Wednesday, the 21st of May, the Forward resumed her perilous
voyage, making her way dexterously through the packs and
icebergs, thanks to steam, which is seldom used by explorers
in polar seas; she seemed to sport among the moving masses;
one would have said she felt the hand of a skilled master, and
that, like a horse under a skilful rider, she obeyed the thought of
her captain.
The weather grew warmer. At six o'clock in the morning the
thermometer stood at 26°, at six in the evening at 29°, and at
midnight at 25°; the wind was light from the southeast.
Thursday, at about three o'clock in the morning, the Forward
arrived in sight of Possession Bay, on the American shore, at the
entrance of Lancaster Sound; soon Cape Burney came into sight.
A few Esquimaux came out to the ship; but Hatteras could not
stop to speak with them.
The peaks of Byam Martin, which rise above Cape Liverpool,
were passed on the left, and they soon disappeared in the evening
mist; this hid from them Cape Hay, which has a very slight elevation,
and so is frequently confounded with ice about the shore,
a circumstance which very often renders the determination of the
coast-line in polar regions very difficult.
Puffins, ducks, and white gulls appeared in great numbers.
By observation the latitude was 74°1', and the longitude,
according to the chronometer, 77°15'.
The two mountains, Catherine and Elizabeth, raised their
snowy heads above the clouds.
At ten o'clock on Friday Cape Warrender was passed on the
right side of the sound, and on the left Admiralty Inlet, a bay
which has never been fully explored by navigators, who are
always hastening westward. The sea ran rather high, and the
waves often broke over the bows, covering the deck with small
fragments of ice. The land on the north coast presented a
strange appearance with its high, flat table-lands sparkling beneath
the sun's rays.
Hatteras would have liked to skirt these northern lands, in
order to reach the sooner Beechey Island and the entrance of
Wellington Channel; but, much to his chagrin, the bank-ice
obliged him to take only the passes to the south.
Hence, on the 26th of May,
in the midst of a fog and
a snow-storm, the Forward
found herself off Cape York;
a lofty, steep mountain was
soon recognized; the weather
got a little clearer, and at
midday the sun appeared long
enough to permit an observation
to be taken: latitude
74°4', and longitude 84°23'.
The Forward was at the end
of Lancaster Sound.
Hatteras showed the doctor
on the chart the route he had
taken and that which he was
to follow. At that time the
position of the brig was interesting.
“I should have liked to be farther north,” he said, “but it
was impossible; see, here is our exact position.”
The captain pointed to a spot near Cape York.
“We are in the middle of this open space, exposed to every
wind; into it open Lancaster Sound, Barrow Strait, Wellington
Channel, and Regent's Inlet; here, of necessity, come all northern
“Well,” answered the doctor, “so much the worse for them;
it is indeed an open space, where four roads meet, and I don't see
any sign-post to point out the right way! What did Parry, Ross,
and Franklin do?”
“They did n't do anything in particular; they let themselves
be governed by circumstances; they had no choice, I can assure
you; at one time Barrow Strait would be closed against one, and
the next year it would be open for another; again the ship would
be irresistibly driven towards Regent's Inlet. In this way we
have at last been able to learn the geography of these confused
“What a strange region!” said the doctor, gazing at the chart.
“How everything is divided and cut up, without order or reason!
It seems as if all the land near the Pole were divided in this way
in order to make the approach harder, while in the other hemisphere
it ends in smooth, regular points, like Cape Horn or the
Cape of Good Hope, and the Indian peninsula! Is it the
greater rapidity at the equator which has thus modified things,
while the land lying at the extremity, which was fluid at the beginning
of the world, could not condense and unite as elsewhere,
on account of slower rotation?”
“That may be, for there is a reason for everything, and nothing
happens without a cause, which God sometimes lets students
find out; so, Doctor, find it out if you can.”
“I shall not waste too much time over it, Captain. But what
is this fierce wind?” added the doctor, wrapping himself up well.
“The north-wind is the common one, and delays our progress.”
