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Title: Round About the North Pole
Author: Gordon, W. J.
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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                              ROUND ABOUT
                             THE NORTH POLE

[Illustration: "DONE UP"]


                              ROUND ABOUT
                             THE NORTH POLE

                            BY W. J. GORDON

                           BY EDWARD WHYMPER

                                NEW YORK
                        E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY
                      31 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET

                       _Printed in Great Britain_


Among the many books about the Polar regions there is none quite like
this, dealing with the gradual progress of exploration towards the north
along the different areas of advance within the Arctic Circle.

The subject is always interesting, for few regions have been the scene
of more persistent effort and exciting adventure and unexpected gains
from the unknown, particularly in the earlier days when the endeavour to
find the northern passages to the east and west led to the beginning of
our foreign trade.

It is often asked, "What is the use of further Arctic discovery?" No one
knows. Nor did any one know the use of most discoveries before they were

When Eric landed in Greenland he was not in search of cryolite for
aluminium. When Cabral sailed to Porto Seguro he knew nothing of the
incandescent gas-mantle. When Oersted looped the live wire round the
magnetic needle he was not bent on founding electrical engineering. And
when Linnæus noticed the sleep of plants he had no intention of
providing a substitute for a clock in high latitudes where, though the
sunshine is continuous during the summer, the plants within the Circle
sleep as in the night time, their sleeping leaves telling the traveller
that midnight is at hand.

Men have made up their minds to reach the Pole, and thither they will
go. What they will find when they get there may not promise to be much,
but what they have found round about it has been enough to influence
considerably the history of the world.

                                                                W. J. G.

 _July, 1907._


                               CHAPTER I

                     SPITSBERGEN                  1

                               CHAPTER II

                     SPITSBERGEN (_continued_)   24

                              CHAPTER III

                     NOVAYA ZEMLYA               49

                               CHAPTER IV

                     FRANZ JOSEF LAND            64

                               CHAPTER V

                     CAPE CHELYUSKIN             84

                               CHAPTER VI

                     THE LENA DELTA             106

                              CHAPTER VII

                     BERING STRAIT              127

                              CHAPTER VIII

                     THE AMERICAN MAINLAND      146

                               CHAPTER IX

                     THE PARRY ISLANDS          170

                               CHAPTER X

                     BOOTHIA                    190

                               CHAPTER XI

                     BAFFIN BAY                 215

                              CHAPTER XII

                     SMITH SOUND                235

                              CHAPTER XIII

                     GREENLAND                  259

                     INDEX                      287

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 "DONE UP"                                                _Frontispiece_

      From Nansen's _First Crossing of Greenland_

                                                            TO FACE PAGE

 THE SUMMIT OF ORAEFA                                                  2

      From a photograph

 COLUMBUS                                                              4

      From the portrait at Versailles

 SAMOYEDS AND THEIR DWELLINGS                                         10

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans)

 FRANZ JOSEF FIORD                                                    14

      From a drawing by Lieutenant Julius Payer

 WHALERS AMONG ICEBERGS                                               30

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans)

 SIR JOHN FRANKLIN                                                    34

      From _Le Tour du Monde_, 1860 (Hachette)

 TRACK OF H.M.S. "DOROTHEA" AND "TRENT"                               36

      From _A Voyage of Discovery towards the North Pole,
        performed in His Majesty's Ships "Dorothea" and
        "Trent," under the command of Capt. David Buchan,
        R.N., 1818_, by Capt. F. W. Beechey, R.N., F.R.S.
        (Richard Bentley, 1843.)

 PARRY CAMPED ON THE ICE                                              40

      From Captain Parry's _Narrative_, 1828 (Murray)

 PARRY'S BOATS AMONG THE HUMMOCKS                                     42

      From Captain Parry's _Narrative_, 1828 (Murray)

 HOW OUR SHIP STUCK FAST IN THE ICE                                   50

      From _A True Description_, by Gerrit de Veer
        (Hakluyt Society, 1853)


      From _A True Description_, by Gerrit de Veer
        (Hakluyt Society, 1853)

 ADOLF ERIK NORDENSKIÖLD                                              90

      From a photograph

 FRIDTJOF NANSEN                                                      96

      With autograph. From a photograph supplied by

 REINDEER                                                            112

      By permission. From _Short Stalks_, by Edward
        Buxton (Stanford)

 SAMOYED MAN                                                         114

      From Seebohm's _Siberia in Asia_ (Murray)

 OSTIAK MAN                                                          116

      From Seebohm's _Siberia in Asia_ (Murray)

 THE FACE OF THE FUR SEAL                                            130

      From _The Seal Islands of Alaska_, by Henry W.
        Elliott (Washington, 1881)

 THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS                                                132

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans). From an
        original Sketch by Frederick Whymper

 DRIVING THE FUR SEAL                                                134

      From _The Seal Islands of Alaska_, by Henry W.
        Elliott (Washington, 1881)

 FUR SEALS AT SEA                                                    136

      From _The Seal Islands of Alaska_, by Henry W.
        Elliott (Washington, 1881)

 THE PARKA OF THE ALASKAN INNUITS                                    138

      From Whymper's _Alaska_ (Sampson Low)

 THE FROZEN YUKON                                                    140

      From Whymper's _Alaska_ (Sampson Low)

 ASCENDING THE YUKON                                                 142

      From Whymper's _Alaska_ (Sampson Low)

 MOOSE-HUNTING ON THE YUKON                                          144

      From Whymper's _Alaska_ (Sampson Low)

 MAHLEMUT MAN                                                        146

      From Whymper's _Alaska_ (Sampson Low)

 WINTER TRAVELLING ON THE GREAT SLAVE LAKE                           150

      From Franklin's _Journey to the Polar Sea_, 1819-22
        (Murray, 1823)

 CROSSING POINT LAKE                                                 152

      From Franklin's _Journey to the Polar Sea, 1819-22_
        (Murray, 1823)

 KUTCHIN INDIANS                                                     154

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans). From an
        original sketch by Frederick Whymper


      From Franklin's _Journey to the Polar Sea, 1819-22_
        (Murray, 1823)

 SIR JOHN RICHARDSON                                                 158

      With autograph, from a letter in the possession of
        Edward Whymper

 BACK'S JOURNEY DOWN THE GREAT FISH RIVER                            160

      From Back's _Arctic Land Expedition to the mouth of
        the Great Fish River in the years 1833, 1834, and
        1835_ (Murray, 1836)

 SIR WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY                                            170

      With autograph, from a letter in the possession of
        Edward Whymper

 SIR JOHN BARROW                                                     178

      With autograph

 H.M.S. "HECLA" AND "GRIPER" IN WINTER HARBOUR                       180

      From _A Voyage for the Discovery of a North-west
        Passage_, by Capt. Parry (Murray, 1821)

 PARRY'S DISCOVERIES ON HIS FIRST VOYAGE                             182

      From _A Voyage for the Discovery of a North-west
        Passage_, by Captain Parry (Murray, 1821)

 AN IGLOOLIK ESKIMO CARRYING HIS KAYAK                               190

      From Parry's _Second Voyage_ (Murray, 1824)

 PARRY'S FARTHEST ON HIS THIRD VOYAGE                                192

      From Parry's _Third Voyage_ (Murray, 1826)

 THE "VICTORY"                                                       194

      From Sir J. Ross's _Arctic Expedition, 1829-33_
        (Webster, 1835)

 NORTH HENDON                                                        196

      From Sir J. Ross's _Arctic Expedition, 1829-33_
        (Webster, 1835)

 ESKIMO LISTENING AT A SEAL-HOLE                                     198

      From Parry's _Second Voyage_ (Murray, 1824)

 H.M.S. "TERROR" LIFTED BY ICE                                       202

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans)

 FRACTURED STERN-POST OF H.M.S. "TERROR"                             204

      From Capt. Back's _Narrative, 1838_ (Murray)

 THE "FOX" ESCAPING FROM THE PACK                                    208

      From M'Clintock's _Voyage of the "Fox"_

 THE "FOX" ON A ROCK                                                 210

      From M'Clintock's _Voyage of the "Fox"_

 DISCOVERY OF THE CAIRN                                              212

      From M'Clintock's _Voyage of the "Fox"_

 SIR MARTIN FROBISHER                                                216

      From _The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher_
        (Hakluyt Society, 1867)

 ESKIMO AWAITING A SEAL                                              222

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans)

 A GREENLANDER IN HIS KAYAK                                          224

      From _Le Tour du Monde_, 1868 (Hachette)

 BAFFIN BAY IN 1819                                                  232

      From _A Voyage of Discovery_, by Capt. John Ross
        (Longmans, 1819)

 DR. E. K. KANE                                                      234

      From the Frontispiece to Kane's _Arctic
        Explorations_, 1856

 KALUTUNAH                                                           236

      From _Le Tour du Monde_, 1868 (Hachette)

 THE EAST COAST OF SMITH SOUND                                       238

      From Hayes' _Open Polar Sea_ (Sampson Low)

 DR. I. I. HAYES                                                     240

      By permission, from Hayes' _Open Polar Sea_

 THE SHORES OF KENNEDY CHANNEL                                       242

      From Hayes' _Open Polar Sea_

 TYNDALL GLACIER                                                     244

      From Hayes' _Open Polar Sea_

 A SEAL IN DANGER                                                    246

      From Parry's _Second Voyage for the Discovery of a
        North-west Passage_ (Murray, 1824)

 SIR GEORGE NARES                                                    248

      From a photograph


      (In the collection of Edward Whymper)

 BISHOP PAUL EGEDE                                                   258

      From the Frontispiece to _Efterretninger om
        Grönland_ (Copenhagen)

 GREENLANDERS                                                        260

      From Hartwig's _Polar World_ (Longmans)

 ON LEVEL GROUND                                                     262

      Nansen's _First Crossing of Greenland_ (Longmans)

 THE ALLAN LINER "SARDINIAN" AMONG ICEBERGS                          264

      From a photograph

 THE "GERMANIA" IN THE ICE                                           266

      From _Le Tour du Monde_, 1874 (Hachette)

 THE REGION ROUND MOUNT PETERMANN                                    268

      From a drawing by Lieutenant Julius Payer

 THE LAST DAYS OF THE "HANSA"                                        270

      From _Le Tour du Monde_, 1874 (Hachette)

 ROBERT E. PEARY                                                     280

      With autograph, from a letter in the possession of
        Edward Whymper From _Nearest the Pole_, by
        Commander Peary. By permission of Hutchinson and

                             SECTIONAL MAPS

                        1. SPITSBERGEN        12

                        2. CAPE CHELYUSKIN    84

                        3. THE LENA DELTA    106

                        4. BERING STRAIT     128

                        5. THE PARRY ISLANDS 174

                        6. GREENLAND         272

                              ROUND ABOUT
                             THE NORTH POLE

                               CHAPTER I

  Iceland—Greenland—America—Sebastian Cabot—Robert Thorne—The
    North-east Passage—Willoughby—Chancellor—Borough—The North Cape
    rounded—The White Sea reached—The First Arctic Search
    Expedition—Pet and Jackman—Brunel—Cornelis Nai—Barents reaches 77°
    20´—Second voyage of Nai—The Samoyeds—Rijp, Jacob Van Heemskerck
    and Barents—Bear Island discovered—Spitsbergen discovered—The
    Dutch reach 79° 49´—Stephen Bennet—Welden—Jonas Poole—Henry Hudson
    reaches 80° 23´—Poole starts the British whaling trade—Baffin's
    voyages to Spitsbergen—Pellham winters at Green Harbour.

The story of the lands within the Arctic Circle is a record of the brave
deeds of healthy men. This would seem to be true were we to take the
story, if we could, back to the days when man followed the retreat of
the glaciers, as he may in turn have to retreat before them, such a
condition of things being not beyond the range of probability though it
may be remote. For the boundaries of the frozen north are not dependent
on a line of latitude, and have never been the same from period to
period, or even from year to year. In some cases they have changed
considerably within the Christian era, and it is evident that the ice is
not eternal. The fossils declare that the climate round the North Pole
has varied greatly, and must in comparatively recent ages have been
comfortably warm, so genial indeed that some people would have us
believe that men came from there in their last distribution. Not,
however, with such migrants from the far north do we concern ourselves,
but with those who have endeavoured to get there in historical times by
different lines of approach, as we follow the circle round from east to
west and note the record of each section by itself.

Who was the first to sail to the northern seas we know not. Suffice it
for us that in 875 Ingolf the jarl, from Norway, refusing to live under
the sway of Harold Haarfager, sighted Mount Oraefa. As he neared the
coast, overboard went the carved wood; and where the wood drifted ashore
he founded Reikjavik. But he was not the first in Iceland, for the Irish
monastery had been there for years when he arrived, though the monks
retired to their old country when they found the Norsemen had come to

Then the Icelander Gunnbiörn, driven westward in a gale, sighted the
strange land he called White Shirt from its snowfields, which Eric the
Red, following a long time afterwards, more happily renamed. "What shall
we call the land?" he was asked. "Call it Green Land," replied Eric.
"But it is not always green!" "It matters not: give it a good name and
people will come to it!"

[Illustration: THE SUMMIT OF ORAEFA]

 From a photo

Then the Norsemen worked further south. In 986 Bjarni sighted what we
now call America, and in 1000 came the voyage of Leif Ericson, who, on
his way down the mainland, landing again and again, gave the names to
Helluland, Markland, Vinland—in short, the Viking discovery of the New

Greenland, like the eastern coast of the continent, was duly colonised,
its two chief settlements being one just round Cape Farewell, the other
further north on the same coast. In those days the island, or chain of
islands beneath an ice-cap, as many think it is, would appear to have
had a milder climate than it has now. The colonies throve, their
population becoming numerous enough to require a series of seventeen
bishops, the last one dying about 1540, to superintend their spiritual
welfare. But the Eskimos, in their migration from Asia across the Arctic
islands, arrived in the country before the middle of the fourteenth
century and gradually drove the Norsemen downwards, the northern colony
coming to an end in 1342 owing to the enemy attacking during a
visitation of the Black Death.

Meanwhile Iceland, which touches the Arctic Circle in its northernmost
point, and extends but half as far south of it as Greenland, increased
in prosperity as a sort of aristocratic republic, and produced more
vernacular literature than any country in Europe, in which, as might be
expected, the story of Greenland and the American colonies was kept so
well to the fore that it became as familiar among the people as a
nursery tale. Thither, from Bristol, in February, 1477, went Columbus;
and thence it was he returned to seek a patron for his western voyage
across the Atlantic.

The first voyage of Columbus in 1492 gave a great stimulus to maritime
discovery, and many were the projects for searching the seas for a new
route to the east. Of these the most important was that submitted to
Henry VII by John Cabot, of Bristol. Much has been written, on slender
and confusing evidence, as to the share in its success due to him and to
his son, the more famous Sebastian; and, to be brief, we cannot do
better than follow Anderson, who, in his _Origin of Commerce_,
ingeniously evades the difficulty by speaking, commercially, of "Cabot
and Sons." The Bristol firm, then, in 1497 despatched their ship
_Matthew_ to the westward and discovered and took possession of Labrador
and the islands and peninsulas in the mouth of the St. Lawrence, the
district being at first known as the New Found Land, a name afterwards
restricted to the largest island. And they had their reward, as shown in
the Privy Purse accounts of Henry VII, where an entry of the 10th
August, 1497, appears—"To hym that found the new isle, £10." Surely not
an excessive honorarium for the finding of a continent.

In 1498 another voyage of the same ship by way of Iceland, in which some
attempt seems to have been made to colonise the newly discovered
territories, resulted in the discovery of Hudson Strait and a visit to
Labrador, judging by the finding of the deer in herds, the white bears,
and the Eskimos who are not known to have ever crossed into the island
of Newfoundland. This was not the only English vessel to appear in these
parts at that time, for in the same year the Privy Purse accounts record
a gift of £30 to Thomas Bradley and Launcelot Thirkill for going to the
New Isle, adding that Launcelot had already received £20 "as preste" for
his ship going there.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS]

It is evident that the fisheries were found to be worth working, for no
less than fifty Spanish, French, and Portuguese ships were engaged in
them in 1517, the year of Sebastian Cabot's disputed voyage to Hudson
Bay. Ten years afterwards Robert Thorne, of Bristol, wrote to the King,
mentioning this voyage and suggesting three sea routes to Cathay—by the
north-west, as Sebastian had attempted, by the north over the Pole, and
by the north-east—and, in 1547, when Sebastian returned to England for
good, after his long service with Spain, he again, as the first Governor
of the Company of Merchant Adventurers, took up this Cathay question,
which had frequently been raised, and fitted out, as a commencement, an
expedition to the north-east.

The ships were built at Bristol specially for the purpose, and they were
sheathed with lead, the first so treated in this country. This sheathing
of ships was not the only innovation we owe to the most scientific
seaman of his time, for in his famous ordinances for the voyage many
excellent new things are enjoined, including the keeping of a log and
journal, which date from this expedition. There were three vessels, the
_Bona Esperanza_, of one hundred and twenty tons, Captain Sir Hugh
Willoughby; the _Edward Bonaventure_, one hundred and sixty tons,
Captain Richard Chancellor; and the _Bona Confidentia_, ninety tons,
Captain Durfourth. In Chancellor's ship, as master, was the best
navigator of the fleet, whose monumental brass in Chatham Church is
noteworthy for its epitaph: "Here lieth buried the bodie of Steven
Borough, who departed this life ye xij day of July in ye yere of our
Lord 1584, and was borne at Northam in Devonshire ye xxv^{th} of Septemb.
1525. He in his life time discouered Moscouia, by the Northerne sea
passage to St. Nicholas, in the yere 1553. At his setting foorth of
England he was accompanied with two other shippes, Sir Hugh Willobie
being Admirell of the fleete, who, with all the company of ye said two
shippes, were frozen to death in Lappia ye same winter. After his
discouerie of Roosia, and ye Coastes thereto adioyninge—to wit, Lappia,
Nova Zemla, and the Countrie of Samoyeda, etc.: he frequented ye trade
to St. Nicholas yearlie, as chief pilot for ye voyage, until he was
chosen of one of ye foure principall Masters in ordinarie of ye Queen's
Mat^{ties} royall Nauy, where in he continued in charge of sundrie sea
services till time of his death."

The ships left in May, but did not remain long together. On the 2nd of
August Willoughby and Durfourth separated from Chancellor in a storm off
the Lofodens, and after devious courses, that might have led anywhere,
were frozen in on the coast of Lapland, where they wintered and died, as
did all the men with them. Chancellor, having waited at the rendezvous
in vain, crossed the Arctic Circle, rounded the North Cape—so named by
Borough—and found his way into the White Sea. While his ship was in
winter quarters near where Archangel now is, he made a sledge journey to
the Czar at Moscow, which led to the formation of the Muscovy Company
and the beginning of England's Russian trade; and through his meeting
there with the Persian Ambassador came about the mission of Anthony
Jenkinson to the Shah, which opened up for us the Persian trade. Never
was a voyage more successful. With it began the foreign commerce of this
country, and from it dates the rise of our mercantile marine.

In 1556 Borough, in the _Searchthrift_, persevered further east, and,
passing between Novaya Zemlya and Waigatz Island, through the strait
that bears his name spelt differently, entered the Kara Sea. Next year
in the same ship he was given the command of the first Arctic Search
Expedition, its object being to discover what had become of Willoughby.
Of one ship, the _Confidentia_, he obtained news in an interview with a
man who had bought her sails, but the full story of the disastrous end
of the voyage remained a mystery until the Russians found the ships and
bodies and Willoughby's journal, and took the ships round to the Dwina.
Then for the first time did people realise what it meant to battle with
an Arctic winter without preparation, and many were those who withdrew
their interest in the frozen north, preferring tropical dangers to the
possibility of such accumulating miseries as the journal records in due
order in its matter-of-fact way, its last entry being the terribly
suggestive—"Unknowen and most wonderful wild beasts assembling in
fearful numbers about the ships."

With Stephen Borough in the Chancellor voyage was Arthur Pet—or Pett, a
name not unknown in the navy—who, after two centuries, has become
notable again through a strange discovery. In search of the much-desired
passage by the north-east he sailed from Harwich on the 31st of May,
1580, in the _George_, of forty tons, accompanied by Charles Jackman, in
the _William_, of twenty tons. His orders were to avoid the open sea and
keep the coast in sight all the way out on the starboard side, and
William Borough—Stephen's brother, afterwards Comptroller of the
Navy—gave him certain instructions and notes.

Arranging with Jackman, whose little vessel sailed badly, to wait for
him at Waigatz, Pet went ahead and endeavoured to pass through Burrough
Strait, but meeting with trouble from the ice, missed the passage, and
working round Waigatz to the south, entered the Kara Sea through Yugor
Strait, or as it used to be called after him, Pet Strait. Coasting
eastward with the mainland in sight, he was, as might be expected, much
hampered by the heavy pack. On being joined by the little _William_ he
made for the northward, seeking a way to the east, but the "more and
thicker was the ice so that they could go no further," and, after
talking the matter over on the 28th of July, Pet and Jackman reluctantly
decided to return to Waigatz and there decide on what should be done.

Their way back was difficult. They became shut in so that "they could
not stir, labouring only to defend the ice as it came upon them." For
one day they were clear of it, but next day, the 16th of August, they
were encumbered again, though they got out of the trouble by sailing
between the ice and the shore, which was a new experience. In this way
they just scraped through Pet Strait, and bore away in the open sea to
Kolguiev, both vessels grounding for a time on the sands to the south of
that island. On the 22nd of August, two days afterwards, the _William_
parted from the _George_ in a dense fog, while Pet brought his ship home
and dropped anchor at Ratcliff on Boxing Day.

The Dutch had for some time been trying to outstrip the English on this
route to the far east. In 1565 they had settled at Kola, and about
thirteen years afterwards had established the factory at the mouth of
the Dwina on the site of Nova Kholmogory, generally known as Archangel.
In 1584 Olivier Brunel, their energetic emissary in Russia, sailed on
the first Dutch Arctic discovery expedition. He tried in vain to pass
through Pet Strait, and the ship, with a valuable cargo of furs and
mica, was wrecked on its homeward voyage at the mouth of the Petchora.

Ten years elapsed, and then there sailed from the Texel the expedition
of Cornelis Nai, in which the _Mercury_, of Amsterdam, was commanded by
Willem Barents. Barents—really Barentszoon, the son of Bernard—sighted
Novaya Zemlya, with which his name was to be thenceforth associated, on
the 4th of July, and coasting along its mighty cliffs, peopled with
their myriad seabirds, passed Cape Nassau ten days later. Thence
reaching 77° 20´, and thus improving on John Davis's record for the
highest north, he struggled through the ice to the Orange Islands and
back, some twenty-five miles, during which he tacked eighty-one times
and thereby sailed some seventeen hundred geographical miles. Failing to
proceed further, he came south, and off Pet Strait—named by the Dutchmen
Nassau Strait—fell in with the other two ships returning from their
unsuccessful attempt to cross the Kara Sea.

Next year a fleet of seven vessels under Nai left the Mars Diep on
another endeavour to get through to China. One of the two chief
commissioners on board was the famous Van Linschoten, who had been on
the previous voyage, and the chief pilot was Barents, who was in the
_Winthont_ (Greyhound) with Jacob van Heemskerck as supercargo. Arriving
at Pet Strait they found it so blocked with ice that no passage was
possible, and Barents, in search of information, went ashore on the
mainland south of the strait and made friends—in a way—with the
Samoyeds, whose appearance, as described by Gerrit de Veer, was "like
that of wild men," dressed as they were in deerskins from head to foot,
those of importance wearing caps of coloured cloth lined with fur; for
the most part short of stature, with broad flat faces, small eyes, and
bow legs; their hair worn long, plaited, and hanging down their backs.

They were evidently suspicious of the Dutchmen, who did their best to be
friendly. The chief had placed sentinels all round to see what the
new-comers were about and note everything that was bought and sold. One
of the sentinels was offered a biscuit, which "he with great thanks took
and ate, and while he ate it he still looked diligently about him on all
sides, watching what was done." Their reindeer sledges were kept
ready—"that run so swiftly with one or two men in them that our horses
were not able to follow them." They were unacquainted with firearms,
and, when a musket was fired to impress them, "ran and leapt like
madmen," but calmed down as soon as they saw there was no malicious
intention, to wonder much more, however, when the man with the gun aimed
at a flat stone he placed as a mark, and, fortunately, hit and broke it.
The meeting ended satisfactorily; "after that we took our leaves one of
the other with great friendship on both sides, and when we were in our
pinnace we all put off our hats and bowed to them, sounding our trumpet;
they in their manner saluting us also, and then went to their sledges


Barents was by no means convinced that the strait was impassable, and
held out against the opinion of the others for some days, but with the
firm ice stretching round in all directions he had to give in, and on
the 15th of September the fleet began the voyage home. Much had been
expected, and the result was so conspicuous a failure that the States
General abandoned any further attempt at a north-east passage on their
own account, but decided to offer a reward to any private expedition
that proved successful. Whereupon the authorities and merchants of
Amsterdam fitted out two vessels for a third voyage, giving the command
of one to Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, and that of the other to Jacob van
Heemskerck, with Barents as chief pilot.

The ships left the Dutch coast on the 18th of May. Four days afterwards
they were off the Shetlands, going north-east. On the 9th of June they
discovered an island, on which they landed. Here they saw a prodigious
white bear, which they went after in a boat, intending to slip a noose
over her neck, but when they were near her she looked so strong that
their courage failed, and they returned to the ships to fetch more men,
and what seems to have been quite an armoury of "muskets, harquebusses,
halberds and hatchets." Accompanied by another boat they attacked this
formidable beast for over two hours, one of them getting an axe into her
back, with which she swam away until she was caught and had her head
split open by another blow from an axe. From this remarkable bear, whose
skin, we are told, was twelve feet long, the island was named Bear

Continuing northwards they sighted, on the 19th of June, Spitsbergen,
which they supposed to be Greenland—an error that led to much
confusion—and on the 21st of June they landed and had another trying
time with a bear, whose skin proved to be thirteen feet long. On one
island of the cluster they found the eggs of the barnacle goose,
_Bernicla leucopsis_, whose nesting ground was up to then unknown, and
on others they saw reindeer, for in this land "there groweth leaves and
grass." Returning to Bear Island after attaining 79° 49´, some hundred
and seventy miles higher north than in 1594, Rijp departed for the north
again, and, failing to get beyond Bird Cape, went home to Holland by way
of Kola; and to Kola he came back the year afterwards.

In 1603, following the Dutch, came Stephen Bennet to call Bear Island
Cherie Island, after his patron, and find the walruses in thousands and
the birds in millions. A rocky tableland of mountain limestone and
carboniferous sandstone, with the usual fossils in unusual numbers and a
few coal seams in between; the ravines faced and floored with fragments
of every dimension and shape, split off by the frost and weathered by
wind and rain: a grey, grassless, monotonous country, except along the
coast, where the guano from the vast numbers of seabirds has coated the
crannies and ledges of the cliffs, that tower up perhaps four hundred
feet from the water, with a thin layer of soil in which the scurvy-grass
and a few other plants thrive amazingly, though the island's complete
flora contains but forty species—such is Bear Island, the stepping-stone
to Spitsbergen, of which Jonas Poole took possession in 1609 for the
Muscovy Company.

[Illustration: SPITSBERGEN]

Lying east of the influence of the Gulf Stream, the range of temperature
is of the widest. Often the island is unapproachable owing to the ice,
sometimes it is even now as hot as Welden found it in 1608, when, in
June, "the pitch did run down the ship's sides, and that side of the
masts that was to the sun-ward was so hot that the tar did fry out of it
as though it had boiled." That was a great year for Welden, for he
killed a thousand walruses in less than seven hours and took a young one
home with him, "where the king and many honourable personages beheld it
with admiration, the like whereof had never before been seen alive in

Poole did much useful work in these seas, but is now little heard of,
most of the surviving interest in such matters being concentrated on
Henry Hudson, who was in the same service at the same time. Hudson was,
perhaps, a grandson of Alderman Henry Hudson, one of the founders of the
Muscovy Company, but nothing is really known of him beyond his being a
captain in the Muscovy Company, who, on the 19th of April, 1607, took
the sacrament at St. Ethelburga's, in Bishopsgate Street, with his son
and crew "and the rest of the parishioners." That he was a parishioner
may be true, but that all the ten members of the crew were so is
unlikely. Anyhow, they were outward bound for Japan and China by way of
the North Pole, and sailed from Gravesend on the 1st of May.

Where he went is not clear in detail, as his latitudes are seldom
correct and his longitudes are not recorded. He sighted Greenland north
of Iceland, and, shouldered off by the ice barrier, left it somewhere
about Franz Josef Fjord, working easterly by the edge of the ice to
Spitsbergen. Here he sailed round Prince Charles's Foreland and went
north, passing Hakluyt Headland, which he named, reaching on the 13th of
July, 80° 23´, "by observation." He saw many whales, but found his way
blocked by ice; and after many attempts, assuring himself that there was
no passage hereabouts to the north, sailed southwards for Bear Island.
On leaving this he seems to have gone west, possibly to the coast of
Greenland again, for on his way home he lighted upon Hudson's Touches,
now known as Jan Mayen Island, the principal cape of which bears the
name of Hudson's Point—which may be either Hudson's or Rudston's (after
the Rudston mentioned in Baffin's fourth voyage)—while another is known
as Young's Foreland, perhaps after the James Young who was the first in
the ship to sight the coast of Greenland on the outward journey. He
dropped anchor in the Thames on the 15th of September all well. He had
not crossed the Pole, nor did he find Spitsbergen stretching up to 82°,
as he said, its most northerly point being miles further south; but he
had gone beyond Van Heemskerck's furthest north and found a fishing
ground for whales and walruses which proved of great commercial value.

[Illustration: FRANZ JOSEF FIORD]

In 1610, Poole, finding that he could not land on Bear Island owing to
the ice, stood away to the north-west, reached Spitsbergen, and worked
along the western side to Hakluyt Headland, where the ice barred further
advance. On his way up and down the coast he gave many of the capes and
bays the names they still bear, and generally did so well that on his
return he was put in the place of Hudson, who had left the service two
years before, and made a sort of special commissioner by the Muscovy
Company "for certain years upon a stipend certain" to make further
discoveries round Spitsbergen and to ascertain whether there was an open
sea further northward than had already been found. In addition to
searching for the open polar sea, he was to convoy the _Mary Margaret_,
in which were six Biscayners "expert in the killing of the whale," to
Bear Island, and thence to Whale Bay in Spitsbergen. In short, Poole was
to start the British whaling trade, the _Mary Margaret_ being the first
British vessel to be employed in that lucrative but hazardous
occupation; and she was under the command of Thomas Edge, whose name is
borne by Edge's Island.

The beginning was so promising that in 1613, two years afterwards, a
fleet of seven vessels went out to take part in the fishery and clear
away the foreigners who had come to share in the good fortune; the
company claiming the islands on the ground of their purely imaginary
discovery by Willoughby, the Dutch resting their claim on the real
discovery by Van Heemskerck. In this fleet as chief pilot was William
Baffin—his second recorded voyage. By him, who as usual kept his eyes
open, we have the first description of the Spitsbergen glaciers. He was
at the time—the 29th of July—in Green Harbour in Ice Fjord. "One thing
more I observed," he says, "in this harbour which I have thought good
also to set down. Purposing on a time to walk towards the mountains, I,
and two more of my company, ascended up a long plain hill, as we
supposed it to be; but having gone a while upon it, we perceived it to
be ice. Notwithstanding we proceeded higher up, about the length of half
a mile, and as we went saw many deep rifts or gutters on the land of
ice, which were cracked down through to the ground, or, at the least, an
exceeding great depth; as we might well perceive by hearing the snow
water run below, as it does oftentimes in a brook whose current is
somewhat opposed with little stones. But for better satisfaction I brake
down some pieces of ice with a staff I had in my hand, which in their
falling made a noise on each side much like to a piece of glass thrown
down the well within Dover Castle, whereby we did estimate the thickness
or height of this ice to be thirty fathoms. This huge ice, in my
opinion, is nothing but snow, which from time to time has for the most
part been driven off the mountains; and so continuing and increasing all
the time of winter (which may be counted three-quarters of the year)
cannot possibly be consumed with the thaw of so short a summer, but is
only a little dissolved to moisture, whereby it becomes more compact,
and with the quick succeeding frost is congealed to a firm ice."

Next year he was out again in the _Thomasine_, one of a fleet of
thirteen vessels, and in endeavouring to pass to the north-east, reached
Wijde Bay, where at the point of the beach at the entrance he "set up a
cross and nailed a sixpence thereon with the king's arms," probably the
neatest property mark in history. Thence he went on to the entrance to
Hinlopen Strait, completing the journey along the north of the main
island. It was on this voyage that he endeavoured to find his longitudes
by observing the moon, for Baffin was the first who attempted to take a
lunar at sea.

Year by year the fishery increased, and the whale fishers multiplied as
if the sea were a goldfield, the monopoly being respected until 1618,
when the Dutch, who had all along prospered more than the rest, proved
too strong for the English, and a compromise was arrived at by which the
different harbours were allotted to the different nations for the
processes necessary in the preparation of the whale products for
shipment. But it was purely a summer industry. There was no colony, and
it did not seem as though there would be one, for no man willing to
winter in the place could be found. Vainly were rewards offered to those
who would venture. In the north was the ever-present barrier of ice,
more distant some years than others, but always there to come south and
hold the islands in its grip when the fishery was over, and those who
came early and those who stayed late saw enough of the wintry landscape
to make them doubt if life were possible under such conditions.

Then the idea, not new to Englishmen, that colonies should be started by
criminals, was acted upon, and the Muscovy Company procured the reprieve
of a batch of prisoners under sentence of death and landed them in
Spitsbergen under promise of a free pardon, a handsome reward, and full
provisions and suitable clothes if they would remain there for a
continuous twelve months. But, as the ship that brought them was
preparing to return to London, "they conceived such a horror and inward
fear in their hearts" that they besought the captain to take them back
that they might be hanged rather than perish amid such desolation; and
the captain "being a pitiful and a merciful gentleman, would not by
force constrain them to stay," and brought them home again, when the
company—who could do no less—procured them a pardon. One captain—of a
different disposition—had left nine men behind him, all of whom perished
miserably; and another, in 1630, left eight others, apparently through
causes beyond his control, whose adventure was to form one of the most
interesting episodes in Arctic story.

It was on the 15th of August in that year that the _Salutation_ sent
Edward Pellham and his seven companions ashore to kill reindeer for the
ship's provisions on her voyage home. Taking with them two dogs, a
snap-hance, two lances, and a tinder-box, they landed near Black Point,
between Green Harbour and Bell Sound, and, "laying fourteen tall and
nimble deer along," camped for the night. During the night the weather
changed and brought in the ice between the shore and the ship, and in
the morning the ship had gone. The boat's crew made for Green Harbour,
thinking she would put in there to pick them up, but she failed to
appear, being due to leave the country in three days, and after a
fruitless attempt to catch her at Bell Sound, they eventually took up
their quarters there on the 3rd of September.

Here was one of the so-called tents of the whale-fishers. "This," says
Pellham, "which we call the tent, was a kind of house built of timber
and boards very substantially, and covered with Flemish tiles, by the
men of which nation it had in the time of their trading thither been
built. Four-score foot long it is and in breadth fifty. The use of it
was for the coopers, employed for the service of the company, to work,
lodge, and live in, all the while they make casks for the putting up of
the train oil." As this was too large for their comfort, they very
sensibly built another within it. "Taking down another lesser tent
therefore (built for the landmen hard by the other, wherein they lay
whilst they made their oil), from thence we fetched our materials. That
tent furnished us with one hundred and fifty deal boards, besides posts
or stanchions and rafters. From three chimneys of the furnaces wherein
they used to boil their oil, we brought a thousand bricks: there also
found we three hogsheads of very fine lime, of which stuff we also
fetched another hogshead from Bottle Cove, on the other side of the
sound, some three leagues distant. Mingling this lime with the sand of
the sea-shore, we made very excellent good morter for the laying of our
bricks: falling to work thereon, the weather was so extreme cold as that
we were fain to make two fires to keep our morter from freezing. William
Fakely and myself, undertaking the masonry, began to raise a wall of one
brick thickness against the inner planks of the side of the tent. Whilst
we were laying of these bricks, the rest of our company were otherwise
employed every one of them: some in taking them down, others in making
of them clean and in bringing them in baskets into the tent. Some in
making morter, and hewing of boards to build the other side withal, and
two others all the while in flaying of our venison. And thus, having
built the two outermost sides of the tent with bricks and morter, and
our bricks now almost spent, we were enforced to build the two other
sides with boards; and that in this manner. First we nailed our deal
boards on one side of the post or stanchion to the thickness of one
foot: and on the other side in like manner: and so filling up the hollow
place with sand, it became so tight and warm as not the least breath of
air could possibly annoy us. Our chimney's vent was into the greater
tent, being the breadth of one deal board and four foot long. The length
of this our tent was twenty foot and the breadth sixteen; the height
ten; our ceiling being deal boards five or six times double, the middle
of one joining so close to the shut of the other that no wind could
possibly get between. As for our door, besides our making it so close as
possibly it could shut; we lined it moreover with a bed that we found
lying there, which came over both the opening and the shutting of it. As
for windows, we made none at all, so that our light we brought in
through the greater tent, by removing two or three tiles in the eaves,
which light came to us through the vent of our chimney. Our next work
was to set up four cabins, billeting ourselves two and two in a cabin.
Our beds were the deer skins dried, which we found to be extraordinary
warm, and a very comfortable kind of lodging to us in our distress."

For fuel they knocked to pieces seven old boats left ashore by the
ships, storing the wood over the beams of the tent so as to make a sort
of floor protecting the interior from snow driven in under the tiles,
and, in addition, they broke up a number of empty casks. To make the
wood last as long as possible they hit upon a device for keeping the
fire in—"when we raked up our fire at night, with a good quantity of
ashes and of embers, we put into the midst of it a piece of elm wood,
where, after it had lain sixteen hours, we at our opening of it found
great store of fire upon it, whereupon we made a common practice of it
ever after: it never went out in eight months together, or thereabouts."

Upon the 12th of September a small quantity of drift ice came into the
sound, on a piece of which they found two walruses asleep, when "William
Fakely being ready with his harping iron, heaved it so strongly into the
old one that he quite disturbed her of her rest: after which, she,
receiving five or six thrusts with our lances, fell into a sounder sleep
of death." The young one, refusing to leave her mother, was also killed;
and a week afterwards another walrus fell a victim; but even with these
the store of provisions was inadequate. To make the food last, they put
themselves on an allowance of one good meal a day, except on Wednesdays
and Fridays which were fasting days devoted to whale sundries—"a very
loathsome meat," says Pellham, in brackets—later on, for four days in
the week they fed upon "the unsavoury and mouldy fritters, and the other
three we feasted it with bear and venison." "But," continues the
narrative, "as if it were not enough for us to want meat, we now began
to want light also; all our meals proved suppers now, for little light
could we see; even the glorious sun (as if unwilling to behold our
miseries) masking his lovely face from us, under the sable veil of
coal-black night."But they were equal to the emergency. "At the
beginning of this darksome, irksome time, we sought some means of
preserving light amongst us; finding therefore a piece of sheet lead
over a seam of one of the coolers, that we ripped off and made three
lamps of it, which, maintaining with oil that we found in the coopers'
tent, and rope-yarn serving us instead of candle-wicks, we kept them
continually burning."

Cheerful and resourceful as they were, their fits of depression were not
infrequent. "Our extremities being so many, made us sometimes in
impatient speeches to break forth against the causers of our miseries;
but then again, our consciences telling us of our own evil deservings,
we took it either for a punishment upon us for our former wicked lives;
or else for an example of God's mercy in our wonderful deliverance:
humbling ourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, we cast down
ourselves before him in prayer, two or three times a day, which course
we constantly held all the time of our misery."

Their prospects got worse, but they never lost a little hope. "The new
year now began: as the days began to lengthen, so the cold began to
strengthen; which cold came at last to that extremity, as that it would
raise blisters on our flesh, as if we had been burnt with fire, and if
we touched iron at any time it would stick to our fingers like
bird-lime: sometimes if we went but out of doors to fetch in a little
water, the cold would nip us in such a sort that it made us as sore as
if we had been beaten in some cruel manner."

Provisions were running low; the men began to talk of famine, and the
outlook became daily gloomier until the 3rd of February. "This proved a
marvellous cold day; yet a fair and clear one; about the middle whereof,
all clouds now quite dispersed and night's sable curtain drawn, Aurora
with her golden face smiled once again upon us, at her rising out of her
bed; for now the glorious sun with his glittering beams began to gild
the highest tops of the lofty mountains. The brightness of the sun and
the whiteness of the snow, both together, were such as that it was able
to revive even a dying spirit. But to make a new addition to our new
joy, we might perceive two bears (a she one with her cub) now coming
towards our tent; whereupon we, straight arming ourselves with our
lances, issued out of the tent to await her coming. She soon cast her
greedy eyes upon us, and with full hopes of devouring us she made the
more haste unto us; but with our hearty lances we gave her such a
welcome as that she fell down and biting the very snow for anger."

Then more bears came to be eaten; then the birds began to arrive, and
the foxes to come out of their winter earths to be trapped to the number
of fifty; then the reindeer returned; and then, on the 25th May, two
ships of Hull came into the sound from which a boat's crew landing
unperceived came close up to the tent and shouted "Hey!" And Ayers, the
only man at the moment in the outer tent, shouted "Ho!"—and Pellham and
his shipmates had proved it to be possible to live through a winter in

                               CHAPTER II


  The summer town of Smeerenberg—Himkoff winters in North East
    Land—Phipps reaches 80° 48´—Scoresby the elder reaches 81°
    30´—Scoresby the younger—Voyage of the _Dorothea_ and _Trent_
    under Buchan and Franklin—Parry reaches 82° 45´—Torell and
    Nordenskiöld—Carlsen sails round Spitsbergen—Swedish North Polar
    expedition under Nordenskiöld—Lamont—The Diana coal mine—Leigh

This wintering of the _Salutation_ men occurred when the Spitsbergen
fisheries were most flourishing, the prosperity continuing for seven
more years. So lucrative was the trade that on Amsterdam Island under
Hakluyt Headland, within fifteen miles of 80° north latitude, about as
far from the North Pole as St. Malo is from John o' Groat's, there
sprang up as a summer resort the Dutch village of Smeerenberg. Such was
the bustle produced by the yearly visit of two or three hundred
double-manned vessels, containing from twelve thousand to eighteen
thousand men, that this village of the farthest north was as busy as a
manufacturing town. The incitement of prices proportionate to the
latitude attracted hundreds of annual settlers, who throve on the sale
of brandy, wine, tobacco, and sundries to the whale-fishers in shops of
all varieties, including bakehouses, where the blowing of a horn let the
sailors know that the bread had just been drawn hot from the oven. In
fact, hot rolls and every delicacy could be had in Smeerenberg, which
the Dutch averred was as flourishing as Batavia, founded by them a few
years before. And when winter was just about due every man—and
woman—went back to Holland. But the life of Smeerenberg was a short and
a merry one, for in 1640 the shore fisheries were failing, and a year or
so afterwards the lingerers of its last season left it for good,
clearing out from its houses of brick and wood, demolishing its
furnaces, removing its copper cauldrons and coolers and casks and
everything that could be taken away, and leaving it in desolation to be
occupied in the next and subsequent summers by polar bears.

Like all seaside resorts it had its rival. Close by is the
Cookery-of-Haarlem, abandoned at the same time, but rather more
hurriedly. When Martens went there on the 15th of July, 1671, he found
four houses still standing, in one of which were "several barrels or
kardels that were quite decayed, the ice standing in the same shape the
vessels had been made of: an anvil, smith's tongs, and other tools
belonging to the cookery, were frozen up in the ice; the kettle was
still standing as it was set, and the wooden troughs stood by it."
Behind these houses "are high mountains," he continues, "if one climbeth
upon these, as we do on others, and doth not mark every step with chalk,
one doth not know how to get down again: when you go up you think it to
be very easy to be down; but when you descend it is very difficult and
dangerous, so that many have fallen and lost their lives." Absurd as
this chalking of the steps may seem, there have been many who have taken
the hint from the careful Martens when climbing in Spitsbergen, and many
who have regretted not having done so.

In ordinary summers the west side of Spitsbergen is clear of ice, not so
the eastern side, the difference being due to the Gulf Stream, which,
though evidently failing, is traceable along the coast round Hakluyt
Headland and up to the ice barrier. In addition to this there is the
general cause, whatever it may be, which makes the western coasts of all
Arctic lands, isolated or not, warmer than the eastern. Greenland, for
instance, is more approachable in summer from Davis Strait than from the
Greenland Sea, Novaya Zemlya from Barents Sea than from Kara Sea, and so
on with all the islands and peninsulas of Asia and America. Hence all
this whaling was confined practically to the western harbours of West
Spitsbergen, the largest of the group of islands. The next largest,
North East Land, was never much visited except from Hinlopen Strait,
though the Russians from time to time took some interest in the north
and east harbours, and would have taken more, for it abounded in
reindeer, if the ice had not made the landing an enterprise of some

On the east coast of North East Land, in 1743, a Russian whaler was
caught in the pack, and the mate, Alexis Himkoff, remembering that a
house had been built there some years before, went on shore with his
godson, Ivan Himkoff, and two sailors, Scharapoff and Weregin, in search
of it, in case the ship should have to be abandoned. They found the
house, but, on returning to the shore next morning, could see nothing of
the ship, which had apparently been carried away and crushed in the ice.
They had brought with them a musket, a powder-horn with twelve charges
of powder, twelve bullets, an axe, a small kettle, a bag with about
twenty pounds of flour, a knife, a tinder-box and tinder, a bladder of
tobacco, and every man had his pipe. That was their outfit.

The house was thirty-six feet in length, and eighteen in height and
breadth. It contained a small antechamber about twelve feet broad, which
had two doors, one to close it from the outer air, the other admitting
to the inner room in which was a Russian stove, a kind of oven without a
chimney, serving at will for heating, for baking, or for sleeping on.
Realising that they had a long stay before them, they began by shooting
twelve reindeer, one for each bullet. They then repaired the house,
stopping up all the crevices with moss; and they then laid in a store of
fuel from the driftwood, there being no trees on the island. On the
beach they found some boards with nails in them, and a long iron hook
and a few other pieces of old iron. And also there was a root of a fir
tree in shape not unlike a bow. Those were the materials they had to
make the best of.

A large stone served for an anvil, a pair of deer horns did duty for
tongs, and with these and the fire, the iron hook was made into a
hammer; and then two of the nails were shaped into spear-heads, which
were tied to sticks from the driftwood with strips of deerskin. With
these weapons they began by killing a bear, whose flesh they ate, whose
skin they kept, and whose tendons they made into thread and a string for
the bow formed out of the root of the fir tree. More nails were forged
into arrow-heads, tied with sinew on to light sticks cut with the knife,
the shafts being feathered from the feathers of seafowl. With these
weapons they shot, before they had finished, two hundred and fifty
reindeer, and they kept the skins, as they did also those of a large
number of blue and white foxes, as we shall see in the sequel. In their
own protection they killed nine bears, the only one they deliberately
attacked being the first.

To be sure of keeping their fire alight they modelled a lamp out of
clay, which they filled with deer-fat, with twisted linen for a wick;
but the clay was too porous, the fat ran through it; so they made
another lamp of the same stuff, dried it in the air, heated it red hot,
and cooled it in a sort of thin starch made of flour and water,
strengthening the pottery by pasting linen rags over it. The result was
so successful that they made a second lamp as a reserve. Some wreckage
gave them a little cordage and a quantity of oakum, which came in for
lamp-wicks. The lamp, like the sacred fire, was never allowed to go out.
To make themselves clothes, they soaked skins in fresh water till the
hair could be pulled off easily, and rubbed them well, and then rubbed
deer fat into them until they were pliant and supple. Some of the skins
they prepared as furs. Out of nails they, after many failures, made awls
and needles, getting the eyes by piercing the heads with the point of
the knife, and smoothing and pointing them by rounding and whetting them
on a stone.

For six years they lived in this desert place. Then one of them,
Weregin, died of scurvy, and their gloomy forebodings as to which was to
be taken next were broken in upon by their sighting a ship, to which
they signalled with a flag made of deerskin. The signal was seen and
they were rescued; and they took back to Archangel two thousand pounds
weight of reindeer fat, their bales of skins and furs, their bow and
arrows and spears, and in short everything they possessed. And they
arrived there on the 28th of September, 1749, comfortably off from the
value of the goods they brought with them—the heroes of one of the very
best of true desert island stories.

Like most Russians they do not seem to have suffered much from the cold
or to have been inconvenienced by the summer heat, which is also
considerable. In 1773, on the 13th of June, when Phipps and Lutwidge
anchored in Fair Haven, round by Amsterdam Island, they found the
thermometer reach 58½° at noon and descend no lower than 51° at
midnight, and on the 16th it rose in the sun to 89½° till a light breeze
made it fall almost suddenly ten degrees. This was the expedition sent
out to the North Pole, mainly at the instigation of Daines Barrington,
Gilbert White's friend. The ships were the _Racehorse_ and _Carcass_;
and, as every one knows, or ought to know, as midshipman with Captain
Lutwidge went Horatio Nelson, then a boy of fourteen, who was to figure
largely in the world, though on this occasion he did nothing remarkable
beyond attacking a polar bear, whose skin he thought would make a nice
present for his father, and bringing his boat to the rescue when one of
the _Racehorse_ boats was attacked by walruses. For another thing the
expedition is memorable, that being that the useful apparatus for the
distillation of fresh water from sea water, known to every seafarer, was
first used on this voyage, Dr. Irving, its inventor, being the surgeon
of the _Racehorse_. Another item to be noted is that Phipps had with him
a Cavendish thermometer, which he tried the day after he crossed the
Arctic Circle, and found that at a depth of 780 fathoms the temperature
was 26°, while at the surface it was 48°.

Phipps did all he could to go north, and, in longitude 14° 59´ east,
reached 80° 48', the nearest to the Pole up to then, but he was foiled
by the ice barrier, which he tried to penetrate again and again. He got
his ships caught in the ice and took to his boats, thinking he would
have to abandon them, when fortunately the pack drifted south, and the
vessels, clearing themselves under sail, caught the boats up and took
them on board. Then he went along the edge of the ice westward, and,
finding no opening, gave the venture up and sailed for home.

The next to do good work within this area was William Scoresby the
elder, whose only equal as a whale-fisher was his son. To him we owe the
invention of the crow's nest, that cylindrical frame covered with
canvas, entrance to which is given by a trap-hatch in the base, reached
by a Jacob's ladder from the topmast crosstrees, the conning-tower, so
to speak, carried since by every ship on Arctic service. He was also the
inventor of the ice-drill and many another implement and device used in
Polar navigation; and he it was who sloped off his fore and main courses
to come inboard to a boom fitted to the foot, used by every whaler, by
which, in fact, you may know them. He also, long before the _America_,
discovered the advantage of flat sails, and, in order to get his weights
well down, he filled his casks with water as ballast and packed them
with shingle, so that, instead of going out light, he was in the best of
trim, with a power of beating to windward that took him to the fishing
ground in double quick time and further into the ice, when he chose,
than any of his competitors.


Out in the _Resolution_ in 1806 he saw from his crow's nest, in which he
often spent a dozen hours at a stretch, that below the ice-blink—the
white line in the sky which betokens the presence of ice—there was a
blue-grey streak denoting open water, and that the motion of the sea
around the ship must be due to a swell, which could only come from open
water to the northward. On the 13th of May he started for this. By
sawing the ice, hammering at it, dropping his boats on to it from the
bow, sallying the ship—that is, rolling her by running the crew
backwards and forwards across her deck—and, in fact, using every means
he could think of, he passed the barrier in the eightieth parallel, and,
on the 24th of June, attained 81° 30´, the farthest north ever reached
by a sailing vessel in these seas. On that day there was not a ship
within three hundred and fifty miles of the _Resolution_. The bold
venture proved a thorough success; in thirty-two days he filled up with
twenty-four whales, two seals, two walruses, and a narwhal—one of the
most profitable of his thirty voyages.

