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Collinson will have 680 miles of longitude to traverse between Cape Barrow and Banks’ Land. An Eastern Expedition, if opposed by the ice, (as Sir James Ross has been,) and unable to proceed in their vessels farther than Leopold Harbor, will have to journey on foot 330 miles to reach the longitude of Banks’ Land, and if any accident occur to their vessels, they will be in as critical a position as those they go to seek. “3d. Banks’ Land bears from Cape T3athurst N. 41° 49' E. 302 miles, and there is reason to believe that in the summer season a portion of this distance may be traversed in boats. “4th and 5th. Dr. Richardson confirms previous reports of the ice being light on the coast east of the Mackenzie River to Cape Bathurst, and informs us that the Esquimaux had seen no ice to seaward for two IY}OOH}S. “6th. Every mile traversed northward by a party from Cape Bathurst would be over that unknown space in which traces of Franklin may be expected. “7th. It is advisable that such a second party be dispatched from Cape Bathurst, in order that the prosecution of Dr. Rae’s examination of the supposed channel between Wollaston and Victoria Lands may in no way be interfered with by his attention being called to the westward. “8th. The eaches of provisions made at different points of the Mackenzie and at Cape Bathurst, would enable a party to push down to their starting point with great celerity directly the River Mackenzie opens, which may be as early as May. g “I would also remind your Lordships that the proposed expedition would carry into execution a very imortant clause in the instructions given to Sir James }. ; viz: that of sending exploring parties from Banks’ Land in a southwesterly direction toward Cape Bathurst or Cape Parry. “In conclusion, I beg to offer my willing services toward the execution of the proposed plan ; and seeking it from no selfish motives, but thoroughly impressed with its feasibility, you may rest assured, my lords, should I have the honor of being sent upon this service, that I shall not disappoint your expectations. “I have, &c., (Signed,) “SHERARD Os BORN, Lieut., R. N.”
Copy of a Letter from Colonel Sabine, Je. A., to Captain Sir W. Zalward /’arry. “Castle-down Terrace, /sastings, “15th of January, 1850.
“There can be little doubt, I imagine, in the mild of any one who has read attentively Franklin's instructions, and, (in reference to them,) your description of the state of the ice and of the navigable water in 1819 and 1820, in the route which he was ordered to pursue; still less, I think, can there be a doubt in the mind of any one who had the advantage of being with you in those years, that Franklin, (always supposing no previous disaster,) must have made his way to the southwest part of Melville Island either in 1845 or 1846. It has been said that 1845 was an unfavorable season, and as the navigation of Davis’ Strait and Baffin's Bay was new to Franklin, we may regard it as more probable that it may have taken him two seasons to accomplish what we accomplished in one. So far, I think, guided by his instructions and by the experience gained in 1819 and 1820, we may reckon pretty confidently on the first stage of his proceedings, and doubtless, in his progress he would have left memorials in the usual manner at places where he may have landed, some of which would be likely to fall in the way of a vesses following in his track. From the west end of Melville Island our inferences as to his further proceedings must become more conjectural, being contingent on the state of the ice and the existence of navigable water in the particular season. If he found the ocean, as we did, covered to the west and south, as far as the eye could reach from the summit of the highest hills, with ice of a thickness unparalleled in any other part of the Polar Sea, he would, after probably waiting through one whole season in the hope of some favorable change, have retraced his steps, in obedience to the second part of his instructions, in order to seek an opening to the north which might conduct to a more open sea. In this case some memorial of the season passed by him at the southwest end of Melville Island, and also of his purpose of retracing his steps, would doubtless have been left by him ; and should he subsequently have found an opening to the north, presenting a favorable appearance, there also, should circumstances have permitted, would a memorial have been left. “He may, however, have found a more favorable state of things at the southwest end of Melville Island than we did, and may have been led thereby to attempt to force a passage for his ships in the direct line of Behring's Strait, or perhaps, in the first instance, to the south of that direction, namely, to Banks’ Land. In such case two contingencies present themselves: first, that in the season of navigation of 1847 he may have made so much progress, that in 1848 he may have preferred the endeavor to push through to Behring's Strait, or to some western part of the continent, to an attempt to return