“Still it ought to blow the ice toward the south, and leave our
way free.”
“It ought to, Doctor, but the wind does n't always do what it ought to. See, that ice looks impenetrable. We shall try to reach Griffith Island, then to get around Cornwallis Island to reach Queen's Channel, without going through Wellington Channel. And yet I am anxious to touch at Beechey Island to get some more coal.”
“How will you do that?” asked the astonished doctor.
“Easily; by order of the Admiralty, a great amount has been
placed on this island, to supply future expeditions, and although
Captain MacClintock took some in 1859, I can assure you there
is still some left for us.”
“In fact, these regions have been explored for fifteen years,
and until certain proof of Franklin's death was received, the Admiralty
always kept five or six ships cruising in these waters. If
I'm not mistaken, Griffith Island, which I see in the middle of
the open space, has become a general rendezvous for explorers.”
“True, Doctor, and Franlkin's ill-fitted expedition has been the
means of our learning so much about these parts.”
“Exactly; for there have been a great many expeditions since
1845. It was not till 1848 that there was any alarm about the
continued non-appearance of the Erebus and the Terror, Franklin's
two ships. Then the admiral's old friend, Dr. Richardson,
seventy years of age, went through Canada, and descended Coppermine
River to the Polar Sea; on the other side, James Ross,
in command of the Enterprise and the Investigator, sailed from
Upernavik in 1848, and reached Cape York, where we are now.
Every day he threw overboard a cask containing papers telling
where he was; during fogs he fired cannon; at night he burned
signal-fires and sent off rockets, carrying always but little sail;
finally, he wintered at Leopold's Harbor in 1848-49; there he
caught a large number of white foxes; he had put on their necks
copper collars on which was engraved a statement of the position
of the ship and where supplies had been left, and he drove them
away in every direction; then, in the spring, he explored the
coast of North Somerset on sledges, amid dangers and privations
which disabled nearly all his men. He built cairns, enclosing
copper cylinders with instructions to the absent expedition; during
his absence, Lieutenant MacClure explored fruitlessly the
northern coast of Barrow Strait. It is noteworthy, Captain, that
James Ross had among his officers two men who afterwards became
celebrated, MacClure, who found the Northwest Passage,
and MacClintock, who found the last remains of the Franklin
“Two good and brave captains, two brave Englishmen; go on.
Doctor, with this account which you know so well; there is
always something to be learned from the account of bold adventurers.”
“Well, to conclude with James Ross, I have only to add that
he tried to go farther west from Melville Island; but he nearly
lost his ships, and being caught in the ice he was carried, against
his will, to Baffin's Bay.”
“Carried,” said Hatteras, frowning,—“carried against his will!”
“He had discovered nothing,” resumed the doctor; “it was
only after 1850 that English ships were always exploring there,
when a reward of twenty thousand pounds was offered to any one
who should discover the crews of the Erebus and Terror.
Already, in 1848, Captains Kellet and Moore, in command of the
Herald and the Plover, tried to make their way through by
Behring Strait. I ought to say that the winter of 1850-51, Captain
Austin passed at Cornwallis Island; Captain Penny, with the Assistance
and Resolute, explored Wellington Channel; old John
Ross, who discovered the magnetic pole, started in his yacht, the
Felix, in search of his friend; the brig Prince Albert made her
first voyage at the expense of Lady Franklin; and, finally, two
American ships, sent out by Grinnell, under Captain Haven, carried
beyond Wellington Channel, were cast into Lancaster Sound.
It was during this year that MacClintock, Austin's lieutenant,
pushed on to Melville Island and to Cape Dundas, the extreme
points reached by Parry in 1819, and on Beechey Island were
found traces of Franklin's wintering there in 1845.”
“Yes,” answered Hatteras, “three of his sailors were buried
there, three fortunate men!”
