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Three Voyages for the Discovery of a Northwest Passage from the
by Sir William Edward Parry
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The Esquimaux women and children often amuse themselves with a game not unlike our "skip-rope." This is performed by two women holding the ends of a line, and whirling it regularly round and round, while a third jumps over it in the middle, according to the following order. She commences by jumping twice on both feet, then alternately with the right and left, and next four times with the feet slipped one behind the other, the rope passing once round at each jump. After this she performs a circle on the ground, jumping about half a dozen times in the course of it, which bringing her to her original position, the same thing is repeated as often as it can be done without entangling the line. One or two of the women performed this with considerable agility and adroitness, considering the clumsiness of their boots and jackets, and seemed to pride themselves, in some degree, on the qualification. A second kind of this game consists in two women holding a long rope by its ends, and whirling it round in such a manner, over the heads of two others standing close together near the middle of the bight, that each of these shall jump over it alternately. The art, therefore, which is indeed considerable, depends more on those whirling the rope than on the jumpers, who are, however, obliged to keep exact time, in order to be ready for the rope passing under their feet.

The whole of these people, but especially the women, are fond of music, both vocal and instrumental. Some of them might be said to be passionately so, removing their hair from off their ears, and bending their heads forward, as if to catch the sounds more distinctly, whenever we amused them in this manner. Their own music is entirely vocal, unless, indeed, the drum and tambarine before mentioned be considered an exception.

The voices of the women are soft and feminine, and, when singing with the men, are pitched an octave higher than theirs. They have most of them so far good ears, that, in whatever key a song is commenced by one of them, the rest will always join in perfect unison. After singing for ten minutes, the key had usually fallen a full semitone. Only two of them, of whom Iligliuk was one, could catch the tune as pitched by an instrument, which made it difficult with most of them to complete the writing of the notes; for if they once left off they were sure to recommence in some other key, though a flute or violin was playing at the time.

* * * * *

During the season passed at Winter Island, which appears to have been a healthy one with the Esquimaux, we had little opportunity of becoming acquainted with the diseases to which they are subject. Our subsequent intercourse with a great number of these people at Igloolik having unfortunately afforded more frequent and fatal instances of sickness among them, I here insert Mr. Edwards's remarks on this subject.

"Our first communication with these people at Winter Island gave us a more favourable impression of their general health than subsequent experience confirmed. There, however, they were not free from sickness. A catarrhal affection, in the month of February, became generally prevalent, from which they readily recovered after the exciting causes, intemperance and exposure to wet, had ceased to operate. A solitary instance of pleurisy also occurred, which probably might have ended fatally but for timely assistance. Our intercourse with them in the summer was more interrupted; but at our occasional meetings they were observed to be enjoying excellent health. It is probable that their certain supplies of food, and the nomade kind of life they lead in its pursuit during that season, are favourable to health. Nutrition goes on actively, and an astonishing increase of strength and fulness is acquired. Active diseases might now be looked for, but that the powers of nature are providentially exerted with effect.

"The unlimited use of stimulating animal food, on which they are from infancy fed, induces at an early age a highly plethoric state of the vascular system. The weaker, over-distended vessels of the nose quickly yield to the increased impetus of the blood, and an active hemorrhage relieves the subject. As the same causes continue to be applied in excess at frequent intervals, and are followed by similar effects, a kind of vicarious hemorrhage at length becomes established by habit; superseding the intervention of art, and having no small share in maintaining a balance in the circulating system. The phenomenon is too constant to have escaped the observation of those who have visited the different Esquimaux people; a party of them has, indeed, rarely been seen, that did not exhibit two or three instances of the fact.

"About the month of September, the approach of winter induced the Esquimaux at Igloolik to abandon their tents and to retire into their more established village. The majority were here crowded into huts of a permanent construction, the materials composing the sides being stones and the bones of whales, and the roofs being formed of skins, turf, and snow; the rest of the people were lodged in snow huts. For a while they continued very healthy; in fact, as long as the temperature of the interior did not exceed the freezing point, the vapours of the atmosphere congealed upon the walls, and the air remained dry and tolerably pure; besides, their hard-frozen winter stock of walrus did not at this time tempt them to indulge their appetites immoderately. In January the temperature suffered an unseasonable rise; some successful captures of walrus also took place; and these circumstances, combined perhaps with some superstitious customs of which we were ignorant, seemed the signal for giving way to sensuality. The lamps were accumulated, and the kettles more frequently replenished; and gluttony, in its most disgusting form, became for a while the order of the day. The Esquimaux were now seen wallowing in filth, while some, surfeited, lay stretched upon their skins, enormously distended, and with their friends employed in rolling them about, to assist the operations of oppressed nature. The roofs of their huts were no longer congealed, but dripping with wet and threatening speedy dissolution. The air was, in the bone huts, damp, hot, and beyond sufferance offensive with putrid exhalations from the decomposing relics of offals or other animal matter permitted to remain from year to year undisturbed in these horrible sinks.

"What the consequences might have been had this state of affairs long continued, it is not difficult to imagine; but, fortunately for them, an early and gradual dispersion took place, so that by the end of January few individuals were left in the village. The rest, in divided bodies, established themselves in snow huts upon the sea-ice at some distance from the land. Before this change had been completed, disorders of an inflammatory character had appeared. A few went away sick, some were unable to remove, and others taken ill upon the ice, and we heard of the death of several about this period.

"Their distance from the ships at once precluded any effectual assistance being rendered them at their huts, and their removal on board with safety; the complaints of those who died at the huts, therefore, did not come under observation. It appears, however, to have been acute inflammation of some of the abdominal viscera, very rapid in its career. In the generality, the disease assumed a more insidious and sub-acute form, under which the patient lingered for a while, and was then either carried off by a diarrhoea, or slowly recovered by the powers of nature. Three or four individuals, who, with some risk and trouble, were brought to the ships, we were providentially instrumental in recovering; but two others, almost helpless patients, were so far exhausted before their arrival, that the endeavours used were unsuccessful, and death was probably hastened by their removal.

"That affection of the eyes known by the name of snow-blindness, is extremely frequent among these people. With them it scarcely ever goes beyond painful irritation, while among strangers inflammation is sometimes the consequence. I have not seen them use any other remedy besides the exclusion of light; but, as a preventive, a wooden eye-screen is worn, very simple in its construction, consisting of a curved piece of wood, six or seven inches long, and ten or twelve lines broad. It is tied over the eyes like a pair of spectacles, being adapted to the forehead and nose, and hollowed out to favour the motion of the eyelids. A few rays of light only are admitted through a narrow slit an inch long, cut opposite to each eye.

"There are, upon the whole, no people more destitute of curative means than these. With the exception of the hemorrhage already mentioned, which they duly appreciate, and have been observed to excite artificially to cure headache, they are ignorant of any rational method of procuring relief. It has not been ascertained that they use a single herb medicinally. As prophylactics, they wear amulets, which are usually the teeth, bones, or hair of some animal, the more rare apparently the more valuable. In absolute sickness they depend entirely upon their Angekoks, who, they persuade themselves, have influence over some submarine deities who govern their destiny. The mummeries of these impostors, consisting in pretended consultations with their oracles, are looked upon with confidence, and their mandates, however absurd, superstitiously submitted to. These are constituted of unmeaning ceremonies and prohibitions generally affecting the diet, both in kind and mode, but never in quantity. Seal's flesh is forbidden, for instance, in one disease, that of the walrus in the other; the heart is denied to some, and the liver to others. A poor woman, on discovering that the meat she had in her mouth was a piece of fried heart instead of liver, appeared horror-struck; and a man was in equal tribulation at having eaten, by mistake, a piece of meat cooked in his wife's kettle.

"Personal deformity from malconformation is uncommon; the only instance I remember being that of a young woman, whose utterance was unintelligibly nasal, in consequence of an imperfect development of the palatine bones leaving a gap in the roof of the mouth."

* * * * *

Whatever may be the abundance sometimes enjoyed by these people, and whatever the maladies occasioned by their too frequent abuse of it, it is certain that they occasionally suffer very severely from the opposite extreme. A remarkably intelligent woman informed Captain Lyon, that two years ago some Esquimaux arrived at Igloolik from a place near Akkoolee, bringing information that, during a very grievous famine, one party of men had fallen upon another and killed them; and that they afterward subsisted on their flesh, while in a frozen state, but never cooked or even thawed it. This horrible account was soon after confirmed by Toolemak on board the Fury; and though he was evidently uneasy at our having heard the story, and conversed upon it with reluctance, yet, by means of our questions, he was brought to name, upon his fingers, five individuals who had been killed upon this occasion. Of the fact, therefore, there can be no doubt; but it is certain, also, that we ourselves scarcely regarded it with greater horror than those who related it; and the occurrence may be considered similar to those dreadful instances on record, even among civilized nations, of men devouring one another, in wrecks or boats, when rendered desperate by the sufferings of actual starvation.

The ceremony of crying, which has before been mentioned as practised after a person's death, is not, however, altogether confined to those melancholy occasions, but is occasionally adopted in cases of illness, and that of no very dangerous kind. The father of a sick person enters the apartment, and, after looking at him a few seconds without speaking, announces by a kind of low sob his preparation for the coming ceremony. At this signal every other individual present composes his features for crying, and the leader of the chorus then setting up a loud and piteous howl, which lasts about a minute, is joined by all the rest, who shed abundant tears during the process. So decidedly is this a matter of form, unaccompanied by any feeling of sorrow, that those who are not relatives shed just as many tears as those that are; to which may be added, that in the instances which we saw there was no real occasion for crying at all. It must, therefore, be considered in the light of a ceremony of condolence, which it would be either indecorous or unlucky to omit.

