caverns and perforated rocks, which have very strong
resemblances to the windows and crypts of Gothic buildings. The common
kittiwake breeds in great numbers on the rocky ledges in this quarter,
and their young were already fledged. The temperature during the day was
nearly stationary at 46 degrees, the wind south. The evening being very
fine, the pemmican was taken out of the bags, which were scraped and
dried; and our loss of provision, by the wetting it sustained in the
gale of the 20th, proved to be less than we had expected.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 23rd.] Embarking at four o'clock, A.M. of the 23d, we
sailed with a favourable breeze for nine miles, betwixt Booth Islands
and a shore presenting alternately projecting rocky shoals and narrow
inlets. We then landed, and ascended a hill, about seven hundred feet
high, to ascertain the direction of the coast, and had the satisfaction
of finding that we had now reached the northern extremity of this
remarkable promontory. It was named Cape Parry after the distinguished
navigator whose skill and perseverance have created an era in the
progress of northern discovery, and a letter addressed to him,
containing information of our proceedings and of Captain Franklin's as
far as was known to us, was deposited under a pile of stones which we
erected on the summit of the hill. From this elevated situation, land
was faintly seen bearing S.E. by S., about forty miles distant; and from
thence round to Booth Islands there appeared an open sea, merely studded
with a few streams of sailing ice, but no islands were seen in that
direction. There are many well sheltered coves in the vicinity of Cape
Parry and amongst Booth Islands, but the bottom is rocky, and numerous
reefs render the navigation unsafe for a ship. The eastern side of Cape
Parry exhibits a succession of limestone cliffs, similar to those which
form its western shores; and as we continued our voyage, we passed many
excavations ornamented by graceful slender pillars, and exhibiting so
perfect a similarity to the pure Gothic arch, that had Nature made many
such displays in the Old world, there would be but one opinion as to the
origin of that style of architecture. A small island, on which we landed
to cook breakfast, was named after the late Daniel Moore, Esq., of
Lincoln's Inn. It was composed of a cellular limestone, containing many
crystals of quartz. The whole party went in pursuit of a polar hare
which was seen here, but, although it had no other shelter than the
rocks, it contrived to escape from us all.

In the evening we encamped on an island, which was named by Mr. Kendall
after the Reverend Dr. Burrow of Epping. It is situated in latitude 69
degrees 49 minutes N., longitude 123 degrees 33 minutes W. The length of
the day's voyage was thirty-one miles. Fine weather, and a temperature
of 52 degrees, entailed upon us a visit from the musquitoes. The sea
water here is of a light blue colour and clear, the bottom being
distinctly visible in five fathoms. Pieces of ice still adhered to the

[Sidenote: Monday, 24th.] We were detained in the morning of the 24th by
a thick fog, which cleared up about eight o'clock; but the moon being
then in distance, we remained until noon, that Mr. Kendall might take
observations for lunars and latitude. These necessary operations being
completed, a short voyage of nine miles brought us to an island on which
we encamped, and which obtained from us the name of Clapperton, in
honour of the undaunted explorer of central Africa. In our way we passed
through several streams of ice, composed of pieces of considerable size,
but all evidently in a state of rapid dissolution, under a bright sun;
the water flowing from their surfaces in rivulets. Many black whales,
and various kinds of seals, were seen this day. We saw no black whales
farther to the eastward.

From Clapperton Island we had a view of a ridge of hills, which, from
their direction, appeared to be a continuation of those on the west side
on Franklin Bay. The island itself, like the neighbouring coast, is
composed of limestone, and many detached rocks skirt it, rising from
water that is beautifully clear. When we landed there was a strong
current setting to the eastward, round the end of the island, but it
ceased at four P.M., the time of low water, and was probably produced by
the ebb setting out of some of the inlets of Cape Parry. In the evening
the ice made a noise so like the regular firing of half-minute guns, as
to excite, at first, an idea that we heard the guns of a ship. The
temperature at six o'clock in the evening was as high as 74 degrees in
the shade.

Clapperton Island lies in latitude 69 degrees 41-1/2 minutes N., and
nearly in the longitude of Fort Franklin, from which it is distant
three hundred and thirteen miles in a straight line; but the distance
between the nearer part of the Great Bear Lake and the Arctic Sea here,
does not much exceed one hundred and ninety miles.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 25th.] Taking advantage of a light breeze and very
fine weather, we embarked at midnight, and crossed over to the east side
of the bay, passing through some heavy streams of ice by rather
intricate channels. At half past five in the morning of the 25th, we
landed on a point of the main shore, and Mr. Kendall took observations
for three sets of lunars. On re-embarking we proceeded a few miles
further, when a heavy gale of wind suddenly springing up, we ran for
shelter into a small creek at the extremity of a cape, which I named
after the distinguished traveller Captain G.F. Lyon, R.N. The bay which
lies betwixt it and Cape Parry, was called Darnley, in honour of the
Earl of Darnley. The distance from Clapperton Island to Cape Lyon is
fourteen miles.

The country in the neighbourhood of Cape Lyon presents a surface varied
by gently swelling eminences, covered with a grassy sward, and
intersected by several narrow ridges of naked trap rocks, rising about
one hundred and fifty feet above the general level. The trap ridges,
when they reach the coast, form high cliffs, and the clay-slate and
limestone lie in nearly horizontal strata beneath them. The view inland
was terminated by the range of hills which we had seen at the bottom of
Darnley Bay, to which the name of Melville Range was now given, in
honour of the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Melville.

From the top of the highest trap-hill, near the extremity of the cape,
we saw some heavy ice to seaward, but with enough of open water for the
passage of a ship; and, occasionally, during our stay, there was an
appearance of land to the north-westward, occupying two points of the
compass; but we were uncertain whether it might not be a fog-bank
hanging over a field of ice. If it was land, it could not be less than
twenty-five or thirty miles distant, and must, from the portion of the
horizon it occupied, be a large island. Upon the summit of the hill we
erected a pile of stones, and deposited another letter for Captain
Parry, containing a short account of our proceedings.

A gale of wind detained us two days at Cape Lyon, during which Ooligbuck
supplied us with rein-deer meat, and Mr. Kendall obtained several sets
of lunars. The latitude of our encampment, by the mean of three meridian
observations, was 69 degrees 46-1/2 minutes N.; and the longitude, by
lunar distances, 122 degrees 51 minutes W. The temperature of the air,
during the gale, was about 45 degrees, that of the water 35 degrees.
During our stay at Cape Lyon the tides were regular, but the rise and
fall were short of twenty inches. At midnight on the 26th of July, the
sun's lower limb was observed to touch the horizon for the first time
since our arrival on the coast. Some old winter houses were seen in our
walks, but we perceived no indications of the Esquimaux having recently
visited this quarter.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 27th.] The gale moderated on the 27th, and at eight
in the evening it was sufficiently abated to permit us to proceed on our
voyage. After rowing about two miles, the horns of a deer were seen over
a rock at the summit of a cliff, on which M'Leay, the coxswain of the
Union, landed and killed it. This poor animal had been previously
wounded by an Esquimaux arrow, which had broken its shoulder bone. The
jagged bone-head of the arrow was buried in the flesh, and its copper
point bent up where it had struck the bone. The wound was open, and
seemed to have been inflicted at least a fortnight before, but the
animal was still fat. The extremity of Cape Lyon lies about three miles
north-east of the encampment we had left, and in its neighbourhood the
cliffs form bold headlands and several small rocky islands. Soon after
rounding it we came to a projecting point, consisting of cliffs of
limestone, in which there was a remarkable cave, opening to the sea by
an archway, fifty feet high and twenty wide. The walls of the cavern
were two hundred feet high, and a large circular aperture in the roof
gave free admission to the daylight. Mr. Kendall named this point after
Mr. Pearce, a particular friend of his.

The night was fine but cold, the temperature having fallen to 35 degrees
soon after we started, and at midnight the sun sunk for nearly half an
hour beneath the horizon. [Sidenote: Friday, 28th.] We passed much heavy
stream-ice, and towards the morning a quantity of new, or, as the seamen
term it, "bay ice," having formed on the surface on the sea, the boats
were so much retarded that we put ashore at four o'clock of the 28th, to
wait until the increasing heat of the day dissolved it. The point on
which we landed was named after Admiral Sir Richard Godwin Keats,
G.C.B., Governor of Greenwich Hospital, and lies in latitude 69 degrees
49 minutes N. and longitude 122 degrees W., being about eighteen miles
distant from our encampment on Cape Lyon. The rocks at Point Keats
consist of flesh-coloured sandstone. The Melville range of hills
approaches there within eight or ten miles of the sea, and the
intervening country is traversed by ridges of greenstone. On the coast
from Cape Lyon to Point Keats there is a line of large drift timber,
evidently thrown up by the waves, about twelve feet perpendicular
height, above the ordinary spring tides: a sufficient proof of the sea
being nearly clear of ice at the time it was thrown up; for the presence
of any considerable quantity, even of stream-ice, prevents the waves
from rising high. After two hours halt, the bay-ice having dissolved we

From Cape Lyon to Point Keats the coast runs nearly east; after quitting
the latter we found it trending a little to the southward, and from a
point, which was named in honour of John Deas Thompson, Esq.,
Commissioner of His Majesty's Navy, it has nearly a south-east
direction. We landed a little to the eastward of Point Deas Thompson, to
take a meridian observation for latitude, in a small bay, bounded by
cliffs of limestone, one hundred and forty feet high, in which the waves
had sculptured some beautiful Gothic arches. From the summit of the
cliffs we saw a dark appearance in the eastern horizon, but it was too
indistinct to permit us to decide whether it was land or merely a
fog-bank. To the eastward of these cliffs the coast decreased in height,
and, at the distance of five miles, we passed a small river, which was
named after Francis Palgrave, Esq. Near this river, on the summit of a
cliff, which was twenty-five feet high, we noticed several large logs of
drift timber, with some hummocks of gravel, that appeared to have been
thrown up by the waves. A portion of the Melville Range lies within
three miles of the shore there; and one of its most remarkable hills was
named after my esteemed friend, William Jackson Hooker, LL.D., Regius
Professor of Botany in the University of Glasgow; and another after
Colonel Colby, of the Royal Engineers, one of the Members of the Board
of Longitude. About four o'clock in the afternoon we came to a stream
flowing from a lake, and as it was an excellent boat harbour, we entered
it and encamped. It was named Roscoe, after the eloquent historian of
the Medici; and a conical hill of the Melville Range, visible from its
mouth, received the name of the venerable geographer Major Rennel.

We passed this day through heavier and more crowded streams of ice than
any we had previously seen on the voyage. The navigation amongst it was
tedious and difficult, and just before we put ashore much motion was
imparted to it by a fresh south-west wind. The temperature during the
day varied from 35 degrees to 50 degrees. The mouth of Roscoe River lies
in latitude 69 degrees 41 minutes N., longitude 121 degrees 2 minutes
W., and is forty-eight miles distant from Cape Lyon.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 29th.] We embarked on the 29th, with a fair wind;
but the ice lay so close, that we could not venture to set more than a
reefed foresail, and were ultimately obliged to lower the sail entirely,
and to find a passage through ice with oars and poles. The pieces of ice
were of sufficient magnitude to deserve the name of floes, and were
sometimes several fathoms thick. They were all moving before the breeze,
which caused them to arrange themselves in the form of streams parallel
to the coast, and, consequently, left lanes of open water in the
direction of our course. These lanes, however, were continually changing
their form; and, on several occasions, when we had been tempted by the
favourable appearance of a piece of open water to venture from the
coast, we had great difficulty in extricating ourselves from the ice
which closed around us. The thickness of the ice led me to conclude that
the sea had not been long open in this quarter; and I observed that the
vegetation was later on this part of the coast than on the western side
of Cape Parry.

For the first twelve miles after leaving our encampment, the coast was
low and sandy; the Melville Range still forming the back-ground, at the
distance of four or five miles from the sea. The low beaches were
terminated by a rocky headland, which obtained from us the name of De
Witt Clinton, as a testimony of our sense of the urbanity and love of
science which had prompted his Excellency the Governor of the state of
New York[10] to show so much attention to the members of the Expedition,
in their passage through his government. Some miles beyond Point De Witt
Clinton we came to a steep cliff, where the ice was so closely packed
that we could not force a passage. The cargoes were, therefore, carried
along the foot of the cliff, and the boats launched for a few yards over
a piece of ice. In this operation, the shelving base of an iceberg,
which had formed under the cliff, and still adhered to it, but which was
undermined by the waves, gave way whilst several of the men were
standing upon it; but, fortunately, it did not overset, and they
received no injury, as it was large enough to support them in the water.
At nine o'clock, A.M., we were stopped by the closeness of the ice, and
put ashore until the tide or wind should produce some change.

The tides, since leaving the Mackenzie, had never been observed to have
a greater rise than eighteen inches: but in the neighbourhood of our
encampment, the sea-wrack and lines of drift timber indicated a washing
of the sea to the perpendicular height of twenty feet. The country in
this vicinity consists of a bluish limestone, interstratified with
slate-clay: and naked and rugged ridges of trap rocks rise in various
places above the general level. The soil is composed of clay and
limestone gravel. The latitude of our encampment was ascertained, by
meridian observation, to be 69 degrees 29 minutes N.; its longitude was
120 degrees 20 minutes W.; and its distance from Roscoe River was
twenty-five miles.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 30th.] A breeze of wind from the land having opened a
passage two miles wide, we embarked at two o'clock in the morning of the
30th, and ran seven miles under sail; when, having overtaken the ice
which had passed in the night, we found it too closely packed to allow
us to proceed. In making for the beach, the Union narrowly escaped being
crushed by two large floes of ice, which came together with violence
just as she was about to run betwixt them. The Dolphin had sailed
through the same passage not two minutes before. From an eminence near
our encampment, we had the unpleasant view of a sea covered, as far as
the eye could reach, with ice, excepting a few lanes of open water far
to seaward. The tide fell here seven inches in the morning, and eleven
in the evening, although the north-west wind increased in the afternoon
to a pretty strong gale. The greater fall of the water with that wind,
showing that it found an exit to the eastward, relieved us from an
apprehension, which we had begun to entertain, that we were entering a
deep bay, which might be encumbered by the drift-ice for many days. Much
ice drove past us in the course of the day, before a west-north-west
wind, its progress being only slightly checked for a time by the flood
tide. Recent footsteps of a small party of Esquimaux were seen on the
beach. Our encampment was situated in latitude 69 degrees 24 minutes N.,
and longitude 120 degrees 03 minutes W.

[Sidenote: Monday, 31st.] Embarking on the 31st, at two o'clock in the
morning, we succeeded in getting about six miles through the ice: when
we were again obliged to put ashore at the mouth of a small river, which
was named after James Buchanan, Esq., his Majesty's Consul at New York,
whose friendly attention to the officers of the Expedition well entitled
him to their gratitude. After waiting for a while the tide loosened the
ice a little, and we made some progress by debarking upon the floes, and
pushing them apart with poles, until a sufficient opening was made. This
operation was tedious, and not devoid of hazard to the boats, arising
from the rotatory motion frequently given to the floes, by the pressure
of the body of the ice. At noon, an observation for latitude was
obtained on a projecting point, which was named after William Tinney,
Esq., of Lincoln's Inn. At three in the afternoon, our progress being
again arrested by the compactness of the ice, we hauled the boats upon
the beach, and M'Leay having killed a fat buck rein-deer, the party had
an excellent supper after the fatigues of the day. The length of the
day's voyage was twenty-two miles; the latitude of our encampment, 69
degrees 17-1/2 minutes N., and its longitude 119 degrees 27 minutes W.
The coast line in this quarter is lower, few of the cliffs exceeding
forty feet in height, and there is a greater proportion of flat beach
than occurs nearer Cape Lyon. The ground is strewed with gravel,
apparently arising from a limestone conglomerate which exists there in
considerable quantity. The Melville Range is within four or five miles
of the shore at this place, and does not rise more than five hundred
feet above the sea. Many small rivulets flow from the rising grounds
into the sea, through wide gravelly beds, indicating that at times they
swell into large torrents.

[Sidenote: August 1st.] A light westerly wind having opened a narrow
channel between the ice and the shore, we embarked early in the morning
of the 1st of August, and, three miles from our encampment, came to a
river, which discharged itself by various shallow mouths, separated by
sand banks. Its westernmost and easternmost mouths were five miles
apart; and the latter, which was the largest, was one hundred and fifty
yards wide. Although the outlet of this river is so much barred up, it
discharges a considerable volume of water, and probably has its sources
in the hills which are visible from the northern shores of Great Bear
Lake. It was named after John Wilson Croker, Esq., Secretary to the
Admiralty. Further on we had a view of a high island, lying ten or
twelve miles from the shore, which received the appellation of Sir
George Clerk's Island. M'Leay, who was now acknowledged to be our best
hunter, was sent in pursuit of a deer, which we saw from the boats, and
being successful, we landed to cook our breakfast, after having rowed
twenty miles in the course of the morning. An observation for latitude
was obtained a mile further at a point which was named after Waller
Clifton, Esq., Secretary to the Victualling Board, The coast here makes
a turn to the southward, and about six miles further on, where it
resumes its easterly direction, a river about one hundred yards wide
flows into the sea, betwixt two sand hills. To this river Mr. Kendall
gave the name of Inman, out of respect to the Reverend and Learned
Professor of the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth. A conical hill,
about ten miles distant, in a south-west direction, was named after the
late President of the Royal Society, the highly distinguished Sir
Humphry Davy, Baronet. This was the last part we saw of the Melville
Chain. We encamped at half past seven in the evening, under a high cliff
of limestone, having advanced during the day thirty-seven miles. The
point on which we encamped, received from Mr. Kendall, the name of Wise,
after Captain M.F. Wise, of the Royal Navy, under whose command he
sailed in His Majesty's ship Spartan. It is situated in latitude 69
degrees 03-1/2 minutes N., longitude 118 degrees W.

The coast from Cape Clifton to Point Wise consists of limestone in
horizontal layers, forming cliffs, which are separated from each other
by intervening shelving beaches, and it is skirted to the distance of a
quarter of a mile by rocky shoals, having sufficient water on them for
our boats, but not enough to admit the heavy ice. This was the cause of
our making greater progress than we had been led to expect from the
appearance of the ice in the morning. The cliffs at Point Wise are two
hundred feet high, and from their summits, the ice appeared closely
packed, as far as the eye could reach; no lanes of open water being
visible. It was, however, composed of pieces, and not a continuous
field, for we could distinctly perceive that several of the hummocks it
inclosed were in motion. This was the first time during the voyage that
we saw ice so closely packed, as to appear impenetrable to a ship when
impelled by a good breeze, but it is necessary to state that, even from
a considerable height, we could not tell with certainty the state of the
ice six miles off; scattered pieces at that distance assuming the
appearance of a close pack. The weather this day was fine, the
temperature varying from 43 degrees to 50 degrees.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 2d.] Soon after setting out on the 2d, the
temperature, which had been about 40 degrees throughout the night, fell
to 34 degrees, and a fog came on. The wind also freshening and putting
the ice in motion, the boats received some heavy blows; but we continued
to advance, though slowly, and with much caution. About ten miles from
our encampment, we passed the mouth of a small river, which was named
after Captain Hoppner, of the Royal Navy, second in command to Captain
Parry, on his third voyage of discovery. Towards noon the fog cleared
away, and a meridian observation was obtained in latitude 68 degrees 56
minutes N. Three miles further on we arrived at the mouth of a wide but
shallow river, which flowed over a rocky bottom, betwixt two sand hills,
and joined the sea by several mouths, separated by shoals. To this river
Mr. Kendall gave the name of his friend, Lieutenant Harding, of the
Royal Navy. Five miles beyond this river, on the extremity of a rocky
cape, the Esquimaux had constructed several store-houses, of drift
timber, which were filled with dried deer-meat and seal-blubber; along
with which, cooking kettles, and lamps made of potstone, copper-headed
spears, and various other articles, were carefully laid up. The ashes of
the recently extinguished fires showed that the natives had quitted this
place only a few days, and we felt much pleasure in figuring to
ourselves the surprise and joy with which they would behold, on their
return, the iron utensils that we deposited in the store-houses for
their use. The cape received the name of "Young," after the learned
Secretary to the Board of Longitude.

From Cape Young we had a view of the sea thickly covered with ice, of a
greater thickness than any we had previously encountered; and we
perceived that there was a deeply indented bay lying in our route, and
so filled with ice, that our only method of passing it appeared to be by
keeping close to the shore, although under the disadvantage of trebling
the distance. The coast in this quarter is similar to that which we had
passed on the two or three preceding days, and is formed of high
limestone cliffs, with intervening shingly beaches; but the country is
still more barren, the quantity of limestone debris almost excluding any
soil. Flat limestone rocks, having only a few inches of water upon them,
skirt the beach, and terminate like a wall in four or five fathoms
water. The ice was closely packed against these rocks, and for five
miles after passing Cape Young, we made a way for the boats only by the
constant use of the hatchet and ice-chisel, and gladly encamped at six
o'clock in the evening, after a day's voyage of thirty-one miles. A herd
of twenty rein-deer were grazing on the beach, but our hunters were too
much fatigued to go in pursuit of them. The encampment was situated in
latitude 68 degrees 53 minutes N., and longitude 116 degrees 50 minutes
W. The temperature varied in the course of the day from 34 degrees to 50
degrees. We observed that the ice continued to dissolve, but not so
rapidly as in the month of July, when the sun did not sink below the

[Sidenote: Thursday, 3rd.] We resumed our operations on the morning of
the 3d at the usual hour, and with great labour made a passage for the
boats. At eleven o'clock we landed to refresh ourselves on a projecting
point at the western entrance of a deep bay, having previously passed a
river which was about one hundred yards wide, but very shallow. After
breakfasting, and obtaining a meridian observation in latitude 68
degrees 53 minutes N., we pushed off again, and for some time made very
slow progress. The shores of the bay consisted of beds of limestone,
which, shelving into the water, were covered with masses of ice, forced
up by the pressure of the pack outside. We were, therefore, compelled to
work our way in deeper water, and there the boats, which led by turns,
were occasionally exposed to the hazard of being overset by pieces of
buoyant ice, which frequently broke off from the bases of the floes. In
the language of the whalers, the ice is said to _calf_, when masses are
detached in this manner, and they are sometimes of sufficient magnitude
in the Greenland seas to endanger large vessels. The Dolphin was, at one
time, nearly crushed to pieces by the closing of two floes; but,
fortunately, she had reached a small recess, just as they came in
contact, and they recoiled sufficiently to leave a passage for her exit,
after she had sustained the trifling damage of a few cracks in the upper
planks. The rays of the sun, and the waves acting on the surface of the
floes, had, by thawing them irregularly, formed lakes of fresh water of
some extent upon their surface. When these pieces of water were of
sufficient depth, we availed ourselves of them to make some progress in
our voyage, and in this way we frequently sailed over a considerable
thickness of ice.

At four o'clock P.M. we had advanced five miles, when to our joy we
found a lane of open water, which permitted us to cross to the other
side of the bay, where we encamped in latitude 68 degrees 51-1/2 minutes
N., and longitude 116 degrees 03 minutes W., having sailed in the course
of the day eighteen miles and a half. The bay was named Stapylton in
honour of Major-General the Honourable G.A.C. Stapylton, Chairman of the
Victualling Board; and on ascending a rising ground we perceived that it
communicates with a long, narrow lake. A few miles from the coast the
land rises from three to five hundred feet above the sea, and presents
many precipitous limestone cliffs, and chains of small lakes. The
country is very barren, the only plant we gathered being the yellow
poppy, (_papaver nudicaule_.) By our reckoning we were now nearly in the
longitude of the mouth of the Coppermine River, but about seventy miles
to the northward of it, we, therefore, entertained an opinion that we
were coasting a narrow peninsula, and that we should soon have the
pleasure of perceiving the coast take a southerly direction. It was,
consequently, with some hopes of beholding the sea on the opposite side
of the peninsula that I walked seven or eight miles to the eastward in
the night, but I was disappointed. In my way I had occasion to wade
through a small lake, when two birds, about the size of the _northern
diver_, and apparently of that genus, swam, with bold and angry
gestures, to within a few yards of me, evidently very impatient of any
intruder on their domain. Their necks were of a beautiful pale yellow
colour, their bodies black with white specks. I considered them to
belong to a species not yet described, and regretted that, having left
my gun at the tent, it was not in my power to procure one of them for a

[Sidenote: Friday, 4th.] Embarking at three A.M. on the 4th, we found
little difficulty in reaching the eastern cape of Stapylton Bay, the
wind having formed a narrow channel between the ice and the shore in the
night. The temperature was low, and in the morning some new ice was
formed which we easily broke. We noticed several eider ducks breaking a
way through the thin ice for their young ones with their wings, and in
this operation they made greater progress than we did in the boats.

On reaching the cape[11] which was named after Vice-Admiral Sir William
Johnstone Hope, G.C.B., we descried another point about four or five
leagues distant, bearing east-north-east, the intervening bay being
filled with closely packed ice. We were now within twelve miles of Cape
Young, after a laborious navigation of four times that distance, and the
prospect of another bay, equally unpromising, was very vexatious; but
our apprehensions were increased by the view of a continuous line of
land, extending from north-north-west until it was hid behind the nearer
cape, which bore east-north-east, for we feared that it might prove to
be a continuation of the main shore. Our crews, though concerned at the
delay that so much ice was likely to occasion, set about overcoming the
obstacle with a hearty good will, and after an intricate and troublesome
navigation of ten or twelve miles amongst the ice, we found the bottom
of the bay more open, and were enabled to cross over to the eastern side
where we encamped. This bay received the name of the eminent astronomer
James South, Esq.

Mr. Kendall having gone to ascertain from the higher ground the trending
of the coast, returned in about two hours with the cheering intelligence
that the land to the northward was unconnected with the main shore, and
that he had seen the latter inclining to the south-east, with a much
more open sea than we had lately been accustomed to. As soon as supper
was over, I also set out to enjoy the gratifying prospect, and from the
extremity of the cape on which we were encamped, and which was named in
honour of the Right Honourable Lord Bexley, I beheld the northern land
running from north-north-west till it was lost in the horizon on a north
73 degrees east bearing. It seemed to be pretty high but not
mountainous; and although broken towards the east, the principal portion
of it appeared to be continuous. This island, by far the largest one
that was seen, either in the present voyage or on Captain Franklin's
former Expedition, was named after that most distinguished philosopher
Dr. Hyde Wollaston. The main shore had a direction nearly parallel to
Wollaston Land, its most distant point in sight, which I estimated to be
fifteen miles off, bearing S. 61 degrees E. On the strait, separating
the two shores, I bestowed the names of our excellent little boats, the
Dolphin and Union. It varies in width from twelve to twenty miles, and
to the eastward seemed to contain merely detached streams of ice, not
likely to obstruct the progress of a vessel; but to the westward lay the
closely packed ice, filling South's Bay, and extending to seaward. The
ice did not, however, entirely close the strait, for I could discern
lanes of open water towards Wollaston Land. The packed ice which we had
seen lining the coast between Point Clifton and Cape Bexley, may be
perhaps considered as an illustration of the remark made by Captain
Parry, that the western sides of seas and inlets in those latitudes are
more encumbered with ice than the opposite sides; and it is very
probable that a ship might have found a passage by keeping along
Wollaston Land, an opinion which the appearance of the ice as seen from
Cape Bexley, tended to confirm. The latitude of our encampment was 68
degrees 58 minutes N., and its longitude 115 degrees 47 minutes W.; it
was within ten miles of our encampment of the preceding night, although
we had travelled twenty-five miles in the course of the day.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 5th.] The party embarked on the 5th, at the usual
hour in the morning, with their spirits pleasantly excited by the
intelligence of the favourable trending of the coast, communicated by
Mr. Kendall, and after doubling Cape Bexley, proceeded under sail,
before a west-north-west wind, with a rapidity to which they had lately
been unaccustomed. The point of land which Cape Bexley terminates,
consists entirely of horizontal beds of limestone, and is nowhere more
than three hundred feet above the sea. On the west side, the water is
two or three fathoms deep, close to the shore, and the land attains its
greatest elevation by a steep rise from the beach. On the east side
there are some precipitous cliffs, but the coast in general is skirted
by shelving rocks. No soil was seen on the Cape, nor any appearance of
vegetation, the ground being every where covered, to the depth of a
foot, by fragments of limestone, which are detached by the frost from
the solid strata lying beneath. We were much puzzled at first with the
appearance of several parallel trenches, a foot deep, running for a
great distance amongst the fragments, but on examination they were
ascertained to originate in fissures of the subjacent strata. Much
quartz being intermixed with the limestone of Cape Bexley, the fragments
which covered the ground had, by the action of the weather, lost most of
the softer calcareous matter, and were converted into a kind of rasp,
very annoying to pedestrians, being capable of destroying a pair of
stout English shoes in a walk of a few hours.

At eleven o'clock we came to a pack of ice abutting against the shore,
but while we halted to cook breakfast, the wind opened a way for us. In
the course of the morning we passed many heavy streams of ice, separated
by lanes of open water, which would have afforded an easy passage for a
ship. Having obtained a meridian observation for latitude, we
re-embarked, and pulled for five miles through an open channel, to Point
Cockburn, on the opposite side of a bay, which appeared to be four or
five miles deep, and to be quite filled with drift-ice. Many deer were
seen grazing near this point, but we did not stop to send a hunter in
pursuit of them. We afterwards crossed several other indentations of the
coast, skirted by reefs of limestone and low islets, and encamped on
Chantry Island, lying close to the main shore, in latitude 68 degrees 45
minutes N., longitude 114 degrees 23 minutes W., having sailed
thirty-nine miles in the course of the day. Two islands, lying opposite
to our encampment, received the appellations of Manners Sutton and Sir
Robert Liston's Islands. The degree of motion in the ice, which was
drifting between these islands and the shore, indicated a stronger
current of both flood and ebb than we had hitherto seen.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 6th.] On the 6th, we commenced the day's voyage at
three in the morning, but were compelled to put ashore soon afterwards
by a stream of ice barring our way. At six o'clock, however, the flowing
tide opened it sufficiently to enable us to push the boats along with
poles, our progress being occasionally facilitated by the rocky reefs,
which kept the heavier masses from pressing down upon us. Much of the
ice lay aground, in nine fathoms, but none of it rose more than five or
six feet above the surface of the water. We estimated the velocity of
the flood tide, off some of the rocky points, at three miles an hour,
and at such places we had much trouble in endeavouring to keep the boats
clear of the drifting ice. The circular motion which the pieces
occasionally acquired was particularly difficult to guard against, and
had we not depended on the tongues of ice, which, lying deep under
water, prevented the upper parts of the floes to which they belonged
from coming in contact, we should scarcely have ventured amongst them.
We did not, however, entirely escape, for the Dolphin was caught between
a floe and a piece that lay aground, and fairly raised out of the water
by the pressure, which broke one of her timbers and several of her
planks. We put ashore on a small island to repair the damage, and during
our stay Mr. Kendall had a meridian observation in latitude 68 degrees
36-1/2 minutes N. Another island, lying about two miles from the main
land, was distinguished by the name of Aylmer Bourke Lambert, Esq.,
Vice-President of the Linnean Society. The sea water there was
beautifully clear.

At half-past one, the Dolphin being again rendered sea-worthy, we
prosecuted our voyage until five P.M., when the flood-tide set with such
velocity round a rocky point, and brought so much ice with it, that we
considered it prudent to put ashore. The violent eddies in the currents
there, and the sudden approach and collision of the large masses of ice,
reminded us forcibly of the poet's description of Scylla and Charybdis.
The length of the day's voyage was twenty-one miles, and our encampment
was situated in latitude 68 degrees 32 minutes N., longitude 113 degrees
53 minutes W. The temperature at nine P.M. was 60 degrees.

Mr. Kendall and I took a walk of some miles along the shore, and were
happy to observe the coast inclining to the southward, although no doubt
now existed as to our accomplishing the voyage sufficiently early to
allow us to cross the barren grounds, to the eastward of Great Bear
Lake, before the cold weather set in. The flowering season for most of
the plants on the coast was already past, but our route for the
remainder of the distance to Bear Lake, inclining much to the southward,
would naturally have the effect of prolonging to us the duration of the
summer. A conspicuous hill, discovered in our walk, received the name of
Mount Barrow, in honour of John Barrow, Esq., Secretary to the
Admiralty; and two islands in the offing were named after Commanders
Bayfield and Douglas, of the Royal Navy, to both of whom the officers of
the Expedition were indebted for much assistance and personal kindness,
in their progress through Canada. The interior of the country was flat,
but the limestone formed cliffs on the shore two hundred feet high. From
the form of the islands, I was led to believe that they consisted of
trap rocks. Wollaston Land, as seen from this encampment, appeared to
recede gradually from the main, and it sunk under the horizon, on a
north-east bearing. By estimation, the most easterly part of it which we
saw, is in latitude 68 degrees 45 minutes N., and longitude 113 degrees
53 minutes W. The navigation of the Dolphin and Union Straits would be
dangerous to ships, from the many sunken rocks which we observed near
the southern shore.

