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reaching Garry Island, they ascended the summit, and from it “the sea appeared in all its majesty, entirely free from ice, and without any visible obstruction to its navigation, and never was a prospect more gratifying than that which lay open to us.
Franklin had left England under affecting circumstances. His first wife, who was then lying at the point of death, with heroic fortitude urged his departure at the very day appointed, entreating him, as he valued her peace of mind and his own glory, not to delay a moment on her account; that she was fully aware that her days were numbered, and that his delay, even if she wished it, could only be to close her eyes. She died the day after he left her. His feelings may be inferred, but not described, when he had to elevate on Garry Island a silk flag which she had made and given hit as a parting gift, with the instruction that he was to hoist it only on reaching the Polar Sea.
On the 8th of September, Franklin and his party got back to their companions on Great Bear Lake, and prepared to pass the long winter of seven or eight months. On 5th October the last swan had passed to the southward, and on the 11th the last brown duck was noticed. On 6th May the first swan was seen, and on the 8th the brown ducks reäppeared on the lake. The mosses began to sprout, and various singing-birds and orioles, along with some swifts and white geese, arrived soon after,
It is remarked by Dr. Richardson that the singing birds, which were silent on the banks of the Bear Lake during the day, serenaded their mates at midnight; at which time, however, it was quite light. On 20th May the little stream which flowed past the fort burst its icy chains, and the laughing geese arrived, to give renewed cheerfulness to the lake. Soon after this the winter-green began to push forth its flowers ; and under
the increasing warmth of the sun's rays the whole face of
On the 28th June they embarked upon the Mackenzie ;
The parties now separated. On reaching the mouth of the Mackenzie, the western expedition came in contact with the Esquimaux. Franklin proceeded to open a communication with them. At first everything proceeded in a friendly manner. Augustus, after delivering a present, informed them that if the English succeeded in finding a navigable channel for large ships, an advantageous trade would be opened. This intimation was received with a deafening shout; the boats were in a moment surrounded by nearly three hundred persons, offering for sale their bows, arrows, and spears, with a violence and perseverance which became at last troublesome, and Franklin directed the boats to be put to seaward.
At this moment a kayak was upset by one of the oars of the Lion, and its unhappy possessor was stuck by the accident with his head in the mud, and his heels in
the air. He was instantly extricated, wrapt in a warm great-coat, and placed in the boat; where, though at first frightened and angry, he soon became reconciled to his situation, and, looking about, discovered many bales and other articles which had hitherto been carefully concealed. His first impulse was to ask for everything he saw; his next, to be indignant that his requests were not granted; and, on joining his companions, he proposed a plan for a general attack and pillage of both the boats. This scheme was immediately carried into execution ; and, though the plunderers at first affected to be partly in sport, matters soon assumed a serious complexion,
Two of the most powerful men, leaping on board, seized Captain Franklin, forced him to sit between them ; and when he shook them off, a third took his station in front to catch his arm whenever he attempted to raise his gun, or lay his hạnd on the broad dagger which hung by his side. During this assault the two boats were violently dragged to the shore, and a numerous party, stripping to the waist and brandishing their long sharp knives, ran to the Reliance, and commenced a regular pillage, handing the articles to the women, who, ranged in a row behind, quickly conveyed them out of sight. No sooner was the bow cleared of one set of marauders, than another party commenced their operations at the stern. The crew in the Lion were nearly overpowered, and their commander disarmed, when all at once the natives took to their heels, and concealed themselves behind the drift timber and canoes on the beach. This sudden panic was occasioned by Captain Back, whose boat at this time had been got afloat, commanding his crew to level their muskets. The Lion happily floated soon after ; and as both boats pulled off, Franklin desired Augustus to inform the Esquimaux that he would shoot the first man who ventured to approach within musket-range.
An amicable leave was, however, afterwards taken of these people, and on the 13th of July Franklin put to sea.
On the 27th he came to the mouth of a wide river, to which, as it proceeded from the British range of mountains, and was near the line of demarkation between Great Britain and Russia, Franklin gave the name of Clarence. They were now in lat. 70° 5’, long. 143° 55'. The further they advanced westerly the more dense became the fogs; the temperature descended to 35°, and the gales of wind became more constant; at night the water froze; and, the middle of August having arrived, the winter might here be said to have set in ; the more early, probably, from the vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, and the extensive swampy plains between them and the sea. The men had suffered much, and on the 18th Franklin set out on his return to the Mackenzie, from the extreme point gained, named by him the Return Reef, in lat. 70° 24' N., long. 149° 37' W.
About this time, as it afterward appeared, the Blossom's boat, sent by Beechey from Behring's Strait, arrived on the coast, on which Franklin observes : “ Could I have known, or by possibility imagined, that a party from the Blossom had been at the distance of only one hundred and sixty miles from me, no difficulties, dangers, or discouraging circumstances, should have prevailed on me to return ; but, taking into account the uncertainty of all voyages in a sea obstructed by ice, I had no right to expect that the Blossom had advanced beyond Kotzebue Inlet, or that any party from her had doubled the Icy Cape.”
Franklin states the distance traced westerly from the mouth of the Mackenzie River to have been three hundred and seventy-four miles, along one of the most dreary, miserable, and uninteresting portions of sea-coast that can perhaps be found in any part of the world ; and in all that space not a harbor exists in which a ship could find shelter.
On the 21st of September the party reached Fort Franklin, after a voyage of two thousand and forty-eight miles. Here they had the happiness of meeting all their friends in safety ; the eastern detachment had arrived on the 1st of September, after a most successful voyage.
Richardson's party had been generally favored with fine weather. On one occasion a storm compelled them to take shelter in Refuge Cove, in lat. 69° 29', which they left the following day. At their halting-place on the 13th July, the doctor says : “Myriads of mosquitos, which reposed among the grass, rose in clouds when disturbed, and gave us much annoyance. Many snowbirds were hatching on the point; and we saw swans, Canada geese, eider, king, Arctic, and surf ducks ; several glaucous, silvery, black-headed, and ivory gulls, together with terns and northern divers. Some laughing geese passed to the northward in the evening, which may be considered as a sure indication of land in that direction.” On the 14th the party took shelter from the fog and a heavy gale in a cove called Browell Cove, in latitude 70°, longitude 130° 19'. With some interruptions, their sail of five hundred