I have already given several instances of the little care these people take in the interment of their dead, especially in the winter season; it is certain, however, that this arises from some superstitious notion, and particularly from the belief that any heavy weight upon the corpse would have an injurious effect upon the deceased in a future state of existence; for even in the summer, when it would be an easy matter to secure a body from the depredations of wild animals, the mode of burial is not essentially different. The corpse of a child observed by Lieutenant Palmer, he describes "as being laid in a regular but shallow grave, with its head to the northeast. It was decently dressed in a good deerskin jacket, and a sealskin prepared without the hair was carefully placed as a cover to the whole figure, and tucked in on all sides. The body was covered with flat pieces of limestone, which, however, were so light that a fox might easily have removed them. Near the grave were four little separate piles of stones, not more than a foot in height, in one of which we noticed a piece of red cloth and a black silk handkerchief, in a second a pair of child's boots and mittens, and in each of the others a whalebone pot. The face of the child looked unusually clean and fresh, and a few days could only have elapsed since its decease."

These Esquimaux do not appear to have any idea of the existence of One Supreme Being, nor indeed can they be said to entertain any notions on this subject which may be dignified with the name of Religion. Their superstitions, which are numerous, have all some reference to the preternatural agency of a number of to=orng~ow or spirits, with whom, on certain occasions, the Angetkooks pretend to hold mysterious intercourse, and who, in various and distinct ways, are supposed to preside over the destinies of the Esquimaux. On particular occasions of sickness or want of food, the Angetkooks contrive, by means of a darkened hut, a peculiar modulation of the voices and the uttering of a variety of unintelligible sounds, to persuade their countrymen that they are descending to the lower regions for this purpose, where they force the spirits to communicate the desired information. The superstitious reverence in which these wizards are held, and a considerable degree of ingenuity in their mode of performing their mummery, prevent the detection of the imposture, and secure implicit confidence in these absurd oracles. Some account of their ideas repecting death, and of their belief in a future state of existence, has already been introduced in the course of the foregoing pages, in the order of those occurrences which furnished us with opportunities of observing them.



NARRATIVE

OF

AN ATTEMPT TO REACH THE

NORTH POLE,

IN BOATS FITTED FOR THE PURPOSE, AND ATTACHED TO HIS MAJESTY'S SHIP HECLA,

IN THE YEAR 1827.



NARRATIVE

INTRODUCTION.

In April, 1826, I proposed to the Right Honourable Viscount Melville, first lord commissioner of the Admiralty, to attempt to reach the North Pole by means of travelling with sledge-boats over the ice, or through any spaces of open water that might occur. My proposal was soon afterward referred to the president and council of the Royal Society, who strongly recommended its adoption; and an expedition being accordingly directed to be equipped for this purpose, I had the honour of being appointed to the command of it; and my commission for his majesty's ship the Hecla, which was intended to carry us to Spitzbergen, was dated the 11th of November, 1826.

Two boats were constructed at Woolwich, under my superintendence, after an excellent model suggested by Mr. Peake, and nearly resembling what are called "troop-boats," having great flatness of floor, with the extreme breadth carried well forward and aft, and possessing the utmost buoyancy, as well as capacity for stowage. Their length was twenty feet, and their extreme breadth seven feet. The timbers were made of tough ash and hickory, one inch by half an inch square, and a foot apart, with a "half-timber" of smaller size between each two. On the outside of the frame thus formed was laid a covering of Macintosh's water-proof canvass, the outer part being covered with tar. Over this was placed a plank of fir, only three sixteenths of an inch thick; then a sheet of stout felt; and, over all, an oak plank of the same thickness as the fir; the whole of these being firmly and closely secured to the timbers by iron screws applied from without. The following narrative will show how admirably the elasticity of this mode of construction was adapted to withstand the constant twisting and concussion to which the boats were subject.[013] On each side of the keel, and projecting considerably below it, was attached a strong "runner," shod with smooth steel, in the manner of a sledge, upon which the boat entirely rested while upon the ice; and, to afford some additional chance of making progress on hard and level fields, we also applied to each boat two wheels, of five feet diameter, and a small one abaft, having a swivel for steering by, like that of a Bath chair; but these, owing to the irregularities of the ice, did not prove of any service, and were subsequently relinquished. A "span" of hide-rope was attached to the forepart of the runners, and to this were affixed two strong ropes of horse-hair, for dragging the boat: each individual being furnished with a broad leathern shoulder-belt, which could readily be fastened to or detached from the drag-ropes. The interior arrangement consisted only of two thwarts; a locker at each end for the nautical and other instruments, and for the smaller stores; and a very slight framework along the sides for containing the bags of biscuit and our spare clothes. A bamboo mast nineteen feet long, a tanned duck sail, answering also the purpose of an awning, a spreat, one boat-hook, fourteen paddles, and a steer-oar, completed each boat's equipment.

Two officers and twelve men (ten of the latter being seamen, and two marines) were selected for each boat's crew. It was proposed to take with us resources for ninety days; to set out from Spitzbergen, if possible, about the beginning of June; and to occupy the months of June, July, and August in attempting to reach the Pole and returning to the ship; making an average journey of thirteen miles and a half per day. Our provisions consisted of biscuit of the best wheaten flour; beef pemmican;[014] sweetened cocoa-powder, and a small proportion of rum, the latter concentrated to fifty-five per cent. above proof, in order to save weight and stowage. The proper instruments were provided, both by the Admiralty and the Board of Longitude, for making such observations as might be interesting in the higher latitudes, and as the nature of the enterprise would permit. Six pocket chronometers, the property of the public, were furnished for this service; and Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham, with their usual liberality, intrusted to our care several other excellent watches, on trial, at their own expense.

Annexed is a list of the different articles composing the equipment of the boats, together with the actual weight of each.

Enter- Endeav- prise our lbs. lbs. Boat . . . . . . . . . 1539 1542 Bamboo mast, 1 spreat, 1 boat-hook, 1 steer-oar. . 46-1/2 46-1/2 Fourteen paddles . . . . . . . 41 41 Sail (or awning) . . . . . . . 22 22 Spare rope and line . . . . . . 6 6 Small sounding line (750 fathoms in all) . . . 8 10 Carpenters' tools, screws, nails, &c. . . . 10 10 Copper and felt for repairs . . . . . 19 19 Four fowling pieces,with 2 bayonets. . . . 15 15 Small articles for guns. . . . . . — 4 Ammunition . . . . . . . . 17-1/2 17-1/2 Instruments. . . . . . . . 29 29 Books. . . . . . . . . 7 5-1/2 S { p {Fur Suits for sleeping in (14 in each boat) . . 162 162 a {Thick-nailed boots (14 in each boat) . . . 47 47 r {Esquimaux do., with spare soles (14 in each . e { boat . . . . . . . . 33 33 C {Flannel shirts (7 in each boat) . . . . 8-3/4 8-3/4 l {Guernsey frocks (do. do.) . . . . . 11-1/2 11-1/2 o {Thick drawers (do. do.) . . . . 14 14 t {Mittens (28 in each boat) . . . . . 5 5 h {Comforters (14 in each boat) . . . . 1 1 e {Scotch caps (do. do.) . . . . . 4 4 s { A bag of small articles for the officers, . including soap, &c., &c. . . . . . 4 4 Do. do. for the men do. . . . . . 12 12 Biscuit . . . . . . . . 628 628 Pemmican . . . . . . . . 564 564 Rum . . . . . . . . 180 180 Cocoa powder, sweetened. . . . . . 63 63 Salt . . . . . . . . . 14 14 Spirits of Wine . . . . . . . 72 72 Cooking apparatus. . . . . . . — 20 Tobacco . . . . . . . . 20 20 Medicine chest . 19 — Pannikins, knife, fork, and spoon (14 in each boat) . 5 5 Weighing-dials and measures . 2 2 Various small articles for repairs, &c., not mentioned above 14 — Packages for provisions, clothes, &c 110 116 —— —— 14)3753 1/4 3753 3/4

Weight, per man 268 lbs. Exclusive of four sledges, weighing 26 lbs. each.

I have not thought it necessary, in the course of this volume, to enter into any examination of the question respecting the approaches to the North Pole which had already been effected previous to our late attempt. I shall, therefore, only add that, after carefully weighing the various authorities, from which every individual interested in this matter is at liberty to form his own conclusions, my own impartial conviction, at the time of our setting out on this enterprise, coincided (with a single exception) with the opinion expressed by the Commissioners of Longitude in their memorial to the king, that "the progress of discovery had not arrived northward, according to any well-authenticated accounts, so far as eighty-one degrees of north latitude." The exception to which I allude is in favour of Mr. Scoresby, who states his having, in the year 1806, reached the latitude of 81 deg. 12' 42" by actual observation, and 81 deg. 30' by dead reckoning. I therefore consider the latter parallel as, in all probability, the highest which had ever been attained prior to the attempt recorded in the following pages.

* * * * *

The Hecla being ready to proceed down the river, she was taken in tow, at ten A.M. on the 25th of March, 1827, by the Lightning steam-vessel; and having received and returned the cheers of the Greenwich pensioners, the children of the Naval Asylum, and of various ships in the river, she made fast to the moorings at Northfleet at three P.M. The following day was occupied in swinging the ship round on the various points of the compass, in order to obtain the amount of the deviation of the magnetic needle produced by the attraction of the ship's iron, and to fix Mr. Barlow's plate for correcting it.[015] On the 3d of April the ship's company received three months' wages in advance, together with their river-pay; and on the following morning, at half past four, we weighed and made sail from the Nore.

We had at this time remarkably fine weather for the season of the year, and such a continuance of southerly winds that we arrived off the island of Soroe, within which Hammerfest lies, on the 17th, without having had occasion to make a tack till we entered the fiord which forms the northern entrance.