by the way of Barrow’s Strait; the mission of the Plover, the Enterprise, and the Investigator together with Dr. Rae's expedition, supply, I presume, (for I am but partially acquainted with their instructions,) the most judicious means of affording relief in this direction. There is, however, a second contingency ; and it is the one which the impression left on my mind by the nature and general aspect of the ice in the twelve months which we ourselves passed at the southwest end of Melville Island, compels me, in spite of my wishes, to regard as the more probable, viz., that his advance from Melville Island in the season of 1847 may have been limited to a distance of fifty, or perhaps one hundred miles at farthest, and that in 1848 he may have endeavored to retrace his steps, but only with partial success. It is, I apprehend, quite a conceivable case, that under these circumstances, incapable of extricating the ships from the ice, the crews may have been, at length, obliged to quit them, and attempt a retreat, not toward the continent, because too distant, but to Melville Island, where certainly food, and probably fuel (seals,) might be obtained, and where they would naturally suppose that vessels dispatched from England for their relief would, in the first instance, seek them. It is quite conceivable also, I apprehend, that the circumstances might be such that their retreat may have been made without their boats, and probably in the April or May of 1849. “Where the Esquimaux have lived, there Englishmen may live, and no valid argument against the attempt to relieve can, I think, be founded on the improbability of finding Englishmen alive in 1850, who may have made a retreat to Melville Island in the spring of 1849; nor would the view of the case be altered in any material degree, if we suppose their retreat to have been made in 1848 or 1849 to Banks’ Land, which may afford facilities of food and fuel equal or superior to Melville Island, and a further retreat in the following year to the latter island as the point at which they would more probably look out for succor. “Without disparagement, therefore, to the attempts made in other directions, I retain my original opinion, which seems also to have been the opinion of the Poard of Admiralty, by which Ross's instructions were drawn up, that the most promising direction for research would be taken by a vessel which should follow them to the southwest point of Melville Island, be prepared to winter there, and, if necessary, to send a party across the ice in April or May to examine Banks’ Land, a distance (there and back) less than recently accomplished by Ross in his land journey. “I learn from Ross's dispatches, that almost immediately after he got out of Port Leopold (1849,) he was entangled in apparently interminable fields and floes of ice, with which, in the course of the summer, he was drifted down through Barrow's Strait and Baffin's Bay nearly to Davis’ Strait. It is reasonable to presume, therefore, that the localities from whence this ice drifted are likely to be less encumbered than usual by accumulated ice in 1850. It is, of course, of the highest importance to reach Barrow's Strait at the earliest possible period of the season; and, connected with this point I learn from Captain Bird, whom I had the pleasure of seeing here a few days ago, a very remarkable fact, that the ice which prevented their crossing Baffin's Bay in 72° or 73° of latitude (as we did in 1819, arriving in Barrow’s Strait a month earlier than we had done the preceding year, when we went round by Melville Bay, and nearly a month earlier than Ross did last year) was young ice, which had formed in the remarkably calm Summer of last year, and which the absence of wind prevented their forcing a passage through, on the one hand, while on the other, the ice was not heavy enough for ice anchors. It was, he said, not more than two or two and a half feet thick, and obviously of very recent formation. There must, therefore, have been an earlier period of the season when this part of the sea must have been free from ice; and this comes in confirmation of a circumstance of which I was informed by Mr. Petersen (a Danish gentleman sent to England some months ago by the Northern Society of Antiquaries of Copenhagen, to make extracts from books and manuscripts in the British Museum,) that the Northmen, who had settlements some centuries ago on the west coast of Greenland, were in the habit of crossing Baffin's Bay in the latitude of Upernavic in the spring of the year, for the purpose of fishing in Barrow’s Strait, from whence they returned in August ; and that in the early months they generally found the passage across free from ice. “In the preceding remarks, I have left one contingency unconsidered ; it is that which would have followed in pursuance of his instructions, if Franklin should have found the aspect of the ice too unfavorable to the west and south of Melville Island to attempt to force a passage through it, and should have retraced his steps in hopes of finding a more open sea to the northward,