In this voyage the chief officer was his son, William Scoresby the
younger, whose _Arctic Regions_ is the best book ever written on the
northern seas. Sent by his father to Edinburgh University where he
studied almost every branch of natural and physical science, he was
thoroughly equipped for his task, and his practical experience as a
whaling captain and trained observer stood him in such stead that his
book is still the basis of all scientific Polar research. His
description of the Spitsbergen coast as seen from a ship is as faithful
to-day as when he wrote it. "Spitsbergen and its islands, with some
other countries within the Arctic Circle, exhibit a kind of scenery
which is altogether novel. The principal objects which strike the eye
are innumerable mountainous peaks, ridges, precipices, or needles,
rising immediately out of the sea to an elevation of 3000 or 4000 feet,
the colour of which, at a moderate distance, appears to be blackish
shades of brown, green, grey and purple; snow or ice, in striæ or
patches, occupying the various clefts and hollows in the sides of the
hills, capping some of the mountain summits, and filling with extended
beds the most considerable valleys; and ice of the glacier form,
occurring at intervals all along the coast, in particular situations as
already described, in prodigious accumulations. The glistening or
vitreous appearance of the icy precipices; the purity, whiteness, and
beauty of the sloping expanse formed by their snowy surfaces; the gloomy
shade presented by the adjoining or intermixed mountains and rocks,
perpetually covered with a mourning veil of black lichens, with the
sudden transitions into a robe of purest white, where patches or beds of
snow occur, present a variety and extent of contrast altogether
peculiar; which, when enlightened by the occasional ethereal brilliancy
of the Polar sky, and harmonised in its serenity with the calmness of
the ocean, constitute a picture both novel and magnificent. There is,
indeed, a kind of majesty, not to be conveyed in words, in these
extraordinary accumulations of snow and ice in the valleys, and in the
rocks above rocks and peaks above peaks, in the mountain groups, seen
rising above the ordinary elevation of the clouds, and terminating
occasionally in crests of snow, especially when you approach the shore
under the shelter of the impenetrable density of a summer fog; in which
case the fog sometimes disperses like the drawing of a curtain, when the
strong contrast of light and shade, heightened by a cloudless atmosphere
and powerful sun, bursts on the senses in a brilliant exhibition
resembling the production of magic."

In 1818 there went out the first British expedition prepared to winter
in the north. The vessels were two whalers bought into the navy, the
_Dorothea_ and _Trent_, the first under the command of David Buchan, the
other under that of John Franklin. Neither officer had been in the
Arctic region before, but Buchan had done excellent service in surveying
Newfoundland, and Franklin had been marked for special duty owing to his
work in Australian seas under his cousin, Matthew Flinders, and for the
manner in which on his way home he had acted as signal officer to
Nathaniel Dance in that ever-memorable victory off the Straits of
Malacca, when the Indiamen defeated and pursued a French fleet under
Admiral Linois. Dance's report gave Franklin a further chance of
distinction, for it led to his appointment to the _Bellerophon_, whose
signal officer he was during the battle of Trafalgar.

They were instructed to proceed to the North Pole, thence to continue on
to Bering Strait direct, or by the best route they could find, to make
their way to the Sandwich Islands or New Albion, and thence to come back
through Bering Strait eastward, keeping in sight and approaching the
coast of America whenever the position of the ice permitted them so to
do. A nice little programme. But they started too early in a bad season;
they did not get so far north as Phipps; they made accurate surveys and
other observations; in exploration they did little; and they had many

As they ranged along the western side of Spitsbergen the weather was
severe. The snow fell in heavy showers, and several tons' weight of ice
accumulated about the sides of the _Trent_, and formed a complete casing
to the planks, which received an additional layer at each plunge of the
vessel. So great, indeed, was the accumulation about the bows, that they
were obliged to cut it away repeatedly with axes to relieve the bowsprit
from the enormous weight that was attached to it: and the ropes were so
thickly covered with ice that it was necessary to beat them with large
sticks to keep them in a state of readiness. In the gale the ships
parted company, but they met again at the rendezvous in Magdalena Bay.

[Illustration: SIR JOHN FRANKLIN]

Later on, off Cloven Cliff, there was a walrus fight begun by the seamen
and continued by the walruses when they found themselves more at home in
the water than on the ice. They rose in numbers about the boats, rushing
at them, snorting with rage, endeavouring to upset them or stave them in
by hooking their tusks on the gunwales, or butting at them with their
heads. "It was the opinion of our people," says Beechey, "that in this
assault the walruses were led on by one animal in particular, a much
larger and more formidable beast than any of the others; and they
directed their efforts more particularly towards him, but he withstood
all the blows of their tomahawks without flinching, and his tough hide
resisted the entry of the whale lances, which were, unfortunately, not
very sharp, and soon bent double. The herd was so numerous, and their
attacks so incessant, that there was not time to load a musket, which,
indeed, was the only effectual mode of seriously injuring them. The
purser, fortunately, had his gun loaded, and the whole now being nearly
exhausted with chopping and sticking at their assailants, he snatched it
up, and, thrusting the muzzle down the throat of the leader, fired into
him. The wound proved mortal, and the animal fell back amongst his
companions, who immediately desisted from their attack, assembled round
him, and in a moment quitted the boat, swimming away as hard as they
could with their leader, whom they actually bore up with their tusks and
assiduously preserved from sinking."

On one occasion Franklin and Beechey, when out in a boat together,
witnessed the launch of an iceberg. They had approached the end of a
glacier and were trying to search into the recess of a deep cavern at
its foot when they heard a report as if of a cannon, and, turning to the
quarter whence it proceeded, perceived an immense piece of the front of
the cliff of ice gliding down from a height of two hundred feet at least
into the sea, and dispersing the water in every direction, accompanied
by a loud grinding noise, and followed by a quantity of water, which,
lodged in the fissures, made its escape in numberless small cataracts
over the front of the glacier. They kept the boat's head in the
direction of the sea and thus escaped disaster, for the disturbance
occasioned by the plunge of this enormous fragment caused a succession
of rollers, which swept over the surface of the bay, making its shores
resound as it travelled along it, and at a distance of four miles was so
considerable that it became necessary to right the _Dorothea_, which was
then careening, by instantly releasing the tackles which confined her.
The piece that had been disengaged wholly disappeared under water, and
nothing was seen but a violent boiling of the sea and a shooting up of
clouds of spray like that which occurs at the foot of a great cataract.
After a short time it reappeared, raising its head full a hundred feet
above the surface, with water pouring down from all parts of it; and
then, labouring as if doubtful which way it should fall, it rolled over,
and, after rocking about for some minutes, became settled. It was nearly
a quarter of a mile round and floated sixty feet out of the water, and
making a fair allowance for its inequalities, was computed to weigh
421,600 tons.

[Illustration: TRACK OF H.M.S. "DOROTHEA" AND "TRENT"]

There were frequent landings, often with difficulties in the return, due
generally to attempts at making a short cut to the shore or across the
ice. Of these short cuts the very shortest was that made by one of the
sailors named Spinks, who was out with a party in pursuit of reindeer.
The ardour of the chase had led them beyond the prescribed limits, and
when the signal was made for their return to the boat some of them were
upon the top of a hill. Spinks, an active and zealous fellow, anxious to
be first at his post, thought he would outstrip his comrades by
descending the snow, which was banked against the mountain at an angle
of about 40° with the horizon, and rested against a small glacier on the
left. The height was about two thousand feet, and in the event of his
foot slipping there was nothing to impede his progress until he reached
the beach, either by the slope or the more terrific descent of the face
of the glacier. He began his career by digging his heels into the snow,
the surface of which was rather hard. At first he got on very well, but
presently his foot slipped, or the snow was too hard for his heel to
make an impression, and he increased in speed, keeping his balance,
however, by means of his hands. In a very short time his descent was
fearfully quick; the fine snow flew about him like dust, and there
seemed but little chance of his reaching the bottom in safety,
especially as his course was taking him in the direction of the glacier.
For a moment he was lost sight of behind a crag of the mountain, and it
was thought he had gone over the glacier, but with great presence of
mind and dexterity, "by holding water first with one hand and then the
other," to use his own expression, he contrived to escape the danger,
and, like a skilful pilot, steered into a place of refuge amid a bed of
soft snow recently drifted against the hill. When he extricated himself
from the depths into which he had been plunged he had to hold together
his tattered clothes, for he had worn away two pairs of trousers and
something more. That was all his damage, and we shall meet with him
again in the west out with Franklin and Captain Back.

In the morning of the 30th of July the ships found themselves caught in
a gale with the ice close to leeward. The only way of escaping
destruction seemed to be by taking refuge in the pack. It was a
desperate expedient rarely resorted to by whalers and only in extreme
cases. In the _Trent_ a cable was cut up into thirty-foot lengths, and
these, with plates of iron four feet square, supplied as fenders, and
some walrus hides, were hung around her, mainly about her bows; the
masts were secured with extra ropes, and the hatches were battened and
nailed down. When a few fathoms from the ice those on board searched
with anxiety for an opening in the pack, but saw nothing but an unbroken
line of furious breakers with huge masses heaving and plunging with the
waves and dashing together with a violence that nothing but a solid body
seemed likely to withstand; and the noise was so great that the orders
to the crew could with difficulty be heard. At one moment the sea was
bursting upon the ice blocks and burying them deep beneath its wave, and
the next, as the buoyancy brought them up again, the water was pouring
in foaming cataracts over their edges, the masses rocking and labouring
in their bed, grinding and striving with each other until one was either
split with the shock or lifted on to the top of its neighbour. Far as
the eye could reach the turmoil stretched, and overhead was the
clearness of a calm and silvery atmosphere bounded by a dark line of
storm cloud lowering over the masts as if to mark the confines within
which no effort would avail.

"At this instant," says Beechey, "when we were about to put the strength
of our little vessel in competition with that of the great icy
continent, and when it seemed almost presumption to reckon on the
possibility of her surviving the unequal conflict, it was gratifying in
the extreme to observe in all our crew the greatest calmness and
resolution. If ever the fortitude of seamen was fairly tried it was
assuredly not less so than on this occasion; and I will not conceal the
pride I felt in witnessing the bold and decisive tone in which the
orders were issued by the commander of our little vessel, and the
promptitude and steadiness with which they were executed by the crew."

The brig was steered bow on to the ice. Every man instinctively gripped
his hold, and with his eyes fixed on the masts awaited the moment of
concussion. In an instant they all lost their footing, the masts bent
with the shock, and the timbers cracked below; the vessel staggered and
seemed to recoil, when the next wave, curling up under her counter,
drove her about her own length within the edge of the ice, where she
gave a roll and was thrown broadside to the wind by the succeeding wave
which beat furiously against her stern, bringing her lee in touch with
the main mass and leaving her weather side exposed to a floe about twice
her size. Battered on all sides, tossed from fragment to fragment,
nothing could be done but await the issue, for the men could hardly keep
their feet, the motion being so great that the ship's bell, which in the
heaviest gale had never struck of itself, now tolled so continuously
that it had to be muffled.

After a time an effort was made to put the vessel before the wind and
drive her further into the pack. Some of the men gained the
fore-topsail-yard and let a reef out of the sail, and the jib was
dragged half up the stay by the windlass. The brig swung into position,
and, aided by a mass under her stern, split the block, fourteen feet
thick, which had barred her way, and made a passage for herself into
comparative safety; and after some four hours the gale moderated.
Strained and leaking the _Trent_ had suffered much, but the _Dorothea_
had been damaged more; and both returned to Fair Haven, where it was
found hopeless to continue the voyage, and thence, when the ships had
been temporarily repaired, they sailed for England. The expedition had
not done much, but it had given their Arctic schooling to Franklin,
Beechey, and Back.

In May, 1827, Parry, in the _Hecla_, was forced to run into the ice, but
not quite in the same way as Buchan did. He was beset for three weeks,
and then, getting clear, proceeded to the Seven Islands to the north of
Spitsbergen, on one of which, Walden, he placed a reserve of provisions;
the ship, after reaching 81° 5´, going to Treurenberg Bay, in Hinlopen
Strait, to await his return.


From here he made his dash for the Pole. He had with him two boats of
his own design, seven feet in beam, twenty in length. On each side of
the keel was a strong runner, shod with steel, upon which the boat stood
upright on the ice. They were so built that they would have floated as
bags had they been stove in. On ash and hickory timbers, an inch by an
inch and a half thick, placed a foot apart, with a half-timber of
smaller size between each, was stretched a casing of waterproof canvas
tarred on the outer side and protected by a skin of fir three-sixteenths
of an inch thick, over this came a sheet of stout felt, and over all a
skin of oak of the same thickness as the fir, each boat weighing about
fourteen hundredweight—that is the hull, as launched. One of these boats
was named the _Enterprise_, the other the _Endeavour_. They were
intended to be hauled by reindeer, but the state of the ice rendered
this impracticable and the men did the work themselves. Parry took
command of the _Enterprise_, the other being in charge of Lieutenant
James Clark Ross; and, altogether, officers and men numbered

From Little Table Island, where they left a reserve as they had done at
Walden, they started for the north—two heavy boats laden with food for
seventy days and clothing for twenty-eight men, with a compact equipment
including light sledges, travelling in a sea crowded or covered with ice
in every form, large and small, over which they were dragged up and down
hummocks, round and among crags and ridges, along surfaces of every kind
of ruggedness, of every slope and irregularity, the few flat stretches
broken with patches of sharp crystals or waist-deep snow; through lanes
and pools of water with frequent ferryings and transhipments, in
sunshine and fog, and, strange to say, frequently in pouring rain. They
travelled by night and rested by day, though, of course, there was
daylight all the time. "The advantages of this plan," says Parry, "which
was occasionally deranged by circumstances, consisted, first in our
avoiding the intense and oppressive glare from the snow during the time
of the sun's greatest altitude, so as to prevent in some degree the
painful inflammation in the eyes called snow-blindness which is common
in all snowy countries. We also thus enjoyed greater warmth during the
hours of rest and had a better chance of drying our clothes; besides
which no small advantage was derived from the snow being harder at night
for travelling. When we rose in the evening we commenced our day by
prayers, after which we took off our sleeping dresses and put on those
for travelling, the former being made of camlet lined with racoon skin,
and the latter of strong blue, box cloth. We made a point of always
putting on the same stockings and boots for travelling in, whether they
had dried during the day or not, and I believe it was only in five or
six instances that they were not either still wet or hard frozen." When
halted for rest the boats were placed alongside each other, with their
sterns to the wind, the snow or wet cleared out of them, and the sails,
held up by the bamboo masts and three paddles, were placed over them as
awnings with the entrance at the bow.

Progress was not great, sometimes fifty yards an hour, occasionally
twelve miles a day, that is on the ice, for soon it was apparent that
the distance gained by reckoning was greater than that given by
observation, and Parry realised to his dismay that the pack was drifting
south while he was going north. But he kept on till on the 21st of July
he reached 82° 45´, which remained the farthest north for forty-nine


During the last few days he had been drifting south in the day almost as
far as he had advanced north in the night, and, having used up half his
provisions, he reluctantly abandoned the struggle as hopeless. "As we
travelled," he says, "by far the greater part of our distance on the
ice, three, and not infrequently, five times over, we may safely
multiply the road by 2½; so that our whole distance, on a very moderate
calculation, amounted to five hundred and eighty geographical miles, or
six hundred and sixty-eight statute miles; being nearly sufficient to
have reached the Pole in a direct line."

In 1858 a Swedish expedition under Otto Torell started from Hammerfest
for Spitsbergen. He was accompanied by A. Quennerstedt and Adolf Erik
Nordenskiöld. They explored Horn Sound, Bell Sound, and Green Harbour.
In Bell Sound they dredged with great success for mollusca; they made a
botanical collection, chiefly of mosses and lichens, found tertiary
plant fossils, and, in the North Harbour, carboniferous limestone beds
with the tertiary plant-bearing strata above them—in short, Nordenskiöld
entered upon his long and fruitful study of Spitsbergen geology. Three
years afterwards Torell took out another expedition, Nordenskiöld going
with him, which was to explore the northern coast and then make for the
far north; but the ice conditions kept them in Treurenberg Bay, where
they visited Hecla Cove and found Parry's flagstaff. In the course of
their journeys they noticed in Cross Bay the first known Spitsbergen
fern, _Cystopteris fragilis_; by the side of a freshwater lake in Wijde
Bay an Alpine char was picked up; and, at Shoal Point, Torell discovered
in a mass of driftwood a specimen of the unmistakable Entada bean, two
and a quarter inches across, brought there from the West Indies by the
Gulf Stream, as other specimens have been drifted to European shores.

In 1864, the year that Elling Carlsen found the navigation so open that
he passed the Northern Gate and sailed round Spitsbergen, Nordenskiöld,
at the head of a small expedition, was at work in Ice Fjord, and, unable
to go north on account of the ice, rounded South Cape, entered Stor
Fjord, visited Edge's Land and Barents Land, and from the summit of
White Mountain, near Unicorn Bay, rediscovered the west coast of the
island reported by Edge two hundred and fifty years before. In 1868, as
leader of the Swedish North Polar Expedition in the _Sofia_, he reached
81° 42´, in 17° 30´ east, the highest latitude then reached by a steam
vessel, and his farthest north; his next Polar venture, four years
afterwards, in the _Polhem_, ending in his having to winter in Mossel
Bay, where his generous endeavour to feed one hundred and one extra men,
who were ice-bound, on provisions intended for his own twenty-four,
would have ended in disaster had he not been relieved by Leigh Smith in
the _Diana_.

The _Diana_ was the steam yacht built for James Lamont, in which, like
Leigh Smith, he cruised for several seasons in the Arctic seas,
combining sport with exploration in a truly admirable way. To these two
yachtsmen we owe much of our knowledge of Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya,
and Franz Josef Land, but we can only give them passing mention here. We
must, however, find room for Lamont's useful find of the coal mine in
Advent Bay, from which he filled up the _Diana's_ bunkers. "When I paid
a visit to the coal mine," he says, "I found it quite a busy scene for a
quiet Arctic shore. The engineer and fireman directed the blasting, my
English hands quarried, while the Norwegians carried the sacks down the
hill. The old mate, the many-sidedness of whose character I have so much
valued on my various voyages, was digging away with the rest, though I
am sorry that in the sketch his weather-beaten face is turned away. All
the rest are portraits, and the reader will notice that Arctic work is
not done in the attractive uniforms known to Cowes and Ryde. The
coal-bed was about three feet thick, and lay very horizontally between
two layers of soft, mud-coloured limestone. It was harder to obtain than
I anticipated, because saturated, through all the cracks and
interstices, with water which had frozen into ice more difficult to
break through than the coal itself, thereby rendering these fissures
worse than useless in quarrying. This is tertiary coal, and is of fair
quality, but contains a good deal of sulphur. When we began to burn it,
so much water and ice was unavoidably mixed with it that the engineers
had to let it drain on deck in the hot sun and then mix it with an equal
bulk of Scotch coal. Consumed in this way the ten tons obtained in three
days was a useful addition to the fast-dwindling stock on board."

While Nordenskiöld was at Mossel Bay he attempted a journey to the
north, but was stopped by the ice at Seven Islands, and returned round
North East Land. It took him five days to pass across the twenty-three
miles between Phipps Island and Cape Platen over pyramids of angular ice
up to thirty feet high. On the coast, which he found extending, as Leigh
Smith had reported, much further to the east than was shown on the
charts, he met with the inland ice ending in precipices from two
thousand to three thousand feet high. Ascending this ice they had
scarcely gone a quarter of a mile before one of the men disappeared at a
place where the surface was level, and so instantaneously that he could
not even give a cry for help. When they looked into the hole they found
him hanging on to the drag-line, to which he was fastened with reindeer
harness, over a deep abyss. Had his arms slipped out of the harness, a
single belt, he would have been lost. Along the level surface every puff
of wind drove a stream of fine snow-dust, which, from the ease with
which it penetrated everywhere, was as the fine sand of the desert to
the travellers in the Sahara. By means of this fine snow-dust, steadily
driven forward by the wind, the upper part of the glacier—which did not
consist of ice, but of hard packed blinding white snow—was glazed and
polished so that it seemed to be a faultless, spotless floor of white
marble, or rather a white satin carpet. Examination showed that the
snow, at a depth of four to six feet, passed into ice, being changed
first into a stratum of ice crystals, partly large and perfect, then to
a crystalline mass of ice, and finally to hard glacier ice, in which
could still be observed numerous air cavities compressed by the
overlying weight; and, when, as the surface thaws, the pressure of the
enclosed air exceeds that of the superincumbent weight, these cavities
break up with the peculiar cracking sound heard in summer from the
glacier ice that floats about in the fjords. Occasionally broad channels
were crossed, of which the only way to ascertain the depth was to lower
a man into them, and frequently he had to be hoisted up again without
having reached the bottom; such danger areas causing so circuitous a
route that much progress was impossible.

Prior to the explorations of Sir Martin Conway in 1896, it was supposed
that this inland ice extended over all the islands of the group, an area
exceeding twenty thousand square miles. He, however, proved that so far
as West Spitsbergen was concerned, this was not the case. Crossing it he
found much of the interior a complex of mountains and valleys, amongst
which were many glaciers, as in Central Europe, but with no continuous
covering of ice, each glacier being a separate unit with its own
drainage system and catchment area, the valleys boggy and relatively
fertile, the hillsides bare of snow in summer up to more than a thousand
feet above sea-level. In the rise of the country from the sea it seems
to have come up as a plain which did not reach the level of perpetual
snow, so that as it rose it was cut down into valleys in the usual way
by the agency of water pouring off from the plateau over its edge down a
frost-split rock-face, the valleys gently sloped, the head necessarily
steep owing to the face of the cliff being stripped off as the
waterfalls cut their way back.

Since Nordenskiöld's first expedition we have learnt much of the geology
and physical features of Spitsbergen; and we hear no more of the poverty
of its flora and fauna. Now it has become a summer tourist resort we are
yearly increasing our knowledge of this land of no thunderstorms, for
centuries the largest uninhabited area on the globe, the only
considerable stretch on which there is no trace of human occupation
before its discovery by the moderns in 1596, when it was found by
Barents and his companions.

                              CHAPTER III
                             NOVAYA ZEMLYA

  Van Heemskerck and Barents reach Ice Haven—The ship in the ice—The
    first crew to winter in the Arctic—The house the Dutch built—The
    bears—The foxes—Intense cold—Twelfth Eve rejoicings—Preparations
    for departure—Death of Barents—The boat voyage—Meeting with
    Rijp—Admiral Jacob Van Heemskerck—Carlsen at Ice Haven—Finds the
    house as described by De Veer—The relics at the Hague—Gardiner
    finds the powder-flask—Gundersen finds the translation of the
    voyage of Pet and Jackman—Second voyage of Hudson—His third
    voyage—De Vlamingh—Russian explorers.

We left Barents parting company with Rijp at Bear Island, Rijp bound
northwards. Barents, taking his vessel eastwards, struck Novaya Zemlya
at Loms Bay, near Cross Bay, and bearing north-eastwards reached the
Orange Islands and rounded Cape Mauritius. Steering south he got down
into Ice Haven, where at length, says De Veer, "the ice began to drive
with such force that we were enclosed round about therewith, and yet we
sought all the means we could to get out, but it was all in vain: and at
that time we had like to have lost three men that were upon the ice to
make way for the ship, if the ice had held the course it went; but as we
drove back again, and the ice also whereon our men stood, they being
nimble, as the ship drove by them, one of them caught hold of the beak
head, another upon the shrouds, and the third upon the mainbrace that
hung out behind, and so by great adventure by the hold they took they
got into the ship again, for which they thanked God with all their
hearts." The same evening, that of the 26th of August, 1596, they
reached the west of Ice Haven—now known as Barents Bay—where they were
forced to remain, being the first crew on record to spend a winter in
the Arctic regions and survive to tell the story.

To begin with, the ice gathered round the ship and lifted her bow four
feet out of the water. Endeavouring to right her by clearing the ice
away, Barents was on his knees measuring the height she had to fall when
the ice broke with "such a noise and so great a crack that they thought
verily they were all cast away." As she lay upright again they tried in
vain with crowbars and other tools to break off the piled-up ice, and
next day in a heavy snow the pressure became such that the whole ship
was borne up and so squeezed that "all that was both about and in it
began to crack, so that it seemed to burst in a hundred pieces, which
was most fearful both to see and hear, and made all the hair of our
heads to rise upright with fear." The grip continuing, the vessel was
driven up four or five feet and the rudder squeezed off, which was
replaced by a new one, when she sank back into the water a few hours
afterwards owing to the ice drifting clear for a while. Thus matters
went on for a little time, the ship being alternately lifted and


On the 11th of September, as there was no hope of escape, it was decided
to build a house wherein to spend the winter, and in seeking for a
suitable position, a mass of driftwood—"trees, roots and all"—was
discovered, "driven ashore from Tartaria, Muscovia, or elsewhere," for
there were no trees growing on the land, "wherewith," says De Veer, "we
were much comforted, being in good hope that God would show us some
further favour; for that wood served us not only to build our house, but
also to burn and serve us all the winter long; otherwise without all
doubt we had died there miserably with extreme cold."

The timber was collected and piled up in heaps that it might not be
hidden under the snow, and two sledges were made on which to drag it to
the site of the house. This was heavy work in which all took part, four
of them in turn remaining by the ship, there being thirteen men to each
party, five to each sledge, with three to help and lift the wood behind
"to make us draw the better and with more ease," and at the end of the
first week of it the carpenter died, so that only sixteen were left. But
the wood was brought along day after day, some to build with, some for
fuel; and the house was built, the frost so hard at times that "as we
put a nail into our mouths, as carpenters do, there would ice hang
thereon when we took it out again and made the blood follow"; and when a
great fire was made to soften the ground, in order that earth might be
dug to shovel round the house, "it was all lost labour for the earth was
so hard and frozen so deep that we could not thaw it, and it would have
cost us too much wood."

The house was roofed with deals obtained by breaking up the lower deck
of the fore part of the ship, and, to make it weather-tight, it was
covered with a sail on which afterwards shingle was spread to keep it
from being blown off; and the materials of the cabin yielded the wood
for the door. Inside, the house was made as comfortable as possible, as
shown in the illustration given in De Veer's book in 1598. Low shelves,
with partitions between, along the side served for sleeping places; a
cask on end with a square hole like a window in the upper half was
frequently used as a bath; a striking clock and a time-glass marked the
passing of the hours; the large fire in the centre with its frame and
trivet and spit and copper pots and other kitchen utensils served for
warmth and cooking; and over the fire hung a large lamp beneath the
chimney, which terminated outside in a cask giving it the appearance of
a crow's nest ashore.

While the house was building, and as long as the sun was above the
horizon, there was much trouble with the bears, whose daily visits were
always productive of excitement. On the 26th of October, for instance,
the day after all the crew first slept in the house, when the men had
loaded the last sledge and stood in the track-ropes ready to draw it to
the house, Van Heemskerck caught sight of three coming towards them from
behind the ship. The men jumped out of the track-ropes, and as
fortunately two halberds lay upon the sledge, Van Heemskerck took one
and De Veer the other, while the rest ran to the ship, "and as they ran
one of them fell into a crevice in the ice, which grieved us much, for
we thought the bears would have run unto him to devour him," but they
made straight after the others instead. "Meantime we and the man that
fell into the cleft of ice took our advantage and got into the ship on
the other side; which the bears perceiving, they came fiercely towards
us that had no arms to defend us withal but only the two halberds, gave
them work to do by throwing billets of firewood and other things at
them, and every time we threw they ran after them as a dog does at a
stone that has been cast at him. Meantime we sent a man down into the
caboose to strike fire and another to fetch pikes; but we could get no
fire, and so we had no means to shoot"—their firearms being matchlocks.
"At the last as the bears came fiercely upon us we struck one of them
with a halberd on the snout, wherewith she gave back when she felt
herself hurt and went away, which the other two, that were not so large
as she, perceiving, ran away."

When the bears had gone and the long night set in, their place was taken
by the white foxes, many of these being caught in traps and furnishing
skins for clothes and flesh for meat—"not unlike that of the
rabbit"—that was "as grateful as venison." The 19th of November was a
great day. A chest of linen was opened and divided among the men for
shirts, "for they had need of them." Next day they washed their shirts,
having evidently made the new ones in a hurry, and, says De Veer, "it
was so cold that when we had washed and wrung them they presently froze
so stiff (out of the warm water) that although we laid them by a great
fire the side that lay next the fire thawed, but the other side was hard
frozen, so that we should sooner have torn them in sunder than have
opened them, whereby we were forced to put them into the boiling water
again to thaw them, it was so exceeding cold."

On the 3rd of December and the two following days it was so cold that as
the men lay in their bunks they could hear the ice cracking in the sea
two miles away, and thought that icebergs were breaking on each other;
and as they had not so great a fire as usual owing to the smoke "it
froze so sore within the house that the walls and the roof thereof were
frozen two fingers thick with ice, even in the bunks in which we lay.
All those three days while we could not go out by reason of the foul
weather we set up the sandglass of twelve hours, and when it was run out
we set it up again, still watching it lest we should miss our time. For
the cold was so great that our clock was frozen and would not go,
although we hung more weight on it than before."

The snow fell until it was so deep round the house that on Christmas Day
they heard foxes running over the roof; and the last day of the year was
so cold that "the fire almost cast no heat, for as we put our feet to
the fire we burnt our hose before we could feel the heat, so that we had
work enough to do to patch our hose." On the 4th of January, "to know
where the wind blew we thrust a half pike out of the chimney with a
little cloth or feather upon it; but we had to look at it immediately
the wind caught it, for as soon as we thrust it out it was frozen as
hard as a piece of wood and could not go about or stir with the wind, so
that we said to one another how fearfully cold it must be out of doors."

Next day, being Twelfth Eve, on which foreigners, according to the old
practice, hold the festivities now customary in England on the following
day, the men asked Van Heemskerck that they might enjoy themselves, "and
so that night we made merry and drank to the three kings. And therewith
we had two pounds of meal, which we had taken to make paste for the
cartridges wherewith, of which we now made pancakes with oil, and to
every man a white biscuit, which we sopped in wine. And so supposing
that we were in our own country and amongst our friends it comforted us
as well as if we had made a great banquet in our own house. And we also
distributed tickets, and our gunner was king of Nova Zembla, which is at
least eight hundred miles long and lieth between two seas."

In time the sun reappeared—as also the bears—and the rigours of the
winter relaxing, the men, on the 9th of May, applied to Barents asking
him to speak to Van Heemskerck with a view to preparing for departure.
This, after two other appeals, he did on the 15th of May, Van
Heemskerck's answer being that, if the ship were not free by the end of
the month, he would get ready to go away in the boats. The two boats,
or, to be exact, the boat and the herring skute, were then repaired and
made suitable for a long sea voyage, and on the 13th of June were in
proper condition with all their stores ready. Then Van Heemskerck,
"seeing that it was open water and a good west wind, came back to the
house again, and there he spake unto Willem Barents (that had been long
sick) and showed him that he thought it good (seeing it was a fit time)
to go from thence, and they then resolved jointly with the ship's
company to take the boat and the skute down to the water side, and in
the name of God to begin our voyage to sail from Nova Zembla. Then
Willem Barents wrote a letter, which he put into a powder flask and
hanged it up in the chimney, showing how we came out of Holland to sail
to the kingdom of China, and what had happened to us." Then Barents was
taken down to the shore on a sledge and put into one boat, the other
sick man, Andriesz, being placed in the other, and "with a
west-north-west wind and an indifferent open water" they set sail on a
voyage of over fifteen hundred miles among the ice, over the ice, and
through the sea.

Barents, though they little suspected it, had but a few days to live. As
they passed the northernmost cape of Novaya Zemlya, "Gerrit," he said to
De Veer, "if we are near the Ice Point, just lift me up again. I must
see that point once more." They were amongst the ice floes again; soon
they had to make fast to one; and then they became shut in and forced to
stay there. Next day their only means of safety lay in hauling their
boats up on to a floe, taking the sick men out on to the ice and putting
the clothes and other things under them; but after mending the boats,
which had been much bruised and crushed, they drifted into a little open
water and got afloat. On the 20th of June, about eight in the morning it
became evident that Andriesz was nearing his end. "Methinks," said
Barents, in the other boat, when he heard of it, "with me too it will
not last long." But still his companions did not realise how ill he was,
and talked on unconcernedly. Then he looked at the little chart which De
Veer had made of the voyage. Putting it down, he said, "Gerrit, give me
something to drink." And no sooner did he drink than he suddenly died.
Thus passed away their chief guide and only pilot, than whom none better
ever sailed the northern seas.


Working their way down the west coast of the long island, putting in
every now and then in search of birds and eggs, constantly in peril from
the floating ice and the bears, they slowly came south. When passing
Admiralty Peninsula they had to deal with a danger of their own causing.
They sighted about two hundred walruses upon one of the floes. Sailing
close to them they drove them off, "which," says De Veer, "had almost
cost us dear, for they, being mighty strong sea monsters, swam towards
us round about our boats with a great noise as if they would have
devoured us; but we escaped from them by reason that we had a good gale
of wind, yet it was not wisely done of us to waken sleeping wolves."

Day by day De Veer tells the story of that adventurous voyage, with its
long succession of dangers and disappointments, until they reached the
mainland and sent the Lapland messenger to Kola, who returned with a
letter from Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, who at first they could not believe
was the old friend from whom they had parted at Bear Island; and more
briefly he continues the story until Amsterdam was reached on the 1st of
November, when the survivors, in the same clothes they wore in their
winter quarters, fur caps and white fox-skins, walked up to the house of
Pieter Hasselaer to report themselves on arrival and received the hearty
welcome they deserved.

Though Van Heemskerck had failed to make the passage to the east by way
of the north, he was perhaps destined for greater fame on the far less
rigorous route. Like Nelson he went on an Arctic expedition that failed,
and then secured a place in history by a sea-fight in Spanish waters,
for which his countrymen will never forget him. He it was who as
Vice-Admiral of Holland fought the Spanish fleet at Gibraltar in the
decisive battle of the 25th of April, 1607, in which with his twenty-six
vessels he attacked Juan Alvarez Davila's twenty ships and ten galleons.
Early in the struggle he had his leg swept off by a cannon shot, but he
remained on deck till he died, gaining the complete victory which
rendered his countrymen free from hindrance on the road to the Indies
round the Cape of Good Hope, of which for so many years they made such
profitable use. It is customary to give all the credit of the Arctic
voyage to Barents on the ground that his captain was no sailor, but
Holland knows no better sailor than Jacob Van Heemskerck of Gibraltar

On the 9th of September, 1871, Captain Elling Carlsen, sailing in the
Barents Sea, which he had entered round Icy Cape, landed in Ice Haven
and found the house just as De Veer had described it. There it had stood
in cold storage for 274 years, never having been entered by human foot
since Van Heemskerck had shut the door. The bunks, the table, the bath,
the clock, in short everything, all in order, as the orderly Dutchmen
had left it. Never did a voyage book receive such ample verification;
never did the description of an island home stand the test better.

Carlsen, to begin with, knew nothing of De Veer or Barents, but he set
to work in a conscientious way and recorded the results like a true
archæologist. "Thursday, 14th," he wrote in his log, "Calm with clear
sky. Four o'clock in the morning we went ashore further to investigate
the wintering place. On digging we found again several objects, such as
drumsticks, a hilt of a sword, and spears. Altogether it seemed that the
people had been equipped in a warlike manner, but nothing was found
which could indicate the presence of human remains. On the beach we
found pieces of wood which had formerly belonged to some part of a ship,
for which reason I believe that a vessel has been wrecked there, the
crew of which built the house with the materials of the wreck and
afterwards betook themselves to boats."

Bringing away a very large number of articles, he resumed his voyage and
landed at Hammerfest, where Mr. E. C. Lister Kay, who happened to be
there on a yachting trip, bought them, thinking they would be
repurchased from him, at the price he gave, for one of our own museums.
In this he was disappointed, and the collection was taken down to his
house in Dorsetshire, where Count Bylandt, the Dutch Ambassador,
happening to hear of it, called and bought it for his Government, who
placed it at the Hague in a room, the exact imitation of that in Novaya

In July, 1876, Mr. Charles Gardiner, another English yachtsman, when on
a cruise in the _Glow-worm_ in Barents Sea, made a call at the house and
brought away many other relics, which he presented to the Dutch, to be
added to those at the Hague; and among them was the powder-flask hung in
the chimney, containing the paper mentioned by De Veer. The previous
August Captain Gundersen had been there in the Norwegian schooner
_Regina_. In one of the chests he found two charts and what he described
as Barents's Journal. The journal proved to be a manuscript Dutch
translation of the story of the voyage in 1580 of Arthur Pet and Charles

In 1608, eleven years after Barents died, Henry Hudson, in the Muscovy
Company's service, was sent to China by the north-east. He sailed on the
22nd of April from St. Katharine's, near the Tower of London, and on the
3rd of June passed the North Cape on his way to Novaya Zemlya, which he
reached near Cape Britwin twenty-three days afterwards. For some
considerable distance he had skirted the ice pack, vainly endeavouring
to get through to the northward and enter the Kara Sea round the Orange

This being impracticable he ranged southwards looking for a passage
through at Kostin Shar, which in the Dutch map he had with him was
marked as a strait and proved to be a bay. Had he been able to go a
little further north than Cape Britwin he might have found that
Matyushin Shar, like a rift in the rocks, divides the long island in
half, though at that early season the ice would have probably been
blocking it. From Kostin or thereabouts he departed for home, his voyage
failing almost at the outset, owing to his being two months too early.

While off the coast he sent his boat ashore several times. "Generally,"
he says, "all the land of Nova Zembla that we have yet seen is to a
man's eye a pleasant land; much main high land with no snow on it,
looking in some places green, and deer feeding thereon; and the hills
are partly covered with snow and partly bare"—rather a different picture
from that given by De Veer of what it was like in the winter. De Veer,
too, had committed himself to the statement that there were no deer in
the country, but here were Hudson's men frequently coming upon their
traces, and on the 2nd of July reporting that they had seen "a herd of
white deer, ten in a company," bringing on board with them a white lock
of deer's hair in proof thereof.

On his return Hudson left the service of the Muscovy Company. He went to
Holland, and, early in April, 1609, was sent out by the Amsterdam
Chamber of the Dutch East India Company. On the 5th of May he rounded
the North Cape, making for Novaya Zemlya, and a few days afterwards
reached the ice. Here, according to Dutch accounts, his men mutinied,
but what happened during the trouble is not recorded. Whether it was
really owing to a mutiny, or, as is by no means improbable, to secret
instructions received at his departure, Hudson, on the 14th, made sail
for the North Cape, passed it on the 19th, when he observed a spot on
the sun, and then went off westwards to Newfoundland, making direct
apparently for the mouth of the river now bearing his name, which was
discovered by Verrazano in March, 1524, and surveyed by Gomez in the
following year, and was at the time of Hudson's visit British territory.

The reason for this astonishing change of route was, perhaps, that on
some of the charts of the period, as on Michael Lock's planisphere, this
river, the Rio de Gamas or Rio Grande of the Spaniards, was made to
communicate with what seems to be intended for Lake Ontario, and this
with the other lakes to the westward was widened out into the waterway
to the South Sea. Thus Hudson drops out of our story at his first
mutiny, for he did not cross the Arctic Circle on his fourth voyage,
when his second mutiny ended his career in the bay that bears his name,
which, like the river and the strait, was indicated on the maps years
before he went there.

In 1664 Willem de Vlamingh, the Dutch navigator, or—to be cautious—the
namesake of the Dutch navigator, who thirty-one years afterwards found
Dirk Hartog's plate and named Swan River in West Australia after the
black swans, was in these regions and rounded Novaya Zemlya into the
Kara Sea, reaching so far north that if his recorded latitude be correct
he must have sighted the Franz Josef archipelago, and, contrary to the
tendency of Arctic explorers, mistaken land for a bank of mist or a
group of icebergs. After him neither Dutch nor English delay us, the
opening up of this continuation of the Urals being left to the Russians,
who found it first and named it—Novaya Zemlya meaning simply New Land.

For years it was left to the Samoyeds and the walrus hunters, whose
persistent reports of deposits of silver in its cliffs led to Loschkin's
making his way round it and spending two winters on its east coast. In
1768 Rosmysslof, also on silver bent, wintered in Matyushin Shar, that
wonderful waterway, ninety fathoms deep, bounded by high hills and
precipitous cliffs, winding so sharply that ships have been into it for
a dozen miles or so and seeing no passage ahead have come out again to
seek it elsewhere. In 1807 came Pospeloff, with Ludlow the mining
engineer, to settle the silver question once for all, and settle it they
did by showing that everywhere the so-called silver was either talc or
mica, and naming Silver Bay ironically in memory thereof. Fourteen years
afterwards Lütke surveyed the west coast, continuing during the next
three summers; and in 1832 Pachtussoff arrived to undergo in the course
of his really admirable work the hardships and privations of which he

                               CHAPTER IV
                            FRANZ JOSEF LAND

  Austro-Hungarian expedition of 1872—The voyage as planned—The drift
    of the _Tegetthoff_—The polyglot crew—Discovery of Franz Josef
    Land—Payer's description of an aurora—The sledge journeys—Crown
    Prince Rudolf Land—Cape Fligely reached—Abandonment of the
    _Tegetthoff_—The boat voyage to Cape Britwin—Leigh Smith's
    expeditions—Loss of the _Eira_—The retreat in the boats—Jackson in
    Franz Josef Land—His excellent survey work—The Italian expedition
    under the Duke of the Abruzzi—Cagni attempts to reach the Pole and
    is stopped at 86° 34´—The return journey.

In 1871 Weyprecht and Payer were out in the cutter _Isbjörn_, pioneering
for their intended voyage to the eastward, which started next year in
the _Tegetthoff_, the famous Austro-Hungarian attempt of 1872 which may
be described as an unintentional voyage of unexpected discovery. The
amount of credit due to a man who starts to find one thing and lights
upon another has always been a contentious matter, and this expedition
afforded an extreme case for such speculations. The plan was to go
east-north-east, the wintering places being undetermined, though they
might be Cape Chelyuskin, the New Siberian Islands, or any land that
might be discovered; and a return to Europe through Bering Strait lay
among the possibilities of the venture, as an endeavour was to be made
to reach the coast of Siberia in boats and penetrate south down one of
the large rivers of Northern Asia. What happened was that during the
afternoon of the 20th of August, when off the north-west coast of Novaya
Zemlya in 76° 22´ north, 63° 3´ east, the ship was run into an ice-hole
and made fast to a floe, and during the night the ice, instead of
parting asunder, closed in and imprisoned her, so that she never steamed
or sailed again. In the ice and on the ice she lay perfectly helpless,
drifting with the floe, and still in its grip when she was abandoned by
her crew on the 20th of May, two years afterwards.

It was a wonderful drift. North-easterly in the main to begin with, then
north-westerly, then easterly to about 73°, then north, then west, in
and out and roundabout, till they reached much the same longitude as
they started from and then with a general tendency to the northward.
Autumn passed away; the Polar night set in; and still they drifted
ice-bound—a miscellaneous company representative of the polyglot empire;
"on board the _Tegetthoff_," says Payer, "are heard all the languages of
our country, German, Italian, Slavonic, and Hungarian; Italian is,
however, the language in which all orders are given," to which we should
add the Norwegian of Olaf Carlsen, the ice-master. During the winter
there was enough of occupation and amusement, though private theatricals
were impossible, as they would have had to be given in four languages to
be intelligible to the audience.

The short summer came and went, and August had almost gone when—it was
on the 30th, in 79° 43´—there came a surprise. The rays of the sun were
fitfully breaking through the gloom when suddenly the gliding mists
rolled up like a curtain, revealing in the north-west the outlines of a
rocky coast, which in a few minutes grew into a radiant Alpine land. The
shore, however, was unattainable, as a rush over the icefield soon
showed, but from the edge of the fissure that barred any further
progress they could make out its hills and glaciers and imagine the
green pastures of its valleys. They called it Kaiser Franz Josef's Land,
and along it they drifted during September till its outlines faded as
the wind began to drive the floe to the south. But at the end of the
month the direction of the floe changed to the north-west, taking the
_Tegetthoff_ up to 79° 58´, her highest north, near enough to one of the
islands for an effort to be made to land. Six started from the ship over
the grinding, groaning, broken walls of ice, and when they were out of
sight of the ship a mist settled down which cut them off from the sight
of land and then so closely enwrapped them that they could see nothing.
Advance they found hopeless, and as they returned they lost their way
and were saved by the sagacity of a dog they had with them. All through
October the drift continued, and it was not until forenoon of the 1st of
November, two months after sighting the country, that they managed to
get ashore. This was on Wilczek Island in the same longitude as
Admiralty Peninsula in Novaya Zemlya, and in the same latitude as Mossel
Bay in Spitsbergen.

The sun had retired for the winter nine days before, and it was by the
light of the moon that they first explored the unknown country. Little
could be done, and, as it was much too late for attempting to shift from
the ship to the shore, the winter had to be spent on board as the other
had been. Through this winter, as before, the auroral displays were
remarkable, and they are excellently described by Payer. Of one of them,
he says: "It is now eight o'clock at night, the hour of the greatest
intensity of the northern lights. For a moment some bundles of rays only
are to be seen in the sky. In the south a faint, scarcely observable,
band lies close to the horizon. All at once it rises rapidly and spreads
east and west. The waves of light begin to dart and shoot; some rays
mount towards the zenith. For a short time it remains stationary, then
suddenly springs to life. The waves of light drive violently from east
to west; the edges assume a deep red and green colour and dance up and
down. The rays shoot up more rapidly; they become shorter; all rise
together and approach nearer and nearer to the magnetic Pole. It looks
as if there were a race among the rays, and that each aspired to reach
the Pole first. And now the point is reached, and they shoot out on
every side, to the north and the south, to the east and the west. Do the
rays shoot from above downwards, or from below upwards? Who can
distinguish? From the centre issues a sea of flames. Is that sea red,
white, or green? Who can say?—it is all three colours at the same
moment. The rays reach almost to the horizon; the whole sky is in
flames. Nature displays before us such an exhibition of fireworks as
transcends the powers of imagination to conceive. Involuntarily we
listen; such a spectacle must, we think, be accompanied with sound. But
unbroken stillness prevails, not the least sound strikes on the ear.
Once more it becomes clear over the ice, and the whole phenomenon has
disappeared with the same inconceivable rapidity with which it came, and
gloomy night has again stretched her dark veil over everything. This was
the aurora of the coming storm—the aurora in its fullest splendour."

Sledging was begun in March, Hall Island being first visited, and, on
the 26th, Payer, with six men, started on his main journey up Austria
Sound, reaching Hohenlohe Island, where three men were left, and then
proceeding further north to Crown Prince Rudolf Land. Off the southern
promontory of this were innumerable icebergs, up to two hundred feet in
height, cracking and snapping in the sunshine. The Middendorf Glacier,
with an enormous sea-wall, ran towards the north-west; layers of snow
and rents in the sea-ice, caused by icebergs falling in, filled the
intervening space. Into these fissures Payer and his men were
continually falling, drenching their canvas boots and clothes with
sea-water. One of the men was sent on ahead to find a path by which the
glacier might be climbed, and discovering a fairly open road the summit
was gained across many crevasses bridged with snow, three of those at
the lower part needing but a slight movement to detach the severed
portions and form them into bergs.

While resting on the glacier looking down on the semicircular terminal
precipice and the gleaming host of bergs which filled the indentations
of the coast, one of the men reported that his foot was swollen and
ulcerated, and he had to be sent back to Hohenlohe Island. Just as the
others were setting off, the snow gave way beneath the sledge, and down
fell Zaninovich, the dogs and the sledge, while Payer was dragged
backwards by the rope. The fall was arrested at a depth of thirty feet
by the sledge sticking fast between the sides of the crevasse. Payer, on
his face, the rope attaching him to the sledge tightly strained and
cutting into the snow, shouted that he would sever the rope, but
Zaninovich implored him not to do so as the sledge would then turn over
and he would be killed; hearing, however, from Orel, that the man was
lying on a ledge of snow with precipices all around him and that the
dogs were still fast to the traces, Payer cut the rope, and the sledge
made a short turn and stuck fast again. Then, telling Zaninovich that he
must contrive to keep himself from freezing for four hours, Payer and
Orel set off to run the six miles back to Hohenlohe Island. Payer, as he
went on ahead, threw off his bird-skin clothes, his boots and his
gloves, and ran in his stockings through the snow. In an hour he reached
the camp, and leaving it unattended they all set off to the rescue with
a rope and a pole. Picking up his clothes on the way, Payer and his men
reached the crevasse; one of the party was let down by the rope, and
finally Zaninovich and the sledge and dogs were brought from their
dangerous position four hours and a half after their fall.

The advance was then resumed along the west coast of Crown Prince Rudolf
Land round the imposing headland they named Cape Auk—the rocky cliffs
being covered with little auks and other seabirds, enormous flocks
flying up and filling the air, the whole region seeming to be alive with
their incessant whirring—and following the line of Teplitz Bay, Payer
mounted one of the bergs detached from a glacier and saw open water with
ice bounding it on the horizon. As the sheet over which their course lay
became thinner, and threatened to give way beneath them, they had to
open up a track among the hummocks by pick and shovel; and when this
failed they had to unload the sledge and carry the things separately. At
Cape Saulen they camped for the night in the fissure of a glacier into
which they had to drag their baggage by a long rope; and next day—the
12th of April, 1874—they went on again and reached Cape Fligely, in 81°
50´ 43˝, their farthest north.

With great difficulty they made their way back to the ship, a long,
toilsome journey through snow and sludge, with open water in places
where there had been ice, which made them fear the _Tegetthoff_ might
have drifted away again. The imminent danger of starvation was ended by
their reaching their depot on Schonau Island, whence Payer went on for
the remaining twenty-five miles alone with the dog-sledge, the two dogs
giving much trouble until they struck the old sledge track almost
obliterated by snow, when they raised their heads, stuck their tails in
the air, and broke into a run. Halting on an iceberg for a meal, the
berg capsized, and in a moment Payer was begirt by fissures,
water-pools, and rolling blocks of ice, from which he managed to escape.
When he turned into the narrow passage between Salm and Wilczek Islands,
Orgel Cape, visible at a great distance, was the only dark spot on the
scene. At once the dogs made for it, and about midnight he arrived
there. With an anxious heart he began the ascent; a barren stony plateau
confronted him; with every advancing step, made with increasing
difficulty, the land gradually disappeared and the horizon of the frozen
sea expanded before him; no ship was to be seen, no trace of man for
thousands of miles except a cairn with the fragments of a flag
fluttering in the wind, and a grave half covered with snow. Still he
climbed, and suddenly three masts emerged. He had found the ship; there
she lay about three miles off, appearing on the frozen ocean no bigger
than a fly, the icebergs and drifts around her having hidden her amongst
them. He held the heads of the dogs towards her and pointed with his arm
to where she lay; and they saw her, and away they went, to find all but
the watch asleep.

After another sledge journey north-westwards to Mount Brunn, from which
Richthofen Peak was sighted, preparations were made for abandoning the
ship and returning home. The three boats left the _Tegetthoff_ on the
20th of May, but so slow was the progress over the difficult route that
at the end of every day in the first week it was possible for Payer to
go back to her on the dog-sledge to replenish the stores which had been
consumed; and at the end of two months of indescribable effort the
distance between the boats and the ship was not more than eight statute
miles. The heights of Wilczek Land were still distinctly visible and its
lines of rocks shone with mocking brilliance in the ever-growing
daylight. All things appeared to promise that after a long struggle with
the ice there remained for the expedition but a despairing return to the
ship and a third winter there with the frozen ocean for their grave.

In the middle of July the fissures which had been opening out around
them became wider and longer, progress reaching some four miles a day;
then the north wind blew and the icefield commenced to drift to the
south, to drift again north-east when the wind changed. Backwards and
forwards, amid every variety of weather, including heavy rain, the pack
ice moved until it changed to drift ice, and, on the 15th of August, the
much-tried company got afloat at last in open water and laid their
course for Novaya Zemlya, where they fell in with two Russian schooners
off Cape Britwin.

The next to visit Franz Josef Land was Leigh Smith, whom we met with in
the Spitsbergen seas. Building the _Eira_ especially for Arctic service,
he started in 1880, the year she was launched, on a cruise to Greenland
and thence eastwards, which took him to the west and north-west of the
ground gone over by the Austrians. He surveyed the whole coast from 42°
east to the most westerly point seen by Payer, and sorted it out into
several islands, but found no trace of the _Tegetthoff_, for where she
had been left was open water. Encouraged by the success of his visit, in
which the observations and collections were unusually good, he returned
in the _Eira_ the following year to meet with much more unfavourable ice
conditions. Finding it impossible to get westward of Barents Hook the
_Eira_ was, on the 15th of August, made fast to the land floe off Cape
Flora, and six days afterwards she was nipped and stove by the ice and
slowly sank in eleven fathoms of water. As she settled down the steam
winch was set to work, and by its means half a dozen casks of flour and
about three hundredweight of bread were saved from the main hold; and
when nothing more could be got from the lower deck the stores in the
after cabin were attacked, and within the two hours from the discovery
of the leak to the disappearance of the ship, all these provisions and
the boats and clothes were safe on the ice; and the sails were cut away,
and with them and some oars a tent was erected in which all the company,
twenty-five in number, took shelter.

