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We have dwelt the longer on the habits of this mild, timid, and in many respects very useful races of animals, because an ignorance of their real mode of living has led to the unnecessary destruction of many of them, and to much wanton cruelty being practised towards them. In many parishes in England, overseers, still under an ignorant prejudice, give a premium on all Hedge-hogs brought to them. The Hedge-hog has been accused of sucking the milk from cows, which, as Pennant justly observes, from the smallness of its mouth, is impossible to be true. It has been supposed, too, that it ascends trees, and eats the fruit; but those who have had them in their gardens, and watched them closely, have never had cause to suppose such to be the fact. The Hedgehog is sometimes introduced into houses, to destroy beetles; and has been so far tamed as to turn a spit, by means of a small wheel, and to answer to its name. By the Calmuc Tartars it is much esteemed, and kept in a. domesticated state in their huts, instead of cats, for the purpose of driving away vermin; but its smell is so powerful and disgusting, as to render it an unpleasant inmate in a house.
Hedge-hogs live in pairs, and the females usually produce four or five^young in the spring: their nest is large, and composed chiefly of moss and grass.
The flesh is often eaten by gipsies and tramps, who skin the animal before they dress it. Those who have tasted it describe d as delicate, and of a good flavour. Formerly, the skin of the Hedge-hog was employed instead of a brush, for clothes, and was used in France in the dressing of hemp. The farmers, on some parts of the Continent, fix the skin of a Hedge-hog on the muzzle of a calf that they wish to wean.
Most nocturnal animals, from their habits being less known than those which move about in the daytime, were, in times less enlightened than the present age, the subjects of many strange and superstitious stories; and parts of them were often believed to possess medicinal virtues, the most ridiculous and improbable that it was possible to imagine. Dr. Shaw mentions two curious absurdities of this kind, in regard to the Hedge-hog. "According to Albertus Magnus, a very ancient writer, the right eye of a Hedge-hog, fried in oil, kept in a brass vessel, and used as an ointment to the eyes, will enable a person to see as well by night as by day! And Pliny affirms that its gall, mixed with the brain of a bat, is a good application for the removal of superfluous hairs." Of such worthless applications as these did a great part of the medical art in former times consist! T.
The Infidel's Test.—In the United States of America infidelity found an active champion in the well-known Colonel Allen, who made an open profession of his disbelief in revealed religion. It happened that a daughter of the Colonel's, to whom he was much attached, fell sick. During the progress of her illness, Dr. Elliot was one day dining with the Colonel, and after dinner, having adjourned to the Colonel's library, some infidel and deistical publications were introduced by the Colonel, to the Doctor's notice. While they were occupied in looking at them, a servant came to announce to the Colonel, that an alarming change had taken place in his daughter, and that his presence was required in her bed-room. Thither he went, accompanied by Dr. Elliot. As he approached her bedside, she took his hand and said, " Father! I feel that my end is drawing near. Tell me, I entreat you, am I to believe what you have taught me, or what I have learnt from my mother." Her mother was a sound and sincere Christian, and had spared no opportunity of instilling Christian truths into the mind of her child. The father paused for a moment; he fixed his eyes on his dying child; his countenance changed; his frame was observed to be convulsed to its very centre; while his quivering lips could scarce give utterance to the words, "Believe, my child! what your mother has taught you!" The struggle was too great; the conflict between the pride of human reason, and the swelling of parental affection in the heart, was more than he could bear, and even over his stubborn mind, the truth prevailed.
The object of a good and wise man, in this transitory state Oi existence, should be to fit himself for a better, by controlling the unworthy propensities of his nature, and improving all its better aspirations; to do his duty, first to his family, then to his neighbours, lastly to his country and his kind; to promote the welfare and happiness of those, who are in any degree dependent upon him, or whom he has the means of assisting, and never wantonly to injure the meanest thing that lives; to encourage, as far as he may have the power, whatever is useful and ornamental in society, whatever tends to refine and elevate humanity; to store his mind with such knowledge as it is fitted to receive, and he is able to attain; and so to employ the talents committed to his charge, that when the account is required, he may hope to have his stewardship approved. It should not seem difficult to do this: for nothing can be more evident than that men are and must be happy, in proportion as their lives are conformed to such a scheme of divine philosophy Southey.
