« AnteriorContinuar »
which bounds the northernmost point of the continent in 72° N. Owing to the long absence of this expedition, Captain Back, supported by public subscription, was sent in search of it. He wintered in 1833 on Great Slave Lake, and in 1834 descended the Back River to its mouth, and explored the coast from Cape Britannia to Point Richardson, thus almost reaching the southern termination of James C. Ross's sledge journey. Back's voyage, in 1836, failed in accomplishing its object, but the work which it was proposed to do was in great part effected in the years 1837, 1838, and 1839, by Messrs. Dease and Simpson, who, in a series of boat-voyages, traced the coast from Point Barrow to the estuary of the Back River. They laid down portions of Wollaston Land, and of King William's Island. Thus, the only gap in the completion of the North-West Passage was a connection between Franklin's Channel and the Gulf of Boothia. Dr. Rae was selected to make this completion. He surveyed portions of the Gulf of Boothia, and found that the Boothia isthmus separated this gulf from the sea explored by Dease and Simpson. In 1845 Sir John Franklin was sent out in command of the Erebus and Terror to attempt the North-West Passage. In July the expedition reached Whale Fish Island, Baffin's Bay, from whence letters were: despatched, and the last that was seen of it was: on July 26, when it was making for Lancaster Sound.
In 1858 Sir Leopold McClintock and his expedition found some documents, from which it appears that Franklin proceeded through Lancaster Sound, and up Wellington Channel, to the north of Bathurst and Grinnell Island ; then they turned south, through Crosier Channels, Barrow's Strait, Peel's Sound, and Franklin Channel, thus completing the discovery of the long-sought-for North-West voyage. The crew must have explored or seen portions of North Somerset, Prince of Wales's Island, Boothia Felix, and King William's Island, on or near which most of the crew died in the spring of 1848. As no news could be gleaned, search parties were sent out, the first in 1847, and McClintock’s, which was the fortieth, in 1857. Here, however, we can only notice those which proceeded over new ground.
In 1849 Sir J. C. Ross traversed Peel Sound, and examined the coast of North Somerset as far south as 72° 38' N. Parry surveyed Wellington Channel as far as Cape Beecher. Captain Austin examined portions of Bathurst's Island and Byam Martin's Island, as also portions of Prince of Wales's Island and Russell's Island. This latter work was chiefly done by Captain Sherard Osborn, who was then a lieutenant. Captain
Austin also entered Jones Sound. In 1850 Captain M'Clure proceeded through Behring's Strait, doubled Point Barrow, and continued into the south end of Banks's Land or Baring's Island. He then passed through Prince of Wales's Strait, and got stopped by the ice in Parry's Sound. He wintered in the strait, and explored portions of the northern part of Wollaston Land, which he named Prince Albert Land. Parties sent out by him travelled round most of the island, the only part of the coast not explored being about one hundred and sixty miles along McClintock's Channel. In 1851 the attempt to cross Parry's Sound was renewed, but without success. A more northern route was tried, but he was compelled to take shelter in the Bay of Mercy, on the north side of Baring's Island. The ship was ice-bound during the next two winters, being relieved by Captain Kellett, of the Resolute. The ship was abandoned, but Captain M'Clure and his crew were transferred to the North Star, which took them to England through Baffin's Bay, and they were consequently the first persons who had traversed the North-West Passage from end to end. Mr. Kennedy and Lieutenant Bellot discovered Bellot's Strait in 1852. In this year, also, Sir Edward Belcher went up Wellington Channel to Northumberland Sound in 76° 52' ; he also surveyed the south side of North
Cornwall, Belcher Channel, and portions of North Devon. M'Clintock examined Prince Patrick Island, while Commanders Richards, Sherard Osborn, and others, explored the northern shores of Melville, Bathurst, and Cornwallis Islands. In 1851 and 1852 Captain Collinson sailed through Behring's Strait, through Dolphin and Union Strait, to Victoria Land, and proceeded in sledge to Gateshead Island, thus overlapping the furthest point reached by Sir John Franklin. In 1851 Dr. Rae made a more minute examination of Boothia Felix, fully established the fact that King William's Island was an island, and found numerous relics belonging to Sir John Franklin's crews at the same time that he collected the reports of the natives as to their fate, and fairly earned the Government reward of £10,000.
Independently of the geographical results which were achieved by Dr. Rae's journeys, an especial value attaches to them on other accounts. They stand out prominently in the annals of Arctic voyages as having been carried out at less comparative expense than almost any other, and yet as efficiently as any. They are good examples, out of several journeys which might be instanced, illustrative of the fact that Arctic voyages have been and can be successfully conducted by private individuals and private funds as well as
by Government officers, backed by the Government treasury. Dr. Rae was connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, and with less than a dozen voyageurs on each trip he made the following journeys on foot:
1844-5. Red River Colony to St. Mary's . 1180 1847. From Repulse Bay round Committee
Bay . . . . . . 1200 1851. From Bear Lake and on Arctic coast. 1080 1851-2. Attrabosca to St. Paul's, assisted by
dogs for 450 miles . . . 1730 1854. From Repulse Bay to Castor and
Pollux River. . . . . 1100
Of this, 1765 miles was through territory and along coasts which had not been previously explored.
In 1853 Dr. Kane went in the Advance up Smith's Sound, and succeeded in getting his ship into Rensselaer Bay, 78° 35' N., where he wintered. This is the highest latitude that any ship had wintered in. Expeditions were made on foot and in sledges, almost as far as 81° N., or past the Humboldt Glacier, Peabody Bay, and into Kennedy Channel. The furthest point seen by Mr. Morton was