[Sidenote: Monday, 7th.] Embarking at two A.M. on the 7th, we crossed a
deeply indented bay, which was named after Lieutenant-Colonel Pasley, of
the Royal Engineers, to whose invention we owe the portable boat, named
the Walnut-shell, which we carried out with us. On the east side of
Pasley Cove there are some bold limestone cliffs, that form the
extremity of a promontory, to which we gave the name of Cape
Krusenstern, in honour of the distinguished Russian hydrographer. It
lies in latitude 68 degrees 23 minutes N., longitude 113 degrees 45
minutes W., and is the most eastern part of the main land which we
coasted. From a cliff, two hundred feet high, two miles to the southward
of Cape Krusenstern, we had a distinct view of the high land about
Inman's Harbour, on the western side of Cape Barrow, which was the most
easterly land seen on this voyage, and lies in longitude 111 degrees 20
minutes W. The space between Capes Barrow and Krusenstern is crowded
with islands.

By entering George the Fourth's Coronation Gulf at Cape Krusenstern, we
connected the discoveries of this voyage with those made by Captain
Franklin on his former expedition, and had the honour of completing a
portion of the north-west passage, for which the reward of five thousand
pounds was established by his Majesty's Order in Council, but as it was
not contemplated, in framing the Order, that the discovery should be
made from west to east, and in vessels so small as the Dolphin and
Union, we could not lay claim to the pecuniary reward.

While the party were at breakfast I visited Mount Barrow, which is a
steep hill about three hundred feet high, surrounded by a moat fifty or
sixty feet wide and twenty deep, and having a flat summit bounded by
precipices of limestone. Three banks, like causeways, afforded the means
of crossing the moat, and the hill altogether formed a remarkably
complete natural fortification. The Esquimaux had marked most of the
prominent points in this quarter, by erecting piles of stones similar to
the cairns built for land-marks by the shepherds in Scotland. These
erections were occasionally noticed, after doubling Cape Parry, but they
were more numerous here. The ice which we saw this day was in form of
loose streams, and offered no material impediment. Several wreaths of
snow lay at the base of the cliffs that had a northern exposure, being
the remains of that which had accumulated in the winter.

The latitude 68 degrees 13 minutes N. was observed at noon on a low
point which projected from some higher lands. From this point, which was
named after Edward H. Locker, Esq., Secretary to the Royal Hospital at
Greenwich, we had a view of Cape Hearne, the form of which I thought I
recognised from my recollections of it on the former voyage. We reached
Cape Hearne in the evening, having in the afternoon skirted a low and
indented coast; a bay immediately to the north of it was named after
Captain Basil Hall, of the Royal Navy. Cape Hearne itself is a low
point, not visible from the mouth of the Coppermine; but the high land
behind it, when seen from a distance, appears like a steep promontory,
and is that designated as Cape Hearne in Captain Franklin's chart of his
former voyage. The latitude of this cape is 68 degrees 11 minutes N.,
and its longitude 114 degrees 54 minutes W. The length of the day's
voyage was forty miles. Many deer were seen here, and Ooligbuck killed a
very fine one in the evening. After encamping I went a few miles into
the interior, and found that the country was composed of limestone,
which rose by a succession of terraces to the height of about three
hundred feet above the sea. The heat of the day was considerable, the
thermometer, when exposed to the rays of the sun, indicating 86 degrees,
without the bulb being blackened, or any other means used to retain the

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 8th.] Embarking early on the eighth, and passing
through several loose streams of ice, some pieces of which were
twenty-four feet thick, we landed at nine o'clock on a bold cape to
prepare breakfast. It is formed of columnar greenstone, reposing on
slaty limestone, and rising precipitously from the sea to the height of
three hundred and fifty feet. I named this well marked point Cape
Kendall, after my highly esteemed friend and companion, and had the
pleasure of pointing out to him, from its summit, the gap in the hills
at Bloody Fall, through which the Coppermine River flows. Mr. Kendall
having taken the necessary bearings and sketches for the completion of
his chart, we descended the hill to announce to the men, that a short
traverse would bring us to the mouth of the Coppermine River. As we were
aware of the disappointment which often springs from the premature
excitement of hope, we had not previously acquainted them with our near
approach to the termination of our voyage; fearing that an unfavourable
trending of coast, or an intervening body of ice, might protract it
some days longer than we expected. The gratifying intelligence that we
now conveyed to them, was, therefore, totally unexpected, and the
pleasure they experienced found vent in heartfelt expressions of
gratitude to the Divine Being, for his protection on the voyage. At noon
the latitude of Cape Kendall was ascertained to be 67 degrees 58 minutes
N., and its longitude by reckoning was 115 degrees 18 minutes W.

Re-embarking, we steered for the mouth of the Coppermine River with the
sails set to a fine breeze, plying the oars at the same time, and on
rounding Cape Kendall, we opened a magnificent inlet, or bay, rendered
very picturesque by the manner in which its lofty cliffs came
successively in sight as we crossed its mouth. We distinguished it by
the name of our mutual friend and companion Captain Back. One of
Couper's Islands, on which we landed, consists of greenstone, rising
from the water like steps of a stair; and from its summit we perceived
that a low piece of land, which, on the former voyage, had been mistaken
for an island, was, in fact, the extremity of Point Mackenzie, and that
Richardson River was merely a ravine, now dry.[12] Having reached the
mouth of the Coppermine River, we encamped within a hundred yards of the
position of the tents on Captain Franklin's former Expedition. Some
half-burnt wood, the remains of the fires then made, were still lying on
the spot; and I also recognised the Esquimaux stage, which we visited on
that occasion, but there were no skins nor utensils on it now.

The completion of our sea voyage so early in the season was a subject of
mutual congratulation to us all; and to Mr. Kendall and myself it was
highly gratifying to behold our men still fresh and vigorous, and ready
to commence the laborious march across the barren grounds, with the same
spirit that they had shown in overcoming the obstacles which presented
themselves to their progress by sea. We all felt that the comfort and
ease with which the voyage had been performed, were greatly owing to the
judicious and plentiful provision of stores and food which Captain
Franklin had made for us; and gratitude for his care mingling with the
pleasure excited by our success, and directing our thoughts more
strongly to his party, the most ardent wishes were expressed that they
might prove equally fortunate. The correctness of Mr. Kendall's
reckoning was another source of pleasure. Having been deprived of the
aid of chronometers, by the breaking of the two intended for the eastern
detachment of the Expedition, during the intense winter cold, our only
resource for correcting the dead reckoning was lunar observations, made
as frequently as opportunities offered; yet when we approached the
Coppermine River, Mr. Kendall's reckoning differed from the position of
that place, ascertained on Captain Franklin's former Expedition, only
twenty seconds of time, or about two miles and a half of distance, which
is a very trifling difference when the length of the voyage and the
other circumstances are taken into consideration. The distance between
Point Separation and the mouth of the Coppermine River, by the route we
pursued, is nine hundred and two geographical miles.

In our progress along the coast no opportunity was omitted of noting the
times of high-water, and a tide-table drawn up by Mr. Kendall, is given
in pages 236, 237. We nowhere observed the rise of the tide to exceed
twenty-two inches, and in some places it was not more than eight or
nine; but the velocity of the flood and ebb was greater than could have
been expected from so small a rise. Off the Alluvial Islands, lying
between the outlets of the Mackenzie River and Esquimaux Lake, it was in
the strength of the flood about a mile an hour; at Cape Bathurst it
exceeded a mile and a half; and in the Dolphin and Union Straits it was
fully three miles. The stream of the flood set every where from the

The variation of the magnetic needle, which was forty-six degrees
easterly at Point Separation, attained to 50 degrees at Refuge Cove, 53
degrees at Point Maitland, and 56 degrees at Cape Parry; after which it
gradually decreased as we went to the south-east; and at the mouth of
the Coppermine, it was 48 degrees.

We saw no ice that would have much impeded a ship, except between Sir
George Clerk's Island and Cape Bexley, where it was heavy and closely
packed. The appearance, however, of lanes of open water towards
Wollaston Land, opposite to Cape Bexley, induced us to think that there
might be a good passage for a ship on the outside of the ice, which
lined the south shore, and which seems to have been packed into the
indentations of the coast by the strong north-west winds that had
prevailed for some days. A ship would find shelter amongst the islands
of George the Fourth's Coronation Gulf, in Back's Inlet, in Darnley Bay,
and amongst Booth's Islands, lying off Cape Parry; but the bottom, at
the latter place, is rocky, and there are many sunken rocks along the
whole of that coast. To the westward of Cape Parry, we saw no ship
harbours, and the many sand-banks skirting the outlets of Esquimaux
Lake would render it dangerous for a ship to approach the shore in that
quarter. There is such an abundance of drift-timber on almost every part
of the coast, that a sufficient supply of fuel for a ship might easily
be collected, and wherever we landed on the main shore we found streams
or small lakes of fresh water. Should the course of events ever
introduce a steam-vessel into those seas, it may be important to know
that in coasting the shores between Cape Bathurst and the Mackenzie,
fire-wood sufficient for her daily consumption may be gathered, and that
near the Babbage River, to the westward of the Mackenzie, a tertiary
pitch-coal exists of excellent quality, which Captain Franklin describes
as forming extensive beds.

The height to which the drift-timber is thrown up on the shores at the
western entrance of the Dolphin and Union Straits is, I think, an
indication of an occasional great rise in the sea, which, as the tides
are in comparison so insignificant, I can ascribe only to the north-west
winds driving the waters of an open sea towards the funnel-shaped
entrance of the straits. If this view is correct, Wollaston Land
probably extends far to the north, and closely adjoins to Banks' Land,
or is connected with it. Captain Parry found the strait between Melville
Island and Banks' Land obstructed by ice, and this will naturally be
generally the case, both there and in the Dolphin and Union Straits, if
they form the principal openings through a range of extensive islands,
which run north and south, and bound a large tract of sea, comparatively
free from land. The heat of the summer in that quarter seems to be
always or almost always sufficient to admit of the ice breaking up, but
not powerful enough to dissolve it entirely. Hence the loose ice driven
about by the winds, and carried to the lee-side of the wider expanses of
sea, is firmly packed in the narrow straits and winding passages amongst
the islands, from whence it can be dislodged only by a concurrence of
very favourable circumstances, and where the waste by the solar rays is
replaced by every breeze blowing from the open sea. The north-west winds
being the strongest and most prevalent in the latter part of the summer,
it is at the western end of a strait that the ice is most frequently and
closely packed. Captain Parry remarks that "there was something peculiar
about the south-west extremity of Melville Island, which made the icy
sea there extremely unfavourable to navigation, and which seemed to bid
defiance to all efforts to proceed farther to the westward in that
parallel of latitude." The Dolphin and Union Straits hold out greater
prospects of success for a similar attempt, not only from their more
southern position, but from the strong current of flood and ebb which
flows through them and keeps the ice in motion.

We noticed on the coast about one hundred and seventy _phænogamous_, or
flowering plants, being one-fifth of the number of species which exist
fifteen degrees of latitude farther to the southward. The grasses,
bents, and rushes, constitute only one-fifth of the number of species on
the coast, but the two former tribes actually cover more ground than all
the rest of the vegetation. The cruciferous, or cress-like tribes afford
one-seventh of the species, and the compound flowers are nearly as
numerous. The _shrubby plants_ that reach the sea-coast are the common
juniper, two species of willow, the dwarf Birch (_betula glandulosa_),
the common alder, the hippophae, a gooseberry, the red bearberry
(_arbutus uva ursi_), the Labrador tea plant, (_ledum palustre_,) the
Lapland rose (_rhododendron lapponicum_,) the bog whortleberry
(_vaccinium uliginosum_,) and the crow-berry (_empetrum nigrum_.) The
kidney-leaved oxyria grows in great luxuriance there, and occasionally
furnished us with an agreeable addition to our meals, as it resembles
the garden sorrel in flavour, but is more juicy and tender. It is eaten
by the natives, and must, as well as many of the cress-like plants,
prove an excellent corrective of the gross, oily, rancid, and frequently
putrid meat, on which they subsist. The small bulbs of the Alpine
bistort (_polygonum viviparum_,) and the long, succulent, and sweet
roots of many of the _astragaleæ_, which grow on the sandy shores, are
eatable; but we did not learn that the Esquimaux were acquainted with
their use. A few clumps of white spruce-fir, with some straggling black
spruces and canoe birches, grow at the distance of twenty or thirty
miles from the sea, in sheltered situations, on the banks of rivers.

_ABSTRACT of the Meteorological Register, kept by the Eastern
Detachment, in their Voyage between the Mouths of the Mackenzie and
Coppermine Rivers._

     Temperature in the Shade.
             Highest.      Direction of
  Date.  Lowest.    Mean.  the Winds.    Weather and Remarks.
     9   32    38    35    East; NEbE.   Fresh breezes. Clear sky with
                                         fog over the ice.
    10   45    57    51    ESE.          Strong breezes, clear weather.
    11   42    51    43    East.         Strong breezes, clear sky, and
                                         bright sun.
    12   45    50    47    Do.           Ditto,          ditto.
    13   46    57    52    East; SE.     Moderate breezes. Clear sky;
                                         rain in the night.
    14   42    42    42    West.         Heavy gales. Thick fog.
    15   52    57    55    Nearly calm.  Very fine weather.
    16   38    55    47    South.        Moderate breezes. Cloudy A.M.,
                                         clear P.M.
    17   50    62    54    West; North.  Fog A.M. When wind veered to
                                         north cleared up. Temperature
                                         of sea 55 degrees.
    18   45    56    50    South; East.  Light airs A.M.; fresh breezes
                                         P.M.; calm in the night.
    19   44    54    49    East; West.   Fresh breezes and cloudy A.M.
                                         Four P.M. West wind and foggy
    20   46    50    48    NW., WNW.     Foggy; fresh breezes A.M.
                                         Increased to a strong gale P.M.
    21   42    48    46    WNW.; NW.     Fresh breezes and foggy A.M.
                                         Fine and clear P.M.
    22   45    47    46    South.        Fresh breezes A.M. Fine
                                         weather P.M.
    23   46    58    52    SW.           Moderate and cloudy. Many

_Meteorological Register, &c.--Concluded._

     Temperature in the Shade.
             Highest.      Direction of
  Date.  Lowest.    Mean.  the Winds.    Weather and Remarks.
    24   50    76    66    West.         Moderate breezes. Foggy A.M.
                                         Occasionally hazy P.M. Myriads
                                         of Musquitoes.
    25   45    66    55    South; NE.    Fine A.M. Strong gales and
                                         partial fogs P.M.
    26   35    47    41    NE.           Strong gales and clear.
                                         Temperature of sea 35 deg.
    27   35    45    40    ENE.          Moderate.
    28   35    50    42    Calm; North.  Fine clear weather.
    29   37    41    38    WNW.          Moderate breezes; foggy.
    30   36    40    38    WNW.          Fog hanging over the ice;
                                         clear inland; moderate breezes.
    31   38    45    41    NW.           Moderate breezes; occasionally
                                         hazy, fog over the ice.
     1   43    50    48    West.         Moderate breezes; hazy to seaward.
     2   34    50    41    West; variable. Hazy and occasionally foggy.
     3   38    43    40    NE.; East.    Light breezes and clear.
     4   38    55    46    NE.; ESE.     Fine clear weather.
     5   39    56    47    EbS.; WSW.    Do.               Moderate P.M.
     6   42    56    47    South; variable. Do.
     7   36    68    52    SSE.          Fine and very clear.
                                         Temperature in the sun 86 deg.
     8   44    60    52    North.        Do.
         41.45 51.92 46.48


[9] The appearance of whales on the north coast, nearly midway between
the nearest passages into Behring's and Barrow's Straits, and upwards of
a thousand miles distant from either, affords subject for interesting
speculation. It is known that they must come frequently to the surface
to breathe, and the following questions naturally arise:--Are there at
all seasons large spaces of open water in the Arctic Seas? or do these
animals travel from the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans immediately on the
breaking up of the ice off Cape Bathurst, and so early in the season as
the middle of July; while the sea, to the eastward and westward, is
still covered with ice? if the latter is the fact, it is a very curious
part of the natural history of these animals. The Esquimaux informed us,
that they are rarely seen when the ice lies close, and in accordance
with this remark Captain Franklin saw few to the westward, and we also
lost them as we approached the Coppermine River, and met with more ice.

[10] Since the above passage was written, the world has had to mourn the
loss of this distinguished statesman and philosopher.

[11] Its latitude was ascertained by meridional observations to be 68
degrees 58 minutes N.

[12] Captain Franklin has since transferred the name of Richardson to
the Bay between Point Mackenzie and the mouth of the Coppermine River.



Ascend the Coppermine River--Abandon the Boats and Stores--Commence the
Land Journey--Cross the Copper Mountains and Height of Land--Meet
Indians who bring Provisions--Arrive at Great Bear Lake--Detained by
want of a Boat--Send out Hunters--Arrival of Beaulieu--Collect the
Party, and proceed to Fort Franklin--Conclusion.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 9th.] At four o'clock in the morning of the 9th of
August, we left our encampment at the mouth of the Coppermine River, and
proceeded in the boats to Bloody Fall, a distance of about eleven miles.
The river was very low, and, in many places, there was scarcely water
enough for our boats, which did not draw more than fourteen inches. On
the preceding evening an Esquimaux dog had come to our encampment: his
meagre aspect showed that he had fared badly, and hunger had rendered
him so tame that he readily ate from our hands. After following us a
considerable way up the river he left us; and we found, on our arrival
at Bloody Fall, that a party of Esquimaux had just quitted that place;
probably having discovered us from a distance.

The Coppermine River, for forty miles above Bloody Fall, flows over an
uneven stony bed, betwixt precipitous rocky walls, and is full of
rapids. It is totally impracticable to ascend it in boats having a
greater draught of water than a few inches; and even a small canoe must
be frequently carried over land for considerable distances, to avoid the
numerous obstacles which occur. It was necessary, therefore, that we
should leave at this place the Dolphin and Union, and every thing that
was not absolutely necessary for our journey. We determined, however, on
taking with us Colonel Pasley's canvass boat, the Walnut-shell, in the
hope of its occasionally relieving the men of their burdens for a short
time, should any part of the river admit of its use. The afternoon
was employed in arranging the loads for crossing the barren grounds. Twenty
pounds of pemmican were allotted to each man, and the packages of
maccaroni, arrow-root, portable-soup, chocolate, sugar, and tea, were
equally distributed; together with the nautical almanack, astronomical
tables, charts, two fishing nets, the collection of plants, specimens of
rocks, and the portable boat, kettles, and hatchets; all of which, with
the blankets, spare shoes, guns, and ammunition, made a load of about
seventy-two pounds a man. Mr. Kendall undertook to carry the sextant and
azimuth-compass; and I took the artificial horizon and a package of
paper for drying plants, besides which we each carried a blanket, gun,
and ammunition. As I feared that some of the party would over-rate their
strength, and, through a desire of saving some favourite article, load
themselves too heavily at the outset, which could not fail to prove very
injurious to the regularity and speed of our march, I informed them,
that, as soon as we were at a convenient distance from our present
encampment, I should halt and examine all their bundles.

The boats were drawn up on shore, out of the reach of any flood, and the
remainder of the articles, that we had brought to give the Esquimaux,
were put into boxes and placed in the tents, that they might be readily
found by the first party of that nation that passed this way. They
consisted of fish-hooks, lines, hatchets, knives, files, fire-steels,
kettles, combs, awls, needles, thread, blue and red cloth, gartering,
and beads, sufficient to serve a considerable number of Esquimaux for
several years. The tents were securely pitched, and the Union Jack
hoisted, partly for the purpose of attracting the attention of the
natives, and partly to show them the mode of using the tents, which may
prove to be very useful in their summer journeys. That no accident might
occur from the natives finding any of our powder, all that we did not
require to take with us was thrown into the river.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 10th.] At six o'clock on the morning of the 10th,
after the men had been down to the beach to take a last look of our
little boats, we began our march to Bear Lake, intending to keep on the
banks of the Coppermine as far as its bend at the Copper Mountains, and
to strike from thence straight across the hills for the mouth of Dease's
River, which falls into the north-east arm of Bear Lake. We set off at a
pretty quick pace, and the first hill, after leaving our encampment,
being steep, tried the wind of most of the party, so that the few who
had loaded themselves with superfluous articles, were glad to throw
them away during a short halt on its summit, and when I examined their
packages, at the next resting-place, I found little to reject. A path
beaten by the rein-deer and the Esquimaux conducted us down the southern
face of this range of hill to the plain beneath, when we halted to
prepare breakfast, and to make some further arrangements, as several of
the party, being unaccustomed to carry loads, advanced slowly. After
breakfast the portable boat was put together, and the baggage being
placed in it, we endeavoured to tow it up the river, but found this to
be impracticable, owing to the badness of the towing-path, the numerous
high cliffs which bound the stream, and the form of the boat, which
permitted the water in strong rapids to flow over its bows. This boat
was admirably adapted for the purpose for which it was constructed by
Colonel Pasley, that of crossing a river or lake, as we had ascertained
by previous trials; but we knew that no river, except such as we could
ford, could occur on our route to Bear Lake; and I, therefore,
determined on leaving it, together with half a bag of arrow-root, and
five muskets, by which the loads were reduced about fifteen pounds a
man. The march was then resumed with alacrity, and, notwithstanding that
the day was hot and sultry, we proceeded with greater speed and
satisfaction. Mr. Kendall walked at the head of the line at a steady
pace, halting for five minutes every half hour to rest the party, and
prevent straggling. At five we encamped, having marched about six miles
in a direct line. The route throughout the journey was regulated, from
time to time, by our taking the bearing of a distant hill, or other
conspicuous object, by the compass, and walking directly for it; and the
distance was estimated by noting the time and guessing the rate of our
march. Of this, which was in general a little more than two miles an
hour, previous practice had enabled us to judge so correctly, that the
estimate seldom erred more than a mile a day. The error, whatever it
was, was always corrected at noon, when the latitude was observed, and
the course and distance were then calculated anew.

During the day several small herds of rein-deer were seen, but I would
not permit any one to leave the line of march to go in pursuit of them;
after encamping, however, M'Leay killed a fine buck. A solitary stunted
spruce-fir grew near our encampment, and the most northerly clump on the
river was seen about two miles to the southward. When supper was over
and a watch set, we stretched ourselves on the ground, and soon sunk
into sound sleep. The temperature at sunset was 62 degrees.

[Sidenote: Friday, 11th.] Setting out on the 11th, at six in the
morning, we halted to breakfast at nine, and Mr. Kendall took an
observation at noon, in latitude 67 degrees 33 minutes N. We encamped at
half past five P.M. amongst some small pines. The day was fine, and a
fresh easterly wind rendered it agreeable for walking; but the men were
much annoyed by their burdens, and appeared jaded when we halted for the
night. Their loads could not have exceeded fifty-two pounds each, but
the frequent ascent and descent in crossing the small hills that lay in
our way, and the occasional sponginess of the ground, and insecurity of
footing, rendered marching much more laborious than it would have been
on a hard English highway. The direct distance travelled this day was
about twelve miles. We saw many gray Arctic marmots (_Arctomys Parryi_,)
sporting near their burrows, and a little terrier dog, which had been
our fellow voyager from England, showed much dexterity in cutting off
their retreat, and succeeded in catching several of them. The dog's long
confinement in the boat rendered the exercise he now took very
fatiguing, and when we halted for the night he was the most tired of the
party. Many young rein-deer were also seen, and after we encamped
Ooligbuck killed one. The temperature in the evening was 50 degrees, but
the night was cold.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 12th.] Our march on the 12th was rendered pleasant
by a cool northerly breeze, and the men being now familiar with their
loads, which had also suffered some diminution by the preceding
evening's repast, we made a more rapid progress. The length of the march
was seventeen miles, being, exclusive of the half hourly halts and the
time occupied by breakfast, at the rate of two miles and a half an hour.
In the course of the day we crossed several ridges of the Copper
Mountains to avoid a bend of the river. The Whisky-John (_corvus
Canadensis_) visited our encampment in the evening for the first time
since we left the Mackenzie.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 13th.] On the 13th, commencing the day's march at
five A.M., we walked along the banks of the river until nine, when we
halted to prepare breakfast, at the place where Captain Franklin
encamped on the 11th of July 1821. After breakfast we forded the small
stream, on the banks of which several pieces of native copper and some
copper ore were found on the former Expedition. A quantity of ice formed
by snow, consolidated by the oozing of the stream, still remained in the
bed of this rivulet.

At noon the latitude was observed in 67 degrees 13 minutes N., and as we
were now on the spot where the Coppermine makes the nearest approach to
the north-east arm of Bear Lake, we decided on striking directly from
this place to the mouth of Dease's River, and the course and distance
were accordingly calculated. Our route lay over rocks of old red
sandstone, clay-slate, and greenstone disposed in ridges, which had a
direction from E.S.E. to W.N.W. The sides of many of the ridges were
precipitous, and their uneven and stony summits were two hundred or two
hundred and fifty feet high. The valleys were generally swampy and
abounded in small lakes. A few scattered and thin clumps of pines
existed in the more sheltered spots, but the country was, in general,
naked. Several burrows of wolves were seen in the mountains. We crossed
two small streams in the course of the day, flowing towards the
Coppermine, and encamped at four P.M. on the banks of a small lake.
Sand-flies, the first we had seen this season, were numerous and
troublesome in the evening, the temperature then being 53 degrees.

[Sidenote: Monday, 14th.] Setting out at five A.M. on the 14th, we
halted to breakfast at nine, after a pretty brisk walk through a country
entirely destitute of wood. Some partridges, which were so tame as to be
easily killed with stones, furnished us with an agreeable variety of
diet. A meridional observation was obtained in latitude 67 degrees 10
minutes N. In endeavouring to get round the south end of a small chain
of lakes, which lay in our route, we were stopped by a narrow stream
about six feet deep, flowing from them towards the Coppermine River;
but, on sounding the lake a little way from the head of the stream, we
found that it was fordable without difficulty. We marched to a late hour
in search of fuel to cook some deer's meat, which M'Leay had procured in
the course of the day, and were fortunate in at length finding a wooded
valley on the banks of a small stream, that fell into the chain of lakes
which we had crossed. It is probably this river, and chain of lakes,
that the Indians ascend from the Coppermine River in canoes to the
height of land which they cross on their route to Bear Lake.[13] The
ridges of hill over which we marched on this day consisted of spotted
sandstone and porphyry. The temperature in the evening was 47 degrees,
and the night was frosty. Two white wolves took a survey of our
bivouack, but did not venture within gun-shot.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 15th.] Starting on the 15th at five o'clock, we
marched until eight, when we halted to breakfast. The air felt very
cold, although the thermometer was not below 39 degrees. In the early
part of the day we crossed some ridges of sandstone, and towards noon we
travelled over granite, similar to that which abounds in the
neighbourhood of Fort Enterprize. Much wood was seen in a valley far to
the westward, but the hills over which our course lay were quite naked.
The bog whortleberry (_vaccinium uliginosum_,) however, grew abundantly
on these hills, and as its fruit was now in the highest perfection, the
men at every resting-place threw themselves down, and indulged freely,
without sustaining any injury.

In the afternoon our route was over nearly horizontal strata of spotted
sandstone and conglomerate. About three o'clock we had gained the summit
of the height of land separating the Coppermine River from Great Bear
Lake, and obtained from it an extensive view of a lower and well wooded
country; but all the grounds in our immediate neighbourhood consisted of
barren sandstone strata. After looking in vain for a comfortable
sleeping-place, as the night threatened to be stormy, and a moist and
cold fog was setting in, we were obliged to content ourselves with
building a rude shelter with blocks of sandstone; and to use for firing
a black lichen (_cornicularia divergens_,) which, fortunately, grew
plentifully in the crevices of the rock. The distance walked this day
was about fourteen miles. We had no meridional observations, because the
sky was obscured.

We had supped, and most of the men had retired to rest, when Mr.
Kendall, in sweeping the horizon with his telescope, saw three Indians
coming down a hill, and directing their steps towards us. More moss was
immediately thrown on the fire, and the St. George's ensign hoisted on
the end of a musquet, to point out to the comers who we were; but as
they hid the youngest of their number in a ravine, at the foot of the
hill, and the two seniors seemed to approach slowly and with suspicion,
Mr. Kendall and I went unarmed to meet them. They came up, one with his
bow and arrows in his hand, and the other with his gun cocked; but as
soon as they recognised our dress, which was the same that I had worn in
our voyage round Bear Lake, the preceding autumn, when I had seen most
of the Hare Indian tribe, they shouted in an ecstasy of joy, shook hands
most cordially with us, and called loudly for the young lad to come up.
The meeting was no less gratifying to us: these people had brought furs
and provisions to Fort Franklin in the winter, and they now seemed to be
friends come to rejoice with us on the termination of our voyage. We
learned from them, partly by signs, and partly from the little we
understood of their language, that by the advice of It-chinnah, the
Hare Indian Chief, they had been hunting for some time in this
neighbourhood, in the hopes of falling in with us on our way from the
sea; that they would give us all the provision they had collected,
accompany us to Bear Lake, and warn all the Indians in the neighbourhood
of our arrival. They appeared much surprised, when, placing the compass
on the ground, we showed them the exact bearing of the mouth of Dease's
River; and they were not able to comprehend how we knew the way in a
quarter through which we had never travelled. They said, however, that
they would conduct us in the morning to the Indian portage road, where
we would have better walking than by keeping the direct route across the
hills. We had reserved but little that we could present to these kind
people, though every one contrived to muster some small article for
them, which they gratefully received. They were dressed, after the
manner of their tribe, with fillets of deer-skin round their heads and
wrists, and carried in their hands a pair of deer's horns and a few
willow twigs, which are all serviceable in enabling them to approach the
rein-deer, in the way described by Mr. Wentzel in the Narrative of
Captain Franklin's former voyage.

Ooligbuck, who had gone out to hunt, returned in the night. He met an
Indian who had just killed a deer with an arrow, and had tried to
persuade him to come to us; but neither of them understood the other's
language, and the Indian, probably terrified by the sight of an
Esquimaux armed with a gun, presented him with a piece of the deer's
meat, and then made off in an opposite direction. Many of the Hare
Indians abstain from visiting the forts for several years, and it is
possible that this one had not heard of us, or at least had not received
a distinct account of our intention of returning his way, and of our
having an Esquimaux with us. Our Indian friends told us that they did
not know that any of their countrymen were hunting in the direction
which Ooligbuck pointed out.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 16th.] On the 16th a thick fog prevented us from
quitting our bivouack until seven o'clock, when the Indians led us down
the hill about a mile to the portage road, and we resumed the precise
line of march that we had followed from the Coppermine River, (S. 63
degrees W.) Such of our Highlandmen as had been in the service of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and, consequently knew from experience the
difficulty of travelling through a country without guides, could not
help expressing their surprise at the justness of the course we had
followed. We had not concealed from them, that from want of
observations, or from the difficulty of estimating the distance walked,
we might err a mile or two in our reckoning, so that they were prepared,
on our reaching Bear Lake, to turn a little to the right or left in
search of the river; but they had scarcely hoped to have reached that
point without having to perform a single mile of unnecessary walking.