ANNIVERSARIES IN DECEMBER.
1796 Mungo Park departed from Pisania, on the River Gambia, to
pursue his researches in the interior of Africa. 1804 Napoleon crowned Emperor of the French.
TUESDAY, 3rd.-. 1823 Belzani died at Gato, on his road to Timbuctoo
WEDNESDAY, 4th. 1722 Three hundred captives, redeemed from slavery in Africa, returned thanks in St. Paul's Cathedral, for their deliverance from captivity. 1755 The Eddystoue Lighthouse nearly consumed by fire.
THURSDAY, 5th. 1808 Dr. Unices, inventor of the method of restoring suspended animation adopted by the Humane Society, died. FRIDAY, 6th. St. Nicholas, Bishop.—This holy person lived in the time of C«astantine, and was highly reverenced by him, and made head of the church, or Bishop of Myra. The legends of St. Nicholas relate such marvellous instances of his early conformity to the observances of the Roman Church, as entitled him to the appellation of the Boy-Bishop. The choice of his representative in every cathedral church in this country continued till the reign of Henry VIII., and in many, large provision of money and goods was made for the annual observance of the festival of the Boy-Bishop, which lasted from this day until Innocents' Day, during which the utmost misrule and mockery of the most solemn rites was practised and enjoined. St. Nicholas was also the patron of Sailors, and most of the churches in this island, situated on the coast, are dedicated to him. 1670 Henry Jenkins, a native of Yorkshire, died at the age of 169. 1711 Mrs. Jean Scrimshawe died, at the age of 127.
SATURDAY, 7th. 1683 Algernon Sydney beheaded on Tower-hill. SUNDAY, 8th. Second Sunday In Advent. 1542 Mary Queen of Scots born at Linlithgow.
FmcK Sixpence, And
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE ARCTIC REGIONS,
AND OF THE VOYAGES UNDERTAKEN FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE FROM THE
ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC.
THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE.
The existence of a North-West Passage, or of a navigable communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans round the northern coast of America, is a question which has exercised the ingenuity of the learned for the last three centuries; and the return of our adventurous countryman Captain Ross, from his renewed efforts to aid in its determination, has once again created a lively interest upon the subject among all classes. Its object may be briefly explained thus.
The greater part of the land contained on the surface of our globe, is collected into two great masses; the one of which is situated in its eastern hemisphere, and is called the Old World; the other in its western hemisphere, and termed the New World. The former, which is composed of the united continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, presents one unbroken mass of land, stretching from the Cape of Good Hope in the south, to the Arctic Sea in the north. The New World, or the continent of America, forms a similarly uninterrupted barrier, extending a nearly equal length, from the Straits of Magelhaens in the South, to a point yet undetermined in the North. The Atlantic Ocean, is interposed between these two masses, on one side of the globe, and the Pacific Ocean separates them on the opposite side. Previous to the close of the fifteenth century, it was not known that any communication existed between these oceans; in other •words, the countries situated on the Atlantic, (including of course the principal nations of Europe.) had no maritime connexion with those washed by the Pacific, (of which the East Indies forms a part.) There are at present two Vol. III.
