THE NORTH POLE
The return journey was made without difficulty, and on the 5th September the explorers arrived at the fort to which Dr. Richardson had given the name of Franklin. The winter was passed in festivities, such as balls, &c., in which Canadians, English, Scotch, French, Esquimaux, and Indians of various tribes took part.
On the 22nd June a fresh start was made, and on the 4th July the fort was reached where the Mackenzie divides into two branches. There the expedition separated into two parties, one going to the east and the other to the west, to explore the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Franklin and his companions had hardly left the river when he met near a large bay a numerous party of Esquimaux, who at first testified great delight at the rencontre, but soon became obstreperous, and tried to carry off the boat. Only by the exercise of wonderful patience and tact were the English able to avert bloodshed on this emergency.
Franklin now surveyed and gave the name of Clarence to the river separating the English from the Russian territories, and a little further on was discovered another stream, which he called the Canning. On the 16th April, finding he had only made half of the distance between Mackenzie River and Icy Cape, though the winter was rapidly approaching, Franklin turned back and embarked on the beautiful Peel River, which he mistook for that of Mackenzie, not discovering his error till he came in sight of a chain of mountains on the east. On the 21st September he got back to the fort, after having in the course of three months traversed 2048 miles, and surveyed 372 miles of the American coast.
Richardson meanwhile had advanced into much deeper water with far less floating ice, and had met with a great many Esquimaux of mild and hospitable manners. He surveyed Liverpool and Franklin Bays, and discovered opposite the mouth of the Coppermine a tract of land separated from the continent by a channel not more than twenty miles wide, to which he gave the name of Wollaston. His boats arrived at Coronation Gulf, explored on the previous trip, on the 7th August; and on the 1st September they got back to Fort Franklin, without having sustained any damage.
In dwelling on Parry's voyages, we have, for the time, turned aside from those made at the same time by Ross, whose extraordinary exploration of Baffin's Bay had brought upon him the censure of the Admiralty, and who was anxious to regain his reputation for skill and courage. Though the Government had lost confidence in him, he won the esteem of a rich ship-owner, who did not hesitate to entrust to him the command of the steamship Victory, on which he started for Baffin's Bay on the 25th May, 1830.
For four years nothing was heard of the courageous navigator, but on his return, at the end of that time, it turned out that his voyage had been as rich in discoveries as had been Parry's first trip. Ross, entering Prince Regent's Inlet, by way of Barrow and Lancaster Sounds, had revisited the spot where the Fury had been abandoned four years previously; and continuing his voyage in a southerly direction, he wintered in Felix Harbour—so named after the equipper of the expedition—ascertaining whilst there that the lands he had passed formed a large peninsula attached on the south to the northern coast of America.
In April, 1830, James Ross, nephew of the leader of the party, set out in a canoe to examine the shores of this peninsula, and those of King William's Land; and in November of the same year all had once more to go into winter-quarters in Sherif Harbour, it being impossible to get the vessel more than a few miles further north. The cold was intense, and it was agreed by the sailors of the Victory that this was the very severest winter ever spent by them in the Arctic regions.
The summer of 1831 was devoted to various surveys, which proved that there was no connexion between the two seas. All that was accomplished this season was to bring the Victory as far as Discovery Harbour, a very little further north than that of Sherif. The ensuing winter was so intensely severe, that the vessel could not be extricated from her ice prison, and but for the fortunate discovery of the provisions left by the Fury, the English would have died of hunger. As it was, they endured daily greater and greater privations and sufferings before the summer of 1833 at last enabled them finally to leave their winter-quarters and go by land to Prince Regent's and Barrow Straits. They had just reached the shores of Baffin's Bay when a vessel appeared, which turned out to be the Isabel, once commanded by Ross himself, and which now received the refugees from the Victory.
But England had not all this time been forgetful of her children, and had sent an expedition in search of them every year. In 1833 Back, Franklin's companion, was the leader, and he starting from Fort Revolution, on the shore of Slave Lake, made his way northwards, discovered Thloni-Tcho-Deseth River, and settled down in winter-quarters, with the intention of reaching the next year the Polar Sea, where he supposed Ross to be held prisoner, when he heard of his incredible return journey overland. Back, therefore, gave up the next season to the survey of the fine Fish River, discovered the previous year, and sighted the Queen Adelaide Mts., with Capes Booth and Ross.