The wind becoming light from the southward, and very variable, we were occupied the whole of the 18th in beating up towards Hammerfest. In the evening a Lapland boat came on board, and one of the men undertook to pilot the ship to the anchorage, which, after beating all night against an ebb tide, we reached at three A.M. on the 19th. Finding that our reindeer had not arrived, I immediately despatched Lieutenant Crozier, in one of our own boats, to Alten, from whence they were expected—a distance of about sixty English miles. At the same time, we landed our observatories and instruments at Fugleness, near the establishment of Messrs. Crowe and Woodfall, the British merchants residing here; and Lieutenant Foster and myself immediately commenced our magnetic and other observations, which were continued during the whole of our stay here. We completed our supply of water, and obtained a small quantity of venison, with abundance of good fish (principally torsk and cod), and some milk. We also purchased a set of snow-shoes for our travelling party, together with the Lapland shoes of leather (called Kamooga[016]), which are the most convenient and comfortable for wearing with them; and we practised our people in the manner of walking in them in deep snow, which afforded them fine exercise and amusement.

On the 23d, Lieutenant Crozier returned in the boat from Alten, and was followed the next day by Mr. Wooodfall, who brought with him eight reindeer for our use, together with a supply of moss for their provender (cenomyce rangiferina). As, however, the latter required a great deal of picking, so as to render it fit to carry with us over the ice, and as it was also necessary that we should be instructed in the manner of managing the deer, I determined on remaining a day or two longer for these purposes. Nothing can be more beautiful than the training of the Lapland reindeer. With a simple collar of skin round his neck, a single trace of the same material attached to the "pulk" or sledge, and passing between his legs, and one rein, fastened like a halter about his neck, this intelligent and docile animal is perfectly under the command of an experienced driver, and performs astonishing journeys over the softest snow. When the rein is thrown over on the off side of the animal, he immediately sets off at a full, trot, and stops short the instant it is thrown back to the near side. Shaking the rein over his back is the only whip that is required. In a short time after setting off, they appear to be gasping for breath, as if quite exhausted; but, if not driven too fast at first, they soon recover this, and then go on without difficulty. The quantity of clean moss considered requisite for each deer per day is four pounds; but they will go five or six days without provender, and not suffer materially. As long as they can pick up snow as they go along, which they like to eat quite clean, they require no water; and ice is to them a comfortable bed. It may well be imagined, with such qualifications, how valuable these animals seemed likely to prove to us; and the more we became accustomed, and, I may say, attached to them, the more painful became the idea of the necessity which was likely to exist, of ultimately having recourse to them as provision for ourselves.

Our preparations were completed on the 27th, but the wind continuing fresh from the northwestern quarter in the offing, we had no prospect of making any progress till the morning of the 29th, when we weighed at six A.M.

On the 5th of May, being in latitude 73 deg. 30', and longitude 7 deg. 28' E., we met with the first straggling mass of ice, after which, in sailing about 110 miles in a N.N.W. direction, there was always a number of loose masses in sight; but it did not occur in continuous "streams" till the morning of the 7th, in latitude 74 deg. 55', a few miles to the eastward of the meridian of Greenwich. On the 10th several whalers were in sight, and Mr. Bennett, the master of the Venerable, of Hull, whom we had before met in Baffin's Bay in 1818, came on board. From him I learned that several of the ships had been in the ice since the middle of April, some of them having been so far to the westward as the island of Jan Mayen, and that they were now endeavouring to push to the northward. They considered the ice to offer more obstacles to the attainment of this object than it had done for many years past.[017] None of the ships had yet taken a single whale, which, indeed, they never expect to do to the southward of about 78 deg.

In the afternoon, after waiting for some time for the ice to open, we again entered it, in company with all the whalers, and by the following morning had succeeded in pushing about fifty miles farther to the northward, though not without some heavy blows in "boring" through the ice.

At five A.M. on the 14th we passed Magdalena Bay, and by ten o'clock had arrived off Hakluyt's Headland, round which we hauled to the southeastward, to look, for anchorage in Smerenburg Harbour. In this, however, we were disappointed, the whole place being occupied by one unbroken floe of ice, still firmly attached to the land on each side. Here we made fast, though not without considerable difficulty; the wind, which was now freshening from the southward, blowing in such violent and irregular gusts off the high land that the ship was scarcely manageable. Walruses, dovekies, and eider-ducks were very numerous here, especially the former; and four reindeer came down upon the ice near the ship.

We now prepared a quantity of provisions and other stores to land at Hakluyt's Headland, as a supply for my party on our return from the northward; so that, in case of the ship being obliged to go more to the southward, or of our not being able at once to reach her, we should be furnished with a few days' resources of every kind. Our intentions were, however, frustrated for the present; for we had scarcely secured our hawsers, when a hard gale came on from the southward, threatening every moment to snap them in two, and drive us from our anchorage. We held on for several hours, till, at nine P.M., some swell having set in upon the margin of the ice, it began to break off and drift away. Every possible exertion was instantly made to shift our stream cable farther in upon the floe; but it broke away so quickly as to baffle every endeavour, and at ten the ship went adrift, the wind blowing still harder than before. Having hauled in the hawsers and got the boats on board, we set the close-reefed topsails, to endeavour to hang to windward; but the wind blew in such tremendous gusts from the high land as almost to lay the ship on her beam-ends; so that we were obliged to reduce our canvass to the main topsail and stormsails, and let her drive to leeward.[018] The situation of the ship now appeared a very precarious one, the wind still blowing with unabated violence, and with every appearance of a continuance of stormy weather. Under these circumstances, it was the general opinion of the officers, as well as my own, that it was advisable to take advantage of the comparatively smooth water within the stream of ice, and to run the ship into the pack, rather than incur the risk of having to do the same thing in a heavy sea. This plan succeeded remarkably well; a tolerably smooth and open part of the margin being selected, the ship was forced into it at three A.M., when, after encountering a few severe blows from the heavy washed pieces which always occur near the sea-edge, she was gradually carried onward under all sail, and at four A.M. we got into a perfectly smooth and secure situation, half a mile within the margin of a "pack."

It was impossible not to consider ourselves highly fortunate in having thus early, and with no great difficulty, succeeded in reaching the highest latitude to which it was our object to take the ship. But, from what we had already seen at Smerenburg, it was also impossible not to feel much anxiety as to the prospect of getting her into any secure harbour before the proper time of my departure to the northward should arrive. However, we could only wait patiently for the result of a few more days; and, in the mean time, everybody was busily employed in completing the arrangements for our departure, so that, if an opportunity did offer of securing the ship, we might have nothing else to attend to. Our deer were in good order, having been thriving well ever since they came on board; they make excellent sailors, and do not seem to mind bad weather, always lying down quite comfortable whenever there is any sea.

In order to try what our chances were, at the present low temperature, of procuring water upon the ice without expense of fuel, we laid a black painted canvass cloth, and also a piece of black felt, upon the surface of the snow; the temperature of the atmosphere being from 18 deg. to 23 deg. These substances had, in a couple of hours, sunk half an inch into the snow, but no water could be collected. I was desirous, also, of ascertaining whether any part of the real sea-ice was so entirely fresh when melted as to be drunk without injury or inconvenience. For this purpose we cut a block of ice from a large hummock, about ten feet high above the sea; and having broken, pounded, and melted it, without any previous washing, we found it, both by the hydrometer and by the chemical test (nitrate of silver), more free from salt than any which we had in our tanks, and which was procured from Hammerfest. I considered this satisfactory, because, in the autumn, the pools of water met with upon the ice generally become very brackish, in consequence of the sea-water being drawn up into them by capillary action as the ice becomes more "rotten" and porous; and we might, therefore, have to depend chiefly on melted ice for our daily supply.

No change took place till the 21st, when, on the weather clearing up, we found that the open water we had left to the westward was now wholly closed up, and that there was none whatever in sight. It was now also so close in-shore, that on the 22d, Lieutenant Ross, with a party of officers and men, succeeded in landing without difficulty. They found a small floe of level ice close to the beach, which appeared very lately formed. Walking up to a little conspicuous eminence near the eastern end of the beach, they found it to be composed of clay-slate, tinged of a brownish red colour. The few uncovered parts of the beach were strewed with smooth schistose fragments of the same mineral, and in some parts a quantity of thin slates of it lay closely disposed together in a vertical position. On the little hillock were two graves, bearing the dates of 1741 and 1762 on some of the stones which marked them, and a considerable quantity of fir driftwood lay upon the beach.

I now clearly saw that there was, for the present, no reasonable prospect of our getting towards any harbour; and I could not but feel confident that, even if we did get to the entrance of any, some time must be occupied in securing the ship. It may be well imagined how anxious I had now become to delay no longer in setting out upon the main object of the expedition. I felt that a few days at the commencement of the season, short as it is in these regions, might be of great importance as to the result of our enterprise, while the ship seemed to be so far secure from any immediate danger as to justify my leaving her, with a reduced crew, in her present situation. The nature of the ice was, beyond all comparison, the most unfavourable for our purpose that I remember to have ever seen. It consisted only of loose pieces, scarcely any of them fifteen or twenty yards square; and when any so large did occur, their, margins were surrounded by the smaller ones, thrown up by the recent pressure into ten thousand various shapes, and presenting high and sharp angular masses at every other step. The men compared it to a stone-mason's yard, which, except that the stones were of ten times the usual dimensions, it indeed very much resembled. The only inducement to set out over such a road was the certainty that floes and fields lay beyond it, and the hope that they were not far beyond it. In this respect, indeed, I considered our present easterly position as a probable advantage, since the ice was much less likely to have been disturbed to any great extent northward in this meridian than to the westward clear of the land, where every southerly breeze was sure to be making havoc among it. Another very important advantage in setting off on this meridian appeared to me to be, that, the land of Spitzbergen lying immediately over against the ice, the latter could never drift so much or so fast to the southward as it might farther to the westward.