A move was made next day to the land. On Cape Flora a house was built
mainly of earth and stones, covered with sails, in which the winter was
passed. Fortunately the district abounds with bears and walruses, and
the meat from these, boiled with vegetables, and served out three times
a day into twenty-five plates made out of old provision tins, proved the
right sort of fare to keep every one in excellent health. Thanks in a
great measure to Bob, the retriever, the larder was kept full; but there
being a shortness of coal, recourse for fuel had to be made to rope and
blubber, so that no one could mistake the time when the cooking was on.
In fact, the odour and the smoke were of great interest to the bears,
who lingered about intending to pay surprise visits, and the dog had
always to be sent in front of those leaving the house. One day when out
on his own account, Bob discovered a school of walruses on the ice and
reported the matter in his own fashion, whereupon several of these were
shot, and after an exciting chase five were secured. In January he found
another school, of which three were bagged and stowed alongside the
house, although the thermometer stood at forty below zero. On another
occasion he managed to tempt a bear up to the front door, where it was
promptly tumbled over, to his evident satisfaction.

During the winter the party killed twenty-nine walruses and three dozen
bears. Once, when only a fortnight's meat was left, and things began to
look serious, no less than eight bears were killed in two weeks. At the
end of April the birds returned, and in June the ice was cleared away by
a gale and walruses were seen swimming on the water in hundreds. Never
did a wintering party meet with better fortune, and never was one better

On the 21st of June they started from Cape Flora in four boats, six men
each in three of them, seven in the other, to reach the open sea,
leaving in the house six bottles of champagne in case any person might
look in, besides a few other things, and blocking up the door to keep
out the bears. Before the boats reached the ice they crossed eighty
miles of water, and then six weeks' hard labour began, zigzagging
through channels, hauling over hummocky floes, sailing through pools,
halting for days on a floe with no water in sight, but never doubting
that a clearance would come. On leaving the ice they steered for Novaya
Zemlya, at first in a gentle breeze, which rapidly increased to a gale
in a heavy thunderstorm, so that the boats, with their sails of
tablecloth and shirt-tail, had to be carefully handled as they scudded
before it at such a pace that within twenty-four hours of leaving the
ice they were drawn up all safe on the beach at the entrance of
Matyushin Shar. Next morning the Dutch exploring schooner, _Willem
Barents_, was descried coming out of the strait, and before the schooner
was reached by the boats there came round the point the _Hope_, which
Sir Allen Young, of the _Pandora_, had brought out as a rescue ship for
them. They had been driven by the gale to the very spot on the very day
they could be best relieved.

From the reports of Weyprecht and Payer it appeared that the north-east
of Franz Josef Land would make an excellent base for a start for the
North Pole, and Leigh Smith was led to the same view by his visit to
Alexandra Land, but along the south he had made so many changes in
Payer's map that a further examination of the region was evidently
desirable. To effect this by a careful survey of the coasts, Frederick
G. Jackson landed near Cape Flora on the 7th of September, 1894, and
began his residence of a thousand days. Setting to work in a
businesslike way, and recording his progress in similar style, he
disintegrated the land masses into a group of some fifty size-able
islands, through which run two main waterways, his British Channel and
Payer's Austria Sound, both opening out northwards into Queen Victoria
Sea; Crown Prince Rudolf Land being a large island at the northern
entrance of Austria Sound, Wilczek Land at its southern entrance being
about twice its size. He defined the coast-lines for over eighty miles
of latitude, extending to fifteen degrees of longitude as far west as
the most westerly headland, Cape Mary Harmsworth, and so cutting up
Franz Josef Land that not even an island now bears the name, which is
used only as that of the archipelago. Never in Arctic exploration was
work rendered more evident than in the difference between the map as
Jackson found it and as he left it.

The _Windward_, with the expedition on board, sighted the land on the
25th of August, but, stopped by intervening ice, could not reach the
coast until a fortnight afterwards, the landing taking place at Cape
Flora, close to Leigh Smith's house, which was found with the roof off.
Not far away Jackson established his headquarters, quite a little
settlement, though the expedition consisted of only eight men. Just as
Leigh Smith found no remains of the _Tegetthoff_, so Jackson found no
trace of the _Eira_. It had been intended that the _Windward_ should
return after putting the party ashore, but, shut in by the ice, she had
to remain during the first winter, getting away safely next year, to
return in 1896 and take away Nansen, who, as we shall see further on,
ended his long land journey here. On her 1897 trip she departed with the
members of the expedition all well, so that neither ship nor man was
lost, the only serious casualties being among the dogs and the Russian
ponies which did such excellent service.

Two years afterwards, in July, 1899, the deserted settlement was visited
by the Duke of the Abruzzi, in his expedition in the _Stella Polare_, on
his way to the north, a few days before he met with his short
imprisonment in the ice in British Channel. His was a successful run all
the same, for he was in 82° 4´, to the northward of Crown Prince Rudolf
Land, or, as it is now called, Prince Rudolf Island, twenty-seven days
out from Archangel. Passing Cape Fligely—the latitude of which was
afterwards found to be sixteen miles south of the 82° 5´ Payer had made
it—and rounding Cape Auk, the _Stella Polare_ went into winter quarters
in Teplitz Bay, whence Captain Umberto Cagni started, on the 11th of
March, 1900, for his forty-five days' march towards the North Pole.

It was a great disappointment to the Duke to have to stay with the ship
instead of leading this well-equipped and thoroughly organised sledge
attempt, but owing to an accident two of his fingers had been so
severely frost-bitten that they had to be amputated, and, unless a
second winter was to be spent in the ice, a start was imperative before
he could recover from the operation. Thus all he could do was to assist
at the first encounter of the sledges with the pressure ridges and wish
Cagni the longest possible journey and a safe return. There was every
appearance of the journey being a difficult one, for on the first day a
stoppage had to be made every quarter of a mile or thereabouts for a
road to be cut through the ridges with ice-axes, while next day a new
hindrance was experienced in the young ice in the channels being too
thin at times to support the sledges, one of which began to sink and was
only extricated with difficulty, so that only one sledge could be
allowed on such ice at a time.

On the 13th of March the auxiliary sledge was sent back, thus reducing
the caravan to a dozen sledges and ninety-eight dogs, which in a long
line passed over a vast plain covered with great rugged blocks of ice,
as though they had been thrown down confusedly by a giant's hand to bar
the way. The wind was north-east, the cold intense, fifty below zero,
not to be particular to a degree or so, for, as Cagni says, when the
temperature is below twenty-two, and it is impossible to use a screen or
a magnifying glass, the mere fact of approaching to read the scale on an
unmounted thermometer sends it up a couple of degrees, and when the
temperature is below fifty-eight an approach makes a difference of three
or four degrees. So cold was it that the sleeping bags were as hard as
wood, and the men got into them after much effort, not to sleep but to
feel their teeth chattering for hours, the only warm parts of the body
being the feet clad in long woollen stockings. "There are patches of ice
on our knees," says Cagni, "like horses' knee-caps, and we have others,
both large and small, sometimes thick enough to be scraped off with a
knife, everywhere, but especially on our cheeks and backs and in all
places where the perspiration has oozed through."

Amid such surroundings the camp must have seemed somewhat out of place.
When a suitable site was chosen the first sledge was stopped, and near
it the three other sledges of the third detachment were drawn up at a
distance of about ten feet from each other. The sledges of the second
detachment as they came up formed a second line, those of the third
forming another. The tents were pitched between two sledges, generally
those in the centre, the guy ropes being fastened to the sledge runners,
those at the ends to an ice-axe stuck in the ice. The sleeping bags were
then unpacked, the cooking stoves taken out of the boats, and everything
arranged under the tent. The thin steel wire ropes to which the dogs
were tethered, when unharnessed, were stretched between the sledges away
from the tents. While the men were taking the dogs out of the harness,
which always remained attached to the traces on the sledges, and
tethering them to the steel ropes, one of the guides took a chosen
victim to some distance from the camp, and felled it with a blow from an
ice-axe, then opened it, skinned it quickly, divided it up into ten
shares and distributed these to the dogs, already destined to undergo
the same fate, these being the weakest and most ailing—in short, this
was the elimination of the unfit.

On the 22nd of March the first detachment began its return journey; it
consisted of Lieutenant Querini and two men, and it was never heard of
again. The way northwards continued extremely difficult, with channels
and ridges plentiful and the road so rough that the sledges began to
break up in the bows and runners, some at last so badly that their
fragments had to be used to repair the others with. On the 31st the
second detachment was sent back, consisting of the doctor and two men,
and it got safely to the ship. The third detachment, consisting of Cagni
with two Courmayeur guides—Petigax and Fenoillet—and a sailor, Canepa,
all four Italians, made the final effort. That day they were on level
ice and covered seventeen miles, but at night a snowstorm came on and
there was trouble. After a rest they pressed forward in rapid marches
amid bad weather over the drifting fields. On the 12th of April while
raising camp a strong pressure piled up within a hundred yards of them a
wall from thirty-six to forty-five feet high, the highest ridge they had
seen. Enormous blocks rolled down towards them with loud crashes after
being thrown up by other blocks, lifted to the brow of the ridge and
rolled over in their turn, raising a cloud of ice-dust in their fall,
the loud continual creaking of the pressure drowned by the booming of
the cascade which shook the ice for yards around. These ridges were
constantly forming, most of them remaining, some of them subsiding as
the edges drifted apart, and the channels thus caused were even more
difficult to deal with, some having to be passed over thin ice, some
ferried over on small floes. But they did not cross the track all along,
and during the last few days the travelling was easy.

On the 24th of April the long journey reached its end. "At ten minutes
past twelve," says Cagni, "we are on our way to the north. The ice is
like that of yesterday, level and smooth, and, later on, undulating. At
first the dogs are not very willing to pull, but encouraged by our
shouts and a few strokes, they advance at a rapid pace, which they keep
up during the whole march. At five we meet with a large pressure ridge,
which almost surprises us, as it seems to us a century since we have
seen any; we lost a quarter of an hour in preparing a passage through
and crossing it. Beyond it the aspect of the ice changes; the
undulations are more strongly marked, and large blocks and small ridges
indicate recent pressure, but luckily they do not stop us or obstruct
our way. Soon after six we come upon a large channel running from east
to west; we must stop. Beyond the channel is a vast expanse of new ice,
much broken up and traversed by many other channels. Even if I were not
prevented from doing so, I would now think twice before risking myself
in the midst of them. If we did push forward on that ice, even for half
a day, we would gain very few miles and besides run the risk of losing a
sledge. The dogs are very tired, and we too feel the effects of
yesterday's strain. I therefore consider that it is more prudent to stop
here, and both the guides are of the same opinion. The sun is unclouded.
I bring out the sextant and take altitudes of the sun to calculate the
longitude (65° 19´ 45˝ E.) while Fenoillet and Canepa put the sledges in
order and pitch the tent in a sort of small amphitheatre of hillocks
which shelter us from the north wind. On that farthest to the north,
which is almost touched by the water of the channel, we plant the staff
from which our flag waves. The air is very clear; between the north-east
and the north-west there stand out distinctly, some sharply pointed,
others rounded, dark or blue and white, often with strange shapes, the
innumerable pinnacles of the great blocks of ice raised up by the
pressure. Farther away again on the bright horizon in a chain from east
to west is a great azure wall which from afar seems insurmountable." The
latitude was 86° 34´.

The outward journey took forty-five days; the homeward took sixty, and
proved a perilous adventure owing to the drift of the pack to the
westward and its breaking up as the weather became warmer and the
southern boundary was approached. At first there was good promise. The
dogs knew they were going back, and followed the outward track so fast
that the men, failing to keep up with them, for the first time took a
seat on the sledges and were drawn along at four miles an hour. Progress
was rapid for a few days owing to there being now only four sledges and,
in a considerable degree, to the intelligence of the leading dog,
Messicano. Ever since leaving Teplitz Bay this small white dog, with the
intelligent eyes and bushy legs, had held the first place in the leading
sledge because he followed the man at the head of the convoy better than
the others, and now when the guide was behind or on the sledge,
Messicano took the track at a gallop with his nose on the snow, losing
the way now and then, but finding it again, though to the men it was
often invisible. The time came, however, when the old track had to be
left for a better course to the ship, and then difficulties of every
sort had to be overcome, the delays being such that dog after dog had to
be killed to keep away starvation, and it was only with seven of them
and two sledges that Prince Rudolf Island was reached from the westward
on the 23rd of June. "The snow is wet, which is very bad for dragging
the sledges, as it sticks to the runners and tires our dogs exceedingly;
we have still seven, but only three that really pull (three to each
sledge), for Messicano is at the last extremity and can hardly hold up
the trace." Toiling on thus through the fog to Cape Brorok a noise was
heard in the distance like the creaking caused by pressure among ice
floes, and when the fog lifted it was found that the sound was that of
the seabirds on the cliffs. Out on the icefield no signs of life had
been met with beyond the traces of a bear, a seal that vanished, and a
walrus that popped up through thin ice to send Fenoillet scuttling off
on his hands and knees.

Meanwhile the ship, which had been seriously damaged, had been made
seaworthy. Liberated from her berth by mines of gunpowder and guncotton,
she sailed from Teplitz Bay on the 16th of August, and, after further
unpleasant experiences in the ice, reached Cape Flora, where a call was
made at Jackson's house in the vain hope of news of Querini; and thence,
after more ice complications, Captain Evensen took her to Hammerfest.
Though, as in all Arctic endeavour, conditions were against them, the
employment of a Norwegian crew for the ship and an Italian crew for the
sledges had, under excellent management, worked thoroughly well.

                               CHAPTER V
                            CAPE CHELYUSKIN

  Chelyuskin reaches the cape—The Laptefs—Deschnef's voyage through
    Bering Strait—Nordenskiöld's voyages to the Yenesei—The Siberian
    tundra—The voyage of the _Vega_—Nordenskiöld rounds Cape
    Chelyuskin—Endeavour to reach the Siberian Islands—Liakhoff's
    discovery—The _Vega_ passes the Cape North of Captain Cook—Frozen
    in within six miles of Cape Serdze Kamen—Completes the North-east
    Passage—Nansen's voyage—The _Fram_—Her drift in the ice—Nansen and
    Johansen start for the Pole—They reach 86° 13´ 6˝—Their journey to
    Frederick Jackson Island—The meeting with Jackson—Sverdrup's
    voyage to Spitsbergen.

The tundras and shores of Siberia abound with obstacles to exploration,
and yet a third of the threshold of the Polar regions has been surveyed
along their line. No spot remains unvisited on the northern margin of
the Asiatic mainland, the northernmost point of which is Cape Chelyuskin
in 77° 36·8´, so that the Arctic Circle sweeps inland for 770 miles to
the south of it—in other words the cape is practically half-way between
the Circle and the Pole.

[Illustration: CAPE CHELYUSKIN]

It was chiefly from the land that the northern coast-line was surveyed
by the Russians, whose Arctic work has been immense and thorough, though
not marked by any striking discoveries. Cape Chelyuskin was first
reached, in May, 1742, by the explorer whose name it bears, after a
sledge journey from the Chatanga, he being at the time second in command
to Khariton Laptef, whose first expedition in 1739 ended in the loss of
his ship three hundred miles from his winter quarters, to which he had
to travel on foot, losing twelve men by cold and exhaustion on the way.
Within the preceding four years the survey of the coast west of it had
been completed in four stages—from Archangel to Yalmal (that is Land's
End); from Yalmal to the Obi; from the Obi to the Yenesei; from the
Yenesei to Cape Sterlegof. In 1735 Pronchistschef, from the Lena, failed
to round Cape Chelyuskin from the east, and returned to the Olenek to
die but two days before his young wife, who was his companion on his
perilous voyage. Two years afterwards Dmitri Laptef began his
explorations east of the Lena which took him to Cape Baranoff, thus
joining up to the discoveries of the sable-hunters made a century
before, including those of Deschnef, who, in 1648, sailed from the
Kolyma to Kamchatka and went through Bering Strait more than thirty
years before Bering was born. Thus the route of the North-east Passage
was known, although no man had travelled the whole way either by land or
sea, before the task was undertaken by Nordenskiöld.

To begin with, Nordenskiöld made two voyages to the Yenesei. In the
first voyage he left Tromsoe in the _Proeven_ on the 14th of June, 1875,
and reached what he named Dickson Harbour at the mouth of the Yenesei on
the 15th of August. Sending back the _Proeven_, which returned through
Matyushin Shar, he, with Lundstrom the botanist and Stuxberg the
zoologist, and three walrus-hunters, embarked in a boat they had brought
out with them and proceeded up the estuary into the river; and during
the first six hundred miles they landed only twice. On the last day of
the month they caught up a steamer on which they became passengers.

"We were yet," says Nordenskiöld, "far to the north of the Arctic
Circle, and as many perhaps imagine that the little-known region we were
now travelling through, the Siberian tundra, is a desert wilderness
covered either by ice and snow, or by an exceedingly scanty moss
vegetation, it perhaps may not be out of place to say that this is by no
means the case. On the contrary, we saw snow during our journey up the
Yenesei only at one place, in a deep valley cleft some fathoms in
breadth, and the vegetation, especially on the islands which are
overflowed during the spring floods, is distinguished by a luxuriance to
which I have seldom seen anything comparable. Already had the fertility
of the soil and the immeasurable extent and richness in grass of the
pastures drawn forth from one of our walrus-hunters, a middle-aged man
who is owner of a little patch of ground among the fells of Northern
Norway, a cry of envy at the splendid land our Lord had given the
Russian, and of astonishment that no creature pastured, no scythe mowed,
the grass. Daily and hourly we heard the same cry repeated, and even in
louder tones, when some weeks after we came to the grand old forests
between Yeneseisk and Turuchansk, or to the nearly uninhabited plains on
the other side of Krasnojarsk covered with deep black earth, equal
without doubt in fertility to the best parts of Scania, and in extent
surpassing the whole Scandinavian peninsula. This judgment formed on the
spot by a genuine though illiterate agriculturist is not without
interest in forming an idea of the future importance of Siberia."

In fact, Siberia is particularly rich in mineral and agricultural
wealth, and this voyage, which opened up the route to and from Europe by
the natural outlets to the north, was of such commercial promise that
the explorer received for it the special thanks of the Russian
Government. As, however, there were people who looked upon it as an
exceptional voyage in an exceptional year, Nordenskiöld next season took
another voyage to the river, this time in the _Ymer_, carrying the first
instalment of merchandise so as to begin the trade; and he was followed
in a few weeks by Captain Joseph Wiggins, in the _Thames_, whose
subsequent voyages made the northern route well known.

Assured by the experience gained in these voyages that the North-east
Passage was possible to a steam vessel of moderate size, Nordenskiöld,
in 1878, was enabled to fit out the _Vega_, and sailed from Tromsoe on
the 31st of July. Three other vessels accompanied her, two bound for the
Yenesei, one for the Lena, the rendezvous being Khabarova. All went
well. On the 9th of August the _Fraser_ and _Express_ proceeded up the
Yenesei to discharge their cargoes and return to Europe in safety; next
day the _Vega_ and _Lena_ left for the eastward, and, after some risky
navigation among islands and through fog, lay for four days in Actinia
Haven, between Taimyr Island and the mainland, vainly waiting for clear
weather. Pushing on through fitful fog they sighted a promontory in the
north-east gleaming in the sunshine, and rounding its western horn
anchored in a bay open to the north and free from ice at the extremity
of Cape Chelyuskin. With the rounding of the most northerly point of the
Old World the first object of the expedition had been attained. The
salute fired in honour of the event having frightened away the only
polar bear who had stood watching the ship from the western horn, some
of the party landed, the botanists to discover that all the plants of
the peninsula had apparently been stopped on the outermost promontory
when trying to migrate further north. The flora was not extensive—a few
luxuriant lichens and twenty-three flowering plants, eight of them
saxifrages, most of them with a tendency to form semi-globular tufts;
the fauna consisted of the bear, a few seals, a walrus, two shoals of
white whales, some ducks and geese, and a number of sandpipers. Not so
long a list as was obtained at other landings, but by no means a bad one
for the half-way house to the Pole.

After passing the cape the course was laid for the New Siberian Islands,
but ice prevented progress in their direction beyond 77° 45´, the
highest north of the voyage, and the ship had to work her way out by the
route she went in, thus losing a day, which had serious consequences,
though it proved the correctness of Nordenskiöld's theory that the water
delivered by the Siberian rivers is, for a few months, of sufficiently
high temperature to give a clear passage to vessels content to keep near
the coast. On reaching the mouth of the Lena the ships parted company,
Captain Johannsen taking the smaller steamer up the river as intended
and bringing the news of the rounding of Cape Chelyuskin and the promise
of the North-east Passage being accomplished in one season, which was
not destined to be fulfilled.

Another attempt was then made by the _Vega_ to reach the islands to the
north, but after sighting the two most westerly of the group the shallow
sea was too crowded with rotten ice, and an idea of landing on Liakhoff
Island having to be given up for the same reason, the course was altered
so as to take the ship round Svjatoi Nos (the Holy Cape), where in
April, 1770, Liakhoff had noticed the mighty crowd of reindeer going
south. Justly considering they must have come over the ice from some
northern land, he went back on their tracks in a dog-sledge, discovering
two of the most southerly islands, and obtaining from Catherine the
Second as a reward the monopoly of hunting the foxes and collecting the
ivory there from the fossil mammoths he found in abundance.

Forced to keep to the channel along the coast, which daily became
narrower, the _Vega_ reached Cape Chelagskoi, and when off this
promontory Nordenskiöld saw the first natives during his voyage. Two
boats built of skin almost exactly similar to the oomiaks, or women's
boats, used by the Eskimos, came out to the ship, the men, women, and
children in them intimating by shouts and gestures that they wished to
come on board. The _Vega_ was brought-to that they might do so, but as
none of the Chukches could speak Russian and none of the Swedes knew
Chukche, the interview was not so satisfactory as expected, though the
universal language of pantomime with presents ensured a favourable

On the 12th of September the _Vega_ passed Irkaipii, the Cape North of
Captain Cook, and by rounding it Nordenskiöld joined up with the
westernmost limit of the Arctic discoveries of the great navigator. Cook
tried to weather it in August, 1778, but was turned back by fog and
snow, and thinking it was "not consistent with prudence to make any
further attempts to find a passage into the Atlantic this year in any
direction, so little was the prospect of succeeding," he sailed for
Hawaii, where his intention of making the attempt the ensuing summer
came to nought owing to his death.

On the 28th of September the _Vega's_ progress for the year was arrested
by her being frozen in for the winter on the eastern side of Kolyuchin
Bay in the northernmost part of Bering Strait, only six miles of ice
barring the way round Cape Serdze Kamen into the open sea. During her
detention of two hundred and sixty-four days the scientific
investigations of many kinds that were undertaken were of lasting
importance, as they had been throughout, and when she was released on
the 18th of July, 1879, to come home by way of Yokohama, the collections
and records she brought with her were simply enormous. No better work
with greater results was done by any Arctic expedition than during this
successful voyage, which was too well managed to have much adventure.
For it Nordenskiöld very justly claimed the reward of twenty-five
thousand guilders offered in 1596 by the States-General of Holland, the
endeavour to win which sent out Van Heemskerck, Barents, and Rijp.


We have seen how the Dutchmen built their house at Ice Haven mainly of
the driftwood from the Siberian rivers. Similar wood from probably the
same source is found on the shores of Greenland and of almost all the
northerly islands of the Arctic Ocean. Further, the Greenland flora
includes a series of Siberian plants apparently from seeds drifted there
by some current. Not only do trees and seeds travel by water from Asia
westward to America; at Godthaab, for instance, on the western coast of
Greenland, there was found a throwing-stick of a shape and ornamentation
used only by the Alaskan Eskimos; and three years after the foundering
of the _Jeannette_ to the north of the New Siberian Islands there were
found on the south-west coast of Greenland a number of articles in the
drift-ice that must have come from the sunken vessel. For these and
other reasons it seemed clear to Fridtjof Nansen that a current flowed
at some point between the Pole and Franz Josef Land from the Siberian
Arctic Sea to the Greenland coast, and so he set to work to organise his
daring expedition to strike this current well to the eastward, trusting
to its mercies to take him to or near the Pole.

In 1893, when the _Fram_ rounded Cape Chelyuskin, Nansen had found the
Kara Sea almost as open as Nordenskiöld had done, but had met with more
difficulties among the islands off the Taimyr Peninsula. A famous
vessel, the _Fram_, the first of her kind, built specially for the ice
to take her where it listed in the hope that she would drift to
discovery like the _Tegetthoff_, and not to disaster like the
_Jeannette_. The general idea was Nansen's, the carrying out of the idea
was Colin Archer's. As Nansen says: "We must gratefully recognise that
the success of the expedition was in no small degree due to this man."
Plan after plan did he make of the projected ship, model after model did
he prepare and abandon before he was satisfied: and never was a ship
more honestly built. With her double-ended deck plan, with a side of
such curve and slope that under ice pressure she would be lifted instead
of crushed between the floes, and with bow, stern, and keel so rounded
off that she would slip like an eel from the embrace of the ice, she was
of such solidity as to withstand any pressure from any direction. Her
stem of three stout oak beams, one inside the other, was four feet in
thickness, protected with iron; her rudder-post and propeller-post, two
feet across, had on either side a stout oak counter-timber following the
curvature upwards and forming a double stern-post, with the planking
cased with heavy iron plates; and between these timbers was a well for
the screw and another for the rudder, so that each could be hoisted on
deck, the rudder with the help of the capstan coming up in a few
minutes. Her frames, ten inches thick and twenty-one wide, stood close
together, carrying three layers of planking, giving altogether a side of
two feet or more of solid wood, so shored and stayed for strength that
the hold looked like a thicket of balks, joists, and stanchions. With a
length of 128 feet over all, a breadth of thirty-six, a depth of
seventeen, and a displacement of 800 tons, she was quite a
multum-in-parvo engined with a 220 horse-power triple expansion, so
contrived that in case of accident or for any other cause the cylinders
could be used singly or two together. Rigged as a three-masted
fore-and-aft schooner, with the mainmast much higher than the others—it
being unusually high, for the crow's-nest on the main-topmast was 102
feet above the water—she proved equal to the demands on her, though in
her case strength and warmth had to be thought of before weatherliness
and speed. But her speed was not so poor, for when steaming and sailing
after leaving Cape Chelyuskin on the 10th of September she was doing her
nine knots.

The day after she had entered the Nordenskiöld Sea came a walrus-hunt,
so graphically described by Nansen that we must find room for an
extract. "It was," he says, "a lovely morning—fine, still weather; the
walruses' guffaw sounded over to us along the clear ice surface. They
were lying crowded together on a floe a little to landward of us, blue
mountains glittering behind them in the sun. At last the harpoons were
sharpened, guns and cartridges ready, and Henriksen, Juell, and I set
off. There seemed to be a slight breeze from the south, so we rowed to
the north side of the floe, to get to leeward of the animals. From time
to time their sentry raised his head, but apparently did not see us. We
advanced slowly, and soon were so near that we had to row very
cautiously. Juell kept us going, while Henriksen was ready in the bow
with a harpoon, and I behind him with a gun. The moment the sentry
raised his head the oars stopped, and we stood motionless; when he sank
it again, a few more strokes brought us nearer. Body to body they lay,
close-packed on a small floe, old and young ones mixed. Enormous masses
of flesh they were. Now and again one of the ladies fanned herself by
moving one of her flippers backwards and forwards over her body; then
she lay quiet again on her back or side. More and more cautiously we
drew near. Whilst I sat ready with the gun, Henriksen took a good grip
of the harpoon shaft, and as the boat touched the floe he rose, and off
flew the harpoon. But it struck too high, glanced off the tough hide,
and skipped over the backs of the animals. Now there was a pretty to do!
Ten or twelve great weird faces glared upon us at once; the colossal
creatures twisted themselves round with incredible celerity, and came
waddling with lifted heads and hollow bellowings to the edge of the ice
where we lay. It was undeniably an imposing sight; but I laid my gun to
my shoulder and fired at one of the biggest heads. The animal staggered
and then fell head foremost into the water. Now a ball into another
head; this creature fell, too, but was able to fling itself into the
sea. And now the whole flock dashed in, and we, as well as they, were
hidden in the spray. It had all happened in a few seconds. But up they
came again immediately round the boat, the one head bigger and uglier
than the other—their young ones close beside them. They stood up in the
water, bellowed and roared till the air trembled, threw themselves
forward towards us, then rose up again, and new bellowings filled the
air. Then they rolled over and disappeared with a splash, then bobbed up
again. The water foamed and boiled for yards around—the ice-world that
had been so still before seemed in a moment to have been transformed
into a raging Bedlam. Any moment we might expect to have a walrus tusk
or two through the boat or to be heaved up or capsized. Something of
this kind was the very least that could happen after such a terrible
commotion. But the hurly-burly went on and nothing came of it."

The _Fram_ had to follow the coast owing to the thick pack barring the
way across the sea. The mouth of the Chatanga was passed, then that of
the Olenek, and then the influence of the warm water of the Lena being
apparent by the clearance of the floes, the course was laid straight for
the Pole in open water until 77° 44´ was reached, when, checked by the
long compact edge of ice shining through the fog, the route became
north-westerly until they stopped for fear they should get near land,
which was the very thing they wished to avoid; and on the 25th of
September in about 78½° north latitude—north-west of Sannikof Land—they
were frozen in.

Preparations for wintering began. The rudder was hauled up, the engine
was taken to pieces, each separate part oiled and laid away with the
greatest care—for Amundsen looked after it as if it were his own child—a
carpenter's shop was started in the hold, a smithy arranged first on
deck and then on the ice. But it all had to be replaced, even the engine
put together again, for the pack cleared away for a brief period, to
return, when again the shiftings were made; and when the windmill was
put up to drive the dynamo, the winter installation was in all senses

Slowly the _Fram_ drifted in her ice-berth, so slowly that at the end of
twelve months she had moved from point to point only 189 miles, having
returned no further west than the longitude of the Olenek; her highest
north, attained on the 18th of June, being 81° 46´. In the main the
drift was north-westerly, but three times it had boxed the compass in
irregular loops, the only constant thing about it being that, in no
matter what direction she was taken, the bow of the _Fram_ always
pointed south. Of grips she had many, some of the pressures were
enormous, once they were severe enough to suggest measures for her
abandonment, but she survived them all unscathed. Early in the drift it
became apparent that the ice was packing twice and slacking twice in
every twenty-four hours, and in this sea, as afterwards in the Atlantic
area, the influence of the tides, particularly the spring tides, was
unmistakable—as it was expected it would be—though in the deep Polar
basin the wind had more effect; and, in truth, the wind was a factor
throughout in the packing of the ice and in the drift's direction. One
thing was clear, that the current was not taking the _Fram_ across the
North Pole, but about half-way between it and Spitsbergen; and if the
Pole was to be reached some of the expedition must attempt to get there
over the ice. This meant leaving the ship, going north, and returning to
the nearest known land, for, owing to the irregularity of the drift, it
was hopeless to think of again reaching the _Fram_. During the second
winter the route of the ship trended more to the north, and, after a
loop all round in January, she reached 84° 4´ on the 14th of March in
the longitude of Cape Chelyuskin. Here Nansen and Lieutenant F. H.
Johansen, who rather than not join the _Fram_ had shipped in her as
stoker, left the ship with three sledges, two kayaks, and twenty-eight
dogs to go as far northward as they could, their expectation being that
they would reach the Pole in fifty days. Had they remained in the ship
until November they would have saved themselves trouble, for, as matters
turned out, the embarrassing drift took the _Fram_ within eight miles of
the farthest north they attained after twenty-three days of strenuous

[Illustration: Yours sincerely Fridtjof Nansen.]

The ice, fairly easy for a few days, soon became terrible in the
difficulties it offered to progress over it, and the continual toil of
hauling and carrying the sledges, and righting them when capsized, soon
told on the two men to such an extent as to tire them out so thoroughly
that sometimes in the evening they fell asleep as they went along. The
cold, too, proved singularly searching and severe. During the course of
the day the damp exhalations of the body little by little became
condensed in their outer garments, which became transformed into suits
of ice-armour, so hard that if they could have been got off they could
have stood by themselves, and they crackled audibly at every movement.
The clothes were so stiff that the sleeve of Nansen's coat rubbed deep
sores in his wrist, one of which got frost-bitten, the wound growing
deeper and deeper and nearly reaching the bone. "How cold we were," says
Nansen, "as we lay there shivering in the bag, waiting for the supper to
be ready! I, who was cook, was obliged to keep myself more or less awake
to see to the culinary operations, and sometimes I succeeded. At last
the supper was ready, was portioned out, and, as always, tasted
delicious. These occasions were the supreme moments of our existence,
moments to which we looked forward all day long. But sometimes we were
so weary that our eyes closed, and we fell asleep with the food on its
way to our mouths. Our hands would fall back inanimate with the spoons
in them and the food fly out on the bag."

The further they went the worse became the conditions. On the 8th of
April, with ridge after ridge and nothing but rubble to travel over, the
work became so disheartening that Nansen went on ahead on his skis and
from the highest hummocks viewed the state of affairs; and as far as the
horizon, lay a chaos of such character that progress across was
impracticable if he and Johansen were to return alive. Here, then, they
stopped, this being their northernmost limit, 128 miles from the _Fram_,
260 miles from the Pole, latitude 86° 13·6´, longitude 95°.

To reach this point they had been travelling north-westwards for six
days, the way due north being impassable; but on turning south they
seemed to enter another country; so much did the going improve after the
first mile that in three days they covered over forty miles. They were
making for Petermann Land, which does not exist, or for the
wide-stretching Franz Josef Land, also placed on the maps by Payer,
which Jackson had been cutting up into fragments while the _Fram_ was in
the ice. Further south difficulties thickened ahead of them till the
road became almost as bad as that to the north. Before they reached land
the hundred days they had allowed themselves had increased to more than
half as many again, their dogs had been killed one by one to yield food
for the rest, until only two remained; Nansen was helpless with
rheumatism for two days; and Johansen was nearly killed by a bear.
Through a chain of disasters caused by storms and fogs and snow and the
state of the ice, they threaded their way, sometimes by sledge,
sometimes by kayak, through mazes of open channels, leaping from floe to
floe and ferrying back to get their baggage over, hundreds of yards on
mere brash, dragging the sledges after them in constant fear of their
capsizing into the water. Then the ice gave out and, taking to their
kayaks, they sailed and paddled to what is now known as Frederick
Jackson Island in the north of the Franz Josef Archipelago.

Here they wintered, quite at a loss at first to know where they were,
owing to their watches having run down during a great effort of
thirty-six hours at a stretch, so that they did not know their
longitude, though they subsequently concluded they must be somewhere on
Franz Josef Land within 140 miles of Eira Harbour. They built a hut and
altogether lived passably well, there being no lack of food, thanks
mainly to the bears, whose visits were embarrassing in their frequency
though the visitors were not unwelcome when they came to stay.

On the 19th of May they set out for the south, down British Channel,
with their sledges and kayaks, and five days afterwards, when off Cape
M'Clintock, while Johansen was busy lashing the sail and mast securely
to the deck of his kayak to prevent their being blown away, Nansen went
on ahead to look for a camping ground and fell through a crack in the
ice which had been hidden by the snow. He tried to get out, but with his
skis firmly fastened could not pull them up through the rubble of ice
which had fallen into the water on the top of them, and, being harnessed
to the sledge, he could not turn round. Fortunately, as he fell, he had
dug his staff into the ice on the opposite side of the crack, and
holding himself up with its aid, and the arm he had got over the edge of
the ice, he waited patiently for Johansen to come and pull him out. When
he thought a long time had passed and felt the staff giving way and the
water creeping further up his body, he called out but received no
answer; and it was not until the water had reached his chest that
Johansen came and pulled him out.

For a few days they were storm-bound. On the 3rd of June they started
again down the channel, their whereabouts still a mystery to them,
nothing in the least like it being on their map. Nine days afterwards,
after rounding Cape Barents on Northbrook Island, the kayaks, which had
been left moored to the edge of the ice, got adrift. Nansen, running
down from the hummock, from which he had been looking round, threw off
some of his clothes and sprang into the water. The wind was off the ice,
and the kayaks with their high rigging were moving away as fast as he
could swim. It seemed more than doubtful if he could reach them. But all
their hope was there, all they had was on board; they had not even a
knife with them, and whether he sank or turned back amounted to much the
same thing. When he tired he turned over and swam on his back, and then
he could see Johansen walking restlessly up and down on the ice, unable
to do anything, and having the worst time he ever lived through. But the
wind lulled, and when Nansen turned over he saw he was nearing the
kayaks, and though his limbs were stiffening and losing all feeling, he
put all the strength he could into his strokes, and eventually was able
to reach them. He tried to pull himself up, but was so stiff with cold
that he could not do so. For a moment he thought he was too late; but
after a little he managed to swing one leg up on to the edge of the
sledge, which lay on the deck, and in this way he scrambled on board.
The kayaks were lashed together so as to form a double boat, and the
only way in which, owing to his stiffness, he could paddle them was to
take one or two strokes on one side and then step into the other kayak
and take a few strokes on the other side. The return was consequently
slow, but it was a return, though the ice was reached a long way from
where the drifting had begun.

Next day but one came another perilous episode. "Towards morning," says
Nansen, "we rowed for some time without seeing any walrus, and now felt
more secure. Just then we saw a solitary rover pop up a little in front
of us. Johansen, who was in front at the time, put in to a sunken ledge
of ice; and although I really thought that this was caution carried to
excess, I was on the point of following his example. I had not gone so
far, however, when suddenly the walrus shot up beside me, threw himself
on to the edge of the kayak, took hold further over the deck with one
flipper, and as it tried to upset me aimed a blow at the kayak with its
tusks. I held on as tightly as possible, so as not to be upset into the
water, and struck at the animal's head with the paddle as hard as I
could. It took hold of the kayak once more and tilted me up so that the
deck was almost under water, then let go and raised itself right up. I
seized my gun, but at the same moment it turned round and disappeared as
quickly as it had come. The whole thing had happened in a moment, and I
was just going to remark to Johansen that we were fortunate in escaping
so easily from that adventure, when I noticed that my legs were wet. I
listened, and now heard the water trickling into the kayak under me. To
turn and run her in on to the sunken ledge of ice was the work of a
moment, but I sank there. The thing was to get out and on to the ice,
the kayak filling all the time. The edge of the ice was high and loose,
but I managed to rise; and Johansen, by tilting the sinking kayak over
to starboard, so that the leak came above the water, managed to bring
her to a place where the ice was low enough to admit of our drawing her
up. All I possessed was floating about inside, soaked through. So here
we lie, with all our worldly goods spread out to dry and a kayak that
must be mended before we can face the walrus again. It is a good big
rent that he has made, at least six inches long; but it is fortunate
that it was no worse."

The kayak was mended, and, after a long rest, it was past noon on the
17th of June when Nansen turned out to prepare breakfast. After doing so
he went up on a hummock to look around. Flocks of little auks were
flying overhead, and, amid the confused noise of their calls, he heard a
couple of barks from a dog. Thinking he was mistaken he waited for a
time, and then the barking was unmistakable, bark after bark, one of a
deeper tone than the other. He shouted to Johansen, who started up from
the sleeping-bag incredulous. The sound ceased, and, breakfast over,
Nansen went forth to investigate. Soon he came on the footprints of a
dog or wolf, and then, still doubting, he heard a distant yelping that
certainly came not from a wolf. Making his way among the hummocks, he
heard a shout from a human voice, a strange voice—the first for three
years. Running up on to a hummock he shouted with all his might. Back
came a shout in reply; and among the hummocks he caught sight of a dog,
and further off a man walked into view. The man spoke to the dog in
English. Thinking he recognised Jackson, Nansen raised his hat as he met
him, and they shook hands heartily.

The contrast could not have been greater. One the well-groomed,
civilised European in a check suit and rubber water-boots, the other in
dirty rags black with oil and soot, with long matted hair and shaggy
beard, and a face in which the complexion was undiscernible through the
accumulations which a winter's endeavours, including scrapings with a
knife, had failed to remove. As they talked they had turned to go
inland. Suddenly Jackson stopped, and, looking the new arrival straight
in the face, said—

"Aren't you Nansen?"

"Yes, I am."

"By Jove! I'm damned glad to see you."

And seizing his hand he shook it again, his whole face beaming with a
smile of welcome and delight at the unexpected meeting; and needless to
say, both Nansen and Johansen received the warmest of welcomes from all
at Elmwood. The _Windward_ was then on her way, and when she arrived the
two Norsemen from the farthest north went in her to Vardoe, where they
landed on the 13th of August.

Meanwhile the _Fram_ had continued her leisurely drift, north-west,
south-west, north-west, west, then all round the compass, still with her
head pointing south, until on the 15th of November she reached 85° 55·5´
in longitude 66° 31´, thus giving Captain Otto Sverdrup the honour of
attaining the highest north in a ship. Another winter was passed in her
ice-berth, during which she moved westerly. In February came another
complete triangle in her course, after which she went south-west, and on
the 16th of May turned due south. Then, in the later days of the month
with the southerly drift continuing and open water on ahead, Sverdrup
resolved to set her free by mines, and on the 3rd of June, as a result
of the blastings, she gave a lurch, settled a little deeper at the stern
and moved away from the edge of the ice until the hawsers tautened. But,
though she was afloat, the ice around still kept her captive, and in the
pool she drifted straight towards Spitsbergen.

Again and again was steam got up and endeavour made to break a way out,
but day after day elapsed, and it was not until the 13th of August that
she passed through the last floes into open water, and her thirty-five
months of imprisonment came to an end. Making for Danes Island in
Spitsbergen, she was there boarded by Andrée, who was then preparing for
his disappearance in the balloon voyage to the Pole. Going on direct to
Skjervoe in Norway, Sverdrup landed at two o'clock in the morning to
wake up the telegraphist, who told him that Nansen had reached Vardoe a
week before and was then at Hammerfest and probably leaving for Tromsoe.
For Tromsoe Sverdrup started, after telegraphing to Nansen. And there,
at four o'clock in the afternoon of the 25th of August, 1896, Sir George
Baden-Powell's yacht _Otaria_, with Nansen and Johansen on board, glided
alongside the _Fram_, the good little ship looking much weather-beaten
though none the worse for such a task of strength and endurance as had
been set no other in the story of the sea.

                               CHAPTER VI
                             THE LENA DELTA

  Discovery of the Siberian Islands—Hedenström—Anjou and
    Wrangell—Migration of reindeer—Animals and plants of the
    tundra—The northward migration of the native tribes—The voyage of
    the _Jeannette_—Her drift in the pack—Jeannette Island—Henrietta
    Island—The ship crushed and sunk—Landing on Bennett Island—The
    boat voyage—The boats separate in a storm—De Long lands on the
    Lena Delta—Nindemann and Noros in search of assistance—Safety of
    the whale-boat—Fate of De Long and his companions—Baron Toll's

The Siberian Islands, lying north of the delta of the Lena, answer to
the Parry Islands on the American side, the two groups being separated
by that wide stretch of the Arctic Ocean communicating with the Pacific
through Bering Strait. At first the Asiatic group was officially named
after Liakhoff, then it was called after the unwisely named New Siberia,
but, under any designation, it took half a century to find the different
islands, and considerably more to land on them.

[Illustration: THE LENA DELTA]

When Liakhoff discovered the one named after him by the Empress
Catherine, he also went north to Moloi, and he seems to have visited
Kotelnoi to the north-west. In 1775 Chvoinof was sent to survey these
three, but he devoted most of his attention to Liakhoff Island—fifty
miles across—which he found to consist, as reported, of hills of granite
rising from a mass of mammoth bones, sand, and ice, some of the ice
ancient enough to carry a deep covering of moss. Though he stated that
other islands could be made out in the distance, nothing was done to
verify his discoveries, real or imaginary, until thirty years had
passed, when Thaddeus and Stolbovoi were reached. Next year (1806) New
Siberia, to the eastward, was discovered by Sirovatskof, and two years
afterwards Bjelkof was added to the southerly portion of the

In 1809 Hedenström, assisted by Sannikof, began his series of surveys
extending over all these, and cleared up much of the mystery concerning
them. From Thaddeus, Sannikof sighted, away to the northward, what is
now known as Bennett Island; and, from New Siberia, Hedenström sighted
Henrietta and Jeannette Islands, and set out for them, and would have
reached them had his sledges not been stopped by open water. Like his
predecessors he was astonished at the mammoth remains on Liakhoff

According to his account, "these bones or tusks are less large and heavy
the further we advance towards the north, so that it is a rare
occurrence on the islands to meet with a tusk of more than 108 lbs. in
weight, whereas on the continent they are said often to weigh as much as
432 lbs. In quantity, however, these bones increase wonderfully to the
northward, and as Sannikof expresses himself, the whole soil of the
first of the Liakhoff Islands appears to consist of them. For about
eighty years the fur-hunters have every year brought large cargoes from
this island, but as yet there is no sensible diminution of the stock.
The tusks on the islands are also much more fresh and white than those
on the continent. A sandbank on the western side was most productive of
all, and the fur-hunters maintain that when the sea recedes after a long
continuance of easterly winds, a fresh supply of mammoth bones is always
found to have been washed from this bank, proceeding apparently from
some vast store at the bottom of the sea." Besides these multitudinous
remains of the mammoth Hedenström found numerous remains of rhinoceros,
the horn of which was then thought to be a bird's claw three feet long.

To clear up the wide discrepancies in the maps the Emperor Alexander, in
1820, equipped two expeditions to proceed by land to the northern coast
of Siberia and properly survey it, the work to be carried as far east as
Cape Chelagskoi, whence a sledge party was to start for the north in
search of the inhabited country reported to exist in the Polar Sea in
that direction. One of these expeditions, under Lieutenant P. F. Anjou,
was to commence its operations from the mouth of the Yana; the other,
under Lieutenant Ferdinand Vrangel' (or, as he is generally known
amongst us, Wrangell or Von Wrangell), was to start from the mouth of
the Kolyma, his chief assistant being Midshipman Matiuschkin. Both
parties did good survey work, but neither made any striking discovery.
Anjou reached 76° 36´ to the north of Kotelnoi; Wrangell reached 72° 2´
(north-east of the Bear Islands, one hundred and seventy-four miles out
on the sea from the great Baranoff rock), beyond which progress was
impossible owing to the thinness of the ice, which was covered with salt

Wrangell had many perilous experiences. In his fourth journey over the
sea the ice broke up around him and he found himself on a floe with a
labyrinth of water lanes hemming him in on every side and a storm coming
on from the westward. The storm rapidly increased in fury, and the
masses of ice around him were soon dashing against each other and
breaking in all directions. On the floe, which was tossing to and fro on
the waves, he gazed in painful inactivity on the conflict, expecting
every moment to be swallowed up. For three long hours he had remained
unable to move, the mass of ice beneath him holding together, when it
was caught by the storm and hurled against a large field of ice. The
crash was terrific, as it was shattered into little pieces. At that
dreadful moment, when escape seemed impossible, he was saved by the
impulse of self-preservation. Instinctively the party sprang on to the
sledges and urged the dogs to full speed, and as hard as they could
gallop they skimmed across the yielding fragments to the field on which
they had been stranded, and safely reached a stretch of firmer ice,
where the dogs ceased running among the hummocks, conscious that the
danger was past.

But it is not so much for adventures like this that his account of his
work is of continuing interest as for the abundance of its notes and
reflections on the country and its life and climate. Once, for instance,
when on the Baranicha he was fortunate enough to witness a migration of
reindeer. "I had hardly finished the observation," he says, "when my
whole attention was called to a highly interesting, and to me a
perfectly novel, spectacle. Two large migrating bodies of reindeer
passed us at no great distance. They were descending the hills from the
north-west and crossing the plain on their way to the forests, where
they spend the winter. Both bodies of deer extended further than the eye
could reach, and formed a compact mass, narrowing towards the front.
They moved slowly and majestically along, their broad antlers resembling
a moving wood of leafless trees. Each body was led by a deer of unusual
size, which my guides assured me was always a female. One of the herds
was stealthily followed by a wolf, who was apparently watching for an
opportunity of seizing any one of the younger and weaker deer which
might fall behind the rest, but on seeing us he made off in another
direction. The other column was followed at some distance by a large
black bear, who, however, appeared only intent on digging out a mouse's
nest every now and then, so much so that he took no notice of us. We had
great difficulty in restraining our two dogs, but happily succeeded in
doing so; their barking, or any sound or motion on our part, might have
alarmed the deer, and by turning them from their course, have proved a
terrible misfortune to the hunters, who were awaiting their passage, on
which they are entirely dependent for support. We remained for two hours
whilst the herds of deer were passing by, and then resumed our march."

The way in which the deer are dealt with by the hunters was seen by
Matiuschkin when despatched by Wrangell to survey the Anyui. "The true
harvest, which we arrived just in time to see, is in August or
September, when the reindeer are returning from the plains to the
forests. They are then healthy and well fed, the venison is excellent,
and as they have just acquired their winter coats the fur is thick and
warm. The difference of the quality of the skins at the two seasons is
such, that whilst an autumn skin is valued at five or six roubles, a
spring one will only fetch one or one and a half roubles. In good years
the migrating body of reindeer consists of many thousands; and though
they are divided into herds of two or three hundred each, yet the herds
keep so near together as to form only one immense mass, which is
sometimes from thirty to seventy miles in breadth. They always follow
the same route, and in crossing the river near Plotbischtsche, they
choose a place where a dry valley leads down to the stream on one side,
and a flat sandy shore facilitates their landing on the other side. As
each separate herd approaches the river, the deer draw more closely
together, and the largest and strongest takes the lead. He advances,
closely followed by a few of the others, with head erect, and apparently
intent on examining the locality. When he has satisfied himself, he
enters the river, the rest of the herd crowd after him, and in a few
minutes the surface is covered with them. Then the hunters, who have
been concealed to leeward, rush in their light canoes from their
hiding-places, surround the deer, and delay their passage, whilst two or
three chosen men armed with short spears dash into the middle of the
herd and despatch large numbers in an incredibly short time; or at least
wound them so, that, if they reach the bank, it is only to fall into the
hands of the women and children. The office of the spearman is a very
dangerous one. It is no easy thing to keep the light boat afloat among
the dense crowd of swimming deer, which, moreover, make considerable
resistance; the males with their horns, teeth, and hind legs, whilst the
females try to overset the boat by getting their fore-feet over the
gunwale; if they succeed in this the hunter is lost, for it is hardly
possible that he should extricate himself from the throng; but the skill
of these people is so great that accidents very rarely occur. A good
hunter may kill a hundred or more in less than half an hour. When the
herd is large, and gets into disorder, it often happens that their
antlers become entangled with each other; they are then unable to defend
themselves, and the business is much easier. Meanwhile the rest of the
boats pick up the slain and fasten them together with thongs, and every
one is allowed to keep what he lays hold of in this manner. It might
seem that in this way nothing would be left to requite the spearmen for
their skill, and the danger they have encountered; but whilst everything
taken in the river is the property of whoever secures it, the wounded
animals which reach the bank before they fall, belong to the spearman
who wounded them. The skill and experience of these men are such that in
the thickest of the conflict, when every energy is taxed to the
uttermost, and their life is every moment at stake, they have sufficient
presence of mind to contrive to measure the force of their blows so as
to kill the smallest animals outright, but only to wound the larger and
finer ones, so that they may be just able to reach the bank. Such
proceeding is not sanctioned by the general voice, but it seems
nevertheless to be almost always practised. The whole scene is of a most
singular and curious character, and quite indescribable. The throng of
thousands of swimming reindeer, the sound produced by the striking
together of their antlers, the swift canoes dashing in amongst them, the
terror of the frightened animals, the danger of the hunters, the shouts
of warning advice or applause from their friends, the blood-stained
water, and all the accompanying circumstances, form a whole which no one
can picture to himself without having witnessed the scene."