practicable routes by which such communication is main. tained. The one is, by the southern extremity of the Old World, or the Cape of Good Hope, the other, by the southern extremity of the New World, through the Straits of Magelhaens, or round Cape Horn. They may be termed respectively the South-East Passage and the South-West Passage, from the Atlantic into the Pacific. Each of these passages, however, implies the necessity of sailing to the southern end of the Atlantic, before either the eastern or the western turning into the Pacific can be reached; and as the chief maritime nations of the world are placed much nearer to its northern end, it has occurred to them, that if they were to sail to the northern instead of the southern extremity, and then turn to the east or to the west, they would reach the Pacific much sooner; in other words, that a North-East Passage (round the northern coast of Europe and Asia,) or a North-West Passage (round the northern shores of America,) would be a much shorter route than the existing South-East or South-West Passage. But obstacles exist to the accomplishment of either of these northern passages, which do not exist in the southern routes. The northern shores of both the Old and the New World are situated in much higher latitudes than their southern limits, and are therefore subject to a much more intense degree of cold; so that while the waters that bound the latter are at all times open to the seaman, those which encircle the former, are during the greater portion of the year frozen into a vast icy barrier, entirely obstructing all navigation. Another circumstance also operates to the same effect. In accomplishing either of the southern passages, the navigator has merely to round a jutting promontory in a high latitude; but in
attempting cither of the northern routes, he has to pass a long line of coast extending above 100° or 180° of longitude under the' same frozen parallel.
The question of a North-East Passage has long since ceased to excite much interest. It is certain, indeed, that a sea extends from Bcliring's Strait to the Spitsbergen Seas; but the passage has never yet been performed, and may be fairly assumed to be impracticable. A North-West Passage would be a much shorter route; but a shorter than all has been suggested, which is termed the North Polar Passage. It consists in sailing through the Spitzbergen Seas direct into the Polar Basin, or the region immediately surrounding the North Pole, and emerging at Behring's Strait; its track thus forming, as it were, the diameter of the circle presented by the northern shores of Europe and Asia on the one side, and those of America on the other. We shall now give a brief sketch of the various attempts that have been made to effect the remaining two passages, the North-West and the Polar; remarking on the obstacles that have frustrated their accomplishment, and the desiderata yet remaining for that purpose.
OBSTACLES TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.
The difficulties which impede the navigation of the Arctic Seas, arise, as we have before observed, from the extreme cold to which their high latitude exposes them. Owing to the spherical form of the earth's surface, and the obliquity of its axis, the sun is, for a considerable portion of the year, entirely withdrawn from these regions. Throughout this long and dreary night, an intense frost prevails. As early as the month of August, snow begins to fall; a rapid formation of ice ensues; along the shores and bays, the fresh water, poured from rivulets, or drained from the thawing of former collections of snow, becomes quickly congealed; the surface of the sea is spread over with ice, and its waters are firmly bound up into one solid mass. The gloomy darkness of impenetrable winter now reigns throughout; occasionally, indeed, relieved or aggravated, by the moon's feeble rays.
At length the sun reappears; but it is long before his faint and languid beams impart much warmth to the dreary waste. Gradually, however, their power increases; the snow begins to melt, the ice slowly dissolves, and the ocean is once again set free. The massy sheet which its surface lately formed is now broken into a thousand fragments, of various size and thickness: these, impelled by the violence of winds and currents, are dispersed in all directions, sometimes meeting with fearful shock, and shivering each other into atoms. This disruption of the ice generally happens about the month of June; and a few weeks are commonly sufficient to disperse the floating fields.
The sea is at last open, for a short and dubious interval, to the pursuits of the adventurous seaman; but the navigation is accomplished only with great difficulty to him, and at the imminent hazard of his being crushed by these floating fields of ice. Another obstacle, not loss formidable, impedes his progress; namely, the icebergs, or insulated mountains of ice, which float like lofty towers upon the ocean, threatening to overwhelm with instant destruction the frail bark that sails beneath. These are formed by the congelation of the fresh water that pours annually into the ocean, and are collected along the indented shores and in the deep bays enclosed by precipitous rocks. Every successive year adds to their size, till at length, by the action of their own accumulated weight, and the undermining of the sea, the enormous blocks are broken off, and precipitated into the ocean below. These mountains of hard and perfect ice are probably the gradual production of many years. Their substance is clear, compact, and solid; and their tint of a fine green, verging to blue. Its clearness is generally interrupted by numerous small air-bubbles; but large pieces may be occasionally obtained, possessing a degree of purity and transparency, equal to that of the most beautiful crystal. Captain Scoresby state's that, with a lump of ice, of by no means regular convexity, used as a burning lens, he has frequently burnt wood, fired gunpowder, melted lead, and lit the sailors' pipes, to their great astonishment: the ice itself remaining, in the mean while, quite firm and pellucid. The salt-water ice, on the other hand, is porous, incompact, and only imperfectly transparent; and is annually formed and destroyed. The appearance of a numerous collection of icebergs is described as interesting in the extreme. Along the western coast of Greenland, they
form an immense rampart, which presents to. the mariner a sublime spectacle, resembling at a distance whole groups of churches, mantling castles, or fleets uuder full sail.