The portage-road conducted us in a short time to the principal branch of
Dease's River, on the banks of which, at the distance of six miles from
our encampment, we halted to breakfast. The stream there receives
another branch, but it is fordable without difficulty, being nowhere
much above knee-deep. A little way further to the westward, however, it
is less rapid, and forms frequent lake-like expansions. Our march from
last night's encampment was over sandstone rocks, and down a pretty
rapid ascent. The ground was barren in the extreme, except at our
breakfasting place, where there was a convenient clump of wood and a
profusion of whortleberries. Having finished this meal, we resumed the
march, with the intention of halting a few miles further on, that our
Indian friends might rejoin us with their provision, which lay in store
to the southward of our route. We therefore encamped at half past two
o'clock in a pleasant pine clump, and immediately set fire to a tree to
apprize the Indians of our situation. They arrived at sunset, heavily
laden with tongues, fat, and half-dried meat; and M'Leay also killed two
deer after we encamped, so that we revelled in abundance. The length of
the day's journey was fourteen miles, and the estimated distance of the
mouth of Dease's River twenty miles.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 17th.] The provisions obtained from the Indians
being distributed amongst the men, we commenced the march at five
o'clock in the morning, and walked, until the usual breakfasting hour,
over a piece of fine level ground. A range of sandstone hills rose on
our left, and the river ran nearly parallel to our course on the right,
but we walked at the distance of one or two miles from it, to avoid its
windings and the swampy grounds on its borders. Pine-trees grow only in
small detached clumps on its south bank; but the uneven valley, which we
saw spreading for ten or twelve miles to the northward, was well wooded.
The Needagazza Hills, which lie on the north shore of the Bear Lake,
closed the view to the westward. Several columns of smoke were seen to
the westward, and one to the southward; the latter, the Indians informed
us, was made by It-chinnah. We breakfasted on the banks of a small
stream, where the whortleberry bushes were loaded with fruit of a finer
flavour than any we had previously met with. At noon we crossed a hill,
on the summit of which Mr. Kendall had an observation, that placed it in
66 degrees 58 minutes of north latitude. Our route afterwards led us
across several deep ravines close to the river, which there runs by the
base of some lofty cliffs, of light red sandstone, and we pushed on in
great spirits, and at a rapid pace, with the intention of reaching Bear
Lake that evening; but the Indians complaining that they were unable to
keep up with us, we halted at three P.M. Several trees were then set on
fire to apprize It-chinnah and his party of our approach; and, after
supper, I went to the summit of a hill, and readily recognised the
islands in Dease's Bay of Bear Lake, from their peculiar form and

[Sidenote: Friday, 18th.] Setting out at three A.M. on the 18th, the
Indians conducted us over a rising ground, covered with white spruces,
to a bay of the Great Bear Lake, about a mile from Dease's River. After
breakfast, our stock of provisions being examined, it was found that we
had two days' allowance remaining. A party was next sent to Dease's
River to make a raft for setting the two nets, and they were also
directed to look for traces of Beaulieu and his party. He had been
ordered by Captain Franklin to leave the fort on the 6th of August, and
to make the best of his way to the rendezvous, where he was to remain to
the 20th of September. The length of his voyage, allowing for two or
three days detention by adverse winds, was not expected to exceed seven
or eight days, nor to be protracted, under any circumstances, beyond ten
or twelve. We had, therefore, reason to suppose that he might have
reached Dease's River by this time. He was fully aware of the
inconvenience that we might experience, should we reach the appointed
spot and find no provisions there; and to stimulate him to make as much
haste as possible, I had promised him a fowling-piece, on condition that
we found him waiting for us on our arrival. Huts were made to sleep in,
and several trees set on fire to point out our position to the Indians
in the neighbourhood.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 19th.] The mossy ground near our encampment caught
fire in the night, and the flames spread so rapidly that we were obliged
on the morning of the 19th, to move to the banks of the river, where we
made new huts. Owing to the loss of a hatchet in driving the stakes,
only one net had been set the preceding evening, and in it we took eight
carp. The raft being made of green wood was not sufficiently buoyant,
and a new one was, therefore, constructed this day of dried timber. The
carp afforded a breakfast for the party, and supper consumed all our
deer's meat, together with a portion of the remainder of the pemmican.
The young Indian went off in the afternoon in quest of It-chinnah's
party. A strong easterly wind blowing all this day, was adverse to
Beaulieu's advance.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 20th.] On Sunday, the 20th, prayers were read, and
thanks returned to the Almighty for his gracious protection and the
success which had attended our voyage. The nets yielding seventeen pike,
carp, and white fish, provided an ample breakfast for the party, and
before supper time the young Indian returned with two of his countrymen,
bringing meat sufficient for three days consumption. Part of it was the
flesh of the musk-ox, which was fat and juicy, but had a high musky
flavour. We had seen none of these animals on our march from the
Coppermine River, although we frequently noticed their foot marks.
Frequent squalls during the day brought much rain, but the huts which we
had made of pine branches kept us dry. We could not but consider
ourselves fortunate in having had no rain in the journey overland, when
there was not sufficient wood to afford us the shelter we now

[Sidenote: Monday, 21st.] On the 21st the nets yielded sixteen fish,
which were enough for breakfast. Mr. Kendall crossed the river on a
raft, and went to the top of a hill to the westward to look for
Beaulieu; and, by way of keeping the men employed, I sent M'Leay and
some of our best hunters in quest of deer, and set the carpenter and the
remainder of the party to make oars. Our Indian friends left us to warn
some more of their countrymen, of our situation, and five others arrived
in the evening, bringing meat and large basketfuls of whortleberries.
M'Leay and the other hunters returned without having seen any deer.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 22nd.] To secure a stock of provision for our
journey to the fort, in the event of any accident preventing the arrival
of the boat, I resolved to send half the party on a distant excursion,
and on the 22nd, Gillet, M'Leay, M'Duffie, M'Lellan, and Ooligbuck, were
despatched to hunt in the neighbourhood of Limestone Point, on the north
shore of the lake, with orders not to extend their excursions beyond
Haldanes River, which falls into the lake about sixty miles to the
westward of Dease River. If they went on to Haldanes River, they were to
set up a mark on Limestone Point, that I might know whether they had
passed or not. They took with them a small supply of provision, and an
Indian guide. In the evening two Indians came with more meat. They were
desirous of being paid with ammunition, which they much needed, but we
had none to give them, and they cheerfully took our notes of hand for
payment, on their arrival at the fort in the winter.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 23rd.] The 23d day of August having passed away
like the four preceding ones, in anxious expectation of Beaulieu's
arrival, I began to apprehend that some serious accident had happened to
his boat, and to fear that we should be obliged to walk round the Lake
to the Fort. The distance exceeding three hundred miles, we could not
expect to accomplish it in less than three weeks, and not without much
fatigue and suffering, for the men's stock of shoes was nearly
exhausted, their clothing ill adapted for the frosty nights that occur
in September, and deer do not frequent, at this season, much of the
country through which our route lay. I naturally looked forward to such
a march with uneasiness, yet, as the season was drawing to a close, I
determined not to delay setting out beyond the 28th, when I intended to
engage some Indians as guides, and to take with us as much dried meat as
we could carry. The wind blew from the south-west this day, and we were
much tormented by sand-flies.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 24th.] On the evening of the 24th, as we were about
to retire to bed, having given up all hopes of Beaulieu's arrival that
day, we heard people talking in the direction of the mouth of the river,
and soon afterwards saw a boat and several canoes. A musket being fired
to show them our position, they steered for the encampment, and landed
opposite to the huts. They proved to be Beaulieu's party, consisting of
four Canadians, four Chipewyan hunters, and ten Dog-Ribs, which, with
their wives and children, amounted to about thirty in all. We learnt
from Beaulieu, that he had been sent off from the Fort by Mr. Dease, on
the 6th, with strict injunctions to proceed to the rendezvous with his
utmost speed; but he pleaded the badness of the weather and the adverse
winds as the cause of his delay. He had not seen the five men I sent off
on the 22d, though he had noticed a fire in a bay near Limestone Point,
which I had no doubt was made by them; I therefore embarked directly to
rejoin them at that place, accompanied by Mr. Kendall and the remainder
of our party, two of the Canadians, and an Indian named the Babillard;
directing Beaulieu to stay at the huts until he heard from us again. We
rowed all night, and soon after day-break reached the spot where the
fire had been made, but found no marks to indicate which way our men had
gone: neither was there any mark at Limestone Point; I therefore caused
a large fire to be made at the latter place, and remained there the
whole day.

[Sidenote: Saturday, 26th.] Our people not appearing on the 26th, I
returned in the boat to Dease River, leaving Mr. Kendall and the
Babillard at Limestone Point. Beaulieu had seen nothing of the
absentees, and it was therefore evident that they had gone on to Haldane
River, whither I resolved to proceed in search of them; but that they
might not suffer from want of food, if by any chance we missed them, I
directed Beaulieu's party to remain where they were, until I sent them
permission to depart by two Canadians, whom I took with me on purpose in
a small canoe. Mr. Dease had directed Beaulieu to go to M'Tavish Bay to
hunt deer, and dry meat for the fort, as soon as we arrived; and as the
boat was well adapted for carrying dried provision, I now exchanged it
with his north canoe.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 27th.] We rejoined Mr. Kendall at Limestone Point at
day-break on the morning of the 27th, and afterwards paddled along the
coast until two P.M., when a strong head-wind obliged us to put ashore.
As soon as we landed, I set out with the Babillard for Haldane River,
carrying a small quantity of pemmican, lest the people should be in want
of food; and after a walk, or rather a run, of five miles, I had the
happiness of finding them all well, and with plenty of provisions, as
they had killed six deer. Their Indian guide had taken them a little
inland, by which they had missed Limestone Point; but they were very
sorry it had so happened, when they learned the anxiety they had
occasioned to Mr. Kendall and myself, by their not erecting the mark
there as they had been directed to do. The wind moderating after sunset,
Mr. Kendall joined us with the two canoes, so that the party was again
happily reunited. [Sidenote: Monday, 28th.] On Monday the 28th, I sent
back the small canoe with the Babillard and two Canadians, to join
Beaulieu, and proceed with the rest of the party in the larger canoe to
Fort Franklin, where we arrived on Friday, the 1st of September, and
received a warm welcome from Mr. Dease, after an absence of seventy-one
days, during which period we had travelled by land and water one
thousand seven hundred and nine geographical, or nineteen hundred and
eighty statute miles.

Having now brought the Narrative of the proceedings of the Eastern
Detachment to a conclusion, the pleasing duty remains of expressing my
gratitude to the party for their cheerful and obedient conduct. Not a
murmur of discontent was heard throughout the voyage, but every
individual engaged with alacrity in the laborious tasks he was called
upon to perform. Where all behaved with the greatest zeal, it would be
invidious to particularize any; and I am happy in having it in my power
to add, that since our return to England, Gillet, Fuller and Tysoe, who
were in His Majesty's service previous to their being employed on the
Expedition, have been rewarded by promotion. Our good-natured and
faithful Esquimaux friend Ooligbuck, carried with him to his native
lands the warmest wishes and esteem of the whole party. His attachment
to us was never doubtful, even when we were surrounded by a tribe of his
own nation.

The general abilities and professional skill of my companion, Lieutenant
Kendall, are duly appreciated in higher quarters, and can derive little
lustre from any eulogium from me; but I cannot deny myself the
gratification of recording my deep sense of the good fortune and
happiness I experienced in being associated with a gentleman of such
pleasing manners, and one upon whose friendly support and sound judgment
I could with confidence rely, on occasions of difficulty and doubt
inseparable from such a voyage.

_End of Dr. Richardson's Narrative of the Proceedings of the Eastern

_TABLE of the distances travelled by both Branches of the Expedition,
and of the extent of their Discoveries in 1827._

  BY THE WESTERN PARTY.                                 _Statute Miles._
  From Fort Franklin, by Fort Norman, to Point Separation (river
  course)                                                            525
    Point Separation to Pillage Point, at the Mouth of the Mackenzie 129
    Pillage Point to Return reef (sea-voyage out)                    374
    Return Reef, back to Fort Franklin, including Peel River        1020
      Distance travelled by the Western Party in July, August,
      September, 1826.                                              2048

  From Fort Franklin to Point Separation, along with the western
  party                                                              525
    Point Separation to Point Encounter (river course.)              159
    Encounter to the Coppermine River (sea-voyage[14])               863
   The mouth of the Coppermine, over land to Fort Franklin           433
     Distance travelled by the Eastern Party in July and
     August, 1826                                                   1980

  From Point Separation to the mouth of the Mackenzie, by a western
  branch, not previously known                                       129
    Pillage Point by the sea-coast to Point Beechey, which was
    seen from Return Reef                                            391
  Peel River and a branch of the Mackenzie surveyed for the first
  time, on the return                                                 90

  From Sacred Island to Point Encounter, being a portion of the
  river lying to the eastward of Mackenzie's route                    37
    Point Encounter, along the coast to the Coppermine River         863
    The Copper Mountains, overland to Bear Lake                      115

_TABLE of Times of High Water, reduced to Full and Change, by E.N.
Kendall, Lieutenant, R.N._

                           Geographic    Times of High Water.   Winds.
          Names of Places  Lat     Lon.              to full  Direction.
  Date.   of Observations.  N.      W.     Observed  & change.    Force.

                                                        General Remarks.
  1825.                    d. m.   d. m.   h. m.     h. m.
    16 Garry Island        69 29  135 41   1  0 P.M. 10 19   N.E.      6
                                                         No ice visible.
     9 Point Toker         69 38  132 18   4 25 P.M. 1  45   N.E.b.E.  5
                        Loose ice covering the sea. Rise of water 20 in.

    10 } Bay between  }                  { 5 0  P.M. 0  56   East.     8
       } Points Toker }    69 43  131 58 {          Heavy pieces of ice.
    12 } and Warren   }                  { 6 48 P.M. 1  48   -         5
                                                     Little ice visible.

    13 Atkinson Island     69 55  130 43   7 0  P.M. 0  32   S.E.      1
                                                Rise and fall 18 inches.

    14 Browell Cove        70 00  130 20   7 0  P.M. 1  12   West.     6
                                              Very little rise and fall.

    18 Point Sir           70 08  127 45   3 15 A.M. 3  47   Calm.     -
       P. Maitland
    19 Near Cape Bathurst  70 33  127 21   1 30 A.M. 1  28   E.S.E.    6
                                   { In the mouth of Harrowby Bay, round
                         (18 & 19) {    which the tide appeared to flow.
                                   {    Flood setting from the Eastward.
                                   {        Rise and fall 14-1/2 inches.

    20 Point Fitton        70 11  126 14   4 00 A.M. 3  18   N.W.      6
                                                Rise and fall 13 inches.

_TABLE of Times of High Water, &c.--Concluded._

                           Geographic    Times of High Water.   Winds.
          Names of Places  Lat     Lon.              to full  Direction.
  Date.   of Observations.  N.      W.     Observed  & change.    Force.

                                                        General Remarks.
  1826.                    d. m.   d. m.   h. m.     h. m.
    20 W. Horton River     69 50  125 55   4 15 P.M. 3 15    W.N.W.    9

    21 -                   -  -   -   -    5 0  A.M. 3 49     -        7

    27 Cape Lyon           69 46  122 51 {11 50 A.M. 6 33    E.N.E.    8
                                         {      Stream of flood from the
                                         {       Eastward. Rise and fall
    30 {Three miles from }               {                    14 inches.
       {Buchanan River   } 69 24  120 03 { 5 0  P.M. 8 20    W.N.W.    8
                            Ice close and heavy, Rise and fall 9 inches.
     1 Point Wise          69 03  119 00   8 30 P.M. 7 04    West.     4
                                                            Compact ice.

     3 Stapylton Bay       68 52  116 03   9 0  P.M. 8 22    East.     2
                                               In a bay filled with ice.

     4 { Between C. Hope }
       { and C. Bexley   } 68 57  115 48   3 15 P.M. 8 25    E.S.E.    4
                                                         Ice to seaward.

     5 Chantry Island      68 45  114 23   8 30 P.M. 7 22    W.S.W.    3
                                                    Loose masses of ice.

     6 {Seven miles from }
       {C. Krusenstern   } 68 32  113 53   9 00 P.M. 7 13    Variable. -
                            Flood from the S.E. Velocity 3 miles an hour.


[13] Franklin's First Journey to the Polar Sea, p. 337.

[14] All the distances mentioned in the narrative of the proceedings of
the eastern detachment, are geographical miles.



Brief Notices of the Second Winter at Bear Lake--Traditions of the
Dog-Ribs--Leave Fort Franklin--Winter Journey to Fort Chipewyan--Remarks
on the progress of improvement in the Fur Countries--Set out in Canoes
on the Voyage Homeward--Join Dr. Richardson at Cumberland House--Mr.
Drummond's Narrative--Arrival in Canada, at New York, and London.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 21st] During our absence on the sea-coast, Mr.
Dease had employed the Canadians in making such repairs about the
buildings as to fit them for another winter's residence, but he had not
been able to complete his plans before the arrival of Dr. Richardson's
party, through whose assistance they were finished shortly after our
return. The inconvenience arising from the unfinished state of the
houses was a trifle, when compared to the disappointment we felt at the
poverty of our store, which contained neither meat nor dried fish, and
the party was living solely on the daily produce of the nets, which, at
this time, was barely sufficient for its support. Notwithstanding the
repeated promises which the Fort hunters and the Dog-Ribs in general had
given us, of exerting themselves to collect provisions during the
summer, we found that they had not supplied more than three deer since
our departure. The only reason they assigned to Mr. Dease, on his
remonstrating with them, was, that they had been withheld from hunting
at any great distance from the Fort, by the fear of meeting the Copper
Indians, who, they fancied, would be lying in wait to attack them. This
excuse, however, had been so often alleged without a cause, that it was
considered mere evasion, and we attributed their negligence to the
indolence and apathy which mark the character of this tribe.

I need not dilate upon the anxieties which we felt at the prospect of
commencing the winter with such a scanty supply of food. We at once
sent off five men, provided with nets and lines, to the fishery in
M'Vicar's Bay, which had been so productive in the preceding year, in
the hope that, besides gaining their own subsistence, they might store
up some fish for us, which could be brought to the Fort when the lake
was frozen. Our anxiety was, in some measure, relieved on the 28th of
September, by the arrival of Beaulieu and some hunters, from the north
side of Bear Lake, with a supply of dried meat. The term of Beaulieu's
engagement being now expired, he was desirous of quitting our service;
and though he was our best hunter, Mr. Dease advised me to comply with
his request, as he had collected a number of useless followers, whom we
must have fed during the short days. He accordingly took his departure,
accompanied by seventeen persons, which was a very important relief to
our daily issue of provision. I furnished them with ammunition from the
store to enable them to hunt on their way to Marten Lake, where they
intended to fish until the return of spring.

[Sidenote: October.] Calculating that the stores, which had been ordered
from York Factory, must have arrived at Fort Norman, I despatched Mr.
Kendall for them; and he returned on the 8th of October, with as much of
them as his canoe would carry. The men were immediately furnished with
warm clothing, of which the eastern party were in great need, having
left every thing on quitting the sea-coast, except one suit each. We
were rejoiced at the receipt of a large packet of letters from England,
dated in the preceding February. They brought out the gratifying
intelligence that my friend Lieutenant Back had been promoted, in
December, 1825, to the rank of Commander. I likewise received a large
packet of news papers from his Excellency the Earl of Dalhousie,
Governor-in-Chief of Canada, to whom I take this opportunity of
returning my best thanks for the warm interest he took in the welfare of
the Expedition.

I shall now briefly trace the advance of winter: the nights were frosty
and the weather was unsettled and gloomy, from the time of our arrival
to the close of September. Heavy rain fell on the 2nd of October, which
on the following day was succeeded by hard frost and much snow. The snow
which fell on the 8th remained on the ground for the rest of the season.
The small lake was frozen on the 12th, from which day we dated the
commencement of winter as we had done in the preceding year. There was a
succession of gales, and almost constant snow from that time to the
close of the month; and on the 30th the thermometer first descended
below zero. The snow then was much deeper than at the close of November
in the former year. The last of the migratory birds, which were a few
hardy ducks, took their departure on the 18th of October.

[Sidenote: November.] Stormy weather kept the Bear Lake open until the
16th of November, nine days later than the year before; and for some
weeks we received no assistance from the nets, which again reduced our
stock of meat to a small quantity. The same occupations, amusements, and
exercise, were followed by the officers and men as in the former
residence; and the occurrences were so similar, that particular mention
of them is unnecessary. On the 25th of November we despatched some men
with dogs and sledges to bring the remainder of the stores from Fort
Norman. As it was my intention, as soon as the maps and drawings could
be finished, to proceed on the ice to Fort Chipewyan, in order to secure
provisions for the out-going of the party, and to reach England by the
earliest conveyance, I requested of Mr. Brisbois to provide a cariole,
sledges, and snow-shoes, for my journey, the birch of which they are
made being plentiful in the neighbourhood of Fort Norman, and he having
a better workman than any at our establishment. On the 28th Mackenzie
arrived from M'Vicar's Bay, with an acceptable supply of fine
white-fish. We learned from him that our party, as well as the Indians,
were living in abundance; and that the latter had shown their wisdom
this season, not only in taking up their quarters at that place, instead
of remaining about the Fort, as they had done in the former year, but
also in building themselves houses like those of our men, and thus
having more comforts and better shelter than they had ever before
enjoyed. The fishery opposite the Fort was now sufficiently productive
for our wants, though the fish, from being out of season, disagreed so
much with several of the men as to cause great debility, which was the
more distressing to us, as we were unable to supply the invalids with
meat on more than two days in the week. Contrary to what had happened
last season, we did not receive meat this year from more than six or
seven persons of either the Hare Indians or Dog-Rib tribes, after the
ice set in; this happened, probably, from our being now unprovided with
goods to exchange for their furs; though they had been expressly told in
the spring, that we should have abundance of ammunition, tobacco, and
other supplies, to purchase all the meat they would bring.

By the return of our men from Fort Norman, we learned that one of our
Dog-Rib hunters had murdered a man of his tribe, in the autumn, near
the mouth of the Bear Lake River. The culprit being at the house, we
inquired into the truth of the report, which was found correct; and he
was in consequence instantly discharged from our service. His victim had
been a man of notoriously loose habits, and in this instance had carried
off the hunter's wife and child, while he was in pursuit of deer, at a
great distance from the Fort. The husband pursued the guilty pair the
moment he discovered their flight, and, on overtaking them, instantly
shot the seducer; but the woman escaped a similar fate, by having the
presence of mind to turn aside the muzzle of the gun when in the act of
being discharged. She did not, however, escape punishment: her husband
struck her senseless to the ground with the stock of his gun, and would
have completed her destruction, but for the cries and intreaties of
their only child. This transaction adds another to the melancholy list
of about thirty murders which have been perpetrated on the borders of
this lake since 1799, when the first trading post was established.

The Dog-Rib Indians, being derived from the same stock with the
Chipewyans, have many traditions and opinions in common with that
people. I requested Mr. Dease to obtain answers from the old men of the
tribe to a few queries which I drew up, and the following is the
substance of the information he procured, which may be compared with the
more extended statements by Hearne and Mackenzie, of the general belief
of the Chipewyans.

The _first man_, they said, was, according to the tradition of their
fathers, named Chapewee. He found the world well stocked with food, and
he created children, to whom he gave two kinds of fruit, the black and
the white, but forbade them to eat the black. Having thus issued his
commands for the guidance of his family, he took leave of them for a
time, and made a long excursion for the purpose of conducting the sun to
the world. During this, his first absence, his children were obedient,
and ate only the white fruit, but they consumed it all; the consequence
was, that when he a second time absented himself to bring the moon, and
they longed for fruit, they forgot the orders of their father, and ate
of the black, which was the only kind remaining. He was much displeased
on his return, and told them that in future the earth would produce bad
fruits, and that they would be tormented by sickness and
death--penalties which have attached to his descendants to the present
day. Chapewee himself lived so long that his throat was worn out, and he
could no longer enjoy life; but he was unable to die, until, at his own
request, one of his people drove a beaver-tooth into his head.

The same, or another Chapewee (for there is some uncertainty on this
head,) lived with his family on a strait between two seas. Having there
constructed a weir to catch fish, such a quantity were taken, that the
strait was choked up, and the water rose and overflowed the earth.
Chapewee embarked with his family in a canoe, taking with them all
manner of birds and beasts. The waters covered the earth for many days,
but, at length, Chapewee said, we cannot live always thus, we must find
land again, and he accordingly sent a beaver to search for it. The
beaver was drowned, and his carcase was seen floating on the water; on
which Chapewee despatched a musk-rat on the same errand. The second
messenger was long absent, and when he did return was near dying with
fatigue, but he had a little earth in his paws. The sight of the earth
rejoiced Chapewee, but his first care was about the safety of his
diligent servant, the rat, which he rubbed gently with his hands, and
cherished in his bosom, until it revived. He next took up the earth, and
mouldering it with his fingers, placed it on the water, where it
increased by degrees until it formed an island in the ocean. A wolf was
the first animal Chapewee placed on the infant earth, but the weight
proving too great, it began to sink on one side, and was in danger of
turning over. To prevent this accident the wolf was directed to move
round the island, which he did for a whole year, and in that time the
earth increased so much in size, that all on board the canoe were able
to disembark on it. Chapewee, on landing, stuck up a piece of wood,
which became a fir-tree, and grew with amazing rapidity, until its top
reached the skies. A squirrel ran up this tree, and was pursued by
Chapewee, who endeavoured to knock it down, but could not overtake it.
He continued the chase, however, until he reached the stars, where he
found a fine plain, and a beaten road. In this road he set a snare made
of his sister's hair, and then returned to the earth. The sun appeared
as usual in the heavens in the morning, but at noon it was caught by the
snare which Chapewee had set for the squirrel, and the sky was instantly
darkened. Chapewee's family on this said to him, you must have done
something wrong when you were aloft, for we no longer enjoy the light of
day; "I have," replied he, "but it was unintentionally." Chapewee then
endeavoured to repair the fault he had committed, and sent a number of
animals up the tree to release the sun, by cutting the snare, but the
intense heat of that luminary reduced them all to ashes. The efforts of
the more active animals being thus frustrated, a ground mole, though
such a grovelling and awkward beast, succeeded by burrowing under the
road in the sky, until it reached and cut asunder the snare which bound
the sun. It lost its eyes, however, the instant it thrust its head into
the light, and its nose and teeth have ever since been brown, as if
burnt. Chapewee's island, during these transactions, increased to the
present size of the American Continent; and he traced the course of the
rivers, and scraped out the lakes by drawing his fingers through the
earth. He next allotted to the quadrupeds, birds, and fishes, their
different stations, and endowing them with certain capacities, he told
them that they were in future to provide for their own safety, because
man would destroy them whenever he found their tracks; but to console
them, he said, that when they died they should be like a seed of grass,
which, when thrown into the water, springs again into life. The animals
objected to this arrangement, and said, let us when we die be as a stone
which, when thrown into a lake, disappears forever from the sight of
man. Chapewee's family complained of the penalty of death entailed upon
them for eating the black fruit, on which he granted that such of them
as dreamed certain dreams should be men of medicine, capable of curing
diseases and of prolonging life. In order to preserve this virtue, they
were not to tell their dreams until a certain period had elapsed. To
acquire the power of foretelling events, they were to take an ant alive,
and insert it under the skin of the palm of the hand, without letting
any one know what they had done.

For a long time Chapewee's descendants were united as one family, but at
length some young men being accidentally killed in a game, a quarrel
ensued, and a general dispersion of mankind took place. One Indian fixed
his residence on the borders of the lake, taking with him a dog big with
young. The pups in due time were littered, and the Indian, when he went
out to fish, carefully tied them up to prevent their straying. Several
times as he approached his tent, he heard a noise of children talking
and playing; but on entering it he only perceived the pups tied up as
usual. His curiosity being excited by the noises he had heard, he
determined to watch, and one day pretending to go out and fish,
according to custom, he concealed himself in a convenient place. In a
short time he again heard voices, and rushing suddenly into the tent,
beheld some beautiful children sporting and laughing, with the dog-skins
lying by their side. He threw the skins into the fire, and the children,
retaining their proper forms, grew up, and were the ancestors of the
Dog-Rib nation.

On Mr. Dease questioning some of the elderly men as to their knowledge
of a supreme Being, they replied--"We believe that there is a Great
Spirit, who created every thing, both us and the world for our use. We
suppose that he dwells in the lands from whence the white people come,
that he is kind to the inhabitants of those lands, and that there are
people there who never die: the winds that blow from that quarter
(south) are always warm. He does not know the wretched state of our
island, nor the pitiful condition in which we are."

To the question, whom do your medicine men address when they conjure?
They answered,--"We do not think that they speak to the master of life,
for if they did, we should fare better than we do, and should not die.
He does not inhabit our lands."

[Sidenote: December.] On the evening of the 1st of December a brilliant
comet appeared in the western quarter, which had been indistinctly seen
the two preceding nights. A line drawn through alpha and eta Ursæ Majoris
led to its position; it also formed a trapezium with alpha Aquilæ and alpha
Lyræ and alpha Coronæ Borealis. This was the last night of its being
visible. The temperature had been unusually high for several days, about
this time +18 above zero; and, with the exception of the night of the
1st, the atmosphere gloomy; and we amused ourselves with conjecturing,
whether this extraordinary warmth, and the density of the clouds, could
in any way be ascribed to the comet.

At Christmas we were favoured by a visit from Mr. Brisbois, to whom we
felt much obliged for the care he had taken of our sea-stores, beside
many personal civilities. The visit of a stranger is always heartily
welcomed in such a desolate region, and to provide for the entertainment
of the party during Mr. Brisbois's stay, Captain Back and Mr. Kendall
displayed their ingenuity in cutting out several pasteboard figures, to
represent behind an illuminated screen the characters of a comic piece,
which Captain Back had written for the occasion. The exhibition was
entirely new to most of the party, and its execution afforded such
general amusement, that it was repeated on three nights at the request
of the men. [Sidenote: January.] The New Year was celebrated by a dance,
which closed our festivities; and on Mr. Brisbois quitting us the
following day, we resumed our ordinary occupations. Two Hare Indians
arrived at the fort, whom Mr. Kendall recognised as the persons who had
brought provisions to Dr. Richardson's party, as soon as they had heard
of his having reached the Bear Lake Portage; and we had much pleasure
in rewarding their promptitude on that occasion, by a substantial
present and a silver medal. They were particularly pleased at the
medals, and assured us that they should be proud to show them to the
rest of their tribe as tokens of our approbation.

On the evening of the 4th of January, the temperature being -52.2
degrees, Mr. Kendall froze some mercury in the mould of a pistol bullet,
and fired it against a door at the distance of six paces. A small
portion of the mercury penetrated to the depth of one eighth of an inch,
but the remainder only just lodged in the wood. Much snow fell in the
second week of January; and on the 12th, we ascertained that its average
depth was two feet in the sheltered parts of the woods. The weather
became mild after the 20th; and on the 22nd, the sun's rays were so
powerful as to raise a spirit thermometer with a blackened bulb, to
+30.5 degrees, when the temperature of the air was -3.5 degrees. A very
brilliant and clearly defined parhelion was visible at the time, and
there were only a few light clouds. The wind was east, and as usual,
with the wind from that quarter when the sky is clear, the distant land
appeared much distorted by refraction.

The documents which had been preparing being now nearly finished, we
sent for the cariole, &c. from Fort Norman. [Sidenote: 18th.] When the
men came back, they brought the information, that, according to the
report of the Indians, the ice was so rough on the Mackenzie above Fort
Norman, that travelling would be extremely difficult. I therefore
abandoned the intention of proceeding by that way, and resolved on
passing through the woods to Fort Simpson, as soon as guides could be
procured. The delay afforded me the opportunity of registering the
lowest temperature we had witnessed in this country. [Sidenote:
February.] At a quarter after eight in the morning of the 7th of
February, the thermometer descended to -58 degrees; it had been -57.5
degrees, and 57.3 degrees thrice in the course of this and the preceding
day--between the 5th and 8th, its general state was from -48 degrees to
-52 degrees, though it occasionally rose to -43 degrees.

At Fort Enterprise, during a similar degree of cold, the atmosphere had
been calm: but here we had a light wind, which sometimes approached to a
fresh breeze. The sky was cloudless the whole time. Some of our men, as
well as the Indians, were travelling on the lake during this cold
without experiencing any greater inconvenience than having their faces
frost bitten. The dogs, however, suffered severely, three being
completely lamed by the frost, and all of them becoming much
thinner.[15] These cold days were followed by windy though mild weather,
which brought the rein-deer nearer to the Establishment; and our hunters
killed seven within a day's march. Their reappearance in our
neighbourhood was very gratifying to the whole party, as we were
heartily tired of a fish-diet, and I felt an especial pleasure at being
able to quit the place without the least apprehension of the party being
in want of provision.

The following is a list of the amount of provision we obtained at Fort
Franklin, from the time of Mr. Dease's arrival to the close of January
1827; independent of the supplies of pemmican, &c. for the sea voyage,
which were procured from the Hudson's Bay Company.