[Illustration: REINDEER]

The tundra has no more characteristic animal than the reindeer. Over the
mossy hillocks and the matted tops of the dwarf birches he runs, or
through the rivers and lakes he swims, with his broad-hoofed, spade-like
feet never at a loss to find a footing. In the long winter he is
protected by his thick skin against the influence of the cold, and is
seldom at starvation point, as he digs for food in the deepest snow, and
is by no means particular what he eats; and in the short summer he is in
luxurious ease, for the tundra, as we have seen, is not always as bad as
it is painted. In exposed places near the coast it is little else than
gravel beds interspersed with patches of peat and clay, with scarcely a
rush or a sedge to break the monotony, but by far the greater part of it
is a gently undulating plain, broken up by lakes, rivers, swamps, and
bogs; the lakes with patches of green water-plants, the rivers flowing
between sedges and rushes, the swamps the breeding haunts of ruffs and
phalaropes, the bogs dotted with the white fluffy seeds of the
cotton-grass. Almost everywhere the birds are in noticeable numbers,
among the commonest being the golden plover (who wears the tundra
colours), the bluethroat, the fieldfare, the whooper swan, and the ducks
and divers—particularly the divers—and, among the birds of prey, the
falcons and the rough-legged buzzards, which, with the owls, find such
abundant provision in the lemmings that migrate in myriads compared with
which the reindeer troops are insignificant.

"The groundwork of all this variegated scenery," says Seebohm, "is more
beautiful and varied still—lichens and mosses of almost every
conceivable colour, from the cream-coloured reindeer-moss to the
scarlet-cupped trumpet-moss, interspersed with a brilliant alpine flora,
gentians, anemones, saxifrages, and hundreds of plants, each a picture
in itself, the tall aconites, both the blue and yellow species, the
beautiful cloudberry, with its gay white blossom and amber fruit, the
fragrant _Ledum palustre_ and the delicate pink _Andromeda polifolia_.
In the sheltered valleys and deep water-courses a few stunted birches,
and sometimes large patches of willow scrub, survive the long severe
winter, and serve as cover for willow-grouse or ptarmigan. The Lapland
bunting and red-throated pipit are everywhere to be seen, and certain
favoured places are the breeding-grounds of plovers and sandpipers of
many species. So far from meriting the name of Barren Ground, the tundra
is for the most part a veritable paradise in summer. But it has one
almost fatal drawback—it swarms with mosquitoes."

[Illustration: OSTIAK MAN]

[Illustration: SAMOYED MAN]

The beauty of the tundra is, however, transient and skin deep; it is
only such plants as can live in the soil that thaws that survive.
Wherever the ground is dug into, ice is sure to be reached; in fact, it
may be said that ice is one of the rocks of the subsoil, and in some
places these strata of ice that never melts have been found to be three
hundred feet thick—ice that has remained in block since the mammoths got
into cold storage in it ages ago, for otherwise they would not have
lasted intact in skin and flesh as many have done, like the very first
discovered in a complete state, that chipped out by Adams in 1807.

In such a climate, whose winter terrors are only too prominent, all
along the north of Siberia live the ancient peoples driven towards the
sea by those mighty movements from the land of the Turk and Mongol
which, north and south, east and west, flooded Europe and Asia with
invaders—Ostiaks and Samoyeds west of Chelyuskin; Yakuts, Chukches, and
others to the east of it, the descriptions of whose unpleasant manners
and customs appear to be written with a view to showing how curiously
local are the laws of health. One may well ask, as Wrangell did, why
they should remain in so dreary a region and take life so contentedly.
And the answer may be that they might go further north and fare worse,
as their predecessors in the eastern section would seem to have done.
Once, according to the legend, there were more hearths of the Omoki on
the shores of the Kolyma than there are stars in the clear sky, and
these Omoki, or some other departed race, appear to have left as their
traces the remains of the timber forts and the tumuli that are found on
the coast, especially near the Indiyirka, and the huts of earth and
stones and bones found all along from Chelagskoi to the straits, similar
remains of a departed people now existing in the Parry Islands, over a
thousand miles away. According to another legend of more recent date,
there was an intervening land, the land that Wrangell went to seek and
the _Jeannette_ went to winter at, and the supposed site of which she
drifted through, in her last and longest imprisonment in the ice.

The _Jeannette_ was the old _Pandora_, bought from Sir Allen Young by
James Gordon Bennett, and accepted by and fitted out, officered, and
manned under the orders of the Navy Department of the United States, her
commander being Lieutenant George Washington De Long. She left San
Francisco on the 8th of July, 1879, and two months afterwards had been
run into the pack and was fast in the ice off Herald Island, drifting to
her doom. Her route, in the main, was north-westerly, with many
complicated loops, at first at the rate of half a mile a day, then at
two miles, then at three, showing that the current from Bering Strait
had been reinforced by some other current as she went further west, and,
from its direction, there seemed to be land to the northward which was
never sighted.

Wrangell Land, passed to the south, proved to be not a continent but a
small island. No other land was seen for a monotonous twenty months, and
then, in May, 1881, the ship drifted, stern first, past that sighted by
Hedenström from New Siberia, which was found to consist of two islands,
to be henceforth known as Jeannette and Henrietta. On the 12th of June,
in latitude 77° 14´ 57˝, the _Jeannette_ was crushed and sank, her fore
yardarms breaking upwards as she slipped down through the rift in the
pack, and a start was made for the Siberian Islands over the ice; but
the drift had taken the party to 77° 36´, before they got on their
proper course, and after a most laborious journey, lasting up to the
28th of July, they were safe ashore on the land sighted by Sannikof from
Thaddeus, which De Long named Bennett Island.

Bennett Island was left on the 7th of August, the party of thirty-three
being in three boats, thirteen under De Long in the first cutter, ten
under Lieutenant Chipp in the much smaller second cutter, and ten, under
Engineer George W. Melville, whose skill and resourcefulness had been
conspicuous throughout, were given the whale-boat, the most suitable of
the three. Sail was made for Thaddeus Island, which was reached in
safety; after a halt of some days it was left on the 31st of August.
Then Kotelnoi Island was reached and rested at; then the boats made for
Semonovski, which was left on the 12th of September.

The same day a gale came on in which the first cutter had great
difficulty in keeping afloat, the second cutter disappeared never to be
heard of again, and the whale-boat, behaving excellently, went off
before the wind straight for the continent to reach in safety one of the
eastern mouths of the Lena, up which Melville arrived at a Russian
village on the 26th of September. De Long's party ran their boat aground
in shallow water, on the 17th of September, and rafted and waded ashore
to one of the most inhospitable spots on the globe. Heavily laden they
made their way down the dreary delta, toiling through the snow, delayed
by the tributaries which were not frozen over hard enough to bear,
hampered by sickness and disablement, and finally dying one by one of

On the 9th of October De Long sent two of the seamen, Nindemann and
Noros, ahead in search of relief. They had no food but what they could
find, and on the second day out their dinner consisted of a little
willow tea and a burnt boot sole. Next morning they burnt another sole
of a boot, and they spent the day struggling through a morass in
drifting snow, crossing streams of all sizes, and halting for the night
in so high a wind that they were unable to light a fire and took refuge
in a hole in the snow from which they emerged with difficulty in the
morning, owing to the wind having piled up the snow against the opening.
At the end of the third day they reached a deserted hut in which were
some deer bones, which they grilled and tried to eat, and in the morning
a gale was blowing and the wild drifting snow was so thick that they had
to remain where they were and continue their diet of charred bones and
willow tea.

Next day, Thursday, the 13th of October, they began against a strong
head wind. In the afternoon they sighted a hut on the west bank of the
river. "They had seen one in the morning, but had in vain attempted to
cross the ice to it. Now they tried to reach this, but were turned back
by the brittle ice. They kept it in sight as they moved southward, and
made another attempt to cross the ice, but it broke and they came back.
Then they saw that there was no further progress possible to the
southward on that side of the water, and they returned to the ice. It
broke again, but they kept on. They went in up to their waists, but
managed to pull themselves up on the stronger ice." The wind was blowing
against them and the ice was like glass, so that they were driven back.
They looked about for ice which had been roughened by the ripples
beneath, and finding some they succeeded at length in reaching the other
side, where were two wooden crosses beneath a bank, which rose fifty
feet above them. They pulled themselves up the bank, but when they came
to the hut which they had kept in sight they found it a ruin nearly full
of snow. "While Noros was trying to make a place in it for shelter,
Nindemann saw a black object farther along to the south and went to it.
It was a small peaked hut without a door, but large enough to hold two
men. There were some fresh wood shavings outside the hut and higher up
on the hill two boxes. On going to them Nindemann found them old and
decayed, and he began to break one of them open. When he had ripped off
the top he discovered that there was another box enclosed; breaking into
it he found a dead body, and hastily left it. Doubtless the two crosses
below on the river bank were memorials of the two beings left high up
above the reach of the floods."

In the small hut they found a sort of floor, the boards of which they
pulled up for firewood, and in a hole beneath was a box in which were a
couple of fish and two fish heads; and, as these were discovered, a
lemming came out of another hole and was promptly caught. On the
lemming, roasted on the ramrod, and the fishes, which were so decayed
that they dropped apart as they were handled, they made their meal for
that day. Next day the snowstorm was so heavy that they were driven back
here after striving in vain to make headway. On the Saturday, still
without food, they rested for the night in a fissure in the river bank,
where as a last resource Nindemann cut a piece off his sealskin trousers
and soaked it in water and burnt it to a crust. Their breakfast
consisted of the remains of this toasted sealskin. During the day they
saw a crow flying across the river and in among the hills, and, as the
crow in these regions is rarely found away from the haunts of men,
Nindemann decided to cross the river in the hope of meeting with either
natives or game on the other side. When darkness came on no shelter was
discoverable, and so, after a meal of more sealskin and hot water, they
went to rest in a hole in the snow. Next day, during which they
recrossed the river, their experiences were similar and the end the

On Tuesday the 18th, after a terrible day, they came upon a hut with a
pile of wood close by, which proved to be sledges, and these they broke
up, as there was no other firing. Next day as they were struggling on
they reached a place where there were three huts, in one of which was a
half-kayak and in it was some blue mouldy fish; and here, attacked by
dysentery, they remained until the Saturday, unable to go any further.
About noon there was a noise outside like a flock of geese sweeping by.
Nindemann, looking through the crack of the door, saw something moving
which he took to be a reindeer, and was going out with his rifle when
the door opened and a man entered, who promptly fell on his knees when
he caught sight of the gun. Nindemann threw the rifle into a corner and,
trying to make friends with the man by signs, offered him some of the
fish, which the man by an emphatic gesture pronounced not fit to eat.
After some more of the sign language it was clear that the native had no
food with him, and holding up three or four fingers to show that he
would return in so many hours or days he drove off. About six o'clock in
the evening, while they were preparing their fish dinner, the visitor
returned with two other men, one of whom brought in a frozen fish which
he skinned and sliced, and while the sailors were eating it—the first
healthy meal they had had for weeks—the natives invited them to
accompany them, and brought in deerskin coats and boots and finally got
them into the sledges and drove off to the westward for about fifteen
miles. Here there were two tents, and Nindemann was taken into one,
Noros into the other, and both were well looked after, the natives doing
their very best to get them well.

This was intelligible on both sides, for the language of kindness is
universal, but as the sailors knew not the language of their hosts, and
the natives knew not the language of their guests, the difficulty of
being understood by each other was great, and the delivery of the urgent
message in signs was almost impossible. Nindemann did his best; he
appealed to the man who seemed to be the head of the party, and drawing
in the snow a map of the places where he had been, with every
combination of signs he could think of, he tried to explain what he
wanted. That he succeeded to a certain extent was clear, though he did
not think so at first, for the natives loaded up their sledges,
twenty-seven in number, with reindeer meat and skins and fish, and
struck their tents, and, with over a hundred head of deer harnessed up,
started for the south. At noon, when the deer were resting, the man for
whom the map had been drawn in the snow took Nindemann to where he could
show him a prominent landmark, and asked by signs if that was where he
had left his friends. And on learning by signs that it was further to
the north, he shook his head as if sorry, and resumed his journey to the
south. During the next day they reached Ku Mark Surka, where there were
a number of natives who were much interested in the new-comers, and
again the sailors used every effort to deliver their message.

Immediately after breakfast on the morning of the 25th, Nindemann began
talking to these people in signs and pantomime. Soon one of them showed
that he had an idea of where the sailors came from, for he spoke to one
of the boys, who ran off and returned with a model of a Yakutsk boat.
Then they gathered round and evidently asked if the ship was anything
like it. And in answer, Nindemann took up some sticks and placed three
of them in the boat to show that his ship had three masts, and then he
fastened smaller sticks across to show that she had yards, which seemed
to surprise them greatly. Then he made a funnel out of wood and put it
in position, and pointed to the fire and smoke to show that she was a
steamer, and then he cut out a propeller with his knife and put it where
the rudder was to show that she was a screw. Continuing his work he soon
chipped out so many small boats to show how many she had; and then,
signing to one of the men to get him two pieces of ice, he showed them
how the ship had been crushed. Pointing to the northward he tried to
tell them that the ship had been crushed up there; and then he put away
the ship and kept only three of the little boats to tell that part of
the story, and in the boats he put so many sticks to represent the
number of men in each. When he had done this one of the men pointed to a
dog that was looking on and asked if the ship had any, whereupon the
sailor counted on his fingers to show there were about forty, and by
pantomime explained that they had been shot. This being evidently
understood, Nindemann drew a chart of the coast-line, and imitating a
gale of wind showed that the boat he came from went to the land at a
certain point and that he knew nothing of the others. Then he went on to
show how they had all left the boat, waded ashore and walked along the
river-bank, and he marked the huts where they had stopped, and then he
indicated where one of the men had died and been buried in the river.
This was understood, for all the audience shook their heads as if to say
how sorry they were. But when he tried to tell them that he had left the
captain two days afterwards and had been so many days on the way to ask
for help, they showed that they either did not or would not understand;
and really it was not easy to make such a matter clear.

Next day Nindemann made another attempt to get them to understand the
one essential, urgent fact that help was needed, or the men would die;
but no, he could not do it. On the Thursday, despairing of the
hopelessness of his task and the helplessness of his companions, he
broke into tears and groans, and a woman in the hut took pity on him and
spoke earnestly to one of the men, who came and said something about a
commandant. Then the sailor, who had picked up a few words, asked him to
take him to Bulun, to which the man replied by again saying commandant
and holding up five or six fingers. Late in the evening there arrived a
tall Russian, whom Nindemann supposed to be the commandant and addressed
in English, but he was a Russian exile who could not understand him,
though he seemed to know something about the matter, for in what he said
he clearly mentioned Jeannette and Americansk. Nindemann tried him in
German, but at this he shook his head. Then Nindemann showed him the
chart given him by De Long, which the Russian evidently did not
understand, though he said something that sounded like St. Petersburg
and telegrams. While this apparently hopeless conversation was going on
Noros was busy steadily writing out a note that the two sailors had
drawn up, and the tall Russian—who we shall see was really a most
intelligent man—giving over his talk with Nindemann in despair, coolly
picked this up and put it in his pocket, and notwithstanding the protest
of the Americans, walked off with it. In the morning he came in and gave
them to understand that he was going to Bulun, and that they were to
follow, and soon afterwards the natives fitted them out with clothing
and boots and food and sent them off on a sledge. At Bulun they were
taken to the commandant, who, after a little sign language from
Nindemann, showed that he understood, and said something about a
telegram. The sailors jumped at the idea, and one of them dictated to
the other a despatch to the American Minister at St. Petersburg. This
the Russian took, explaining that the captain should have it next day.
Who the captain was the sailors could not make out; but three days
afterwards, that is on the 3rd of November, while Nindemann lay on the
bed and Noros was sitting on the table, a man came in dressed in fur.

"My God, Mr. Melville!" said Noros, recognising him as soon as he spoke.
"Are you alive? We thought that the whale-boats were all dead!"

The exile had handed the note to Melville, whom he knew as the captain,
and his difficulty in understanding the sailors had been in their
speaking of one boat while he had only seen the other. The whale-boat
crew had reached a village opposite to where he lived, and he had agreed
to take them to Bulun, and he was on his way there to arrange for their
transport when he heard of the sailors. Like a sensible man he ordered
the men to be sent to Bulun, and had hurried there, made his
arrangements with the commandant and returned to Melville, who, seeing
the urgency of the case as soon as he read the letter, had started at
once, leaving his party to follow.

Melville, as soon as possible, went off along the track of the two
sailors, who were too weak to go with him, and eventually found the
chronometer and the log-books and other records; but the winter was too
far advanced for him to do more, and he had to return, after a journey
of over six hundred miles, to try again in the spring. Then, accompanied
by Nindemann, he went north, and came upon the bodies of the commander
and those who had perished with him, and three or four feet behind De
Long, as if he had tossed it over his shoulder, lay the journal in which
the last page was but a chronicle of death after death.

This chapter must conclude with another tragedy. In 1885 Dr. Bunge and
Baron Toll made some important investigations in the neighbourhood of
the mouth of the Yana; and next year Bunge among the fossils of Liakhoff
Island found not only mammoth and rhinoceros, but horse, musk-ox and
deer, and two new species of ox. To these Toll, after discovering that
there were flourishing trees on Kotelnoi in the time of the
mammoth—nearly two hundred miles north of their present limit—added
frozen carcases of musk-ox and rhinoceros, and bones of antelope and

In 1902 Toll, pushing his geological researches further north, reached
Bennett Island, where he collected bones of the mammoth and other recent
mammals, while the main mass of the plateau he identified as of Cambrian
age. These discoveries he included in the record announcing his
intention of leaving for Kotelnoi, which was found in 1904 by the
expedition sent to his relief, for he was never seen alive again.

                              CHAPTER VII
                             BERING STRAIT

  Native stories of the distant continent—The Russians in
    Kamchatka—Bering's expedition—The difficulties of his task—Builds
    a vessel and reaches Kamchatka—Builds another vessel and discovers
    the strait named after him by Captain Cook—His second
    expedition—Spangberg's voyage to Japan—Bering reaches the American
    coast—His shipwreck and death—The influence of the sea-otter and
    the fur-seal on geographical discovery—The Arctic voyage of
    Captain Cook—Clerke's voyage—Beechey's voyage—Point Barrow reached
    by the barge of the _Blossom_—Kellett's voyage in the
    _Herald_—Boat expedition to Hudson Bay—Kellett reaches 72°
    51´—Landing on Herald Island—Kellett sights Wrangell Island—Berry
    in the _Rodgers_ explores Wrangell Island—He reaches 73°
    44´—Frederick Whymper and W. H. Dall ascend the Yukon.

Rumours of land over against the far corner of Siberia had reached the
Russians for years, and many were the legends of those who had seen
these lands from the cliffs, or had been on the ice to look at them more
closely, or had gone away to them and never come back. There was, for
instance, the old legend of Kraechoj, who believed he had found safe
shelter at Irkaipii from the Chukche vengeance, but the Chukche made his
way into the stronghold and killed Kraechoj's son, whereupon Kraechoj
escaped by letting himself down with thongs to the boat and fled to the
land whose mountains can be seen in clear sunshine from Cape Yakan; and
there he was among his people who had left Asia before him.

And among the official documents was the statement made by the Chukches
when they went to Anadyrskoi Ostrog to acknowledge the dominion of the
Russians, that "The Noss is full of rocky mountains, and the low grounds
consist of land covered with turf. Opposite to it lies an island, within
sight of it, of no great extent, and void of wood. It is inhabited by
people who have the same aspect as the Chukche, but are quite a
different nation, and speak their own language, though they are not
numerous. It is half a day's voyage with boats from the Noss to the
island. There are no sables on the island, and no other animals but
foxes, wolves, and reindeer. Beyond the island is a large continent that
can be scarcely discerned from it, and that only on clear days; in calm
weather one may row over the sea from the island to the continent, which
is inhabited by a people who in every particular resemble the Chukches.
There are large forests of fir, pine, larch, and cedar trees; great
rivers flow through the country and fall into the sea. The inhabitants
have dwellings and fortified places of abode environed with ramparts of
earth; they live upon wild reindeer and fish; their clothes are made of
sable, fox, and reindeer skins, for sables and foxes are there in great
abundance. The number of men in that country may be twice or three times
as many as that of the Chukches who are often at war with them." That
there was land in sight somewhere seemed clear, but the reports differed
in placing it all the way round from the north to the east. Many were
the vain attempts to reach it from the northward-flowing rivers, and it
was left to be found from the Pacific side.

[Illustration: BERING STRAIT]

When Atlassof, in 1697, took the first steps in the conquest of
Kamchatka the Russians were already known to the inhabitants. Long
before him Fedotof and a few comrades had made their way into the
country and intermarried with native women. They had been held in great
honour and almost deified as being evidently of a superior race. For
some time it was supposed that no human hand could hurt them, but this
belief was rudely shattered when two of the demigods quarrelled and
fought, and one wounding the other, the blood flowed. That flow of blood
was fatal, for the natives, judging that they were but ordinary flesh,
took an early opportunity of wiping them out, the name of their leader
being still traceable in that of the Fedotcha River on the banks of
which they had lived.

The Kamchadales had other tales to tell of visitors from the east and
south, and Atlassof himself discovered on the River Itcha a Japanese who
had been wrecked on the coast two years before, from whom he learnt of
islands innumerable. But there were no ships on the Pacific coast of
Siberia, and nothing in the way of discovery could be done until 1714,
when there arrived at Ochotsk a detachment of sailors and shipwrights
despatched thither overland. According to one of the sailors, Henry
Bush, a Dutchman, the carpenters built a good durable vessel some fifty
feet long which was ready for sea in 1716 when the first voyage was
undertaken. The coast of Kamchatka was made near the River Itcha, and
sailing south they reached the Kompakova, where they wintered and found
the whale that had in its body the harpoon of European workmanship
marked with Roman letters, mentioned by Scoresby. Bush returned to
Ochotsk in July, to be sent in the following year to discover the
Shantar Islands, and next year, 1718, the Kuriles; thus venturing into
the Pacific beyond Cape Lopatka.

The last of these expeditions was due to the direct order of Peter the
Great, who, knowing nothing of Deschnef, and finding the sea open to the
north, resolved on a voyage in that direction, his holograph
instructions to Admiral Apraxin being: "One or two boats with decks to
be built at Kamchatka, or at any other convenient place, with which
inquiry should be made relative to the northerly coasts, to see whether
they are not contiguous with America, since their termination is not yet
known." Peter died, and the Empress Catherine, carrying out these
instructions in their fullest meaning, began her reign with an order for
the expedition.

Veit Bering, Dane by birth and sailor by trade, had voyaged to the
Indies, east and west, and, like many other men of enterprise, had
entered the Russian service at Peter's invitation. He had served with
distinction in the Cronstadt fleet in the war against the Swedes, and,
being in good repute for his knowledge of ships and their handling, was
appointed to the command of the most remarkable Arctic enterprise on
record. Just as Nicholas ruled a line and ordered a railway to be built
there, so did Catherine in the same imperial way order an exploring
expedition, and it was done. But it meant building the ship from the
trees of the forest on the coast of the Pacific and carrying the
materials and stores—everything but the timber—right across the Russian
empire in the days when for thousands of miles there were not even

[Illustration: THE FACE OF THE FUR SEAL]

Bering's lieutenants were Martin Spangberg and Alexei Tschirikof. With
them and the rest of the expedition he left St. Petersburg on the 5th of
February, 1725. During that year they got as far as the Ilim, where they
wintered. In the spring of 1726 they sailed down the Lena to Yakutsk,
where they parted company for a time owing to the difficulties of the
route to Ochotsk, the way not being passable in summer with wagons, or
in winter with sledges, on account of the marshes and rocky ground. So
Spangberg set out, working along the rivers Aldan, Maia, and Judoma,
with part of the provisions and heavy naval stores, while Bering
followed overland through uninhabited country with more stores on
horses, and Tschirikof remained to collect still more and follow in the
track of his commander.

Bering reached Ochotsk first. Spangberg was frozen up in the Judoma, and
thence he walked to Ochotsk with the most necessary materials; but he
suffered so much from hunger on the way that he had to support life by
eating leather bags, straps, and shoes, and did not reach Bering till
the 1st of January, 1727, nearly two years after leaving St. Petersburg.
In the beginning of February he returned to the Judoma and brought away
about half of his lading, the other half being left for a third journey,
which he made from and to Ochotsk on horses. Meanwhile Tschirikof was
toiling along from Yakutsk, and did not arrive to complete the party
until the 30th of July.

On arrival Bering had to build a vessel to take his most necessary naval
stores and his shipbuilders across the sea of Ochotsk to Bolscheretzkoi,
which, in her, he reached on the 2nd of September. From here he followed
the shipwrights, who went on ahead to fell the trees, taking with them
the provisions and stores, over the backbone of the isthmus and down the
Kamchatka River to the mouth, a distance of some two hundred miles, the
journey being very slow on account of the travelling being by
dog-sledge. In short, it was not until the 4th of April, 1728, that is,
more than three years after leaving St. Petersburg, that it was possible
to put on the stocks the vessel in which the voyage to the north was to
be made. But she took only three months to build, being launched on the
10th of July, when she was named the _Gabriel_.

Laden with stores for forty men during a year's voyage, she put to sea
ten days afterwards, Bering keeping close to the coast so that he could
map it as he went. On the 10th of August he was off the island of St.
Lawrence, which he so named, as it was the day of that saint. In a day
or two he had passed the East Cape without seeing the American coast,
and had entered the Arctic Circle. And on the 15th he was well through
the strait, out in the Arctic Ocean, in 67° 18´ off Serdze Kamen, a
promontory behind which the coast trended to the west, as the Chukches
had told him it did; and he assumed, and rightly so, though he had not
gone far enough to prove it, that there was no land connection between
Asia and America. Whereupon, as he had in his opinion accomplished his
mission, seeing no need for wintering in those parts, he put the
_Gabriel_ about and was back in the Kamchatka River on the 20th of
September, after a voyage of seven weeks in a vessel that took three
months to build on a spot that took over three years to reach—the plan
of campaign being much the same as that in which a mountain stronghold
is advanced on across a desert, besieged for a few days, and captured by


After wintering, Bering went off next year on a voyage due east in
search of reported land, but, after some hundred and thirty miles out,
he was blown back, and, rounding the south end of Kamchatka, put in at
the River Bolschaia; thence he crossed to Ochotsk, whence he started for
St. Petersburg, where he arrived after an absence of five years.
Catherine was dead and another empress reigned in her stead, who was
pleased and satisfied if no one else was, and the 21st of February,
1733, saw him starting again in the same laborious fashion to arrange
other voyages as part of a great scheme for the exploration of Northern
and North-eastern Asia. Some of these expeditions on the north coast
have already been mentioned; Bering's particular task was to send
Spangberg in search of Japan, while he and Tschirikof, in separate
ships, went eastward to America. More stores and provisions went
overland across Siberia than before; Spangberg got again frozen up on
the Judoma and had to continue on foot to Ochotsk, where he found plenty
of food owing to Bering having sent on ahead, in case of any such
trouble, a hundred horses, each of them laden with meal. In June, 1738,
Spangberg, in two newly-built vessels and the _Gabriel_, was off to
Japan, to reach the Kuriles and return to winter in Kamchatka; but next
year he arrived there all well and found to his astonishment that the
Japanese knew as much about maps as he did. He was still more astonished
on his return to be told by those high in office at St. Petersburg that
he could not possibly have been there as they had not got it on their
maps where he said it was, and, consequently, he was to go where he had
been as soon as he could to make sure. He started on this voyage of
verification, but circumstances were against him and he did not reach
there; and his Japanese trip remained discredited until the Russian
geographers knew better. His voyage thither had, however, used such a
stock of provisions that it was two years before the deficiency could be
made up, and it was actually the 4th of September, 1740, seven and a
half years after leaving St. Petersburg, when Bering, in the
specially-built _St. Peter_, and Tschirikof, in her sister the _St.
Paul_, got off outward bound to America.

In about three weeks they were at Awatcha Bay on the east of Kamchatka,
anchored in the fine harbour named Petropaulovsk after the two ships,
and here they had to stay for the winter, so that they did not leave
Russian territory until the 4th of the following June. A few days out
the ships were separated in a fog and storm, and the _St. Paul_ reached
the American coast first, at Kruzof Island on the western shore of Sitka
Sound. The _St. Peter_ three days afterwards, on the 18th of July,
drifted to the coast more to the northward, at Cape St. Elias near the
mighty mountain of that name. In this neighbourhood amid much fog Bering
stayed six weeks until he was blown out to sea, when, his men beginning
to die from scurvy, he resolved to return to Kamchatka. It was a voyage
of misfortune in a continual downfall, the men in want, misery, and
sickness, continuously at work in the cold and wet, becoming fewer and
fewer, so that there were not enough to work the ship properly. It ended
on one of the Commander Islands by the vessel being lifted by the sea
clear over a reef into calm water. Bering died—the island is named after
him—and the survivors of the crew, building a boat from the materials of
the _St. Peter_, arrived at Petropaulovsk on the 27th of August,
bringing with them a quantity of sea-otter skins, which did more for
discovery in those seas than any imperial expedition.

[Illustration: DRIVING THE FUR SEAL]

As the sable had brought about the conquest of Siberia, so did the
sea-otter lead to the seizure of the islands of the Bering Sea and the
coasts of Alaska. Three years after the return of the survivors of the
_St. Peter_, Nevodtsikof wintered on one of the Aleutian Islands, and in
a few years the fur-hunters were at their exterminating work over the
whole chain. In time the fur-seal attracted as much attention, and, with
Pribylov's discovery, in 1786, of its rookeries on the islands named
after him, the trade became of such increasing importance as to endanger
in our time the peace of the world. Every one has heard of the wonderful
haunts and habits of that strange eared seal which seems to have come
from the south through the tropics to breed in the coldest limit of its
range, now almost entirely on the Pribylovs and the Commanders; how it
is pursued in skin boats and every sort of craft, and scared in long
lines to slaughter by clapping of boards and bones and waving of flags
and opening and shutting of gingham umbrellas, until it promises to
become as extinct as Steller's sea-cow or as rare as the sea-otter.

Following Bering on the way to the north came Captain James Cook, in
H.M.S. _Resolution_, who gave Bering's name to the strait. Cook sighted
Mount St. Elias in May, 1778, and, cruising slowly along the coast with
many discoveries and much accurate surveying, was off, and named, Cape
Prince of Wales, the western extremity of America, on the 9th of August.
He then crossed the strait and plied back until on the 18th he sighted
and named Icy Cape in 70° 29´. Close to the edge of the ice, which was
as compact as a wall, and seemed to be ten or twelve feet high at the
least, he sought persistently for a passage through, but none was to be
found; and after reaching 70° 6´ in 196° 42´ (163° 18´ W.) on the 19th,
he turned westward to the Asiatic coast, along which he went until he
sighted and named Cape North, as already stated. Then, blocked by ice,
east, north, and west, he returned, passing Cape Serdze Kamen (Bering's
farthest) and naming East Cape, confirming Bering's observation that it
was the most easterly point of Asia.

On Cook's death at Hawaii Captain Charles Clerke, of the accompanying
vessel H.M.S. _Discovery_, took command of the expedition and carried
out Cook's intention of making another effort during the following year.
The ice conditions were, however, worse. The two ships found the ice
block further south, and as impenetrable as before, and Clerke's highest
was 70° 33´ on the American side, on the 19th of July. As it was Cook's
last voyage, so it was Clerke's. He was in a bad way with consumption,
and continued his work in the north, though, under the special
circumstances and being in command, he could at any time have given up
the obviously hopeless attempt and left for a more genial climate, in
which he would at least have had a chance of longer life; but, remaining
at his duty, he died at sea on the 22nd of August, and was buried at

[Illustration: FUR SEALS AT SEA]

Captain Beechey, in H.M.S. _Blossom_, passed through the strait in 1826
when sent north from the Pacific with a view of meeting with his old
commander, Franklin, then on his second land journey. Beechey took the
ship to Icy Cape, whence on the 17th of August he despatched the barge
under the master, Thomas Elson, to survey the coast to the
north-eastward as far as he could go in three weeks, there and back.
Elson reached his farthest on the 25th at a spit of land jutting out
several miles from the more regular coast-line, the width of the neck
not exceeding a mile and a half, broadest at its extremity, with several
frozen lakes on it, and a village, whose natives proved so troublesome
that it was thought unsafe to land. This was Point Barrow, in 71° 23´
31˝, longitude 156° 21´ 30˝, the northernmost land on the western half
of the American continent. To the eastward curved a wide bay—named Elson
Bay by Beechey—the shore-line of which joined on to the ice pack that
encircled the horizon. Here he was within a hundred and sixty miles of
where Franklin had turned back a week before. Though Beechey did not
meet Franklin he did most useful work in these parts, for by him the
whole coast was surveyed between Point Barrow and Point Rodney, to the
south of Prince of Wales Cape.

Franklin was also the cause of the appearance of the next British
expedition in the strait. This was in 1848, Captain Henry Kellett, in
H.M.S. _Herald_, with Commander Thomas Moore in H.M.S. _Plover_, forming
the western detachment of the first series of search expeditions. There
were three detachments, one to follow the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ from the
eastward, another under John Richardson to descend the Mackenzie and
search the northern coast, the other coming in from the west to meet the
ships should they have made the passage. On this duty the _Herald_ and
_Plover_ were hereabouts for three seasons, the _Plover_ wintering, the
_Herald_ going south when the navigation closed.

In October, 1826, Beechey had buried a barrel of flour for Franklin on
the sandy point of Chamisso Island, ample directions for finding it
being cut and painted on the rock, and to call the attention of the
party to the spot the name of the _Blossom_ was painted on the cliffs of
Puffin Island. When the _Herald_ was at Chamisso Island in 1849 Captain
Kellett searched for this flour and found it. A considerable space was
cleared round the cask, its chimes were freed, and, only adhering to the
sand by the two lower bilge staves, it required the united strength of
two boats' crews, with a parbuckle and a large spar as a lever, to free
it altogether. The sand was frozen so hard that it emitted sparks with
every blow of the pickaxe. The cask itself was perfectly sound and the
hoops good, and out of the 336 lb. of flour which it contained, 175 lb.
were as sweet and well tasted as any he had with him; so good indeed was
it that Captain Kellett gave a dinner party, at which all the pies and
puddings were made of this flour.




After the dinner party, on the 18th of July, the two vessels started for
the north, being joined as soon as they stood from the anchorage by
Robert Shedden in his yacht the _Nancy Dawson_, who at his own
initiative had come up from Hong Kong to join in the search. From
Wainwright Inlet Kellett sent off the boats under Lieutenant Pullen, two
of which made the journey along the northern coast and up the Mackenzie,
their crews thence making their way home eastwards to York Factory.

When Kellett was about to commence his observations at the inlet he drew
a semicircle on the sand from water's edge to water's edge, and placed
the boats' noses between its points. The natives seemed to understand
the meaning of this line. Not one of them attempted to overstep it, and
they squatted down and remained perfectly quiet and silent. When a
stranger arrived they shouted to him, and he no sooner comprehended the
directions than he crept rather than walked to the boundary, and
squatted among the rest. Afterwards they danced and sang and played
football with the seamen—who stood no chance with them at that game—and
when they had gone off, after all this good behaviour, it was discovered
that they had been picking the pockets of some of the party, one losing
a handkerchief, another a glove, and Commander Moore a box of percussion

The boat party had a similar experience, without the pocket-picking.
Reaching Point Barrow they landed to make observations and look about
for traces of the visit of the _Blossom's_ boat, which they did not
find. Their interpreter did not understand the tribe, and recourse was
had to the universal language of signs. "We made a rude model of a
vessel," says Lieutenant Hooper, "and performed sundry antics to signify
what we were in search of, but could elicit no information, and so set
to work at obtaining observations. We concluded that these people must
have been entirely misunderstood. Far from evidencing any disposition to
assail or molest us, they were most docile and well-behaved, agreeably
disappointing us in their conduct. When we arrived on the hillock, all,
big and little, sat down around us, and I amused myself by filling their
pipes, becoming a great favourite immediately in consequence. They had
among them a great many knives, which we feared would influence the
magnet. Mr. Pullen therefore kindly drew off the crowd to a distance,
distributing among them tobacco, beads, snuff, etc., and much to their
credit be it said, there was neither confusion nor contention, each
taking his allotted portion, and seeming delighted with his good
fortune. They took care not to come near the instruments, finding that
we did not like their approach; one or two indeed came towards us, but
retired instantly when laughingly motioned back, and this should be
considered as a display of great forbearance, inasmuch as their
curiosity must have been highly excited. When the observations were
concluded they were allowed to inspect the objects of their wonder; then
fast and thickly to utterance flew their expressions of astonishment at
the—to them—novel and splendid instruments. The trough of quicksilver,
liquid and restless, especially attracted them, pleasure and wonder were
evident at the simple view, but when one or two had permission to take
some from the dish, and found it ever elude the grasp, their
astonishment knew no bounds."

[Illustration: THE FROZEN YUKON]

From Wainwright Inlet, which is between Icy Cape and Point Barrow, the
_Herald_ sailed along the pack to the westward, reaching her highest
north, 72° 51´, in 163° 48´, and, on the 17th of August, Kellett landed
on and named Herald Island in 71° 17´ 45˝, a mass of granite towering
nine hundred feet above the sea, under five miles long and three broad,
inhabited mainly by black and white divers and yielding the collector
only four flowering plants. Further to the west he sighted Wrangell
Island, sailed past and named by the American whaling captain, Thomas
Long, in August, 1867.

In 1881 Wrangell Island was thoroughly explored by another search
expedition, that of Captain Berry in the American ship _Rodgers_, who
was in these parts looking out for traces of the _Jeannette_. He found
it to be, not a continent as some had supposed, but an island forty
miles broad and sixty-six miles long, about thirty miles from Herald
Island and eighty from the Siberian coast; and on it, as on all these
Siberian islands and the coast of Alaska, remains of the mammoth were
found. Examining the ice to the northward, he reached 73° 44´ in 171°
30´, being fifty-three miles further north than Kellett and twenty-four
miles further than Collinson in 1850. Returning from the north to winter
quarters he achieved another Arctic record in his ship being destroyed
by fire in St. Lawrence Bay on the Asiatic side of Bering Strait.

Opposite this, on the American side, from Cape York downwards the land
trends away to the south-east to Norton Sound, in which are the mouths
of the Yukon, one of the mightiest rivers of the world, its volume being
as great as, or according to some writers greater than, the Mississippi.
In a course of two thousand miles it runs northwards to the Arctic
Circle at the now abandoned trading post of Fort Yukon, where its waters
are reinforced by its tributary, the Rat or Porcupine, coming in from
the north-east, and given their seaward direction to the south-west. Up
this vast waterway in 1866 went Frederick Whymper and William H. Dall.

Beginning with a sledge journey of a hundred and seventy miles from
Unalachleet, they struck the Yukon on the 10th of November, gliding down
a high steep bank on to it. Hardly a patch of clear ice was to be seen,
the snow covering the whole extent. Accumulations of hummocks had in
many places been forced on the surface before the river had become
thoroughly frozen, and the water was still open, running swiftly in a
few isolated streaks. From bank to bank was not less than a mile, the
stream flowing among several islands. As they sledged up the river the
dreary expanse of snow made them almost forget they were on a sheet of
ice; and, as it winds considerably, their course was often from bank to
bank to cut off corners and bends. Many cliffs abutted on the stream,
and islands of sombre green forest studded it in all directions.


On the 15th they reached Nulato, six hundred miles from the mouth, where
they spent the winter. Here they found a curious method of fishing
practised all through the season. Early in the winter large piles or
stakes had been driven down into the bed of the river, and to these were
affixed wickerwork traps like eel-pots on a large scale, oblong holes
being kept open over them by frequently breaking the ice. This was cold
work, for the temperature ran low. "In November and December," says
Whymper, "I succeeded in making sketches of the fort and neighbourhood
when the temperature was as low as thirty degrees below zero. It was
done, it need not be said, with difficulty, and often by instalments.
Between every five strokes of the pencil, I ran about to exercise myself
or went into our quarters for warmth. The use of water-colours was of
course impracticable—except when I could keep a pot of warm water on a
small fire by my side—a thing done by me on two or three occasions, when
engaged at a distance from the post. Even inside the house the spaces
near the windows, as well as the floor, were often below freezing point.
Once, forgetful of the fact, I mixed some colours up with water that had
just stood near the oven, and wetting a small brush commenced to apply
it to my drawing block. Before it reached the paper it was covered with
a skin of ice, and simply scratched the surface, and I had to give up
for the time being."

On the 12th of May the Nulato River broke up and ran out on the top of
the Yukon ice for more than a mile upstream; and in a few days the ice
of the main river was coming down in a steady flow at a rate of five or
six knots, surging into mountains as it met with obstacles, and grinding
and crashing and carrying all before it, whole trees and banks being
swept away on its victorious march, the water rising fourteen feet above
the winter level. On the 26th Whymper and Dall started with two Indians
and a steersman in a skin canoe, the river still full of ice, and
navigation difficult. They had proceeded but a short distance when they
came to bends, round which logs and ice were sweeping at a great rate,
so that it was necessary for a man to stand in the bows of the canoe,
with a pole shod at one end with iron, to push away the masses of ice
and tangle of driftwood. They could often feel the ice and logs rolling
and scraping under the canoe; and it was not the thickness of a plank
between them and destruction, but that of a piece of sealskin a tenth of
an inch thick.

On the 7th of June they were two hundred and forty miles above Nulato,
at the junction of the Tanana, the furthest point reached by the
Russians, and soon were in a part abounding with moose owing to their
seeking refuge in the stream from the millions of mosquitoes. Here the
Indian hunters were busy, not wasting powder and shot, but manœuvring
round the swimming deer in their birch-bark canoes until they tired the
victim out; and then stealthily approaching, securing it with a stab
from their knives.

After twenty-six laborious days against the stream they reached Fort
Yukon, the then furthest outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company, six
hundred miles from Nulato, and, of course, managed and victualled from
the east. Here the amount of peltry was astonishing, the fur-room of the
fort containing thousands of marten skins, hanging from the beams, and
huge piles of common furs lying around, together with a considerable
number of foxes, black and silver-grey, and many skins of the wolverine,
thought so much more of by the Indians than by any one else that they
are used as a medium of exchange. All these furs were brought in from
the surrounding districts, far and near, and traded for goods, as widely
distributed, among the native tribes whose representatives gathered at
the fort in such a miscellaneous crowd that perhaps half a dozen
dialects were heard in a morning.


In the crowd the busiest and most prominent were the primitive Tananas,
gay with feathers and painted faces, looking like survivals among the
local Kutchins and the Kutchins of the upper river, the Birch River men,
and the Rat River men by whom the skins were brought from the natives of
the northern coast, as were the messages from the Franklin search
parties. Indians were all of these, distinguishable by their wearing the
hyaqua or tooth-shell (_Dentalium entalis_) through the septum of the
nose, while the Mahlemut wears a bone on each side of the mouth, a
practice common with all the Innuit, or Eskimo tribes, from the Alaska
Peninsula to Point Barrow, unless some other form of labret happens to
be the local fashion.

                              CHAPTER VIII
                         THE AMERICAN MAINLAND

  The Hudson's Bay Company—Samuel Hearne—His journey down the
    Coppermine River—The North West Fur Company—Sir Alexander
    Mackenzie—His journey down the Mackenzie—Sir John Franklin's first
    land journey—Fort Enterprise—Back's journey to Athabasca—The
    rapids of the Coppermine—Point Turnagain reached—The Wilberforce
    Falls—The terrible crossing of the Barren Grounds—Franklin's
    second land journey—Richardson's voyage to the eastward—Discovers
    Wollaston Land and Dolphin and Union Strait—Franklin's voyage to
    Return Reef—Back's journey down the Great Fish River—Discovers
    Montreal Island and King William Land—The Parry Falls—Sir George
    Simpson—Peter Warren Dease and Thomas Simpson—Exploration of the
    coast between Return Reef and Point Barrow—Simpson advances beyond
    Point Turnagain and discovers Victoria Land and Dease Strait—Their
    second voyage down the Coppermine—Discovery of Simpson
    Strait—Reach the Great Fish River—Their farthest east—Complete the
    survey of the northern coast between Boothia and Bering Strait—The
    first to find the North-West Passage.

For two elks and two black beavers, paid yearly whensoever the King of
England entered their estate, the Hudson's Bay Company were, in 1670,
presented by Charles II with the northern part of the American mainland,
thus ensuring an ample stretch of British territory along the passage to
the South Sea. But the company soon ceased to be interested in any such
passage, finding quite enough to do in developing the very profitable
fur trade of their vast possessions. With the exception of John Knight's
disastrous voyage to Marble Island in 1719, whatever attempts at
discoveries there may have been were kept quiet for fear of aiding their
rivals the French to the south, who were fostering the trade in the
region of the great lakes; and not until the French dominion ended in
1763 and the Frenchmen's interests were passing to an opposition British
company was any effort made to explore the coast of the Polar Sea.

[Illustration: MAHLEMUT MAN]

Owing to Indian reports of rich deposits of native copper and an
abundance of fur-bearing animals, Samuel Hearne, once a midshipman in
the Royal Navy, was sent by the company in 1769 to explore to the west
and north. After a journey of thirteen hundred miles to the west he
found the Coppermine River and the Great Slave Lake, and he traced the
river to its mouth and emerged on the northern shore, being the first
known white man to see the Arctic Ocean between the Boothia Peninsula
and Bering Strait. Among other things he was instructed to discover a
north-west passage, and he certainly did something definite towards it
by showing there was open water so much further west; but, though he
suspected it, he was unable to prove that the northernmost point of the
continent was in the unexplored country between the Coppermine and
Hudson Bay.

In 1783 the North West Fur Company was formally established, and after a
severe struggle obtained, owing mainly to the efforts of Alexander
Mackenzie, a fair share of the trade in the west of the region
controlled by the Hudson's Bay people. Mackenzie was at Fort Chippewyan,
on Lake Athabasca, and thence he was sent in 1789 on an exploring voyage
to the north. In four birch-bark canoes, one of his party being an
Indian known as English Chief, who had been with Hearne on his journey
to the Coppermine, he started down the Great Slave River into the Great
Slave Lake. After spending twenty days in crossing and exploring this
vast sheet of water, he entered the large river now bearing his name,
and down it amid many dangers and difficulties, overcome by skill,
persuasion, force, good humour or good fortune, he reached the sea on
the 14th of July. He camped on Whale Island, the name being given owing
to one of the men sighting a great many animals in the water, which he
at first supposed to be pieces of ice. "However," says Mackenzie, "I was
awakened to resolve the doubts which had taken place respecting this
extraordinary appearance. I immediately perceived that they were whales;
and having ordered the canoe to be prepared, we embarked in pursuit of
them. It was indeed a very wild and unreflecting enterprise, and it was
a very fortunate circumstance that we failed in our attempt to overtake
them, as a stroke from the tail of one of these enormous fish would have
dashed the canoe to pieces. We may, perhaps, have been indebted to the
foggy weather for our safety, as it prevented us from continuing our
pursuit. Our guide informed us that they are the same kind of fish which
are the principal food of the Eskimos, and they were frequently seen as
large as our canoe. The part of them which appeared above the water was
altogether white, and they were much larger than the largest
porpoise"—being evidently belugas (_Delphinapterus leucas_).

Satisfied with a short canoe voyage on the sea, he returned to the river
and made his way back to the fort, arriving there in the middle of
September. He had thus proved the existence of the sea twenty degrees
further west than Hearne had done. Three years afterwards he started on
his notable journey to the Pacific at Cape Menzies, facing Princess
Royal Island, being the first white man to cross the Rocky Mountains,
and, as he had reached Fort Chippewyan by way of Montreal, the first to
cross North America above the Gulf of Mexico.

Another of Hearne's Indians accompanied Franklin on his first land
journey in 1819, the object of which was to explore the coast between
Hearne's farthest and Hudson Bay, thus filling in the gap in which the
assumed northern promontory was to be found. Franklin, who was sent out
by the British Government, had with him, as surgeon and naturalist, Dr.,
afterwards Sir, John Richardson, to whom as a boy Robert Burns had lent
Spenser's _Faerie Queene_, a naval surgeon with a distinguished record,
who while on half-pay had studied botany and mineralogy at Edinburgh.
Like another member of the expedition, George Back, who had been with
Franklin in the _Trent_ and _Dorothea_ voyage, he was destined to gain a
great reputation among Arctic explorers. With Back was another
midshipman, Robert Hood, whose fate it was to be murdered by an Iroquois
half-breed who, through want of food, betook himself to cannibalism.

Landing at York Factory, in Hudson Bay, after an exciting voyage, on the
30th of August, Franklin, disregarding local advice, pushed on across
the continent during the winter, arriving at Fort Chippewyan on the 26th
of March, the losses and trying experiences of the long journey being
mainly due to the rigours of the climate at that time of year; and
thence, in July, the party followed Mackenzie's route to Fort Providence
on Great Slave Lake. Here they were joined by Mr. Wentzel, of the North
West Company.

Starting for the north on the 2nd of August in four canoes, they were
joined next day at the mouth of the Yellow Knife by a band of Indians,
under a chief named Akaitcho, in seventeen canoes. The Indians were to
guide the party and supply them with food by hunting and fishing on the
way, but game and fish proved scarce—and scarcer owing to the poorness
of the Indian marksmanship—provisions were short and portages long, so
that the journey, which soon led across a series of lakes, was pursued
under toilsome and hazardous conditions until it ended at Winter Lake in
64° 30´, where it became necessary to winter in a log house built by
Wentzel, and named Fort Enterprise. The site was delightful: a hillside
amid trees three feet in diameter at the roots, the view in front
bounded at a distance of three miles by round-backed hills, to the
eastward and westward the Winter and Roundrock Lakes connected by the
Winter River, its banks clothed with pines and ornamented with a
profusion of mosses, lichens, and shrubs.


In a few weeks, however, the weather became so severe that, according to
Franklin, the trees froze to their very centres and became as hard as
stones, on which some of the axes were broken daily, until but one was
left. And though at first the reindeer appeared in numbers, their visits
lasted only for a short time, and the party, short of tobacco for the
Canadian voyageurs and of ammunition for the Indians, had so poor an
outlook that it became necessary to accept Back's proposal to return to
the forts and bring on supplies which had not been forwarded as
promised; the failure being due to the journey, unlike the successful
ventures of Hearne and Mackenzie, being pushed on regardless of climatal
conditions, and, in some degree, to the rivalry between the two fur
companies which were amalgamated while the expedition was in progress.

Back set out accompanied by Wentzel and two Canadians and two Indians
and their wives, crossing lakes frozen just hard enough to bear them,
going wide circuits to avoid those which were open, amid mist and fog
and storm, over rugged, bare country, through dense woods and
snow-covered swamps, rafting across a river with pine branches for
paddles, until Fort Providence was reached. From here he sent back
Belanger with letters and a hundred bullets he procured on loan.
Belanger arrived at Fort Enterprise on the 23rd of October alone; he had
walked constantly for the last six-and-thirty hours through a storm, his
locks were matted with snow, and he was encrusted with ice from head to
foot, so that he was scarcely recognised when he slipped in through the

At Fort Providence Back had to wait until the Great Slave Lake was
frozen over. On the 18th of November he observed two mock moons at equal
distances from the central one, the whole encircled by a halo, the
colour of the inner edge of the large circle a light red inclining to a
faint purple; and two days afterwards two parhelia were observable, with
a halo, the colours of the inner edge of the circle a bright carmine and
red-lake intermingled with a rich yellow forming a purplish orange, the
outer edge being a pale gamboge. On the 7th of December he left,
sledging across the lake before the wind, for the North West fort on
Moose Deer Island, and finding at the Hudson's Bay fort, also on the
island, five packages of belated supplies and two Eskimo interpreters on
their way to Franklin.

Here he was told that nothing could be spared at Fort Chippewyan, that
goods had never been transported so far in the winter season, that the
same dogs could not go and return, and that from having to walk
constantly on snow-shoes he would suffer a great deal of misery and
fatigue. Nevertheless he undertook the journey in dog-sledges with a
Canadian and an Indian, leaving Wentzel behind. At times the weather was
so cold that they had to run to keep themselves warm, and, owing to the
snow, the feet of the dogs became so raw that an endeavour was made to
fit them with shoes. With legs and ankles so swollen that it was painful
to drag the snow-shoes after him, Back hurried on, reaching Fort
Chippewyan on the 2nd of January to find that he and all Franklin's
party had been reported to have been killed by Eskimos. Here he had to
wait a month, and then, with an instalment of what he wanted, he set out
on his return, arriving at Fort Enterprise on St. Patrick's Day after a
memorable journey of over a thousand miles.


