Parry's Voyages for the Discovery of the North-West Passage


On the 16th of January, 1819, Lieutenant Parry was appointed to the command of his Majesty's ship Hecla, a bomb of three hundred and seventy-five tons and the Griper, gun brig, one hundred and eighty tons, commissioned by Lieutenant Matthew Liddon was at the same time directed to put herself under his orders. The object of the expedition was to discover a north west passage into the Pacific. Every individual engaged in the expedition was to receive double pay. They took in provisions for two years, and also a supply of fresh meats and soups preserved in tin cases, essence of malt and hops, and other stores adapted to cold climates and a long voyage. The ships were ballasted entirely with coals, and the men were supplied with an abundance of warm clothing.

Captain Parry was to pass, if possible, through Lancaster's Sound to Behring's Strait. If he succeeded, he was to proceed to Kamtschatka and return to England round Cape Horn. Other instructions were given, but much was left to his own discretion. He sailed in the beginning of May, and proceeded up the straits of Davis, where he found the ice close packed. As he was making his way towards the western shore, on the 25th of June, the ice closed round the ships and arrested their progress. Here the ice was so close, that the whales could not descend in the usual way, but were obliged to go down tail first, much to the amusement of the Greenland sailors. Their situation during the 28th was unpleasant, and would have been dangerous to ships built in the ordinary way. Each roll of the sea forced the heavy masses of ice against the rudder and counter with great violence; but being so well strengthened, they escaped without damage. While in this state, a large white bear approached the Griper, attracted by the smell of some red herrings, which the men were frying at the time. They killed him, but he sunk between the pieces of ice, and they were unable to obtain him. On the 30th, the ice began to slacken a little about the ships, and after two hour's heaving, they succeeded in moving the Hecla about her own length to the eastward; and the ice continuing open after eight hours' incessant labor, they hauled both ships into open water.

Captain Parry having failed in his first attempt to approach the western shore, came to the determination of trying to effect this object, about the latitude of mount Raleigh, which forms one side of the narrowest part of Davis' Strait. They kept on during the 1st and 2d of July, without finding any opening. On the third day, the wind having shifted to the south-west, another large chain of icebergs was seen to the northward. They could find no bottom near these icebergs with one hundred and ten fathoms of line. At four A. M. on the 4th, they came to a quantity of loose ice floating among the bergs. The breeze blew lightly from the southward, and wishing to avoid going to the eastward, they pushed the Hecla into the ice, in hopes of being able to make way through it. But it immediately fell calm and the ship becoming perfectly unmanageable, was for some time at the mercy of swells, which drifted her fast towards the bergs. The Griper's signal was made not to enter the ice, and after two hours' hard pulling, they succeeded in getting the Hecla clear of the icebergs, which it is very dangerous to approach whenever there is a swell.

The ice was now so close that they found it impossible to proceed further westward, and they made the best way they could, by beating northward, until the 10th, when a thick fog came on, which made it necessary to use great caution in sailing, to avoid the icebergs. The reflection of light, however, is so strong from these vast bodies of ice, that in the thickest fog they can be seen at a sufficient distance to enable the navigator, if in smooth water, to keep clear of them. The people succeeded in killing a large bear, which was seen near them on a piece of ice, and towed it on board. These animals sink immediately on being wounded, and to secure them, it is necessary to throw a rope over the neck, at which the Greenland seaman are very expert. After encountering many difficulties from the tenacity of the ice, on the 21st Captain Parry reached latitude 73 deg. As he was unwilling to increase his distance from Lancaster's Sound, he determined to enter the ice here. He accordingly ran in among the floes, and on the evening of the 22d, the ships were so beset, that no open water could be seen from the mast-head. The weather being clear on the next day, and a few narrow lanes of water appearing to the westward, they proceeded to warp the ships through the ice. At eight P. M., they had advanced four miles to westward, and having come to the end of clear water, they secured the ships in a deep bight or bay in a floe, called by the sailors, Natural Dock. On the next day, a boat was sent to try to find a lane of clear water leading to the westward. She returned without success, and the weather was so foggy, that it was with difficulty she found her way back to the ships by means of muskets and other signals.