Small Fish, Bear Lake Herring, 79,440.--Trout, 3,475.--Pounds of fresh
meat, 24,053.--Dried ribs of Rein Deer, 2,370.--Pounds of pounded deer's
meat, 1,744.--Pounds of fat or tallow, 2,929.--Rein-deer tongues,
1,849.--Beaver, 12.--Partridges, 386.--Hares, 52.

On the 16th of February, Augustus and two Dog-Ribs were sent forward to
be at the track in the line of my intended route. My departure being
fixed for the 20th, the charts, drawings, journals, and provisions were
distributed between the cariole and three sledges of which my train
consisted; and as the dogs were in too weak a condition for drawing
heavy burdens, two Indians were engaged, to accompany us four days, for
the purpose of carrying part of the pemmican. I afterwards delivered
written instructions to Captain Back, directing him to proceed to York
Factory as soon as the ice should break, and from thence, by the
Hudson's Bay ship, to England, taking with him the British party, but to
send the Canadians to Montreal. Augustus and Ooligbuck were to be
forwarded to Churchill, that they might rejoin their relatives.

[Sidenote: Tuesday, 20th.] At ten A.M., I quitted the Fort, accompanied
by five of our men and the two Indians, the latter dragging each sixty
pounds of pemmican on their sledges. Captain Back, the officers, and men
assembled to give us a farewell salute of three hearty cheers, which
served to renew my regret at leaving a society whose members had
endeared themselves to me by unremitting attention to their duties, and
the greatest personal kindness. We crossed the lake expeditiously,
favoured by a north-west gale, and then continued our course to the
southward until sunset. The mode of bivouacking in the winter, as well
as the course of proceeding, having been so fully described in my former
Narrative, and by several other travellers in this country, I need not
repeat them. We usually set forward at the first appearance of light and
marched until sunset, halting an hour to breakfast. The rate of walking
depended on the depth of snow; where the track was good, we made about
two miles in the hour.

On the evening of the second day, we were deserted by our Indian
companions, who, as we afterwards learned, took advantage of the rest of
the party being some distance in advance of them, to turn back to the
nearest wood, and there deposit the pemmican on a stage which they
constructed by the road side. Supposing that they had only halted in
consequence of the gale that was then blowing, we did not send to look
after them before the following morning, when every trace of their path
was covered with the snow drift; and as I considered we might possibly
spend some time in a fruitless search, I thought the wisest course was
to put the party and dogs on a shorter allowance than usual, and proceed
on our journey. Their conduct affords another instance of the little
dependence that ought to be placed on the Indians of this country, when
more than ordinary exertion is required.

[Sidenote: March.] We travelled fifty miles through a swampy level
country, thinly wooded, with a few ridges of hills visible in the
distance, east and west of our course. The country was uneven and better
wooded for the succeeding thirty miles. We next crossed a steep range of
hills elevated about eight hundred feet above the surrounding land, and
then passing over a succession of lower hills and vallies, descended to
the Mackenzie, and following that river for thirty miles, came to Fort
Simpson on the 8th of March; the whole distance being two hundred and
twenty miles, and for the last one hundred and seventy miles, through a
well wooded country. We crossed several rivers which flow into the
Mackenzie, and some considerable lakes which are laid down in the map.
But one solitary family of Indians were seen on the journey, and these
were stationed within a day's march of Fort Simpson. They had inclosed
large tracts of ground with hedges, in which they set snares for hares,
and, being very successful, were living in abundance, and were well
clothed, their dress consisting principally of hare skins.

As soon as Mr. Smith, the chief Factor of the District, was informed of
our approach, and that we were short of provisions, in consequence of
the Indians having made off with the pemmican, he kindly sent a supply
of fresh meat for our use; and on our arrival at the Fort, he gave us
the most friendly reception. Our Indian guide had never been nearer to
Fort Simpson by land, than the Lake of the Elevated Land, and only once
by the course of the Mackenzie, many years before the Fort was built;
and yet if he had not been led aside by falling upon the track leading
to the Indians above-mentioned, he would have come upon the Mackenzie,
directly opposite Fort Simpson. His course he told me was governed by
his recollection of a particular mountain, which he remembered to have
noticed from the Mackenzie, and which we now passed within two miles,
but on his former visit, he did not approach it nearer than eighteen
miles. Its outline must have appeared so different when seen from these
distances, that one can hardly imagine a less observant eye than that of
an Indian recognising any of its distinguishing points, especially as it
was not a detached mountain, but formed one of a line of hills of
considerable extent. Our dogs being completely tired, I remained a week
to recruit their strength. During this interval I had the opportunity of
examining all the accounts which the Hudson's Bay Company had to present
for supplies to the Expedition from this department, and of making
provision for the outward journey of Captain Back and his party.
Arrangements were also made, that the Hudson's Bay Company should take,
at a valuation, the spare stores of the Expedition on its quitting Bear
Lake. I accompanied Mr. Smith to a part of the River of the Mountains,
where a portion of the bank, several acres in extent, had been torn off,
and thrown a considerable distance into the channel of the river. The
disruption took place in the preceding November, some days after the
water had been frozen, and when there was no apparent cause for its
separation. When the water is flowing over the banks, and the earth is
in consequence loosened, the falling of the bank is not unfrequent in
the Mackenzie, though on a much smaller scale than in this instance. I
can only account for the separation of the mass after the ground had
been frozen, by the supposition, that there was some spring of warm
water in its rear, which loosened the soil, and that the pressure of the
ice contributed, with the weight of snow at the top, to its overthrow.

At the time of my visit, an Indian woman committed suicide, by hanging
herself, in a fit of jealousy, at an encampment a short distance from
the Fort. I had thought that suicide was extremely rare among the
Northern Indians; but I subsequently learned that it was not so uncommon
as I had imagined, and I was informed of two instances that occurred in
the year of 1826. The weather was remarkably mild; during my stay
icicles were formed on the southern front of the house, and there were
many other indications of an early spring.

[Sidenote: Thursday, 15th.] On the afternoon of the 15th of March I took
leave of Mr. Smith, who kindly furnished me with his best dog for my
cariole, one of mine having proved unfit for the journey to Slave Lake;
we were also indebted to him for the skin of a mountain goat and a lynx;
and to Mr. M'Pherson for the skins of several smaller animals and birds,
from the neighbourhood of the Rocky Mountains, which they added to our
collection. Having sent back one of my men with the Indian guides to
Bear Lake, we had now only two sledges; but as we were unable to carry
the whole of our lading, Mr. Smith had the goodness to send a sledge and
one of his men to convey a part of the provisions for four days. At the
distance of eight miles we met two men with a cariole and sledge, which
Mr. M'Vicar had sent for my use from Slave Lake; but being well provided
I did not require the services of this party, though we derived great
benefit from their track as we proceeded, and also from some deposits of
provision which they had made on the route.

[Sidenote: Wednesday, 21st.] Following the course of the Mackenzie, we
arrived, on the 21st, at the expansion of the river called the Little
Lake, and there had the pleasure of meeting two Canadians, on their way
to Bear Lake, with a packet of letters from England. We hastened towards
the shore and encamped; and though the night was piercingly cold, I
spent the greatest part of it most agreeably, scanning the contents of
the box by the unsteady light of a blazing fire. After breakfast next
morning I despatched the packet to its destination, under the charge of
M'Leay, who had accompanied me from Bear Lake, and retained one of the
Canadians in his stead. We arrived at Fort Resolution, on the Slave Lake
to breakfast, on the 26th, and I once more had the happiness of
receiving the friendly attentions of Mr. M'Vicar, to whom it will be
remembered by the readers of my last Narrative, that the members of that
Expedition were so greatly indebted for his tender care of them after
their sufferings. Dr. Richardson had quitted this place in the preceding
December, for the purpose of joining Mr. Drummond, the Assistant
Botanist in the Saskatchawan River, and that he might have the benefit
of an earlier spring than in this quarter to collect plants. The
prospect here being completely wintry, I made another halt of eight
days, being desirous of remaining as long as I could, without incurring
the risk of exposure to the thaw on my way to Fort Chipewyan.

I was glad to find that the Chipewyans and Copper Indians were at length
employing dogs to drag their sledges. A superstitious belief that their
own origin was derived from those animals, had for several years past
thrown this laborious and degrading occupation on the poor women, who,
by the change, experienced a most happy relief. It was indeed, highly
gratifying to observe that these Indians no longer beat their wives in
the cruel manner to which they had been formerly accustomed; and that,
in the comparative tenderness with which they now treat the sex, they
have made the first and greatest step to all moral and general

It will be recollected that on receiving, at Bear Lake, a report of the
traces of white people having been seen near the sea-coast, I had
requested that Mr. M'Vicar would collect a party of Indians, and send
them to the spot to convey a letter from me to Captain Parry. Mr.
M'Vicar now informed me that some Indians had left his Fort for the
purpose, under the charge of a Canadian, named Joseph St. Pierre, who
volunteered for the occasion, but the Indians continued with him only
for a short distance beyond the east end of Slave Lake, when they became
weary of their journey, and dropping off one by one, left him alone. St.
Pierre, however, having determined to deliver the letter to Captain
Parry, if possible, persevered for many days in a fruitless search for
the river on the banks of which the marks were reported to have been
seen; even after he had sustained the loss of all his clothes (except
those on his person,) by the grass catching fire when he was asleep; but
at length, being short of food, his shoes worn out, and almost without
covering for his feet, he was compelled to return to the Fort. He was
not at the house at the time of my visit, but I left an order with Mr.
M'Vicar, that he might be rewarded for his zeal and exertions, and
handsomely remunerated for his loss.

[Sidenote: April.] The subsequent journey to the Athabasca Lake occupied
eight days; we arrived at Fort Chipewyan in the afternoon of the 12th of
April. I found Mr. Stewart, the Chief Factor of the Department,
surrounded by a large body of Indians, who quitted the Fort as soon as
they had exchanged their furs, in order to seek their living by fishing
and hunting wild fowl, instead of passing four or five weeks in
indolence about the Establishment, as had been their custom at this
season for many preceding years. This beneficial change of conduct, on
their part, is owing to the Hudson's Bay Company having ceased to bring
spirits into the northern department; and to some other judicious
regulations which the Directors have made respecting the trade with the
natives. The plans now adopted offer supplies of clothes, and of every
necessary, to those Indians who choose to be active in the collection of
furs; and it was pleasing to learn, that the natives in this quarter had
shown their acquiescence in these measures by increased exertion during
the preceding winter. Some other very wholesome regulations have been
introduced by the Company; amongst others, the Sabbath is ordered to be
properly observed, and Divine Service to be read at every post. They
have also directed, where the soil will allow, a portion of ground to be
cultivated for the growth of culinary vegetables at each of their
establishments, and I witnessed the good effects of this order, even at
this advanced post, where the ground is rocky; the tables of the
officers being supplied daily, and those of the men frequently, with
potatoes and barley. Such luxuries were very rarely found beyond
Cumberland House, on the route that we travelled during my former

Feeling a deep interest in the welfare of this country, in which I have
spent a large portion of the last seven years, I have much pleasure in
recording these improvements; and in stating my conviction, that the
benevolent wishes of the Directors, respecting the inhabitants of their
territories, will be followed up with corresponding energy by the
resident Governor, the chief factors, and the traders of the Company.

I mentioned in my former Narrative, that the Northern Indians had
cherished a belief for some years, that a great change was about to take
place in the natural order of things, and that among other advantages
arising from it, their own condition of life was to be materially
bettered. This story, I was now informed by Mr. Stewart, originated with
a woman, whose history appears to me deserving of a short notice. While
living at the N.W. Company's Post, on the Columbia River, as the wife of
one of the Canadian servants, she formed a sudden resolution of becoming
a warrior; and throwing aside her female dress, she clothed herself in a
suitable manner. Having procured a gun, a bow and arrows, and a horse,
she sallied forth to join a party of her countrymen then going to war;
and, in her first essay, displayed so much courage as to attract general
regard, which was so much heightened by her subsequent feats of bravery,
that many young men put themselves under her command. Their example was
soon generally followed, and, at length she became the principal leader
of the tribe, under the designation of the "Manlike Woman." Being
young, and of a delicate frame, her followers attributed her exploits to
the possession of supernatural power, and, therefore, received whatever
she said with implicit faith. To maintain her influence during peace,
the lady thought proper to invent the above-mentioned prediction, which
was quickly spread through the whole northern district. At a later
period of her life, our heroine undertook to convey a packet of
importance from the Company's Post on the Columbia to that in New
Caledonia, through a tract of country which had not, at that time, been
passed by the traders, and which was known to be infested by several
hostile tribes. She chose for her companion another woman, whom she
passed off as her wife. They were attacked by a party of Indians, and
though the Manlike Woman received a wound in the breast, she
accomplished her object, and returned to the Columbia with answers to
the letters. When last seen by the traders, she had collected volunteers
for another war excursion, in which she received a mortal wound. The
faith of the Indians was shaken by her death, and soon afterwards the
whole of the story she had invented fell into discredit.

In the Athabasca department, which includes Slave Lake and Peace River,
as well as in the more southern districts, the autumn of 1826, and the
following winter, were unusually mild. Near the Saskatchawan River,
there was so little snow before the middle of January, that the sledges
could not be used; but at Bear Lake, and throughout the Mackenzie, the
weather was severe during the same periods, and the snow came early;
hence it would appear, that even in this climate the meteorological
register kept at any one place, affords no index from whence we can
judge of the season at another. In my journey from Slave Lake to the
Athabasca we had a snow-storm for three days, which we found did not
extend beyond sixty miles; and on our arrival at Fort Chipewyan, we
learned there had not been a single shower during these days. The only
coinciding circumstance, at the different stations this year, was the
prevalence of north-east winds.

[Sidenote: Sunday, 15th.] We welcomed the appearance of two of the
large-sized swans on the 15th April, as the harbingers of spring; the
geese followed on the 20th; the robins came on the 7th May; the house
martins appeared on the 12th, and in the course of a week were busily
employed repairing their nests; and the barn or forked-tail swallows
arrived on the 20th; and on the same day, the small-sized swans were
seen, which the traders consider the latest of the migratory birds.

[Sidenote: May, 20th.] The only symptoms of reviving vegetation at this
period, were a few anemones in flower, and the bursting of some catkins
of willows; but we learned by an arrival of a boat from the Peace River
that, even so early as the 14th, the trees were in full foliage at not
more than a day's journey from the lake. The barley was sown at Fort
Chipewyan on the 15th May, potatoes on the 21st, and the garden seeds on
the 22d, which were expected to be ready for use by the close of the
following September. As an experiment, whether the barley would yield a
better crop by remaining in the ground through the winter, some had been
sown in the preceding autumn, but only a few of the plants appeared at
the close of this month, and the crop did not promise favourably.

Some canoes having arrived on the 26th of May with the furs from Slave
Lake, the last of the Company's brigade of boats was despatched to York
Factory. Augustus, who was desirous of seeing Dr. Richardson again
before his departure from the country, and two other men of the
Expedition, embarked in them. I embarked on the 31st May in the
Company's light canoe with Mr. Stewart and Mr. M'Vicar, having
previously made the necessary arrangements for the passage of Captain
Back and his party. We reached Cumberland House on the 18th June, where
I had the happiness of meeting Dr. Richardson after a separation of
eleven months. I learned from him that during our absence in the north,
Mr. Drummond the Assistant Botanist had been indefatigable in collecting
specimens of Natural History, having been sent for that purpose to the
Rocky Mountains at the head of the Athabasca River; in the course of
which service, he had been exposed to very great privations. To his
perseverance and industry, science is indebted for the knowledge of
several new and many rare quadrupeds, birds, and plants. That the reader
may form some notion of the labour he sustained, and the zeal he
displayed in making his very valuable and highly interesting
collections, and to point out to the naturalist, the districts from
whence they were brought, I subjoin his brief account of his journey in
his own words.

[Sidenote: 1825, June.] "I remained at Cumberland House about six weeks
after the departure of Captain Back and Mr. Kendall, in June, 1825, when
the Company's boats with the brigade of traders for the Columbia,
arriving from York Factory, I accompanied them up the Saskatchawan River
two hundred and sixty miles to Carlton House. The unsettled state of the
Indians in that neighbourhood rendering excursions over the plains very
unsafe, I determined on proceeding with the brigade as far as the Rocky
Mountains. We left Carlton House on the 1st of September, and reached
Edmonton, which is about four hundred miles distant on the 20th of the
same month. Sandy plains extend without material alteration the whole
way, and there is, consequently, little variety in the vegetation;
indeed, I did not find a single plant that I had not seen within ten
miles of Carlton House, although I had an opportunity of examining the
country carefully, having performed the greater part of the journey on
foot. After a halt of two days at Edmonton, we continued our route one
hundred miles farther to Fort Assinaboyn on the Red Deer River, one of
the branches of the Athapescow. This part of the journey was performed
with horses through a swampy and thickly wooded country, and the path
was so bad, that it was necessary to reduce the luggage as much as
possible. I therefore took with me only one bale of paper for drying
plants, a few shirts, and a blanket; Mr. M'Millan, one of the Company's
chief traders, who had charge of the brigade, kindly undertaking to
forward the rest of my baggage in the ensuing spring. [Sidenote:
October, 2d.] We left Fort Assinaboyn to proceed up the Red Deer River
to the Mountains, on the 2d of October; but the Canoe appointed for this
service being very much lumbered, it was necessary that some of the
party should travel by land, and of that number, I volunteered to be
one. A heavy fall of snow, on the third day after setting out, rendered
the march very fatiguing, and the country being thickly wooded and very
swampy, our horses were rendered useless before we had travelled half
the distance."

"We reached the mountains on the 14th, and I continued to accompany the
brigade, for fifty miles of the Portage-road, to the Columbia, when we
met a hunter whom Mr. M'Millan hired to supply me with food during the
winter. The same gentleman having furnished me with horses and a man to
take care of them, I set out with the hunter and his family towards the
Smoking River, one of the eastern branches of the Peace River, on which
we intended to winter. [Sidenote: December.] My guide, however, loitered
so much on the way, that the snow became too deep to admit of our
proceeding to our destination, and we were under the necessity of
leaving the Mountains altogether, and taking up our winter-quarters
about the end of December, on the Baptiste, a stream which falls into
the Red Deer River. During the journey, I collected a few specimens of
the birds that pass the winter in the country, and which belong
principally to the genera _tetrao_ and _strix_. I also obtained a few
mosses, and on Christmas day, I had the pleasure of finding a very
minute _gymnostomum_, hitherto undescribed."

"In the winter, I felt the inconvenience of the want of my tent, the
only shelter I had from the inclemency of the weather being a hut built
of the branches of trees. Soon after reaching our wintering ground,
provisions became very scarce, and the hunter and his family went off in
quest of animals, taking with them the man who had charge of my horses
to bring me a supply as soon as they could procure it. I remained alone
for the rest of the winter, except when my man occasionally visited me
with meat; and I found the time hang very heavy, as I had no books, and
nothing could be done in the way of collecting specimens of Natural
History. I took however, a walk every day in the woods to give me some
practice in the use of snow shoes. The winter was very severe, and much
snow fell until the end of March, when it averaged six feet in depth; in
consequence of this, I lost one of my horses, and the two remaining ones
became exceedingly poor. The hunter was still more unfortunate, ten of
his young colts having died."

[Sidenote: April 1826.] "In the beginning of April, 1826, setting out
for the Columbia Portage road, I reached it after a fatiguing march on
the sixth day, and two days afterwards, had the pleasure of meeting Mr.
M'Millan, who brought me letters from Dr. Richardson, informing me of
the welfare of the Expedition; and he also placed me in comparatively
comfortable circumstances by bringing my tent, a little tea and sugar,
and some more paper. [Sidenote: May, 6th.] I remained on the Portage
preparing specimens of birds until the 6th of May, when the brigade from
the Columbia arrived. On that day the _Anemone cuneifolia_, and
_Ludoviciana_ and _Saxifraga oppositifolia_, began to flower in
favourable situations. My hunter, who had, in the mean time, returned to
our late wintering ground, now sent me word that he had changed his
mind, and would not accompany me into the Mountains, as he had engaged
to do. His fickleness deranged my plans, and I had no alternative but to
remain with the man who had charge of the horses used on the Columbia
Portage, and botanize in that neighbourhood."

[Sidenote: August.] "On the 10th of August, I set out with another
hunter, upon whom I had prevailed to conduct me to the Smoking River,
although, being disappointed in a supply of ammunition, we were badly
provided. We travelled for several days without meeting with any
animals, and I shared the little dried provision which I had with the
hunter's family. On the 15th we killed a Mountain sheep, which was
quickly devoured, there not being the smallest apprehension at the time
that famine would overtake us--day after day, however, passed away
without a single head of game of any description being seen, and the
children began to complain loudly; but the hunter's wife, a young
half-breed woman, bore the abstinence with indifference, although she
had two infant twins at the breast. On the 21st, we found two young
porcupines, which were shared amongst the party, and two or three days
afterwards, a few fine trout were caught. We arrived in the Smoking
River on the 5th of September, where the hunter killed two sheep, and a
period was put to our abstinence, for before the sheep were eaten, he
shot several buffaloes."

[Sidenote: September.] "We proceeded along the Mountains until the 24th
of September, and had reached the head waters of the Peace River, when a
heavy fall of snow stopped my collecting plants for that season. I was,
however, very desirous of crossing the Mountains to obtain some
knowledge of the vegetation on the Columbia River, and, accordingly, I
commenced drying provisions to enable me to accompany the Columbia
brigade, when it arrived from Hudson's Bay. [Sidenote: October.] I
reached the Portage on the 9th of October, and on the 10th the brigade
arrived, and I received letters from Captain Franklin, instructing me to
descend in the spring of 1827, time enough to rejoin the Expedition on
its way to York Factory. It was, therefore, necessary that I should
speedily commence my return, and having gone with the brigade merely to
the west-end of the Portage, I came back again on the 1st of November.
The snow covered the ground too deeply to permit me to add much to my
collections in this hasty trip over the Mountains, but it was impossible
to avoid remarking the great superiority of climate on the western side
of that lofty range. From the instant the descent toward the Pacific
commences, there is a visible improvement in the growth of timber, and
the variety of forest trees greatly increases. The few mosses that I
gleaned in the excursion were so fine, that I could not but deeply
regret that I was unable to pass a season or two in that interesting

"Having packed up all my specimens, I embarked on the Red Deer River,
with Mr. M'Donald, one of the Company's officers, who was returning from
a long residence on the Columbia with his family, and continued to
descend the stream until we were set fast by the frost. I then left Mr.
M'Donald in the charge of the baggage, and, proceeding on foot to Fort
Assinaboyn, for the purpose of procuring horses, I reached it on the
fifth day. It was several days before the horses could be obtained, and
they were several more in travelling from the Fort to Mr. M'Donald,
during which time that gentleman and his family were very short of
provisions. The relief, however, arrived opportunely, and they reached
the Fort in safety. After resting a few days, I set out for Edmonton,
where I remained for some months."

[Sidenote: March.] "The winter express brought me a letter from Dr.
Richardson, requesting me to join him at Carlton House in April, and I
accordingly set out for that place on snow shoes, on the 17th of March,
taking with me single specimens of all the plants gathered on the
Mountains, lest any accident should happen to the duplicates which were
to come by canoe in the spring. [Sidenote: April.] Two men with a sledge
drawn by dogs accompanied me, but the Indian inhabitants of the plains
being very hostile, we made a large circuit to avoid them, and did not
reach Carlton House before the 5th of April. We suffered much from
snow-blindness on the march, the dogs failed from want of food, we had
to carry the baggage on our backs, and had nothing to eat for seven
days. These sufferings were, however, soon forgotten in the kind welcome
I received from Dr. Richardson, and Mr. Prudens, the Company's Chief
Trader at Carlton, and the hospitable entertainment and good fare of the
latter gentleman's table enabled me speedily to recruit my lost

"My collections on the Mountains amounted to about fifteen hundred
species of plants, one hundred and fifty birds, fifty quadrupeds, and a
considerable number of insects."

[Sidenote: June.] There being yet two months in which Mr. Drummond might
continue his researches, before Captain Back could arrive at Cumberland
House, Dr. Richardson had left him on the Saskatchawan River.

[Sidenote: 18th.] After remaining part of a day at Cumberland House, we
proceeded on our journey, Dr. Richardson following in one of the
Company's boats. I reached Norway House on the 24th of June, and Dr.
Richardson on the third day after. Mr. Simpson, the resident Governor of
the Company, was absent on urgent business at York Factory; but,
previous to his departure, he had provided a canoe, and some additional
men, with every other requisite for my journey. We found here Mr.
Douglass, who had been sent to the Columbia River by the Horticultural
Society, as a Collector of Natural History, and who had recently crossed
the Rocky Mountains, for the purpose of proceeding to England from
Hudson's Bay. This gentleman being desirous of occupying himself
previous to the arrival of the ship, in making an addition to his
collection from the neighbourhood of the Red River Colony, I felt happy
in being able to give him a conveyance, in the canoe with Dr. Richardson
and myself, through Lake Winipeg, to Fort Alexander, where he met
another canoe that was going to the Colony.

On quitting Norway House we took leave of our worthy companion,
Augustus, who was to wait there until Captain Back should arrive. The
tears which he shed at our parting, so unusual in those uncultivated
tribes, showed the strength of his feelings, and I have no doubt, they
proceeded from a sincere affection; an affection which, I can venture to
say, was mutually felt by every individual. With great regret he learned
that there was no immediate prospect of our again meeting, and he
expressed a very strong desire to be informed, if another Expedition
should be sent to any of the northern parts of America, whether by sea
or land; and repeatedly assured me, that he and Ooligbuck would be ready
at any time to quit their families and their country, to accompany any
of their present officers, wherever the Expedition might be ordered.[16]

We reached Fort Alexander on the 8th of July, and Mr. Douglass having
left us, I was enabled to offer a passage, as far as Montreal, to
Monsieur Picard, one of the clergymen attached to the Roman Catholic
Mission at the Red River Colony. [Sidenote: August.] We arrived at
Lachine, near Montreal, on the 18th of August, and were hospitably
entertained by Mr. James Keith, Chief Factor, and Agent of the Hudson's
Bay Company, with whom we remained five days, to settle the accounts of
the Expedition. After I had paid my respects to his Excellency, the Earl
of Dalhousie, Governor in Chief of Canada, we proceeded to New York by
the way of Lake Champlain. In our passage through the United States, we
received the same kind attentions we had before experienced; our
personal baggage, and the collections of Natural History, were forwarded
by the officers of the customs without examination, and every assistance
we required was promptly rendered.

[Sidenote: September.] Having embarked, in the packet ship, on the 1st
of September, we reached Liverpool on the 26th, after an absence of two
years, seven months and a half. Captain Back, Lieutenant Kendall, and
Mr. Drummond, with the rest of the British party, arrived at Portsmouth
on the 10th of October. I then received the distressing intelligence of
the death of two excellent men, on their homeward passage from Bear Lake
to York Factory; Archibald Stewart, who died from consumption; and
Gustavus Aird, who was drowned in consequence of his jumping out of the
boat, in his exertions to save her, when she was hurrying down the
Pelican Fall, in Slave River. Until this account reached me, I had
cherished the hope that our Expedition would have terminated without my
having to record a single casualty. The loss of these men was the more
deeply felt by me, from their uniform, steady, obedient, and meritorious
conduct, which I had repeated opportunities of observing and admiring,
while they were my companions in the Lion, during the voyage along the

I must be allowed to add, that in this long homeward journey, in which
there were no fresh discoveries to be made, nor any of those excitements
that relieve the monotony of constant labour, and in which they had to
contend with a succession of dangerous rapids, there was the same
masterly skill and exemplary conduct evinced by Captain Back and
Lieutenant Kendall; and the same patient and ready obedience by the
men[17], which had marked their whole conduct, while more immediately
under my own observation.

On my arrival in London, on the 29th of September, accompanied by Dr.
Richardson, I had the honour of laying the charts and drawings before
his Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral, and Mr. Secretary Huskisson;
and, from the latter, I received directions to publish an account of our

       *       *       *       *       *

In concluding this Narrative, I feel it incumbent on me to offer a few
remarks on the subject of a _North-West Passage_, which, though it has
not been the immediate object of the enterprises in which I have been
engaged, is yet so intimately connected with them, as to have naturally
excited in my mind, a strong and permanent interest. It is scarcely
necessary to remark, that the opinion I ventured to express in my former
work, as to the practicability of the passage[18], has been considerably
strengthened by the information obtained during the present Expedition.
The Northern Coast of America has now been actually surveyed from the
meridian of 109 degrees to 149-1/2 degrees west; and again by the
exertions of Captain Beechey, in His Majesty's ship the Blossom, from
Icy Cape eastward to about 156 degrees west, leaving not more than fifty
leagues of unsurveyed coast, between Point Turnagain and Icy Cape.
Further, the delineation of the west side of Melville Peninsula, in the
chart of Captain Parry's Second Voyage, conjoined with information which
we obtained from the Northern Indians, fairly warrants the conclusion,
that the coast preserves an easterly direction from Point Turnagain
towards Repulse Bay; and that, in all probability, there are no
insurmountable obstacles between this part of the Polar Sea and the
extensive openings into the Atlantic, through Prince Regent Inlet and
the Strait of the Fury and Hecla.

Whenever it may be considered desirable to complete the delineation of
the coast of the American Continent, I conceive that another attempt
should be made to connect Point Turnagain with the important discoveries
of Captain Parry, by renewing the Expedition which was undertaken by
Captain Lyon, and which, but for the boisterous weather that disabled
the Griper, must have long since repaid his well known zeal and
enterprize with discoveries of very great interest.

In considering the best means of effecting the North-West Passage in a
ship, it has hitherto been impossible not to assent to the opinion so
judiciously formed, and so convincingly stated, by Captain Parry, that
the attempt should be made from the Atlantic rather than by Behring's
Straits, because the enterprise is then commenced after a voyage of
short duration, subject to comparatively few vicissitudes of climate,
and with the equipments thoroughly effective. But important as these
advantages are, they may, perhaps, be more than balanced by some
circumstances which have been brought to light by our Expedition. The
prevalence of north-west winds during the season that the ice is in the
most favourable state for navigation, would greatly facilitate the
voyage of a ship to the eastward, whilst it would be equally adverse to
her progress in the opposite direction. It is also well known, that the
coast westward of the Mackenzie is almost unapproachable by ships, and
it would, therefore, be very desirable to get over that part of the
voyage in the first season. Though we did not observe any such easterly
current as was found by Captain Parry in the Fury and Hecla Strait, as
well as by Captain Kotzebue, on his voyage through Behring's Straits;
yet this may have arisen from our having been confined to the navigation
of the flats close to the shore; but if such a current does exist
throughout the Polar Sea, it is evident that it would materially assist
a ship commencing the undertaking from the Pacific, and keeping in the
deep water, which would, no doubt, be found at a moderate distance from
the shore.

The closeness and quantity of the ice in the Polar Seas vary much in
different years; but, should it be in the same state that we found it, I
would not recommend a ship's leaving Icy Cape earlier than the middle of
August, for after that period the ice was not only broken up within the
sphere of our vision, but a heavy swell rolling from the northward,
indicated a sea unsheltered by islands, and not much encumbered by ice.
By quitting Icy Cape at the time specified, I should confidently hope to
reach a secure wintering place to the eastward of Cape Bathurst, in the
direct route to the Dolphin and Union Straits, through which I should
proceed.[19] If either, or both, of the plans which I have suggested be
adopted, it would add to the confidence and safety of those who
undertake them, if one or two depôts of provisions were established in
places of ready access, through the medium of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Arctic discovery has been fostered principally by Great Britain; and it
is a subject of just pride that it has been prosecuted by her from
motives as disinterested as they are enlightened; not from any prospect
of immediate benefit to herself, but from a steady view to the
acquirement of useful knowledge, and the extension of the bounds of
science. Each succeeding attempt has added a step towards the completion
of northern geography; and the contributions to natural history and
science have excited a general interest throughout the civilized world.
It is, moreover, pleasing to reflect that the loss of life which has
occurred in the prosecution of these discoveries does not exceed the
average number of deaths in the same population at home under
circumstances the most favourable. And it is sincerely to be hoped that
Great Britain will not relax her efforts until the question of a
north-west passage has been satisfactorily set at rest, or at least
until those portions of the northern shores of America, which are yet
unknown, be laid down in our maps; and which with the exception of a
small space on the Asiatic continent eastward of Shelatskoi Noss, are
the only intervals wanting to complete the outline of Europe, Asia, and


_Summary of the Distances travelled by the Expedition, from its Landing
in America, until its Embarkation._

                                                        _Statute Miles._
  Distance travelled in 1825, as given in page 60                  5,803
  Dr. Richardson and Mr. Kendall's excursion on the ice to
  the eastern parts of Bear Lake, in the Spring of 1826              359
  Distance travelled by the Western Party in 1826
  (given in p. 235.)                                               2,048
  Distance travelled by the Eastern Party in 1826, after
  its separation from the Western Party                            1,455
  Return from Fort Franklin to New York                            4,000
  Captain Back and Lieutenant Kendall's journey to York
  Factory, after quitting Captain Franklin's route                   520
  Distance travelled by the Expedition in going and returning,
  including the excursions of detached parties                    14,185
  Number of miles surveyed and laid down in the maps, but not
  all included under the head of discoveries, because the
  routes have been traversed by Traders                            5,000


[15] Notwithstanding the severity of the weather, we had great
difficulty in causing these animals to depart from their usual custom of
sleeping in the snow, and in inducing them to occupy the warm houses
which were built for them.