During his absence he was told that the cold had been so severe that
Hood had found accurate observing difficult owing to the sextant having
changed its error and the glasses lost their parallelism from the
contraction of the brass, a circumstance, combined with the
crystallisation of the mercury of the artificial horizon, that might
account for some of the diversity of results obtained by Arctic
navigators. And Richardson had to tell him of an early discovery that
when fishing and the hands get cold by hauling in the line, the best way
to warm them is to put them in the water; and how the fish had frozen as
they were taken out of the water so that by a blow or two of the hatchet
they were easily split open, leaving the intestines removable in one
lump, and yet that these much-frozen fish retained their vitality so
that he had seen a thawed carp recover so far as to leap about with much
vigour after it had been frozen for thirty-six hours.

On the 14th of June Fort Enterprise was left, and on the 25th the
expedition began to cross Point Lake on the way to the Coppermine, the
river being reached through Rocknest Lake on the 30th. Down the river
they paddled, taking the rapids as they went—in one place three miles of
them on end. "We were carried along with extraordinary rapidity,
shooting over large stones, upon which a single stroke would have been
destructive to the canoes; and we were also in danger of breaking them,
from the want of the long poles which lie along their bottoms and
equalise their cargoes, as they plunged very much, and on one occasion
the first canoe was almost filled with the waves; but there was no
receding after we had once launched into the stream, and our safety
depended on the skill and dexterity of the bowmen and steersmen."

There were rapids day by day affording almost every possible chance of
wreck except that due to driftwood; the two worst being one where the
stream descends for three-quarters of a mile in a deep but narrow and
crooked channel which it has cut through the foot of a hill of five
hundred or six hundred feet high, confined between perpendicular cliffs
resembling stone walls varying in height from eighty to a hundred and
fifty feet, on which lies a mass of fine sand; the body of the river
pent within this narrow chasm dashing furiously round the projecting
rocky columns as it discharges itself at the northern extremity in a
sheet of foam. The other being where the river flows between lofty stone
cliffs, reddish clay rocks and shelving banks of white clay, and is full
of shoals. Franklin's people had entered this rapid before they were
aware of it, and the steepness of the cliffs prevented them from
landing, so that they owed their preservation to the swiftness of their
descent. Two waves made a complete breach over the canoes; a third would
probably have filled and overset them, which would have proved fatal to
all on board. This Escape Rapid, as it was named, was, as it were, the
gate into the territory of the Eskimos who were soon met with in small
parties all the way down to the sea. It was passed on the 15th of July;
three days afterwards the Indians bade farewell to the expedition in the
morning, and in the afternoon the canoes were afloat on the Arctic

[Illustration: KUTCHIN INDIANS]

From the river mouth Wentzel returned, as arranged, with despatches,
taking with him a number of voyageurs and others, thus reducing the
party to twenty in all in two canoes. In these Franklin, nearly two
years after he had landed in America, went on his voyage to the eastward
to enter at last on the work he had been sent to do. But the survey of
this lofty rocky coast was no easy matter; the sea was rough, the
weather tempestuous, the canoes were lightly built and only suited for
river work, and, in short, it was a most risky enterprise. Tracing the
shore of Coronation Gulf and coasting up and out of Bathurst Inlet,
Franklin reached Point Turnagain in 109° 25´ W., at the entrance of
Dease Strait, on the 16th of August, 1821. Though the voyage had
extended over only six and a half degrees of longitude, he had sailed
555 geographical miles; and then, as his resources did not permit of his
going further or of his returning to the Coppermine, and in his own
words "Our scanty stock of provisions rendering it necessary to make for
a nearer place," he, on the 22nd, turned back to ascend the Hood River.

Here they soon reached the Wilberforce Falls, beautiful and remarkable,
but not easy of navigation. "In the evening," says Franklin in his
journal, "we encamped at the lower end of a narrow chasm through which
the river flows for upwards of a mile. The walls of this chasm are
upwards of two hundred feet high, quite perpendicular, and in some
places only a few yards apart. The river precipitates itself into it
over a rock forming two magnificent and picturesque falls close to each
other. The upper fall is about sixty feet high, and the lower one at
least one hundred, but perhaps considerably more, for the narrowness of
the chasm into which it fell prevented us from seeing its bottom and we
could merely discern the top of the spray far beneath our feet. The
lower fall is divided into two by an insulated column of rock which
rises about forty feet above it."

As the river above the falls appeared too rapid and shallow for the
large canoes they were taken to pieces, and two smaller ones built from
their materials. The voyage in these lasted but three days, when the
river was abandoned as trending too far to the west, and the party,
carrying the canoes, proceeded overland to Point Lake on their struggle
of starvation across the Barren Grounds. For days they had nothing to
eat but lichens—species of _Gyrophora_ or _Umbilicaria_ known as
tripe-de-roche—a diet varied with leather, burnt bones and skins, an
occasional ptarmigan, and, once, a musk ox, until they were so weak that
when a herd of reindeer went strolling past they had not strength enough
to shoot at them.

The tragedy need not be lingered over. Back was again sent for help,
and, finding no stores at Fort Enterprise, was on his way to Fort
Providence when he fell in with Akaitcho, who at once hurried to the
rescue; and on the 14th of July, 1822, Franklin, Richardson, Back, and
Hepburn the seaman, who had behaved as a hero all through, returned to
York Factory after a three years' journey, fraught with peril and
horror, by land and water, of over six thousand three hundred statute

After he had been at home a year, Franklin suggested that another
attempt should be made to survey the northern coast while Parry was at
work in search of the North-West Passage. The suggestion was accepted.
Accompanied by Richardson and Back, and by E. N. Kendall as assistant
surveyor—who had been out with Captain Lyon in the same capacity—and by
Thomas Drummond as assistant naturalist, he left Liverpool on the 26th
of February, 1825.


Taught by experience, the expedition was better managed in every way.
Instead of driving ahead regardless of the season or the trade routine,
the ordinary conditions of local travel were kept in view throughout,
and the results were more in proportion to the effort. Three boats were
specially built at Woolwich on Franklin's design and under Buchan's
superintendence. They were of mahogany with timbers of ash, both ends
alike, steerable by oar or rudder, the largest 26 ft. by 5 ft. 4 ins.,
the two others 24 ft. by 4 ft. 10 ins., and with them Colonel Pasley's
portable boat, known as the _Walnut Shell_ from its shape, 9 ft. long
and half as wide, with frames of ash fastened with thongs and covered
with canvas. The canvas was "waterproofed by Mr. Macintosh, of
Glasgow"—the first instance of its use—and for the first time also what
we know as macintosh coats and overalls were issued as part of the
outfit, the process having been patented in 1824.

The boats and stores were sent on ahead by way of York Factory in 1824,
and Franklin and his party, travelling by New York and the lakes, caught
them up on the Methye River at sunrise on the 29th of June. With them
were several old friends, not the least delighted being the two Eskimo
interpreters, Augustus and Ooligbuck, who were to be of the utmost
importance throughout. On the 8th of August they had got along so well
that they were at the junction of the Bear Lake River with the
Mackenzie. Here Back and Peter Warren Dease of the Hudson's Bay Company,
who had joined the expedition to look after the local arrangements, were
sent off to build a house to winter in on the banks of the Great Bear
Lake, in Keith's Bay, where the river leaves it; Richardson also left to
explore the northern shore of the lake, and Franklin and Kendall
continuing down the Mackenzie reached the sea before the week was out in
less than six months from their departure from Liverpool. And on the 5th
of September they had returned upstream and were at their winter
quarters at the new house on the lake, which Back had named Fort
Franklin, to find that Richardson had been along the northern shore and
noted as being the nearest point to the Coppermine the entrance of the
river he had named after Dease, which was to be of so much service to
him later on.

During the winter another boat, the _Reliance_, was built on the lines
of the _Lion_, the largest of the Woolwich boats, and leaving Dease to
complete the stores for another comfortable winter, the expedition
started on the 24th of June. At Point Separation, at the head of the
Mackenzie delta, Franklin in the _Lion_ with Back in the _Reliance_—our
old friend Robert Spinks being his coxswain—took the western arm, and
Richardson in the _Dolphin_ and Kendall in the _Union_, carrying the
_Walnut Shell_ with them, took the eastern arm.

[Illustration: Yours faithfully John Richardson]

Richardson, with a few more or less threatening encounters with the
Eskimos, ending fairly well owing to Ooligbuck, and in constant danger
of wreck avoided by careful navigation, rounded Cape Bathurst in 70° 36´
and discovered Wollaston Land, the coast-line of which they left
continuing to the east, when they reached Coronation Gulf and, on the
8th of August, entered the Coppermine, and thus filled in the gap of
nine hundred and two statute miles from Point Separation. Leaving the
_Dolphin_ and _Union_ at Bloody Fall on that river, it being impossible
to take them further, the expedition, carrying the _Walnut Shell_ with
them, proceeded along the banks, but finding they had no use for the
portable boat, owing to the shallowness of the stream, they soon
abandoned it, and in 67° 13´, where the river is nearest to the
north-eastern arm of Great Bear Lake, the Coppermine was left and the
course laid across the Barren Grounds for Dease River. This was reached
three days afterwards, Richardson being met at its mouth by Dease's
people on the 24th of August.

Franklin had similar experiences with the Eskimos, and was as deeply
indebted to Augustus for his tact and bravery in dealing with them.
Coasting along to the westward, hindered by ice, bad weather and fog,
and tormented by mosquitoes, his progress was much slower than that of
Richardson. Delayed for some days on or about Foggy Island, he had to
give up his intention of reaching Bering Strait, and not knowing that
Elson with the barge of the _Blossom_ had come as far east as Point
Barrow, he gave the name of Cape Beechey to the westernmost headland in
sight, and leaving Return Reef in 148° 52´ on the 18th of August, after
covering six hundred and ten statute miles through parts not previously
discovered, began his voyage back to Fort Franklin, where he arrived on
the 21st of September. Meanwhile Richardson had gone off to explore the
Great Slave Lake, whence Drummond had started on his journey among the
Rockies; and, being unable to get away till another winter had passed,
both Franklin and Richardson landed in England in September, 1827, after
an important and fruitful expedition that had no death-roll.

Back was again in these regions in 1833 on his expedition in search of
Sir John Ross. Reaching the Great Slave Lake, he built Fort Reliance at
its north-eastern corner and began the long winter there on the 5th of
November. Soon afterwards Akaitcho put in an appearance, and expressed
his intention—which he did his best to fulfil—of being of as much
assistance as he could; and later on Augustus made his way across
country to offer his services, but, either exhausted by suffering and
privation, or caught in a snowstorm, he died alone near the Rivière à

Temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 minus were of frequent occurrence,
and, on one occasion Back, after washing his face within a yard of the
fire, had his hair clotted with ice before he had time to dry it. Every
animal was driven away from the neighbourhood by the cold, except a
solitary raven which swept once round the house and then winged his
flight to the westward. On the 25th of April a messenger arrived at the
fort with the news of the safe return of Sir John Ross to England, but
Back determined to proceed with the journey for exploring purposes,
taking one boat instead of two, and, with Richard King the surgeon, and
eight men, he started for the Great Fish River on the 8th of July.


The voyage was a hazardous and adventurous one. For five hundred and
thirty geographical miles the river was found to run through an
iron-ribbed country without a single tree on the whole line of its
banks, expanding into fine large lakes with clear horizons, most
embarrassing to the navigator, and broken into falls, cascades, and
rapids, to the number of no less than eighty-three, pouring its waters
into the Polar Sea in latitude 67° 11´ and longitude 94° 30´; so that
his explorations on the northern coast were confined to a section
further east than Point Turnagain.

The expedition met with its greatest danger at Escape Rapid, between
Lake Macdougall and Lake Franklin, on the 25th of July. Here the stream
was broken by a mile of heavy and dangerous rapids. The boat was
lightened, and every care taken to avoid accident; but so overwhelming
was the rush and whirl of the water, that she, and consequently those in
her, were twice in imminent peril of being plunged into one of the gulfs
formed in the rocks and hollows. It was in one of these places, which
are fall, rapid, and eddy within a few yards, that the boat owed its
safety to an unintentional disobedience of the steersman's directions.

The power of the water so far exceeded whatever had been witnessed on
any of the other rivers that the precautions used elsewhere were weak
and unavailing. McKay, the steersman, was endeavouring to clear a fall
and some sunken rocks on the left, but the man to whom he spoke
misunderstood him, and did exactly the reverse; and then, seeing the
danger, the steersman swept the stern round; instantly the boat was
caught by an eddy to the right, which, snapping an oar, twirled her
irresistibly broadside on; so that for a moment it seemed uncertain
whether the boat was to be hurled into the hollow of the fall, or dashed
stern foremost on the sunken rocks. Of how it happened no account can be
given, but her head swung inshore towards the beach and thereby gave an
opportunity for some of the men to spring into the water and by their
united strength rescue her from her perilous position. Had the man to
whom the first order was given understood and acted on it no human power
could have saved the crew from being buried in the abyss. Nor yet could
any blame be justly attached to the steersman, who had never been so
situated before and whose coolness and self-possession never in this
imminent peril forsook him. At the awful moment of suspense, when one of
the crew with less nerve than his companions began to cry aloud to
Heaven for aid, McKay in a still louder voice exclaimed, "Is this a time
for praying? Pull your starboard oar." Never could a reminder that
_laborare est orare_ have been more opportune.

On the 1st of August Montreal Island was reached. Nine days afterwards a
log of driftwood, nine feet long and nine inches in diameter, jocularly
described as a piece of the North Pole, was found on the beach, which,
as there are no trees on the Fish River or the Coppermine, Captain Back
was of opinion must have come from the Mackenzie and drifted eastward,
so that he was on the main line of the land. The inference, confirmed by
the appearance of a whale, was correct, but, misled, perhaps, by hilly
islands, he missed the channel through which it had come, blocking it,
in the manner of John Ross, with a range of mountains that does not
exist. Though he reached Mount Barrow and mistook the head of Simpson
Strait for an inlet, thus failing to find one of the north-west
passages, he discovered and named King William Land and sighted Point
Booth at its eastern extremity. An attempt to reach Point Turnagain to
the westward and thus link up with Franklin's farthest east, in which he
might have discovered the passage, proving impracticable owing to the
bogginess of the ground, Back began his return from King William Land in
latitude 68° 13´, longitude 94° 58´, and entered on a wearisome journey
up the river and lakes he had come down, meeting with a party from Fort
Reliance on the 17th of September.

A week after, when within a couple of days of the fort, on that "small
but abominable river" the Ah-hel-dessy from Artillery Lake, Back
discovered the Anderson Falls. Toiling along over the mountains, every
man with a seventy-five-pound package on his back, he had not proceeded
more than six or seven miles when, observing the spray rising from
another fall, he was induced to visit it and was well consoled for
having left the boat behind. "From the only point," says Back, "at which
the greater part of it was visible, we could distinguish the river
coming sharp round a rock, and falling into an upper basin almost
concealed by intervening rocks; whence it broke in one vast sheet into a
chasm between four and five hundred feet deep, yet in appearance so
narrow that we fancied we could almost step across it. Out of this the
spray rose in misty columns several hundred feet above our heads; but as
it was impossible to see the main fall from the side on which we were,
in the following spring I paid a second visit to it, approaching from
the western bank. The road to it, which I then traversed in snow-shoes,
was fatiguing in the extreme, and scarcely less dangerous; for, to say
nothing of the steep ascents, fissures in the rocks, and deep snow in
the valleys, we had sometimes to creep along the narrow shelves of
precipices slippery with the frozen mist that fell on them. But it was a
sight that well repaid any risk. My first impression was of a strong
resemblance to an iceberg in Smeerenberg Harbour, Spitsbergen. The whole
face of the rocks forming the chasm was entirely coated with blue,
green, and white ice, in thousands of pendent icicles; and there were,
moreover, caverns, fissures, and overhanging ledges in all imaginable
varieties of form, so curious and beautiful as to surpass anything of
which I had ever heard or read. The immediate approaches were extremely
hazardous, nor could we obtain a perfect view of the lower fall, in
consequence of the projection of the western cliffs. At the lowest
position we were able to attain, we were still more than a hundred feet
above the level of the river beneath; and this, instead of being narrow
enough to step across, as it had seemed from the opposite heights, was
found to be at least two hundred feet wide. The colour of the water
varied from a very light to a very dark green; and the spray, which
spread a dimness above, was thrown up in clouds of light grey. Niagara,
Wilberforce Falls on Hood River, the falls of Kakabikka near Lake
Superior, the Swiss or Italian falls—although they may each charm the
eye with dread—are not to be compared to this for splendour of effect.
It was the most imposing spectacle I had ever witnessed; and, as its
berg-like appearance brought to mind associations of another scene, I
bestowed upon it the name of our celebrated navigator, Sir Edward Parry,
and called it Parry's Falls."

Back, like Franklin, owed much of the success of his expedition to the
cordial help of the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, George,
afterwards Sir George, Simpson. Ever the fastest of travellers in the
north, Simpson had, in 1828, made a 3260-mile canoe voyage from Hudson
Bay to the Pacific, passing the Rockies through canyons previously
untried, and slipping down mountain torrents and through unknown rapids
at such speed that hostile Indians let him pass in sheer amazement; and
all his life he was distinguished for similar energy and celerity. When
it became clear that the British Government had no immediate intention
of completing the survey of the northern coast, Simpson organised an
expedition at the Company's expense to undertake the task, and entrusted
the leadership to Dease, who had done such excellent work for Franklin;
and with Dease he associated his own nephew, Thomas Simpson, in no way
inferior to his uncle in energy, speediness, or decision of character,
being in fact one of our very best explorers, Arctic or otherwise.

Thomas Simpson, Master of Arts of Aberdeen and a winner of the
Huttonian, began characteristically by starting off to Fort Garry—now
Winnipeg—with a view, as he says, "to refresh and extend my astronomical
practice which had for some years been interrupted by avocations of a
very different nature"; and thence, in the winter, making his way to
Fort Chippewyan, a journey of 1277 miles, joining Dease there more than
a month before he was expected. Two boats were built, light clinker
craft of 24 ft. keel and 6 ft. beam, adapted for shallow navigation by
their small draught, both alike and honoured with the classical names of
the heavenly twins, _Castor_ and _Pollux_, each boat provided with a
small oiled canvas canoe and portable wooden frame. Of one, the
steersman was the redoubtable James McKay—"Pull your starboard oar!"—and
of the other, George Sinclair, Back's bowman; and one of the bowmen was
Felix, who had been with Franklin in 1826. All told, the expedition
numbered fourteen.

Leaving Fort Chippewyan on the 1st of June, 1837, they reached Bear Lake
River on the 3rd of July, and six days afterwards were out on the sea.
On the 23rd of July they camped at Return Reef, that is to say they had
traversed the whole extent of Franklin's survey in a fortnight, and not
without danger from the ice and losing much time by doubling the floes,
however far they extended seawards. Once Simpson's boat, which was of
course leading, was only saved from destruction by throwing out
everything it contained upon the floating masses. By means of portages
made from one fragment to another, the oars forming the perilous
bridges, and after repeated risks of boats, men, and baggage being
separated by the motion of the ice, they succeeded with much labour in
collecting the whole equipment on one floe, which, being covered with
water, formed a sort of wet dock. There they hauled up the boats,
momentarily liable to be overwhelmed by the turning over of the ice,
three miles from land, with the fog settled round them throughout the
inclement night.

Continuing westwards along new country, they reached and named Cape
George Simpson (after the Governor) and, a little further on, Boat
Extreme, where, from the coldness of the weather and the interminable
ice, the further advance of the boats appeared to be so hopeless that
Dease agreed to stay in charge of them while Simpson with five men,
including McKay and Felix, pushed ahead for Point Barrow on foot.
Passing McKay Inlet and Sinclair River, named after the two steersmen,
an Eskimo camp was reached, where Simpson exchanged his tin plate for a
platter made out of a mammoth tusk, and borrowed an oomiak which floated
in about half a foot of water. In this useful skin boat the journey was
resumed to Point Barrow, and on the 4th of August the survey completed
between Franklin's farthest and Elson's.

The winter was passed at the mouth of the Dease River, on Great Bear
Lake, where Fort Confidence had been built ready for the expedition on
its return. On the 6th of June, 1838, a start for the coast was made by
the Coppermine route, that river being reached on the 22nd, and its
descent accomplished, on the spring flood, in nine days. But it was a
bad season, and the navigation was so hampered by ice that no start was
made to the eastward until the 17th of July. At Boathaven, in 109° 20´,
Simpson again left the boats and went ahead with Sinclair and six others
who had not been to Point Barrow. Passing Franklin's farthest at Point
Turnagain, he kept on for a hundred miles along the whole length of
Dease Strait, discovering and naming Victoria Land, reaching Beaufort
River beyond Cape Alexander, and sighting an open sea to the eastward.
From here, in 106° 3´, the return began; and by many devices and the
unfailing skill of McKay and Sinclair, the two boats were taken up the
Coppermine stream, falls and rapids and all, to the nearest point to
Fort Confidence, where they were hauled up in readiness for next year.

On the 22nd of June, 1839, the boats again left for the sea; and they
were run down to Bloody Fall without a stoppage in eleven hours. Again
there were fourteen all told in them, but this time one of the men was
Ooglibuck, who had come specially from Ungava in Labrador, in the
wonderful time of three months less eight days, to join the expedition
which was to meet with great success and accomplish an Arctic boat
journey of over sixteen hundred statute miles.

Entirely blocked until the 3rd of July, and hindered by ice difficulties
all the way, the boats did not reach the previous year's farthest until
the 28th of July. On the 11th of August, through an outlet only three
miles wide, they passed into the much-desired eastern sea. "That
glorious sight," says Simpson, after whom the strait is named, "was
first beheld by myself from the top of one of the high limestone
islands, and I had the satisfaction of announcing it to some of the men
who, incited by curiosity, followed me thither. The joyful news was soon
conveyed to Mr. Dease, who was with the boats at the end of the island,
about half a mile off." On the continent and on King William Land, where
Franklin's men were in time coming to perish of starvation, reindeer
were seen browsing on the scanty herbage among the shingle. A terrible
thunderstorm followed, and then, doubling a very sharp point on the
13th, Simpson landed and saw before him a sandy desert. It was Back's
Point Sir C. Ogle that he had at length reached. Away in the distance
was the Great Fish River, and three days afterwards the party were
encamped on Montreal Island, where McKay led the way to the provisions
and gunpowder deposited by Back among the rocks.

The expedition had performed its allotted task, and the men were
consulted as to whether they would continue for a short distance to the
eastward. To their honour they all assented without a murmur; but the
cruel north-east wind forbade much progress in that direction, and their
farthest east was reached at Castor and Pollux River. From there
immediate return was imperative, as not a day could be spared. And so,
from latitude 68° 28´ 23˝, longitude 94° 14´, they turned back on the
21st of August, leaving the survey of the north coast of the American
mainland practically complete from Bering Strait to Boothia.

Further, on their return journey they crossed to the southern shore of
King William Land and traced its coast for nearly sixty miles,
discovering and naming Cape Herschel, south-eastward of which, in
Simpson Strait, M'Clintock found the remains of one of Franklin's men.
They thus linked up with what was to be the route of the Franklin
expedition and were the first to find the North-West Passage for the
command of which the territory was given by Charles II to the Hudson's
Bay Company.

                               CHAPTER IX
                           THE PARRY ISLANDS

  John Rae—Wollaston Land and Victoria Strait—Overlaps Franklin's
    route—M'Clure discovers Prince of Wales Strait—The North-West
    Passage—Banks Land—M'Clure rescued by Bedford Pim—Collinson's
    remarkable voyage—In Beaufort Sea—Reaches Banks Strait—Voyage to
    Cambridge Bay—On Franklin's route—The North-West Passage sailed
    by Amundsen along the track of the _Enterprise_—Sir
    John Barrow—Parry's first voyage—Penetrates Lancaster
    Sound and discovers the Parry Islands—Stopped by ice in
    Banks Strait—The search for Franklin—Sir John Ross—De
    of the _Resolute_—Sledge work—Sverdrup's discoveries during his
    four years in the north.

The second to complete a north-west passage by linking up with
Franklin's voyage was Dr. John Rae, an Orkneyman by birth, as energetic
as Thomas Simpson and evidently not inferior to him in stamina, for in
his Arctic journeys he walked a distance equal to that of the
circumference of the earth. In 1846 he had surveyed the Committee Bay
district between Boothia and the Melville Peninsula, reaching it from
Repulse Bay, and in 1848 and 1849 he had been associated with Richardson
in searching for Franklin along the coast from the Mackenzie eastwards.
Next year, while in charge of the Mackenzie district, he was again
requested to lead a Franklin search expedition, and, starting from Fort
Confidence on the 25th of April, was on the sea by the 1st of May.
Crossing over to Wollaston Land, and making westward along the coast on
the 22nd of May, he rounded Cape Baring, just above the seventieth
parallel. Crossing to its continuation, Victoria Land, on a second
journey, he travelled eastward, and, going up Victoria Strait, rounded
Pelly Point, also just above the seventieth parallel, on the 12th of
July, thus practically completing the survey of the southern half of
what Collinson was to prove is one large island.

[Illustration: Yours very truly W Parry]

Off Pelly Point, it afterwards appeared, the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ were
beset in the ice in September, 1846, and fifty miles to the south-east
they had been abandoned in April, 1848; but the only relic found by Rae
on this occasion was the doubtful one—picked up in Parker Bay—of the
butt-end of a flagstaff on which was nailed a piece of white line by two
copper tacks, all three bearing the Government mark. This was the first
to be found of anything that could be thought to be a trace of the
missing ships, a sort of promise of what he was to meet with four years
later; and it is worth noting that, had he not failed in getting across
the strait to King William Land, Rae would in 1850 have probably
discovered Franklin's fate.

His farthest in these parts was passed in May, 1853, by Captain Richard
Collinson, in his sledge journey to Gateshead Island from H.M.S.
_Enterprise_, then wintering in Cambridge Bay. The _Enterprise_ and
_Investigator_ had been placed under Collinson's command and sent by way
of Cape Horn to search for Franklin from the west, the instructions
being that the ships should not part company; but regardless of this,
Commander Robert Le Mesurier M'Clure, of the _Investigator_, happening
to get through Bering Strait first, declined to wait for his commanding
officer, went off on an expedition on his own account and, by a sledge
journey, joined Parry's track when in search of the North-West Passage.

Steering north-east from Franklin Bay, M'Clure reached the south of
Parry's Banks Land and followed the coast north-eastwards, discovering
Prince of Wales Strait and making his way rather more than half-way up,
until, near Princess Royal Island in 72° 50´, he was caught in the ice
and imprisoned for the winter. On Trafalgar Day, 1850, M'Clure left the
_Investigator_ on a sledge journey up the strait, and at sunrise on the
26th of October, from Mount Observation in 73° 30´, a hill six hundred
feet above the sea, he looked over Banks Strait and Melville Sound, and
saw the coast of Banks Land terminating about twelve miles further on
and thence trending to the north-west, while Wollaston Land, as it
proved to be, turned eastward on the other side at Peel Point. That
evening Banks Strait was reached at Cape Lord John Russell, and the
North-West Passage by Prince of Wales Strait clearly demonstrated. The
spot was not bare of vegetation, and there were many traces of animals,
for, fortunately for M'Clure, there was no scarcity of game during his
three winterings in Banks Land—reindeer in herds, musk oxen
occasionally, hares in troops, ducks in plenty, ptarmigan almost as
numerous, and bears, wolves, and foxes to feed on them; for instance,
the weights of three items in the bag, 1945 lb. of musk ox, 7716 lb. of
deer, and 1017 lb. of hare, show fairly good shooting.

Enclosing a record of the visit in a cairn, M'Clure returned to the
ship, from which in the spring three sledge parties were sent
out—Cresswell's to the north-west finding that Banks Land was an island,
Wynniatt's to the north-east reaching Reynolds Point on the north of
Wollaston Land, and Haswell's down Wollaston Land to within forty miles
of where Rae turned back about a week later—this being the only attempt
at searching for Franklin that the expedition undertook after sighting
Nelson Head. Released in July, the _Investigator_ retreated down the
strait and attempted to circumnavigate Banks Land, finding to the west a
coast as precipitous as a wall, the water deep—fifteen fathoms close in,
with the yardarms almost touching the cliffs on one hand and the lofty
ice on the other—and the pack drawing forty feet of water, rising in
rolling hills a hundred feet from base to summit. On shore the hills
were as remarkable. Many of them were peaked and isolated by precipitous
gorges, about three hundred feet deep. And all the way up them were
numbers of fallen trees, in many places in layers, some protruding
twelve or fourteen feet, one of these trunks measuring nineteen inches
in diameter. Says M'Clure: "I entered a ravine some miles inland, and
found the north side of it, for a depth of forty feet from the surface,
composed of one mass of wood similar to what I had before seen. The
whole depth of the ravine was about two hundred feet. The ground around
the wood or trees was formed of sand and shingle; some of the wood was
petrified, the remainder very rotten and worthless even for burning."
And this forest bed is on the shore of the Beaufort Sea in 74° north
latitude, a similar one being in Prince Patrick Island, on the other
side of Banks Strait.

After one or two narrow escapes the _Investigator_ entered her last home
at the Bay of Mercy, well within the strait, near Cape Hamilton, the
most prominent of the three capes discovered from the Dundas Peninsula
by Parry's lieutenant, Beechey, thirty-one years before. The winter
passed, and on the 11th of April M'Clure left the ship on a sledge
journey across to Parry's old quarters at Winter Harbour, which were
reached on the 28th, to find nothing but a notice of M'Clintock's having
been there in the previous June. Noticing Parry's inscription rock,
M'Clure judiciously left on it a statement that the _Investigator_ was
in want of relief at Mercy Bay. But all through that year no news from
the outside came to Banks Land, and matters became serious owing to the
appearance of scurvy, notwithstanding the abundance of fresh meat, for
even in January a herd of reindeer trotted by.

[Illustration: THE PARRY ISLANDS]

Another winter went wearily, each month with a gloomier outlook than the
last, and on the 5th of April the first of the scurvy patients died.
Next morning M'Clure and Haswell were walking near the ship discussing
how they could dig a grave in the frozen ground, when they noticed a man
hurriedly approaching from the entrance of the bay, throwing up his arms
and shouting at the top of his voice, his face as black as ebony. When
he came within talking range the dark-faced stranger called out, "I am
Lieutenant Pim, late of the _Herald_ and now in the _Resolute_; Captain
Kellett is in her at Dealy Island." And soon the dog-sledge with two men
came into view. Pim's arrival was most fortunate for the sufferers, for
the captain, as a desperate resource, was—in spite of the doctor's
protests—just about to send off two sledge parties of the invalids to
take their chance of escaping somehow, as there was no hope of their
recovery in the ship; and on examination by the doctor of the
_Resolute_, it was found that every man of the crew was more or less
affected by the disease. So the ship was abandoned in Mercy Bay, and the
officers and crew, crossing to the _Resolute_, reached England by way of
Hudson Strait.

Collinson's was the most remarkable voyage ever accomplished by a
sailing-ship in the Arctic regions. It lasted from 1850 to 1855—five
years and a hundred and sixteen days—all the way out across the Atlantic
and Pacific and home again in safety, traversing a hundred and
twenty-eight degrees of longitude in the Arctic sea, coming nearest at
the time to completing the north-west passage by ship (up Prince of
Wales Strait), finding two north-west passages by sledge (one joining
with Parry's discoveries across Banks Strait, the other with Franklin's
up Victoria Strait), and approaching nearer than any other naval
expedition to the great discovery by travelling up Franklin's route for
some distance, and passing within thirty miles of the spot where the
vessels he was in search of had been abandoned, though unfortunately,
like Rae, he was on the west side of the waterway instead of the east.

Passing Bering Strait in July, 1850, the _Enterprise_ went north from
Wainwright Inlet into the Beaufort Sea, until she was stopped by the
heavy pack. Trying east, to join with Parry's farthest, and then west,
she arrived, on the 28th of August, at 73° 23´ in 164°, and here she
turned south after having sailed over eleven thousand miles without
having to reef her topsails, an unprecedented run of distance and fine
weather combined. Returning in 1851 from wintering at Hong Kong,
Collinson, with a southerly wind "too precious to be wasted," made his
way up Prince of Wales Strait, knowing nothing of the visit of the
_Investigator_, to find ice blocking his way just at the northern
outlet, his furthest north, by ship, 73° 30´, forty miles beyond
M'Clure's winter quarters, as given in the record he found in one of the

Unable to round the corner into Banks Strait owing to the ice block,
Collinson returned down Prince of Wales Strait and followed the track of
the _Investigator_ half-way up the west coast of Banks Land, though he
had found nothing to indicate she had gone in that direction. Finding
the ice conditions dangerous, he retraced his route along the coast and
went into comfortable winter quarters in Walker Bay, at the entrance of
Prince of Wales Strait. By the end of November the natives fishing for
salmon-trout had cleared off, as also had the reindeer, hares, and
ptarmigan and other birds, and on the 17th of March the ravens, which
had been the last to leave, were the first to return. In April sledge
parties went out, one of which under Lieutenant Parkes crossed the route
of the _Hecla_ along the strait and reached Melville Island at Cape
Providence on the way to Winter Harbour, short of which, within sight of
Point Hearne, Parkes began his homeward journey, owing to his taking the
tracks of sledges and barking of dogs as indicating the presence, not of
M'Clure as it did, but of Eskimos, with whom, being without weapons, he
was unable to cope.

Released on the 5th of August, the _Enterprise_ proceeded to sea,
coasting along past Rae's farthest and Cape Baring, and so, where no
ship had been, through Coronation Gulf to Cambridge Bay. Here the winter
of 1852-3 was spent, and hence the sledges went up Victoria Strait. At
Finlayson Islands, what seemed to be a piece of a companion-door was
found among the driftwood, which might have been a relic of the lost
ships; but that was all. During the return along the northern coast the
_Enterprise_ was beset in Camden Bay, and here the third winter was
passed, release not coming until the end of the following July, and
Bering Strait not being reached until the 21st of August after a voyage,
like that of the _Vega_, too well managed to yield much adventure. Like
all the other Arctic voyages of this period, it failed in the one object
it was undertaken to achieve; but in days to come the first ship to sail
the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was to follow Collinson
from Cambridge Bay along the route laboriously completed by the
surveyors of the mainland from James Cook to Dease and Simpson.

M'Clure claimed and—to have done with the matter—obtained the reward of
£10,000 for discovering the North-West Passage through Prince of Wales
Strait, though he sailed only half-way up it and, in attempting to get
round to Parry's farthest, lost his ship and started sledging on the
west side of the pack; while Collinson took his ship much nearer to
Parry's course on the east side; and Franklin, by linking up with Dease
and Simpson over the ice by way of Victoria Strait, had previously found
another of the possible passages, as shown by Collinson's voyage to
Cambridge Bay. But surely what was done by M'Clure, and by Collinson in
his northerly cruise, was to see where ships could pass when there was
no ice in the way, which was no more than had been done by Parry, who
had taken his ship within sight of both their farthest, and would have
sailed into the Beaufort Sea had not the pack forbidden it. It was
Parry, in fact, who discovered the main road, the route by Prince of
Wales Strait, like that by Peel Sound taken by Franklin and successfully
accomplished by Amundsen, being only one of the many by-roads leading
off along his course.

His famous voyage to Melville Island was due to the influence of Sir
John Barrow. Barrow, to whom more than any other man this country owes
its position in Arctic story, was born in a small thatched cottage at
Dragley Beck, near Ulverston, in North Lancashire, in 1764, and, in a
remarkable course of promotion by merit, became second secretary of the
Admiralty for forty years under twelve or thirteen different naval
administrations, Whig and Tory; being so unmistakably the right man in
the right place that he was only dispensed with once—on a change of
First Lords—and then was reinstated the next year. When he was seventeen
he was given the opportunity of a voyage in a Greenland whaler, which he
accepted, and that was his only Arctic experience; but even when with
Macartney in China and South Africa, he kept up his interest in the
north, and in 1817, when at the Admiralty, proposed to Lord Melville his
plan for two voyages of discovery, one to the north and the other to the
north-west, which opened the new era of Polar exploration.

[Illustration: Yours very truly John Barrow]

The voyage to the north was that of Buchan and Franklin in the
_Dorothea_ and _Trent_; that to the north-west was undertaken by John
Ross in the _Isabella_ and William Edward Parry in the _Alexander_. Of
this we need only say here that on their return from the north of Baffin
Bay, Ross and Parry coasted down the west side and sailed into Lancaster
Sound for a considerable distance until Ross—who seems to have had the
mountain-finding eye and an unenviable gift for missing straits—declared
that it ended in a range of mountains which he appropriately named
Croker's; and, that there should be no mistake about them, he gave a
very pretty picture of them as a full-page plate in his book. Parry,
however, saw no mountains and took the liberty of saying so to Barrow
when he reported himself at the Admiralty, the result being the despatch
of Parry's expedition in the _Hecla_ and _Griper_ which left Yarmouth on
the 12th of May, 1819, and, for the first time after leaving the coast
of Norfolk, dropped anchor in the bay named after them in Melville
Island, on the 5th of September.

Parry, before his voyage in the _Alexander_, had had Arctic experience
while lieutenant of the _Alexandria_ frigate engaged in protecting the
Spitsbergen whale fisheries, and knew thoroughly what he was about. For
instance, he worked his crews in three watches, and had both his vessels
rigged as barques as the most convenient rig among ice, though the
_Griper_, a strong, slow gunboat, was rather too small to be so treated,
being only about half the tonnage of the _Hecla_, whose measurement was
under four hundred. Had she been a little speedier more work might have
been done; but what was done was magnificent.

Entering Lancaster Sound, Parry found a strait not blocked by mountains
but thirty miles broad leading into a region up to then unknown,
except—so it is said—to the Norsemen. On the 12th of August Prince
Regent Inlet was discovered and named, it being George IV's birthday.
Then North Somerset was sighted and the course laid across Barrow Strait
to North Devon and its south-western peninsula known as Beechey Island;
then Wellington Channel was descried, and then Cornwallis Island.
Griffith Island was discovered on the 23rd of August, Bathurst Island on
the 25th, Byam Martin Island on the 27th, where Sabine, the astronomer
of the expedition, found they had passed north of the magnetic north
pole. Then the south side of Melville Island was coasted along, Dealy
Island being found on the 4th of September at noon, and, at a quarter
past nine at night, just after passing Bounty Cape (named in honour of
the event), the _Hecla_ crossed the 110th meridian west, and became
entitled to the Government grant of £5000 for doing so—which Parry
shared between the ships.


Soon the ice became difficult and the ships had to anchor, but, the
conditions improving, the westerly voyage was resumed. Cape Providence
was passed and Cape Hay sighted, but the ships could get no further than
about half-way between these capes, and they had to return to Winter
Harbour, where, on the 26th of September, they were warped to their
quarters through a channel cut in the ice. The _Hecla_, sending down all
her upper masts except the main topmast, and the _Griper_, housing her
fore and main topmasts, used the spars to support a roof which
completely enclosed their upper decks and made them both snug for the
winter, which did not seem so long owing to the efforts of the officers
to keep every one amused and on the move. Parry, a host in himself, was
well seconded by his lieutenant, Beechey, late of the _Trent_, James
Clark Ross, one of his midshipmen, Captain Sabine, and Lieutenant
Liddon, the commander of the _Griper_, who was almost disabled with
rheumatism, and Lieutenant Hoppner, also of the _Griper_. A couple of
books of plays on board proved a real treasure; owing to them the Royal
Arctic Theatre was started, the pioneer of so many amateur theatrical
ventures in the Polar seas, and the _North Georgia Gazette_ and _Winter
Chronicle_ came into existence, the first of ship newspapers. On
Christmas Day there was a dinner of roast beef which had been on board
since May, the condition of which, as Parry said, was an excellent
testimony to the antiseptic properties of a cold atmosphere; and the
food generally was good and abundant, and the management and supplies
far better than on many subsequent expeditions. In the spring, game was
found in fair quantity, nearly four thousand pounds of musk ox, deer,
hares, geese, ducks, and ptarmigan being brought on board.

In May the vessels were afloat again, though ice-bound, and, in June,
walking, not sledging, journeys were organised, the furthest points
reached being Cape Fisher to the north and Cape Hoppner to the west. On
the 1st of August the vessels moved out of the bay to the westward, and
six days afterwards Beechey called attention to the land with the three
capes already mentioned. "The land," says Parry, "which extends beyond
the 117th degree of west longitude, and is the most western yet
discovered in the Polar Sea to the north of the American continent, was
honoured with the name of Banks Land out of respect to the late
venerable and worthy President of the Royal Society."

On the 16th Cape Dundas was named, but progress was impossible. For a
week Parry made every endeavour to pass, but the floes, forty to fifty
feet thick, heaped up by the tides from the east and the west so as to
form a wide-stretching landscape of hill and dale, barred the way right
across Banks Strait; and no further west could be attained than 113° 46´
43·5˝, in latitude 74° 26´ 25˝. Thence Parry returned, hoping to get
through on another voyage, and bidding farewell to the North Georgian
Islands, as he called them, or the Parry Islands, as we now know them,
he came home by the way he went out, through Lancaster Sound. Needless
to say, the very next season the whalers followed on Parry's track, and
Lancaster Sound became the highway to a very profitable fishing-ground.


Among the Parry Islands in 1851 were several vessels in search of
Franklin. Sir John Ross, aged seventy-four, was there in the
schooner-yacht _Felix_ on a private expedition chiefly memorable for the
story of his having sent off a carrier pigeon from his winter quarters
at Cornwallis Island, which reached his home—North-West Castle,
Stranraer, Wigtownshire—three thousand miles away, in five days. Lady
Franklin's vessel, the _Prince Albert_, was there, with Captain Forsyth
and Parker Snow on board, an old fruit schooner, and therefore the
speediest sailing-craft among the crowd. The Grinnell expedition of the
two American brigs, _Advance_ and _Racer_, under De Haven, was also
there, to drift afterwards up Wellington Channel and down again back
into Baffin Bay; as was a British Government expedition of the two
whaling brigs, _Lady Franklin_ and _Sophia_, under Captain William
Penny, who was to discover the sea open north of Wellington Channel. In
addition to these was the British squadron under Captain Horatio Austin
in H.M.S. _Resolute_, with H.M.S. _Assistance_, Captain Erasmus
Ommanney, and the old Cattle Conveyance Company's boats known as H.M.S.
_Intrepid_, Lieutenant Cator, and H.M.S. _Pioneer_, Lieutenant Sherard
Osborn, these two being screw steamers used as tenders, which proved of
great value as tugs and ice-breakers.

On the 23rd of August Captain Ommanney found Franklin's winter quarters
on Beechey Island, and four days afterwards Captain Penny came upon the
gravestones marking where the three men, two of the _Erebus_ and one of
the _Terror_, had been buried in 1846, though nothing was discoverable
of the route intended to be taken by the ships. The news was important,
and the _Prince Albert_, acting as despatch vessel, was immediately sent
home with it, to return next year with Kennedy and Bellot to make a
discovery of her own. Soon Captain Austin's four ships departed, also to
return in the following year, Sir Edward Belcher, in the _Assistance_,
being then in command, Kellett being in the _Resolute_, M'Clintock in
the _Intrepid_, and Sherard Osborn again in the _Pioneer_. Belcher's
attempt ended in his abandoning his vessels in the ice; one of them, the
_Resolute_, as though in mute protest, drifting from 74° 41´ for a
thousand miles, to be picked up by Buddington off Cape Dyer in Baffin
Bay, bought from him by the American Government and presented to Great
Britain, refitted as she used to be, as a much-appreciated token of

The great feature of these years was the wonderful sledge work; by it
mainly the northern coasts of the islands discovered by Parry were
surveyed and other islands added to the archipelago, including the
westernmost, Prince Patrick, named after the Duke of Connaught, who was
at first known as Prince Patrick instead of Prince Arthur. The sledges
fitted out by Austin traversed 1500 miles of coast-line, 850 of which
were new, the routes radiating between Osborn's 72° 18´ and Bradford's
76° 25´, M'Clintock going farthest, 760 miles, to 114° 20´ in 74° 38´.
Those next year from Kellett at Dealy Island covered 8558 miles,
radiating from Pim's 74° 6´ (to rescue M'Clure) to M'Clintock's 77° 23´,
a run to 118° 20´ and back of 1401 miles, while Mecham reached 120° 30´
on a trip of 1163 miles; and Belcher from his winter quarters in
Northumberland Sound, in 76° 52´, aided by Richards and Osborn, was
almost as busy further north.

Thus practically the whole belt of land and sea westward between and
including Lancaster Sound and Jones Sound as far as 120° was searched
and mapped, the most northerly of the Parry Islands known up to then
being Finlay Island, North Cornwall, and Graham Island. But in 1898
Captain Otto Sverdrup went up Smith Sound in his old ship the _Fram_ on
an endeavour to sail round the north coast of Greenland from west to
east. He had to winter in Rice Strait, near Pim Island, and finding, to
put it sportingly, that he was to a certain extent trespassing on
Peary's preserves, decided to devote his attention to the unknown region
approachable through Jones Sound. In 1899, therefore, he took the _Fram_
up the sound, and, failing to pass through Cardigan Strait, spent the
three following years among the fiords at the north-western end.

From here he sent his sledge and ski parties far and wide, west and
south and north over an approximate area of a hundred thousand square
miles. Long stretches of coast-fine were explored and named, in a few
cases unnecessarily, though, strange to say, the unnecessary names were
all royal ones, King Oscar Land being the west of Ellesmere Land, Crown
Prince Gustav Sea and Prince Gustav Adolf Sea being the Polar Ocean, and
King Christian Land being simply Finlay Island. Separated from Finlay
Island by Danish Sound and from North Cornwall by Hendriksen Sound, he
found two large islands, which—just as John Ross named Boothia after his
principal patron, the distiller—Sverdrup named Ellef Ringnes and Amund
Ringnes after two of his supporters, the brewers; his other discovery,
Axel Heiberg Land—which seems to be Peary's Jesup Land sighted in
1898—to the west and north-west of these, being so called after his
other munificent patron.

His farthest south was Beechey Island, his farthest west Cape Isachsen
in Ellef Ringnes Land, his farthest north Lands Lokk in Grant Land, in
latitude 81° 40´ and longitude about 92°, within sixty miles of
Aldrich's farthest along the north-eastern coast, the gap afterwards
traversed by Peary. Within these limits the amount of coast detail
filled in was remarkable. Owing to the favourable condition of the ice
and the excellent management in all ways, the sledges frequently did
their fifteen miles and more a day. Though the expedition lost its
doctor during the first winter, there was little trouble as regards
health; and game was in plenty right up to the far north where Hare
Fiord tells of hares in hundreds.

With hunting episodes the story is pleasantly varied, one in particular
being so graphically described by Sverdrup that as a sample we may be
forgiven a rather long quotation. "The bear," says Sverdrup, "was
determined to go up a difficult stony valley a little north of our tent,
and, try as the dogs would to prevent it, up the valley it went. Schei
and I ran full speed northward along the ice-foot, and soon heard that
the dogs had brought it to bay. We made a short cut across some hills of
grit, and, when we reached the top of one of them, saw the bear on the
other side of the valley, sitting on a hill-top, which fell almost sheer
away. But on the north side it was accessible, and here it was probably
that the bear had climbed it. There sat the king of the icefields
enthroned on a kind of pedestal, and the whole staff of yelping dogs
standing at a respectful distance. I tried a couple of shots, but
overrated the distance, and the bullets went over the bear's head. I
then told Schei to go and shoot it whilst I looked on at the further
development of the drama. The bear's position was a first-rate one. It
had taken its stand on a little plateau high up on a mountain crag; this
little ledge was reached by a bridge not more than a good yard in width,
and there stood the bear, like Sven Dufva, ready with his sledgehammer
to fell the first being that should venture across. His majesty was not
visible to Schei until he came within a few feet of him, but then it was
not long before a shot was heard. The bear sank together, and a few
seconds afterwards all the dogs had thrown themselves on to it. They
tugged and pulled at the bear's coat, tearing tufts of hair out of it,
and before we knew what they were doing, had dragged the body to the
edge of the plateau, where it shot out over the precipice. The dogs
stood amazed, gazing down into the depths where the bear was falling
swiftly through the air—but not alone, for on it as large as life were
two dogs which had clung so fast to its hair, that they now stood
planted head to head, and bit themselves still faster to it in order to
keep their balance. I was breathless as I watched this unexpected
journey through the air. The next moment the bear in its perpendicular
fall would reach the projecting point of rock, and my poor dogs!—it was
a cruel revenge the bear was taking on them. I should now have only
three dogs left in my team. The bear's body dashed violently against the
rock, turned a somersault out from the mountain wall and fell still
further, until, after falling a height of altogether at least a hundred
feet, it reached the slopes by the river, and was shot by the impetus
right across the river-ice and a good way up the other side. And the
dogs? When the bear dashed against the mountain they sprang up like
rubber balls, described a large curve, and with stiffened legs continued
the journey on their own account, falling with a loud thud on to the
hardly packed snow at the bottom of the valley. But they were on their
legs again in a moment, and set off as fast as they could go across the
river after the bear. Not many minutes afterwards the whole pack came
running up, but when they were driven away from the carcase, they lay
down again to await their turn. I hurried back to camp to fetch the dog
harness; we put a lanyard through the nose of the mighty fallen, and set
off. The dogs knew well enough that this meant food for them, and the
nearer we came to camp the harder they pulled. In fact, I had to sit on
the carcase to keep them back, and, jolting backwards and forwards, on
this new kind of conveyance I made my entrance into camp, in the light
spring night." But bears were few, compared with the musk oxen, which,
with the reindeer and hares, and with the wolves and foxes, and stoats
and lemmings, seals and walruses, narwhals and white whales, represented
the Arctic mammalia.

The most singular experience met with was perhaps the sledge journey
through the ice tunnel on the return across the Simmons Peninsula in
1900. Descending a valley which became narrower and narrower Sverdrup
and Fosheim began to think it was going to end in a canyon, but without
any warning they were stopped by a high wall of ice, perpendicular and
inaccessible to any one without wings. Looking about, Sverdrup found a
large hole which proved to be the beginning of a tunnel through the
glacier. Through this lofty vault they sped. From the roof hung
threateningly above their heads gigantic blocks of ice, seamed and cleft
and glittering sinisterly; and all around were icicles like steel-bright
spears and lances piercing downwards on them. Along the walls were caves
after caves, with pillars in rows like giants in rank; and over all
shone a ghostly whitish light which became bluish as they went. "I dared
not speak," says Sverdrup. "It seemed to me that in doing so I should be
committing a deed of desecration; I felt like one who has impiously
broken into something sacred which Nature had wished to keep closed to
every mortal eye. I felt mean and contemptible as I drove through all
this purity. The sledges jolted from block to block, awakening
thunderous echoes in their passage: and it seemed as if all the spirits
of the ice had been aroused and called to arms against the intruders on
their church-like peace."

                               CHAPTER X

  Christopher Middleton—Wager River—Repulse Bay—Parry's second
    north-west voyage—Melville Peninsula—Fury and Hecla Strait—John
    Ross's second Arctic voyage—Introduces steam navigation into the
    Arctic regions—The whaler _John_—Ross misses the North-West
    Passage—Snow houses—Eskimo geographers—James Clark Ross finds the
    Magnetic North Pole—Lyon in the _Griper_—Back in the
    _Terror_—Rae's journey round Committee Bay—Sir John Franklin's
    last voyage—Kennedy and Bellot—Discovery of Bellot Strait—Rae's
    journey in 1854—His Franklin discoveries—M'Clintock's voyage in
    the _Fox_—Lady Franklin's instructions—Captain Charles
    Hall—Frederick Schwatka—Amundsen accomplishes the North-West

In July, 1742, Christopher Middleton, working northwards in Hudson Bay
from Fort Churchill, made his way up Rowe's Welcome and entered a deep
inlet apparently leading to the South Sea. Middleton—who gained his
Fellowship of the Royal Society for his variation observations at Fort
Churchill, and was the first to practise the modern method of finding
longitude by eight or ten different altitudes of the sun or stars when
near the prime vertical—spent eighteen days in the inlet observing the
tides, and then came to the conclusion that it was an estuary; and he
named it Wager River after Sir Charles Wager, who was First Lord of the
Admiralty when he began his voyage. Proceeding north, he reached his
Repulse Bay, and at the north-east end of it saw Frozen Strait, as he
called it, stretching away along the north of Southampton Island towards
Cape Comfort. Here, also from tidal observations, he satisfied himself
that Repulse Bay afforded no passage to the westward and that Frozen
Strait led into Fox Channel.


