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gives an average drift to the southward of above fifteen miles per day.
In the afternoon of the 6th I was much pained at being informed by telegraph from the Hecla, that Mr. Fife, Greenland master of that ship, had just expired, an event which for some days past there had been but too much reason to apprehend ; the scurvy having within the last three weeks continued to increase considerably upon him. It is proper for me, however, both in justice to the medi. cal officers under whose skilful and humane care he was placed, and to the means with which we were in this way so liberally supplied, to state, that du. ring a part of that time Mr. Fife had taken so great a dislike to the various antiscorbutics which were administered to him, that he could seldom be induced to use any of them. The disease, in consequence, reduced him to a state of extreme debil. ity, which at length carried him off almost without pain. The Hecla being at the time closely beset, and in a situation of great danger among the shoals off Winter Island, Captain Lyon caused the remains of the deceased to be committed to the sea with all the solemnity which circumstances would permit.
In the night of the 6th, the ships, which had be. fore nearly closed each other, were again separated to the distance of several miles, though no motion was perceptible in the masses of ice about them. On the evening of the 11th, however, the wind at length began to freshen from the northwest, when the ice immediately commenced driving down the inlet at the rate of a mile an hour, carrying the Fury with it, and within half a mile of
the rocks, the whole way down to Cape Martineau, but keeping her in deep water. In the mean time the Hecla had been swept into much more dan. gerous situations, passing along the east and south sides of Winter Island, and, after driving nearly up to Five-hawser Bay, being carried near some dangerous shoals about Cape Edwards, where Captain Lyon expected every other tide that she would take the ground.
On the 15th, when the ships had closed each other within a mile, we could see the clear water from the masthead, and the Hecla could now have been easily extricated. Such, however, are the sudden changes that take place in this precarious naviga. tion, that not long afterward the Fury was quite at liberty to sail out of the ice, while the Hecla was now, in her turn, so immoveably fast set, and even cemented between several very heavy masses, that no power that could be applied was sufficient to move her an inch. In this situation she remained all the 16th, without our being able to render her any assistance; and the frost being now rather se. vere at night, we began to consider it not improbable that we might yet be detained for another winter. We were perhaps, indeed, indebted for our escape to a strong westerly breeze, which blew for several hours on the 17th, when, the ice being sufficiently close to allow our men to walk to the assistance of the Hecla, we succeeded, after seven hours' hard labour, in forcing her into clear water, when all sail was made to the eastward, and our course shaped for the Trinity Islands in a perfectly open sea.
We thus finally made our escape from the ice
after having been almost immoveably beset in it for twenty-four days out of the last twenty-six, it: the course of which time the ships had been taken over no less than one hundred and forty leagues of ground, generally very close to the shore, and always unable to do anything towards effecting their escape from danger.
We made the Trinity Islands on the 18th, and ran down Hudson's Strait with a favourable breeze, reaching the Orkneys on the morning of Oct. 9th. It can scarcely, perhaps, be imagined by those who have not been similarly situated, with what eager interest one or two vessels were this day descried by us, being the first trace of civilized man that we had seen for the space of seven-and-twenty months. The breeze increasing to a fresh gale from the southward in the course of the night, with a heavy sea from the same quarter, rendering it impossible for us to make any progress in that di. rection, I determined to put into Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, to procure refreshments, and await a change in our favour. We accordingly bore up for that harbour early on the morning of the 10th, and at thirty minutes past ten A.M. anchored there, where we were immediately visited by a great num, ber of the inhabitants, anxious to greet us on our return to our native country.
I feel it utterly impossible adequately to express the kindness and attention we received for the three or four days that we were detained in Bressay Sound by a continuance of unfavourable winds. On the first information of our arrival the bells of Lerwick were set ringing, the inhabitants flocked from every part of the country to express their joy
at our unexpected return, and the town was at night illuminated, as if each individual had a brother or a son among us.
On the 13thi, a breeze springing up from the northward, we took leave of our kind and hospita. ble friends, deeply sensible of the cordial and affec. tionate reception we had experienced; and, being still favoured by the wind, were abreast of Buchaness the following evening. On the 16th, being off Whitby, I went on shore there, and, after receiving the cordial greetings of a great number of the worthy inhabitants of Whitby, who had assem. bled to meet us on landing, set off for London, and arrived at the Admiralty on the morning of the 18th.
FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A
NOTWITHSTANDING the want of success of the late expedition to the Polar Seas, it was resolved to make another attempt to effect a passage by sea, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The chief alterations in the equipment of the present expedition consisted in the placing of Sylvester's warming stove in the very bottom of the ship’s hold, in substituting a small quantity of salt beef for a part of the pork, and in furnishing a much larger supply of newly corned beef. Preserved carrots and parsnips, salmon, cream, pickles of onions, beet-root, cabbage, and, to make the most of our stowage, split peas, instead of whole ones, were supplied. A small quantity of beef pemmican, made by pounding the meat with a certain portion of fat, as described by Captain Franklin, was also furnished.