“From 1851 to 1852,” continued the doctor, with a gesture of
agreement, “we find the Prince Albert making a second attempt
with the French lieutenant, Bellot; he winters at Batty Bay in
Prince Regent's Sound, explores the southwest of Somerset, and
reconnoitres the coast as far as Cape Walker. Meanwhile, the
Enterprise and Investigator, having returned to England, came
under the command of Collinson and MacClure, and they rejoined
Kellet and Moore at Behring Strait; while Collinson returned
to winter at Hong-Kong, MacClure went on, and after three
winters, 1850–51, 1851–52, and 1852–53, he discovered the
Northwest Passage without finding any traces of Franklin. From
1852 to 1853, a new expedition, consisting of three sailing-vessels,
the Assistance, the Resolute, the North Star, and two steam-vessels,
the Pioneer and the Intrepid, started out under the orders
of Sir Edward Belcher, with Captain Kellet second in command;
Sir Edward visited Wellington Channel, wintered in Northumberland
Bay, and explored the coast, while Kellet, pushing on as far
as Brideport on Melville Island, explored that region without success.
But then it was rumored in England that two ships, abandoned
in the ice, had been seen not far from New Caledonia. At
once Lady Franklin fitted out the little screw-steamer Isabella,
and Captain Inglefield, after ascending Baffin's Bay to Victoria
Point, at the eightieth parallel, returned to Beechey Island with
equal unsuccess. At the beginning of 1855 the American Grinnell
defrays the expense of a new expedition, and Dr. Kane, trying to
reach the Pole...”
“But he did not succeed,” cried Hatteras with violence, “and
thank God he did not! What he did not do, we shall!”
“I know it, Captain,” answered the doctor, “and I only speak
of it on account of its connection with the search for Franklin.
Besides, it accomplished nothing. I nearly forgot to say that the
Admiralty, regarding Beechey Island as a general rendezvous,
ordered the steamer Phoenix, Captain Inglefield, in 1853, to carry
provisions there; he sailed with Lieutenant Bellot, who for the
second, and last, time offered his services to England; we can get
full details about the catastrophe, for Johnson, our boatswain,
was eye-witness of this sad affair.”
“Lieutenant Bellot was a brave Frenchman,” said Hatteras,
“and his memory is honored in England.”
“Then,” resumed the doctor, “the ships of Belcher's squadron
began to return one by one; not all, for Sir Edward had to
abandon the Assistance in 1854, as McClure had the Investigator
in 1853. Meanwhile Dr. Rae, in a letter dated July 29, 1854,
written from Repulse Bay, gave information that the Esquimaux
of King William's Land had in their possession different objects
belonging to the Erebus and Terror; then there was no doubt
possible about the fate of the expediton; the Phoenix, the North
Star, and the ship of Collinson returned to England; there was
then no English ship in these waters. But if the government
seemed to have lost all hope, Lady Franklin did not despair, and
with what was left of her fortune she fitted out the Fox, commanded
by MacClintock; he set sail in 1857, wintered about where
you made yourself known to us, Captain; he came to Beechey
Island, August 11, 1858; the next winter he passed at Bellot
Sound; in February, 1859, he began his explorations anew; on
the 6th of May he found the document which left no further doubt
as to the fate of the Erebus and Terror, and returned to England
at the end of the same year. That is a complete account of all
that has been done in these regions during the last fifteen years;
and since the return of the Fox, no ship has ventured among
these dangerous waters!”
“Well, we shall try it!” said Hatteras.




Please join our telegram group for more such stories and updates.telegram channel

Books related to The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras

कल्पनारम्य कथा भाग २
भूते पकडणारा  तात्या नाव्ही
छोटे बच्चों  के लिए -अस्सी घाट की कविताएँ
सुभाषित माला
महाभारत सत्य की मिथ्य?
इच्छापूर्ती शाबरी मंत्र
तुम्हाला तुमची स्वतःची ओळख करुन घ्यायचीय का?
पुन्हा नव्याने सुरुवात
अदभूत  सत्ये -  भाग १
कविता संग्रह
Understanding Itihasa
आरतियाँ Arati in Hindi
 पांच सौ वर्ष का अघोरी