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house for the consumption of the whole party, all except six were sent with Mr. McLeod to the fisheries. The Indians brought them provisions from time to time, and their friend Akaitcho, with his followers, though not very successful in hunting, was not wanting in his contributions. This old chieftain was, however, no longer the same active and important personage he had been in the days when he rendered such good service to Sir John Franklin. Old age and infirmities were creeping on him and rendering him peevish and fickle.
On the 21st of March following, having left directions with Dr. King to proceed, at the proper season, to the Company's factory at Hudson's Bay, to embark for England in their spring ships, Captain Back set out on his return through Canada, calling at the Fisheries to bid farewell to his esteemed friend, Mr. McLeod, and arriving at the Norway House on the 24th, where he settled and arranged the accounts due for stores, &c., to the Hudson's Bay Company. He proceeded thence to New York, embarked for England, and arrived at Liverpool on the 8th of September, after an absence of two years and a half. Back was honored with an audience of his Majesty, who expressed his approbation of his efforts — first in the cause of humanity, and next in that of geographical and scientific research. He has since been knighted ; and in 1835, the Royal Geographical Society awarded him their gold medal, (the Royal premium,) for his discovery of the Great Fish River, and navigating it to the sea on the arctic coast.
Dr. King, with the remainder of the party, (eight men,) reached England, in the Hudson's Bay Company's ship, in the following month, October.
Of Captain Back’s travels it has been justly observed that it is impossible to rise from the perusal of them without being struck with astonishment at the extent of sufferings which the human frame can endure, and at the same time the wondrous display of fortitude which was exhibited under circumstances of so appalling a nature, as to invest the narrative with the character of a romantic fiction, rather than an unexaggerated tale of actual reality. He, however, suffered not despair nor despondency to overcome him, but gallantly and undauntedly pursued his course, until he returned to his native land to add to the nurnber of those noble spirits whose names will be carried to posterity as the brightest ornaments to the country which gave them birth.
CAPTAIN BACK'S VOYAGE OF THE TERROR. In the year 1836, Captain Back, who had only returned the previous autumn, at the recommendation of the Geographical Society, undertook a voyage in the Terror up I udson's Strait.
He was to reach Wager River, or Repulse Bay, and to make an overland journey, to examine the bottom of Prince Regent's Inlet, sending other parties to the north and west to examine the Strait of the Fury and Hecla, and to reach, if possible, Franklin's Point Turnagain.
Leaving England on the 14th of June, he arrived on the 14th of August at Salisbury Island, and proceeded up the Frozen Strait; off Cape Comfort the ship got frozen in, and on the breaking up of the ice by one of those frequent convulsions, the vessel was drifted right up the Frozen Channel, grinding large heaps that opposed her progress to powder.
From December to March she was driven about by the fury of the storms and ice, all attempts to release her being utterly powerless. She thus floated till the 10th of July, and for three days was on her beam-ends; but on the 14th she suddenly righted. The crazy vesse! with her gaping wounds was scarcely able to transport the crew across the stormy waters of the Atlantic, but the return voyage which was rendered absolutely necessary, was fortunately accomplished safely.
I shall now give a concise summary of Captain Sir George Back's arctic services, so as to present it more readily to the reader:
In 1818 he was Admiralty Mate on board the Trent, under Franklin. In 1819 he again accompanied him on his first overland journey, and was with him in all those perilous sufferings which are elsewhere narrated. He was also as a Lieutenant with Franklin on his second journey in 1825. Having been in the interval promoted to the rank of Commander, he proceeded, in 1833, accompanied by Dr. King and a party, through Northern Ainerica to the Polar Sea, in search of Captain John Ross. He was posted on the 30th of September, 1835, and appointed in the following year to the command
of the Terror, for a voyage of discovery in Hudson's Bay.
MESSRS. DEASE AND SIMPSON'S DISCOVERIES. In 1836 the Hudson's Bay Company resolved upon undertaking the completion of the survey of the northern coast of their territories, forming the shores of Arctic America, and small portions of which were left undetermined between the discoveries of Captains Back and Franklin.
