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the same hope. Those expectations were now at an end. With a twelvemonth's provisions for both ship's companies, extending our resources only to the autumn of the following year, it would have been folly to hope for final success, considering the small progress we had already made, the un. certain nature of this navigation, and the advanced period of the present season. I was therefore re. duced to the only remaining conclusion, that it was my duty, under all the circumstances of the casc, to return to England in compliance with the plain tenour of my instructions. As soon as the boats were hoisted up, therefore, and the anchor stowed, the ship’s head was put to the northeastward, with a light air off the land, in order to gain an offing before the ice should again set in-shore.
Some Remarks upon the Loss of the Fury-And on the Nat.
ural History, &c., of the Coast of North Somerset.- Arrive at Neill's Harbour.- Death of John Page.-Leave Neill's Harbour.-Recross the Ice in Baffin's Bay.--Heavy Gales.Temperature of the Sea.--Arrival in England.
The accident which had now befallen the Fury, and which, when its fatal result was finally ascer. tained, at once put an end to every prospect of success in the main object of this voyage, is not an event which will excite surprise in the minds of those who are either personally acquainted with
the true nature of this precarious navigation, or have had patience to follow me through the tedious and monotonous detail of our operations during seven successive summers. To any persons thus qualified to judge, it will be plain that an occur. rence of this nature was at all times rather to be expected than otherwise, and that the only real cause for wonder has been our long exemption from such a catastrophe.
The summer of 1825 was, beyond all doubt, the warmest and most favourable we had experienced since that of 1818. Not more than two or three days occurred, during the months of July and Au. gust, in which that heavy fall of snow took place which so commonly converts the aspect of nature in these regions, in a single hour, from the cheerfulness of summer into the dreariness of winter. Indeed, we experienced very little either of snow, rain, or fog : vegetation, wherever the soil allowed any to spring up, was extremely luxuriant and for. ward; a great deal of the old snow, which had laid on the ground during the last season, was rapidly dissolving even early in August ; and every ap. pearance of nature exhibited a striking contrast with the last summer, while it seemed evidently to furnish an extraordinary compensation for its rig. our and inclemency.
We have scarcely ever visited a coast on which so little of animal life occurs. For days together, only one or two seals, a single seahorse, and now and then a flock of ducks, were seen. I have already mentioned, however, as an exception to this scar. city of animals, the numberless kittiwakes which were flying about the remarkable spout of water;
and we were one day visited, at the place where the Fury was left, by hundreds of white whales, sporting about in the shoal water close to the beach. No black whales were ever seen on this coast. Two reindeer were observed by the gen. tlemen who extended their walks inland; but this was the only summer in which we did not procure a single pound of venison. Indeed, the whole of our supplies obtained in this way during the voy, age, including fish, flesh, and fowl, did not exceed twenty pounds per man.
The weather continuing nearly calm during the 26th, and the ice keeping at the distance of sever. al miles from the land, gave us an opportunity of clearing decks, and stowing the things belonging to the Fury's crew more comfortably for their accom. modation and convenience. I now felt more sensi. bly than ever the necessity I have elsewhere point. ed out, of both ships employed on this kind of ser. vice being of the same size, equipped in the same manner, and alike efficient in every respect. The way in which we had been able to apply every article for assisting to heave the Fury down, with. out the smallest doubt or selection as to size or strength, proved an excellent practical example of the value of being thus able, at a moment's warning, to double the means and resources of ei. ther ship in case of necessity. In fact, by this ar. rangement, nothing but a harbour to secure the ships was wanted to complete the whole operation in as effectual a manner as in a dockyard; for not a shore, or outrigger, or any other precaution was omitted, that is usually attended to on such occa. sions, and all as good and effective as could any
-where have been desired. The advantages were now scarcely conspicuous in the accommodation of the officers and men, who in a short time be. came little less comfortable than in their own ship; whereas, in a smaller vessel, comfort, to say no. thing of health, would have been quite out of the question.
A breeze from the northward freshening up strong on the 27th, we stretched over to the east. ern shore of Prince Regent's Inlet, and this with scarcely any obstruction from ice. We could, indeed, scarcely believe this the same sea which, but a few weeks before, had been loaded with one im. penetrable body of closely-packed ice from shore to shore, and as far as the eye could discern to the southward. Having a great deal of heavy work to do in the restowage of the holds, which could not well be accomplished at sea, and also' a quan. tity of water to fill for our increased complement, I determined to take advantage of our fetching the entrance of Neill's Harbour to put in here, in or. der to prepare the ship completely for crossing the Atlantic. I was desirouş also of ascertaining the depth of water in this place, which was wanting to complete Lieutenant Sherer's survey of it. Finding the harbour an extremely convenient one for our purpose, we worked the ship in, and at four P.M. anchored in thirteen fathoms, but afterward shifted out to eighteen, on a bottom of soft mud. Almost at the moment of our dropping the anchor, John Page, seaman of the Fury, departed this life : he had for several months been affected with a scrofulous disorder, and had been gradually sinking for some time.
The funeral of the deceased being performec, we immediately commenced landing the casks and filling water; but, notwithstanding the large streams which, a short time before, had been running into the harbour, we could hardly obtain enough for our purpose by sinking a cask with holes in it. This work, together with the entire restowage of all the holds, occupied the whole of the 29th and 30th, du. ring which time Lieutenant Sherer was employed in completing the survey of the harbour, more es. pecially the soundings, which the presence of the ice had before prevented. These arrangements had just been completed, when the northeasterly wind died away, and was succeeded, on the morn. ing of the 31st, by a light air from the northwest. As soon as we had sent to ascertain that the sea was clear of ice on the outside, and that the breeze which blew in the harbour was the true one, we weighed and stood out, and before noon had clear. ed the shoals at the entrance.
Finding the wind at northwest in Prince Regent's Inlet, we were barely able to lie along the eastern coast. As the breeze freshened in the course of the day, a great deal of loose ice, in extensive streams and patches, came drifting down from the Leopold Islands, occasioning us some trouble in picking our way to the northward. By carrying a press of sail, however, we were enabled, towards night, to get into clearer water, and by four A.M. on the 1st of September, having beat to windward of a compact body of ice which had fixed itself on the lee shore about Cape York, we soon came into a perfectly open sea in Barrow's Strait, and were enabled to bear away to the eastward. We now