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had the less scruple in sending Knight as, by Robson's account, he must have been nearly eighty years of age when he undertook this voyage ; of the success of which he was so con-, fident, that he had strong chests made, bound with iron, to hold the gold and copper which he expected to find. This was probably the single object that occupied the mind of Knight; the north-west passage and the straits of Anian were thrown out with no other view than to urge the Company, and to point out to them the necessity, to do something which might wear the appearance at least of satisfying the conditions of their charter.
Knight is accordingly, by his instructions, directed “to depart from Gravesend on the intended voyage, by God's permission, to find out the straits of Anian, in order to discover gold and other valuable commodities to the northward.” As neither of these ships ever returned or were heard of, it was concluded they had been lost among the ice, or shut up in some creek or strait from which they had no means of returning; and as the Hudson's Bay Company had sent out these two vessels, they could not do otherwise than dispatch another to look for the unfortunate crews. The Whalebone was accordingly ordered to proceed on this service. The person appointed to command her was John SCROggs, of whose proceedings nothing was ever published, except a brief abstract procured by Mr. Arthur Dobbs. From this account
we learn, that he sailed from Churchill River on the 22d June, 1722. In latitude 62° he had communication with the natives and traded with them. In 64° 56 he came to an anchor within three leagues of the north shore, to the projecting headland of which he gave the name of Whalebone Point. Here he saw many black whales in the water, and several deer on the land. “He had two northern Indians with him who had wintered at Churchill, and told him of a rich copper mine somewhere in that country, upon the shore near the surface of the earth, and they could direct the sloop so near it as to lay her side to it, and be soon loaded with it; they had brought some pieces of copper from it to Churchill, that made it evident there was a mine thereabouts. They had sketched out the country with charcoal upon a skin of parchment before they left Churchill, and so far as they went it agreed very well.”*
In latitude 64° 8', being then in the Welcome, he saw many whales, but no ice. The land from Whalebone Point fell off to the southward of west, and the men who went on shore said they perceived nothing to prevent their going farther; their soundings here were from 40 to 60 fathoms. Captain Norton, late Governor of Churchill, who was then with Scroggs, confirmed all that the latter had stated; said that the tide rose thirty
* An Account of the Countries adjoining to Hudson's Bay. By Arthur Dobbs, Esq. p. 80.
feet; that being on shore at the top of a mountain
west, and nothing to prevent their going farther.
In this account there is not a syllable mentioned of any search being made for the unfortunate crews of the two ships ; not a single inquiry whether they might be living, or be destroyed by the natives, or have perished from cold and hunger. Many persons, indeed, were sanguine enough to conjecture that Knight and Barlow had discovered the north-west passage, and had proceeded through it into the South Sea to return by the way of Cape Horn; but two years having expired put an end to these delusive hopes : and it was not before the year 1767 that the most unequivocal proofs were discovered of the melancholy fate of these adventurers, and of the whole of their party.
In that year, as some of the boats employed on the Company's whale fishery, near Marble Island, stood in close to the shore, they discovered a new and commodious harbour near the east end of it, at the head of which were found guns, anchors, cables, bricks, a smith's anvil, and several other articles, which, from their weight or uselessness, had not been removed from their original place by the natives. The remains of a house, and the hulls or rather bottoms of the two ships were also discovered under water; and some of their guns and the figure-head of one of the ships were sent home to England. The following account, given by Hearne, points out the misery to which these poor people must have been reduced on this desolate island.
“In the summer of 1769, while we were prosecuting the fishery, we saw several Esquimaux at this new harbour, and perceiving one or two of them greatly advanced in years, our curiosity was excited to ask them some questions concerning the above ship and sloop, which we were the better enabled to do by the assistance of an Esquimaux, who was then in the Company's service as a linguist and annually sailed in one of their vessels in that character. The account which we received from them was full, clear, and unreserved, and the sum of it was to the following purport.
“When the vessels arrived at this place (Marble Island) it was very late in the fall, and, in getting them into the harbour, the largest received much damage ; but on being fairly in, the English began to build the house, their number at that time seeming to be about fifty. As soon as the ice permitted, in the following summer, 1720, the Esquimaux paid them another visit, by which time the number of the English was very greatly reduced, and those that were living seemed very unhealthy, According to the account given by the Esquimaux they were then very busily employed, but about what they could not easily describe; probably in lengthening the long-boat, for,
at a little distance from the house, there was now lying a great quantity of oak chips, which had been made most assuredly by carpenters. : : .“ A sickness and famine. occasioned such havock among the English that, by the setting in of the second winter, their number was reduced to twenty. That winter, 1720, some of the
side of the harbour to that on which the English had built their houses, and frequently supplied them with such provisions as they had, which chiefly consisted of whale's blubber, and seal's flesh, and train oil. When the spring advanced, the Esquimaux went to the continent, and on their visiting Marble Island again, in the summer of 1721, they only found five of the English alive ; and those were in such distress for provisions, that they eagerly eat the seal's flesh and whale's blubber quite raw as they purchased it from the natives. This disordered them so much that three of them. died in a few days, and the other two, though very weak, made a shift to bury them. Those two survived many days after the rest, and frequently went to the top of an adjacent rock and earnestly looked to the south and east, as if in expectation of some vessels coming to their relief. After continuing there a considerable time together, and nothing appearing in sight, they sat down close together and wept bitterly. At length one of the two died, and the