HISTORY TO THE CLOSE OF THE
Thb first navigator whose efforts appear ti have inspired i reasonable hope of finding the North-West Passage, ms Gaspar de Cortereal, a Portuguese, who, in the year 15(jij, discovered the country called Labrador. Coasting thence to the northward, and reaching the wide opening of Hodson's Strait, he concluded that he had found the so-muchdesired passage into the Pacific, which he named ibe Strait of Anian. He returned to Portugal and in the following year embarked on a second expedition, with to vessels; but having been separated from his consort by bad weather, he was never heard of more. His brother, Michael de Cortereal, who sailed in quest of him, shared a similar fate; and it was only the positive order of the kin;, Manuel, which restrained a third brother from continuiuj the fruitless search. The two Cabotas had previously engaged in the same enterprise; but their efforts had terminated only in the discovery of Newfoundland.
Cortereal was succeeded by Aubert and Jacques Cartier on the part of France, and by Estevan Gomez on that of Spain; but all the endeavours of these navigators to discover any opening in the northern coast, that held out the least hope of a passage in that quarter, were in vain.
About the same period, the idea of a voyage to the North Pole was first suggested by Master Robert Thome, of Bristol, who is said to have exhorted King Henry VIII. "with very weighty and substantial reasons, to set forth a discov'crie, even to the North Pole." Among other advantages that were held out as the probable results, was &t discovery of a shorter passage to China and the East Indies: but although an expedition was sent-out for this purpose, the proceedings connected with it are scarcely at all known. The voyage of " The Trinitie and the Minim,' to the north-west, followed in 1536, but without any further success: and between the yeurs 1553 and 1556, Sir Hugo Willoughby, Richard Chancelor, and Stephen Buroujh, performed three several voyages in quest of a North-Els! Passage, but could not, on account of immense shoals of ice, proceed further than the Strait of Weigats.
Notwithstanding the failure of so many attempts, the belief that America was to be passed somewhere on the north-west still remained unimpaired among the merchufc and navigators of England, and was supported by th; writings of the most learned men in the nation. Under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth, Martin Frobisher made three successive voyages, in 1576, 1577, and 1578; but his progress was exceedingly small. Yet their promoters were still satisfied "of the likelihood of the discovery of tfe North-West Passage," and they accordingly resolved on i new expedition. The conduct of this was intrusted to lb' celebrated John Davis, who, in 1585, succeeded in passi"? up the strait, which now bears his name, as high as latitude (ifi° 40', and discovered the inlet called Cumberland Strait He performed two subsequent voyages in the succeeding to years, in the second of which he stood sixty leagues up Cumberland Strait
No further attempt was made, until the commencement of the seventeenth century, when George Weymotiin itparted on an expedition, fitted out at the joint expendot the Muscovy and Turkey Companies; but his voyage*33 a complete failure.
In the years lb05, 1606, and 1607, the King of Deimark despatched Henry Hall three several times, but w his attempts were fruitless.