His opinions were disputed by those who only knew the coast from his
chart, and two vessels were sent out to prove he was wrong. The reports
of the captains of these—there is no need to mention their names—were
embarrassing. Neither had been to Repulse Bay, but both had been to
Wager River, and they agreed that it was unmistakably a river and not a
strait; but in every other respect, even in naming the places they had
seen, they were at variance. Thus the matter was left in sufficient
doubt to encourage some people in believing in a north-west passage
through Repulse Bay, just at the Arctic Circle, and to seek this, Parry,
on his return from Melville Island, was despatched on his second voyage.

This time the _Hecla_ was commanded by George Francis Lyon—the North
African traveller—Parry being in the _Fury_, a sister ship; both
vessels, at Parry's suggestion, being exactly alike so that their gear
and fittings were interchangeable. They sailed from the Little Nore on
the 8th of May, 1821, and going direct up Frozen Strait, with much
trouble from the ice, ran into Repulse Bay on the 22nd of August. Here
after a careful examination it was ascertained beyond a doubt that no
passage existed through to the westward. "Thus," says Lyon, "the
veracity of poor Middleton, as far as regards this bay at least, was now
at length established; and in looking down the strait we had passed, he
was fully justified in calling it a frozen strait. We were now
indisputably on our scene of future action, the coast of America; and it
only remained for us to follow minutely the line of shore in
continuation from Repulse Bay."

During a stay at Gore Bay red snow was brought off to the _Fury_, its
colour being much fainter than that found in the _Isabella_ voyage at
Crimson Cliffs in Greenland; "the appearance of the mass was not unlike
what is called raspberry ice, in a far better climate, where cold is
made subservient to luxury." The colouring of this is due to one of the
Algæ, _Protococcus nivalis_, and not as Peter Paterson said in
1671—ninety years before De Saussure—to the rocks being "full of white,
red, and yellow veins, like marble; upon any alteration of the weather,
these stones sweat, which, together with the rains, tinges the snow
red." The day on which this snow was found, the 30th of August, was so
warm that the party were glad to pull off their coats and waistcoats.
"The valleys were fertile in grasses and moss; and the fineness of the
weather had drawn forth a number of butterflies, spiders, and other
insects, which would, by their gay colours and active motions, have
almost deceived us into an idea that we were not in the Arctic regions,
had not the Frozen Strait, filled with huge masses of moving ice,
reminded us but too forcibly, that we were in the most dangerous of


Early in October the ships took up their quarters at Winter Island on
the coast of Melville Peninsula in 66° 32´, and there, during the
cordial intercourse with the Eskimos, Parry heard of the way through
further north which led him on his release in the following July to
discover Fury and Hecla Strait, along which the ships passed to find
their progress blocked by the ice just beyond its entrance into Regent
Inlet. Returning through the strait, they reached the island of Igloolik
at the eastern entrance, and there they passed the winter, Igloolik
being an important Eskimo settlement, with four fixed places of
residence on it, to which as the season changes the natives move in
rotation. From this island, as the health of the men did not permit of
his venturing to spend another winter in the ice, Parry retraced his
route and returned to England.

The ships dropped anchor in the Thames on Trafalgar Day, 1823. Next
year, on the 19th of May, they were off again to the north to seek a
passage to the west down Prince Regent Inlet, Parry in the _Hecla_,
Hoppner in the _Fury_. It was a bad season. The ships were late in
leaving Baffin Bay and were hindered by new ice in Lancaster Sound. So
far from reaching the strait discovered two years before, they could get
no further south than Port Bowen, in 73° 12´, where they spent the
winter in a singularly barren part of Cockburn Land. Starting in July
they went down to Cresswell Bay, the ships being forced by the weather
and the ice to work—as is not unusual under such circumstances—in almost
every possible direction within every mile, their track—as shown in the
illustration—being most complicated. The end of it all was that the
_Fury_ was wrecked and her stores carefully taken out and left, on what
was named Fury Beach, for the use of future callers in want of them. And
the _Hecla_ came home alone.

Four years afterwards Captain John Ross, anxious for further work in the
north, started in search of the passage by the same route. After some
years of effort he had succeeded in organising an expedition, the
expenses of which to the amount of over £17,000 were borne by Felix
Booth, with the exception of over £2000 added by Ross himself. It was a
memorable voyage in many respects, and for one thing in particular that
is frequently passed unnoticed. This was the introduction of steam into
Arctic navigation. The _Victory_ was an old Isle of Man packet-boat of
eighty-five tons, which, by raising her sides five feet, Ross increased
to one hundred and fifty tons. Taking out her old paddles, he replaced
them with a pair of Robertson's patents, hoistable out of water in a
minute, so as to clear the ice. The engine was also a patent, by
Braithwaite and Ericsson, who built the Novelty that appeared at
Rainhill. But neither Braithwaite nor Ericsson was any happier in this
production. Its great feature was the doing away with the funnel, no
flue being required owing to the fires being kept going by artificial
draught derived from two bellows of unequal sizes—"the bellows draught,"
in fact, like that of the Novelty which broke down in the great
locomotive contest won by the Rocket. Had not Ross been a man of
enterprise he would never have ventured to sea with such an experimental
arrangement; but he did, and he suffered for it.

[Illustration: THE "VICTORY"]

The "execrable machinery," as he inadequately called it, went wrong from
the first. On the way from Galleons Reach to Woolwich, part of it became
displaced, causing a delay for repairs. At Woolwich, Sir Byam Martin,
the Comptroller of the Navy, and Sir John Franklin went on board and
said uncomplimentary things about it, as also did the Duke of Orleans
(afterwards King Louis Philippe) and the Duke of Chartres, though the
Frenchmen were more gentle in their phrases. From Woolwich to Margate
this remarkable engine, aided by the sails, took the _Victory_ in just
over twelve hours, the boiler leaking so much that the additional
forcing pump had to be kept working by hand all the time. Passing the
Lizard, the piston-rod was found to be so much worn on one side by
friction against the guide-wheels that a piece of iron had to be brazed
on to it. Then the keys of the main shaft broke and the substitutes made
on board broke one after the other. "The boilers also continued to leak,
though we had put dung and potatoes in them by Mr. Ericsson's
directions." The air-pump drew quantities of water; the feeding pump was
insufficient to supply the boiler. The big bellows nearly wore out; so
did the small one. Off the Mull of Galloway the stoker fell into the
machinery and had his arm crushed and nearly severed above the elbow.
Then the teeth of the fly-wheel of the small bellows were shorn off, and
the boiler joints gave way, and the water, or rather the potato soup,
flowed out of the furnace doors and put out the fire.

Enough has been said to show the difficulties under which Ross first
used steam on a voyage to the northern seas. The list of damages need
not be continued. Every constituent part of the apparatus gave way in
turn; and when the _Victory_ became imprisoned for the winter, and the
engineering staff had some time on their hands, they employed it in
taking what was left of the installation, piece by piece, out of the
ship, laying it on the ice, and leaving it there.

Ross was to be accompanied by the whaler _John_, but the men mutinied
and refused to start, so that he went on from Loch Ryan alone. The
following year the crew of the _John_, then on a whaling voyage in
Baffin Bay, again mutinied, killed the master, put the mate adrift in a
boat in the manner of Henry Hudson, and lost the ship on the western
coast, where most of them were drowned.

With the _Krusenstern_, a boat of eighteen tons, in tow, Ross crossed
the Atlantic, sighting Sanderson's Hope on the 29th of July, having left
Scotland six weeks before. Early in August he sailed through Lancaster
Sound, and, taking the opportunity of removing his Croker's Mountains to
the north-east corner of North Somerset, went down Prince Regent Inlet
to Fury Beach. After completing his provisions for twenty-seven months
from the stores left behind by Parry, he crossed Cresswell Bay, passed
Cape Garry, Parry's farthest south, on the 15th of August, and next day,
Sunday, "I went on shore," he says, "with all the officers, to take
formal possession of the new-discovered land; and at one o'clock, being
a few minutes after seven in London, the colours were displayed with the
usual ceremony, and the health of the King drunk, together with that of
the founder of our expedition, after whom the land was named."

[Illustration: NORTH HENDON]

"From the highest part of this land, which was upwards of a hundred feet
above the level of the sea," he continues, "we had a good view of the
bay and the adjoining shores, and had the satisfaction to find that the
ice was in motion and fast clearing away. We therefore resolved to wait
patiently till we could see an opening; and proceeded to the northern
quarter of this spot to make some observations on the dip of the
magnetic needle.... To this place I gave the name Brown Island, after
the amiable sister of Mr. Booth; the inlet was named Brentford Bay, and
the islands Grimble Islands." And in his book is a beautiful steel
engraving by W. Chevalier, "Taking Possession. Cape Hussard, Grimble
Isle, Brentford Bay, Brown's Island." In short, Ross found the place,
landed on it, took possession of it, named it and sketched it. "The
sketches from which the drawings were made were taken by Mr. Ronald's
invaluable perspective instrument, and therefore _must_ be true

And Ross passed on, apparently quite pleased with himself. But the Fates
had again been against him, for this was the very North-West Passage he
had come specially to find; the bay, as Kennedy was to show, being the
entrance to Bellot Strait in which the _Fox_ was to winter when on the
Franklin search. He had blundered along from the island of North
Somerset to the mainland of America, and passed unheeded its
northernmost point, which M'Clintock was to name Cape Murchison.

Working down the coast of the newly-named Boothia, the _Victory_ reached
Felix Harbour, and there she wintered. No Eskimos were seen until the
9th of January, when thirty-one came to the ship and were invited on
board, a return visit being paid next day to their village, which Ross
named North Hendon. As this was a typical Eskimo snow camp we may as
well copy his picture and quote his description.

"The village soon appeared, consisting of twelve snow huts, erected at
the bottom of a little bight on the shore, about two miles and a half
from the ship. They had the appearance of inverted basins, and were
placed without any order; each of them having a long crooked appendage,
in which was the passage, at the entrance of which were the women, with
the female children and the infants. We were soon invited to visit
these, for whom we had prepared presents of glass beads and needles; a
distribution of which soon drove away the timidity which they had
displayed at our first appearance. The passage, always long, and
generally crooked, led to the principal apartment, which was a circular
dome, being ten feet in diameter when intended for one family, and an
oval of fifteen by ten where it lodged two. Opposite the doorway there
was a bank of snow, occupying nearly a third of the breadth of the area,
about two feet and a half high, level at the top, and covered by various
skins, forming the general bed or sleeping place for the whole. At the
end of this sat the mistress of the house, opposite to the lamp, which,
being of moss and oil, as is the universal custom in these regions, gave
a sufficient flame to supply both light and heat; so that the apartment
was perfectly comfortable. Over the lamp was the cooking dish of stone,
containing the flesh of deer and of seals, with oil; and of such
provision there seemed no want. Everything else, dresses, implements, as
well as provisions, lay about in unspeakable confusion, showing that
order, at least, was not in the class of their virtues. It was much more
interesting to us to find, that among this disorder there were some
fresh salmon; since, when they could find this fish, we were sure that
it would also furnish us with supplies which we could not too much
multiply. On inquiry, we were informed that they were abundant; and we
had, therefore, the prospect of a new amusement, as well as of a
valuable market at the mere price of our labour."


A few weeks later Ross was to see how these houses were built. "Four
families," he says, "comprising fifteen persons, passed the ship to
erect new huts about half a mile to the southward. They had four
heavy-laden sledges, drawn each by two or three dogs, but proceeded very
slowly. We went after them to see the process of building the snow
house, and were surprised at their dexterity; one man having closed in
his roof within forty-five minutes. A tent is scarcely pitched sooner
than a house is here built. The whole process is worth describing.
Having ascertained, by the rod used in examining seal holes, whether the
snow is sufficiently deep and solid, they level the intended spot by a
wooden shovel, leaving beneath a solid mass of snow not less than three
feet thick. Commencing then in the centre of the intended circle, which
is ten feet or more in diameter, different wedge-shaped blocks are cut
out, about two feet long, and a foot thick at the outer part; then
trimming them accurately by the knife, they proceed upwards until the
courses, gradually inclining inwards, terminate in a perfect dome. The
door being cut out from the inside before it is quite closed serves to
supply the upper materials. In the meantime the women are employed in
stuffing the joints with snow, and the boys in constructing kennels for
the dogs. The laying the snow sofa with skins and the insertion of the
ice window complete the work; the passage only remaining to be added, as
it is after the house is finished, together with some smaller huts for
stores"—the design being similar to that of the yurts of the Eskimos of
the north, with a change of material, snow for stone, and ice instead of
seal-gut for the window over the entrance.

Making friends with the Eskimos, and gaining a great reputation by the
carpenter fitting one of them with a wooden leg, Ross obtained much
valuable information from them, particularly as to the geography of the
district. Like all Arctic men, he was impressed by their quickness in
understanding maps and their skill in drawing them upon anything, snow,
paper, or otherwise, that lay handy. One of them, Ikmallik, drew in the
ship's cabin a map, which he reprints in his book, showing the
coast-line of the country south of the _Victory's_ quarters, with the
capes, inlets, and islands, giving the isthmus of Boothia and Committee
Bay, and Repulse Bay on the other side of the Melville Peninsula, which
is really wonderful, for neither the Eskimo, nor Ross, had anything to
copy from, it being nearly twenty years before Rae's exploration; and
the one thing it clearly demonstrated was that there was no waterway to
the westward, south of Felix Harbour.

Ross owed much to Ikmallik, and really a good deal of the time of the
expedition was spent in confirming the statements of that well-informed
man. The west coast of Boothia was surveyed down to Bulow Bay; the east
side from Cape Nicholas down to Cape Porter, including the crossing of
the upper part of James Ross Strait, the discovery of Matty Island and
the north-east coast of King William Land from Cape Landon, opposite
Cape Porter—where Ross, as usual, missed a strait—westward to capes
Franklin and Jane Franklin, within sight of which in the days that were
coming, by one of those remarkable coincidences so frequent in the
north, the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ were to meet their fate.

The one conspicuous triumph of the expedition was the journey of James
Ross to the site of the Magnetic North Pole, which he found on the
western coast of Boothia on the 1st of June, 1831. In the younger Ross's
own words, "the land at this place is very low near the coast, but it
rises into ridges of fifty or sixty feet high about a mile inland. We
could have wished that a place so important had possessed more of mark
or note. It was scarcely censurable to regret that there was not a
mountain to indicate a spot to which so much of interest must ever be
attached; and I could even have pardoned any one among us who had been
so romantic or absurd as to expect that the magnetic pole was an object
as conspicuous and mysterious as the fabled mountain of Sinbad, that it
even was a mountain of iron, or a magnet as large as Mont Blanc. But
Nature had here erected no monument to denote the spot which she had
chosen as the centre of one of her great and dark powers; and where we
could do little ourselves towards this end, it was our business to
submit, and to be content in noting by mathematical numbers and signs,
as with things of far more importance in the terrestrial system, what we
could but ill distinguish in any other manner.... We fixed the British
flag on the spot and took possession of the North Magnetic Pole and its
adjoining territory in the name of Great Britain and King William the
Fourth. We had abundance of materials for building, in the fragments of
limestone that covered the beach; and we therefore erected a cairn of
some magnitude, under which we buried a canister containing a record of
the interesting fact; only regretting that we had not the means of
constructing a pyramid of more importance and of strength sufficient to
withstand the assaults of time and of the Eskimos. Had it been a pyramid
as large as that of Cheops, I am not quite sure that it would have done
more than satisfy our ambition, under the feelings of that exciting day.
The latitude of this spot is 70° 5´ 17˝, and its longitude 96° 46´ 45˝

The _Victory_ in the short summer of 1830 sailed a few miles further
south and spent the winter in Victoria Harbour, to be there abandoned in
May, 1832. Ross in his boats made for Fury Beach, where, at Somerset
House, as he called it, he passed the following winter. On the 26th of
August, 1833, when in his boats off the eastern mouth of Lancaster
Sound, he was picked up by the _Isabella_, his old ship, and in her he
reached the Humber in October of that year after four successive winters
in the ice, having been enabled to make so long a stay by his fortunate
find of the stores left by Parry.

[Illustration: H.M.S. "TERROR" LIFTED BY ICE]

In 1824 Captain Lyon was sent out in the _Griper_ to winter at Repulse
Bay, and thence crossing the isthmus described by the Eskimos continue
along to Franklin's Point Turnagain; but the _Griper_ was nearly wrecked
in Rowe's Welcome and did not reach Wager River. The discoveries of Ross
led to the renewal of this attempt by Captain Back in the _Terror_ in
1836. He was to go to Wager River or Repulse Bay, and then make his way
into Prince Regent Inlet, and so west; but he became imprisoned in the
ice off Cape Comfort during one of the severest winters known. Drifting
up Frozen Strait amid most perilous experiences, the ship, lifted high
above sea-level by pressure, lay at times almost horizontal. Once "they
beheld," he says, "the strange and appalling spectacle of what may be
fitly termed a submerged berg, fixed low down, with one end to the
ship's side, while the other, with the purchase of a long lever
advantageously placed at a right angle with the keel, was slowly rising
towards the surface. Meanwhile, those who happened to be below, finding
everything falling, rushed or clambered on deck, where they saw the ship
on her beam-ends, with the lee boats touching the water, and felt that a
few moments only trembled between them and eternity."

Day after day the _Terror_ defied the persistent effort of the ice to
smash her, but suffering much in almost every timber she withstood it
sufficiently to keep together. For four months she was entirely out of
water, and when at last she was free, Back wrapped her up as best he
could, and brought her home with the water pouring into her so that the
men were so wearied out that they could hardly have continued at the
pumps another day; and he ran her ashore in Lough Swilly only just in
time. Upwards of twenty feet of her keel, together with ten feet of the
stern-post, were driven over more than three and a half feet on one
side, leaving a frightful opening astern for the free ingress of water.
The forefoot was entirely gone; numbers of bolts were either loosened or
broken; and when, besides this, the strained and twisted state of the
ship's frame was considered, there was not one on board who did not
express astonishment that they had ever floated across the Atlantic.

The next attempt to complete the coast of the American mainland was made
from the land, and at the cost of the Hudson's Bay Company. Really it
was the expedition proposed by Simpson some five years before, of which
he would have been the leader had he not been shot; and it was entrusted
to the capable hands of Dr. John Rae.

After wintering at York Factory, Rae reached Repulse Bay with two boats,
the _Magnet_ and _North Pole_, on the 25th of July, 1846, and in his
usual style started immediately across the chain of lakes and portages
which make up the isthmus that now bears his name, launching his boats
in the tidal water of Committee Bay on the 1st of August. Stopped by ice
on the west side and then on the east he returned to Repulse Bay, where
he built Fort Hope of stones and roofed it with sails, and lived in it
through the winter on what he could shoot and catch, for many weeks
venturing on only one meal a day. Outside the men kept themselves warm
chiefly by building snow houses and playing football; inside, as the
only fuel used was for cooking, the only thing they could do was to wrap
themselves in furs, and trust to their natural heat in a temperature
that ranged about zero.


In April, with a couple of sledges, eight dogs, and five men, he crossed
the isthmus again and went straightaway up the east side of Boothia to
Ross's farthest south, thus completing that coast-line. Back he went to
Fort Hope after a trip of nearly six hundred miles, to start again on
the 12th of May up the west coast of the Melville Peninsula to Cape
Ellice, which Parry had sighted from the strait on that side. And he was
back once more at Fort Hope on the 9th of June. Thus the survey of the
northern coast was complete with the exception of the gap between the
Boothia isthmus, on the west side, and Castor and Pollux River of Dease
and Simpson, which Rae in another famous effort from Repulse Bay was to
link up later on.

When Rae reached Lord Mayor's Bay on the east coast of Boothia,
Franklin, with the _Erebus_ and _Terror_, was off its west coast in the
same latitude. This was the reappearance of the _Terror_ in the north.
After Back's voyage she had been repaired to sail with the _Erebus_,
under Sir James Clark Ross, when he discovered the South Magnetic Pole;
and on their return the barques had been thoroughly overhauled and
fitted with auxiliary screws, the first time that the screw propeller
was used in Arctic work. Franklin was in the _Erebus_, the _Terror_
being commanded by Francis R. M. Crozier as she had been in the
Antarctic voyage. Crozier was one of Parry's men, he having been in the
_Fury_ in 1821 and in the _Hecla_ on her two subsequent expeditions.

The ships left England on the 19th of May, 1845, and were last seen and
spoken with on the 26th of July in Melville Bay on their way to
Lancaster Sound. According to information gained during the long series
of searches, they passed through the sound and went north for about a
hundred and fifty miles, to 77°, up Wellington Channel into Penny
Strait—the first time the passage had been made. Returning down the west
side of Cornwallis Island, discovering the strait between it and
Bathurst Island, they wintered at Beechey Island, where three of the men
died and were buried; and where the most significant relic was about
seven hundred tins of preserved meat that seemed to have been condemned
as bad, just as the stock of similar stuff had in the same year been
condemned and thrown overboard at Portsmouth.

Leaving Beechey Island in 1846, they went south down Peel Sound, being
the first to pass through it, and Franklin Strait—another new
discovery—to within twelve miles of Cape Felix in King William Land,
where, on the 12th of September, they were beset about half-way between
Cape Adelaide in Boothia and Pelly Point in Victoria Land. Hereabouts
the second winter was passed, and on the 24th of May a party under
Lieutenant Gore crossed the ice to Point Victory, probably on a journey
to examine the unknown coast between there and Cape Herschel. On the
11th of June, 1847, Sir John Franklin died. The ships drifted a short
distance during their imprisonment in the ice, and the third winter was
passed some twenty miles further south down Victoria Strait, where, on
the 22nd of April, 1848, when fifteen miles north-north-west of Point
Victory, they were abandoned, and the officers and crews, a hundred and
five in all, under Crozier's command, started for Back's Great Fish
River, some of them completing the first North-West Passage in crossing
Simpson Strait and reaching Montreal Island.

The first undoubted traces of the lost expedition were those discovered
at Beechey Island, the news reaching England in the _Prince Albert_ in
the autumn of 1850. As soon as the winter was over this excellent little
schooner was again sent out by Lady Franklin under the command of
Captain William Kennedy, who took with him as a volunteer Lieutenant
Joseph René Bellot of the French navy, and also John Hepburn, who had
been with Franklin on the land journey in 1819. Kennedy wintered at
Batty Bay in North Somerset, and during a remarkable sledge journey, in
which he made the circuit of the island, he and Bellot reached Brentford
Bay, and, on the 21st of April, 1852, discovered the strait named after
the gallant Frenchman. But he found no traces of the expedition through
turning to the north and crossing to Prince of Wales Island, instead of
going to the south at the western mouth of the strait. He had, however,
discovered the termination of Boothia, the north point of the American
continent which men had been seeking for three centuries.

To the southern end of Boothia came the indefatigable Rae. That cheery
hero of the north left Repulse Bay on the 31st of March, 1854, to
complete the Hudson's Bay Company's survey. On the 20th of April he met
a young Eskimo in Pelly Bay, who told him the fate of the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_, and from him and his people Rae obtained a number of small
articles, forks and spoons and so forth, which had undoubtedly come from
the ships, one of which had been crushed in the ice, the other sinking
after drifting further south.

Rae was not the man to return until he had attacked the work he had set
out to do, and he continued his surveying with his customary accuracy,
despatch, and general alertness, striking across the peninsula,
discovering the Murchison River, reaching Simpson's farthest at Castor
and Pollux River, and thence proving the insularity of King William Land
by travelling up the east coast of the strait now named after him—and he
was back again in August. He had almost finished the survey of the
northern coast-line; and he had ascertained how and where Franklin's
voyage had ended, for which discovery the British Government gave him
the reward of £10,000, letting it be understood that so far as they were
concerned the Franklin searches were at an end.

But Lady Franklin thought one more effort should be made to unravel the
mystery of her husband's fate, and there were many who thought the same.
Helped to a certain extent by a public subscription, she organised
another expedition. The steam-yacht _Fox_ was bought from the executors
of Sir Richard Sutton and altered for Arctic work by her builders, the
Halls of Aberdeen clipper fame. As leader went Captain, afterwards Sir,
Frederick Leopold M'Clintock, who had done such brilliant sledge-work in
the north; like his second in command, Lieutenant W. R. Hobson, he gave
his services gratuitously, as also did Dr. David Walker and Captain,
afterwards Sir, Allen Young, then of the Mercantile Marine, who also
subscribed £500 towards the fund. Carl Petersen, the Eskimo interpreter
on the voyages of Penny and Kane, came to join from Copenhagen, having
landed there from Greenland only six days previously. The British
Government, although declining to send out an expedition, contributed
liberally to the supplies, and sent on board all the arms and ammunition
and ice-gear and every instrument that was asked for.


Lady Franklin's instructions were so characteristic of the noble-hearted
woman whose name can never be forgotten in Arctic story that they must
be given in full:—

                                           "ABERDEEN, _June 29, 1857_.


  "You have kindly invited me to give you 'Instructions,' but I cannot
  bring myself to feel that it would be right in me in any way to
  influence your judgment in the conduct of your noble undertaking;
  and indeed I have no temptation to do so, since it appears to me
  that your views are almost identical with those which I had
  independently formed before I had the advantage of being thoroughly
  possessed of yours. But had this been otherwise, I trust you would
  have found me ready to prove the implicit confidence I place in you
  by yielding my own views to your more enlightened judgment; knowing
  too as I do that your whole heart also is in the cause, even as my
  own is. As to the objects of the expedition and their relative
  importance, I am sure that you know that the rescue of any possible
  survivor of the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ would be to me, as it would be
  to you, the noblest result of our efforts.

  "To this object I wish every other to be subordinate; and next to it
  in importance is the recovery of the unspeakably precious documents
  of the expedition, public and private, and the personal relics of my
  dear husband and his companions.

  "And lastly, I trust it may be in your power to confirm, directly or
  inferentially, the claims of my husband's expedition to the earliest
  discovery of the passage, which, if Dr. Rae's report be true (and
  the Government of our country has accepted and rewarded it as such),
  these martyrs in a noble cause achieved at their last extremity,
  after five long years of labour and suffering, if not at an earlier

  "I am sure that you will do all that man can do for the attainment
  of all these objects; my only fear is that you may spend yourselves
  too much in the effort; and you must therefore let me tell you how
  much dearer to me even than any of them is the preservation of the
  valuable lives of the little band of heroes who are your companions
  and followers.

  "May God in His great mercy preserve you all from harm amidst the
  labours and perils which await you, and restore you to us in health
  and safety as well as honour. As to the honour I can have _no_
  misgiving. It will be yours as much if you fail (since you _may_
  fail in spite of every effort) as if you succeed; and be assured
  that, under _any and all circumstances whatever_, such is my
  unbounded confidence in you, you will possess and be entitled to the
  enduring gratitude of your sincere and attached friend,

                                                      "JANE FRANKLIN."

[Illustration: THE "FOX" ON A ROCK]

The men of the _Fox_ were worthy of the confidence placed in them.
Leaving Aberdeen on the 1st of July, M'Clintock reached Disco on the
last day of the month, and, proceeding northwards, was, by a perverse
freak of fortune, beset in Melville Bay on the 8th of August, and kept
imprisoned thence onwards all through the winter, drifting south through
Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. On the 26th of April, 1858, after a drift
of 1194 geographical miles, the _Fox_ escaped from the pack and steamed
to the eastward amid the most perilous of ice experiences. Most men
would have returned and tried again; not so M'Clintock. He boldly ran up
the Greenland coast as if nothing had happened and, making good
deficiencies, resumed his voyage. Soon after leaving Sanderson's Hope
the _Fox_ was nearly wrecked near Buchan Island, remaining on a rock
until the tide rose again to set her free. After calling at Beechey
Island, M'Clintock followed Franklin's track down Peel Sound until
stopped by the pack, when he retraced his course and tried Prince Regent
Inlet, reaching Bellot Strait on the 21st of August. At Port Kennedy in
this famous waterway—which is like a Greenland fiord, about twenty miles
long and scarcely a mile wide at its narrowest part, the water four
hundred feet deep within a quarter of a mile of its northern shore—he
passed the winter.

On the 1st of March he reached by sledge the Magnetic Pole and fell in
with four of the Boothian Eskimos, who, at the cost of a needle each,
built him a snow hut in an hour, in which they all spent the night.
"Perhaps," says M'Clintock, "the records of architecture do not furnish
another instance of a dwelling-house so cheaply constructed!" Halting at
Cape Victoria the Eskimos came up from their village close by with a
number of small relics of the lost expedition. Returning to the _Fox_
after a journey of four hundred and twenty statute miles in which the
survey of the west coast of Boothia was completed, everything was made
ready for three long sledge journeys of two sledges each, the captain
taking that for Montreal Island, and giving Hobson the best chance of
promotion by sending him round the west coast of King William Land,
while Young took the Prince of Wales Land route.

On the east coast of King William Land M'Clintock met with more Eskimos,
from whom he obtained relics and obtained information. Pushing on, he
reached Montreal Island on the 15th of May, where the only traces of a
boat were some scraps of copper and an iron-hoop bolt. A crossing to the
mainland on the 18th of May revealed no more; and next day the return
journey began. Six days afterwards, walking along a gravel ridge near
the beach on the way to Cape Herschel, M'Clintock found the first
skeleton, partly exposed, with a few fragments of clothing appearing
through the snow, evidently one of the men who, as the old Eskimo woman
said, fell down and died as they walked along. Visiting Simpson's cairn
at Cape Herschel and meeting with nothing, he went on for about twelve
miles, where he caught sight of a small cairn built by Hobson's party at
their furthest south, reached six days before, containing a note with
the great news that at Point Victory they had found what is now known as
the Franklin record.

This record, which has frequently been printed—in a smaller size than
the original—was one of the navy bottle-papers with the request in six
languages that it should be forwarded to the Admiralty. A pale blue
paper, twelve and a half inches by eight, it was filled up in the
ordinary way, and then added to round the four margins in the
handwriting of Lieutenant Gore, Captain FitzJames, and Captain Crozier,
and signed by these and C. F. Des Vœux. It had been first deposited four
miles away, so it said, "by the late Commander Gore," in 1847, and next
year found by Lieutenant Irving, added to, and removed to the new cairn
on the site of Sir James Ross's pillar.


Brief as it was, it contained all the authentic information regarding
Franklin's voyage up to the time the ships were abandoned. Resuming the
return journey along the edge of the strait where the meeting of the
Pacific and Atlantic tides keeps the ice drifting down from the
north-west almost constantly packed, M'Clintock reached a boat with two
skeletons and other relics already visited by Hobson, who had found
other cairns and many relics, and, in Back Bay, another record by Gore,
also deposited in 1847, but giving no additional news.

Hobson was dragged alongside the _Fox_, on the 14th of June, so ill with
scurvy that he was unable to walk or even stand without assistance.
M'Clintock arrived five days later; and on the 27th Allen Young returned
after an exploration of three hundred and eighty miles of coast-line,
which, added to that discovered by M'Clintock and Hobson, gave a total
of eight hundred geographical miles of new coast as the work of the
expedition, besides what it had done in clearing up the Franklin

In 1869 Captain C. F. Hall collected other relics and sufficient
information to account for seventy-nine men out of the hundred and five
who left the ships. Ten years after that, Schwatka, in his long, careful
search of King William Land, discovered the grave of Lieutenant Irving,
in which were some fragments of his instruments and the prize medal he
won at the Royal Naval College. Near by were many traces indicating that
it was the site of the first encampment of the retreating crews after
leaving their ships; and down the coast he traced camp after camp, and
death after death. Irving's remains were brought away and are buried at
Edinburgh. The spot where they were found was Cape Jane Franklin.

More fortunate than Franklin was Captain Roald Amundsen. Leaving
Christiania in the _Gjöa_ on the 16th of June, 1903, he crossed the
Atlantic and proceeded down Peel Sound, past Bellot Strait, and along
the west coast of Boothia, where a fire on the ship did a certain amount
of damage, and, struggling thereafter for ten days among shoals and
rocks, down James Ross Strait, past Matty Island into Rae Strait, he
dropped anchor in Petersen Bay, King William Land. For his base station
he required a site in which the inclination was eighty-nine degrees, and
at Gjöahaven, in this bay, he found it in 68° 30´ N., 96° W.

Here he arranged his headquarters for his observations on the Magnetic
Pole which were kept going night and day for nineteen months; and here
he stayed for two winters, moving about in the country around and over
into Boothia, where he proved that the Pole was not immovable and
stationary, but in all likelihood in continual movement. Leaving the
south-eastern corner of King William Land in his little ship he passed
through Simpson Strait, linking up with Collinson; and, like him, he was
delayed for a winter on the coast of the American mainland. Through
Bering Strait he reached San Francisco, where the voyage ended in the
sale of the _Gjöa_. Thus of Amundsen it can be said, without any
qualification whatever, that he accomplished the North-West Passage.

                               CHAPTER XI
                               BAFFIN BAY

  Sir Humphrey Gilbert—Sir Martin Frobisher—His first voyage—The
    fateful stone—First meeting with the Eskimos—The Cathay
    Company—Second voyage—Third voyage—Frobisher builds a fort—The
    ships among the floes—Captain Hall finds the Frobisher
    relics—Adrian Gilbert—John Davis—His voyages and dealings with the
    Eskimos—Reaches and names Sanderson's Hope—The Traverse
    Book—William Baffin—His first voyage to Greenland—His fourth and
    fifth voyages—Discovers Baffin Land—Discovers Baffin Bay—Smith
    Sound—Jones Sound—Lancaster Sound—Baffin's farthest north—John
    Ross and Parry verify his discoveries.

In 1566 Humphrey Gilbert—who was as near to heaven by sea as by
land—petitioned Queen Elizabeth for privileges in regard to discoveries
"by the North-west to Cataia" as an alternative to a petition he, in
conjunction with Anthony Jenkinson, had presented the previous year for
a voyage by the north-east. He received no answer; but ten years
afterwards, in support of this unanswered petition, he published his
_Discourse of a Discovery for a New Passage to Cataia_. This met with
approval, and led, with little delay, to the expedition under the Martin
Frobisher who, among other noteworthy services, commanded the _Triumph_
in the Armada fight to such good purpose that he was one of the five
distinguished men knighted by Howard in mid-channel after the battle off
the Isle of Wight.

Frobisher was a good seaman—but no mineralogist. Mainly at the expense
of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and under the business management of
that old seafarer, Michael Lock, of the Muscovy Company, he left
Blackwall on the 7th of June, 1576, in the _Gabriel_ of twenty-five
tons, accompanied by the _Michael_ of twenty tons—which deserted and
returned as soon as difficulties arose—and a ten-ton pinnace, which
ended by foundering off Greenland. All told, the expedition numbered
thirty-five, of whom the _Gabriel_ carried eighteen; and with these the
voyage through the Arctic Ocean was to be made to China.

Leaving the Shetlands at her top speed of a league and a half an
hour—which her master, good Christopher Hall, proudly recorded—the
_Gabriel_ sighted Cape Farewell on the 11th of July. Two days afterwards
she was thrown on her beam-ends in a storm, and was rapidly filling with
water flowing in at her waist when she was relieved by the loss of her
fore-yard and the cutting away of her mizen-mast. Rounding the cape,
steering westward when he could among the floating ice, Frobisher
reached a high headland at the south-east end of what is now Frobisher
Bay, which he named Queen Elizabeth Foreland. A few days afterwards
Hall, out in a boat seeking a way through the ice for the ship, landed
on what they called Hall's Island, and, noticing a fog coming on, left
hurriedly, snatching up, as specimens of the plants, a few grasses and
flowers, and, as a rock specimen, a heavy black stone picked up
haphazard on the beach. The grass faded, the flowers perished, and the
fateful stone remained.


For fifty leagues Frobisher sailed north-westward into the bay, thinking
it to be a strait with Asia on the right hand and America on the left.
He landed at what he called Butcher's Island, saw "mightie deere which
ranne at him and hardly he escaped with his life in a narrow way where
he was faine to use defence and policie," and from a hill-top "perceived
a number of small things fleeting in the sea afarre off whyche hee
supposed to be porposes or seales or some kind of strange fishe but
coming nearer he discovered them to be men in small boates made of
leather," who only just failed in capturing his boat before he reached
it. Subsequent conferences with the Eskimos ended in his losing the boat
with five men who had gone ashore to trade; and finally, having lifted
single-handed one of the interesting natives, kayak and all, into the
_Gabriel_, he made sail for home.

When Lock went aboard on the ship's arrival there were no riches from
Cathay, nothing worth mentioning beyond the Eskimo—who soon died—the
kayak and paddle, and "the fyrste thynge found in the new land," the
black stone. He carried away the stone, after chipping off a few
fragments for the friends around, and after a week or two's
consideration sent some of it to the Mint to be assayed. The report was
not as he expected; the "saymaster" was of opinion that it was
marcasite, that is, iron pyrites. Not satisfied, Lock sent some to
another expert, who also said it was pyrites. Then he tried a third man,
who could find no gold in it. And then he tried a fourth—this time an
Italian—who gave him the answer he wanted: "A very little powder of gold
came thereout."

Lock sent him some more, telling him frankly that three other assayers
"could find no such thing therein," but again the Italian was equal to
the occasion. "The xviii day of January," writes Lock, "he sent me by
his mayde this little scrap of paper written, No. 1, hereinclosed; and
thereinclosed the grayne of gold, which afterward I delivered to your
majesty." For the Queen had become interested in the wonderful stone
which was the talk of the town, its value increasing at every recital
until many believed, as Sir Philip Sidney seems to have done, that it
was "the purest gold unalloyed with any other metals."

Lock was not the man to let such excellent advertisement be lost, and
forthwith he projected the Cathay Company for which the charter was
obtained from the Crown on St. Patrick's Day, 1577. Lock was named as
Governor for six years with remuneration "for ever" of one per cent on
all goods imported; Frobisher was named as Captain by sea and Admiral of
the ships and navy of the Company for life with a yearly stipend and one
per cent, like Lock, on all goods the Company brought in. Queen
Elizabeth—notwithstanding the report from the Mint—headed the list of
shareholders with £1000; and Burghley, Howard, Leicester, Walsingham,
Hunsdon, Sidney, even Gresham, subscribed for shares in this remarkable

To bring home more of the "golden ore," a new expedition was entered
upon at once, and on the 26th of May, Whit-Sunday as it happened,
Frobisher started on his second voyage. He had three vessels, the _Aid_
of two hundred tons, lent him from the Royal Navy, and the _Gabriel_ and
_Michael_ as before, and one hundred and twenty officers and men, of
whom thirty were miners and other landsmen, and, in addition, six
condemned criminals whom he was to land in Greenland as colonists but
put ashore at Harwich instead.

To the new land—named by the Queen Meta Incognita, "the unknown limit of
the outward course"—he made his way without much adventure. Landing on
Hall's Island, he sought for more stone but could find not so much as a
piece as big as a walnut; for Hall, who was again with him as master,
had apparently lighted, in the one sample, on the whole of its mineral
wealth. This disappointment, however, was forgotten in the finding of
occasional patches of pyrites on the mainland and other islands which in
due course were visited. Thirty leagues up the bay a landing was made on
what was called Countess of Warwick's Island, where more ore was found
and a fort called Best's Bulwark was built. That was Frobisher's
farthest on this voyage, and thence he sailed on the 24th of August,
bringing with him two hundred tons of pyrites, and, as a present for the
Queen, a horn two yards long, wreathed and straight, which he had found
in the nose of a dead narwhal.

The ore was received with rejoicings. Some of it was deposited in
Bristol Castle, some in the Tower of London under four locks, but there
was not enough of it; and as there were then, as now, no furnaces in
England capable of getting gold out of marcasite, a new expedition was
despatched while the furnaces were being prepared. This time the
enterprise was to be on a very different scale. Frobisher was given a
fleet of fifteen vessels, Drake's old ship, the _Judith_, amongst them,
the _Aid_, as before, being the flagship. He was to bring home two
thousand tons of mineral and find other mines, if he could, besides
taking out a colony of a hundred persons to settle in Meta Incognita,
for whom the materials of a wooden house were among the miscellaneous

The fleet left Harwich on the 31st of May, 1578. A landing was made in
the south of Greenland, which Frobisher named West England and took
possession of, his point of departure from there being called by him,
"from a certain similitude," Charing Cross! Soon he was among the ice
floes. One of the ships was driven on to a floe and sank with some of
the materials for the wooden house. Then followed a storm in which most
of the ships had a terrible experience. "Some," says Captain Best of the
_Ann Frances_, the chronicler of the voyage, "were so fast shut up and
compassed in amongst an infinite number of great countreys and ilands of
ise, that they were fayne to submit themselves and their ships to the
mercie of the unmercifull ise, and strengthened the sides of their ships
with junckes of cables, beds, masts, planckes, and such like, which
being hanged overboord, on the sides of their shippes, mighte the better
defend them from the outrageous sway and strokes of the said ise. But as
in greatest distresse, men of best value are best to be discerned, so it
is greatly worthy commendation and noting with what invincible mind
every captayne encouraged his company, and with what incredible labour
the paynefull mariners and poore miners (unacquainted with such
extremities) to the everlasting renoune of our nation, dyd overcome the
brunt of these so great and extreame daungers; for some, even without
boorde uppon the ise, and some within boorde, uppon the sides of their
shippes, having poles, pikes, peeces of timber and ores in their hands,
stood almost day and night, without any reste, bearing off the force,
and breaking the sway of the ise, with suche incredible payne and perill
that it was wonderfull to behold, which otherwise no doubt had striken
quite through and through the sides of their shippes, notwithstanding
our former provision; for planckes of timber, of more than three ynches
thick, and other things of greater force and bignesse, by the surging of
the sea and billow, with the ise were shevered and cutte in sunder at
the sides of oure ships, that it will seeme more than credible to be
reported of. And yet (that which is more) it is faythfully and playnely
to be proved, and that by many substantiall witnesses, that our shippes,
even those of greatest burdens, with the meeting of contrary waves of
the sea, were heaved up betweene islandes of ise a foote welneere out of
the sea above their watermarke, having their knees and timbers within
boorde both bowed and broken therewith."

To add to the difficulties of the voyage Frobisher lost his way, and
entered what he called the Mistaken Streight—now designated Hudson
Strait—through which he might have found his way to Cathay, had he been
so minded; but recognising that he was on the wrong road he returned and
reached his mining district at the end of July. While the ore was being
gathered in, Best ventured into the upper part of Frobisher Bay as far
as the Gabriel Islands—the only exploring work that was done—and early
in September the fleet departed on the homeward voyage.

Frobisher had left one unmistakable indication of his visit behind him.
On Countess of Warwick Island he had built a house of lime and stone,
and "the better," says Best, "to allure those brutish and uncivill
people to courtesie, againste other times of our comming, we left
therein dyvers of our countrye toyes, as bells and knives, wherein they
specially delight, one for the necessarie use, and the other for the
great pleasure thereof. Also pictures of men and women in lead, men a
horsebacke, lookinglasses, whistles and pipes. Also in the house was
made an oven, and breade left baked therein, for them to see and taste.
We buried the timber of our pretended forte, with manye barrels of
meale, pease, griste, and sundrie other good things, which was of the
provision of those whyche should inhabite, if occasion served. And
insteade therof we fraight oure ships full of ore, whiche we holde of
farre greater price."

Here we part from the Cathay Company. The inevitable trouble came with
the discovery that, practically, the only gold the ore would yield was
that put in as an "additament" by the Italian. A very thick cloud rolled
over Frobisher, who, like Lock, seems to have believed in the
genuineness of the affair all through; but soon his country had need of
him and he came to the front again in so worthy a manner that little
more was heard of his connection with this company that failed.


To complete the story. In 1861 (say three hundred years afterwards)
Captain Hall—hearing among the Eskimos how numerous white men had
arrived first in two, then three, then a great many ships, how they had
killed several natives and taken away two, how five of the white men had
been captured, and how these had built a large boat and put a mast in
her and sailed away to death when the water was open—went to Kod-lun-arn
(White Man's Island) and there found the house of lime and stone as
described, and traces of the diggings, and many relics among which he
made the collection presented by him to the British Government.

In the year 1583, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert, whose _Discourse_ gave so
great a stimulus to Arctic discovery, founded St. John's,
Newfoundland—the first English colony in America—a patent was granted by
Queen Elizabeth to his brother Adrian "of Sandridge in the county of
Devon," as one of the colleagues of the Fellowship for the Discovery of
the North-West Passage. At this Sandridge—on the east of the Dart,
bounded on three sides by the river, some two miles above Dartmouth—was
the home of the three Gilberts (John, Humphrey, and Adrian), whose
mother by a second marriage became the mother of Carew and Walter
Raleigh; and here, about 1550, of a family also owning property in the
small peninsula, was born John Davis, as we know him, or John Davys, as
he signed himself, who was probably a playmate, and certainly a
life-long friend, of these five.

Davis was an accomplished seaman, the best of the Elizabethan
navigators, and a man of accurate observation, always on the alert,
whose reputation does not rest only on the work he did in the northern
and other seas, for he was the author of _The Seaman's Secrets_, the
most popular practical navigation treatise of its time. Very early,
perhaps from the first, he was one of the moving spirits in this new
north-west enterprise, for on the 23rd of January, 1583, we find Dr.
Dee-who had helped to send Frobisher on his first voyage—making an entry
in his journal that Mr. Secretary Walsingham had come to his house,
where by good luck he found Mr. Adrian Gilbert, and so talk began on
"the north-west straits discovery"; and, next day, "I, Mr. Awdrian
Gilbert and John Davis, went by appointment to Mr. Beale, his howse,
where only we four were secret, and we made Mr. Secretary privie of the
N.W. Passage, and all charts and rutters were agreed upon in
generall"—"rutter" being the French "routier," originating in _Le
Routier de la Mer_, signifying a book of sea routes. Another important
friend of Davis was William Sanderson, the representative of the
merchants by whom the expenses of the voyage were borne, he being the
chief subscriber. One of the ships, the _Moonshine_, seems to have
belonged to him, and it was largely owing to his influence among the
shareholders that Davis was appointed captain and chief pilot of the
"exployt," in which he was to practically rediscover Greenland.

There were two vessels, the _Sunshine_ of London, fifty-nine tons, with
twenty-three persons on board, and the _Moonshine_ of Dartmouth,
thirty-five tons, with nineteen. They left Dartmouth on the 7th of June,
1585, but had to put in at Falmouth and then at the Scillies, where
Davis occupied the twelve days he spent there in surveying and charting
the islands. On the 20th of July they were sailing down the east coast
of Greenland, and were so little attracted by it that Davis called it
the Land of Desolation. Nine days afterwards he found a group of many
pleasant green islands bordering on the shore, while the mountains of
the mainland were still covered with snow, and here he landed on the
west coast at Gilbert Sound, as he named it, near where Godthaab now is,
and entered into communication with the natives.


For such occasions, apparently, he had among the _Sunshine_ people four
described as musicians, whom, on sighting the Eskimos, he sent for. As
soon as they arrived from the ship he ordered them to strike up a
dancing tune, and to their merry music Davis and his men began to caper
as if they were enjoying themselves immensely, while the lookers-on
gradually increased in number. "At length," he says, "one of them
poynting up to the sunne with his hande would presently strike his brest
so hard that we might hear the blowe. This he did many times, before he
would any way trust us. Then John Ellis the master of the _Mooneshine_,
was appointed to use his best policie to gaine their friendshippe: who
strooke his breast and poynted to the sunne after their order: which
when he had diverse times done, they began to trust him, and one of them
came on shoare, to whom we threwe our caps, stockings and gloves, and
such other things as then we had about us, playing with our musicke, and
making signes of joy, and dancing. So the night comming we bade them
farewell, and went aboord our barks."

The next morning, being the 30th of July, thirty-seven canoes came up to
the ships, their occupants calling to the English to come on shore. "Wee
not making any great haste unto them, one of them went up to the top of
the rocke, and lept and daunced as they had done the day before, shewing
us a seales skinne, and another thing made like a timbrel, which he did
beate upon with a sticke, making a noyse like a small drumme." Whereupon
Davis manned his boats and went to the waterside where they were in
their canoes, "and after we had sworne by the sunne after their fashion,
they did trust us. So I shooke hands with one of them, and hee kissed my
hand, and we were very familier with them. We bought five canoas of
them, we bought their clothes from their backs, which were all made of
seales skins and birdes skinnes: their buskins, their hose, their
gloves, all being commonly sewed and well dressed: so that we were fully
persuaded that they have divers artificers among them. Wee had a paire
of buskins of them full of fine wooll like bever. Their apparell for
heate, was made of bird skinnes with their feathers on them. We sawe
among them leather dressed like glovers leather, and thicke thongs like
white leather of a good length. Wee had of their darts and oares, and
found in them that they would by no meanes displease us, but would give
us whatsoever we asked of them and would be satisfied with whatsoever we
gave them. They took great care one of an other: for when we had bought
their boates, then two other woulde come and carie him away betweene
them that had soulde us his." He describes them as "a very tractable
people, voyde of craft or double dealing, and easie to be brought to
civiltie or good order," the men of good stature, unbearded, small-eyed,
"by whom, as signes would permit, we understood that towards the north
and west there was a great sea."

During his stay among these islands he found considerable quantities of
wood—fir, spruce, and juniper—which whether it came floating any great
distance or grew in some island near he did not discover; but he thought
it grew further inland because the people had so many darts and paddles
which they held of little value and gave away for insignificant trifles.
He also found "great abundance of seales" in shoals as if they were
small fish; but saw no fresh water, only snow water in large pools, and
he notes that the "cliffes were all of such oare as M. Frobisher brought
from Meta Incognita."

Leaving the sound on the 1st of August he crossed the strait now named
after him and reached land in 66° 40´. In water "altogether voyd from ye
pester of ice" he anchored, "in a very fair rode, under a very brave
mount, the cliffs whereof were as orient as gold." This mount he named
Mount Raleigh, the roadstead he called Totnes Rode, the sound round the
mount he named Exeter Sound, the foreland to the north he called Dyer's
Cape, the southern foreland being named Cape Walsingham—all of which
names remain. Here white bears were killed "of monstrous bignesse," a
raven was descried upon Mount Raleigh, withies were found growing low
like shrubs, and there were flowers like primroses, though there was no

For three days Davis went coasting downwards, and rounding the
southern point of the peninsula, which he named the Cape of God's
Mercy, he entered what he afterwards called Cumberland Strait, now
Cumberland Gulf, supposing it to be his way to the westward. It was
clear of ice; sixty leagues up islands were found, among which a stay
was made during five days of very foggy foul weather. On the 15th of
August "we heard dogs houle on the shoare, which we thought had bene
Wolves, and therefore we went on shoare to kil them; when we came on
lande, the dogs came presently to our boate very gently, yet we
thought they came to pray upon us, and therefore we shot at them and
killed two: and about the necke of one of them we found a letheren
coller, whereupon we thought them to be tame dogs. Then wee went
farther and founde two sleads made like ours in Englande. The one was
made of firre, spruse and oken boards, sawen like inch boards; the
other was made all of whale bone, and there hung on the toppes of the
sleds three heads of beasts, which they had killed. We saw here
larkes, ravens, and partriges"—probably rock ptarmigan.

Searching about, it was agreed that the place was all islands, with
sounds passing between them; that the water remained of the same colour
as the main ocean, whereas in every bay they had been into it became
blackish; that a shoal of whales they saw must have come from the west,
because to the eastward no whale had been seen; that "there came a
violent counter checke of a tide from the south-west against the flood
which we came with, not knowing from whence it was maintayned"; that the
further they ran westward the deeper was the water, "so that hard abord
the shoare among these yles we could not have ground in 330 fathoms";
and that, lastly, there was a tide range of six or seven fathoms, "the
flood comming from diverse parts, so as we could not perceive the chiefe
maintenance thereof." For which six reasons it was determined to
continue the voyage to the westward if the weather changed—which it did
to worse with the wind unfavourable, so that the ships had to run for
shelter and then sail for home, crossing the Atlantic from Greenland in
a fortnight. On arrival Davis reported to Walsingham that the North-West
Passage was a matter nothing doubtful, but at any time almost to be
passed, the sea navigable, void of ice, the air tolerable, and the
waters very deep; and a voyage for next year was decided on, for which
the merchants of Exeter, Totnes, London, Cullompton, Chard, and
Tiverton, and five private subscribers, "did adventure their money"—to
the amount of £1175—"with Mr. Adrian Gilbert and Mr. John Davis in a
voyage for the discovery of China, the seventh daie of April in the
xxviij yeare of the rayne of or. soverayne Ladie Elizabeth."

The fleet, consisting of the _Mermaid_ of one hundred and twenty tons,
the _Sunshine_ and _Moonshine_, and a ten-ton pinnace named the _North
Star_, left Dartmouth on the 7th of May, 1586. On reaching Greenland the
_Sunshine_ and _North Star_ were sent up the east coast of Greenland,
while the _Mermaid_ and _Moonshine_ made for Gilbert Sound.