Upon these grounds it was that I was anxious to make an attempt, at least, as soon as our arrangements could be completed; and the officers being of the same opinion as myself, we hoisted out the boats early in the morning of the 27th, and, having put the things into one of them, endeavoured, by way of experiment, to get her to a little distance from the ship. Such however, were the irregularities of the ice, that, even with the assistance of an additional party of men, it was obvious that we could not have gained a single mile in a day, and, what was still more important, not without almost certain and serious injury to the boats by their striking against the angular masses. Under these circumstances, it was but too evident to every one that it would have been highly imprudent to persist in setting out, since, if the ice, after all, should clear away, even in a week, so as to allow us to get a few miles nearer the main body, time would be ultimately saved by our delay, to say nothing of the wear and tear, and expense of our provisions. I was, therefore, very reluctantly compelled to yield to this necessity, and to order the things to be got on board again.

Immediately after we had, on the 27th, proved experimentally the extreme difficulty of transporting our boats and stores over the ice which now surrounded us, I made up my mind to the very great probability there seemed to be of the necessity of adopting such alterations in our original plans as would accommodate them to these untoward circumstances at the outset. The boats forming the main impediment, not so much on account of their absolute weight as from the difficulty of managing so large a body upon a road of this nature, I made preparations for the possible contingency of our having to take only one, continuing the same number of men in our whole party. All that I saw reason to apprehend from having only a single boat on our outward journey, was some occasional delay in ferrying over spaces of water in two trips instead of one; but we considered that this would be much more than compensated by the increased rate at which we should go whenever we were upon the ice, as we expected to be nine days out of ten. The principal disadvantage, therefore, consisted in our not all being able to sleep in the boat, and this we proposed to obviate in the following manner.

We constructed out of the Lapland snow-shoes fourteen sledges, each sledge consisting of two pairs well fastened together. Upon these we proposed dragging almost all the weight, so as to keep the boat nearly without any cargo in her, as we found by experiment that a man could drag about three hundred pounds on one of the sledges with more facility than he could drag the boat when his proportion did not exceed one hundred pounds. Upon these sledges we proposed lodging half our party alternately each night, placing them under the lee of the boat, and then stretching over them, as a sloped roof, a second awning, which we fitted for the purpose. Upon this plan we likewise could afford to make our boat considerably stronger, adding some stout iron knees to the supports of her runners, and increasing our store of materials for repairing her. The weight reduced by this arrangement would have been above two thousand pounds, without taking away any article conducive to our comfort, except the boat and her gear. I proposed to the officers and men who had been selected to accompany me this change in our equipment; and I need scarcely say that they all clearly saw the probable necessity of it, and cheerfully acquiesced in its adoption, if requisite.

On the 29th I sent Lieutenants Foster and Crozier, with the greater part of the ship's company, and with a third or spare travelling-boat, to endeavour to land her on Red Beach, together with a quantity of stores, including provisions, as a deposite for us on our return from the northward, should it so happen, as was not improbable, that we should return to the eastward. It is impossible to describe the labour attending this attempt. Suffice it to say, that, after working for fourteen hours, they returned on board at midnight, having accomplished about four miles out of the six. The next day they returned to the boat, and, after several hours' exertion, landed her on the beach with the stores. What added to the fatigue of this service was the necessity of taking a small boat to cross pools of water on their return, so that they had to drag this boat both ways, besides that which they went to convey. Having, however, had an opportunity of trying what could be done upon a regular and level floe which lay close to the beach, everybody was of opinion, as I had always been, that we could easily travel twenty miles a day on ice of that kind.

It will not be wondered at if the apparent hopelessness of getting the ship free for the present again suggested the necessity of my own setting out: and I had once more, on the 1st of June, after an anxious consultation with my officers, resolved on making a second attempt, when the ice near us, which had opened at regular hours with the tide for three or four days past, began to set us much more rapidly than usual to the eastward, and towards a low point which runs off from Red Beach, near its western end, causing us to shoal the water in a few hours from fifty-two to twenty fathoms, and on the following morning to fourteen and a half. By sending a lead-line over the ice a few hundred yards beyond us, we found ten fathoms water. However unfavourable the aspect of our affairs seemed before, this new change could not fail to alter it for the worse. The situation of the ship now, indeed, required my whole attention; for the ice occasionally opened and shut within twenty or twenty-five yards of us on the in-shore side, the ship herself was still very firmly imbedded by the turned up masses which pressed upon her on the 19th, and which, on the other side, as well as ahead and astern, were of considerable extent. Thus she formed, as it were, part of a floe, which went drifting about in the manner above described. This was of little importance while she was in sixty fathoms of water, as she was for the first fourteen days of our besetment, and a distance of five or six miles from the land; but now that she had shoaled the water so considerably, and approached the low point within two or three miles, it became a matter of importance to try whether any labour we could bestow upon it would liberate the ship from her present imbedded state, so as to be at least ready to take advantage of slack water, should any occur, to keep her off the shore. All hands were therefore set to work with handspikes, capstan-bars, and axes, it being necessary to detach every separate mass, however small, before the larger ones could be moved. The harassing and laborious nature of this operation is such as nothing but experience can possibly give an idea of, especially when, as in this case, we had only a small pool of clear water near the margin in which the detached pieces could be floated out. However, we continued at work, with only the necessary intermissions for rest and meals, during this and the two following days, and on the evening of the 3d had accomplished all that the closeness of the ice would permit; but the ship was still by no means free, numberless masses of ice being doubled under her, even below her keel, which could not be moved without more space for working.

Painful as was this protracted delay in setting out upon the principal object of the expedition, the absolute necessity of it will scarcely, I think, be doubted by any person conversant in such matters. So long as the ship continued undisturbed by the ice, nearly stationary, and in deep water, for several days together, I had, in my anxiety to lose not a moment's time, ventured to flatter myself with the hope that, in a case of such unlooked-for emergency, when every moment of our short and uncertain season was of importance, I might be justified in quitting my ship at sea; and in this opinion the zeal of my officers, both those who were to accompany me and those who were to remain on board, induced them unanimously to concur. But the case was now materially altered; for it had become plain to every seaman in the ship, first, that the safety of the Hecla, if thus left with less than half her working hands, could not be reckoned upon for an hour; and, secondly, that no human foresight could enable us to conjecture, should we set out while she was thus situated, when or where we should find her on our return. In fact, it appeared to us at this time, as indeed it was, a very providential circumstance, that the impracticable nature of the ice for travelling had offered no encouragement to persevere in my original intention of setting out a week before this time.

For the two following days we continued closely beset, but still driving to the eastward across the mouth of Weyde Bay, which is here six or seven miles in breadth, and appeared to be very deep, the land in the centre receding to a distance of full eight leagues. In the afternoon of the 6th, we had driven within five miles of a point of land, beyond which, to the eastward, it seemed to recede considerably; and this appearing to answer tolerably to the situation of Muscle or Mussel Bay, as laid down in most of the charts, I was very anxious to discover whether we could here find shelter for the ship. A lane of water leading towards the land at no great distance from us, I hauled a boat over the ice and then rowed on shore, accompanied by Lieutenant Foster and some of the other officers, taking with me another small store of provisions, to be deposited here, as a future resource for my party, should we approach this part of the coast.

Landing at half past six P.M., and leaving Mr. Bird to bury the provisions, Lieutenant Foster and myself walked without delay to the eastward, and, on ascending the point, found that there was, as we had supposed, an indentation in the coast on the other side. We now began to conceive the most flattering hopes of discovering something like a harbour for the ship, and pushed on with all possible haste to examine the place farther; but, after three hours walking, were much mortified, on arriving at its head, to find that it was nothing but an open bay, entirely exposed to the inroads of all the northern ice, and therefore quite unfit for the ship. We returned to the boat greatly disappointed, and reached the Hecla at 1.30 A.M. on the 7th.

I do not remember to have ever experienced in these regions such a continuance of beautiful weather as we now had, during more than three weeks that we had been on the northern coast of Spitzbergen. Day after day we had a clear and cloudless sky, scarcely any wind, and, with the exception of a few days previous to the 23d of May, a warm temperature in the shade, and quite a scorching sun. On the 3d of June we had a shower of rain, and on the 6th it rained pretty hard for two or three hours. After the 1st of June we could procure abundance of excellent water upon the ice, and by the end of the first week the floe-pieces were looking blue with it in some parts, and the snow had everywhere become too soft to bear a man's weight.

On the 7th, the ship, still closely beset, had drifted much more to the eastward, being within a mile of the spot where the provisions had been deposited the preceding evening. There was now no other ice between us and the land except the floe to which we had been so long attached; and round this we were occasionally obliged to warp, whenever a little slackening of the ice permitted, in order to prevent our getting too near the rocks. In this situation of suspense and anxiety we still remained until the evening of the 8th, when a breeze at length springing up from the southward began to open out the ice from the point near which we lay. As soon as the channel was three or four hundred yards wide, we warped into the clear water, and, making sail, rounded the point in safety, having no soundings with twenty fathoms, at one third of a mile from a small rocky islet lying off it. In the mean time the wind had been driving the ice so fast off the land as to form for us a clear communication with the open water before seen to the eastward; and thus we were at length liberated from our confinement, after a close and tedious "besetment" of twenty-four days.