As neither the passage by the north-east, nor that M the north-west, seemed now to hold out much hope"' success, it was resolved again to try the route across W North Pole. Accordingly Henry Hudson, an experience! and intrepid seaman, was selected for this enterprise; wi in the year 1C07, he set sail from England, and •**■ directly for the east coast of Greenland, which he resent in latitude 73°, naming the point Hold with Hopt; then* continuing northward, he advanced to about latitude sh when he was compelled by the ice to return. In the I ■' lowing year he was employed, without success, in search a North-East Passage; and, in 1609, by the Dutch, in * expedition of very dubious object. In 1610 he embark on his last and fatal voyage once again to the north-"-1' ward. Keeping to the westward, he passed the sirs-1
which now bears his name; but, soon afterwards, his crew mutinied, and, turninghira adrift in a boat, abandoned him to a miserable fate. ,
Sir Thomas Button followed next, in 1612, and, passing through Hudson's Strait, reached the main land of America in latitude 60° 40'. Having wintered, he advanced as high as latitude 65°, on the cast coast of Southampton Island, and returned to England in the summer of 1613.
R >bert Bylot, in 1615, proceeded about half a degree further north, and, in the following year, embarked with Batlin, to examine the sea lying north and west of Davis' Strait. In this voyage, one of the most remarkable and important ever accomplished in the same quarter of the globe, they traced the west coast of Greenland up Davis' Strait, as far as the northern extremity of the sea now named after Baffin; then, turning to the westward, they followed it round, and descended the opposite shores to the south, passing, in their way, several large openings, which they neglected to examine, apparently assuming them to be merely Sounds.
Luke Fox followed in 1631, and explored Hudson's Bay; and, in 1668, Zachariah Gillam was sent out by Prince Rupert, to examine the same quarter; and the results of this voyage appear to have led to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company.
No further attempts were made on the western coast of America, until the unfortunate voyage of Knight, Barlow, and Vaughan, in 1719, on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, in search of " the Strait nf Anian, in order to discover goM, &c, to the northward;" when, of two ships that were sent out, neither returned.
John Scroggs was sent in search ef them in 1722, but he returned without accomplishing any thing of the smallest note.
In 1737, a similarly unsuccessful attempt was made by the Hudson's Bay Company, at the suggestion of Mr. Arthur Dobbs, who afterwards prevailed on the Government to appropriate two vessels for this service, under the orders of Captain Middleton, who left England in 1711, and wintered in Churchill River; and, in the summer of 1712, proceeded up Sir Thomas Roe's Welcome to Wager River, and sailed round what is called Repulse Bay. The offer by Parliament, in 1743, of a reward of 20,000/. to whomsoever of His Majesty's subjects should discover a North-West Passage through Hudson's Strait, seemed to evince that the public opinion still remained decidedly in favour of its practicability. A subscription of 10,000/. was entered into, and two ships were sent out, in 1746, under Captains Moor and Smith, who merely, however, ascertained that Wager River was a d:^p bay or inlet.
On the failure of this expedition, the public ardour seems to have been somewhat damped; and for nearly thirty years, no attempt at northern discovery by sea was made, either by the government or by private individuals: but, in 1772, Samuel Hearne accomplished a land-journey from the Prince of Wales's Fort, Hudson's Bay, to the termination of the Copper-mine River, in the Arctic Sea.
About the same time, the question of the practicability of approaching the North Pole was revived by the Hon. Dames Barrington, who presented to the Royal Society a series of papers on the subject, which induced the President aijd Council to apply to the Earl of Sandwich, then First Lord of the Admiralty, to obtain His Majesty's sanction for the fitting out an expedition for that service. The proposal meeting with the countenance of his Majesty, two ships, the Race-horse and the Carcase bombs, were equipped accordingly; the former under the orders of Captain Constantino John Phipps, (afterwards Lord Mulgrave,) who was appointed commander of the expedition; the latter under those of Captain Skcffington Lutwidge. They sailed from the Nore on the 10th of June, 1773, and on the evening of the 27th, reached the latitude of the south part of Spitzbergen. On the fifth of July, they fell in with the main body of the ice, which stretches across from Spitzbergen to Greenland, yand commenced looking for an opening by which they might pass through. The ice was examined, from east to west, for above ten degrees, but without success; and Captain Phipps now "began to conceive that the ice was one compact impenetrable body." Alter repeated further attempts, the ships were beset in the ice, which soon began to press in fast, being, in many p'aces, forced higher than the main-yard, by the squeezin? together of the pieces. With the assistance of the wind they were at length extricated; and, the season being now far advanced, they returned home.