[16] I have pleasure in mentioning that, by permission of Government,
the pay which was due to Augustus and Ooligbuck, has been delivered to
the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Company, who have undertaken to
distribute it to them annually, in the way suited to their wants.

[17] I am happy to add, that those men who had been in His Majesty's
service before the present Expedition, have been rewarded by promotion.

[18] See page 388.

[19] See Dr. Richardson's opinion in favour of this route, p. 218.



[_Read before the Geological Society._]

A very limited portion of my time could be allotted to geological
inquiries. For eight months in the year the ground in the northern parts
of America is covered with snow; and during the short summer, the
prosecution of the main object of the expedition rendered the slightest
delay in our journey unadvisable. The few hours that could be stolen
from the necessary halts, for rest and refreshment, were principally
occupied in the collection of objects for the illustration of botany
and zoology. It is evident, that an account of the rock formations,
drawn up under such circumstances, cannot be otherwise than very
imperfect; but I have been led to publish it from the belief that, in
the absence of more precise information, even the slightest notice of
the rocks of the extreme northern parts of the American continent would
be useful to those employed in developing the structure of the crust of
the earth; the more especially, as it is not probable that the same
tract of country will soon be trod by an expert geologist. The specimens
of rocks I obtained have been deposited in the Museum of the Geological
Society, and are referred to in the ensuing pages by the numbers affixed
to them. The notices are arranged nearly in the order of the route of
the expedition, commencing with Great Bear Lake, where our winter
quarters were situated.


Great Bear Lake is an extensive sheet of water, of a very irregular
shape, being formed by the union of five arms or bays in a common
centre. The greatest diameter of the lake, measuring about one hundred
and fifty geographical miles, runs from the bottom of Dease Bay, which
receives the principal feeding stream, to the bottom of Keith Bay, from
whence the Bear Lake River issues, and has a direction from N.E. to S.W.
The transverse diameter has a direction from N.W. by W. to S.E. by E.,
through Smith and M'Tavish Bays, and is upwards of one hundred and
twenty miles in length. M'Vicar Bay, the fifth arm of the lake, is
narrower than the others, and being a little curved at its mouth,
appears less connected with the main body of water. The light
bluish-coloured water of Great Bear Lake is every where transparent, and
is particularly clear near some primitive mountains, which exist in
M'Tavish Bay. A piece of white rag, let down there, did not disappear
until it descended fifteen fathoms. The depth of water, in the centre of
the lake was not ascertained; but it is known to be very considerable.
Near the shore, in M'Tavish Bay, forty-five fathoms of line did not
reach the bottom. Owing to the barometers supplied to the expedition
having been broken in an early period of its progress, the height of the
surface of Bear Lake above the Arctic Sea could not be ascertained; but
it is, probably, short of two hundred feet.[20] If this supposition
comes near the truth, the bottom of M'Tavish Bay is below the level of
the sea, and towards the centre of the basin of the lake the depression
is probably still greater. The great lakes, Huron, Michigan, and
Superior, which discharge their waters into the St. Lawrence, are
reported to sink three hundred feet below the level of the ocean; and
the Lake of the Mountains, or Chipewyan Lake and Great Slave Lake,[21]
through which the Mackenzie flows, have, it is highly probable, some
portions of their beds below the sea level.

In the autumn of 1825, I coasted the western and northern shores of the
Great Bear Lake; and in the spring of 1826, travelled on the ice along
its eastern and southern arms, leaving no part of its shores unexamined
on these two surveys, except the north side of M'Tavish Bay. I did not,
however, on these occasions, make excursions inland.


At the south-east corner of M'Tavish Bay, primitive rocks form a hilly
range which, at the distance of a mile or two from the shore, attains
an elevation of eight hundred or one thousand feet. The steep face of
the range forms the shore of the lake for fifteen miles, and perhaps
further, on a direction from N.W. by W. to S.E. by E., and is prolonged
on the latter bearing, at the back of the lower country lying towards
Point Leith. The general form of the hills is obtuse-conical, in some
instances approaching to dome-shaped. None of them rise much above the
others, and the vallies between them are seldom wide or deep. At a
distance, some of the masses of rock appear round-backed; and in certain
points of view, the crest of the ridge seems to consist of mammillary
peaks. On a nearer approach, the individual hills are found to be
composed of rounded eminences, having summits, generally, of an oblong
form, and consisting of smooth, naked rock. Small mural precipices are
frequent, and many detached blocks of stone lie beneath them. Between
the eminences, there are level spots destitute of vegetation, and
covered with small stones or gravel not much worn. A considerable
portion of the gravel is granite or quartz, the debris, perhaps, of the
rocks, of which the hills consist; it contains also some pieces of
slate, and not a few of quartzose sandstone, neither of which I observed
_in situ_. In the course of a walk of two miles over these hills, the
only rock I observed was granite, verging in a few places towards
gneiss, and generally whitish, with black mica. Sometimes the felspar is
brownish-red, and the rock not unfrequently contains disseminated
augite? The weathered surface of the stone was every where of a
brick-red colour. In many spots the rocks split into such thin slaty
looking tables that they have the appearance of being stratified. The
slaty masses are, generally, vertical; but in one hill they were
observed dipping 80 degrees to the south-east. The direction of the
tabular masses is mostly across the oblong summits of the hills. The
appearances of stratification were not observed to extend through a
whole hill, and seemed, in fact, to be confined to the more decomposable
granites; but the naked rocks are every where traversed by smooth
fissures. The blocks, which lie under the cliffs, have sometimes a
tabular form, but more generally come nearer to a cube or rhomboid, and
present one or two very even faces. Few veins were noticed. In the more
sheltered vallies, some clumps of white or black spruce trees occur; but
the hills are barren.

The point of land which lies between M'Tavish and M'Vicar Bays has low
shores; but five or six miles inland, an even-backed ridge rises
gradually to the height of three or four hundred feet, and abuts
obliquely against the primitive hills. I did not visit this ridge, and
the snow prevented me from seeing any flat beds of rocks, if such exist
on the shore. On one point, however, near the north end of Dease Bay,
many large angular blocks of whitish dolomite were piled up, and I have
little doubt of the rock existing _in situ_ in that immediate

M'Tavish Bay is forty miles long, and twenty wide, and its depth of
water, near the eastern shore, exceeds forty-five fathoms. Some shoals
of boulders skirt the coast near Point Leith. M'Vicar Bay is about
seventy miles long, and from eight to twelve wide; and at the "fishery,"
in a narrow part, not far from its bottom, its depth of water, two miles
from the shore, is twelve fathoms. Dease Bay is equal to M'Tavish Bay in
extent, and opens to the S.W. into the body of the lake. The high lands
at the N.E. end, or bottom of this bay, have an even outline, and appear
to attain an elevation of eight or nine hundred feet, at the distance of
six or seven miles from the shore. Near its east side lie the lofty
islands of Narrakazzæ which rise seven hundred feet above the lake.
Dease River, the principal feeder of the lake, falls into the bottom of
Dease Bay. It is two hundred yards wide, and from one to three fathoms
deep near its mouth. A few miles up this river a formation of soft red
sandstone occurs, which will be noticed hereafter.


[Sidenote: 228*] At the mouth of Dease river there are hills five or six
hundred feet high, composed principally, or entirely, of dolomite in
horizontal strata. Some of the beds consist of a thick-slaty,
fine-grained dolomite, containing dispersed scales of mica, which is
most abundant on the surfaces of the slates. [Sidenote: 228] Most of the
beds, however, consist of a thin-slaty, dull, purplish dolomite,
traversed by veins of calc-spar. The structure of this rock is compact,
approaching to fine granular; and some of the beds have what quarry-men
term "clay-facings," that is, they are encrusted with a thin film of
indurated clay.

Greenstone slate? occurs in horizontal beds on the north shore, eight or
nine miles to the westward of Dease River: and at Limestone Point,[22]
about twenty miles from the river, a small range of hills terminates on
the borders of the lake, in shelving, broken cliffs, about two hundred
feet high. These cliffs consist chiefly of nearly compact light-coloured
dolomite, interstratified with greenstone, and a brownish-red limestone,
such as occurs in the hills at the mouth of the Dease River. In contact
with the greenstone, there is a bed of talcose limestone, having a
curved, slaty structure; most of the beds of dolomite are hard, and pass
into chert.


The north shore of Bear Lake is low, and is skirted by many shoals,
formed by boulders of limestone. No rocks, _in situ_, are exposed
between Limestone Point and the Scented Grass Hill, a remarkable
promontory, which separates Smith and Keith bays. Its height above the
lake is betwixt eight and nine hundred feet, and in form and altitude it
corresponds with the Great Bear Mountain, which, lying opposite to it,
separates M'Vicar and Keith bays. I did not ascend either of these
hills; but cliffs, corresponding in character to those of the aluminous
shale-banks at Whitby, flank their bases; and the same formation
probably extends along the north shore of Keith Bay, and some way down
Bear Lake River. The ground skirting the Scented Grass and Great Bear
Mountains is much broken, and consists of small, rounded and steep
eminences, separated by narrow vallies and small lakes. Several shelving
cliffs, about one hundred feet high, and some miles in extent are washed
by Bear Lake. [Sidenote: 251] They consist of slate-clay and shale, more
or less bituminous, and the dip of the strata is in several places to
the N.W. by N. [Sidenotes: 244, 246, 247] At the foot of the Scented
Grass Hill a rivulet has made a section to the depth of one hundred
feet, and here the shaly beds are interstratified with thin layers of
blackish-brown, earthy-looking swinestone, containing selenite and
pyrites. Globular concretions of the same stone, and of a poor clay
iron-stone, also occur in beds in the shale. [Sidenotes: 249, 250, 248]
The surfaces of the slates were covered with an efflorescence of alum
and sulphur. Many crystals of sulphate of iron lie at the bottom of the
cliff, and several layers of plumose alum, half an inch thick, occur in
the strata. At the base of Great Bear Mountain, the bituminous shale is
interstratified with slate-clay, and I found imbedded in the former a
single piece of brown coal, in which the fibrous structure of wood is
apparent. Sections of slate-clay banks, and more rarely of bituminous
shale, occur in several places on the north shore of Keith Bay. In one
place, about seven or eight miles from Bear Lake River, a bed of plastic
and bituminous clay occurs, and in another, near Fort Franklin, there is
a deposit of an earthy coal, which possesses the characters of _black

It is probable that a magnesian limestone underlies this formation of
bituminous shale. I have already mentioned the beds of dolomite, which
are exposed on the north side of Bear Lake, and similar beds occur to
the southward of the Great Bear Mountain, forming cliffs on the shores
of M'Vicar Bay. At Manito Point, on the west side of the isthmus that
connects Great Bear Mountain to the main shore, a low ridge of limestone
rocks terminates on the borders of the lake, forming some bold cliffs
and a remarkable cave. The stone has a gray colour and bituminous smell,
and contains much interspersed calc-spar. The strata dip to the


Fort Franklin stands on the northern shore of Keith Bay, about four
miles from Bear Lake River, upon a small terrace, which is elevated
twenty-five or thirty feet above the lake. The bay, contracting towards
the river, is about four miles wide opposite to the fort, and the depth
of water there does not exceed four fathoms. Farther from the river, the
east and west shores of Keith Bay recede to the distance of thirty miles
from each other, and the depth of water in the centre of the channel
greatly increases. The bottom of this bay, wherever it could be
distinguished, was observed to be sandy, and thickly strewed with round
boulders[23] of various primitive rocks of large size, which were
particularly abundant near the river, and with large square blocks of
limestone, most plentiful near the cape formed by the Scented Grass
Hill. In the small bay between the fort and the river, shoals are formed
by accumulations of boulders, and the shores are thickly strewed with
them. [Sidenote: 261 to 308] Many of these travelled blocks consist of
flesh-red granite, having only a small quantity of black mica, exactly
resembling the primitive rocks seen in M'Tavish Bay, but noticed no
where else near the lake. Boulders of the same description occur in
shoals at the mouth of M'Tavish Bay, and on the shores which skirt the
Scented Grass Hill which faces that bay, to all which places they may
have been brought from the parent rock, by a current flowing from the
east. On the northern shore of Bear Lake the great majority of the
boulders consists of limestone. [Sidenote: 266 282] Two varieties of
granite, which occur amongst the boulders, were recognised as being
abundant rocks at Fort Enterprise, which is situated about one hundred
and seventy miles south-east from M'Tavish Bay. Some of the boulders
were of a peculiar-looking porphyry exactly resembling that which occurs
in the height of land betwixt the Coppermine River and Dease Bay;
several of sandstone and conglomerate, which probably came from the same
quarter; of greenstone, perhaps, from the Copper Mountains, and of
limestone from the northern shores of the lake, and from the isthmus of
the Great Bear Mountain; all these places lying to the eastward or

The soil in the immediate vicinity of Fort Franklin is sandy, or
gravelly, and covers, to the depth of one or two feet, a bed of clay of
unknown thickness. Gravel taken from a spot thirty feet above the
present high-water level of the lake, and out of the reach of any stream
or torrent, contained rounded pebbles of granite, of greenstone, of
quartz rock, of lydian stone, and of various sandstones, of which some
were spotted, and others presented zones of different colours. These
sandstones form a considerable portion of the gravel.[24]

The clay which lies under the soil is of a bluish-gray colour, and is
plastic but not very tenacious. It is more or less mixed with gravel.
During the greater part of the year it is firmly frozen; the thaw in the
two seasons we remained there never penetrating more than twenty-one
inches from the surface of the earth. In spots where the sandy soil is
wanting, the clay is covered a foot deep, or more, by mosses, mostly
_bryum palustre_, and some marsh _hypna_ and _dicrana_, in a living
state, for they seem to be converted very slowly into peat in this

The ground rises gradually behind the fort, until it attains, at the
distance of half a mile from the lake, the height of two hundred feet,
forming, when viewed from the southward, an even ridge, running nearly
east and west--which ridge is, in fact, the high bank of the lake, as it
corresponds in height with the summit level of the banks of Bear Lake
River, and of the southern shore of Keith Bay. The country extending to
the northward, from the top of the bank, is nearly level, or has a very
gentle ascent for about five miles, when a more abrupt ridge rises to
perhaps three hundred or four hundred feet above the lake. The view from
the summit of this second eminence is very extensive, the whole country
as far as the eye can reach appearing to be a level, from which several
narrow precipitous ridges of limestone arise. But, although the country
around these ridges appears from a distance to be level, or very
slightly undulated, yet it abounds in small eminences and steep-sided
vallies of various shapes, some being rounded and basin-shaped, others
long and narrow. Lakes and swamps are here so numerous, that the
country, for at least sixty miles to the northward, is impassable in
summer, even to the natives. There are many mounds of sand and gravel,
and fragments of sandstone are frequent; but having travelled in this
direction only in winter, when the ground was covered to the depth of
upwards of three feet with snow, I had not an opportunity of examining
its geological structure. White spruces cover the drier spots; larches,
black spruces, and willows abound in moist places; the sandy hillocks
are clothed with aspens, and the sides of the vallies support some canoe
birches, with a thick undergrowth of dwarf birches, alders, and
rose-bushes. The eminence from whence the view just described was
obtained, appears like a ridge only in approaching it from the lake, for
it rises very little above the general level of the country behind it.
It has a direction from N.W. by N. to S.E. by S., and terminates about
eight miles to the eastward of the fort, in a small bluff point on the
shores of the lake and there the strata consist of slate-clay slightly
bituminous. The banks immediately behind the fort also exhibit, in their
ravines, a bluish slate-clay.

The land on the south side, or bottom, of Keith Bay, presents a nearly
similar aspect to that just described, rising, on the borders of the
lake, to the height of one hundred and fifty feet, and then running back
to a great distance nearly level. It may be characterized as full of
hollows, narrow vallies, ravines, and lakes; but it is not hilly,
although it is traversed by ridges of limestone, which rise like walls
through the flat country. The nearest of these ridges terminates on the
borders of the lake at the _Manito Point_, (noticed in page vii.) It may
be proper to remark here, that, in addition to the limestone ridges
visible from Fort Franklin, or from the heights behind it, the summit of
Clark Hill, bearing south, and forming part of a ridge about fifty miles
distant, was distinctly seen. This hill lies behind Old Fort Norman on
the Mackenzie, and has more the outline of a granitic rock, although
some of the peaks which skirt it have the serrated crests which the
limestone ridges in this quarter show. It was guessed to be 1500 feet
high above the Mackenzie.

This sketch of the general features of the country about Fort Franklin
being premised, the ensuing geological notices follow in the order of
the route of the Expedition.


Bear Lake River is about seventy miles long, from its origin in the lake
till it falls into the Mackenzie, and throughout its whole length, its
breadth is never less than one hundred and fifty yards, except at the
_Rapid_, a remarkable place, about the middle of its course. It is from
one to three fathoms deep, and very rapid, its velocity being estimated
at six miles in the hour. Its waters are clear as they issue from the
lake, but several branches of considerable size bring down muddy water,
particularly one which flows from the north, and falls in below the

Above the rapid, the valley of the river is very narrow, the banks every
where sloping steeply from the level of the country. Their summit line,
which is nearly straight, is about one hundred and fifty feet above the
bed of the river. In some places they have an even face elevated at an
angle of about forty-five degrees, and they are not unfrequently cut by
ravines into pretty regular figures, resembling hay-ricks, or the
parapet of a fort, the ravines representing the embrasures. Sections
made by the river presented generally sand or clay; the sand probably
proceeding from the disintegration of a friable, gray sandstone, which
showed itself occasionally in a more solid form. The rapidity of our
voyage, however, afforded us little opportunity of searching for the
solid strata which are generally hid by the debris of the bank. About
twelve miles above the rapid, a small-grained, friable sandstone, of a
yellowish gray colour, and irregular earthy fracture, is associated with
beds of bluish-gray slate-clay. These beds consist of concretions of
various sizes and irregular shapes, but which may be said to approach in
general to a depressed orbicular form; their surfaces are coloured
purplish-brown by iron, and studded with crystals of sulphate of lime.
This slate-clay contains many small round grains of quartz, and is
exactly similar to that which occurs at the rapid, and which will be
afterwards noticed. In other places the banks are covered by the debris
of a slate-clay slightly bituminous, resembling wacke in its mode of

The _Rapid_ is caused by the river struggling through a chasm bounded by
two perpendicular walls of sandstone, over an uneven bed of the same
material. On escaping from this narrow passage, it winds round the end
of a lofty cliff of limestone, which forms part of a ridge that is
continued through the country on both sides of the river.

Viewed from the summit of this ridge, which rises about eight hundred
feet above the river, the country towards Bear Lake appears level. The
view down the river presents also a plain country, bounded on the
Mackenzie by another limestone ridge, which, unless the eye was deceived
by the distance, gradually inclined to the one at the rapid, and
appeared, by joining it to the northward, to form a great basin. These
ridges are also prolonged to the southward. The plain is covered with
wood, intersected by chains of lakes, and seemed to lie rather below the
summit level of the banks of Bear Lake River. It is only comparatively,
that the country deserves the name of plain, for its surface is much
varied by depressions, ravines, and small eminences, that do not,
however, destroy the general level appearance when seen from a distance.
The view from the hill is terminated, to the westward, by the distant
chain of the Rocky Mountains, running nearly N.W. by N. A little below
the rapid, a small stream from the southward flows into the Bear Lake
River, near whose sources the Indians procure an excellent common salt,
which is deposited from the springs by spontaneous evaporation.

The walls of the rapid are about three miles long, and 120 feet high.
[Sidenote: 25] They are composed of horizontal beds, the lower of which
consist of an earthy-looking stone, intermediate between slate-clay and
sandstone, having interiorly a dull yellowish-gray colour. Concretions,
with smooth surfaces, about the thickness of a swan's quill, pass
perpendicularly through the beds like pins, are prolonged beyond the
partings, and bear some resemblance to portions of the roots or branches
of a tree. The seam surfaces are very uneven. [Sidenote: 18] These beds
are parted by thin, slaty layers, of a stone similar in appearance, but
rather harder, and containing many interspersed scales of mica, and also
some minute portions of carbonaceous matter in the form of lignite.
[Sidenotes: 19, 1827] The thin layers contain impressions of ferns, and
from the debris at the bottom of the cliff I gathered impressions of the
bark of a tree (lepidodendron) and some ammonites in a brown iron-shot
sandstone.[25] [Sidenote: 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28] The upper
beds are composed of a fine grained, quartzose, gray sandstone, having
an earthy basis, and occasionally interspersed carbonaceous matter. Some
of the beds are a foot and a half thick, and have sufficient tenacity to
be fitted for making grindstones; most of the sandstone is, however,
rather friable. Near the summit there is interposed a bed of
fine-grained dolomite, and a friable sandstone, which forms the crest of
the cliff, and exhibits in its weathering battlement-shaped projections
and pinnacles. [Sidenote: 29] Covering this sandstone, but not quite to
the margin of the cliff, there is a layer of slaty limestone, having a
bluish or blackish-gray colour, a dull fracture, and rather compact
structure. [Sidenote: 30] In the lower beds of the cliff there are some
globular and disk-shaped concretions, of an indurated iron-shot
slate-clay, or poor clay-iron-stone, containing pyrites. They vary in
magnitude from six inches to a foot and a half in diameter, and appear
to be formed of concentric layers, which are rendered apparent by the
weathering of the stone. The sandstones and shales of the rapid have a
strong resemblance in appearance to those of the coal measures; but
pitch-coal was not detected at this place. Several distinct concretions
of indurated slate-clay, assuming the appearance termed _cone in cone_,
were picked up among the boulders on the banks of Bear Lake River, some
way below the rapid, but they were not traced to their parent beds. They
effervesce with acids.

Between the walls of the rapid and the limestone ridge there is a piece
of meadow-ground, having a soft, clayey soil, in which, near the base of
the hill, a small rivulet flows to join the river. The bed of this
rivulet presents accumulations of boulders of large size, arranged so as
to form two terraces, the upper of which is considerably above the
highest level either of the rivulet, or of Bear Lake River. The boulders
consist of varieties of granite, gneiss, mica-slate with garnets,
greenstone and porphyry. [Sidenote: 50] One of the porphyries is a
beautiful stone, composed of hyacinth-red felspar, and irregular
crystals of milky quartz, with a few specks of a dark green mineral,
and very much resembles a rock which is not uncommon in the gneiss
districts about Fort Enterprize. [Sidenotes: 45, 47, 50, 51, 49] Many of
the boulders consist of conglomerates and sandstones that strongly
resemble those of the old red sandstone formation, which forms the
height of land between Dease Bay and Coppermine rivers. Also some flinty
slates, mixed, in thin layers, with compact, yellowish limestone, and
some pebbles of jasper interleaved with flinty slate.

The limestone ridge below the rapid stands on a narrow base, whose
transverse diameter does not exceed a quarter of a mile. Its summits are
generally conical, but very rugged and craggy; the highest peak I had an
opportunity of visiting is about a mile from Bear Lake River, and it has
been already stated to be estimated at eight hundred feet above that
stream, or nine hundred and fifty above the sea. The general direction
of the ridge is from S.E. by S. to N.W. by N., or nearly parallel to the
great Rocky Mountain chain, and to the smaller ridges betwixt it and
that chain. Its prolongation through the flat surrounding strata, to the
southward of Bear Lake River, can be traced for at least forty miles,
and it is visible at nearly an equal distance, as it runs through the
still more level country to the northward; but here, as has been already
said, it appears to incline towards the similar ridge which is cut by
the Mackenzie, at the mouth of the Bear Lake River, and is about
twenty-five miles to the W.S.W., in a direct line. That part of the
ridge which I had an opportunity of visiting, consisted entirely of
limestone, generally in thick beds. Its stratification was not very
evident, and in my very cursory examination the general dip was not
clearly ascertained. A precipitous cliff, four hundred feet high, facing
the S.E., and washed by the Bear Lake River, presents strata, inclined
to the S.W. at an angle of 45 degrees, which may be perhaps considered
as the general dip; for the ridge on that side slopes down to the
surrounding country at an angle of about 30 degrees or 40 degrees, while
on the N.E. side it presents lofty precipices formed by the cropping out
of the strata. [Sidenote: 39, 34] Many of the beds in this hill
consisted of a blackish-gray fine grained limestone, intersected by
veins of calc-spar; [Sidenotes: 40; 35, 36; 42, 43, 44] but several
layers of gray and dark coloured dolomites, and some of a yellowish-gray
_rauchwacke_, were interstratified with them, and the upper parts of the
precipitous cliff, [Sidenote: 35, 36] and also of the highest peak,
consisted of a calcareous breccia, containing rounded pieces of brown
limestone, and angular fragments of chert; and the faces of some
cliffs, on the N.E. side of the hill, were incrusted with a fine
crystalline gypsum to the depth of from one to two feet.[26]

The banks of Bear Lake River below the rapid have a more gentle
declivity than those above it, and they occasionally recede from the
stream, so as to leave a grassy slope varying from a few yards to half a
mile in breadth. The sections of these banks by torrents present only
sand or clay; and the hollows of the ravines are lined with boulders
principally of primitive rocks. No stone was observed _in situ_ from the
rapid until we came to the junction of the river with the Mackenzie.

The Bear Lake River flows into the Mackenzie at a right angle, and on
its north bank, at its mouth, there is a hill, which has been already
noticed as forming part of a ridge visible from the one at the rapid,
with which it probably unites to form a great basin. These two hills
seem to belong to the same formation. [Sidenote: 61, 62, 60] The body of
the hill consists of highly-inclined beds of blackish-gray limestone,
with sparry veins, and of brownish-gray dolomite, which cannot be
distinguished in hand specimens from that of the hill at the rapid. The
superior beds are formed of a calcareous breccia.[27] [Sidenote: 57,
58, 59, 63, 64, 65] Associated with these strata, however, there are
beds of limestone, highly charged with bitumen; and at the base of the
hill there are beds of bituminous shale, some of which effervesce with
acids, whilst others approach in hardness, and other characters, to
flinty slate. These shaly beds were seen by Captain Franklin and Mr.
Kendall in autumn 1825, and they also saw, at that time, some
sulphureous springs and streams of mineral pitch issuing from the lower
parts of the limestone strata: but the whole of them were hid by the
height of the waters of the Mackenzie in the spring of 1826.[28]
[Sidenote: 69, 66, 67, 68] The same cause prevented me from seeing some
beds of lignite and sandstone, at the same place, of which Captain
Franklin obtained specimens.


Having noticed the general features of this portion of the river, I have
next to state, that the formation constituting its banks may be
characterized as consisting of wood-coal in various states, alternating
with beds of pipe-clay, potter's clay, which is sometimes bituminous,
slate-clay, gravel, sand, and friable sandstones, and occasionally with
porcelain earth. The strata are generally horizontal, and as many as
four beds of lignite are exposed in some parts, the upper of which are
above the level of the highest river-floods of the present day.

The _lignite_, when recently detached from the beds, is pretty compact,
but soon splits into rhomboidal pieces, which again separate into slates
more or less fine. It burns with a very fetid smell, somewhat resembling
that of phosphorus, with little smoke or flame, leaving a brownish-red
ash, not one-tenth of the original bulk of the coal. The blacksmith
found it unfit for welding iron when used alone, but it answered when
mixed with charcoal, although the stench it created was a great
annoyance. [Sidenote: 48] Different beds, and even different parts of
the same bed, presented specimens of the fibrous brown-coal, earth-coal,
conchoidal brown-coal, and trapezoidal brown-coal of Jameson. Some of
the pieces have the external appearance of compact bitumen, but they
generally exhibit, in the cross fracture, the fibrous structure of wood
in concentric layers, apparently much compressed. Other specimens have a
strong external resemblance to charcoal in structure, colour, and
lustre. A frequent form of the lignite is that of slate, of a dull,
brownish-black colour, but yielding a shining streak. The slate is
composed of fragments, resembling charred wood, united together by a
paste of more comminuted woody matter, mixed, perhaps, with a small
portion of clay. In the paste there are some transparent crystals of
sulphate of lime, and occasionally some minute portions of a substance
like resin. These shaly beds bear a strong resemblance to peat, not only
in structure but also in the mode of burning, and in the light whitish
ashes which are left. The external shape of stems or branches of trees,
is best preserved in some fragments impregnated with slate-clay, and
occasionally with siliceous matter, which occur imbedded in the coal.
The bark of these pieces has been converted into lignite. Some of them
exhibit knots, such as occur where a branch has decayed, and others
represent the twists and contortions of wood of stunted growth. The
lignite is generally penetrated by fibrous roots, probably
_rhizomorpha_, which insinuate their ramifications into every crevice.

The beds of lignite appear to take fire spontaneously when exposed to
the atmosphere. They were burning when Sir Alexander Mackenzie passed
down the river in 1789, and have been on fire, in some part or other of
the formation, ever since. In consequence of the destruction of the
coal, large slips of the bank take place, and it is only where the
debris has been washed away by the river that good sections are visible.
The beds were on fire when we visited them, and the burnt clays,
vitrified sand, agglutinated gravel, &c. gave many spots the appearance
of an old brick-field.

[Sidenote: 81] The _gravel_ interstratified with the lignite, consists
of smooth pebbles of Lydian stone, of flinty slate, of white quartz, of
quartzose sandstone, and conglomerate, like the sandstones and
conglomerates of the old red sandstone formation, of claystone, and of
slate-clay, varying in size from a pea to that of an orange. The gravel
is often intermixed with a little clay, which gives the bed sufficient
tenacity to form cliffs, but does not prevent the pebbles from
separating, in the attempt to break off hand specimens. It is seamed by
thin layers of fine sand: beds of sandstone are of occasional

_Potter's clay_ occurs in thick beds, has generally a gray or brown
colour, and passes, in some places, into a highly bituminous thick-slaty
clay, penetrated by ramifications of carbonaceous matter resembling the
roots of vegetables.

The _pipe-clay_ is deserving of particular notice. It is found in beds
from six inches to a foot thick, and mostly in contact with the lignite.
It has commonly a yellowish-white colour, but in some places its hue is
light lake-red. The natives use it as an article of food in times of
scarcity and it is said to have sustained life for a considerable time.
It is termed _white mud_ by the traders, who whitewash their houses with
it. It occurs also in lignite deposits on the upper branches of the
Saskatchewan, and is associated with bituminous shale on the coast of
the Arctic Sea. Mr. Nuttall mentions a similar substance, under the name
of pink-clay, as being found in the lignite deposits on the Arkansa.[29]

The _porcelain earth_ was observed only at one place where the beds were
highly inclined, and there it appeared to replace the sandstones of
other parts of the deposit. It has a whitish colour, and the appearance,
at first sight, of chalk; but some of its beds, from the quantity of
carbonaceous matter interspersed through them, having a grayish hue. Its
beds are from two to three yards thick.

In a note[30] I have mentioned the most remarkable sections of this
formation which occur on the banks of the Mackenzie. The depth of the
formation was not ascertained, but the sections will show the thickness
of the beds which were exposed. The height above the sea of the summit
of the banks it forms on the Mackenzie, was estimated to be from two
hundred and fifty to three hundred feet.