On Tuesday 27th the clear water had made so much to the westward, that a narrow neck of ice was all that separated the ships from a large open space in that quarter. The men were just ordered out to saw off the neck, when the floes suddenly opened and allowed the Griper to push through under all sail. Although they lost no time in attempting to get the Hecla through after her, yet before they could effect it, the passage was completely blocked up by a piece of floating ice, which was drawn after the Griper, by the eddy produced in her motion. Before they could haul it out of the channel, the floes pressed together and wedged it immovably, and although the saws were used with great effect, it was not until after seven hours' labor, that they succeeded in getting the Hecla into the lanes of clear water, which opened towards the westward. They now perceived with pleasure, a pitching motion of the vessel, which, from the closeness of the ice, does not often occur in those regions, as a sure indication of an open sea. The wind breezing up by one o'clock P. M., the ice had all disappeared, and the sea was free from obstructions of any kind. Here they found the whales so numerous, that no less than eighty-two are mentioned in this day's log. It is commonly thought by the Greenland fishermen, that the presence of ice is necessary to insure the finding of whales but no ice was seen this day, when they were most numerous. At half past five P. M., the high land about Possession bay came in sight. Lancaster's Sound was now open to the westward, and the experience of a former' voyage had given Captain Parry reason to believe that the two best months for the navigation of those seas were yet to come. This, together with the magnificent view of the lofty Byaur Martin Mountains, which recalled forcibly to his mind the events of the preceding year, animated him with expectation and hope. On the 31st, they anchored in Possession bay and discovered a flag staff which had been erected on the former expedition. The only animals found here were a fox, a raven, some ring plovers, snowbuntings, and a wild bee. Several tracks of bears and reindeers were also seen upon the moist ground. Three black whales were seen in the bay, and the crown bones of several others were lying near the beach. The tide rises here about eight feet, and the flood seems to come from the northwest.

On the first of August, Captain Parry finding that the Griper could not keep up with the Hecla, determined to leave her. He appointed the middle of Lancaster Sound as a place of rendezvous, and crowding all sail on the Hecla, he came towards evening in sight of the northern shore of the sound; and the next day had a clear view of both sides of it.