The ill success of this attempt did not cause the hopes of discovering a northern navigable communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to be abandoned. The Act of Parliament, granting the reward of 20,000/., was altered so as to include his Majesty's ships, and to extend the condition of a passage through Hudson's Bay, to that of every northern passage; and a sum of 5000/.Was also awarded to any ship that approached within one degree of the North Pole.
In 1776, Lieutenant Pickersgill was sent in the brig Lion, to examine the western shores of Baffin's Bay; but the result was unsuccessful.
In the following year the same vessel was despatched, under Lieutenant Walter Young, on a similar service, and also to examine the practicability of a passage into the Pacific, in the hope of meeting Captain Cook, who was expected to be about that time engaged in attempting to pass from the Pacific into the Atlantic; but he returned without having accomplished any thing.
The narrative of Hearne, whose journey down fhe Copper-mine River to the Arctic Sea, we have already mentioned, was long regarded with mistrust; but a similar expedition, undertaken by Alexander Mackenzie, Ih 178'j, in which he descended the river that now bears his name, arid reached the Arctic Ocean, considerably to the westward of the point at which fiearne arrived, served to give a stronger appearance of truth to this latter traveller's statements, atid, by proving the existence of a sea to the north of Arntifiea, to increase the probability of a North-West PaSshge. But the long and disastrous war which soon afterwards convulsed the whole of Europe, directed the skill and resources of the nation into another channel, and put an effectual stop to the progress of northern discovery.
EXPEDITIONS OF CAPTAINS ROSS AND
No sooner, however, had peace been restored, than the attention of the British Government was again drawn to this long-agitated question. The possibility of effecting a North-West Passage, became once more a fruitful source of debate, and was discussed with a keenness, and a regard to the results of former experience, in estimating the probability of its success, that had rarely been evinced before. The reasons assigned in its favour were many and cogent. A perpetual current setting down from the northward, along the eastern shores of America and the western coast of Greenland, was said to afford a strong presumption, that betfceen Davis' Strait and the Great Polar Basin, there was an uninterrupted communication. The vast quantities of drift-wood iloated down by this current, wlmse appearance frequently indicated that it had recently been in a growing state, and in a warmer climate, and whose substance denoted the produce of milder latitudes, was adduced as another poiverful argument to the same effect. A third, on which equal stress was laid, was derived from the fact, Well known to those engaged in the Greenland fisheries, that whales which had been harpooned in the Spitzbergen Seas and Davis' Strait, have been caught in the Pacific Ocean, on the western coast of America. The general trending of the northern coast of that continent, as indicated by the three points then known, Icy Cape, and the mouths of the Mackenzie and Copper-mine Rivers: the testimony of the native Indian maps; and the occurrence, in Greenland, of a species of heath, which had never been found in America; were all regarded as additional grounds of the same supposition.
The disappearance of a large quantity of ice from the Arctic Regions, and the removal of the icy barrier which was supposed to have, for four centuries, blocked up the eastern coast of Greenland, seemed to present an opportunity peculiarly favourable for the resumption of those labours which had been interrupted only by the political disturbances of Europe. It was resolved, therefore, that two distinct expeditions should be fitted out and despatched; the one to proceed up Davis' Strait, for a considerable distance to the northward, and then, rounding the northeast point of the continent of America, to hold a westerly course, with the view of reaching Bohring s Strait; the other, to proceed in a direction as due north as might be found practicable, through the Spitzbergen Seas, and, in the event of finding an open Polar Basin, to pass across the Pole, and make for Behring's Strait, also.
Accordingly, four merchant-ships were hired and commissioned fur this purpose; two of which, the Isabella,
of 385 tons, commanded by Captain John Ross, and the Alexander, of 252| tons, by Lieutenant William Edward Parry, were destined for the North-West Passage; and the remaining two, the Dorothea, of 382 tons, commanded by Captain David Buchan, and the Trent, of 249} tons, by Lieutenant John Franklin, for the Polar route.