Similar formations of lignite occur near the foot of the Rocky Mountain
range farther to the southward; but I have not, after many inquiries,
heard of any traces of them in the eastern parts of the Hudson's Bay
lands. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, after describing the general course of
the Rocky Mountains, says that "along their eastern edge, there occurs a
narrow strip of marshy, boggy, and uneven ground, which produces coal
and bitumen;" and that "he saw these on the banks of the Mackenzie in
lat. 66 degrees, and, in his second journey, on the Peace River, in lat.
56 degrees and 146 degrees W. long.;" and further, that "the same was
observed by Mr. Fidler, on the south branch of the Saskatchewan, in lat.
52 degrees long. 112-1/2 degrees W." Mr. Alexander Stewart, an
intelligent chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and well
acquainted with those countries, informs me that there are beds of coal
on fire, on the Smoking River, or east branch of the Peace River, and on
the upper parts of the _Rivière la biche_, or Elk River; and that coal,
although not on fire, occurs at Lesser Slave Lake, on a line with the
other two localities. Mr. Small, a clerk to the Hudson's Bay Company,
likewise acquaints me, that coal occurs at Edmonton, on the north branch
of the Saskatchewan, in beds, sometimes seven or eight feet thick. Most
of the coal is thin-slaty; but some beds yield shining, thick lumps,
which break, as he expresses it, like Spanish liquorice. It lies over
beds of bluish-gray sandstone, and is associated with a white clay,
which froths in water and adheres to the fingers.

Mr. Drummond brought specimens from the spot which Mr. Small alludes to
and remarks, that the lignite occurs in beds from six inches to two feet
thick, separated by clay and sandstones. [Sidenote: 1051, 1052, 1053]
His specimens of the lignite are precisely similar to the slaty and
conchoidal varieties, which occur at the mouth of the Bear Lake River;
[Sidenote: 1055] and there is an equal resemblance betwixt the
sandstones from the two places. [Sidenote: 1053] The slaty beds of
lignite, at Edmonton, pass into a thin, slaty, friable sandstone, much
impregnated by carbonaceous matter, and containing pieces of fibrous
lignite. [Sidenote: 1056, 1062] In the neighbourhood of the lignite
there are some beds of rather indurated, but highly bituminous shale,
and the clayey banks contain clay-iron stones, in form of septaria. Mr.
Drummond likewise found beds of a beautiful bituminous coal, which
Professor Buckland, from its peculiar fracture, considers to be tertiary
pitch-coal. [Sidenote: 1058, 1059, 1060] The banks of the Saskatchewan,
near the same place, exhibit beds of a very compact stone, having a
brown colour, and inclosing many fragments of bituminous limestone and
some organic remains; likewise beds of a somewhat similar stone, but
full of drusy cavities, and more resembling a recent calcareous tufa. I
could not learn how far these beds were connected with the lignite

Captain Franklin[31] saw beds of lignite and tertiary pitch-coal at
Garry's Island, off the mouth of the Mackenzie, and there is an
extensive deposit of it near the Babbage River, on the coast of the
Arctic Sea, opposite to the termination of the Richardson chain of the
Rocky Mountains.


Having now described the strata in Bear Lake River, together with the
exposed beds of the lignite at its mouth, as far as opportunities of
observation enable me, and also added a slight account of similar
formations which occupy a like situation at the foot of the Rocky
Mountain range, were I to adapt the order of my notices strictly to the
route of the expedition, I should next describe the banks of the
Mackenzie from the junction of the Bear Lake River downwards to the
Arctic Sea. It seems, however, more advisable to commence at the origin
of the Mackenzie, in Great Slave Lake, and give as connected a view as I
can of the principal geological features of that great river.

The west end of Slave Lake is bounded by horizontal strata of a
limestone, whose characters shall be afterwards given in detail; and I
have merely to remark, at present, that it forms flat shores, which are
skirted by shoals of boulders of limestone, and of primitive rocks. Much
drift timber is accumulated in the small bays at this end of the lake,
which, in process of time, is converted into a substance like peat. A
chain of islands extends obliquely across the lake at the origin of the
river, or where the current is first felt; and the depth of the water
there is less than six feet. Below this, there is a dilatation termed
the _first little lake_, and the river afterwards contracts to less than
a mile in breadth; forming in one place, when the water is low, a strong
rapid. A second dilatation, about twenty-five miles below the first, is
termed the _second little lake_. The shores throughout this distance are
generally flat and covered with boulders of limestone, compact felspar,
granite, gneiss, and sienite, and there are many of these stones
imbedded in a tenacious clay, which forms the beach. A ridge, having an
even outline, and apparently of small elevation, commences behind Stony
Point, in Slave Lake, some distance inland, and, running nearly parallel
to the river, disappears about Fishing River, a stream which joins the
Mackenzie, below the Second Little Lake. The Horn Mountains, a ridge of
hills, of considerably greater elevation, and having a more varied
outline than that on the south shore, are first visible on the north
side of the Second Little Lake, and continue in sight nearly as far as
the junction of the "River of the Mountains," or "Forks, of the
Mackenzie," as the traders term the union of the two rivers. [Sidenote:
120, 121] The only rocks seen _in situ_ between Slave Lake and the
Forks, were a bituminous shale of a brownish-black colour, in thin
slates, and a slate-clay of a pure yellowish-gray colour, which, as well
as the bituminous shale, forms steep banks.


About twenty-five or thirty miles below the forks, the first view is
obtained of the Rocky Mountains, which there appear to consist of
short-conical peaks, scarcely rising two thousand feet above the river.
Some distance lower down, the river, changing its course from W.N.W. to
N.N.E., turns sharply round the mountains, which are there disposed in
ridges, having bases from one to two miles wide, and a direction of
S.S.W. or S.W. by S. being nearly at right angles to the general course
of the great range to which they belong. The eastern sides of the ridges
present a succession of wall-sided precipices, having beneath them
shelving acclivities formed by debris, and exhibiting on their faces
regular lines of stratification. The western sides of the ridges are of
more easy ascent. The vallies which separate these ridges and open
successively to the river, are narrow, with pretty level bottoms, but
very steep sides well clothed with trees. In the first ridge, the strata
seemed to dip to the northward at an angle of 35 degrees. In some of the
others they were horizontal, or had a southerly dip. The third ridge
presents, when viewed from the westward, a magnificent precipice,
seemingly about one thousand two hundred feet high, and which extends
for at least fifteen miles. After passing this ridge, the river
inclines to the eastward, and the forms of the hills are less distinctly

As I could not visit the Rocky Mountains, I know nothing of their
structure except from report. An interpreter in the Hudson's Bay
Company's service, who had travelled over them, informed me that there
are fourteen or fifteen ridges, of which the three easternmost are the
most rugged, those that succeed being broader and more rounded.
[Sidenote: 122] This man gave me a specimen of a pearl-gray semi-opal,
resembling obsidian, brought from the third or fourth ridge. The
natives, by means of fire, cause this stone to break off in thin, flat,
conchoidal fragments, with which they form arrow-heads and knives. The
thin pieces are nearly transparent on the edges. [Sidenote: 123] He also
gave me a specimen of plumbago, from the same quarter, and some specular

Mr. Macpherson, of the Hudson's Bay Company, in a letter respecting the
Rocky Mountains, near _Fort au Liard_, on the River of the Mountains, or
south branch of the Mackenzie, informs me, that "these mountains may be
traced into somewhat uniform ranges, extending north-westerly and
south-easterly, nearly parallel with the River of the Mountains, and are
in appearance confusedly scattered and broken, rising here and there
into high peaks." [Sidenote: 124, 125] This gentleman had the kindness
to send me specimens of a cherty rock, some of which, he states, were
from the third range westward from the river, and others from a spur
which projects in a southern direction from the fourth range, and rises
about six hundred feet above the adjacent valley. These specimens cannot
be distinguished from those of Limestone Point, on the north shore of
Great Bear Lake[32], Mounts Fitton and Conybeare, two remarkable peaks
which terminate the Eastern range of the Rocky Mountains on the shores
of the Arctic sea, were found by Captain Franklin to consist of
transition rocks, of which an account is given in the subjoined

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, towards the conclusion of the interesting
narrative of his voyages, says, of the Rocky Mountain range, "The last
line of division is, the immense ridge, or succession of ridges of the
stony mountains, whose northern extremity dips in the Arctic Sea in
latitude 70 degrees north, and longitude 135 degrees west, running
nearly south-east, and begins to be parallel to the coast of the Pacific
ocean from Cook's inlet, and so onwards to the Columbia. From thence it
appears to quit the coast, but still continuing with less elevation to
divide the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. In these
snow-clad mountains rises the Mississippi, if we admit the Missouri to
be its source, which flows into the Gulph of Mexico; the river Nelson
which is lost in Hudson's Bay; Mackenzie's river that discharges itself
into the North Sea, and the Columbia emptying itself into the Pacific
Ocean. The breadth of the mountains from Cook's inlet to the Columbia is
from four to eight degrees easterly." I may add, that the great rivers
mentioned by Mackenzie not only take their origin from the same range of
mountains, but almost from the same hill; the head waters of the
Columbia and Mackenzie being only about two hundred yards apart in
latitude 54-1/2 degrees. Mr. Drummond, who crossed the mountains at that
place, informs me, that the Eastern side of the range consists of
conglomerate and sandstone, to which succeed limestone hills exceedingly
barren, and afterwards clay-slate and granite.

James, the intelligent naturalist, who accompanied Major Long on his
first expedition, says of the Rocky Mountains to the southward of the
Missouri, "They rise abruptly out of the plains which lie extended at
their base on the east side, towering into peaks of great height, which
renders them visible at the distance of more than one hundred miles from
their base. They consist of ridges, knobs, and peaks, variously
disposed, among which are interspersed many broad and fertile valleys.
James's peak, one of the more elevated, was ascertained by
trigonometrical measurement to rise 8500 feet above the common level.
The rocky formations are uniformly of a primitive character, but a deep
crust of secondary rocks appears to recline on the east side of the
mountains, extending upwards from their base many hundred feet." In
another place, he says, "The woodless plain is terminated by a range of
naked and almost perpendicular rocks, visible at the distance of several
miles, and resembling a vast wall parallel to the base of the mountain.
These rocks are sandstone, and rise abruptly to an elevation of one
hundred and fifty or two hundred feet." The sandstone walls seem to
present an appearance not very dissimilar to some of the cliffs seen
from the Mackenzie.

Having thus mentioned as briefly as I could the extent of the
information I was able to collect, respecting the Rocky Mountain range,
I may remark, that a formation of primitive rocks, but little elevated
above the general level of the country, appears to run from near the
west end of Lake Superior, gradually and slightly converging towards the
Rocky Mountains, until it attains the east side of Great Bear Lake. In
lat. 50 degrees, the two ranges are nearly seven hundred miles apart,
and there, and as far as lat. 60 degrees, the space between them is
principally occupied by horizontal strata of limestone. There is also
much limestone in the narrower interval north of 60 degrees, but the
strata are more inclined, and form abrupt hills and ridges, particularly
about lat. 66 degrees, where the primitive rocks on the east of Bear
Lake are within two hundred miles of the Rocky Mountains. Sir Alexander
Mackenzie has noticed that a chain of great lakes skirts this eastern
range of primitive rocks, where they are approached by the flat
limestone strata which lie to west of them. Thus the primitive rocks
bound Great Slave Lake to the eastward of Slave River, and the flat
limestone strata occupy the country westward of that lake, as has been
already mentioned.

After this digression, which seemed necessary for the purpose of giving
a general idea of the structure of the country, I return to the
description of the banks of the Mackenzie.


At the sharp turn of the river round the Rocky Mountains, its east bank
swells gently into a hill several feet high. Below this the banks are
broken into conical masses by ravines, and present a finely variegated
outline. A pretty high ridge, looking like a continuation of the Horn
Mountains, is visible on the east side some distance inland. Opposite to
the Big Island there is a green hill three or four hundred feet high,
which, as we descended the river, showed itself to be part of a range
that had a direction apparently to the N.N.W., and towards its northern
end became more rugged and craggy, exhibiting cliffs and rude
embrasures, at the same time increasing in height to eight hundred or
one thousand feet. The boulders on the beach change their character
considerably about this place. Farther up, the yellowish-white limestone
which occurs in Slave Lake formed a great portion of them; but here a
greenish-gray, and rather dark-coloured, compact limestone, with a flat
conchoidal fracture, replaces it. Variegated-sandstone, and some
purplish, felspathose-sandstone, or compact felspar, also occur pretty
frequently, together with slaty limestone, bituminous-shale,
lydian-stone, pitchstone-porphyry, and various sienites, granites, and
greenstones, almost all porphyritic.

The Rock by the river's side presents the first solid strata that occur
on the immediate banks of the river after passing the Forks. It is a
round bluff hill about five hundred feet high, with a short
obtuse-conical summit. A precipice three hundred feet high, washed by
the river, is composed of strata of limestone, dipping N.W. by W. at an
angle of 70 degrees; but the strata in other parts of the hill have in
appearance the saddle-formed arrangement. [Sidenote: 127] The limestone
is of a blackish-gray colour, slightly crystalline structure, and much
resembles the stone of the principal beds in the hills at the rapid and
mouth of Bear Lake River. Its beds are from one to two feet thick, and
much intersected by small veins of calc-spar. There are also some larger
veins a foot and a half thick, which traverse the strata obliquely,
having their sides lined with calc-spar, and their centres filled with
transparent gypsum. [Sidenote: 128] I observed a small imbedded pebble
of white sandstone in the gypsum. [Sidenote: 127] Some of the beds of
limestone consist of angular distinct concretions. [Sidenotes: 131, 132]
A small island lying off this rock, having its strata dipping south at
an angle of 20 degrees, presents a bed a foot thick, entirely composed
of these angular concretions, covered by a thin-slaty limestone, and
reposing on thicker beds, all of which are dark-coloured. No organic
remains were observed.

A few miles below the "Rock by the river side," a very rugged ridge
appears on the eastern bank. It has sharp craggy summits, and is about
five or six hundred feet high. For nearly sixty miles below this place
the river continues about eight hundred yards wide, bounded by banks
chiefly of clay; but in some places of a clayey shale having a bluish
colour. The banks are in many places one hundred and fifty feet high,
with a beach beneath covered with boulders. A little above the site of
the Old Fort Norman the river dilates, and is full of islands; and a
short way inland, on the east side, stands Clark's Hill, which is
visible from Fort Franklin, and is supposed to be near 1500 feet high.
It is shaped somewhat like the amphibolic-granite mountain of Criffel in
Galloway, and in its immediate neighbourhood there are some less lofty,
but very rugged and precipitous hills, resembling in outline the ridges
of limestone on Bear Lake River. From this place to the commencement of
the lignite formation, already described, the banks of the Mackenzie are
high and clayey.


Below Bear Lake River the general course of the Mackenzie for eighty
miles is about N.W. by W., when a remarkable rapid is produced by ledges
of stone which cross its channel. The width of the river varies in this
distance from one to three miles, but the water-course is narrowed by
numerous islands, and the current continues strong. The Rocky Mountains
are visible, running in a direction from S.E. to N.W. Judging merely by
the eye, we did not estimate their altitude above four thousand feet,
and I may remark, that the snow disappears from their summits early in
the summer. A back view of the hill at the mouth of Bear Lake River is
also obtained for upwards of twenty miles, but the ridge of which it
forms a part curves inland, probably uniting, as was formerly remarked,
with the one which crosses Bear Lake River near the middle of its
course. The banks of the Mackenzie are in general from one hundred and
twenty to one hundred and fifty feet high in this part, and there are
occasional sections of them, but we had little leisure to examine their
structure. In the voyage of 1826 we drifted down the stream night and
day, landing only when necessary to cook our provisions; and in the
following geological notices, as far as the passage of the river named
the _Narrows_, I have done little more than describe the specimens
collected by Captain Franklin, when he ascended the river by the
tow-line in 1825. The few notes that the rapidity of our voyage
permitted me to make, as to the direction of the strata, &c., were
inserted in the book that was purloined by the Esquimaux at the mouth of
the river.

About fifty miles below Bear Lake River there is an almost precipitous
cliff of bituminous-shale, one hundred and twenty feet high, strongly
resembling the cliffs which occur near the bases of the hill of
Scented-Grass and Great Bear Mountain in Bear Lake already
described[34], and at the mouth of the Clear Water River in lat. 56-1/2
degrees. In the two former localities the shale is in the neighbourhood
of horizontal strata of limestone; and in the latter it actually reposes
on the limestone, which extends in horizontal strata as far as Great
Slave Lake, is connected with many salt springs, and possesses many of
the characters ascribed to the zechstein formation. [Sidenote: 133]
Captain Franklin observed the beach under the shale cliffs of the
Mackenzie to be strewed not only with fragments of the shale, but also
with much lignite, similar to that which occurs at the mouth of the Bear
Lake River. Twelve or fourteen miles below these cliffs there is a reach
seventeen or eighteen miles long, bounded by walls of sandstone in
horizontal beds. [Sidenotes: 134, 135] Specimens obtained by Captain
Franklin at the upper end of the reach consist of fine-grained quartzose
sandstone[35] of a gray colour, and having a clayey basis, resembling
those which occur in the middle of Bear Lake River. At the commencement
of the "Great Rapid of the Mackenzie" there is a hill on each side of
the river, named by Captain Franklin the eastern[36] and Western
mountains of the Rapid. The Rocky Mountains appear at no great distance
from this place, running about N.W. by W., until lost to the sight; and
as the Mackenzie for forty or fifty miles below, winds away to the
northward, and, in some reaches, a little to the eastward, they are not
again visible, until the river has made a bend to the westward, and
emerges from the defile termed "the Narrows."

The "Eastern mountain of the rapid" seems to have a similar structure,
with the "Hill by the River's side," the hill at the mouth of Bear Lake
River, and the other limestone ridges which traverse this part of the
country. [Sidenote: 136] From some highly inclined beds near its base I
broke off specimens of a limestone, having an imperfectly crystalline
structure, and a brown colour, which deepens into dull black on the
surfaces of its natural seams. [Sidenotes: 137, 138, 139, 141] A piece
of dark-gray, compact limestone, having the peculiar structure to which
the name of "_cone in cone_" has been given, was found on the beach;
also several pieces of chert, and some fragments of a trap-rock,
consisting of pieces of greenstone, more or less iron-shot, cemented by

Immediately below the rapid there are horizontal layers of sandstone
which form cliffs, and also the bed of the river. Captain Franklin
obtained specimens of this stone, which do not differ from the
sandstones above the rapid. [Sidenote 142, 143, 140] And amongst the
debris of the cliff he found other specimens of the "_cone in cone_,"
such as it occurs in the clayey beds of the coal measures, and also some
pieces of crystallized pyrites.

[Sidenote: 144, 144a, 145, 146, 147, 144b] About forty miles below the
rapid, the river flows through a narrow defile formed by the approach of
two lofty banks of limestone in highly-inclined strata, above which
there is a dilatation of the river, bounded by the walls of sandstone,
which have weathered, in many places, into pillars, castellated forms,
caves, &c. The sandstone strata are horizontal, have slate-clay
partings, and seams of a poor clay-iron stone, but do not differ in
general appearance from the sandstone beds at the rapid, except that a
marly stone containing corallines, and having the general colour and
aspect of the sandstone beds, is associated with them at this place.

The very remarkable defile, below these sandstone beds, is designated
"the _second rapid_" by Sir Alexander Mackenzie, and "the _ramparts_" by
the traders, a name adopted by Captain Franklin. Mackenzie states it to
be three hundred yards wide, three miles long, and to have fifty fathoms
depth of water. If he is correct in his soundings, its bed is probably
two hundred and fifty feet below the level of the sea. The walls of the
defile rise from eighty to one hundred and fifty feet above the river,
and the strata are inclined to the W.N.W., at an angle of seventy or
eighty degrees. It is worthy of remark, that the course of the river
through this chasm is E.N.E., and that just above the eastern mountain
of the rapid it runs about W.S.W. through the sandstone strata, as if it
had found natural rents by which to make its escape through the ridge of
hills which cross its course here. Similar elbows occur in various parts
of the River, and they may be almost always traced to some peculiarity
in the disposition of the hills which traverse the country.

Captain Franklin gathered many specimens of the limestone strata of the
Ramparts, which are specified in a note.[37] [Sidenote: 148, 149] Some
of the beds at the upper part of the Ramparts consist of a granular
foliated limestone, which was not noticed elsewhere on the banks of the
river, but the greater part are of limestone, strongly resembling that
which has been already described, as forming the ridges in this quarter.
Most of the beds are impregnated wholly, or in patches, with bitumen.
Some of these specimens contain corallines and terebratulæ; and at the
lower end of the defile there are horizontal strata of limestone,
covered by a thin layer of flinty slate.

Below the _ramparts_ the river expands to the width of two miles, and
for a reach or two its banks are less elevated. In lat. 66-3/4 degrees,
about thirty miles from the ramparts, there are cliffs which Captain
Franklin in his notes, remarks, "run on an E. by S. course for four
miles, are almost perpendicular, about one hundred and sixty feet high,
and present the same castellated appearances that are exhibited by the
sandstone above the defile of the "ramparts." [Sidenote: 159, 160, 161,
162] The cliffs[38] are, in fact, composed of sandstones similar, in
general appearance, to those which occur higher up the river; but some
of the beds contain the quartz in coarser grains, with little or no
cement. [Sidenote: 163, 164, 165, 166] The beds are horizontal, and
repose on horizontal limestone,[39] from which Captain Franklin broke
many specimens in 1825. [Sidenote: 167, 168, 169, 170] We landed at this
place in 1826 to see the junction of the two rocks, but the limestone
was concealed by the high waters of the river. Captain Franklin's
specimens are full of shells, many of which are identical with those of
the flat limestone strata of the Athabasca River. [Sidenote: 171] One
bed appears to be almost entirely composed of a fine large species of
terebratula, not yet described, but of which Mr. Sowerby has a specimen
from the carboniferous limestone of Neho, in Norway. Some of the beds
contain the shells in fragments; in others, the shells are very entire.

About forty miles below these sandstone walls the banks of the river are
composed of marl-slate, which weathers so readily, that it forms
shelving acclivities. [Sidenote: 172] In one reach the soft strata are
cut by ravines into very regular forms, resembling piles of cannon shot
in an arsenal, whence it was named _Shot-reach_.

The river makes a short turn to the north below Shot Reach, and a more
considerable one to the westward, in passing the present site of Fort
Good Hope. The banks in that neighbourhood are mostly of clay, but beds
of sandstone occasionally show themselves. The Indians travel from Fort
Good Hope nearly due north, reach the summit of a ridge of land on the
first night, and from thence following the course of a small stream they
are conducted to the river _Inconnu_, and on the evening of the 4th day
they reach the shores of Esquimaux Lake. Its water is brackish, the tide
flowing into it. The neck of land which the Indians cross from Fort Good
Hope is termed "isthmus" on Arrowsmith's map, from Mackenzie's
information; and its breadth, from the known rate at which the Indians
are accustomed to travel, cannot exceed sixty miles. The ridge is named
the Carreboeuf, or Rein-deer Hills, and runs to lat. 69 degrees, forming
a peninsula between the eastern channel of the Mackenzie and Esquimaux

A small stream flows into the Mackenzie some way below Fort Good Hope,
on the banks of which, according to Sir Alexander Mackenzie, the Indians
and Esquimaux collect flints. He describes these banks as composed of "a
high, steep, and soft rock, variegated with red, green, and yellow hues;
and that, from the continual dripping of the water, parts of it
frequently fall, and break into small, stony flakes, like slate, but not
so hard. Amongst these are found pieces of petroleum, which bears a
resemblance to yellow wax, but is more pliable." The flint he speaks of
is most probably flinty-slate; but I do not know what the yellow
petroleum is, unless it be the variety of alum, named rock-butter, which
was observed in other situations, forming thin layers in bituminous

About twenty miles below Fort Good Hope there are some sandstone
cliffs,[40] which Captain Franklin examined in 1825. [Sidenote: 173,
174] The sandstones are similar to those occurring higher up the river,
but some of the beds contain small pieces of bituminous shale; and they
are interstratified with thin layers of flinty-slate, and of
flinty-state passing into bituminous shale. [Sidenote: 175, 176] The
flinty-slate contains iron pyrites, and its layers are covered with a
sulphureous efflorescence. Some of the beds pass into a slate-clay,
which contains vegetable impressions, and some veins of clay-iron stone
also appear in the cliff.

Sixty miles below Fort Good Hope the river turns to the northward, and
makes a sharp elbow betwixt walls of sandstone eighty or ninety feet
high, which continue for fifteen or twenty miles. Captain Franklin named
this passage of the river "The Narrows."[41] [Sidenotes: 178, 179] The
sandstones of the _Narrows_ lie in horizontal beds, and have generally a
dark gray colour. [Sidenotes: 180, 181, 182] They are parted by thin
slaty beds of sandstone, containing small pieces apparently of
bituminous coal, and some casts of vegetables. [Sidenote: 183] Most of
the beds contain scales of mica, and some of them have nodules of
indurated iron-shot clay which exhibit obscure impressions of shells. A
bed of imperfectly crystalline limestone was seen by Captain Franklin
underlying the sandstones.


The Mackenzie, on emerging from the Narrows, separates into many
branches, which flow to the sea through alluvial or diluvial deltas and
islands. The Rocky Mountains are seen on the western bank of the river,
forming the boundary of those low lands; and the lower, but decided
ridge, of the Rein-deer Hills holds nearly a parallel course on the east
bank. The estuary lying between these two ranges, opens to the N.W. by
N. into the Arctic Sea. I have already mentioned the specimens of rocks
obtained at the few points of the Rocky Mountains that were visited,[42]
and therefore shall now speak only of the Rein-deer Hills. We did not
approach them until we had passed for thirty miles down a branch of the
river which winds through alluvial lands. At this place there are
several conical hills about two hundred feet high, which appeared to
consist of limestone. Specimens taken from some slightly-inclined beds
near their bases, consisted of a fine-grained, dark, bluish-gray
limestone. After passing these limestone rocks, the Rein-deer Hills were
pretty uniform in appearance, having a steep acclivity with rounded
summits. Their height, on the borders of the river, is about four
hundred feet, but a mile or two inland they attain an elevation of
perhaps two hundred feet more. Their sides are deeply covered with sand
and clay, arising most probably from the disintegration of the subjacent
rocks. [Sidenote: 184, 185] A section made by a torrent, showed the
summit of one of the hills to be formed of gray slate-clay, its middle
of friable gray sandstone much iron-shot, and its base of dark
bluish-gray slaty clay. The sandstone predominates in some parts of the
range, forming small cliffs, underneath which there are steep
acclivities of sand. It contains nearly an equal quantity of black
flinty slate, or lydian stone, and white quartz in its composition, and
greatly resembles the friable sandstones of the lignite formation at the
mouth of Bear Lake River. [Sidenote: 186] In some parts the soil has a
red colour from the disintegration of a reddish-brown slate-clay.
[Sidenote: 187] The summits of the hills that were visited were thinly
coated with loose gravel, composed of smooth pebbles of lydian-stone,
intermixed with some pieces of green felspar, white quartz, limestone,
and chert. In some places almost all the pebbles were as large as a
goose-egg, in others none of them exceeded the size of a hazel nut. The
Rein-deer Mountains terminate in lat. 69 degrees, having previously
diminished in altitude to two hundred feet, and the eastern branch of
the river turns round their northern extremity. White spruce trees grow
at the base of these hills as far as lat. 68-1/2 degrees; north of which
they become very stunted and straggling, and very soon disappear, none
reaching to lat. 69 degrees.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who, on his return from the sea, walked over
these hills, says, "Though the country is so elevated, it is one
continued morass, except on the summits of some barren hills. As I
carried my hanger in my hand, I frequently examined if any part of the
ground was in a state of thaw, but could never force the blade into it
beyond the depth of six or eight inches. The face of the high land
towards the river is, in some places, rocky, and in others a mixture of
sand and stone, veined with a kind of red earth, with which the natives
bedaub themselves." It was on the 14th of July that he made these
observations. On the 5th of the same month, in a milder year, we found
that the thaw had penetrated nearly a foot into the beds of clay at the
base of the hills.


The space between the Rocky Mountains and Rein-deer Hills, ninety miles
in length from lat. 67 degrees 40 minutes to 69 degrees 10 minutes, and
from fifteen to forty miles in width, is occupied by flat alluvial
islands, which separate the various branches of the river. Most of these
islands are partially or entirely flooded in the spring, and have their
centres depressed and marshy, or occupied by a lake; whilst their
borders are higher and well clothed by white spruce trees. The spring
floods find their way, through openings in these higher banks, into the
hollow centres of the islands, carrying with them a vast quantity of
drift timber, which, being left there, becomes water-soaked, and,
finally, firmly impacted in the mud. The young willows, which spring up
rapidly, contribute much towards raising the borders of the stream, by
intercepting the drift sand which the wind sweeps from the margin of the
shallow ponds as they dry up in summer. The banks, being firmly frozen
in spring, are enabled to resist the weight of the temporary floods
which occur in that season, and before they are thawed the river has
resumed its low summer level. The trees which grow on the islands
terminate suddenly, in lat. 68 degrees 40 minutes.

I have already mentioned, that a large sheet of brackish water, named
Esquimaux Lake, lies to the eastward of the Rein-deer Mountains, running
to the southward, and approaching within sixty miles of the bend of
Mackenzie's River at Fort Good Hope. This lake has a large outlet into
Liverpool Bay, to the westward of Cape Bathurst, and there are many
smaller openings betwixt that bay and Point Encounter, near the north
end of the Rein-deer Hills, which are also supposed to form
communications betwixt the lake and the sea. The whole coast-line from
Cape Bathurst to the mouth of the Mackenzie, and the islands skirting
it, as far as Garry and Sacred Islands, present a great similarity in
outline and structure. They consist of extensive sandy flats, from which
there arise, abruptly, hills of an obtuse conical form, from one to two
hundred feet above the general level. Sandy shoals skirt the coast, and
numerous inlets and basins of water divide the flat lands, and
frequently produce escarpments of the hills, which show them to be
composed of strata of sand of various colours, sometimes inclosing very
large logs of drift timber. There is a coating of black vegetable earth,
from six inches to a foot in thickness, covering these sandy hummocks,
and some of the escarped sides appeared black, which was probably caused
by soil washed from the summit.

It is possible that the whole of these eminences may, at some distant
period, have been formed by the drifting of moveable sands. At present
the highest floods reach only to their bases, their height being marked
by a thick layer of drift timber. When the timber has been thrown up
beyond the reach of ordinary floods, it is covered with sand, and, in
process of time, with vegetable mould. The _Elymus mollis_, and some
similar grasses with long fibrous roots, serve to prevent the sand-hills
from drifting away again. Some of the islands, however, consist of mud
or clay. Captain Franklin describes Garry's Island as presenting cliffs,
two hundred feet high, of black mud, in which there were inclined beds
of lignite. [Sidenote: 188] Specimens of this lignite have the same
appearance with the fibrous wood-coal occurring in the formation at the
mouth of Bear Lake River, and, like it, contain resin. [Sidenotes: 189,
190] Imbedded in the same bank, there were large masses of a dark-brown
calc-tuff, full of cavities containing some greenish earthy substance.
Some boulders of lydian stone strew the beach. The cliffs of
Nicholson's Island also consisted of sand and mud, which, at the time
of our visit, (July 16th,) had thawed to the depth of three feet. This
island rises four hundred feet above the level of the sea, and is
covered with a thin sward of grasses and bents.


The main land to the east of Nicholson's Island, as far as Cape
Bathurst, presents gently swelling hills, which attain the height of two
hundred feet at the distance of two miles from the beach, and the ground
is covered with a sward of moss and grasses. At Point Sir Peregrine
Maitland there are cliffs forty-feet high of sand and slaty clay, and
the ravines are lined with fragments of whitish compact limestone,
exactly resembling that which occurs in Lakes Huron and Winipeg, and
which was afterwards seen forming the promontory of Cape Parry, bearing
E.N.E. from this place. The beach, on the south side of Harrowby Bay,
not far from Point Maitland, was thickly strewed with fragments of dark
red and of white sandstone, together with some blocks of the
above-mentioned limestone, and a few boulders of sienite.

