Voyage of Captain James, for the Discovery of a North-West Passage
Their next object was to dig through the ice on the outside of the vessel, to the holes that had been cut for the purpose of sinking her. They succeeded in this operation; and, through the lowest of these, a considerable quantity of water flowed out. The holes were then prevented from admitting any more water, by having strong boards nailed on the outside. Five days afterwards the weather became much warmer than it had been. The water in the hold of the vessel tended to thaw the ice; and, by means of pumps, it was gradually cleared. Several butts of beer, one of cider, and another of wine, were found perfectly sound and good; as well as many barrels of salt beef and pork. A considerable store of shoes and clothing were now also found. These, when dried, were peculiarly accept able. But it was a subject of sincere rejoicing, that, on examination of the vessel, no defect could be perceived in her; and sanguine hopes began to be entertained that she might still prove capable of performing the remainder of the voyage. Not long after this, the rudder was discovered and got up from beneath the ice.
The carpenter now died. He had been a man beloved by the whole crew, and, with the most exemplary patience, had endured a long illness, in the course of which, with great exertion, he had completed all the most difficult parts of the pinnace. Thus, although he was deeply lamented by his comrades, the loss of him was not so severely felt as it might otherwise have been. At this time nearly the whole crew were disabled, by illness, from working; nor did any of them recover until after the commencement of the warm weather.
From the elevated parts of the land, the open water was first seen on the 19th of June. Four days afterwards the provisions and other articles that were on shore, were carried on board. A cross was next erected the king's and queen's pictures were tied to the top of it; and the island was named Charlton Island. The rigging of the ship was now set. On the 13th, the sea was clear of ice; and on the 2d of July, after the captain and his crew had all devoutly paid thanksgiving to the Almighty for their providential deliverance, they weighed anchor, and proceeded on their voyage.
Still, however, though in the open sea, they suffered great inconvenience from the beating of the floating ice against the ship. On the 22d of July, they again passed Cape Henrietta Maria. The ship had now become so leaky, that, for some time, it was found difficult to keep her clear of water by the pumps. After almost incredible exertions, they made their way northward, according to their estimate, as far as 69 deg. 35 min., when at length they came to an impenetrable mass of ice. It was the opinion of the whole crew, that in the present condition of the ship, the autumn now fast approaching, it would not only be imprudent, but wholly impracticable, to make any further attempt to discover the hoped-for passage of the sea to the north-west. The captain, therefore, with a sorrowful heart, consented to relinquish his object; and, on the 26th of August, determined on returning to England. In his passage homeward, the vessel encountered many difficulties from contrary winds and stormy weather; but, at length, safely arrived at the mouth of the Severn, October 22, 1632.