These vessels, having been most completely repaired and strengthened, so as to enable them the better to resist the pressure of the ice, and having been fitted with stores of | every description for two years, dropped down the river on the 18th of April, 1818, and started for their respective destinations, with the most sanguine anticipations of success on the part of all on board, and with a confident expectation of obtaining the reward which the munificence of Parliament held out to them, in the event of a fortunate issue. Nor wero the hopes of the public less eager; for never had an expedition departed from our shores, for the discovery of a northern communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, fitted out on so extensive a scale, or so completely equipped in every respect.
Early, however, in the month of October, the expedition under Captain Buchan had returned unsuccessful. The ships under his command had proceeded to about latitude 80° 30', when they were overtaken by a tremendous gale, which drove them direct into the ice, and so disabled the Dorothea, as to render it necessary for her to be sent home; and, as she was deemed unsafe to proceed alone, the Trent was obliged to accompany her.
The issue of the expedition under Captain Ross was less disastrous. The ships left Lerwick, in the Shetland Isles, on the 30th of April, and, passing Cape Farewell at a considerable distance to the south, fell in with the first iceberg on the 26th of May. Entering Davis' Strait about midway between its opposite shores, they found the ice more abundant as they advanced; and their progress was soon impeded by firm masses of this substance, which compelled them to seek a course nearer to the eastern coast. The navigation now became remarkably intricate and dangerous; and some idea of the difficulties attendant upon it may be formed from the above copy of a sketch made by Captain Ross, which represents a remarkable passage through the ice, on the 16th of June. Nevertheless, these obstacles were all surmounted by the skill and perseverance of our enter
? rising navigators; and on the 17th they reached Waygat sland, where the observatory and instruments were landed, and several observations made. From hence, they continued coasting to the northward; and when in
latitude 75° H', were surprised to observe a party of Esquimaux approaxhing the ships over the ice, as lie; had passed the limit of what had been usually considered the inhabited part of Greenland. A parley was wt difficulty effected; and an opportunity of closer examination was afforded. Such was the ignorance of these savage beings, that they conceived themselves to be tM only human inhabitants on the face of the earth; and yet they were acquainted with the use of iron, of which the; had contrived to fashion themselves knives, the material being procured, they said, from a mountain composed «btirely of it, probably a meteoric mass. They appear tow the ugliest of their race, and were named by Captain Rts the '• Arctic Highlanders." "The habits," he says."■ these people, .appear to be filthy in the extreme; their facts, hands, and bodies, are covered with oil and dirt, and the; look as if they had nevcT washed themselves since the; were born."
Proceeding on their enterprise, our navigators w* astonished at the sight of cliffs covered with red sno*. which, when thawed, resembled muddy Port wine. A p* tion of it was brought home, and submitted to the examination of chemists and naturalists; and the coloiinag matter was supposed to result from the vegetation of an extremely minute lichen, or moss, upon the snow. Several*; the inlets, which preceding adventurers had placed iaBaM Bay, were now passed and recognised: and, after wTM;? the great inlet on its northern coast, named by Baffi" Thomas Smith's Sound," the course of the expedition w» shaped to the west, and then to the south. A 'j®***!, alteration in the character of the bay soon took places navigation became open, the sea was more free of ice tto" had yet been, and extremely deep; and, on the 301& August, they entered a wide channel, nearly fifty ■* breadth, which was soon recognised as the Sir James caster's Sound of Baffin. Much interest was excited";* appearance of this strait. "As we knew," says the author brief narrative, published in one of the monthly journal*, which Captain Sabine pronounced to be a faithful wwTM. the proceedings of the expedition, "as we knew that B»* had not entered this sound, but stood away from " to
south-eastward, its appearance inspired hope and joy1 every countenance; and every officer and man, on t stant, as it were, made up his mind that this must I North-West Passaye; the width of the opening, the eJ ordinary depth of water, the increased tcmperaWre, * the surrounding sea, and the strait so perfectly «&""