Here the Eskimos received them cordially "after they had espied in the
boate, some of our companie that were the yeere before heere with us,
they presently rowed to the boate, and tooke holde on the oare, and hung
about the boate with such comfortable joy as woulde require a long
discourse to be uttered: they came with the boates to our shippes,
making signes that they knewe all those that the yere before had bene
with them. After I perceived their joy, and smal feare of us, my selfe
with the merchaunts, and others of the company went a shoare, bearing
with me twentie knives: I had no sooner landed, but they lept out of
their Canoas, and came running to mee and the rest, and imbraced us with
many signes of hartie welcome: at this present there were eighteene of
them, and to each of them I gave a knife: they offered skinnes to mee
for rewarde, but I made signes that it was not solde, but given them of
curtesie: and so dismissed them for that time, with signes that they
shoulde returne againe after certaine houres." But soon there were
passing troubles owing to iron having so great an attraction for them
that they could not resist stealing it. While amongst them, exploring
the country, Davis compiled the first Eskimo vocabulary known, a list of
some forty words written down phonetically, most of them remarkably good
approaches considering that both parties were ignorant of each other's
language, none of them, however, except that for "sea" being likely to
be of any use in putting him on the road to China.

On leaving Gilbert Sound, Davis when in latitude 63° 8´ "fel upon a most
mighty and strange quantity of ice, in one intyre masse, so bigge as
that we knew not the limits thereof, and being withall so very high, in
forme of a land, with bayes and capes, and like high cliffe land, as
that we supposed it to be land, and therefore sent our pinnesse off to
discover it: but at her returne we were certainely informed that it was
onely ice, which bred great admiration to us all, considering the huge
quantity thereof, incredible to be reported in truth as it was, and
therefore I omit to speake any further thereof. This onely, I thinke
that the like before was never seene, and in this place we had very
stickle and strong currants. We coasted this mighty masse of ice untill
the 30 of July, finding it a mighty bar to our purpose: the ayre in this
time was so contagious, and the sea so pestered with ice, as that all
hope was banished of proceeding: for the 24 of July all our shrowds,
ropes, and sailes were so frozen, and compassed with ice, onely by a
grosse fogge, as seemed to me more then strange, sith the last yeere I
found this sea free and navigable, without impediments."

Crossing the straits he repaired and revictualled the _Moonshine_ in an
excellent harbour among islands where they found it very hot and were
"very much troubled with a flie which is called Musketa, for they did
sting grievously." Forsaken by the _Mermaid_, he abandoned the search in
Cumberland Sound as he "found small hope to pass any farther that way,"
and worked south, it being too late to go northwards, crossing Frobisher
Bay, which he described as "another great inlet neere forty leagues
broad where the water entered with violent swiftnesse, this we also
thought might be a passage, for no doubt the north parts of America are
all islands." Off the coast of Labrador he found a vast shoal of
codfish, of which he caught over forty with a long spike nail made into
a hook. These he salted, and some of them, on his return, he gave, at
Walsingham's request, to Burghley, who, at an interview, encouraged him
to make a further attempt.

Next year he was off again, this time "to the Isles of the Molucca or
the coast of China." He seems to have been on board the _Ellen_, a small
craft of some twenty tons, his two other vessels being the _Sunshine_ as
before, and the _Elizabeth_. These he left to fish for cod in the
straits while he went northward from Gilbert Sound in his little
"clinker," which he had probably chosen as being handy for ice
navigation. Running along the land, to which he gave the name of London
Coast, he reached 72° 12´—the highest north up to then attained—where he
named the loftiest of the headlands Sanderson's Hope, whose lofty crest
piercing through the driving clouds near Upernivik has become perhaps
the best-known landmark in the northern seas. Here the wind suddenly
shifting to the northward made further progress impossible, and he had
to shape his course westerly, and then, owing to ice, which he in vain
endeavoured to get round to the north, he had to turn southwards. Amid
much fog, and with the ice always present, he came down the coast of
Baffin Land, giving a name here and there on the way, until on the 31st
of July he passed "a very great gulfe, the water whirling and roring, as
it were the meetings of tides," which was probably the entrance to
Hudson Strait. Next day he was off the Labrador coast and named Cape
Chidley after his friend who died in the Straits of Magellan, and on the
15th of August he laid his course for England.

[Illustration: BAFFIN BAY IN 1819]

Of this voyage Hakluyt prints the Traverse Book, one of the earliest
known. In it the full detail is given for every day, arranged in nine
columns, one each for the month, the day, the hour, the courses, the
leagues, the elevation of the pole in degrees and minutes, the wind, and
a remarks column headed "The Discourse"—for Davis was an exact and
systematic man remarkable for his latitudes never being wrong, though
like all those old navigators before the invention of the chronometer,
he was frequently out in his longitude. He was going off again bound for
the sea north of Sanderson's Hope, but the coming of the Armada and the
death of Walsingham caused the postponement of the project he did not
abandon, for it seems that the _Desire_, in which he discovered the
Falkland Islands at the other end of America, was to be his reward for
accompanying Cavendish round the world, and that in her he intended to
make his next Polar voyage.

The work he had set himself to do was done by William Baffin, who first
appears in the Arctic record as pilot of the _Patience_ in James Hall's
Greenland voyage in 1612, which ended in Hall being killed in revenge
for the kidnapping proceedings on the two previous voyages under the
Danish flag. Baffin then made two voyages, as we have seen, to
Spitsbergen in the service of the Muscovy Company, and, in that of the
Company for the Discovery of the North-West Passage, he made his fourth,
in 1615. In Hudson's old ship the _Discovery_, also her fourth trip to
the north, he passed up Hudson Strait to the end of Southampton Island,
where he abandoned the attempt to get through owing to ice and shallow
water, and returned after discovering the land that Parry named after

In his fifth voyage, again in the _Discovery_, with Robert Bylot again
as master, he left Gravesend on the 16th of March, 1616, and reached
Sanderson's Hope on the 30th of May, discovering the great bay to the
north which bears his name. Passing the Women Islands and the Baffin
Islands off Cape Shackleton, he took the middle passage across Melville
Bay, coasting along by Cape York, by the cape named after one of his
directors, Sir Dudley Digges, and the sound named after another of his
directors, Sir John Wolstenholme; along Prudhoe Land, entering the North
Water of the whalers, reaching Cape Alexander in 77° 45´, his farthest
north; opening up and naming Smith Sound, after Sir Thomas Smith,
another of his directors, and Jones Sound, after Alderman Sir Francis
Jones, another of the board, and Lancaster Sound, after Sir James
Lancaster of the East India Company. Thus, coasting Ellesmere Land,
North Devon, Bylot Island, and Baffin Land, he continued his voyage from
the north on his way home. A good piece of work: the discoveries so many
and unexpected that people ceased to believe in them, geographers going
so far as to erase his bay from their maps until, two hundred years
afterwards, Ross and Parry sailed over the land of the unbelievers and
confirmed Baffin's work in every detail—and Ross, in his best
mountain-finding manner, reported no thoroughfare at Smith Sound.

[Illustration: DR. E. K. KANE]

                              CHAPTER XII
                              SMITH SOUND

  Captain Inglefield—Dr. Kane—The open Polar Sea—Hans Hendrik the
    Greenlander—Kalutunah the Eskimo—An Eskimo bear-hunt—A lesson in
    catching auks—Dr. Hayes—His journey over the glacier—Tyndall
    Glacier—Captain C. F. Hall—Joe and Hannah—Voyage of the
    _Polaris_—Drift of the _Polaris_—The voyage on the ice-floe—The
    British Government Expedition of 1875—The _Alert_ and
    _Discovery_—The cairn on Washington Irving Island—Discovery
    Harbour—How the _Alert_ got into safety at Floeberg Beach—Low
    temperatures—Nares on sledging—Description of the sledges and
    their burden—Markham starts for the Pole—Reaches 83° 20´
    26˝—Outbreak of scurvy—Parr's walk—Aldrich's journey
    west—Beaumont's journey east—The perilous homeward voyage.

Lady Franklin, who incidentally did so much for Arctic discovery, sent
out the _Isabel_ in 1852 under Commander, afterwards Sir, Edward
Augustus Inglefield to search for her husband to the north of Baffin
Bay. Unlike John Ross, the names of whose ships, _Isabella_ and
_Alexander_, are home by the capes at its entrance, he found Smith Sound
to be the highway to the north. Steaming up the open water "stretching
through seven points of the compass," noting the coasts as he went, he
was turned back by the ice in 78° 28´, at the entrance to the Kane Sea,
with Cairn Point and the way in to Rensselaer Harbour on his right, and
Cape Sabine and Ellesmere Land, which he named, on his left; the
farthest north he sighted being Cape Louis Napoleon, the farthest east
Cape Frederick VII, now known as Cape Russell. Needless to say he found
no Franklin traces, although he really looked for them.

Twelve months afterwards Dr. Elisha Kent Kane in the United States brig
_Advance_ followed in his track and wintered in Rensselaer Harbour, nine
miles further north. Ostensibly Kane was on a Franklin search, but his
real object was the Pole. He explored the sea named after him, naming
many landmarks, not always placing them in their true positions, and
underwent many hardships. For one mistake he was famous for a time, and
his reputation now suffers. One of his expedition, William Morton,
almost reached Cape Constitution, in about 80½°, which he placed some
sixty miles too far north, and described as the corner of the north
coast of Greenland; and from the southern horn of the bay of which it is
the northern boundary he looked out over the south of Kennedy Channel,
which is open every summer, and mistook it for the Polar Sea. And he
returned with a report of an even more wonderful discovery than the
Polar Sea, for, according to the illustration, he beheld the midnight
sun dipping in its waters on Midsummer Day.

In May, 1854, the month before Morton's discoveries, Dr. Hayes and
William Godfrey crossed the Kane Sea to connect the northern coast with
Inglefield's survey, "but it disclosed no channel or any form of exit
from the bay," being, in fact, Ellesmere Land continued, and yet on
reaching the shore for the first time at Hayes Point, three miles north
of Cape Louis Napoleon, and following it for two miles to Cape Frazer,
they quite unnecessarily named the country Grinnell Land. On the other
side of this sea the chief discovery was Kane's Humboldt glacier, some
fifty miles north-east of their winter quarters, which was described as
"the mighty crystal bridge which connects the two continents of America
and Greenland," when, of course, it does nothing of the sort.

[Illustration: KALUTUNAH]

What with sickness, accident, and other disaster, it became evident that
the _Advance_ would never leave her wintering place, and in July Kane
set off on a wild endeavour to reach Beechey Island and obtain relief
from the Franklin search vessels, but he had to return. Next month Hayes
was sent to Upernivik, but he also came back. Finally in May, 1855, the
brig was abandoned and the survivors began their journey to the south.
Fortunately on the outward voyage Kane, at Fiskernaes, had engaged Hans
Hendrik the Greenlander, then a boy of nineteen, who became quite a
prominent figure in this and subsequent voyages, and without him and
Kalutunah, chief of the Etah Eskimos, the whole party would have
perished miserably.

Hans first appears when spearing a bird on the wing; Kalutunah's first
appearance was equally encouraging. "The leader of the party," says
Kane, "was a noble savage, greatly superior in everything to the others
of his race. He greeted me with respectful courtesy, yet as one who
might rightfully expect an equal measure of it in return, and, after a
short interchange of salutations, seated himself in the post of honour
at my side. I waited, of course, till the company had fed and slept, for
among savages especially haste is indecorous, and then, after
distributing a few presents, opened to them my project of a northern
exploration. Kalutunah received his knife and needles with a 'Kuyanaka,'
'I thank you'; the first thanks I have heard from a native of this upper
region. He called me his friend—'Asakaoteet,' 'I love you well'—and
would be happy, he said, to join the nalegak-soak in a hunt."

And the journey ended in a hunt, for the dogs caught sight of a large
male bear in the act of devouring a seal. The impulse was irresistible;
Kane lost all control over both dogs and drivers, who seemed dead to
everything but the passion of pursuit. Off they sped with incredible
speed; the Eskimos clinging to their sledges and cheering their dogs
with loud cries. A mad, wild chase, wilder than German legend—"the dogs,
wolves; the drivers, devils." After a furious run, the animal was
brought to bay, and the lance and rifle did their work. There were more
bears and more hunts, and when Kane objected that this could hardly be
called northern exploration, he was told by Kalutunah, significantly,
that the bear-meat was absolutely necessary for the support of their
families, and that the nalegak-soak had no right to prevent him from
providing for his household. "It was a strong argument," says Kane, "and
withal the argument of the strong."


Bear-hunting hereabouts has its dangers, for the Eskimos of the north
are not armed with bows and arrows as are those of the mainland. When
the bear is found the dogs are set upon the trail, and the hunter runs
by their side in silence. As he turns the angle ahead his game is in
view before him, stalking probably along with quiet march, sometimes
sniffing the air suspiciously, but making, nevertheless, for a clump of
hummocks. The dogs spring forward, opening in a wild wolfish yell, the
driver shrieking "Nannook! nannook!" and all straining every nerve in
pursuit. The bear rises on his haunches, views his pursuers, and starts
off at full speed. The hunter, as he runs, leaning over his sledge,
seizes the traces of a couple of his dogs and liberates them from their
burden. It is the work of a minute; for the speed is not checked and the
remaining dogs rush on with apparent ease. Pressed more severely, the
bear stands at bay while his two foremost pursuers halt at a short
distance and quietly await the arrival of the hunter. At this moment the
whole pack are liberated; the hunter grasps his lance, and, stumbling
through the snow and ice, prepares for the encounter. Grasping the lance
firmly in his hands he provokes the animal to pursue him by moving
rapidly across its path, and then running as if to escape. But hardly is
its long body extended for the tempting chase, before, with a quick
jump, the hunter doubles on his track, and, as the bear turns after him
again, the lance is plunged into the left side below the shoulder; and
that so dexterously, that, if it be an inch or so wide of the proper
spot, the spear has to be left in the bear and the man has to run for
his life.

At this hazardous work Kalutunah was an adept, and he was equally
skilful at a much less dangerous game, as Dr. Hayes was to discover when
wintering in the schooner _United States_ in Foulke Harbour, further
south, in 1860-61. Hayes wished to learn how to catch auks, and the
Eskimo gave him a lesson. Kalutunah carried a small net, made of light
strings of sealskin knitted together, the staff by which it was held
being about ten feet in length. Arriving about half-way up the cliffs he
crouched behind a rock and invited the doctor to follow his example. The
slope on which the birds were congregated was about a mile long, and in
vast flocks they were sweeping over it a few feet above the stones down
the whole length of the hill, returning higher in the air, and so round
and round in a complete circuit. Occasionally a few hundreds or
thousands would drop down as if following some leader, and in an instant
the rocks, for some distance, would swarm with them as they speckled the
hill with their black backs and white breasts. The doctor was told to
lie lower, as the birds noticed him and were flying too far overhead.
Having placed himself as Kalutunah approved, the birds began to sweep
lower and lower in their flight until their track came well within
reach. Then, as a dense portion of the crowd approached, up went the
net, and half a dozen birds flew into it, and, stunned by the blow,
could not recover before the Eskimo had slipped the staff through his
hands and seized the net. With his left hand he pressed down the birds,
while with the right he drew them out one by one, and, for want of a
third hand, used his teeth to crush their heads. The wings were then
locked across each other; and with an air of triumph the old chief
looked around, spat the blood and feathers from his mouth, and went on
with the sport, tossing up his net and hauling it in with much rapidity
until he had caught about a hundred, and wanted no more.

[Illustration: I. I. Hayes]

Hayes did his best to disparage both Kalutunah and Hans, to whom he was
not quite so much indebted as Kane, owing to his having given himself a
better chance of retreat by not taking the schooner out of Smith Sound,
his quarters in Hartstene Bay being only some twelve miles north of Cape
Alexander. He had come to verify the existence of the open sea and sail
to the Pole across it if he could; and he verified it to his own
satisfaction. But he did not get so far north as Morton, although he
claimed to have done so, for he climbed a cliff eight hundred feet high
and looked out over the open water—in Kennedy Channel—and did not see
the Greenland cliffs trending away northwards within thirty miles of
him, and visible all the way up for two degrees north of Cape
Constitution. Thus he left the map as Kane left it, with Greenland cut
off short south of the eighty-first parallel, and his farthest seems to
have been the south point of Rawlings Bay, where the _Alert_ was forced
on shore in August, 1876, in 80° 15´.

"I climbed," he says, "the steep hillside to the top of a ragged cliff,
which I supposed to be about eight hundred feet above the level of the
sea. The view which I had from this elevation furnished a solution of
the cause of my progress being arrested on the previous day. The ice was
everywhere in the same condition as in the mouth of the bay across which
I had endeavoured to pass. A broad crack, starting from the middle of
the bay, stretched over the sea, and uniting with other cracks as it
meandered to the eastward, it expanded as the delta of some mighty river
discharging into the ocean, and under a water-sky, which hung upon the
northern horizon, it was lost in the open sea. The sea beneath me was a
mottled sheet of white and dark patches, these latter being either soft
decaying ice or places where the ice had wholly disappeared. These spots
were heightened in intensity of shade and multiplied in size as they
receded, until the belt of the water-sky blended them all together into
one uniform colour of dark blue. The old and solid floes (some a quarter
of a mile, and others miles across) and the massive ridges and wastes of
hummocked ice which lay piled between them and around their margins,
were the only parts of the sea which retained the whiteness and solidity
of winter."

Unfortunately for Hayes, the astronomer of the expedition, August
Sonntag, who had assisted Kane in the same capacity, was frozen to death
on a sledge journey, and the doctor was left to do the work for himself,
with disappointing results, as with errors of many miles in either
latitude or longitude his journeys can only be noticed in a very general
way. In October, 1860, he proceeded for some distance over the glacier
to the east of his wintering place. The first attempt to scale the
glacier was attended by what might have been a serious accident. The
foremost member of the party missed his footing as he was clambering up
the rude steps, and, sliding down the steep side, scattered those who
were below him to the right and left and sent them rolling into the
valley beneath. The next effort was more successful, and, the end of a
rope being carried over the side of the glacier, the sledge was drawn up
the inclined plane and a fair start obtained. A little further on Hayes
was only saved from disappearing down a crevasse by clutching a pole he
was carrying on his shoulder. Next day, the surface being smoother, more
progress was made, and they reached a plain of compact snow covered with
a crust through which the feet broke at every step. The day afterwards
the cold grew more intense and a gale came on. At night the men
complained bitterly and could not sleep, and as the storm increased in
strength they were forced to leave the tent and by active exercise
prevent themselves from freezing.


To face the wind was impossible, and shelter was nowhere to be found
upon the unbroken plain, there being but one direction in which they
could move, that being with their backs to the gale. It was not without
difficulty that the tent was taken down and bundled upon the sledge, the
wind blowing so fiercely that they could scarcely roll it up with their
stiffened hands. The men were in pain and could only hold on for a few
moments to the hardened canvas, their fingers, freezing continually,
requiring vigorous pounding to keep them on the flickering verge of
life. "In the midst of a vast frozen Sahara, with neither hill,
mountain, nor gorge anywhere in view," says Hayes, "fitful clouds swept
over the face of the full-orbed moon, which, descending toward the
horizon, glimmered through the drifting snow that whirled out of the
illimitable distance, and scudded over the icy plain, to the eye in
undulating lines of downy softness, to the flesh in showers of piercing
darts. Our only safety was in flight; and like a ship driven before a
tempest which she cannot withstand, and which has threatened her ruin,
we turned our backs to the gale; and, hastening down the slope, we ran
to save our lives. We travelled upwards of forty miles, and had
descended about three thousand feet before we ventured to halt."

Next year he visited the large glacier in Whale Sound which he named
after Professor John Tyndall, pulling first along its front in a boat
and then mounting its surface. As he rowed along within a few fathoms of
this two miles of ice, he found the face "worn and wasted away until it
seemed like the front of some vast incongruous temple, here a groined
roof of some huge cathedral, and there a pointed window or a Norman
doorway deeply moulded; while on all sides were pillars round and fluted
and pendants dripping crystal drops of the purest water, and all bathed
in a soft blue atmosphere. Above these wondrous archways and galleries
there was still preserved the same Gothic character; tall spires and
pinnacles rose along the entire front and multiplied behind them, and
new forms met the eye continually. Strange, there was nothing cold or
forbidding anywhere. The ice seemed to take the warmth which suffused
the air, and I longed to pull my boat far within the opening and paddle
beneath the Gothic archways."

Charles Francis Hall, of Cincinnati, was a man of a very different
stamp. He was a genius and a genuine worker, an accurate observer and
painstaking explorer who believed above all things in thoroughness.
Realising that the best way to study the Polar regions was to understand
the Eskimos, who know most about them, and utilise their local
knowledge, he settled amongst them, lived with them, adopted their
customs, and became as one of them in their huts and tents, taking part
in their sports and hardships. Two friends he made amongst them,
Ebierbing and his wife Tookoolito, better known as Joe and Hannah, who
accompanied him till he died.

[Illustration: TYNDALL GLACIER]

After clearing up the Frobisher problem and throwing some light on the
Franklin mystery, he started in 1871 to go as far north as he could
across the reported Polar Sea. To him Henry Grinnell, who did so much
for northern discovery, entrusted the American flag which had been to
the Antarctic with Wilkes in 1838, to the Arctic with De Haven, with
Kane and with Hayes, and was a sort of oriflamme of Polar discovery. His
ship was the _Polaris_, of 387 tons, once the _Periwinkle_, a name which
seemed to be a little too unassuming. Buddington, his sailing-master,
was an experienced whaling captain; his assistant, Tyson, destined for
the independent command of an ice-floe, was another whale-fisher. The
naturalist was Emil Bessels. On board were also Joe and Hannah—of
course—and William Morton, to show where the sea was, and, picked up at
Upernivik, the indispensable Hans Hendrik with his wife and three

The voyage was fortunate so long as Hall lived. The _Polaris_ found the
Polar gates open before her. She steamed right up Smith Sound, through
Kane Sea, up Kennedy Channel, into Robeson Channel—named after the
Secretary to the American Navy—until she reached the ice, in 82° 16´, on
the 30th of August, 1871, the highest latitude then attained by a ship.
Hall would have pressed on into the ice, but Buddington wisely refused,
and hardly had the _Polaris_ been headed round when she was beset and
carried southwards, to escape in a few days and take refuge for the
winter in a harbour on the east of what is now known as Hall Basin,
protected at its entrance by a grounded floeberg. The latitude is 81°
38´, the harbour Hall called Thank God Bay. There in November he died;
and close by is Hall's Rest, where he is buried.

His death was the end of the enterprise. Buddington wished to return as
soon as the ship was released, and eventually had his way, after a
journey or two of little importance. But he stayed too long. The ship
was clear in June, and he did not start until the 1st of August, and he
started by driving her into the pack, anchored her to a floe, and
drifted helplessly into Baffin Bay, as De Haven had done through
Lancaster Sound in 1850. For eleven weeks the drift continued until she
was off Northumberland Island on the 15th of October. Here in the middle
of the night a violent gale arose, and the crippled ship, nipped between
two masses of ice, was lifted bodily and thrown on her side, her timbers
cracking loudly and her sides apparently breaking in. Two boats, all she
had, were hurriedly got on to the ice, and provisions, stores, and
clothing were being passed out, when with a roar the floe broke asunder,
and the _Polaris_ disappeared like a phantom in the gale. As the ice
cracked and the sides lurched apart, a bundle of fur lay across the
fissure. A grab was made at it, and the bundle was saved. It contained
the baby of Joe the Eskimo, whose wife had been confined the year before
in latitude 82°, perhaps the most northerly birthplace of any of this
world's inhabitants.

[Illustration: A SEAL IN DANGER]

On the ice were Tyson, with Sergeant Meyer, the steward, the cook, six
sailors, and nine Eskimos, men, women, and children, including Hans and
Joe. They built a house, from the materials thrown out from the ship, as
a shelter; and they built snow houses as the time went on and the floe
diminished. Provisions they had but few, but Hans and Joe were
indefatigable. They speared seals, caught fish, trapped birds, and,
sometimes, a bear would scramble up on to the ice for them to shoot—and
they never missed. In short, without them the party would have starved
to death.

The floe on which the castaways passed the winter was about a hundred
yards long and seventy-five broad. On this they voyaged down the whole
length of Baffin Bay and through Davis Strait, the ice melting away and
getting smaller and smaller as they drifted south, until on the 1st of
April, when it was only twenty yards round, they had to take to the
remaining boat, the other having been used for fuel. Once they nearly
touched the shore, but the wind rose and off they were driven in the
snow. When they were picked up by the sealer _Tigress_ in 53° 35´, near
the coast of Labrador, on the 30th of April, they had drifted fifteen
hundred miles in the hundred and ninety-six days that had elapsed since
they left the ship.

The _Polaris_, blown to the northward, reached land at Lifeboat Cove in
the entrance to Smith Sound, a little north of Foulke Harbour, and here
with the aid of the Etah Eskimos the crew passed the winter; and, in the
spring, some of them went on an expedition in the Hayes country and lost
the famous flag. As the ship could not be made seaworthy, two
flat-bottomed boats were built of her materials, and on the 21st of June
these were found hauled up on a floe in Melville Bay, and their people
rescued by the whaler _Ravenscraig_, which shifted them into the
_Arctic_, another Dundee whaler, on board of which was Commander
Markham, who, with Hans Hendrik, four years afterwards, was to follow up
Hall's track to the north.

The results of this expedition were of considerable importance. In five
days Captain Hall had run five hundred miles through what on most
occasions has been found to be an ice-choked sea. He completed the
exploration of Kennedy Channel, discovered Hall Basin and Robeson
Channel, and was the first to reach the Polar ocean by this route.
Greenland and Grinnell Land he extended northward for nearly a hundred
and forty miles; and, north of Petermann Fiord, where he showed that the
inland ice terminated, he had found a large area free from ice, with its
wild flowers and herbage and musk oxen.

Hall's remarkable success in taking a ship to so high a latitude led to
the Government expedition of 1875, the first British attempt to reach
the Pole since Parry's failure in 1827. Three ships were employed: the
_Alert_, a seventeen-gun sloop; the _Discovery_, once the _Bloodhound_,
a Dundee whaler; and the _Valorous_. The _Alert_ and _Discovery_ were
specially prepared for the voyage at Portsmouth by Sir Leopold
M'Clintock who was then Admiral Superintendent of the dockyard; the
_Valorous_, an old paddle sloop, required little alteration, as her duty
was merely to carry the stores that could not safely be taken by the
exploring vessels in crossing the Atlantic and hand them over at Disco.

[Illustration: SIR GEORGE NARES]

The leader, Captain George Strong Nares, when one of the Franklin search
officers under Kellett at Melville Island, had distinguished himself by
a sledge journey in which he had travelled nine hundred and eighty miles
in sixty-nine days and reached 119½° west longitude. He was known as one
of the best navigators in the Navy, and when called upon to go to the
north was in command of H.M.S. _Challenger_, then on her famous voyage
of scientific exploration in very different seas. With him in the
_Alert_ was Commander Albert Hastings Markham, whose experience, varied
and considerable, gained by his spending much of his spare time within
the Arctic Circle, rendered him especially well fitted for the position.
In command of the _Discovery_ was Captain Henry Frederick Stephenson;
and the officers of both ships were, like the crews, all specially
selected. There was no difficulty in the manning. One commanding officer
called at the office at Portsmouth where the men were being entered and
asked for advice. "An order," he said, "has come on board my ship,
directing me to send volunteers for Arctic service to this office. What
am I to do? The whole ship's company, nearly eight hundred men, have
given in their names."

The three ships left Spithead on the 29th of May, 1875, and were all at
Godhavn on the 6th of July. Nine days afterwards they left for Ritenbenk
of the curious name, which is an anagram of that of Berkentin who was in
charge of the Greenland department when it was founded. Here the
_Valorous_ parted company to return home after filling up with fuel at
the coal quarries on the north side of Disco Island, while the two ships
went to Proven to pick up Hans Hendrik, who this time left his wife and
children behind him.

Through Smith Sound, almost choked with ice, progress was slow and
difficult; but the passage was safely accomplished, and so across Kane
Sea and up Kennedy Channel. On Washington Irving Island an ancient cairn
was found, evidently the work of white men's hands and of great age, as
shown by the state of the lichens on it—yet another of the many
indications in the Polar regions that there was always a somebody before
the first on record. Crossing the mouth of Archer Fiord, a snug harbour
was found in 81° 44´, where the _Discovery_ was left to spend the
winter, the _Alert_ going on, hampered much by the floes, though helped
at last by a south-westerly wind, until she had to stop in 82° 27´ on
the shore of the Polar Ocean, at what was named Floeberg Beach, off an
open coast and with no more protection during the winter than was
afforded by masses of ice ranging up to sixty feet in height aground in
from eight to twelve fathoms of water.

"The protected space," says Nares, "available for shelter was so
contracted and shallow, the entrance to it so small, and the united
force of the wind and flood-tide so powerful, that it was with much
labour and no trifling expense in broken hawsers that the ship was
hauled in stem foremost. It was a close race whether the ice or the ship
would be in first, and my anxiety was much relieved when I saw the
ship's bow swing clear into safety just as the advancing edge of the
heavy pack closed in against the outside of our friendly barrier of ice.
From our position of comparative security the danger we had so narrowly
escaped was strikingly apparent as we gazed with wonder and awe at the
power exerted by the ice driven past us to the eastward with
irresistible force by the wind and flood-tide at the rate of about a
mile an hour. The projecting points of each passing floe which grounded
near the shore in about ten fathoms of water would be at once wrenched
off from its still moving parent mass; the pressure continuing, the
several pieces, frequently thirty thousand tons in weight, would be
forced up the inclined shore, rising slowly and majestically ten or
twelve feet above their old line of flotation. Such pieces quickly
accumulated until a rampart-like barrier of solid ice-blocks, measuring
about two hundred yards in breadth and rising fifty feet high, lined the
shore, locking us in, but effectually protecting us from the
overwhelming power of the pack." The land had already assumed a wintry
aspect, and the ship soon put on a garb of snow and ice, each spar and
rope being double its ordinary thickness from the accumulation of rime.
Around her everything was white and solemn; no voice of bird or beast
was heard; all was still and silent save the gathering floes; and in two
days the men were able to walk on shore over the new ice.

For eleven months she stayed here, secured by cables to anchors frozen
on to the shore to protect her from gales on the landward side. With the
ship housed in awnings of tilt-cloth, with snow a foot thick laid on the
upper deck and banked up on each side as high as the main-chains, with
skylights and hatchways carefully covered up, except two hatchways for
ingress and egress constructed with porches and double doors so as to
prevent the entrance of the bitter air, the crew here passed the long
Polar night. On the 11th of October the sun disappeared, and then began
those entertainments, lectures, lessons, games, not forgetting the Royal
Arctic Theatre which opened on the 18th of November, with which the
winter was pleasantly whiled away. "Can you sing or dance? or what can
you do for the amusement of others?" every man had been asked before he
was chosen, and the result was a singularly happy time kept up until

The cold was intense and long-continued. Even the tobacco pipes froze,
the stem becoming solidly clogged with ice as the smoking went on unless
it was made so short as to bring the bowl unpleasantly close to the
mouth. On the 1st of April the temperature was down to minus 64°, and
three days afterwards it was a hundred and five below freezing, the cold
weather preventing the departure of the dog-sledge for Discovery Bay.

During the autumn, sledging parties had laid out reserves of stores for
the spring journeys, and a certain amount of practice had been given to
the men in what was intended to be the chief work of the expedition. The
field, however, was not promising. On one occasion Nares went out to
look at it. He obtained a fine view of the pack for a distance of six
miles from the land. The southern side of each purely white snow-covered
hummock was brilliantly lighted by the orange-tinted twilight. The
stranded floebergs lining the shore extended from half to three-quarters
of a mile off the land. Outside were old floes with undulating upper
surfaces separated from each other by Sherard Osborn's "hedgerows of
Arctic landscape," otherwise ridges of pressed-up ice of every size. "It
will be as difficult," was his verdict, "to drag a sledge over such ice
as to transport a carriage directly across country in England." He gave
a lecture on sledging at one of the winter entertainments. It was
interesting but not encouraging. He told his hearers that if they could
imagine the hardest work they had ever been called upon to perform in
their lives intensified to the utmost degree, it would only be as
child's play in comparison with the work they would have to perform
whilst sledging. "These prophetic words," says Markham, "were fully
realised, and were often recalled and commented on by the men."

They had four different kinds of sledges. From the illustrations it will
appear how the eight-feet sledges differed from those used by
M'Clintock, the Nares sledge being higher and more slender in the
uprights. The eight-men sledge, such as the Marco Polo—which was bound
for the Pole—had six uprights eighteen inches apart. It was eleven feet
long, thirty-eight inches wide, eleven inches high, and weighed one
hundred and thirty pounds. The tent, made of light, unbleached duck, was
nine feet four inches long at the bottom, eight feet at the top, seven
feet wide and high, and weighed forty-four pounds. The tent poles, five
in number, weighed five pounds apiece. The coverlet weighed thirty-one
pounds and a half, and the extra coverlet twenty pounds. The lower robe
weighed twenty-three pounds, the waterproof floor-cloth fifteen. The
eight sleeping-bags weighed eight pounds apiece, and the eight
knapsacks, when packed, twelve pounds apiece. The shovel and two
pickaxes accounted for twenty-one pounds, the store-bag for twenty-five,
the cooking gear for twenty-nine, the gun and ammunition for
twenty-five, the medical stores for twelve, the instruments for fifteen,
and the tent for nine and a quarter. To this must be added a thousand
and eighty pounds for forty-five days' provisions for the eight men, and
we have the total of sixteen hundred and sixty-four pounds odd, which
with seven men at the ropes gives each man a drag of about two hundred
and thirty-eight pounds. In the spring the weight decreases as the
provisions are consumed, but the rate of decrease is not the same in the
autumn, for then the steadily falling temperature increases the weight
of the outfit by the moisture it adds to the tent and clothing. In
Markham's autumn journey the tent of thirty-two pounds came back as
fifty-five, the coverlet as forty-eight, the lower robe as forty, the
floor-cloth as forty, and everything else was heavier than at the start.

The sledges mustered for their journeys on the 3rd of April. Seven in
number, they were drawn up in single line according to the seniority of
the leaders, all fully equipped and provisioned, and manned by
fifty-three officers and men. On each was its commander's banner—a
swallow-tailed flag charged with a St. George's cross and displaying the
armorial bearings. As a precaution against snow-blindness, the men had
been ordered to decorate the backs of their snow-jumpers with any device
they thought fit, the result being a display of comic blazonry that
often formed a topic of conversation when others failed. For the same
reason the two boats carried on the north-going sledges were gaily
decorated with the royal arms, and the rose, shamrock, and thistle; the
artist, as on other occasions, being Doctor Moss, whose great difficulty
in the matter was that in spite of the quantity of turpentine used in
mixing the paint it would persist in freezing so that the brush became
as stiff as a stick every few seconds.


 M'CLINTOCK               (2) SIR GEORGE NARES                  NARES

                   (In the collection of Ed. Whymper)

Lieutenant Aldrich, supported for three weeks by Lieutenant Giffard, was
to explore the shores of Grant Land, towards the north and west, along
the coast-line he had discovered in the previous autumn. Commander
Markham, seconded by Lieutenant Parr, was to accompany Aldrich to Cape
Joseph Henry and then strike off to the northward over the ice. The
other three sledges were to accompany these as far as their own
provisions would allow, after completing the four's deficiencies and
giving them a fresh start from an advance post.

When Markham was only eleven days out, one of his crew complained of
pain in his ankles and knees, and was of no help for the rest of the
journey. This was the first appearance of the scurvy which was to ruin
so many hopes, for man after man was taken ill and became a passenger.
To make matters worse no rougher road was ever traversed by sledge. Over
a labyrinth of piled-up blocks of ice ranging to forty feet and more in
height, through which the road had to be cut with pickaxe and shovel,
and amid gale and fog and falling snow, the painful progress went on.
With many a "One; two; three; haul!" the heavy mass would be dragged
where the men could hardly drag themselves; one of the sledges taken a
few yards by the combined crews, who would then return for the other. On
the 19th of April one of the boats was abandoned and this made matters
easier, but only for a time, as the disease spread. At last it was
decided to stop; and on the 12th of May a party of ten went ahead to
reach the farthest north.

"The walking," says Markham, "was undoubtedly severe, at one moment
struggling through deep snowdrifts, in which we floundered up to our
waists, and at another tumbling about amongst the hummocks. Some idea
may be formed of the difficulties of the road, when, after more than two
hours' hard walking, with little or nothing to carry, we had barely
accomplished one mile. Shortly before noon a halt was called, the
artificial horizon set up, and the flags and sledge standards displayed.
Fortunately the sun was favourable to us, and we were able to obtain a
good altitude as it passed the meridian, although almost immediately
afterwards dark clouds rolled up, snow began to fall, and the sun was
lost in obscurity. We found the latitude to be 83° 20´ 26˝ N., or three
hundred and ninety-nine miles and a half from the North Pole."

On the 8th of June Lieutenant Parr appeared on the quarter-deck of the
_Alert_ greeting in silence the one or two who chanced to meet him. That
some calamity had happened was evident from his looks. He had walked on
alone for forty miles to bring the news that Markham's party were in
sore distress. Measures of rescue were instantly taken; Lieutenant May
and Doctor Moss, on snow-shoes, pushing ahead with the dog-sledge laden
with medical stores, while Nares with a strong party followed. On their
arrival one man had died, and of the others no less than eleven were
brought back to the ship on the relief sledges.

Ten days afterwards, fearing a similar fate had overtaken Aldrich's
party, Lieutenant May was despatched to find him. As with Markham,
scurvy had begun on the outward journey, and it had become so bad on the
return that one of the men was being sent off to the ship when May
arrived with help. It had nevertheless been a successful journey, the
road being easier than that by the northern route. Aldrich had traced
the continuous border of the heavy pack for two hundred miles from
Floeberg Beach, rounded Cape Columbia, in 83° 7´ N., the northernmost
point of Grant Land, and, along the coast trending steadily south-west,
had reached longitude 85° 33´ and sighted Cape Alfred Ernest in
longitude 86½°.

With his arrival there were over forty scurvy patients on board the
_Alert_; and Nares was to learn that the sledge parties from the
_Discovery_ had been similarly affected. Lieutenant Beaumont had gone
along the North Greenland coast, reaching, on the 21st of May, 51° W.,
in 82° 20´ N., and sighting Cape May, Mount Hooker, and Cape Britannia.
On the 10th of May, while on his outward journey, he had sent back
Lieutenant Rawson to bring a relief party to meet him, and Rawson with
Hans and eight dogs, accompanied by Doctor Coppinger, reached him on the
25th of June when he was on his last possible day's journey, he and two
of his men dragging the sledge with four helpless comrades lashed on the
top of it.

The _Discovery_ had also sent out Lieutenant Archer to survey the fiord
named after him, which opens out into Lady Franklin Bay; and Lieutenant
Fulford had crossed the channel and explored Petermann Fiord. In fact,
the expedition's geographical work was of great extent, as was the other
scientific work, the most important, as usual, being that done from the
ships. Among the odds and ends easily rememberable was the haul of the
seine in Sheridan Lake, near the wintering station of the _Alert_, which
yielded forty-three char (_Salmo arcturus_), the most northerly
freshwater fish; the finding of the nest of the sanderling (_Calidris
arenarius_), now in the Natural History Museum, in 82° 33´, and the
discovery of the nesting of the grey phalarope and the knot in the same
neighbourhood; the thirty-feet seam of Miocene coal worked in Discovery
Harbour; and the Eskimo relics at Cape Beechey, near the eighty-second
parallel, which, in connection with the encampments on the opposite
coast, suggested that there, at the narrowest part of Robeson Channel,
had been a crossing place from shore to shore.

On the 31st of July, 1876, the _Alert_ was again under steam after her
long rest, and one of the most dangerous voyages on record began. The
ships, of from five hundred to six hundred tons, were handled as if they
were small tugs; blocked, beset, pressed on shore, Nares with consummate
skill, constant watchfulness, and never-failing patience, brought them
through. But they did not get out of Smith Sound until the 9th of
September, and then it was against head winds in stormy weather amid
icebergs innumerable that they were slowly worked southwards and

[Illustration: BISHOP PAUL EGEDE]

                              CHAPTER XIII

  Hans Egede—The house of Eric the Red—Nansen's crossing of
    Greenland—Nansen and Sverdrup row to Ny Herrnhut—Nordenskiöld's
    journeys—Berggren's discovery—Nordenskiöld on the inland
    ice—Glaciers and icebergs—Diatoms and whales—Edward Whymper's
    expedition—Greenland in Miocene times—Graah—Scoresby—Ryder—The
    _Germania_ and _Hansa_—The Duke of Orleans—The Eskimos of
    Clavering Island—Franz Josef Fiord—The drift of the _Hansa_—The
    Greely expedition—The International Polar stations—Voyage of the
    _Proteus_—Lockwood reaches 83° 24´—Greely's wagon—The Eskimo house
    at Lake Hazen—Greely Relief expeditions—The rescue of
    Greely—Peary—His journey to Independence Bay—His four years'
    expedition—Reaches 84° 17´—His Polar expedition of 1905—The
    _Roosevelt_—The voyage to Cape Sheridan—Plan of the northern
    advance—Peary reaches 87° 6´—Moxon's mariner.

Hans Egede, aged twenty-two, priest of the parish of Vaagen, in the
north of Norway, reading, in 1710, about the Norse colonists of the
west—and apparently knowing nothing of Thiodhilda—was led to think that
some of their descendants might still be living in heathenism. Writing
to the Bishop of Trondhjem, he proposed to go out to these as a
missionary. The good father rather astonished him by the reply that
"Greenland was undoubtedly part of America, and could not be very far
from Cuba and Hispaniola, where there was found such abundance of gold,"
and, as those who went to Greenland might bring home "incredible
riches," he approved of the suggestion.

Unfortunately, however, Egede had written his letter without the
knowledge of his wife, who by no means thought with the Bishop until
seven years afterwards, when she changed her mind. Trying in vain
locally, Egede applied for support to Frederick IV of Denmark, who
finding him an earnest, honest, interesting man, gave him his patronage,
the result being that a company was formed at Bergen for the development
of trade and the propagation of the gospel; and, on the 3rd of May,
1721, the _Hope_ set sail from there for Greenland with forty-six
intending colonists, including the missionary and his wife and family.

His landing-place was on an island at the mouth of Godthaab Fiord, or
Baal's River. He found the Greenlanders very different from what he had
supposed; and also that the Dutch were carrying on a profitable trade
with them and keeping it quiet. To begin with they were nothing like
Vikings in appearance; and their language, instead of being a
Scandinavian dialect, was of the same character as that of the Eskimos
of Labrador—and not at all easy to learn. Learn it, however, he and his
family did; and among the Greenlanders they remained and laboured with
truly admirable energy and devotion, battling hard for life amid much
disaster until, with the help of his son Paul, who succeeded him as
superintendent of the mission with the title of bishop, the settlement
became permanent, and other settlements arose from it up the western
coast as they are found to-day.

[Illustration: GREENLANDERS]

 _From a photo by Dr. H. Rink_

Though there were no Norsemen, there were many traces of them, the most
interesting being the house of Eric the Red, near Igaliko. Here, close
to Erik's Fiord and overlooking Einar's Fiord, on one of the prettiest
sites in Greenland, was Brattelid—"the steep side of a rock"—one side of
it a natural cliff, the walls of the other sides, more than four feet
thick, built of blocks of red sandstone from four to six feet in length
as well as in breadth and thickness, reminding the visitor of those of
Stonehenge, and evoking similar wonderment as to how they were got into
place. And in his first colony, now called Igdluernerit, Egede seems to
have followed the Norsemen—at an interval—in their architecture, to
judge by the large stones in the walls of his house, which, like Eric's,
is now in ruins.

Twelve years after Egede, came the Moravians to take up their quarters
at Ny Herrnhut, also at the mouth of Godthaab (that is, Good Hope)
Fiord. It was here that Nansen and Sverdrup landed in October, 1888,
having rowed up from Ameralik Fiord in their "half a boat," as the
Eskimos called it.

"Are you Englishmen?" they were asked.

"No," said Nansen, in good Norse, "we are Norwegians."

"May I ask your name?"

"My name is Nansen and we have just come from the interior."

"Oh, allow me to congratulate you on taking your doctor's degree!"

From which it is clear that Godthaab is not so much out of the world as
one would suppose.

Nansen with his three Norsemen and two Lapps had reached the east coast
in the _Jason_, and on the 17th of July had left the ship in their boats
to make their way to the shore; but they had been caught in the floes,
and on them and among them they had drifted for twelve days—an
experience they had not bargained for. Getting ashore at last near Cape
Tordenskiold, they worked their way back northwards along the coast,
spending a short time at an Eskimo encampment at Cape Bille, until on
the 15th of August they hauled their two boats up near Umivik and
started to cross Greenland over the inland ice.

The country is now in its glacial period, and for days they toiled
across its glacial desert; each day alike in its wearisome monotony.
"Flatness and whiteness were the two features of this ocean of snow,"
says Nansen; "in the day we could see three things only, the sun, the
snowfield and ourselves. We looked like a diminutive black line feebly
traced upon an infinite expanse of white. There was no break or change
in our horizon, no object to rest the eye upon, and no point by which to
direct the course. We had to steer by a diligent use of the compass, and
keep our line as well as possible by careful watching of the sun and
repeated glances back at the four men following and the long track which
the caravan left in the snow. We passed from one horizon to another, but
our advance brought us no change."

By the 2nd of September they had all taken to their skis on which they
made great progress alone, but when it came to hauling the sledges there
was a difference. Sometimes the snow proved to be very heavy going,
particularly when it was wind-packed, and then it was no better than
sand. One entry in Nansen's journal will suffice: "It began to snow in
the middle of the day, and our work was heavier than ever. It was worse
even than yesterday, and to say it was like hauling in blue clay will
scarcely give an idea of it. At every step we had to use all our force
to get the heavy sledges along, and in the evening Sverdrup and I, who
had to go first and plough a way for ourselves, were pretty well done

[Illustration: ON LEVEL GROUND]

When at last the wind became favourable they hoisted sail, and off they
went over the waves and drifts of snow at a speed that almost took their
breath away; and when they reached the western slopes they slid down
them using the sledges as toboggans. At first they had intended making
for Christianshaab, but the route had to be changed for that to
Godthaab, and the sea was reached some distance to the south. Here they
stitched the floor-sheet of their tent over a framework of withies, and
with oars made of canvas stretched across forked willows and tied to
bamboo shafts, Nansen and Sverdrup boldly trusted themselves to the
waves and with much hard labour pulled into Ny Herrnhut on the 3rd of
October. Such was the first crossing of Greenland, a really remarkable
instance of daring endeavour.

Further north, Nordenskiöld, in 1883, had attempted to cross over the
ice-cap from near Disco on the west coast, but, hindered and finally
stopped by crevasses and other obstacles, could do no more than send his
Lapps to try their best on their skis, and they returned after their
journey eastwards of a hundred and forty miles reporting similar
monotonous conditions all along their track. Thirteen years before, he
had, also from Auleitsivik Fiord, started out with Berggren; and
deserted by their followers, they had gone on by themselves for some
thirty miles east of the northern arm of the fiord. It was on this
occasion that Berggren discovered _Ancylonema_, that small poly-cellular
alga forming the dark masses that absorb a far greater amount of heat
than the white ice and thus cause the deep holes that aid in the process
of melting.

"The same plant," says Nordenskiöld, "has no doubt played the same part
in our country; and we have to thank it, perhaps, that the deserts of
ice which formerly covered the whole of Northern Europe and America have
now given place to shady woods and undulating cornfields."

Nordenskiöld looked upon Greenland and its icefield as a broad-lipped,
shallow vessel with chinks in the lip, the glacier being viscous matter
within it. As more is poured in, the matter runs over the edges, taking
the lines of the chinks, that is, of the fiords and valleys, as that of
its outflow. In other words, the ice floats out by force of the
superincumbent weight of snow just as does the grain on the floor of a
barn when another sackful is shot on to the top of the heap already
there. When the glacier reaches the sea it makes its way along the
bottom under water for a considerable distance, in some cases, as near
Avigait, for more than a mile. This is where the water is too shallow
for it to affect the mass, which forms a breakwater; though as a rule
the shore deepens more suddenly and the projection is less. It was long
supposed that the berg broke from the glacier by force of gravity, but
this is not generally so. The berg is forced off from the parent glacier
by the buoyant action of the sea from beneath; the ice groans and
creaks; then there is a crashing, then a roar like the discharge of
artillery; and with a great regurgitation of the waves the iceberg is
launched into life. These huge floating islands of ice are the most
conspicuous exports of Greenland; and their true magnitude is not
realised until it is remembered that only about an eighth of their bulk
appears above the water. Bergs as large as liners we frequently hear
of—one such is shown in our illustration—but sometimes they are of much
greater freeboard, though the very large ones reported as extending
along the horizon are invariably groups of several crowded together.


_Ancylonema_ has evidently plenty to do. Another instance of the
important part played by the insignificant in these regions is suggested
by the colour of the sea. This varies from ultramarine blue to
olive-green, from the purest transparency to striking opacity; and the
changes are not transitory but permanent. These patches of dark water
abound with diatoms, while the bluer the water the fewer are the
diatoms; and where they are most numerous, there the animals that feed
on them assemble in their greatest numbers. And these animals are
jellyfish, entomostracans, and, to a greater extent, pteropods, their
chief representative being _Clio borealis_. In short, the animals that
feed on the diatoms are food of the Greenland whale, and where the
waters are dark the whale-fishers thrive. "I know nothing stranger than
the curious tale I have unfolded," says Dr. Robert Brown, who worked out
this remarkable chain, "the diatom staining the broad frozen sea, again
supporting myriads of living beings which crowd there to feed on it, and
these again supporting the huge whale. Thus it is no stretch of the
imagination to say that the greatest animal depends for its existence on
a being so minute that it takes thousands to be massed together before
they are visible to the naked eye."

Cold as Greenland is, there was a time when matters were different. In
token of this we have the Miocene fossils collected by Edward Whymper
during his expedition from near Jakobshavn in 1867, which were described
and illustrated by Oswald Heer in the _Philosophical Transactions_ for
1869. A look at these is a welcome relief after such a surfeit of ice.
Here, as well preserved as in the leaf beds of Alum Bay, are the leaves
and fruits of an unmistakable temperate flora. Magnolias, maples,
poplars, limes, walnuts, water-lilies; myrica, smilax, aralia; sedges
and grasses, conifers and ferns: these at the least were all growing in
Greenland in its Miocene age. And even a thousand years ago the climate
must have been milder than now, to judge by the farming reports of the
colonists who seem to have been quite at home along the coast, which,
with its innumerable islands and fiords, is as intricate as that of

Searching for the ancient eastern settlement of the Norsemen, W. A.
Graah, in 1829, wintered at Julianehaab, which in all likelihood is the
site, although he knew it not. Possessed with the idea that it must be
on the south-eastern coast, he devoted his attention to that region
only, finding Eskimos who had never seen a white man and starting a
trading intercourse which led to most of them migrating to the less
inclement west. His work linked up with that of Scoresby, who in 1822
charted the main features of the sea-front from 69° to 75°. Ryder,
seventy years afterwards, filled in the details of much of Scoresby's
work, and found Eskimos further north, as Clavering had done in 1823,
when in the _Griper_ during Sabine's observations at Pendulum Island.

[Illustration: THE "GERMANIA" IN THE ICE]

It was to Pendulum Island, in 74° 32´, that Karl Koldewey, after his
preliminary run to 81° 5´ in 1868, took the _Germania_ to winter during
the German expedition of 1869. The two vessels, the _Germania_, a small
two-masted screw steamer of one hundred and forty-three tons, built
specially for Arctic service, and the _Hansa_, only half her size, which
had been strengthened for the voyage, reached Jan Mayen on the 9th of
July, and, hidden from each other by fog, sailed northwards for five
days. On the fifth evening the wind rose, the fog cleared, and a hundred
yards in front of them lay the ice like a rugged line of cliffs.

For a few days they sailed along it endeavouring to find an opening to
the north. Then, on the 20th, the _Germania_ ran up a signal to approach
and communicate, which was misunderstood, and, instead of repeating it
and making sure, the _Hansa_ put up her helm, fell off, crowded on all
sail, and disappeared in the fog. Koldewey, persisting in his efforts to
get through the pack, found an opening on the 1st of August. Nine days
afterwards he was again blocked, and finally, on the 27th, he reached
Pendulum Island, where he made the _Germania_ snug for the winter, which
proved to be remarkably mild.