From Cape Bathurst the coast line has a S.E. direction, and is formed by
precipitous cliffs, which gradually rise in height from thirty feet to
six hundred. The beds composing these cliffs appear to be analogous to
those of the alum-shale banks at Whitby, and similar to those which
skirt the Scented-grass Hill and Great Bear Mountain, in Great Bear
Lake. The Scented-grass Hill is distant from Cape Bathurst about three
hundred miles, on a S.E. bearing, which corresponds, within a point,
with the direction of the principal mountain chains in the country.
[Sidenote: 191] There is evidently a striking similarity in the form of
the ground plan of these two promontories. At the extremity of Cape
Bathurst the cliffs consist of slaty-clay, which, when dry, has a light
bluish-gray colour, a slightly greasy feel, and falls down in flakes.
The rain-water had penetrated the cliff to the depth of three yards from
the summit; and this portion was frozen, on the 17th July, into an icy
wall, which crumbled down as it thawed. On proceeding a little further
along the coast, some beds were observed that possessed, when newly
exposed to the air, tenacity enough to be denominated stone, but which,
under the action of water, speedily softened into a tenacious

[Sidenotes: 192, 193, 197, 198, 199] At Point Traill we were attracted
by the variegated colours of the cliff, and on landing found that they
proceeded from clays baked by the heat of a bed of bituminous-alum-shale
which had been on fire. Some parts of the earth were still warm. The
shale is of a brown colour and thin slaty structure, with an earthy
fracture. It contains many interspersed crystals of selenite; between
its lamina there is much powdery alum, mixed with sulphur, and it is
traversed by veins of brown selenite, in slender prismatic crystals.
[Sidenotes: 200, 194, 195, 196] The bed was much broken down, and hid by
the debris of the bank, but in parts it was several yards thick, and
contained layers of the wax-coloured variety of alum, named Rock-butter.
The shale is covered by a bed of stone, chiefly composed of oval
distinct concretions of a poor calcareous clay-iron stone. These
concretions have a straight cleavage in the direction of their short
axis, and are often coated by fibrous calc-sinter and calcedony. The
upper part of the cliff is clay and sand passing into a loosely cohering
sandstone. The strata are horizontal, except in the neighbourhood of
ravines, or of consumed shale, when they are often highly inclined,
apparently from partial subsidence. The debris of the cliff form
declivities, having an inclination of from fifty to eighty degrees, and
the burnt clays variously coloured, yellow, white, and deep red, give it
much the appearance of the rubbish of a brick-field. The view of the
interior, from the summit of the cliff, presents a surface slightly
varied by eminences, which swell gently to the height of fifty or sixty
feet above the general level. The soil is clayey, with a very scanty
vegetation, and there are many small lakes in the country.

[Sidenote: 201] Ten miles further on, the alum-shale forms a cliff two
hundred feet high, and presents layers of the Rock-butter about two
inches thick, with many crystals of selenite on the surfaces of the
slates. The summit of the cliff consists of a bed of marly gravel two
yards thick, which is composed of pebbles of granite, sienite, quartz,
lydian-stone, and compact limestone, all coated by a white powdery marl.
The dip of the strata at this place is slightly to the northward.

A few miles to the south-east of Wilmot Horton River the cliffs are six
hundred feet high, and present acclivities having an inclination of from
thirty to sixty degrees, formed of weathered slate-clay. Some beds of
alum-shale are visible at the foot of these cliffs, containing much
sulphate of alumina and masses of baked clay.

Two miles further along the coast the shaly strata were on fire, giving
out smoke, and beyond this the cliffs become much broken but less
precipitous, having fallen down in consequence of the consumption of the
combustible strata. These ruined cliffs gradually terminated in green
and sloping banks, whose summit was from one to two miles inland, and
about six hundred feet above the sea level. Considerable tracts of level
ground occurred occasionally betwixt these banks and the beach. Wherever
the ground was cut by ravines, beds of slate-clay were exposed. On
reaching the bottom of Franklin Bay, we observed the higher grounds
keeping an E.S.E. direction until lost to the view, becoming, however,
somewhat peaked in the outline.


Parry's Peninsula, where it joins the mainland, is very low, consisting
mostly of gravel and sand, and is there greatly indented by shallow
bays, but it gradually increases in height towards Cape Parry. The bays
and inlets are separated from the sea by beaches composed of rolled
pieces of compact limestone; and which, although they are in places only
a few yards across, are several miles in length. The northern part of
Parry's Peninsula belongs entirely to a formation which appears from the
mineralogical characters of the stone composing the great mass of the
strata, and the organic remains observed in it, to be identical with the
limestone formations of Lakes Winipeg and Huron.

[Sidenotes: 202, 204] On the north side of Sellwood Bay, in lat. 69
degrees 42 minutes, cliffs about twenty feet high are composed of a
fine-grained[43] brownish dolomite, in angular distinct concretions, and
containing corallines and veins of calc-spar. [Sidenote: 203] In the
same neighbourhood there is a bed of grayish-black compact luculite with
drusses of calc-spar, very similar to the limestone which occurs in
highly inclined strata at the "Rock by the River Side," on the
Mackenzie, and in horizontal strata in an island near that rock, where
it forms angular concretions.

After passing Sellwood Bay, the north and east shores of Cape Parry, and
the islands skirting them, present magnificent cliffs of limestone,
which, from the weathering action of the waves of the sea, assume
curious architectural forms. Many of the insulated rocks are perforated.
Between the bold projecting cliffs of limestone there are narrow
shelving beaches, formed of its debris, that afford access to the
interior. The strata have generally a slight dip to the northward, and
the most common Rock is a yellowish-gray dolomite which has a very
compact structure, but presents some shining facets of disseminated
calc-spar. This stone, which is not to be distinguished by its
mineralogical characters from the prevailing limestone of Lake Winipeg,
and at the passage of _La cloche_ in Lake Huron, forms beds six or eight
feet thick, and is frequently interstratified with a cellular limestone,
approaching to chert in hardness, and exhibiting the characters of
rauchwacke. In some parts, the rauchwacke is the predominating rock, and
has its cells beautifully powdered with crystals of quartz or of
calc-spar, and contains layers of chert of a milky colour. The chert has
sometimes the appearance of calcedony, and is finely striped.

[Sidenote: 208, 209] The extremity of Cape Parry is a hill about seven
hundred feet high, in which beds of brownish dolomite, impregnated with
silica, are interstratified with a thin-slaty, gray limestone, having a
compact structure.[44] The vegetation is very scanty, and there are some
spots covered with fragments of dolomite, on which there is not the
vestige even of a lichen. Many large boulders of greenstone were thrown
upon the N.W. point of Cape Parry. The islands in Darnley Bay, between
Capes Parry and Lyon, are composed of limestone.


From Cape Lyon to Point Tinney, the rocks forming the coast-line are
slate-clay, limestone, greenstone, sandstone, and calcareous

[Sidenote: 214] Near the extremity of Cape Lyon the _slate-clay_
predominates, occurring in straight, thin, bluish-gray layers, which are
interspersed with detached scales of mica. [Sidenote: 215] It sometimes
forms thicker slates, that are impregnated with iron, and occurs alone,
or interstratified in thin beds with a reddish, small-grained limestone.
The strata, in general, dip slightly to the N.E., and form
gently-swelling grounds, which at the distance of about fifteen miles to
the southward terminate in hills, named the Melville Range. These hills
are apparently connected with those which skirt the coast to the
westward of Parry's Peninsula, have rather a soft outline, and do not
appear to attain an altitude of more than seven or eight hundred feet
above the sea. Ridges of naked trap-rocks, which traverse the lower
country betwixt the Melville hills and the extremity of the Cape, rise
abruptly to the height of one hundred or one hundred and fifty feet, and
have, in general, an E.N.E. direction. When these trap ridges reach the
coast, they form precipices which frequently have a columnar structure,
and the nearly horizontal strata of slate-clay are generally seen
underlying the precipices. In many places the softer clay strata are
worn considerably away, and the columns of greenstone hang over the
beach. Columns of this description occur at the north-eastern extremity
of the Cape, and the slate-clay is not altered at its point of contact
with the greenstone. The soil in this neighbourhood is clayey, and some
small streams have pretty lofty and steep clayey banks; the shaly strata
appearing only at their base. A better sward of grasses and carices
exists at Cape Lyon, than is usual on those shores. Many boulders of
greenstone and large fragments of red sandstone strew the beach.

At Point Pearce, four or five miles to the eastward of Cape Lyon, a
reddish, small-grained limestone forms perpendicular cliffs two hundred
feet high, in which a remarkable cavern occurs. Near these cliffs the
slate-clay and reddish limestone are interstratified, and form a bold
rocky point, in which the strata dip to the N.E. at an angle of 20
degrees. The coast line becomes lower to the eastward, and at Point
Keats a fine-grained, flesh-coloured sandstone occurs. This sandstone is
quartzose, does not possess much tenacity, and is without any apparent

At Point Deas Thompson the limestone re-appears, having reddish-brown
and flesh-red colours, and a splintery fracture. There are some
beautiful Gothic arches formed in the cliffs there by the weathering of
the strata.

Five miles farther along the coast, near Roscoe River, the same kind of
limestone forms cliffs twenty-five feet high, and is covered by thin
layers of soft slate-clay. On the top of these cliffs we observed a
considerable quantity of drift-timber and some hummocks of gravel. The
spring tides do not rise above two feet. The Melville Range approaches
within three miles of the coast there, and presents a few short conical
summits, although the hills composing it are mostly round-backed.

[Sidenotes: 217, 218, 219] At Point De Witt Clinton, a compact
blackish-blue limestone, traversed by veins of calc-spar, forms a bed
thirty feet thick, which reposes on thin layers of a soft, compact,
light, bluish-gray limestone or marl. The cliffs at this place are
altogether about seventy feet high, but their bases were concealed by
accumulations of ice. Veins filled with compact and fibrous gypsum
traverse the upper limestone. Naked and barren ridges of greenstone,
much iron-shot, cross the country here, in the same manner as at Cape
Lyon. The soil consists of gravel and clay; the former mostly composed
of whitish magnesian limestone; and the vegetation is very scanty.

At Point Tinney, in lat. 69 degrees 20 minutes, cliffs of a calcareous
puddingstone, about forty feet high, extend for a mile along the coast.
The basis, in most of the beds, is calc-spar; but in some small layers
it is calcareous sand. The imbedded pebbles are smooth, vary in
magnitude, from the size of a pea to that of a man's hand, and are
mostly or entirely of chert, which approaches to calcedony, and, when
striped, to agate in its characters. Perhaps, much of the gravel which
covers the country is derived from the destruction of this conglomerate


From Point Clifton to Cape Hearne, the whole coast consists of a
formation of limestone precisely similar to that which occurs on Lake
Winipeg and Parry's Peninsula.

Dolomite, the prevailing rock in this formation, is generally in thin
layers, and has a light smoke-gray colour, varying occasionally to
yellowish gray, and buff. Its structure is compact, with little lustre,
except from facets of disseminated calc-spar. It sometimes passes into
milk-white chert, which forms beds. In some places the dolomite
alternates with cellular limestone, which is generally much impregnated
with quartz, and has its cavities powdered with crystals of that
mineral. No organic remains were observed in the strata, but fragments,
evidently derived from some beds of the formation, contained
orthoceratites, like those of Lake Huron. The strata, though nearly
horizontal, appear to crop out towards the north and east, forming
precipices about ten feet high, facing in that direction, and running
like a wall across the country. In many places, however, and
particularly at Cape Krusenstern, the strata terminate in magnificent
cliffs upwards of two hundred feet high, the country in the interior
remaining level. Mount Barrow is a small hill of limestone, of a
remarkable form, being a natural fortification surrounded by a moat. The
coast line is indented by shallow bays, and skirted by rocks and

In the whole country occupied by this formation, the ground is covered
with slaty fragments, sometimes to the depth of three feet or more.
These slates appear to have been detached from the strata they cover, by
the freezing of the water, which insinuates itself betwixt their layers.
At Cape Bexley, the fragments of dolomite cover the ground to the
exclusion of all other soil; and in a walk of several miles, I did not
see the vestige of a vegetable, except a small green scum upon some
stones that formed the lining of a pond which had dried up. In this
neighbourhood there are a number of straight furrows a foot deep, as if
a plough had been drawn through the loose fragments. After many
conjectures as to the cause of this phenomenon, I ascertained that the
furrows had their origin in fissures of the strata lying underneath.

At the commencement of this formation between Point Tinney and Point
Clifton, the coast is low, and a stream of considerable magnitude, named
Croker River, together with many rivulets, flow into the sea. Its
termination to the southward of Cape Hearne is also marked by a low
coast line, which is bounded by the bold rocky hills of Cape Kendall.


The beach between Cape Hearne and Cape Kendall is in some places
composed of slate-clay, and of a clay resembling wacke. Many large
boulders of greenstone occur there. Cape Kendall is a projecting rocky
point, about five or six hundred feet high, and nearly precipitous on
three sides, which are washed by the sea. On the north, its rocks
consist entirely of greenstone, but on the south side of the Cape the
greenstone in lofty columns reposes on thin-slaty beds of fine-grained,
bluish-gray limestone. Back's Inlet presents on each side a succession
of lofty precipitous headlands, which have the shape termed, by seamen,
"the gunner's quoin." Most of the islands and points near the mouth of
the Coppermine have this form, and are composed of trap rocks.
[Sidenote: 220] One of Cowper's islands on which we landed consists of
beds of greenstone cropping out like the steps of a stair.

A low ridge of greenstone exists at the mouth of the Coppermine river,
and from thence to Bloody-fall, a distance of ten miles, the country is
nearly level, with the exception of some low ridges of trap which run
through it. The channel of the river is sunk about one hundred and fifty
feet below the surrounding country, and is bounded by cliffs of
yellowish white sand, and sometimes of clay, from beneath which, beds of
greenstone occasionally crop out.

At Bloody-fall, a round-backed ridge of land, seven or eight hundred
feet high, crosses the country. It has a gentle ascent on the north, but
is steep towards the south. The river at the fall makes its way through
a narrow gap, whose nearly precipitous sides consist of tenacious clay,
the bed and immediate borders of the stream being formed of
greenstone.[45] From thence to the Copper Mountains, gently undulated
plains occur, intersected in various parts by precipitous ridges of trap
rocks, and the river flows in a narrow chasm, sunk about one hundred
feet below their level. A few miles above Bloody-fall, strata of light
gray clay-slate, dipping to the north-east, at an angle of 20 degrees,
support some greenstone cliffs on the banks of the river. [Sidenotes:
222, 223, 224] From this place to the Copper Mountains the rocks
observed in the ravines were a dark reddish-brown, felspathose
sandstone, and gray slate-clay, in horizontal strata, with greenstone
rising in ridges. The soil is sandy, and in many places clayey, with a
pretty close grassy sward. Straggling spruce trees begin to skirt the
banks of the river about eighteen or twenty miles from the sea.


The Copper Mountains rise perhaps eight or nine hundred feet above the
bed of the river, and at a distance, present a somewhat soft outline,
but on a nearer view they appear to be composed of ridges which have a
direction from W.N.W. to E.S.E. Many of the ridges have precipitous
sides, and their summits, which are uneven and stony, do not rise more
than two hundred, or two hundred and fifty feet above the vallies, which
are generally swampy and full of small lakes. The only rocks noticed
when we crossed these hills on the late journey, were clay-slate,
greenstone, and dark red sandstone, sometimes containing white
calcareous concretions, resembling an amygdaloidal rock. On our first
journey down the Coppermine River, we visited a valley where the Indians
had been accustomed to look for native copper, and we found there many
loose fragments of a trap rock, containing native copper, green
malachite, copper glance, and iron-shot copper green; also trap
containing greenish-gray prehnite with disseminated native copper,
which, in some specimens was crystallized in rhomboidal dodecahedrons.
Tabular fragments of prehnite, associated with calc-spar and native
copper, were also picked up, evidently portions of a vein, but we did
not discover the vein in its original repository. The trap-rock, whose
fragments strewed the valley, consists of felspar, deeply coloured by
hornblende. A few clumps of white spruce trees occur in the vallies of
the Copper Mountains, but the country is in general naked. The
Coppermine River makes a remarkable bend round the end of these hills.

After quitting the Copper Mountains, and passing a valley occupied by a
chain of small lakes in lat. 67 degrees 10 minutes, long. 116 degrees 45
minutes, we travelled over a formation whose prevailing rocks are
spotted sandstone and conglomerate, and which forms the _height of land_
betwixt Bear Lake and the Coppermine River. The ascent to this height
from the eastward is gradual, but the descent towards Bear Lake is more
rapid. The country is broken and hilly, though the height of the hills
above the sea is perhaps inferior to that of the Copper Mountains. The
vallies through which the small streams that water the country flow, are
narrow and deep, resembling ravines, and their sides are clayey. The
ground is strewed with gravel.

The _sandstone_ has very generally a purplish colour, with gray spots of
various magnitudes. It is fine grained, hard, has a somewhat vitreous
lustre and contains little or no disseminated mica.

The _conglomerate_ consists of oval pebbles of white quartz, sometimes
of very considerable magnitude, imbedded in an iron-shot cement. Many of
the pebbles appear as if they had been broken and firmly re-united
again. The conglomerate passes into a coarse sandstone.

Porphyry and granite form hills amongst the sandstone strata.

The _porphyry_ has a compact basis, like hornstone, of a dull brown
colour, which contains imbedded crystals of felspar and quartz, and
occasionally of augite. It forms some dome-shaped and short conical

The _granite_ is disposed in oblong ridges, with small mural precipices.
It has, generally, a flesh-red colour, and contains some specks of
augite, but little or no mica. The granite and porphyry were observed
only on the east side of the height of land, the brow of which, and its
whole western declivity, is formed of sandstone. Boulders of granite and
porphyry, precisely similar to the varieties which occur _in situ_ on
the height of land, are common on the beach at Fort Franklin, and on the
banks of the Mackenzie above Bear Lake.

To the westward of the height of land, the country on the banks of Dease
River is more level, and few rocks _in situ_ were seen, until within
five or six miles of Bear Lake, where the stream flows through a chasm,
whose sides are composed of a soft, fine-grained red sandstone, like
that which occurs in the vale of Dumfries, in Scotland. Several ravines
here have their sides composed of fine sand, inclosing fragments of soft

About three miles from the mouth of Dease River we came to a limestone
formation, which has been already noticed in the account of the
geological structure of the shores of Great Bear Lake.


The preceding part of the paper describing the rock formations which
were noticed on the route of the expedition from Great Slave Lake down
the Mackenzie along the shores of the Arctic Sea, the Coppermine, Great
Bear Lake, and Great Bear River, being a distance of three thousand
miles, I shall, by way of supplement, mention very briefly some of the
more southern deposits.

The first I have to speak of is the chain of primitive rocks to which I
have alluded in page 289, as extending for a very great distance in a
north-west direction, and inclining in the northern parts slightly
towards the Rocky Mountain Chain. Dr. Bigsby, in his account of the
geology of Lake Huron says, that "The primitive rocks on the northern
shores of that lake are part of a vast chain, of which the southern
portion, extending probably uninterruptedly from the north and east of
Lake Winipeg, passes thence along the northern shores of Lakes Superior,
Huron, and Simcoe, and after forming the granitic barrier of the
Thousand Isles, at the outlet of Lake Ontario, spreads itself largely
throughout the state of New York, and there joins with the Alleghanies,
and their southern continuations." It is not my intention to say any
thing further of the rocks in the districts of which Dr. Bigsby speaks,
although in travelling from the United States to Lake Winipeg the
expedition passed over them. That zealous geologist has already given,
in various publications, many interesting and accurate details of the
formations on the borders of the great lakes; an account of those which
lie some degrees farther to the north is inserted in the second volume
of the Geological Transactions,--and there are some notices of them in
the Appendix to the narrative of Captain Franklin's First Journey. My
object at present is, merely to trace the western boundary of the
primitive rocks in their course through the more northerly parts of the
American continent.

I have already quoted Sir Alexander Mackenzie's original and important
remark, of the principal lakes in those quarters being interposed
betwixt the primitive rocks and the secondary strata, lying to the
westward of them--Lake Winipeg is an instance in point. It is a long,
narrow lake, and is bounded throughout on its east side by primitive
rocks, mostly granitic, whilst its more indented western shore is formed
of horizontal limestone strata. The western boundary of the primitive
rocks, extending on this lake about two hundred and eighty miles, has
nearly a north-north-west direction. From Norway Point, at the north end
of the lake, to Isle à la Crosse, a distance of four hundred and twenty
miles in a straight line, the boundary has a west-north-west direction.
For two hundred and forty miles from Isle à la Crosse to Athabasca Lake,
the course of the primitive rocks is unknown to me; but from Athabasca
Lake to M'Tavish's Bay, in Great Bear Lake, a distance of five hundred
miles, their western edge runs about north-west-by-west, and is marked
by the Slave River, a deep inlet on the north side of Great Slave Lake,
and a chain of rivers and lakes, (including great Marten Lake,) which
discharge themselves into that inlet.

Captain Franklin on his voyage crossed this primitive chain nearly at
right angles to its line of direction, in proceeding from Hudson's Bay
to Lake Winipeg--it was there two hundred and twenty miles wide.

The hills composing the chain are of small elevation, none of them
rising much above the surrounding country. They have mostly rounded
summits, and they do not form continuous ridges; but are detached from
each other, by vallies of various breadth, though generally narrow, and
very seldom level. The sides of the hills are steep, often precipitous.
When the vallies are of considerable extent, they are almost invariably
occupied by a lake, the proportion of water in this primitive district
being very great; from the top of the highest hill on the Hill River,
which has not a greater altitude than six hundred feet, thirty-six lakes
are said to be visible. The small elevation of the chain may be inferred
from an examination of the map, which shows that it is crossed by
several rivers, that rise in the Rocky Mountains, the most considerable
of which are the Churchill and the Saskatchewan, or Nelson River. These
great streams have, for many hundred miles from their origin, the
ordinary appearance of rivers, in being bounded by continuous parallel
banks; but on entering the primitive district, they present chains of
lake-like dilatations, which are full of islands, and have a very
irregular outline. Many of the numerous arms of these expansions wind
for miles through the neighbouring country, and the whole district bears
a striking resemblance, in the manner in which it is intersected by
water, to the coast of Norway and the adjoining part of Sweden. The
successive dilatations of the rivers have scarcely any current, but are
connected to each other by one or more straits, in which the
water-course is more or less obstructed by rocks, and the stream is very
turbulent and rapid. The most prevalent rock in the chain is gneiss; but
there is also granite and mica-slate, together with numerous beds of
amphibolic rocks.


To the westward of the chain of primitive rocks, through a great part,
if not through the whole of its course, lies an extensive horizontal
deposit of limestone.

Dr. Bigsby, in the Geological Transactions, has described, in detail,
the limestone of Lake Huron, and is disposed to refer "the cavernous and
brecciated limestone of Michilimackinac to the magnesian breccia, which
is in England connected with the red marl;" whilst the limestones of St.
Joseph, and the northern isles, he considers as more resembling the
well-known formation of Dudley, in Staffordshire. The limestone of
Thessalon Isle, in which there occurs the remarkable species of
orthoceratite which he has figured, he describes as decidedly magnesian.
I observed this orthoceratite in the limestone strata of one of the
isles forming the passage of La Cloche in Lake Huron. The limestone
deposits of Lake Winipeg and Cape Parry exactly resemble that of La
Cloche in mineralogical characters, and in containing the same
orthoceratite which was also found by Captains Parry and Lyon at

The colour of the limestone of Lake Winipeg is very generally
yellowish-white, passing into buff, on the one hand, and into ash-gray
on the other. A reddish tinge is also occasionally observed. Much of it
has a flat fracture, with little or no lustre, and a fine-grained
arenacious structure. A great portion of it, however, is compact, and
has a flat conchoidal and slightly splintery fracture. This variety
passes into a beautiful china-like chert. [Sidenote: 1001, 1014] Many of
the beds are full of long, narrow vesicular cavities, which are lined
sometimes with calc-spar, but more frequently with minute crystals of
quartz. The beds of this formation seldom exceed a foot in thickness,
and are often very thin and slaty. The arenacious and cherty varieties
frequently occur in the same bed; sometimes they form distinct beds. The
softer kinds weather readily into a white marl, which is used by the
residents to whitewash their houses. Wherever extensive surfaces of the
strata were exposed, as in the channels of rivers, they were observed to
be traversed by rents crossing each other at various angles. The larger
rents, which were sometimes two yards or more in width, were however,
generally parallel to each other for a considerable distance.

Professor Jameson enumerates _terebratulæ_, _orthoceratites_,
_encrinites_, _caryophyllitæ_, and _lingulæ_, as the organic remains in
the specimens brought home by Captain Franklin on his first expedition.
Mr. Stokes and Mr. James De Carle Sowerby have examined those which we
procured on the last expedition, and found amongst them
_terebratulites_, _spirifers_, _maclurites_, and _corallines_. The
maclurites belonging to the same species, with specimens from Lakes Erie
and Huron, and also from Igloolik, are perhaps referrible to the
_Maclurea magna_ of Le Sueur. [Sidenote: 1015, 1019] Mr. Sowerby
determined a shell, occurring in great abundance in the strata at
Cumberland-house, about one hundred and twenty miles to the westward of
Lake Winipeg, to be the _Pentamerus Aylesfordii_.

The extent to the westward of the limestone deposit of Lake Winipeg is
not well known to me; but I have traced it as far up the Saskatchewan as
Carlton House, and its breadth there is at least two hundred and eighty
miles. For about one hundred miles below Carlton House, the river
Saskatchewan flows betwixt banks from one to two hundred feet in height,
consisting of clay or sand, and the beds of limestone are exposed in
very few places. The plains in the neighbourhood of Carlton abound in
small lakes, some of which are salt. The country which the Saskatchewan
waters for one hundred and ninety miles before it enters Lake Winipeg,
is of a different kind. It is still more flat than that about Carlton,
and is so little raised above the level of the river, that in the
spring-floods the whole is inundated, and in several places the river
sends off branches which reunite with it after a course of many miles.
In this quarter the soil is generally thin, and the limestone strata are
almost every where extensively exposed. To the southward of Cumberland
House, the Basquiau Hill has considerable elevation. I had not an
opportunity of visiting it; but in the flat limestone strata, near its
foot, there are salt springs, from which the Indians sometimes procure a
considerable quantity of salt by boiling; and there are several
sulphureous springs within the formation.

I observed no beds of conglomerate in it, and no sandstone associated
with it; but the extensive plains which lie betwixt Carlton House and
the Rocky Mountains are sandy, and beds of sandstone are said to be
visible in some of the ravines.

The line of contact of the limestone with the primitive rocks of Lake
Winipeg, is covered with water; but at the Dog's-Head, and near the
north end of Beaver Lake, they are exposed within less than a mile of
each other. To the southward of the Dog's-Head in Lake Winipeg, and in a
few other quarters, some schistose rocks, belonging to the transition
series, are interposed between the two formations.

Before quitting the formations of Lake Winipeg, I may remark, that the
height of that lake above the sea is perhaps equal to that of Lake
Superior, which is eight hundred feet.


The next formation I have to mention is one which appears to possess
most of the characters ascribed by German geologists to the zechstein.
It extends from the north side of the Methy carrying-place down the
Clearwater, Elk, and Slave Rivers, and along the south shore of Great
Slave Lake to the efflux of the Mackenzie. The line I have traced was
the route of the expedition, and is also very nearly that of the eastern
boundary of the limestone. Primitive rocks occur in Lake Mammawee,
Athabasca Lake, and on the Stony River; and on several parts of the
Slave River they are separated from the limestone only by the breadth of
the stream. On Great Slave Lake, the Stony Island, on the north-east
side of the mouth of Slave River, is composed of granite, whilst the
limestone strata are exposed at Fort Resolution on the south-west side.

[Sidenote: 1027, 1028] The limestone in this extensive tract is commonly
in thin and nearly horizontal beds, and much of it exactly resembles in
mineralogical characters the dolomite and chert of Lake Winipeg. It is
interstratified with thin beds of soft white marl; and in a few places
with a marly sandstone. Extensive beds of stinkstone also occur, and
many beds of limestone containing fluid bitumen in cavities. The bitumen
is in such quantity, in some quarters, as to flow in streams from
fissures in the rock; and in an extensive district, around Pierre au
Calumet on the Elk River, slaggy mineral pitch fills the crevices in the
soil, and may be collected in large quantities by digging a well.

A calcareous breccia also exists in various places, particularly on the
Slave River. Springs depositing from their waters sulphur, and sulphate
of lime, slightly mixed with sulphate of magnesia, muriate of soda, and
iron, are common and copious. A few miles to the westward of the Slave
River, there is a ridge of hills several miles long, and about two
hundred feet high, having several beds of compact, grayish gypsum
exposed on its sides. From the base of this hill there issue seven or
eight very copious, and many smaller springs, whose waters deposit a
great quantity of very fine muriate of soda by spontaneous evaporation.
The collected rivulets from these springs form a stream which is, at its
junction with the Slave River, sixty yards wide and eight or ten feet

[Sidenote: 1020 to 1026] The organic remains, in this deposit, according
a list kindly furnished by Mr. Sowerby, consist of _spirifers_,
[Sidenote: 1029 to 1032] one of which is the _spirifer acuta_; several
new _terebratulæ_, of which one resembles the _T. resupinata_, a
_cirrus_, some crinoidal remains, and corals.

At the union of Clearwater and Elk Rivers, the limestone beds are
covered to the depth of one hundred and fifty feet with bituminous

I have stated, that on Slave River this limestone formation succeeds
immediately to primitive rocks, but I am not acquainted with the rocks
that lie to the eastward of it on the Elk River. The traders report that
there are extensive deposits of sandstone on the eastern arm of the
Athabasca Lake, and, perhaps, these sandstones extend nearly to
Clearwater River. Sand covers the limestone on that river to the depth
of eight or nine hundred feet, and the fragments of sandstone in it are
large, numerous, and not worn.

The quantity of gypsum in immediate connection with extremely copious
and rich salt springs, and the great abundance of petroleum in this
formation, together with the arenacious, soft, marly, and brecciated
beds interstratified with the dolomite, and above all, the circumstance
of the latter being by far the most common and extensive rock in the
deposit, led me to think that the limestone of the Elk and Slave Rivers
was equivalent to the zechstein of the continental geologists. My
opinion, however, on this subject is, from a total want of practical
acquaintance with the European rock formations, of little weight; and
several eminent geologists are, after an examination of the organic
remains and mineralogical characters of the specimens brought home,
inclined to consider the formation as analogous to the carboniferous or
mountain-limestone of England.

As to the limestone formation of Lake Winipeg, I have no doubt of its
identity with that occurring in the islands at the passage of La Cloche,
in Lake Huron, and also with that at Cape Parry and at Cape Krusenstern,
on the coast of the Arctic Sea. It is probable, also, that these four
deposits belong to the same epoch with the limestone of Elk and Slave
Rivers, although they differ in containing little or no petroleum. It is
proper to mention, however adverse it may be to the opinion I have
ventured to hint at above, of these extensive horizontal deposits of
limestone being referable to the zechstein, that the limestone of Lake
Huron is generally considered as belonging to the mountain-limestone;
and Professor Jameson, from a review of the organic remains occurring in
the Lake Winipeg deposit, considered that it also belonged to that
formation. The formation of Cape Lyon may be, with less danger of a
mistake, referred to the transition or mountain-limestone.




[20] This was estimated by allowing one foot descent per mile for Bear
Lake River, whose length is seventy miles; and three inches per mile for
the descent of Mackenzie River, from the junction of the former river to
the sea, being a distance of five hundred miles.

[21] In our former journey, we sounded near the Rein-Deer Islands in
Slave Lake, with sixty-five fathoms line, without reaching the bottom.

[22] Section of the cliffs at Limestone Point--strata dipping to the


In the section the strata are represented much more inclined than they
really are.

231 Fine-grained, nearly compact, yellowish-gray dolomite, forming the
summit of the hill, but the first, or lowest stratum, in the language of

232 Compact, splintery dolomite, with a conchoidal fracture, and
wax-yellow colour--second stratum.

233 A cherty dolomite; containing calc-spar--third stratum.

234 Bluish-gray dolomite, traversed by calc-spar--is nearly compact, and
has an uneven, splintery fracture--forms the uppermost portion of the
fourth stratum.

235 Talcose? limestone, having a curved slaty structure, and containing
cherty portions--from the lower part of the fourth stratum.

236, 237 Earthy greenstone? forms the fifth stratum.

238 Brownish-red dolomite, with an uneven fracture; scarcely splintery.
It has a compact structure, and is intersected by veins of
calc-spar--from the sixth stratum.

239 Light yellowish gray dolomite, passing into chert--seventh stratum.

240, 241 Thin slaty beds of brownish-red dolomite, like 238--eighth

242 Bluish-white porcelain chert, sometimes mixed with red
dolomite--243--ninth stratum.

[23] _List of boulders gathered on the beach at Fort Franklin._

261 Coarse crystalline granite; felspar flesh-red in large crystals;
quartz gray; mica black.

262 Granite; felspar paler, and less distinctly crystallized; quartz in
small quantity, gray; mica blackish, and rather abundant.

263 Granite; felspar partly reddish, partly yellowish-white, quartz in
small grains; mica equalling the quartz in quantity, black.

264 Granite, fine-grained: quartz and felspar, white, the former nearly
transparent, black mica in small specks, garnets.

