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Beechey attacked by Esquimaux.
in endeavouring to reach the island; and two men and a boy retreated to the rigging, whence the former were with difficulty rescued; while the boy became numb with cold before help came, dropped into the waves, and was seen no more. Truly it ought to be of more than ordinary importance to those who navigate such dangerous waters to be always prepared for death and judgment. Beneath the paternal care of our Heavenly Father, we are always safe; and “heaven is as near,” as the brave and pious Sir Humphrey Gilbert remarked, “ by sea as by land.”
In this helpless situation they were plundered by a party of Esquimaux, who had landed on the island; and on the 29th of September, the plunderers returned in greater force, threatening an attack; when, on Belcher firing a pistol to deter them from landing, they disembarked with great boldness, and discharged a flight of arrows, by which two of the seamen were wounded. The seamen fired in return, and one of the assailants fell; upon which, the rest fled into the hilly interior of the island, carrying their wounded companion with them. Here they attacked an exploring party under Captain Beechey. Elson fired a musket among them, and wounded one of them; but Beechey interposed and held a parley with them, afterwards withdrawing his party from the island, on finding the Esquimaux remain sullen and threatening. He took their canoe, but replaced it on the second day afterwards. The Esquimaux removed it under cover of night, and on the following night left the island unobserved.
October had now arrived, and the island and the shores of the sound were covered with snow. On the 6th, therefore, Beechey deposited in a secure place a memorandum for Sir John Franklin, in the event of his ever reaching the spot, and again sailed to the southward.
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN'S SECOND OVERLAND JOURNEY DESCENT OF THE MACKENZIE RIVER EXPLORATION OF THE COAST_SIR EDWARD PARRY'S VOYAGE TO SPITZBERGEN JOURNEY
ON THE Ice.
Hy the Beechey and Franklin expeditions did not
meet must now be explained. Every precaution had been taken to insure the success of the latter by building proper boats, providing scientific instruments, and supplying abundant provisions. Besides three light and strong boats built at
Woolwich, and better suited than bark canoes for navigating ice-encumbered waters, a smaller one, covered with a waterproof preparation, and weighing only eighty-five pounds, was constructed for the purpose of crossing rivers. Franklin, accompanied by Richardson and Back, who had again volunteered, arrived at Fort Chipewyan in the summer of 1825, and were joined by Lieutenant Kendall, and an enthusiastic botanist named Drummond. There the plan of operations was settled, and, to avoid the risk of encountering once more the terrible privations which they had experienced in 1821, the preparation of winter quarters was undertaken by Peter Dease, one of the Hudson Bay Company's traders.
Then they started northward, skirted the south-western shore of Great Slave Lake, and on the 2nd of August reached the Mackenzie.
Fort Norman, on the left bank of that river, was reached on
Descent of the Mackenzie River.
the 7th, and from that station Franklin, Kendall, and Back, with sixteen men, started upon a preliminary exploration. The Arctic Circle was crossed a week afterwards, at a part of the river called the Ramparts. “The walls of this defile,” says Franklin,“ are from eighty to a hundred and fifty feet high, and are composed of limestone, containing numerous shells; for part of the way the stone is very white, and the rest is blue. Several streams of water were running over the summit of the cliff, and had worn the stone in some places into a turreted shape; while the heaps, overthrown by its action, at the base resembled mounds for defence. To these appearances were occasionally added cavernous openings and other hollow parts, not unlike the arched windows and gateways of a castellated building."
Fort Good Hope, the lowest station of the Hudson Bay Company, and three hundred and twelve miles from Fort Norman, was reached on the following day; and on the 12th they were in the Narrows, where the river runs rapidly between steep cliffs of blue limestone. Then the mouth of the Peel River was passed, and the banks became low and more sparely wooded, only dwarf willows growing near the river, and spruce firs farther from it. Distant rocky mountains rose on the left, one very lofty peak and a remarkable tablemountain being most conspicuous. Next day these mountains receded from them, and others came into view on the right, some of their peaks having a pink appearance. On the 14th, they found the river divided into several channels, running between islands, and after a sail of fourteen miles down a channel two miles wide, were gratified by the delightful prospect of the shore suddenly diverging, and a wide space of open water to the north, which we doubted not would prove to be the sea. “Just at this time a seal made its appearance, and sported
about the boat, as if in confirmation of this opinion. We attempted to coast along the shore of Ellice Island, but found the water too shallow, and the boat grounded whenever we got out of the channel. The wind and waves were too high for us to make any progress in the middle of the stream, and, as the clouds threatened more boisterous weather, we went to Pitt Island to encamp. The haze passed off as the sun set, and we gained a magnificent view of that portion of the Rocky Mountains, which I called after Dr. Richardson, and of which a remarkable conical peak, named in honour of Dr. Fitton, and the Cupola Mountains are the most conspicuous objects.”
The next day being too foggy for boating, Kendall, and some of the Canadians, went twelve or fourteen miles on a shooting excursion, and brought down two moose-deer and a reindeer. The country was flat, and the vegetation, besides grass and moss, was confined to dwarf willows and mooseberry bushes. Salt water was reached at sunset on the 16th, and they landed on Garry Island, from the summit of which they saw the sea, free from ice, and two groups of islands, which were named Kendall Isles, and Pelly Isles, the latter in honour of the governor of the Hudson Bay Company. Here Franklin displayed the flag which his first wife had made upon her death-bed before he left England, and which was not to be unfurled until he was in sight of the Polar Ocean. Another flag the gallant explorer left upon the island, beneath which he deposited a memorandum for Parry. A copy of this memorandum was placed in a waterproof box and cast into the sea. The party then returned, and on the 5th of September were at Fort Franklin.
In the last week of June, 1826, the whole party descended the river, and on the 3rd of July, when they were approaching the sea, they separated, Franklin and Back going with two boats