The first sledge party travelling up one of the fiords met with abundant
vegetation and herds of reindeer and musk oxen, and were visited by
bears who had not learnt to be wary of man; and when the bears came back
with the sun in February they were as troublesome as those of Ice Haven
to the Dutchmen. Several sledge parties went out in the spring, and,
notwithstanding inadequate equipment, did excellent work. In April,
1870, Koldewey reached 77° 1´, almost up to Lambert Land, otherwise the
Land of Edam. Here, looking out over the ice-belt, they agreed that it
was "a bulwark built for eternity," and hoisting sails on their sledges
they ran back to the ship. But in 1905 the Duke of Orleans arrived on
the coast to reach 78° 16´ and discover that their Cape Bismarck was on
an island and their Dove Bay a strait.

In the neighbourhood of their winter quarters the glaciers and mountains
were well explored, and an attempt was made to measure an arc of the
meridian, which proved to be rather rough work among such surroundings.
The snowstorms were particularly pitiless and heavy, and the travelling
decidedly bad. The thaw began about the middle of May, and there was
more sledging through pools than usual, so that they did not want
variety in their occupations. On the 14th of July boating became
practicable, and a voyage was made to the Eskimo village found by
Clavering in 1823, on the island named after him, but the village proved
to be deserted and the huts in ruins—an unwelcome discovery, for, as
M'Clintock says in reference to it: "It is not less strange than sad to
find that a peaceable and once numerous tribe, inhabiting a coast-line
of at least seven degrees of latitude, has died out, or has almost died
out, whilst at the same time we find, by the diminution of the glaciers
and increase of animal life, that the terrible severity of the climate
has undergone considerable modification. We feel this saddening interest
with greater force when we reflect that the distance of Clavering's
village from the coast of Scotland is under one thousand miles. They
were our nearest neighbours of the New World."


A little north of the seventy-third parallel Koldewey discovered on his
way home the magnificent Franz Josef Fiord. Here the grandest scenery in
Greenland is to be found along its deep branches winding among the
mountains, one of which, Mount Petermann, is over eleven thousand feet
high. As the _Germania_ entered this remarkable inlet, which extends
inland for some five degrees of longitude, a fleet of icebergs were
sailing out of it with the current; the farther she advanced the warmer
seemed the temperature of the air and surface water, and the wilder and
more impressive became the grouping of the mighty cliffs and peaks with
their lofty waterfalls and raging torrents and deep glacier-filled
ravines. It was the great geographical discovery of the expedition.

Meanwhile Hegemann, trying to pass to the north more to the westward,
got the _Hansa_ beset on the 9th of September some twenty-four miles
from Foster Bay. As the ice-pressure threatened to become too great for
the vessel to resist, an elaborate house was planned and built on the
floe. Briquettes were used for the walls, the joints were filled up with
dry snow on which water was poured, and in ten minutes it hardened into
a compact mass. The house was twenty feet long, fourteen feet wide, and
four feet eight inches high at the sides, with a rising roof consisting
of sails and mats covered with deep snow. Into this house, which took a
week to build, provisions for two months were carried, besides wood and
fuel. The boats were put out, a flagstaff was set up, and quite a little
settlement was started on the ice; and no sooner was it completed than a
violent snowstorm, lasting for five days, buried both the ship and the
house. The ice increased around, and, the pressure of the accumulation
lifting the _Hansa_ seventeen feet above her original level, everything
of value was removed from her on to the ice and into the house. On the
22nd of October she sank, having drifted below the seventy-first
parallel; and all through the winter the floe, which was about two miles
across, leisurely made its way to the south.

Off Knighton Bay Christmas was kept with all possible honour. The
briquette house was decorated with coloured-paper festoons, and, by the
light of the sole remaining wax candle, the genial Germans made
themselves merry around a stubby Christmas tree devised out of an old
birch broom. Three weeks afterwards the floe cracked beneath the
dwelling. There was barely time to take refuge, but all hands were saved
in the boats. For two days they remained in them, poorly sheltered from
the storm and unable to clear out the snow. Then a smaller house was
built of the ruins of the old one, but it was only large enough for half
the party; and as the spring advanced the floe decreased, breaking away
at the edges as did that on which the _Polaris_ people drifted to

[Illustration: THE LAST DAYS OF THE "HANSA"]

At the end of March it entered Nukarbik Bay and there it stayed four
weeks, caught in an eddy, slowly moving round and round just far enough
from the shore to render an attempt at escape impossible; twice a day
they went in with the tide and out with the tide, the ice too bad for
the boats and never promising enough for a dash to the land. Having
become thoroughly acquainted with this portion of the coast with its
bold range of hills, its deep bays, its inlets, headlands, and islands,
a storm came on which cleared them out of the eddy and drove them
further south. Three weeks after that the floe had become so diminished
by the lashing of the surge that it was hardly a hundred yards across,
and large fragments were slipping off every hour.

They had been on it for two hundred days and drifted eleven hundred
miles when, on the 7th of May, water-lanes opening shorewards, they took
to the boats and ventured among the masses of ice, making for the south.
At first they had their difficulties in being compelled to haul up on
the floes to pass the night or wait for a favourable wind, which meant
severe work in unloading and reloading. Once during their painful
progress of more than a month they were kept on a floe for six days by
gales and snow-showers. Finally, after a long desperate effort, they
reached Illuilek Island, and thence proceeded close inshore among rocks
and ice to Frederiksdal, a couple of hours' walk from the southernmost
point of the Greenland mainland, Cape Farewell being part of an island
twenty-eight miles further to the south-east. On the 21st of June, eight
days afterwards, they were at Julianehaab, whence they sailed to be
landed at Copenhagen on the 1st of September, just ten days before the
_Germania_ steamed into Bremen. Thus the expedition, by its two
divisions, ice-borne and ship-borne, had skirted nearly all that was
then known of the east coast from end to end.

On the north coast, Beaumont's discoveries were extended by Lieutenant
James B. Lockwood for ninety-five miles, the trend of the shore taking
him up to 83° 24´, three minutes and thirty-four seconds nearer the
North Pole than Markham reached out on the sea. This was on the 13th of
May, 1882, during the ill-fated A. W. Greely expedition. Like most
American expeditions up to then this began well and ended badly, worse,
in fact, than any; and unlike them, and all others, it consisted
entirely of soldiers—as if a detachment of Royal Engineers had been sent
north on ordnance survey work. It was, however, more miscellaneous, for
among its twenty-three members were representatives of three cavalry
regiments, six infantry regiments, and an artilleryman.

This was to be the garrison of the International Circumpolar Station at
Lady Franklin Bay. The idea of a ring of stations round the Pole for the
study of the natural phenomena for which the Arctic regions afford so
wide and important a field was not new, but it was first reduced to
definiteness and its adoption secured by Karl Weyprecht of the
Austro-Hungarian expedition of 1872. At a meeting of German scientific
men at Gratz, in September, 1875, he procured assent to his general
principle that the best results in Arctic inquiry were to be obtained by
subordinating geographical discovery to physical investigation. It had
long been evident that the most valuable results had been obtained by
the ships and fixed observatories, and that the toilsome work of the
sledges in their successive approaches by a few more miles towards a
mathematical point, though most interesting to read about, had really
been of very little practical use owing to the necessarily light
equipment. Instead, therefore, of a number of isolated attempts at
irregular intervals, Weyprecht suggested that the better way would be to
attack the subject systematically by a group of expeditions at permanent
stations working together long enough at the same time for their
observations to be dealt with as part of a general scheme; and the
suggestion was approved although he did not live long enough to see the
stations occupied.

[Illustration: GREENLAND]

Three International Polar Conferences were held, in 1879 and the two
following years, at Hamburg, Berne, and St. Petersburg, at the last of
which it was arranged that the stations should be fourteen in number,
two in the south and twelve in the north, these twelve being—(1) The
Austrian at Jan Mayen; (2) the Danish at Godthaab; (3) the Finnish at
Sodankyla in Uleaborg; (4) the German at Kingua in Cumberland Sound; (5)
the British at Fort Rae on the northern arm of the Great Slave Lake; (6)
the Dutch at Dickson Harbour at the mouth of the Yenesei; (7) the
Norwegian at Bosekop at the head of Alten Fiord; (8) the Russian at
Little Karmakul Bay in Novaya Zemlya; (9) the second Russian on Sagastyr
Island in the Lena Delta; (10) the Swedish at Mossel Bay in Spitsbergen;
(11) the American at Point Barrow under Lieutenant P. H. Ray, who met
with marked success and brought his men all home in safety; and (12) the
second American at Lady Franklin Bay, the winter quarters of H.M.S.
_Discovery_, which Greely renamed Fort Conger.

In direct opposition to the guiding idea of the scheme, Greely's work
was complicated by having tacked on to it Howgate's proposal of another
dash for the Pole, his instructions requiring him to send out "sledging
parties in the interests of exploration and discovery." Further, his
expedition was fitted out in a way that almost invited disaster. Let one
instance suffice. "In speaking of this instrument," he explains, "it is
necessary to say that a dip-circle was especially made for the Lady
Franklin Bay Expedition, but it was by error shipped to the United
States Coast Survey. On calling for it, when the duplicate instrument
ordered could not be had in time, the late Mr. Carlisle Patterson, then
Superintendent, promptly promised that it should be sent on to me at New
York. On the day of my sailing, a dip-circle, carefully boxed, was
received; but on opening it at St. John, an old, rusty, unreliable
instrument was found in the place of the new circle. This resulted in
unsatisfactory and incomplete observations at Conger, for the old circle
having upright standards instead of transverse ones, as in the new, but
one end of the needle could be read. It must always be a matter of
regret that this unwarrantable and unauthorised substitution by some
person was made, which materially impaired, if not effectually
destroyed, the value of our two-years' dip-observations." This sort of
thing reduced International Polar Research to a farce, and the same
spirit appeared in other departments, more seriously than all in the
relief proceedings, which were conducted in a way that could only lead
to starvation.

In August, 1881, the _Proteus_, with the expedition on board, made her
way up Smith Sound and Kennedy Channel without serious hindrance until
she entered the south-eastern part of Lady Franklin Bay, where the
close, heavy pack brought her to a stop within eight miles of her
destination. She had come seven hundred miles from Upernivik in less
than a week, and, faced by ice twenty to fifty feet thick, she had to
wait another seven days before she got into Discovery Harbour. Here the
party landed and a house was built, and dissension arose which ended in
one of the company returning in the ship and another endeavouring to do
so and being too late, so that he had to remain as a sort of tolerated
volunteer. Two others were sent away as being physically unfit; but,
making up for these, were two Eskimos engaged at Upernivik.

Preliminary sledging began at once, and in the spring the two great
efforts were made. The doctor's, towards the Pole, left on the 19th of
March and got adrift on a floe from which the party escaped with the
loss of their tent, provisions, and some of their instruments. According
to Greely's report: "The farthest latitude attained by this party is
given by Dr. Pavy as 82° 56´, it being estimated, as no observations for
time, magnetic declination, or latitude were made at any period during
his absence."

On the 3rd of April, Lockwood with twelve men left for the coast of
Greenland. Up to Newman Bay four men had been sent back as unfit for
field-work. On the 16th, when the party started from here for the
north-east, Lockwood and Christiansen, the Eskimo, were in advance
hauling about eight hundred pounds with a team of eight dogs, a
three-men sledge following, and then two two-men sledges; at Cape Bryant
the men-sledges were sent back, and Lockwood, Brainard, and the Eskimo
went on with the dog-sledge. Cape Britannia was reached on the 5th of
May, and on the 13th they camped at Lockwood Island, and there, for the
first time, Americans reached a farthest north.

"I decided to make this cape my farthest," reported Lockwood, "and to
devote the little time we could stay to determining accurately my
position, if the weather would allow, which seemed doubtful. We built a
large, conspicuous cairn, about six feet high and the same width at the
base, on the lower of two benches. After repitching the tent Sergeant
Brainard and I returned to the cairn, and collected in that vicinity
specimens of the rocks and vegetation of the country, the sergeant
making almost all the collection. We ascended without difficulty to a
small fringe of rocks, which seemed from below to form the top. The
ascent, at first very gradual, became steeper as we went up, but we had
no difficulty, as for some distance below the summit the surface is
covered with small stones, as uniform in size, position, etc., as those
of a macadamised road. Reached the top at 3.45 p.m. and unfurled the
American flag (Mrs. Greely's) to the breeze in latitude 83° 24´ N.
(according to last observation). The summit is a small plateau, narrow,
but extending back to the south to broken, snow-covered heights. It
commanded a very extended view in every direction. The barometer, being
out of order, was not brought along, so I did not get the altitude. The
horizon on the land side was concealed by numberless snow-covered
mountains, one profile overlapping another, and all so merged together,
on account of their universal covering of snow, that it was impossible
to detect the topography of the region. To the north lay an unbroken
expanse of ice, interrupted only by the horizon."

On Midsummer Day Greely started with a four-wheel wagon to explore
Grinnell Land. The wagon, in the men's vernacular, was a man-killer, and
was abandoned after they had dragged it a hundred miles. On this journey
much exploring work was done in the unknown country, the most
interesting find being that of the Eskimo house at Lake Hazen. In this,
according to Greely's description, there were two fireplaces, one in the
east and the other in the south, both of which had been built outward so
as to take up no part of the space of the room, which was over seventeen
feet long and nine feet wide. The sides of the entire dwelling were low
walls of sodded earth, lined inside with flat thin slates, the tops of
which were about two feet above the level of the interior floor, and the
bench was covered with flat slabs of slate. Near by was a smaller house
of the same character, and around were a large number of relics,
including walrus-ivory toggles for dog-traces, sledge-bars and runners,
an arrow head, skinning knife, and articles of worked bone. Next year
further explorations of the back country were undertaken, so that some
six thousand miles of the interior were viewed, disclosing many fertile
valleys with their herds of musk ox.

Meanwhile the _Neptune_, with supplies for Fort Conger, had in August,
1882, been vainly endeavouring to get north, and, a few miles from Cape
Hawks, had turned back with the pack piling the ice as high as her rail.
Six attempts she made before she gave up and retreated, after making
several deposits of stores at Cape Sabine and elsewhere. In July, 1883,
the _Proteus_, making a similar attempt to reach Greely, was crushed in
the ice off Cape Albert, her side opening with a crash while the men
were working in the hold, the ice forcing its way into the coal-bunkers
and then pouring in so that as soon as the pressure slackened she went
down, escape to the south being effected in the boats.

Next year, matters having become serious, a naval expedition consisting
of the _Thetis_, the _Bear_, and Nares's old ship the _Alert_, presented
by the British Government, was placed in the capable hands of Commander
Winfield Schley, who had with him George Melville of _Jeannette_ fame as
engineer of the _Thetis_, and matters were conducted in quite a
different way under much more favourable circumstances. Schley intended
to find Greely, at all costs, and he did so. First he found a cairn at
Brevoort Island, in which were the papers deposited by Greely relating
how he had had to come south owing to shortness of supplies, and how his
party were then—21st of October, 1883—encamped on the west side of a
small neck of land distant about equally from Cape Sabine and Cocked Hat

As it was then the 22nd of June, 1884, and they had had only forty days'
complete rations to live upon, Schley hurried off at once. Had he been
two days later he would have been too late. There was a tent wrecked by
the gale, with its pole toppling over and only kept in place by the guy
ropes. Ripping it up with a knife, a sight of horror was disclosed. On
one side, close to the opening, with his head towards the outside, lay
what was apparently a dead man. On the opposite side was a poor fellow,
alive but without hands or feet, and with a spoon tied to the stump of
his right arm. Two others, seated on the ground, were pouring something
out of a rubber bottle into a tin can. Directly opposite, on his hands
and knees, was a dark man with a long matted beard, in a dirty and
tattered dressing-gown with a little red skull cap on his head, and
brilliant staring eyes. As Colwell appeared, he raised himself a little,
and put on a pair of eyeglasses.

"Who are you?" asked Colwell.

The man made no answer, staring at him vacantly.

"Who are you?" again.

One of the men spoke up. "That's the Major—Major Greely."

Colwell crawled in and took him by the hand, saying to him, "Greely, is
this you?"

"Yes," said Greely in a faint, broken voice, hesitating with his words;
"yes—seven of us left—here we are—dying—like men. Did what I came to
do—beat the best record."

Near at hand were ten graves. The bodies, despite Greely's
remonstrances, were taken up and removed for burial in the United
States. "Little could be seen of the condition of the bodies, as they
had been clothed, and all that appeared was intact. In preparing them
subsequently," says Schley, "it was found that six had been cut and the
flesh removed." One of these, that of a cavalryman serving under the
assumed name of Henry, had a bullet in it. He had been shot, at Greely's
written order, "for stealing sealskin thongs, the only remaining food."

The next to add to our knowledge of the northern coast of Greenland was
Robert E. Peary, of the American Navy, who seems to have devoted his
life to Arctic exploration. On his first expedition in 1886, he
penetrated with Maigaard for some distance into the country in the
neighbourhood of Jakobshavn as a sort of pioneering venture. In 1891,
accompanied by his wife, when outward bound in the _Kite_ in the
Melville Bay pack, he had his leg broken. The ship had been butting a
passage through the spongy sheets of ice which had imprisoned her, when
in going astern a detached cake struck the rudder, jamming the tiller
against the wheel-house where Peary was standing, and pinned his leg
long enough to snap it between the knee and the ankle. In spite of this
he insisted on being landed with the rest of the party at McCormick Bay,
a little to the north of Whale Sound, where a house was built and the
winter spent.

Making a good recovery, he set off in May to sledge across North
Greenland through snow and over it, and over snow-arched crevasses,
often, in cloudy weather, travelling in grey space with nothing visible
beyond a foot or two around him. After fifty-seven days' journey to the
north-east and along Peary Channel, the northern boundary of the
mainland, he left the inland ice for a strange country dotted with
snowdrifts and mostly of red sandstone, in which murmuring streams,
roaring waterfalls, and the song of snow-buntings formed an agreeable
change from the silence of the desert of snow. Four days' hard labouring
through this brought him on the 4th of July to Independence Bay on the
north-east coast, where from Navy Cliff, nearly four thousand feet high,
he looked across to Academy Land on the other side of the bay and beyond
it over the region leading down to the farthest north of the Duke of
Orleans. "It was almost impossible," he says, "to believe that we were
standing upon the northern shore of Greenland as we gazed from the
summit of this bronze cliff, with the most brilliant sunshine all about
us, with yellow poppies growing between the rocks around our feet, and a
herd of muskoxen in the valley behind us. Down in that valley I had
found an old friend, a dandelion in bloom, and had seen the bullet-like
flight and heard the energetic buzz of the humble-bee."

[Illustration: R. E. Peary, U. S. N.]

Next year he and his wife were out again to take up their quarters at a
house they built at Bowdoin Bay, where, in September, their daughter was
born. In March, 1894, he started for another journey across Greenland,
with twelve sledges and over ninety dogs, but severe weather drove him
back after travelling some two hundred miles. Staying over that winter
instead of returning in the _Falcon_, he set out in the spring, and
under almost desperate circumstances managed to reach and return from
Independence Bay.

Following this came his expedition of 1898, in which he spent four
winters in the Arctic regions and almost met with Petersen's fate by a
venturesome winter sledge journey, which resulted in the freezing of his
feet and the loss of eight of his toes. Travelling in Grinnell Land he
proved beyond doubt that it was continuous with Ellesmere Land, as had
been admitted by those who named it. Following Lockwood's track, he
continued it up to 83° 54´, along Hazen Land, practically completing the
coast-line to Cape Henry Parish, its furthest east, thus rounding the
north of the Greenland archipelago, and even there finding traces of
Eskimos and a fauna similar to that of other Arctic lands hundreds of
miles further south. And striking northwards over the sea from Cape
Hecla, with seven men and six dog-sledges, into the breaking, drifting
pack, he made a dash for the Pole which ended at 84° 17´.

His next northern venture, though not more remarkable, is destined,
perhaps, to be remembered longer. On it he sighted the new land away out
in the sea north-west of Grinnell Land, nearer to the Pole than any
other land discovered up to then, and where it was expected to be. And
out over the ice he went to eclipse his 1902 record by nearly two
hundred miles, in the best planned of all his journeys.

In July, 1905, he had left New York in the _Roosevelt_, a steamship of
over six hundred tons and more than a thousand horse-power, rigged
complete as a three-masted coasting schooner, able to hold her own
almost anywhere in the event of her engines becoming useless. One
hundred and eighty-two feet in length, thirty-five and a half in beam,
and sixteen and a quarter in depth; sharp in the bow and rounded
amidships; treble in framing and double in planking, with sides thirty
inches thick, twelve feet of deadwood in her bow, and six feet of false
keels and kelsons, she was specially built for the expedition as the
strongest and most powerful vessel ever sent on Arctic service, and was
launched on the 23rd of May, 1905, Mrs. Peary naming her by smashing a
block of ice against her ironclad stem.

A month out from New York, the _Roosevelt_ left Etah laden deep with
coal from the _Eric_ that had awaited her there, and having on board
over fifty Eskimos, of both sexes and all sizes, and some two hundred
Eskimo dogs. Leaving a reserve of provisions at Bache Peninsula, she
worked up through open water and occasional ice to Richardson Bay, where
the pack looked so threatening that Peary literally rammed his way
across to the eastern side, and so continued northwards. When off Cape
Lupton the ship received such rough treatment that the rudder was
twisted and the head-bands and tiller-rods broken, as she ground along
the face of the ice-foot "with a motion and noise like that of a
railway-car which has left the rails"; but this was the only time she
was in serious danger during her most fortunate run. Resting for six
days in Newman Bay to repair damages and make ready for a final effort,
she was headed westward to Grinnell Land through the floes, and after a
continuous battle of thirty-five hours, reached the ice-foot at Cape
Sheridan, a little north of the old winter quarters of the _Alert_, and
found her wintering place, like her, just as the Polar pack closed in
against the shore. The endeavour had been to lay up in Porter Bay,
twenty-seven miles further north, but the state of the ice made this

Provisions were plentiful, as no less than two hundred and fifty musk
oxen had been shot by the 1st of November, and there were numbers of
hares and several herds of the white reindeer first mentioned by Hudson
in his second voyage three hundred years ago. During the very mild
winter eighty of the dogs died, and when sledging began only twenty
teams of six each were available. The plan of the northern advance over
the ice was to divide it into sections of about fifty miles each, with
snow houses at each station, the nearest station being supplied from the
base and supplying the next, and so on, thus keeping up an unbroken line
of communication gradually extending nearer to the Pole, the sledges
working backwards and forwards, outwards laden and inwards empty,
between station and station along the line.

The land was left at Point Moss, north-west of Cape Joseph Henry. At 84°
38´ a lead in the pack stopped the way for six days until the young ice
was thick enough to bear, and forty miles further north the vanguard
drifted east some seventy miles during a storm for another six days. On
the 20th of April a region of much open water was reached, and from
midnight to noon next day the last effort was made by Peary, Henson, and
a small party of Eskimos, the farthest north, 87° 6´, being attained and
immediately left in a rapid retreat for safety.

Thus Peary went nearer to the Pole than Cagni by thirty-two minutes or
thirty-seven statute miles, both being stopped by water with apparently
similar conditions ahead of them. What the conditions may be along the
intervening two hundred miles from Peary's farthest nobody knows; but
although a good many things may happen between London and York, which is
about the same distance, there is good reason for supposing that, even
if there be land somewhere, the road is over a sea more or less packed
with ice which is never without its channels.

One thing is clear: the attainment of the Pole is a matter of money.
Given the funds, the men and the dogs, and the ships, boats, sledges,
and other things will be forthcoming, and the journey accomplished, not
by a rush, but on some systematic station-to-station plan; though it is
not impossible that it may be done by chance in some exceptional year,
for the climate of the north is variable and has a wider range of
temperature than that of Britain in its good years and its bad years.

Let us hope there may be land at the exact spot, for then the position
can be checked at leisure, and there will be no doubt of its having been
reached. Joseph Moxon, Hydrographer to the King, in 1652 met at
Amsterdam a sailor of a Greenland ship which "went not out to fish that
summer, but only to take in the lading of the whole fleet to bring it to
an early market"—in other words, to act as a carrier—which ship, before
the whaling fleet had caught enough to lade her, had by order of the
Company sailed to the North Pole and back again, and even two degrees
beyond it; no land seen, no ice, and the weather as it was in
summer-time at Amsterdam.

A sailor's yarn told in a tavern? Only this and nothing more, perhaps;
though a good many things were kept dark in the whaling trade as in
other trades. But if there had been an island at the Pole we might
eventually have been able to verify that ancient mariner's tale.


 Abruzzi, Duke of, The, 76

 Academy Land, 281

 Actinia Haven, 87

 _Advance_, The, 183, 236

 _Aid_, The, 218, 219

 Akaitcho, 150, 156, 160

 Alaska, 134

 Aldrich, Pelham, 255

 _Alert_, H.M.S., 248, 278

 _Alexander_, The, 179

 Alexander, Cape, 234, 235

 Alexandra Land, 75

 _Alexandria_, H.M.S., 179

 Alfred Ernest, Cape, 257

 Ameralik Fiord, 261

 America, The Norse discovery of, 3

 Amundsen, Roald, 178, 214

 _Ancylonema nordenskioeldii_, 264

 Anderson Falls, The, 163

 Andrée, S. A., 104

 Anjou, P. F., 108

 _Ann Frances_, The, 220

 Antelope, 126

 Archangel, 6

 Archer, Colin, 91

 Archer Fiord, 250, 257

 Archer, R., 257

 _Arctic_, The, 247

 Arctic Search Expedition, The first, 7

 _Assistance_, H.M.S., 183, 184

 Atlassof, 128

 Augustus the Eskimo, 157, 159, 160

 Auk, Cape, 69

 Auleitsivik Fiord, 263

 Aurora Borealis, The, 67

 Austin, Horatio, 183

 Austria Sound, 68

 Avigait, 264

 Baal's River, 260

 Back, George, 38, 149, 151, 156, 160, 203

 Baden-Powell, Sir George, 105

 Baffin, William, 15, 233

 Baffin Land, 233

 Banks Land, 172, 176, 182

 Baranoff Cape, 85

 Barents Bay, 49

 Barents, Willem, 9, 49

 Barnacle Goose, The, 12

 Barren Grounds, The, 156, 159

 Barrington, The Hon. Daines, 29

 Barrow Point, 137, 167, 273

 Barrow, Sir John, 178

 Barrow Strait, 180

 Bathurst Island, 180, 206

 Bear, Black, 110

 Bear Island, 12

 Bear, Polar, 11, 12, 23, 27, 28, 52, 73, 74, 88, 99, 186, 238, 267

 _Bear_, The, 278

 Beaufort Sea, The, 173

 Beaumont, Lewis Anthony, 257

 Beechey, Cape, 159

 Beechey, Frederick William, 35, 137

 Beechey Island, 180, 183, 186, 206

 Belanger, 151

 Belcher, Edward, 184

 Bellot, Joseph René, 183, 207

 Bellot Strait, 197

 Bennet, Stephen, 12

 Bennett Island, 107, 117, 126

 Bering Strait, 85, 127

 Bering, Veit, 130

 Berry, Captain, 141

 Bessels, Emil, 245

 Best, George, 220

 Best's Bulwark, 219

 Bille, Cape, 262

 Bird Cape, 12

 Birds, 12, 88, 113, 114, 141, 160, 172, 181, 228, 239, 258, 280

 Bismarck, Cape, 268

 Bjarni discovers America, 2

 Bjelkof Island, 107

 _Blossom_, H.M.S., 137

 Boat Extreme, 167

 Bolscheretzkoi, 131

 _Bona Confidentia_, The, 5

 _Bona Esperanza_, The, 5

 Booth, Felix, 194

 Boothia, 190

 Borough, Steven, 6

 Borough, William, 8

 Bosekop, 273

 Bounty Cape, 180

 Bowdoin Bay, 281

 Bowen, Port, 193

 Bradley, Thomas, 4

 Brainard, D. L., 276

 Brattelid, 261

 Brentford Bay, 197, 207

 British Channel, 75, 99

 Brorok, Cape, 82

 Brown, Robert, 265

 Brunel, Olivier, 9

 Brunn, Mount, 71

 Buchan, David, 33, 157

 Buchan Island, 211

 Buddington, J. M., 245

 Bulun, 124

 Bunge, A., 126

 Burrough Strait, 7

 Bush, Henry, 129

 Butcher's Island, 217

 Byam Martin Island, 180

 Bylot, Robert, 233

 Cabot, Sebastian, 4, 5

 Cagni, Umberto, 77, 284

 Cambridge Bay, 177

 Camden Bay, 177

 _Carcass_, H.M.S., 29

 Carlsen, Elling, 44, 58

 Carlsen, Olaf, 65

 _Castor_, The (boat), 166

 Castor and Pollux River, 169, 208

 Cathay Company, The, 218

 Catherine, The Empress, 130

 Cator, Lieutenant, 183

 Cavendish thermometer, The, 30

 Chamisso Island, 138

 Chancellor, Richard, 5

 Char, 44, 258

 Charing Cross, 220

 Charles's Foreland, Prince, 14

 Chelagskoi, Cape, 108

 Chelyuskin, Cape, 84

 Cherie Island, 12

 Chippewyan, Fort, 147, 152, 166

 Christian Land, King, 185

 Chukches, The, 89, 115, 127

 Chvoinof, 106

 Clavering Island, 268

 Clerke, Charles, 136

 _Clio borealis_, 268

 Coal, 45, 249, 258

 Collinson, Richard, 171, 175

 Columbia, Cape, 257

 Columbus visits Iceland, 3

 Colwell, J. C., 279

 Commander Islands, The, 135

 Conferences, The Polar, 273

 Confidence, Fort, 167

 Conger, Fort, 273

 Constitution, Cape, 236

 Conway, William Martin, 47

 Cook, James, 90, 136

 Cookery-of-Haarlem, 25

 Coppermine River, 147, 153, 159, 167

 Cornwall, North, 185

 Cornwallis Island, 180, 206

 Coronation Gulf, 155

 Countess of Warwick Island, 219, 222

 Crow's Nest, The, 30

 Crozier, F. R. M., 205, 212

 Cumberland Gulf, 227

 Dall, W. H., 142

 Danes Island, 104

 Danish Sound, 185

 Davis, John, 9, 223

 Davis Strait, 227

 Dealy Island, 174, 180

 Dease, Peter Warren, 158, 165

 Dease River, 158, 159

 Dease Strait, 168

 Dee, Dr. John, 223

 De Haven, Lieutenant, 183

 De Long, G. W., 116

 Deschnef, 85

 Des Vœux, C. F., 212

 Devon, North, 180

 _Diana_, The, 44

 Dickson Harbour, 85, 273

 _Discovery_, H.M.S. (Cook), 136

 _Discovery_, H.M.S. (Nares), 248

 _Discovery_, The (Hudson), 233

 Discovery Harbour, 250

 Distillation apparatus, The, 30

 _Dolphin_, The (boat), 157, 158

 Dolphin and Union Strait, 159

 _Dorothea_, H.M.S., 33

 Dove Bay, 268

 Drummond, Thomas, 157, 160

 Dudley, Ambrose, 216

 Dudley Digges Cape, 234

 Durfourth, Captain, 5

 Dyer, Cape, 227

 East Cape, 132

 Ebierbing and Tookoolito, 244

 Edam, Land of, 268

 Edge, Thomas, 15

 Edge's Island, 15

 _Edward Bonaventure_, The, 5

 Egede, Hans, 259

 Egede, Paul, 260

 _Eira_, The, 72

 _Elizabeth_, The, 232

 _Ellen_, The, 231

 Ellesmere Land, 235, 281

 Ellis, John, 225

 Elmwood, 103

 Elson, Thomas, 137, 159

 Elson Bay, 137

 _Endeavour_, The (boat), 41

 English Chief, 147

 Entada bean, The, 44

 Enterprise, Fort, 150

 _Enterprise_, H.M.S., 171, 175

 _Enterprise_, The (boat), 41

 _Erebus_, H.M.S., 171, 183, 205

 _Eric_, The, 283

 Eric the Red, 2, 261

 Ermine, 188

 Eskimo relics, 277

 Eskimos first met with, 217

 Eskimos, Migration of the, 3

 Eskimos, 3, 139, 140, 145, 152, 154, 157, 158, 159, 167, 168, 176, 192,
    198, 200, 207, 211, 217, 222, 225, 229, 237, 244, 246, 258, 260,
    277, 282, 283

 Etah, 283

 Evensen, Captain, 83

 Exeter Sound, 227

 _Express_, The, 87

 _Falcon_, The, 281

 Farewell, Cape, 271

 Fedotof, 129

 Felix Harbour, 197

 _Felix_, The, 182

 Fern, The first Spitsbergen, 43

 Finlay Island, 185

 Finlayson Islands, 177

 Fish River, The Great, 160, 169

 Fishes, 153, 176, 258

 FitzJames, James, 212

 Fligely, Cape, 70, 76

 Floeberg Beach, 250

 Flora, Cape, 72, 75, 103

 Forsyth, C. C., 183

 Fossils, 43, 107, 126, 173, 266

 Foulke Harbour, 239

 Fox, Arctic, 23, 53

 Fox, Black, 144

 Fox, Silver-grey, 144

 _Fox_, The, 208

 _Fram_, The, 91, 185

 Franklin, Fort, 158

 Franklin, John, 33, 149, 156, 195, 205

 Franklin, Lady, 209, 235

 Franklin Record, The, 212

 Franklin Strait, 206

 Franz Josef Fiord, 269

 Franz Josef Land, 62, 64

 _Fraser_, The, 87

 Frazer, Cape, 236

 Frederick Jackson Island, 99

 Frederiksdal, 271

 Frobisher Bay, 216

 Frobisher, Martin, 215

 Frozen Strait, 190

 Fur-seal, The, 135

 Fury Beach, 193, 202

 Fury and Hecla Strait, 193

 _Fury_, H.M.S., 191

 _Gabriel_, The (Bering), 132

 _Gabriel_, (Frobisher), 216, 218

 Gabriel Islands, The, 221

 Gardiner, Charles, 59

 Garry, Fort, 165

 _George_, The, 8

 _Germania_, The, 267

 Gibraltar Bay, Battle of, 58

 Giffard, G. A., 255

 Gilbert, Adrian, 223, 229

 Gilbert, Humphrey, 215, 221

 Gilbert Sound, 225

 Gjöa, The, 214

 Gjöahaven, 214

 Glaciers, 16, 46, 68, 189, 242, 237, 244, 264

 _Glow-worm_, The, 59

 Godfrey, William, 236

 Godthaab, 91, 225, 273

 Godthaab Fiord, 260

 Gore, Graham, 206, 212

 Graah, W. A., 266

 Graham Island, 185

 Greely, A. W., 272

 Greenland, 2, 14, 259

 Greenland Archipelago, The, 282

 Greenland, East, 12

 _Greyhound_, The, 10

 Griffith Island, 180

 Grinnell Land, 236, 277, 281

 _Griper_, H.M.S., 179, 202, 267

 Gulf Stream, The, 13, 26, 44

 Gundersen, Captain, 59

 Gunnbiörn discovers Greenland, 2

 Hakluyt Headland, 14

 Hall Basin, 245

 Hall, C. F., 213, 222, 244

 Hall, Christopher, 216

 Hall, James, 233

 Hall Island, 68

 Hall's Rest, 246

 Hamilton, Cape, 174

 Hans Hendrik, 237, 245, 249

 _Hansa_, The, 267

 Hare, 172, 176, 181, 186, 188, 283

 Hare Fiord, 186

 Hartstene Bay, 241

 Hayes, I. I., 237

 Hazen, Lake, 277

 Hazen Land, 281

 Hearne, Samuel, 147

 Hecla, Cape, 282

 _Hecla_, H.M.S., 40, 179, 191

 Hedenström, 107

 Heemskerck, Jacob van, 10, 49

 Heer, Oswald, 266

 Hegemann, Captain, 269

 Heiberg Land, Axel, 185

 Helluland, 3

 Hendon, North, 197

 Hendrik, Hans, 237, 245, 249

 Hendriksen Sound, 185

 Henrietta Island, 107

 Henson, C., 284

 Hepburn, John, 156, 207

 _Herald_, H.M.S., 138

 Herald Island, 116, 141

 Herschel, Cape, 169, 212

 Himkoff, Alexis, 26

 Hinlopen Strait, 17

 Hobson, W. R., 208, 212

 Hohenlohe Island, 68

 Hood River, The, 155

 Hood, Robert, 149

 Hooper, William Hulme, 140

 Hope, Fort, 204

 _Hope_, The (Young), 75

 _Hope_, The (Egede), 260

 Howgate, H. W., 274

 Hudson Bay, 62

 Hudson, Henry, 13, 15, 60

 Hudson River, The, 61

 Hudson Strait, 4, 62, 221, 232

 Hudson's Bay Company, The, 146

 Hudson's Touches, 14

 Humboldt Glacier, The, 237

 Hyaqua shell, The, 145

 Icebergs, 35, 230, 264

 Ice-drill, The, 30

 Ice Haven, 49

 Iceland, 2

 Icy Cape, 136, 137

 Igloolik, 193

 Igloos, 198, 211

 Ikmallik, 200

 Independence Bay, 280

 Inglefield, E. A., 235

 Ingolf lands in Iceland, 2

 Insects, 192, 281

 International Polar Stations, The, 272

 _Intrepid_, H.M.S., 183

 _Investigator_, H.M.S., 171

 Irkaipii, 89, 136

 Irving, John, 212, 213

 _Isabel_, The, 235

 Isabella, Cape, 235

 _Isabella_, The, 179, 202

 Isachsen, Cape, 186

 _Isbjörn_, The, 64

 Jackman, Charles, 8, 60

 Jackson, Frederick G., 75, 103

 Jakobshavn, 266, 280

 Jan Mayen, 14, 273

 Japanese, The, 129, 133

 _Jason_, The, 261

 _Jeannette_, The, 91, 116, 141

 Jeannette Island, 107

 Jenkinson, Anthony, 7, 215

 Jesup Land, 185

 Joe and Hannah, 244

 Johansen, F. H., 96

 _John_, The, 196

 Jones Sound, 234

 Joseph Henry, Cape, 284

 Journal, The, introduced, 5

 _Judith_, The, 219

 Julianehaab, 266

 Kalutunah, 237

 Kamchatka, 129

 Kane, E. K., 236

 Kane Sea, The, 235

 Kara Sea, The, 7

 Karmakul Bay, 273

 Kay, E. C. Lister, 59

 Kellett, Henry, 138, 174, 184

 Kendall, E. N., 156

 Kennedy Channel, 236

 Kennedy, Port, 211

 Kennedy, William, 183, 207

 King, Richard, 160

 Kingua, 273

 King William Land, 163, 214

 _Kite_, The, 280

 Knight, John, 146

 Kod-lun-arn, 223

 Kola, 9, 12, 57

 Koldewey, Karl, 267

 Kolguiev, 8

 Kolyuchin Bay, 90

 Kompakova, The, 129

 Kotelnoi Island, 106, 117

 Kraechoj, 127

 _Krusenstern_, The, 196

 Kruzof Island, 134

 Ku Mark Surka, 122

 Kuriles, The, 133

 Kutchins, The, 145

 Labrador, Discovery of, 4

 Labrets, 145

 Lady Franklin, 183

 Lady Franklin Bay, 250, 272

 Lambert Land, 268

 Lamont, James, 44

 Lancaster Sound, 179, 180, 234

 Lands Lokk, 186

 Laptef, Dmitri, 85

 Laptef, Khariton, 84

 Leif lands in America, 3

 Lemming, 188

 _Lena_, The, 87

 Lena Delta, The, 106

 Liakhoff, 89, 106

 Liakhoff Island, 89, 126

 Lichens, 156

 Lifeboat Cove, 247

 Linschoten, Van, 10

 _Lion_, The (boat), 157, 158

 Little Table Island, 41

 Lock, Michael, 61, 216

 Lockwood, James B., 272, 275

 Lockwood Island, 276

 Log, The, introduced, 5

 Long, G. W. De, 116

 Long, Thomas, 141

 Loschkin, S., 62

 Louis Napoleon, Cape, 235

 Ludlow, 62

 Lunar at sea, The first, 17

 Lundstrom, 85

 Lütke, 63

 Lutwidge, Skeffington, 29

 Lyon, George Francis, 191, 202

 Mackenzie, Alexander, 147

 Mackenzie River, Discovery of, 148

 Macintoshes, The first, 157

 M'Clintock, F. L., 184, 208, 248, 268

 M'Clintock, Cape, 99

 M'Clure, Robert Le M., 171, 177

 McCormick Bay, 280

 McKay, James, 161

 _Magnet_, The (boat), 204

 Magnetic North Pole, 214

 Mahlemut labret, The, 145

 Mammals, Fossil, 126

 Mammoth, 107, 115, 126

 Markham, A. H., 247, 249

 Markland, 3

 Marten skins, 144

 Martens, F., 25

 Mary Harmsworth, Cape, 75

 _Mary Margaret_, The, 15

 Matiuschkin, 108

 _Matthew_, The, 4

 Matty Island, 201

 Matyushin Shar, 60

 May, William H., 256

 Melville Bay, 234

 Melville, G. W., 117

 Melville Island, 174, 176, 180

 Melville Peninsula, 192, 205

 Merchant Adventurers, The, 5

 _Mercury_, The, 9

 Mercy Bay, 174

 _Mermaid_, The, 229

 Meta Incognita, 219

 _Michael_, The, 216

 Middendorf Glacier, The, 68

 Middleton, Christopher, 190

 Mistaken Streight, 221

 Moloi, 106

 Montreal Island, 162, 169, 206, 212

 Moons, Mock, 151

 _Moonshine_, The, 224, 229

 Moore, Thomas E. L., 138

 Moose-hunting, 144

 Moravians, The, 261

 Morton, William, 236, 245

 Moss, E. L., 254

 Moss Point, 284

 Mossel Bay, 44, 45, 273

 Moxon, Joseph, 285

 Murchison, Cape, 197

 Murchison River, 208

 Muscovy Company, The, 6, 13, 15, 17, 60, 233

 Musk ox, 126, 172, 181, 188, 248, 267, 283

 Nai, Cornelis, 9

 _Nancy Dawson_, The, 139

 Nansen, Fridtjof, 91, 261

 Nares, G. S., 248

 Narwhal, 31, 188, 219

 Nassau, Cape, 9

 Navy Cliff, 280

 Nelson, Horatio, 29

 _Neptune_, The, 277

 Newfoundland, Discovery of, 4

 Newman Bay, 283

 New Siberian Islands, The, 88, 106

 Nindemann, 118

 Nordenskiöld, Adolf Erik, 43, 44, 85, 263

 Noros, 118

 Norsemen discover America, 2

 Northbrook Island, 100

 North Cape, The, 6, 89, 136

 North East Land, 26

 North-East Passage, The, 5, 85

 Northern Passage, The, 5

 _North Pole_, The (boat), 204

 North Pole, Magnetic, 214

 _North Star_, The, 229

 North Water, The, 234

 North-West Fur Company, The, 147

 North-West Passage, The, 5

 Norton Sound, 142

 Nova Kholmogory, 9

 Novaya Zemlya, 7, 9, 49

 Nulato, 142

 Ny Herrnhut, 261

 Obi, The, 85

 Observation, Mount, 172

 Ochotsk, 129

 Ommanney, Erasmus, 183

 Omoki, The, 115

 Ooligbuck the Eskimo, 157, 158, 168

 Oraefa, Mount, 2

 Orleans, Duke of, 268

 Osborn, Sherard, 183

 Ostiaks, The, 115

 _Otaria_, The, 105

 Pachtussoff, 63

 _Pandora_, The, 116

 Parhelia, 152

 Parker Bay, 171

 Parr, Alfred A. C., 255

 Parry, William Edward, 40, 178, 179, 191, 234

 Parry Falls, The, 163

 _Patience_, The, 233

 Patrick Island, Prince, 174, 184

 Pavy, O., 275

 Payer, Julius, 64

 Peary Channel, 280

 Peary, Robert E., 185, 186, 280

 Peel Sound, 206

 Pellham, Edward, 18

 Pelly Bay, 207

 Pelly Point, 171

 Pendulum Island, 267

 Penny Strait, 206

 Penny, William, 183

 Pet, Arthur, 7, 60

 Pet Strait, 8

 Peter the Great, 130

 Petermann Fiord, 248

 Petermann, Mount, 269

 Petersen Bay, 214

 Petersen, C., 208

 Petropaulovsk, 134

 Phipps, The Hon. Constantine John, 29

 Pim, Bedford, 174

 _Pioneer_, H.M.S., 183

 Plants, 43, 88, 91, 113, 114, 156, 192, 248, 264, 266, 281

 _Plover_, H.M.S., 138

 Point Lake, 153

 Point Victory, 206

 Polar Stations, The International, 272, 273

 _Polaris_, The, 245

 _Polhem_, The, 44

 _Pollux_, The (boat), 166

 Poole, Jonas, 13, 15

 Porcupine River, The, 142

 Pospeloff, 62

 Pribylov Islands, The, 135

 _Prince Albert_, The, 183, 207

 Prince of Wales, Cape, 136

 Prince of Wales Strait, 172, 176

 _Proeven_, The, 85

 Pronchistschef, 85

 _Proteus_, The, 274, 278

 _Protococcus nivalis_, 192

 Prudhoe Land, 234

 Pullen, W. J. S., 139

 Quennerstedt, A., 43

 _Racehorse_, H.M.S., 29

 _Racer_, The, 183

 Rae, Fort, 273

 Rae, John, 170, 204, 207

 Rae Strait, 208, 214

 Raleigh, Mount, 227

 Rat River, The, 142

 _Ravenscraig_, The, 247

 Rawlings Bay, 241

 Rawson, Wyatt, 257

 Red snow, 192

 Regent Inlet, Prince, 180

 _Regina_, The, 59

 Reikjavik founded, 2

 Reindeer, 10, 18, 23, 27, 28, 60, 109, 150, 169, 172, 174, 176, 181,
    188, 267, 283

 Reindeer, White, 61, 283

 Reliance, Fort, 160

 _Reliance_, The (boat), 158

 Rensselaer Harbour, 235, 236

 Repulse Bay, 191, 204, 207

 _Resolute_, H.M.S., 175, 183, 184

 _Resolution_, H.M.S., 136

 _Resolution_, The (whaler), 31

 Return Reef, 159, 166

 Rhinoceros, 126

 Richardson, John, 149, 156, 170

 Richthofen Peak, 71

 Rijp, Jan Corneliszoon, 11, 57

 Ringnes Islands, The, 185

 Ritenbenk, 249

 Robeson Channel, 245

 Rocky Mountains first crossed, 149

 _Rodgers_, The, 141

 _Roosevelt_, The, 282

 Rosmysslof, 62

 Ross, James Clark, 41, 181, 201

 Ross, John, 179, 182, 194, 234

 Rudolf Island, Prince, 75, 76, 82

 Hudson's Point, 14

 Russell, Cape, 235

 Ryder, Lieut., 266

 Sabine, Edward, 181, 267

 Sabine, Cape, 235

 Sable, The, 135

 Sagastyr Island, 273

 St. Elias, Cape, 134

 St. Elias, Mount, 136

 St. Lawrence Bay, 141

 St. Lawrence Island, 132

 _St. Paul_, The, 134

 _St. Peter_, The, 134

 _Salmo arcturus_, 258

 Salmon trout, 176

 _Salutation_, The, 18

 Samoyeds, The, 10, 115

 Sanderson's Hope, 232

 Sanderson, William, 224

 Sannikof, 107

 Schley, Winfield S., 278

 Schonau Island, 70

 Schwatka, Frederick, 213

 Scoresby, William, the elder, 30

 Scoresby, William, the younger, 31, 129, 266

 Seal, The Fur, 135

 Seals, 31, 88

 Sea-otter, The, 135

 _Searchthrift_, The, 7

 Semonovski Island, 117

 Serdze Kamen, Cape, 90, 132, 136

 Seven Islands, The, 40

 Shackleton, Cape, 233

 Shantar Islands, The, 130

 Sheathing for ships introduced, 5

 Shedden, Robert, 139

 Sheridan, Cape, 283

 Siberia, 84, 106

 Siberian Islands, The, 88, 106

 Silver Bay, 63

 Simmons Peninsula, 188

 Simpson, Sir George, 165

 Simpson, Thomas, 165

 Simpson Strait, 168, 206, 214

 Sinclair, George, 166

 Sirovatskof, 107

 Sitka Sound, 134

 Sledges and sledge-work, 184, 252

 Smeerenberg, 24

 Smith, Benjamin Leigh, 44, 72

 Smith Sound, 234, 235

 Snow, William Parker, 183

 Snow houses, 198, 211

 Sodankyla, 273

 _Sofia_, The, 44

 Somerset House, 202

 Somerset, North, 180

 Sonntag, August, 242

 _Sophia_, The, 183

 Spangberg, Martin, 131

 Spinks, Robert, 37, 158

 Spitsbergen, 12, 15, 16, 18, 24, 104

 Steamship, The first Arctic, 194

 _Stella Polare_, The, 76

 Sterlegof, Cape, 85

 Stoat, 188

 Stolbovoi, 107

 Stuxberg, 85

 _Sunshine_, The, 224, 229, 232

 Sverdrup, Otto, 104, 185, 261

 Svjatoi Nos, 89

 Tanana, The, 144

 Tananas, The, 145

 _Tegetthoff_, The, 64

 Teplitz Bay, 69, 77

 _Terror_, H.M.S., 171, 183, 203, 205

 Thaddeus Island, 107, 117

 _Thames_, The, 87

 Thermometer, The deep-sea, 30

 _Thetis_, The, 278

 Thirkill, Launcelot, 4

 _Thomasine_, The, 16

 Thorne, Robert, 5

 Tiger, 126

 _Tigress_, The, 247

 Toll, Baron E., 126

 Torell, Otto, 43

 _Trent_, H.M.S., 33

 Treurenberg Bay, 40

 Tripe-de-roche, 156

 Tschirikof, Alexei, 131

 Tundra, The, 86, 113

 Turnagain, Point, 155, 167

 Tyndall Glacier, 244

 Umivik, 262

 _Union_, The (boat), 157, 158

 _United States_, The, 239

 Upernivik, 232

 _Valorous_, H.M.S., 248

 Veer, Gerrit de, 10, 49

 _Vega_, The, 87

 Victoria, Cape, 211

 Victoria Land, 168

 Victoria Sea, Queen, 75

 Victoria Strait, 206

 _Victory_, The, 194

 Victory, Point, 212

 Vinland, 3

 Vlamingh, Willem de, 62

 Vrangel', Ferdinand, 108

 Wager River, 190

 Waigatz Island, 7

 Wainwright Inlet, 139

 Walden Island, 40

 Walker Bay, 176

 _Walnut Shell_, The (boat), 157, 159

 Walrus, 12, 13, 20, 31, 34, 57, 73, 82, 88, 93, 101

 Walsingham, Francis, 224, 229, 231

 Washington Irving Island, 250

 Welden, Captain, 13

 Wellington Channel, 180

 Wentzel, 150, 151, 154

 West England, 220

 Weyprecht, K., 64, 272

 Whale fishery, The, 15, 17

 Whale, Greenland, 14, 15, 31, 265

 Whale Island, 148

 Whale, White, 88, 148, 188

 Whaling trade begins, 15

 White Man's Island, 223

 White Sea, The, 6

 White Shirt, 2

 Whymper, Edward, 266

 Whymper, Frederick, 142

 Wiggins, Joseph, 87

 Wijde Bay, 17

 Wilberforce Falls, The, 155

 Wilczek Island, 66

 William Land, King, 163, 214

 _William_, The, 8

 Willoughby, Sir Hugh, 5

 _Windward_, The, 76, 103

 Winter Harbour, 174, 181

 Winter Island, 192

 _Winthont_, The, 10

 Wollaston Land, 158

 Wolstenholme, Cape, 234

 Wolverine, 144

 Women Islands, The, 233

 Wrangell, Ferdinand Von, 108

 Wrangell Island, 116, 141

 Yakuts, The, 115

 Yalmal, 85

 Yenesei, The, 85

 _Ymer_, The, 87

 Young, Allen, 75, 116, 208, 213

 Young's Foreland, 14

 Yugor Strait, 8

 Yukon, Fort, 142, 144

 Yukon, The, 142

                     WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON, LTD.

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 4. Superscripts are denoted by a carat before a single superscript
    character or a series of superscripted characters enclosed in curly
    braces, e.g. M^r. or M^{ister}.

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