They commissioned to this task two of their officers, Mr. Thomas Simpson and Mr. Peter Warren Dease, who were sent out with a party of twelve men from the company's chief fort, with proper aid and appliances. De
ending the Mackenzie to the sea, they reached and surveyed in July, 1837, the remainder of the western part of the coast left unexamined by Franklin in 1825, from his Return Reef to Cape Barrow, where the Blossom's boats turned back.
Proceeding on from Return Reef two new rivers were discovered,- the Garry and the Colville; the latter more than a thousand miles in length. Although it was the height of summer, the ground was found frozen several inches below the surface, the spray froze on the oars and rigging of their boats, and the ice lay smooth and solid in the bays, as in the depth of winter.
On the 4th of August, having left the boats and proceered on by land, Mr. Simpson arrived at Elson Bay, which point Lieutenant Elson had reached in the Blossom's barge in 1826.
The party now returned to winter at Fort Confidence, on Great Bear Lake, whence they were instructed to prosecute their search to the eastward next season, and to communicate if possible with Sir George Back's expedition.
They left their winter quarters on the 6th of June, 1838, and descended Dease's River. They found the Coppermine River much swollen by floods, and encumbered with masses of floating ice. The rapids they had to pass were very perilous, as may be inferred from the following graphic description:
“We had to pull for our lives to keep out of the suction of the precipices, along whose base the breakers raged and foamed with overwhelming fury. Shortly before noon, we came in sight of Escape Rapid of Franklin; and a glance at the overhanging cliff told us that there was no alternative but to run down with a full cargo. In an instant,” continues Mr. Simpson, “we were in the vortex; and before we were aware, iny boat was borne toward an isolated rock, which the boiling surge almost concealed. To clear it on the outside was no longer possible ; our only chance of safety was to run between it and the lofty eastern cliff. The word was passed, and every breath was hushed. A stream which dashed down upon us over the brow of the preci pice more than a hundred feet in height, mingled with the spray that whirled upward from the rapid, forming a terrific shower-bath. The pass was about eight feet wide, and the error of a single foot on either side would have been instant destruction. As, guided by Sinclair's consummate 'skill, the boat shot safely through those jaws of death, an involuntary cheer arose. Our next impulse was to turn round to view the fate of our comrades behind. They had profited by the peril we incurred, and kept without the treacherous rock in time.”
On the 1st of July they reached the sea, and encamped at the mouth of the river, where they waited for the opening of the ice till the 17th. They doubled
Cape Barrow, one of the northern points of Bathurst's Inlet, on the 29th, but were prevented crossing the inlet by the continuity of the ice, and obliged to make a circuit of nearly 150 miles by Arctic Sound.
Some very pure specimens of copper ore were found on one of the Barry Islands. After doubling Cape Flinders on the 9th of August, the boats were arrested by the ice in a little bay to which the name of Boat Haven was given, situate about three miles from Franklin's farthest. Here the boats lingered for the best part of a month, in utter hopelessness. Mr. Simpson pushed on therefore on the 20th, with an exploring party of seven men, provisioned for ten days. On the first day they passed Point Turnagain, the limit of Franklin's survey in 1821. On the 23d they had reached an elevated cape, with land apparently closing all round to the northward, so that it was feared they had only been traversing the coast of a huge bay. But the perseverance of the adventurous explorer was fully rewarded.
“With bitter disappointment,” writes Mr. Simpson, “I ascended the height, from whence a vast and splendid prospect burst suddenly upon me. The sea, as if transformed by enchantment, rolled its fierce waves at my feet, and beyond the reach of vision to the eastward, Islands of various shape and size overspread its surface; and the northern land terminated to the eye in a bold and lofty cape, bearing east northeast, thirty or fortymiles distant, while the continental coast trended away southeast. I stood, in fact, on a remarkable headland, at the eastern outlet of an ice-obstructed strait. On the extensive land to the northward I bestowed the name of our most gracious sovereign Queen Victoria. Its eastern visible extremity I called Cape Pelly, in compliment to the governor of Hudson's Bay Company."
Having reached the limits which prudence, dictated in the face of the long journey back to the boats, many of his men too being lame, Mr. Simpson retraced his steps, and the party reached Boat-haren on the 20th of August, having traced nearly 140 miles of new coast.