The weather continued so thick, that, impatient as we were to stand in towards the eastern land, we could not venture to do so till eleven A.M. on the 10th, when we made sail towards Brandywine Bay, the wind being now from the W.S.W., or nearly dead upon that shore. The weather clearing up at 1.15 P.M., we saw the eastern land, and soon after discovered the grounded ice off Low Island; Walden's Island was also plainly in sight to the N.E. The bay seemed deeply indented, and very likely to afford nooks such as we wanted; and where so large a space of open water, and, consequently, some sea, had been exerting its influence for a considerable time, we flattered ourselves with the most sanguine hopes of now having access to the shores, sufficiently near, at least, for sawing into some place of shelter. How, then, shall I express our surprise and mortification in finding that the whole of the coast, from the islands northward to Black Point, and apparently also as far as Walden's Island, was rendered inaccessible by one continuous and heavy floe, everywhere attached to the shores, and to the numberless grounded masses about the island, this immense barrier being in some places six or seven miles in width, and not less than twelve feet in thickness near the margin.

The prospect from our masthead at this time was certainly enough to cast a damp over every sanguine expectation I had formed, of being soon enabled to place the Hecla in security; and more willingly than ever would I, at this period, have persuaded myself, if possible, that I should be justified in quitting her at sea. Such, however, was the nature of this navigation, as regarded the combined difficulties arising from ice and a large extent of shoal and unsurveyed ground, that, even with our full complement of officers and men on board, all our strength and exertions might scarcely have sufficed, in a single gale of wind, to keep the ship tolerably secure, and much less could I have ensured placing her ultimately in any proper situation for picking up an absent party; for, if once again beset, she must, of course, be at the mercy of the ice. The conclusion was, therefore, irresistibly forced upon my mind, that thus to leave the ship would be to expose her to imminent and certain peril, rendering it impossible to conjecture where we should find her on our return, and, therefore, rashly to place all parties in a situation from which nothing but disaster could reasonably be expected to ensue.

After beating through much ice, which was all of the drift or broken kind, and had all found its way hither in the last two days, we got into an open space of water in-shore, and about six miles to the northward of Low Island; and on the morning of the 13th stretched in towards Walden Island, around which we found, as we had feared, a considerable quantity of fixed ice. It was certainly much less here, than elsewhere; but the inner, or eastern side of the island was entirely enveloped by it.

Having from twenty-six to twenty-four fathoms at the distance of four miles from Walden Island, I was preparing two boats, with the intention of going to sound about its northern point, which was the most clear of ice, and not without a faint hope of finding something like shelter there; but I was prevented by a thick fog coming on. Continuing, therefore, to beat to the northward, we passed occasionally a good deal of drift ice, but with every appearance of much clear water in that direction; and the weather clearing about midnight, we observed in latitude 80 deg.43'32". The Seven Islands were in sight to the eastward, and the "Little Table Island" of Phipps bore E.N.E. (true) distant about nine or ten miles. It is a mere craggy rock, rising, perhaps, from four to five hundred feet above the level of the sea, and with a small low islet lying off its northern end. This island, being the northernmost known land in the world, naturally excited much of our curiosity; and bleak, and barren, and rugged as it is, one could not help gazing at it with intense interest.

At midnight on the 14th we had reached the latitude 81 deg.5'32" Our longitude by chronometers at this time was 19 deg. 34' E., Little Table Island bearing S. 26 deg. E. (true), distant six or seven leagues, and Walden Island S. 4 deg. E.[019] The depth of water was ninety-seven fathoms, on a bottom of greenish mud; and the temperature at ninety-five fathoms, by Six's thermometer, was 29.8 deg., that at the surface being 31 deg., and of the air 28 deg. All that could here be seen to the northward was loose drift-ice. To the northeast it was particularly open, and I have no doubt that we might have gone many miles farther in that direction, had it not been a much more important object to keep the ship free than to push her to the northward.

We now stood back again to the southward, in order again to examine the coast wherever we could approach it; but found, on the 15th, that none of the land was at all accessible, the wind having got round to the W.N.W., and loaded all the shores with drift-ice.

Walden Island being the first part clear of the loose ice, we stretched in for it on the 16th, and, when within two miles, observed that about half that space was occupied by land-ice, even on its northwestern side, which was the only accessible one, the rest being wholly enclosed by it. However, being desirous of obtaining a better view than our crow's-nest commanded, and also of depositing here a small quantity of provisions, I left the ship at one P.M., accompanied by Lieutenant Foster in a second boat, and, landing upon the ice, walked over about three quarters of a mile of high and rugged hummocks to the shore. Ascending two or three hundred feet, we had a clear and extensive view of the Seven Islands, and of some land far beyond them to the eastward; and the whole sea was covered with one unbroken land-floe, attached to all the shores extending from the island where we stood, and which formed an abutment for it each way along the land as far as the eye could reach. After this discouraging prospect, which wholly destroyed every hope of finding a harbour among the Seven Islands, we returned to the place where the men had deposited the provisions, and, after making the necessary observations for the survey, returned immediately on board.

Observing from the island that the sea was perfectly clear to the northward, we now stood for Little Table Island, with some slight hope that the rock off its northern end might afford shelter for the ship; at all events, being the most exposed, on account of its situation, it was the most likely to be free from ice. A thick fog prevented our getting near it till the morning of the 17th, when, having approached it within a mile and a half, I sent Lieutenant Ross on shore to a little islet, which was quite free from ice, where he deposited another small store of provisions, but found nothing like shelter for the ship.

Having no farther business here, and the easterly wind still continuing, I thought the best thing we could do would be to run again to the southward of Low Island, and try once more to approach the shores about the entrance of the Waygatz Strait. We therefore bore up under all sail to the southwest.

It would be vain to deny that I had lately begun to entertain the most serious apprehensions as related to the accomplishment of our principal object. The 17th of June had now arrived, and all that we saw afforded us the most discouraging prospect as to our getting the Hecla into harbour; while every day's experience showed how utterly rash a measure it would be to think of quitting her in her present situation, which, even with all her officers and men, was one of extreme precariousness and uncertainty.

On the evening of the 18th, while standing in for the high land to the eastward of Verlegen Hook, which, with due attention to the lead, may be approached with safety, we perceived from the crow's-nest what appeared a low point, possibly affording some shelter for the ship, and which seemed to answer to an indentation of the coast laid down in an old Dutch chart, and there called Treurenburg Bay.

On the following morning I proceeded to examine the place, accompanied by Lieutenant Ross in a second boat, and, to our great joy, found it a considerable bay, with one part affording excellent landlocked anchorage and, what was equally fortunate, sufficiently clear of ice to allow the ship to enter. Having sounded the entrance and determined on the anchorage, we returned to the ship to bring her in; and I cannot describe the satisfaction which the information of our success communicated to every individual on board. The main object of our enterprise now appeared almost within our grasp, and everybody seemed anxious to make up, by renewed exertions, for the time we had unavoidably lost. The ship was towed and warped in with the greatest alacrity, and at 1.40 A.M. on June 20th, we dropped the anchor in Hecla Cove, in thirteen fathoms, on a bottom of very tenacious blue clay, and made some hawsers fast to the land-ice, which still filled all the upper part of the bay. After resting a few hours, we sawed a canal a quarter of a mile in length, through which the ship was removed into a better situation, a bower-cable taken on shore and secured to the rocks, and an anchor, with the chain-cable, laid out the other way. On the morning of the 21st we hauled the launch up on the beach, it being my intention to direct such resources of every kind to be landed as would render our party wholly independent of the ship, either for returning to England or for wintering, in case of the ship being driven to sea by the ice; a contingency against which, in these regions, no precaution can altogether provide. I directed Lieutenant Foster, upon whom the charge of the Hecla was now to devolve, to land without delay the necessary stores, keeping the ship seaworthy by taking in an equal quantity of ballast; and, as soon as he should be satisfied of her security from ice, to proceed on the survey of the eastern coast; but, should he see reason to doubt her safety with a still farther diminution of her crew to relinquish the survey, and attend exclusively to the ship. I also gave directions that notices should be sent, in the course of the summer, to the various stations where our depots of provisions were established, acquainting me with the situation and state of the ship, and giving me any other information which might be necessary for my guidance on our return from the northward. These and other arrangements being completed, I left the ship at five P.M. with our two boats, which we named the Enterprise and Endeavour, Mr. Beverly being attached to my own, and Lieutenant Ross, accompanied by Mr. Bird, in the other. Besides these, I took Lieutenant Crozier in one of the ship's cutters, for the purpose of carrying some of our weight as far as Walden Island, and also a third store of provisions to be deposited on Low Island, as an intermediate station between Walden Island and the ship. As it was still necessary not to delay our return beyond the end of August, the time originally intended, I took, with me only seventy-one days provisions; which, including the boats and every other article, made up a weight of 268 lbs. per man; and as it appeared highly improbable, from what we had seen of the very rugged nature of the ice we should first have to encounter, that either the reindeer, the snow-shoes, or the wheels would prove of any service for some time to come, I gave up the idea of taking them. We, however, constructed out of the snow-shoes four excellent sledges for dragging a part of our baggage over the ice; and these proved of invaluable service to us, while the rest of the things just mentioned would only have been an encumbrance.

Having received the usual salutation of three cheers from those we left behind, we paddled through a quantity of loose ice at the entrance of the bay, and then steered, in a perfectly open sea, and with calm and beautiful weather, for the western part of Low Island, which we reached at half past two on the morning of the 22d.