265, 268 Granite; quartz in regular crystals; mica blackish, in small

266 Granite? red felspar in large crystals; quartz gray; mica replaced
by chlorite?

267 Granite; felspar gray; chlorite? in small quantity.

269 Granite, small grained, passing into gneiss; reddish-brown felspar
and gray quartz, intimately mixed, and having in the aggregate, a
vitreous lustre; mica in layers.

270 Granite coarser grained than the preceding, containing more quartz;
the mica disseminated.

271, 273 Granite with little mica, some portions of the felspar tinged

272, 274, 275, 277, 278, 279, 280, Granite grayish and small grained
mica black.

276 Granite; brick-red felspar; quartz; and augite?--no mica.

The mica is mostly black in all the granite boulders that occur here,
the felspar most frequently reddish.

281 Porphyritic granite? felspar imperfectly crystallized, containing
large, imbedded crystals; quartz; and chlorite?

282 Granite? composed of felspar, of quartz, with, perhaps, a few minute
grains of chlorite?

283 Granite? contains little quartz, and a few scales of mica, with some

284 Sienite; felspar somewhat granular, a little quartz and chlorite?

285 Porphyritic sienite? having a basis of slightly granular felspar,
with light-coloured crystals of felspar, some quartz and disseminated
grains of chlorite?

286 Reddish-brown hornstone porphyry.

287 Crystalline greenstone.

288 Fine-grained greenstone.

289 Porphyritic greenstone.

290 Pitchstone porphyry.

291 Greenstone slate with pyrites.

292 Amygdaloidal claystone porphyry.

293 Compact grayish-blue dolomite.

294 Splintery dolomite.

295 Cellular dolomite.

296 Swinestone.

297 Limestone with corallines.

298 Chert.

299 White quartz.

300 Quartz-rock.

301 Coarse sandstone.

302 Fine-grained white sandstone.

303 Fine-grained red sandstone.

304 Fine-grained striped sandstone.

305 Fine-grained spotted sandstone.

306 Slaty sandstone verging towards slate-clay.

307 Dark-red claystone.

308 Light-coloured claystone.

[24] _List of Specimens from Diluvial Gravel, Fort Franklin._

1 Amphibolic granite, rather coarse crystalline, felspar flesh-red.

2 Ditto, approaching to gneiss.

3 Gneiss approaching to mica-slate, felspar white, and in small

4 Greenstone with much felspar and minute disseminated pyrites.

5 Quartz rock? having brownish and imperfect crystals, and a reddish
disintegrated mineral disseminated.

6 Brownish-red and fine granular quartz-rock, with a somewhat splintery
fracture. It has the aspect of compact felspar.

7 Quartz rock, reddish crystalline texture, and vitreous lustre, but
with small rounded grains imbedded in it, bringing it near to sandstone.

8 Coarse sandstone; rounded grains of quartz united by a clayey basis.

9 Fine-grained purplish sandstone, with grayish spots. This sandstone
occurs _in situ_ near the Copper Mountains, between Dease Bay and the
Coppermine River.

10 Fine-grained yellowish-white sandstone.

11 Yellowish-gray sandstone, composed of small rounded grains of quartz
united by a powdery white basis.

12 Yellowish-gray sandstone, composed of fine grains of vitreous quartz.

13 Sandstone, having different shades of brownish-red colour, in layers.

14 Lydian stone.

[25] Mr. Sowerby, who inspected all the specimens containing organic
remains, says of this species of ammonite, "it is, as far as I can
discover, new. It contains sulphate of barytes, and is probably
referrible to some of the Oolites near the Oxford clay." Although it was
found lying on the beach, I have no doubt of its having fallen from some
of the beds of clayey sandstone, which form the walls of the rapid.

[26] 33 This limestone appears as if composed of an aggregate of small
crystals, and presents many drusy cavities.

34 Is an adjoining bed of a similar colour, of a fine crystalline
texture, but without the drusy cavities. It appears to be a dolomite.
These two beds dip to the northward.

35, 36 Calcareous breccia. The two preceding beds (33 and 34) were from
the summit of the portion of the hill which forms the cliff, but taken a
little farther to the N.W. In the cliff the beds dip, as has been
stated, to the S.W. The following beds occur in going to the
north-westward, towards the summit of the highest peak, commencing near
its base, in a valley behind the cliff.

37 A fine-grained blackish-gray dolomite, having interspersed many
nodules of chert, or grayish-white quartz, not crystallized.

38 A very compact, opaque limestone, of a smoke-gray colour, having a
flat and slightly splintery fracture. Effervesces briskly.

39 Blackish-gray rather compact limestone, having a flat and dull
fracture, and intersected by small veins of calc-spar. This is a
prevalent stone in the hill, and also occurs in quantity in other
limestone ridges in the neighbourhood.

40 An ash-gray, fine-granular dolomite.

41 A conglomerate, forming the summit of the highest peak.

[27] 57 This breccia has a white calcareous basis, which incloses
angular fragments of compact, yellowish-gray limestone, with smooth dull

58 Grayish-white limestone, having a fine crystalline texture, with
drusy cavities, incrusted with bitumen.

59 Limestone, apparently composed of crystalline fragments, highly
charged with bitumen, cemented by a whitish carbonate of lime in minute
crystals. I could not satisfy myself whether this variety of colour
proceeded from partial impregnations of bitumen, or from a brecciated
structure. Specimens 58 and 59 were from beds near the western part of
the hill.

60 A fine-grained dolomite, approaching to compact, having a flat and
somewhat splintery fracture, and a brownish-gray colour.

61, 62 Limestone in the body of the hill, resembling No. 39 in the hill
at the rapid in Bear Lake River, but with larger veins of calc-spar.

63, 64 Dark blackish-brown bituminous shale, veined with calc-spar, and
passing into bituminous marl-slate. It contains nodules of iron pyrites.

65 Thin bed of indurated shale, approaching to flinty-slate, lying at
the foot of some beds of bituminous limestone. Their connection not
clearly made out.

66, 67, 68 Bluish-gray, fine-grained sandstone, some of them passing
into slate-clay, and scarcely to be distinguished from those at the
rapid in Bear Lake River. Capt. Franklin took these specimens from
horizontal beds at the foot of the hill facing Bear Lake River.

[28] Sir Alexander Mackenzie, in p. 95 of his Voyage to the Arctic Sea,
states, that he saw several small mineral springs running from the foot
of this mountain, and found lumps of iron ore on the beach.

[29] Travels in the Arkansa, p. 52-54.

[30] Section I.

  The section of the bank at the mouth of the Bear Lake River
  is as follows, beginning with the lowest bed:--

  81 Gravel, with thin layers of sand rising from the water's
       edge in a perpendicular cliff, to the height of           30 feet
     Lignite (70 to 80 and 84)                                    1
  83 Potter's clay of a bluish gray colour, alternating
       with layers of sand                                       40
     A sloping uneven brow, covered with soil, extends
       to the summit of the bank                                 20

Lydian stone is the most abundant, and whitish quartz the least so of
the pebbles mentioned in the text as entering into the composition of
the gravel.

[Sidenote: 82] A little farther up the Mackenzie, this bed of gravel
passes into sand, which, in some spots, has sufficient coherence to
merit for it the name of sandstone. During a great part even of the
summer season, all the beds of sand are frozen into a hard sandstone;
but a piece having been broken off and put into the pocket, speedily
thawed into sand.

[Sidenote: 83] Specimens of the clay, which I have denominated potter's
clay, taken from near the beds of lignite, have a colour intermediate
between yellowish-gray and clove-brown, a dull earthy fracture, and a
slightly greasy feel. It is not gritty under the knife, and acquires a
slightly shining smooth surface, adheres slightly to the tongue, and,
when moistened with water, assumes a darker colour, and becomes plastic.

Section II.

  About five miles above Bear Lake River, the cliff consists
  of Slaty sandstone evidently composed of the same materials
  with the friable kinds described in the text, but having
  tenacity enough to form a building stone. It incloses some
  seams of lignite                                               10 feet
  Lignite                                                         4-1/2
  Clay and Sand                                                  50
  Irregular slope from top of cliff to summit of bank            90

Section III.

  A little farther up the river than the preceding:--

  85 Pipe-clay on a level with the water                          1 foot
  86 Lignite                                                      1
  90 Potter's clay                                               14 feet
  87 Pipe-clay                                                    1 foot
  89 Lignite                                                      1
  91 Potter's clay                                               10 feet
     Lignite                                                      1 foot
     Sandstone                                                    8 feet
     Lignite                                                      2-1/2
     Potter's clay                                               10
  94 Friable sandstone and clay                                  20
     Sandstone a little more durable                             12
     Sloping Summit                                              40

The pipe-clay, when taken newly from the bed, is soft and plastic, has
little grittiness, and when chewed for a little time, a somewhat
unctuous but not unpleasant taste. When dried in the air it acquires the
hardness of chalk, adheres to the tongue, and has the appearance of the
whiter kinds of English pipe-clay, but is more meagre.

Section IV.

  A little above the preceding:--

  A precipitous bank of gravel                                   12 feet
  Lignite and clay, the beds concealed by debris                 40
  Friable sandstone                                              30
    Height of the cliff                                          82

Section V.

  Ten miles above Bear Lake River, at the junction of a small torrent
  with the Mackenzie, there is a cliff about forty feet high, in which
  the strata have a dip of sixty degrees to the southward.

  98 Bed, No. 1  Porcelain clay                                 2 yards
              2  Potter's clay slightly bituminous
  99          3  Thin-slaty lignite, with two seams of          2-1/2
  100, 101       clay-iron stone, an inch thick
              4  Pipe clay, (nine inches)                         1/4
  104         5  Porcelain clay                                 3
  105         6  Bituminous clay                                3
  106         7  Lignite, with a conchoidal fracture            2
              8  Pipe clay                                        1/4
  107         9  Porcelain clay                                 3
             10  Bituminous clay                                3
  110        11  Lignite, earthy paste, enclosing               2
                 fibrous fragments
             12  Porcelain earth                             }
             13  Bituminous clay                             }  9
             14  Porcelain earth                             }
                                                               31 yards.

The three last beds it is probable, once inclosed seams of coal which
have been consumed, but the quantity of debris prevented this from being
ascertained satisfactorily during the hurried visit I paid to them.

[Sidenote: 108] Over these inclined beds there is a shelving and
crumbling cliff of sand and clay covered by a sloping bank of vegetable
earth. A layer of peat at the summit has a thin slaty structure, and
presents altogether, except in colour and lustre, a striking resemblance
to the shaly lignite, forming bed No. 3 in the preceding Section.

104, 98. The substance composing beds Nos. 1 and 5, which I have
denominated Porcelain clay, has a fine, granular texture, and the
appearance of some varieties of chalk. It adheres slightly to the
tongue, yields readily to the nail, is meagre, and soils the fingers
slightly. There are many specks of coaly matter disseminated through it,
and some minute scales of mica, and perhaps of quartz. When moistened
with water, it becomes more friable, and is not plastic. It does not
effervesce with acids.

Bed No. 9 is the same mineral that forms beds 1 and 5; but it has a
grayer colour from the greater quantity of coaly particles, and its
structure is slightly slaty.

The bituminous clay of bed No. 6, has a thick-slaty structure, a
grayish-black colour, and a shining resinous streak. It is sectile, but
does not yield to the nail. Pieces of lignite occur imbedded in it, and
it is traversed by fibrous ramifications of carbonaceous matter.

Specimens 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, are of substances altered by contact
with beds of burning coal.

[31] See Page 50 of the Narrative.

[32] Noticed in page 267.

[33] List of specimens, collected by Captain Franklin, on the sea-coast,
to the westward of the Mackenzie.

_From Mount Fitton in the Richardson Chain._

344 Grauwacke-slate in columnar concretions, detached from the rocky
strata by an Esquimaux.

348 Grauwacke-slate, resembling the preceding, from the same place. Used
by the Esquimaux as a whetstone.

345, 346 Globular balls of dark, blackish-gray, splintery limestone, and
of flinty-slate, traversed by minute veins of calc-spar. Picked up at
the base of the mountain.

347 Worn pebbles of quartz, lydian stone, splintery limestone, and
grauwacke, from the same spot.

349 Fine-grained, mountain-green clay-slate, approaching to potstone;
quarried by the Esquimaux in the Cupola Mountain of the same chain, and
used to form utensils.

350 Rock-crystal from the same chain of mountains.

_From the beach between Point Sabine and Point King._

351 Brown-coal, woody structure scarcely perceptible. There are beds of
this coal in the earthy cliffs where the party was encamped on the 13th
and 14th July near Point King.

352 Clay-iron stone, forming boulders in the channels of the rills,
which cut the earthy banks containing coal.

353, 354 Pitch-coal, having a fibrous structure and a very beautiful
fracture, presenting a congeries of circles. (This coal was recognised
by Professor Buckland to be a tertiary pitch-coal, and is precisely
similar to specimens brought from the upper branches of the
Saskatchewan, by Mr. Drummond: see page 284.) The specimen was picked up
from the gravelly beach at the mouth of the Babbage River.

355 Greenish-gray limestone, with a somewhat earthy granular aspect;
containing shells which Mr. Sowerby considers to be very like the
_cyclas medius_ of the Sussex weald-clay. Picked up at the same place
with the preceding specimen.

Captain Franklin remarks, that "the Babbage flows between the mountains
of the Richardson Chain, and that there were no solid strata nor any
large boulders near its mouth. The gravel consisted of pebbles of red
and white sandstone, slaty limestone, greenstone, and porphyry, much
worn by attrition."

_From Mount Conybeare, in the Buckland Chain._

356 Greenish-gray grauwacke slate, (resembling No. 348,) with specks of
effervescent carbonate of lime. The surfaces of the slates exhibit
interspersed scales of mica. The specimens were broken from the summit
of Mount Conybeare, at the western extreme of the Buckland Chain:
latitude 69 degrees 27 minutes, longitude 139 degrees 53 minutes west.

358 Fine-grained grauwacke-slate in columnar concretions, from the same
place with specimen 356.

357 Grauwacke-slate, in thick slaty columnar concretions, besprinkled
with scales of mica. Taken from a bed about the middle of Mount
Conybeare. The resemblance of this stone to that of Mount Fitton (No.
344) is very remarkable.

360 Similar rock to 358, with an adhering portion of a vein of
crystallized quartz, and on one side a bit of bluish-gray slate. From
the middle of Mount Conybeare.

359 Columnar concretion of a slaty rock, like 356, but more quartzose,
breaking into rhomboidal fragments. From the middle of Mount Conybeare.

361, 362 Grauwacke-slate, with a thin adhering vein of carbonate of lime
and numerous particles of disseminated mica. From the middle of Mount

363 Bluish-gray grauwacke-slate, resembling Nos. 348 and 344. From the
Upper Terrace, at the base of Mount Conybeare.

364 Dark-bluish gray and very fine-grained grauwacke-slate, with a
glimmering lustre, traversed by a vein of quartz. From the same place.

365 A thick-slaty angular concretion of a very quartzose
grauwacke-slate, (similar to Nos. 348 and 358,) decomposed on the
surface and breaking into rhomboidal fragments. From the middle Terrace
at the base of Mount Conybeare.

366 A somewhat rhomboidal portion of flinty-slate, apparently part of a
bed. From the Lower Terrace of Mount Conybeare, which is composed of
this rock. The terrace is ten miles distant from the sea-coast, and the
intervening ground is swampy.

The whole series of specimens from Mount Conybeare, (Nos. 356 to 366,)
appear to belong to transition rocks; and the continuity of the
formation with that of Mount Fitton is rendered probable, both by the
resemblance of the specimens and the geographical situation of the

Captain Franklin saw no rocks, _in situ_, on the coast to the westward
of the Richardson Chain; but he gathered boulders of the following rocks
from the bed of the Net-setting Rivulet, which flows from the British
Chain of the Rocky Mountains, and falls into the Arctic Sea, between Sir
P. Malcolm River and Backhouse River.

367 Greenstone; 368, yellowish-gray sandstone; 369, dark-coloured
splintery-limestone; 370, 371, 372, dolomite; 373, quartzose sandstone,
like the old red sandstone; 374, grauwacke-slate; 375, quartz and iron

Boulders of the under-mentioned rocks were gathered on Flaxman Island.

378 Fine-grained, greenish clay-slate, obviously of primitive rock,
abundant in the neighbourhood, and supposed to have been brought down by
the rivulets which flow from the Romanzoff Chain. 379, quartz.

376 and 377 were from Foggy Island, and are rolled specimens of
flinty-slate; one of them containing corallines.

[34] Page 268.

[35] 134. These specimens have a wood-brown colour internally, and
appear to be composed of minute grains of quartz, variously coloured,
white, yellowish-brown and black, cemented together by an earthy basis.
It is a hard and apparently durable stone, occurring in layers an inch
thick, and having its seam-surfaces of a grayish-black colour, with
little lustre, as if from a thin coating of bituminous clay.

135, are specimens of a more compact, harder, and finer-grained
quartzose sandstone, with less cement, and of a deeper bluish-gray

[36] Mackenzie attempted to ascend this hill, but was compelled to
desist by clouds of musquitoes, (July 6th, 1789. _Voyage to the Arctic
Sea_, p. 40.)

136 This limestone effervesces strongly with acids, breaks into
irregular fragments, but with an imperfect slaty structure, and has a
brown colour, with considerable lustre in the cross fracture.

The specimens collected by Captain Franklin were as follows:--

144a Sandstone of an ash-gray colour, composed of rounded grains of
semi-transparent quartz of various sizes, imbedded in a considerable
proportion of a powdery basis which effervesces with acids. This bed
weathers readily.

145 Thick-slaty sandstone passing into slate-clay, having a very
fine-grained earthy fracture, and a light bluish-gray colour. It is very
similar to some of the softer sandstones that occur in the coal field at
Edinburgh, particularly in the Calton Hill.

146 Sectile ash-gray slate-clay which forms the partings of the beds.

144b Bluish-gray marl, impregnated with quartz, forming a moderately
hard stone, and containing corallines (_amplexus_.)

[37] _Upper part of the ramparts._

148 A fine-granular, foliated limestone, of a white colour, having large
patches stained yellowish-brown, apparently by bitumen.

149 A yellowish-gray slightly granular limestone, with disseminated

150 Compact, white limestone, which, when examined with a lens, appears
to be entirely composed of madrepores.

151 Specimens of limestone, having a crystalline texture, a brownish
colour and slaty structure.

152 The seams are dark, as if from the carbonaceous matter--portions of
this bed have the appearance of old mortar; but contain obscure

_From the middle of the ramparts._

153 Fine-granular limestone, having a pale, wood-brown colour, and a
splintery fracture. It resembles the limestone of the hill at the mouth
of Bear Lake River.

154 Pale yellowish-brown limestone, with a dull fracture, but
interspersed with small, shining, sparry plates, and traversed by
concretions of calc-spar, that appear to have originated in corallines.

155 Yellowish-gray limestone, passing into a soft marl slate.

156 Some beds contain a shell, which Mr. Sowerby refers, though with
doubt, to the species named terebratula sphæroidalis, a fossil of the
cornbrash. The substance of the shells is preserved.

Some of the specimens contain _producti_, and fragments of the coral
named _amplexus_.

_Lower end of the ramparts._

157 Fine-grained limestone, of a dark-brown colour, containing some
small, round, smooth balls of dark limestone--occurs in horizontal

158 Brownish-black flinty-slate, which forms a layer an inch thick, and
covers the horizontal beds of limestone last mentioned. (157.)

[38] _Specimens from the cliffs in lat. 66-3/4 degrees._

159 Very fine-grained sandstone, with much clayey basis--portions of the
bed iron-shot.

160 Sandstone fine-grained, and appearing, when examined with a lens, to
be composed of minute grains of whitish translucent quartz, black Lydian
stone, and ochre-coloured grains, probably of disintegrated felspar.

161 Rounded grains of nearly transparent quartz united without
cement--this stone is friable.

162 Sandstone composed of grains like the preceding, united by a basis,
and forming a firmer stone.

163 Hard, thin, slaty, bluish-gray sandstone, much iron-shot.

164 Fine-grained, bluish-gray sandstone, not to be distinguished in
hand-specimens from some of the sandstones which occur at the rapid in
Bear Lake River.

[39] _Horizontal limestone beds lying under the sandstone._

166 Fine-grained limestone, with an earthy fracture, coloured brown and
grayish-white in patches.

167, 168 Similar stone to preceding, containing many shells. Some beds
contain only broken shells.

169 Bed of imperfectly crystalline limestone, of a brownish-gray colour,
traversed by veins of calc-spar.

170 Fragments containing madrepores and chain coral--occur amongst the
debris of the limestone cliffs.

[40] _Sandstone cliffs twenty miles below Fort Good Hope._

173 Friable sandstone, composed of grayish-white quartz, in smooth,
rounded grains, cemented by a brownish basis. Some carbonaceous matter
is interspersed through the stone, and it contains small fragments of
bituminous shale.

174 Calcareous sandstone passing into slate-clay--bluish-gray colour.

175 Black, flinty-slate, with a flat conchoidal cross fracture. Some of
the pieces appear to be rhomboidal distinct concretions.

176 Dull, flinty-slate, with an even fracture.

178 Thin-slaty blackish-gray sandstone, much indurated, containing
scales of mica.

179, 180 Bluish-gray sandstone, containing many minute specks of
carbonaceous matter; also, in patches, grains of chert, and
flinty-slate, and imbedded pieces of iron-shot clay, which has obscure
casts of shells. Scales of mica are interspersed through this stone.

181, 182 Sandstone containing specks of bituminous? coal, and casts of
some vegetable? substance.

183 Gray limestone, much impregnated with quartz, and having an
imperfect crystalline structure.

[41] Mackenzie notices the precipices of "gray stone," which bound the
river here, p. 71.

[42] See page 288.

[43] Specimens from Sellwood Bay.

202 Fine-grained dark brownish-gray dolomite, with corallines filled
with white calc-spar.

203 Lucullite grayish-black, compact, and without lustre.

204 Gray dolomite.

205 A rolled piece, evidently of the same rock with the preceding,
containing the impression of a _cardium_.


[44] Specimens from the Promontory of Cape Parry, which rises into a
hill, seven hundred feet high. Strata dipping lightly to the northward.

207 Yellowish-gray dolomite, imperfectly crystalline, being similar to
the limestone of Lake Winipeg.

208 Brownish dolomite impregnated with silica.

209 Thin-slaty, gray limestone. Very common also in Lake Winipeg.

210, 211 Boulders of dolomite.


213 Brown dolomite, with drusy cavities and veins, lined by calc-spar.

[45] In the geological notices appended to the narrative of Captain
Franklin's Journey to the Coppermine, I have termed this rock a dark
purplish-red felspar rock. On examining it again on this journey, I
perceived it to be a greenstone, whose surfaces weather of a rusty brown

Transcriber's Notes:

The original makes extensive use of sidenotes, and several sidenotes
are often associated with a single paragraph, especially within the
final chapter. Because of this, inline sidenotes have been used and
are positioned as close to the relevant passage as was possible during

Old spellings are retained, e.g. musquitoes, felspar, Esquimaux,
kaiyacks, imbedded, incloses, inclosing, inquiry, inquiries, moveable,
incrusted, trowsers, bivouack, referrible, teazing. Both vallies and
valleys are used interchangably and this has not altered. Names with
suffixes "Mc" or "Mac" written as "M'" throughout text; this convention
is retained. Only printer's errors have been corrected.

"A.M." and "P.M." are shown without an internal space--spaces have been
removed where they were present in manuscript. Usage was inconsistent,
perhaps to better justify text. Internal spaces have also been removed
from initials such as R.N., F.R.S., K.G., &c., to improve rewrap
behaviour. Decimal points were locally denoted by commas. This
convention is replaced by standard decimal point notation throughout.
Degree, minute and second have been spelled out, replacing symbols in
the original.

Lengthy quotations were denoted by a leading quotation mark in the first
column of each line. They are replaced with standard opening and closing
quotation marks for each quoted passage.

Italic text is surrounded by _underscores_. Greek letters are only used
in a single paragraph concerning astronomy on page 244 and have been
written as their English names. Small caps have been rendered as upper
case. The oe ligature symbol in the original is represented by oe in
this text.

"Dog-Rib" Indians were sometimes referred to as "Dog-rib".  Usage is now
"Dog-Rib" throughout.

Specific corrections made to text follow. Note that examples are given
after a colon and are the corrected text. All other printer's errors

  Page    Comment
  14,51,79 "water-proof" changed to "waterproof".
  16      "depot" changed to "depôt".
  17      "Hudsons's Bay Company" corrected to "Hudson's Bay Company".
          "bat-/teau" corrected to "bateau" to be consistent with rest
            of text.  Typo was across end of line hyphen.
  24      "Hudson's Bay-Company" corrected to "Hudson's Bay Company".
  25      "was dragged by other eight men" corrected to "was dragged by
            another eight men".
  26      "Riviere" corrected to "Rivière".
          "Hudson" corrected to "Hudson's".
  27      "or" corrected to "on": "live on dried provision".
  28      "depend" corrected to "depends".
  29      "chace" corrected to "chase". Whilst both forms are acceptable
            for the time, both were used in the book.  The change makes
            everything consistent. See also page 65.
          "of" inserted: "under the roof of our hospitable friend".
  30      "Winnipeg" corrected to "Winipeg" to be consistent with rest
            of manuscript.
  32,51   "northwest" corrected to "north-west" for consistency.
  34      "eastermost" corrected to "easternmost".
  39,53,65,96,202 "day-light" changed to daylight".
  42      "sandbanks" changed to "sand-banks" for consistency with rest
            of manuscript.
  48,51   "rein deer" corrected to "rein-deer" twice on this page to
          be consistent with rest of manuscript.
  52,299  "lydianstone" corrected to "lydian-stone".
  49      "Rocky mountains" capitalised to "Rocky Mountains".
  52      "occurence" corrected to "occurrence".
  53      "chissel" changed to "chisel": "ice-chisel".
          Inserted comma after "ice-chisel" to correct list punctuation.
  54      "Cannon-shot" changed to "Cannon-Shot" for consistency in
            place name "Cannon-Shot Reach".
  56      "where-ever" across end of line changed to "wherever" twice on
            this page.
  62      "skreening" amended to "screening": "screening us from the
  65      "bag-pipes" to "bagpipes".
          "chace" corrected to "chase".
  70      "Chepewyan" corrected to "Chipewyan".
          "invariable" corrected to "invariably": "the needle almost
            invariably remained stationary".
  77      "temperature in the shade +8 degrees 5 minutes": odd use of
            minutes noted. It is not immediately obvious what is
  80      "dimunition" corrected to "diminution".
  83      "canvass" corrected to "canvas": "waterproof canvas".
  88      "aud" corrected to "and": "iron-work, knives, and beads".
  92      "northeast" changed to "north-east".
  94      "Francois" changed to "François".
          "westermost" changed to "westernmost".
  95      "36' N" changed to "36' N.".
  101     "mall" corrected to "small": "so small a number".
  109     "mases" to "masses": "the larger masses".
  111     "Copper-mine" to "Coppermine": "the Coppermine River".
          "tatoed" to "tattoed": "men being tattoed".
  112,119,130,132,172,173,190 "oomiacks" changed to "oomiaks".
  115     "Rocky mountains" capitalised to "Rocky Mountains".
  117     "liittle" to "little": "our little friend".
  122     "seperated" corrected to "separated".
  124     "ancle" amended to "ankle".
  126     "Dip" made lower-case "dip" since mid-sentence.
  129     "British chain" changed to "British Chain" for consistency.
  132     "visiters" corrected to "visitors".
          "oomiack" corrected to "oomiak".
  132,148,152,190 "oomiack" corrected to "oomiak".
  146     "ice chissel" changed to "ice-chisel".
  147     "and the main, that when" changed to "and the main than when"
            to correct typos.
  148     "Humphreys" changed to "Humphrys" to be consistent.
  156     "Capitalised start of sentence: "be killed? You are active".
          Added closing quotation marks after "depart instantly".
  157     "hair skins" changed to "hare skins" since "their dress
            consisting principally of hare skins" is noted on page 247.
  160     Degree symbol used instead of minute symbol. Correct form:
            "latitude 69 deg 34 min & 69 deg 44 min N."
  163     Comma changed to full-stop since it occurs at end of sentence:
            "white spruce trees. Our voyage amongst these".
  166     "Richard's" changed to "Richards'" since the governor was John
            Baker Richards.
          "island" changed to "Island": "Richards' Island".
  167     Comma changed to full-stop since it occurs at end of sentence:
            "intimidation and extortion. When the interview".
          "kaiyaks" changed to "kaiyacks".
  173     "harassing" changed to "harrassing".
  174     It is unclear whether these Eskimo words were meant to have oe
            or ae. The printer seems to have used the oe ligature
            indifferently for ae, as sometimes happened at this period.
            Cf. sertulariæ p. 179 etc. And the only such word in
            non-italic has ae: Narrakazzæ p. 266. At any rate, later
            writers certainly seem to have read them all as oe.
          "peechaw-ooloo" has a macron (overscore) diacritical mark on
            its final letter; this has been omitted.
  177     "ice-bergs" changed to "icebergs".
  180     "Wednesday 12th" changed to "Wednesday, 12th" to be consistent
            with other sidenotes.
  184     "grounded-ice" amended to "grounded ice".
  185     "K'Kinley" corrected to "M'Kinley": "Captain George M'Kinley".
  189     "sine" changed to "side".
  190     "ecstacy" changed to "ecstasy".
          "their wide boots" changed to "their wide hoods", cf. pp. 44,
  195     "head-land" changed to "headland".
  199     "preservance" corrected to "perseverance".
          "from" changed to "form": "those which form its western".
  200     "short-voyage" changed to "short voyage".
          Comma changed to full-stop since it occurs at end of sentence:
            "south-east direction. We landed a little to the eastward".
  202     "head-lands" changed to "headlands".
          "day-light" changed to daylight".
  204     "closenes" corrected to "closeness".
  207     "lime-stone" corrected to "limestone".
  208     "deers-meat" corrected to "deer-meat".
  211     "semed" corrected to "seemed": "seemed to contain".
  214     "lime-stone" corrected to "limestone".
  225     "several of of them" changed to "several of them". Word was
            repeated across end of line.
          "dimunition" corrected to "diminution": "suffered some
  226     Comma changed to full-stop since it occurs at end of sentence:
            "on their route to Bear Lake. The ridges of hill".
  227     "ecstacy" corrected to "ecstasy".
  230     "68" changed to "66": 3 days ago they were at 67° 10', heading
            SW; the northernmost point of Great Bear Lake is at about
  232     "Thursday 24th" changed to "Thursday, 24th" to be consistent with
            other sidenotes.
          "I I therefore embarked" changed to "I therefore embarked";
            repeat was across line break.
  237     "Krusensten" changed to "Krusenstern" since the latter is used
            in the rest of the text.
  240     "indvalids" corrected to "invalids".
  244     "extrordinary" corrected to "extraordinary"
          "Corona" corrected to "Coronæ".
  245     "+30.5 degrees." changed to "+30.5 degrees,".
  246     "re-appearance" corrected to "reappearance".
  257     "house changed to "House".
  261     "depots" changed to "depôts".
  268     "sulphat" corrected to "sulphate": "crystals of sulphate of
  271     "moses" corrected to "mosses": "is covered a foot deep, or
            more, by mosses".
  274     "off" corrected to "of": "at the bottom of the cliff".
  278     "sandsone" corrected to "sandstone".
  279     "sand-stones" corrected to "sandstones".
          "oscasionally" corrected to "occasionally".
  280     "clay-stone" to "claystone".
  283     "long;" changed to "long.;".
  284     "formation" corrected to "formations": "similar formations
            which occupy".
  285     "limetone" corrected to "limestone".
  290     "swells gently into a hill several feet high"; should this be
            "several hundred feet high"?
          "Horn Mountain" changed to "Horn Mountains".
          "sienities" changed to "sienites".
  293     "in some, reaches" changed to "in some reaches,".
          Footnote 36: "very-fine grained" changed to "very fine-grained.
  295     "specifind" corrected to "specified".
          "sphoeroidalis" corrected to "sphæroidalis".
          "corbrash" corrected to "cornbrash".
  296     Removed spurious opening quotation mark before "ramparts",
            thereby balancing quotation marks.
  297     "terrebratula" corrected to "terebratula".
  303     "coasted" changed to "coated".
  308     "othoceratites" changed to "orthoceratites".
  318     "Sowbery" changed to "Sowerby".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea" ***

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