Having deposited the provisions, we set off at four A.M., paddling watch and watch, to give the people a little rest. It was still quite calm; but there being much ice about the island, and a thick fog coming on, we were several hours groping our way clear of it. The walruses were here very numerous, lying in herds upon the ice, and plunging into the water to follow us as we passed. The sound they utter is something between bellowing and very loud snorting, which, together with their grim, bearded countenances and long tusks, makes them appear, as indeed they are, rather formidable enemies to contend with. Under our present circumstances, we were very well satisfied not to molest them, for they would soon have destroyed our boats if one had been wounded; but I believe they are never the first to make the attack. We landed upon the ice still attached to Walden Island at 3.30 A.M. on the 23d. Our flat-bottomed boats rowed heavily with their loads, but proved perfectly safe, and very comfortable. The men being much fatigued, we rested here some hours, and, after making our final arrangements with Lieutenant Crozier, parted with him at three in the afternoon, and set off for Little Table Island. Finding there was likely to be so much open water in this neighbourhood in the autumn, I sent directions to Lieutenant Foster to have a spare boat deposited at Walden Island in time for our return, in case of any accident happening to ours.

The land-ice, which still adhered to the Seven Islands, was very little more broken off than when the Hecla had been here a week before; and we rowed along its margin a part of the way to Little Table Island, where we arrived at ten P.M. We here examined and re-secured the provisions left on shore, having found our depot at Walden Island disturbed by the bears. The prospect to the northward at this time was very favourable, there being only a small quantity of loose ice in sight; and the weather still continuing calm and clear, with the sea as smooth as a mirror, we set off without delay, at half past ten, taking our final leave of the Spitzbergen shores, as we hoped, for at least two months. Steering due north, we made good progress, our latitude by the sun's meridian altitude at midnight being 80 deg. 51' 13". A beautifully-coloured rainbow appeared for some time, without any appearance of rain falling. We observed that a considerable current was setting us to the eastward just after leaving the land, so that we had made a N.N.E. course, distance about ten miles, when we met with some ice, which soon becoming too close for farther progress, we landed upon a high hummock to obtain a better view. We here perceived that the ice was close to the northward, but to the westward we discovered some open water, which we reached after two or three hours' paddling, and found it a wide expanse, in which we sailed to the northward without obstruction, a fresh breeze having sprung up from the S.W. The weather soon after became very thick, with continued snow, requiring great care in looking out for the ice, which made its appearance after two hours' run, and gradually became closer, till at length we were stopped by it at noon, and obliged to haul the boats upon a small floe-piece, our latitude by observation being 81 deg. 12' 51".

Our plan of travelling being nearly the same throughout this excursion, after we first entered upon the ice, I may at once give some account of our usual mode of proceeding. It was my intention to travel wholly at night, and to rest by day, there being, of course, constant daylight in these regions during the summer season. The advantages of this plan, which was occasionally deranged by circumstances, consisted, first, in our avoiding the intense and oppressive glare from the snow during the time of the sun's greatest altitude, so as to prevent, in some degree, the painful inflammation in the eyes called "snow blindness," which is common in all snowy countries. We also thus enjoyed greater warmth during the hours of rest, and had a better chance of drying our clothes; besides which, no small advantage was derived from the snow being harder at night for travelling. The only disadvantage of this plan was, that the fogs were somewhat more thick by night than by day, though even in this respect there was less difference than might have been supposed, the temperature during the twenty-four hours undergoing but little variation. This travelling by night and sleeping by day so completely inverted the natural order of things, that it was difficult to persuade ourselves of the reality. Even the officers and myself, who were all furnished with pocket chronometers, could not always bear in mind at what part of the twenty-four hours we had arrived; and there were several of the men who declared, and I believe truly, that they, never knew night from day during the whole excursion.[020]

When we rose in the evening, we commenced our day by prayers, after which we took off our fur sleeping-dresses and put on those for travelling; the former being made of camlet, lined with racoon-skin, and the latter of strong blue box-cloth. We made a point of always putting on the same stockings and boots for travelling in, whether they dried during the day or not; and I believe it was only in five or six instances, at the most, that they were not either wet or hard-frozen. This, indeed, was of no consequence, beyond the discomforture of first putting them on in this state, as they were sure to be thoroughly wet in a quarter of an hour after commencing our journey; while, on the other hand, it was of vital importance to keep dry things for sleeping in. Being "rigged" for travelling, we breakfasted upon warm cocoa and biscuit, and, after stowing the things in the boats and on the sledges, so as to secure them as much as possible from wet, we set off on our day's journey, and usually travelled from five to five and a half hours, then stopped an hour to dine, and again travelled four, five, or even six hours, according to circumstances. After this we halted for the night, as we called it, though it was usually early in the morning, selecting the largest surface of ice we happened to be near for hauling the boats on, in order to avoid the danger of its breaking up by coming in contact with other masses, and also to prevent drift as much as possible. The boats were placed close alongside each other, with their sterns to the wind, the snow or wet cleared out of them, and the sails, supported by the bamboo masts and three paddles, placed over them as awnings, an entrance being left at the bow. Every man then immediately put on dry stockings and fur boots, after which we set about the necessary repairs of boats, sledges, or clothes; and, after serving the provisions for the succeeding day, we went to supper. Most of the officers and men then smoked their pipes, which served to dry the boats and awnings very much, and usually raised the temperature of our lodgings 10 deg. or 15 deg. This part of the twenty-four hours was often a time, and the only one, of real enjoyment to us; the men told their stories and "fought all their battles o'er again," and the labours of the day, unsuccessful as they too often were, were forgotten. A regular watch was set during our resting-time, to look out for bears or for the ice breaking up round us, as well as to attend to the drying of the clothes, each man alternately, taking this duty for one hour. We then concluded our day with prayers, and, having put on our fur-dresses, lay down to sleep with a degree of comfort, which perhaps few persons would imagine possible under such circumstances; our chief inconvenience being that we were somewhat pinched for room, and therefore obliged to stow rather closer than was quite agreeable. The temperature, while we slept, was usually from 36 deg. to 45 deg., according to the state of the external atmosphere; but on one or two occasions in calm and warm weather, it rose as high as 60 deg. to 66 deg., obliging us to throw off a part of our fur-dress. After we had slept seven hours, the man appointed to boil the cocoa roused us when it was ready by the sound of a bugle, when we commenced our day in the manner before described.

Our allowance of provisions for each man per day was as follows:

Biscuit 10 ounces. Pemmican 9 ounces. Sweetened Cocoa Powder 1 ounce, to make one pint. Rum 1 gill. Tobacco 3 ounces per week.

Our fuel consisted entirely of spirits of wine, of which two pints formed our daily allowance, the cocoa being cooked in an iron boiler over a shallow iron lamp, with seven wicks; a simple apparatus, which answered our purpose remarkably well. We usually found one pint of the spirits of wine sufficient for preparing our breakfast, that is, for heating twenty-eight pints of water, though it always commenced from the temperature of 32 deg. If the weather was calm and fair, this quantity of fuel brought it to the boiling point in about an hour and a quarter; but more generally the wicks began to go out before it had reached. 200 deg. This, however, made a very comfortable meal to persons situated as we were. Such, with very little variation, was our regular routine during the whole of this excursion.

We set off on our first journey over the ice at ten P.M. on the 24th, Table Island bearing S.S.W., and a fresh breeze blowing from W.S.W., with thick fog, which afterward changed to rain. The bags of pemmican were placed upon the sledges, and the bread in the boats, with the intention of securing the latter from wet; but this plan we were soon obliged to relinquish. We now commenced upon very slow and laborious travelling, the pieces of ice being of small extent and very rugged, obliging us to make three journeys, and sometimes four, with the boats and baggage, and to launch several times across narrow pools of water. We stopped to dine at five A.M. on the 25th, having made, by our log (which we kept very carefully, marking the courses by compass, and estimating the distances), about two miles and a half of northing; and, again setting forward, proceeded till eleven A.M., when we halted to rest; our latitude, by observation at noon, being 81 deg. 15' 13".

Setting out again at half past nine in the evening, we found our way to lie over nothing but small, loose, rugged masses of ice, separated by little pools of water, obliging us constantly to launch and haul up the boats, each of which operations required them to be unloaded, and occupied nearly a quarter of an hour. It came on to rain very hard on the morning of the 26th; and, finding we were making very little progress (having advanced not more than half a mile in four hours), and that our clothes would be soon wet through, we halted at half past one, and took shelter under the awnings. The weather improving at six o'clock, we again moved forward, and travelled till a quarter past eleven, when we hauled the boats upon the only tolerably large floe-piece in sight. The rain had very much increased the quantity of water lying upon the ice, of which nearly half the surface was now covered with numberless little ponds of various shapes and extent. It is a remarkable fact, that we had already experienced, in the course of this summer, more rain than during the whole of seven previous summers taken together, though passed in latitudes from 7 deg. to 15 deg. lower than this. A great deal of the ice over which we passed to-day presented a very curious appearance and structure, being composed, on its upper surface, of numberless irregular, needle-like crystals, placed vertically, and nearly close together; their length varying, in different pieces of ice, from five to ten inches, and their breadth in the middle about half an inch, but pointed at both ends. The upper surface of ice having this structure sometimes looks like greenish velvet; a vertical section of it, which frequently occurs at the margin of floes, resembles, while it remains compact, the most beautiful satin-spar, and asbestos when falling to pieces. At this early part of the season, this kind of ice afforded pretty firm footing; but, as the summer advanced, the needles became more loose and moveable, rendering it extremely fatiguing to walk over them, besides cutting our boots and feet, on which account the men called them "penknives."

We pursued our journey at half past nine P.M., with the wind at N.E., and thick weather, the ice being so much in motion as to make it very dangerous to cross in loaded boats, the masses being all very small. On this account we halted at midnight, having waded three quarters of a mile through water from two to five inches deep upon the ice. The thermometer was at 33 deg.

At seven A.M. on the 28th, we came to a floe covered with high and rugged hummocks, which opposed a formidable obstacle to our progress, occurring in two or three successive tiers, so that we had no sooner crossed one than another presented itself. Over one of these we hauled the boats with extreme difficulty by a "standing pull," and the weather being then so thick that we could see no pass across the next tier, we were obliged to stop at nine A.M. While performing this laborious work, which required the boats to be got up and down places almost perpendicular, James Parker, my coxswain, received a severe contusion in his back, by the boat falling upon him from a hummock, and the boats were constantly subject to very heavy blows, but sustained no damage.[021] The weather continued very foggy during the day, but a small lane of water opening out at no great distance from the margin of the floe, we launched the boats at eight in the evening among loose drift-ice, and, after some time, landed on a small floe to the eastward, the only one in sight, with the hope of its leading to the northward. It proved so rugged that we were obliged to make three, and sometimes four journeys with the boats and provisions, and this by a very circuitous route; so that the road, by which we made a mile of northing, was full a mile and a half in length, and over this we had to travel at least five, and sometimes seven times. Thus, when we halted to dine at two A.M., after six hours' severe toil, and much risk to the men and boats, we had only accomplished about a mile and a quarter in a N.N.E. direction. After dining we proceeded again till half past six, and then halted, very much fatigued with our day's work, and having made two miles and a half of northing. We were here in latitude, by account, 81 deg. 23", and in longitude, by the chronometers, 21 deg. 32' 34" E., in which situation the variation of the magnetic needle was observed to be 15 deg. 31' westerly. We now enjoyed the first sunshine since our entering the ice, and a great enjoyment it was, after so much thick and wet weather. We rose at half past four P.M., in the hopes of pursuing our journey; but, after hauling the boats to the edge of the floe, found such a quantity of loose, rugged ice to the northward of us, that there was no possibility, for the present, of getting across or through it. Observing a small opening at 10.30 P.M., we launched the boats, and hauled them across several pieces of ice, some of them being very light and much decayed. Our latitude, by the sun's meridian altitude at midnight, was 81 deg. 23'; so that we had made only eight miles of northing since our last observation at noon on the 25th.

The 30th commenced with snowy and inclement weather, which soon rendered the atmosphere so thick that we could no longer see our way, obliging us to halt till two P.M., when we crossed several small pools with great labour and loss of time. We had generally very light ice this day, with some heavy, rugged pieces intermixed; and, when hauling across these, we had sometimes to cut with axes a passage for the boats among the hummocks. We also dragged them through a great many pools of fresh water, to avoid the necessity of going round them. The wind freshening up from the S.S.W., we afterward found the ice gradually more and more open, so that, in the course of the day, we made by rowing, though by a very winding channel, five miles of northing; but were again stopped by the ice soon after midnight, and obliged to haul up on the first mass that we could gain, the ice having so much motion that we narrowly escaped being "nipped." We set out at 11.30 A.M. on the 1st July, the wind still fresh from the S.W., and some snow falling: but it was more than an hour before we could get away from the small pieces of ice on which we slept, the masses beyond being so broken up and so much in motion, that we could not, at first, venture to launch the boats. Our latitude, observed at noon, was 81 deg. 30' 41". After crossing several pieces, we at length got into a good "lead" of water, four or five miles in length; two or three of which, as on the preceding day, occurred under the lee of a floe, being the second we had yet seen that deserved that name. We then passed over four or five small floes, and across the pools of water that lay between them. The ice was now less broken up, and sometimes tolerably level; but from six to eighteen inches of soft snow lay upon it in every part, making the travelling very fatiguing, and obliging us to make at least two, and sometimes three, journeys with our loads. We now found it absolutely necessary to lighten the boat as much as possible, by putting the bread-bags on the sledges, on account of the "runners" of the boats sinking so much deeper into the snow; but our bread ran a great risk of being wetted by this plan.

We halted at eleven P.M. on the 1st, having traversed from ten to eleven miles, and made good, by our account, seven and half in a N.b.W. direction. We again set forward at ten A.M. on the 2d, the weather being calm, and the sun oppressively warm, though with a thick fog. The temperature in the shade was 35 deg. at noon, and only 47 deg. in the sun; but this, together with the glare from the snow, produced so painful a sensation in most of our eyes, as to make it necessary to halt at one P.M., to avoid being blinded. We therefore took advantage of this warm weather to let the men wash themselves, and mend and dry their clothes, and then set out again at half past three. The snow was, however, so soft as to take us up to our knees at almost every other step, and frequently still deeper; so that we were sometimes five minutes together in moving a single empty boat, with all our united strength. It being impossible to proceed under these circumstances, I determined to fall into our night-travelling again, from which we had of late insensibly deviated. We therefore halted at half past five, the weather being now very clear and warm, and many of the people's eyes beginning to fail. We did not set out again till after midnight, with the intention of giving the snow time to harden after so warm a day; but we found it still so soft as to make the travelling very fatiguing. Our way lay at first across a number of loose pieces, most of which were from five to twenty yards apart, or just sufficiently separated to give us all the labour of launching and hauling up the boats, without the advantage of making any progress by water; while we crossed, in other instances, from mass to mass, by laying the boats over as bridges, by which the men and the baggage passed. By these means, we at length reached a floe about a mile in length, in a northern direction; but it would be difficult to convey an adequate idea of the labour required to traverse it. The average depth of snow upon the level parts was about five inches, under which lay water four or five inches deep; but, the moment we approached a hummock, the depth to which we sank increased to three feet or more, rendering it difficult at times to obtain sufficient footing for one leg to enable us to extricate the other. The pools of fresh water had now also become very large, some of them being a quarter of a mile in length, and their depth above our knees. Through these we were prevented taking the sledges, for fear of wetting all our provisions; but we preferred transporting the boats across them, notwithstanding the severe cold of the snow-water, the bottom being harder for the "runners" to slide upon. On this kind of road we were, in one instance, above two hours in proceeding a distance of one hundred yards.

We halted at half past six A.M. to dine; and to empty our boots and wring our stockings, which, to our feelings, was almost like putting on dry ones; and again set out in an hour, getting at length into a "lane" of water a mile and a quarter long, in a N.N.E. direction. We halted for the night at half an hour before midnight, the people being almost exhausted with a laborious day's work, and our distance made good to the northward not exceeding two miles and a quarter. We allowed ourselves this night a hot supper, consisting of a pint of soup per man, made of an ounce of pemmican each, and eight or ten birds, which we had killed in the course of the last week; and this was a luxury which persons thus situated could perhaps alone duly appreciate.

We rose and breakfasted at nine P.M.; but the weather had gradually become so inclement and thick, with snow, sleet, and a fresh breeze from the eastward, that we could neither have seen our way, nor have avoided getting wet through had we moved. We therefore remained under cover; and it was as well that we did so, for the snow soon after changed to heavy rain, and the wind increased to a fresh gale, which unavoidably detained us till 7.30 P.M. on the 4th. The rain had produced even a greater effect than the sun in softening the snow. Lieutenant Ross and myself, in performing our pioneering duty, were frequently so beset in it, that sometimes, after trying in vain to extricate our legs, we were obliged to sit quietly down for a short time to rest ourselves and then make another attempt; and the men, in dragging the sledges, were often under the necessity of crawling upon all-fours to make any progress at all. Nor would any kind of snow-shoes have been of the least service, but rather an encumbrance to us, for the surface was so irregular, that they would have thrown us down at every other step. We had hitherto made use of the Lapland shoes, or kamoogas, for walking in, which are excellent for dry snow; but there being now so much water upon the ice, we substituted the Esquimaux boots, which had been made in Greenland expressly for our use, and which are far superior to any others for this kind of travelling. Just before halting, at six A.M. on the 5th, the ice at the margin of the floe broke while the men were handing the provisions out of the boats; and we narrowly escaped the loss of a bag of cocoa, which fell overboard, but fortunately rested on a "tongue." The bag being made of Mackintosh's waterproof canvass, the cocoa did not suffer the slightest injury.

We rose at five P.M., the weather being clear and fine, with a moderate breeze from the south; no land was in sight from the highest hummocks, nor could we perceive anything but broken loose ice in any direction. We hauled across several pieces which were scarcely fit to bear the weight of the boats, and in such cases used the precaution of dividing our baggage, so that, in case of the ice breaking or turning over, we should not lose all at once. The farther we proceeded, the more the ice was broken; indeed, it was much more so here than we had found it since first entering the "pack." After stopping at midnight to dine and to obtain the meridian altitude, we passed over a floe full of hummocks, a mile and a half in length; but any kind of floe was relief to us after the constant difficulty we had experienced in passing over loose ice.

After several hours of very beautiful weather, a thick fog came on early on the morning of the 6th July, and at five A.M. we halted, having got to the end of the floe, and only made good two miles and a half to the northward. The fog continued very thick all day; but, being unwilling to stop on this account, we set out again at half past six in the evening, and passed over several small flat pieces with no great difficulty, but with much loss of time in launching and hauling up the boats. Towards the end of our day's journey, we landed on the only really level floe we had yet met with. It was, however, only three quarters of a mile in length, but, being almost clear of snow, afforded such good travelling, that, although much fatigued at the time, we hauled the boats and all the baggage across it at one journey, at the rate of about two miles an hour, and halted at the northern margin at five A.M. on the 7th. The prospect beyond was still very unfavourable, and at eight in the evening, when we again launched the boats, there was not a piece of large or level ice to be seen in a northern direction.

We halted at six A.M. on the 8th, in time to avoid a great deal of rain which fell during the day, and again proceeded on our journey at eight in the evening, the wind being fresh from the E.S.E., with thick, wet weather. We now met with detached ice of a still lighter kind than before, the only floe in sight being much to the eastward of our course. This we reached after considerable labour, in the hope of its leading to the northward, which it did for about one mile, and we then came to the same kind of loose ice as before. On the morning of the 9th July, we enjoyed the indescribable comfort of two or three hours' clear, dry weather, but had scarcely hung up our wet clothes, after halting at five A.M., when it again came on to rain; but, as everything was as wet as it could be, we left them out to take their chance. The rain continued most of the day, but we set out at half past seven P.M., crossing loose ice, as usual, and much of the surface consisting of detached vertical needles. After an hour, the rain became so heavy that we halted to save our shirts, which were the only dry clothes' belonging to us. Soon after midnight, the rain being succeeded by one of the thickest fogs I ever saw, we again proceeded, groping our way almost yard by yard from one small piece of ice to another, and were very fortunate in hitting upon some with level surfaces, and also a few tolerable-sized holes of water. At half past two we reached a floe which appeared at first a level and large one; but, on landing, we were much mortified to find it so covered with immense ponds, or, rather, small lakes of fresh water, that, to accomplish two miles in a north direction, we were under the necessity of walking from three to four, the water being too deep for wading, and from two hundred yards to one third of a mile in length. We halted at six A.M., having made only one mile and three quarters in a N.N.W. direction, the wind still blowing fresh from the eastward, with a thick fog. We were in latitude 82 deg. 3' 19", and longitude, by chronometers, 23 deg. 17' E., and we found the variation of the magnetic needle to be 13 deg. 41' westerly. We moved again at seven P.M., with the weather nearly as foggy as before, our road lying across a very hummocky floe, on which we had considerable difficulty in getting the boats, the ice being extremely unfavourable both for launching and hauling them up. After stopping an hour at midnight to dine, we were again annoyed by a heavy fall of rain, a phenomenon almost as new to us in these regions until this summer, as it was harassing and unhealthy. Being anxious, however, to take advantage of a lane of water that seemed to lead northerly, we launched the boats, and by the time that we had crossed it, which gave us only half a mile of northing, the rain had become much harder, and our outer clothes, bread bags, and boats were thoroughly wet. After this we had better travelling on the ice, and also crossed one or two larger holes of water than we had met with for a long time, and halted for our night's rest at half past seven A.M., after nearly twelve hours' hard, but not altogether unsuccessful labour, having traversed about twelve miles, and made good by our account, seven and a half, in a N.W.b.N. direction. The rain ceased soon after we had halted, but was succeeded, by a thick, wet fog, which obliged us, when we continued our journey, to put on our travelling clothes in the same dripping state as when we took them off. The wind continued fresh from the southeastward, and at nine P.M. the weather suddenly cleared up, and gave us once more the inconceivably cheering, I had almost said the blessed, sight of a blue sky, with hard, well-defined white clouds floating across it. We halted at six A.M., after making, by our day's exertions, only three miles and a half of northing, our latitude at this time being 82 deg. 14' 28", and our longitude, by chronometers, 22 deg. 4' E. The thermometer was from 35 deg. to 36 deg. in the shade during most of the day, and this, with a clear sky over head, was now absolute luxury to us. Setting out again at seven P.M., we crossed a small lane of water to another floe; but this was so intersected by ponds, and by streams running into the sea, that we had to make a very circuitous route, some of the ponds being half-a mile in length. Notwithstanding the immense quantity of water still upon the ice, and which always afforded us a pure and abundant supply of this indispensable article, we now observed a mark round the banks of all the ponds, showing that the water was less deep in them, by several inches, than it had been somewhat earlier in the summer; and, indeed, from about this time, some small diminution in its quantity began to be perceptible to ourselves. We halted for our resting-time at six A.M. on the 13th, having gained only two miles and a half of northing, over a road of about four, and this accomplished by ten hours of fatiguing exertion. We were here in latitude, by the noon observation, 82 deg. 17' 10", and could find no bottom with four hundred fathoms of line. We launched the boats at seven in the evening, the wind being moderate from the E.S.E., with fine, clear weather, and were still mortified in finding that no improvement took place in the road over which we had to travel; for the ice now before us was, if possible, more broken up and more difficult to pass over than ever. Much of it was also so thin as to be extremely dangerous for the provisions; and it was often a nervous thing to see our whole means of existence lying on a decayed sheet, having holes quite through it in many parts, and which the smallest motion among the surrounding masses might have instantly broken into pieces. There was, however, no choice, except between this road and the more rugged though safer hummocks, which cost ten times the labour to pass over. Mounting one of the highest of these at nine P.M., we could discover nothing to the north, ward but the same broken and irregular surface; and we now began to doubt whether we should at all meet with the solid fields of unbroken ice which every account had led us to expect in a much lower latitude than this. A very strong, yellow ice-blink overspread the whole northern horizon.

We stopped to dine at half an hour past midnight, after more than five hours unceasing labour, in the course of which time we had only accomplished a mile and a half due north, though we had traversed from three to four, and walked at least ten, having made three journeys a great part of the way. We had launched and hauled up the boats four times, and dragged them over twenty-five separate pieces of ice. After dinner we continued the same kind of travelling, which was, beyond all description, harrassing to the officers and men. In crossing from mass to mass, several of which were separated about half the length of our sledges, the officers were stationed at the most difficult places to see that no precaution, was omitted which could ensure the safety of the provisions. Only one individual was allowed to jump over at a time, or to stand near either margin, for fear of the weight being too great for it; and when three or four men had separately crossed, the sledge was cautiously drawn up to the edge, and the word being given, the men suddenly ran away with the ropes, so as to allow no time for its falling in if the ice should break. Having at length succeeded in reaching a small floe, we halted at half past six A.M., much wearied by nearly eleven hours' exertion, by which we had only advanced three miles and a half in a N.N.W. direction. We rose at six P.M., and prepared to set out, but it rained so hard and so incessantly that it would have been impossible to move without a complete drenching. It held up a little at five, and at six we set out; but the rain soon recommenced, though less heavily than before. At eight the rain again became heavier, and we got under shelter of our awnings for a quarter of an hour, to keep our shirts and other flannel clothes dry; these being the only things we now had on which were not thoroughly wet. At nine we did the same, but before ten were obliged to halt altogether, the rain coming down in torrents, and the men being much exhausted by continued wet and cold, though the thermometer was at 36 deg., which was somewhat above our usual temperature. At half past seven P.M. we again pursued our journey, and, after much laborious travelling, we were fortunate, considering the fog, in hitting upon a floe which proved the longest we had yet crossed, being three miles from south to north, though alternately rugged and flat. From this we launched into a lane of water half a mile long from east to west, but which only gave us a hundred and fifty yards of northing.

The floe on which we stopped to dine, at one A.M. on the 16th, was not more than four feet thick, and its extent half a mile square; and on this we had the rare advantage of carrying all our loads at one journey. At half past six the fog cleared away, and gave us beautiful weather for drying our clothes, and once more the cheerful sight of the blue sky. We halted at half past seven, after being twelve hours on the road, having made a N.b.W. course, distance only six miles and a quarter, though we had traversed nine miles. We saw, during this last journey, a mallemucke and a second Ross gull: and a couple of small flies (to us an event of ridiculous importance) were found upon the ice.

We again pursued our way at seven in the evening, having the unusual comfort of putting on dry stockings, and the no less rare luxury of delightfully pleasant weather, the wind being moderate from the S.S.E. It was so warm in the sun, though the temperature in the shade was only 35 deg., that the tar was running out of the seams of the boats; and a blackened bulb held against the paint-work raised the thermometer to 72 deg. The floes were larger to-day, and the ice, upon the whole, of heavier dimensions than any we had yet met with. The general thickness of the floes, however, did not exceed nine or ten feet, which is not more than the usual thickness of those in Baffin's Bay and Hudson's Strait.

The 17th of July being one of the days on which the Royal Society of Edinburgh have proposed to institute a series of simultaneous meteorological observations, we commenced an hourly register of every phenomenon which came under our notice, and which our instruments and other circumstances would permit, and continued most of them throughout the day. Our latitude, observed at noon, was 82 deg. 32' 10", being more than a mile to the southward of the reckoning, though the wind had been constantly from that quarter during the twenty-four hours.

After midnight the road became, if possible, worse, and the prospect to the northward more discouraging than before; nothing but loose and very small pieces of ice being in sight, over which the boats were dragged almost entirely by a "standing-pull." The men were so exhausted with their day's work, that it was absolutely necessary to give them something hot for supper, and we again served a little cocoa for that purpose. They were also put into good spirits by our having killed a small seal, which, the following night, gave us an excellent supper. The meat of these young animals is tender, and free from oiliness; but it certainly has a smell and a look which would not have been agreeable to any but very hungry people like ourselves. We also considered it a great prize on account of its blubber, which gave us fuel sufficient for cooking six hot messes for our whole party, though the animal only weighed thirty pounds in the whole.

Setting out at half past seven in the evening, we found the sun more distressing to the eyes than we had ever yet had it, bidding defiance to our crape veils and wire-gauze eye-shades;[022] but a more effectual screen was afforded by the sun becoming clouded about nine P.M. At half past nine we came to a very difficult crossing among the loose ice, which, however, we were encouraged to attempt by seeing a floe of some magnitude beyond it. We had to convey the sledges and provisions one way, and to haul the boats over by another. One of the masses over which the boats came began to roll about while one of them was upon it, giving us reason to apprehend its upsetting, which must have been attended with some very serious consequence: fortunately, however, it retained its equilibrium long enough to allow us to get the boat past it in safety, not without several of the men falling overboard, in consequence of the long jumps we had to make, and the edges breaking with their weight.

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