Having run due west nearly out of sight of the Griper, the Hecla hove to for her to come up in longitude 83 degrees 12 minutes west from Greenwich, there being not the slightest appearance of land to the westward. The only ice met consisted of a few large bergs, much worn by the washing of the sea. Whales were seen, and the wind increased so that the top-gallant-yards were taken in. On the 4th, Lieutenant Beechy discovered, from the crow's nest, breakers to the northward. They sounded, and found bottom with forty-five fathoms of line. The Griper coming up, the vessels bore away to the westward. The sea was here so clear of ice, that they began to flatter themselves, that they had indeed entered the Polar Sea. Their vexation was therefore extreme, when, towards evening, land was seen ahead. At eight P. M., they came to a stream of ice extending several miles in a direction parallel to their course; and after sailing for two hours along the edge of the ice, they found it proceeded from a compact body of floes, which completely cut off their passage. The weather here was calm and foggy, and the men amused themselves in pursuing white whales, which were swimming about the ships in great numbers. But these animals were so wary, that they seldom suffered the boats to approach within thirty or forty yards of them, without diving. They also saw for the first time, one or two shoals of nar-whales, called by the sailors sea-unicorns. Finding that the sound or strait was closed, excepting in one place to the southward, to this opening they directed their course. They had sailed but a few hours, however, when it fell calm; and the Griper, having spread both her top-masts, advantage was taken of the calm weather to shift them. The Hecla's boats were at the same time employed in bringing aboard ice to be used as water. Berge-ice is preferred for this purpose, but that of floes which is in fact the ice of sea water, is also used. One of the boats was upset by the fall of a mass of ice, but fortunately no injury was sustained. A breeze springing up from the north-north-west, they made sail and stood to the southward. After sailing a short time, they discovered that they were entering a large inlet about ten leagues wide at its mouth, and in the centre of which no land could be distinguished. The western shore was so encumbered with ice that it was impossible to sail near it. They there fore ran along between the ice and the eastern shore, where there was a broad channel, with the intention of seeking a lower latitude or a clearer passage to the westward. Since they had first entered Lancaster's Sound, the sluggishness of the compasses, and the irregularity produced by the attraction of the ship's iron, had been found to increase rapidly as they proceeded to the westward. The irregularity increased as they advanced to the southward, which rendered it not improbable that they were approaching the magnetic pole. The compasses therefore were no longer fit for the purposes of navigation, and the binnacles were removed as useless lumber into the carpenter's store-room, where they remained during the rest of the season. Being desirous of obtaining all the magnetic observations they were able, on a spot which appeared so full of interest in this department of science, two boats were dispatched from each ship to the nearest eastern shore, under the command of Lieutenant Beechy and Hoppner, who, together with Captain Sabine, were directed to make the necessary observations. As soon as the boats returned, the ships hove to the southward, along the edge of the ice, and by midnight the channel was narrowed to about five miles. They could find no soundings the weather was serene, and the sun for the second time that season just dipped below the northern horizon, and reappeared a few moments after. They had hoped to find a passage to the south of the ice, especially as the inlet widened considerably as they advanced in that direction but on the morning of the 8th, they perceived that the ice ran close in with a point of land, which seemed to form the southern extremity of the eastern shore. The prospect from the crow's nest began to assume a very unpromising appearance. The whole western horizon from north round to south by east, being completely covered with ice, beyond which no indication of water was visible. Captain Parry therefore determined, as the season was fast advancing, to return immediately to the northward, in the hope of finding the channel between Prince Leopold's Isles and Maxwell Bay more open than when they left it, in which there could be little doubt of effecting a passage to the westward. They had sailed to the southward in this inlet about one hundred and twenty miles, Cape Kater being by the observations in latitude 71 deg. 53 min. 30 sec., longitude 90 deg. 03 min. 45 seconds. They returned to the northward with a light but favorable breeze. On the 10th, the weather was thick with snow, which was succeeded by rain and fog. The ships moored to a floe, but when the weather cleared, they found themselves drifting with the floe upon another body of ice to leeward. They therefore cast off and beat to the northward, which was very difficult to do, on account of the drift ice with which the whole inlet was now covered. Although several days were thus passed in contending with fogs, head winds, and all the difficulties of arctic navigation, yet neither officers nor crews lost health or spirits. They repined not at the dangers and difficulties of their situation, but because the accomplishment of their hopes was delayed.

A light southern breeze enabled them to steer towards Prince Leopold's Isles, which they found more encumbered with ice than before. Here they saw a great number of nar-whales, lying with their backs above the water in the same manner as the whale, and frequently with their horns erect and quite stationary for several minutes together. Three or four miles to the northward, they discovered an opening, having every appearance of a harbor, with an island near the entrance. It was named Jack son's Bay. The whole of the 14th was consumed in the attempt to find an opening in the ice, but as it remained perfectly close and compact, on the 15th Captain Parry went on shore to make observations. He landed in one of the numerous valleys, which occur on this part of the coast, very much resembling bays, being bounded by high hills, which appear like bluff head-lands. He ascended the hill on the south side of the ravine, which is very steep, and covered with detached blocks of lime-stone, some of which are constantly rolling down, and which afford a very insecure footing. From the top of the hill no water could be seen over the ice to the northwest; and the whole space comprised between the islands and the northern shore, was covered with a bright dazzling blink.

It was a satisfaction, however, to find that no land appeared, and captain Parry was too well aware of the suddenness with which obstructions, occasioned by the ice, are often removed, to be at all discouraged by present appearances. On the top of this hill, he deposited a bottle containing a short notice of his visit, and raised over it a small mound of stones. The wind was light the next day, and the ice being closed, the ships scarcely changed their position. Despairing of being able to penetrate westward, in the neighborhood of Prince Leopold Isles, captain Parry determined to stand towards the northern shore again, and after beating for some hours among the drift ice, the ships got into clear water near the coast. They had just light enough at midnight to see to read and write in the cabin. passing along the shore, they left the ice behind them, and on the 21st they had nothing to hinder their passage westward, but want of wind. But the wind freshening soon after, all sail was made to the westward, where the prospect began to wear a more and more interesting appearance. It was soon perceived that the land along which they were sailing, and which had appeared to be continuous from Baffin's Bay, began now to trend much to the northward, leaving an open space between that coast, and a distant land to the westward, which appeared like an island, of which the extremes to the north and south were distinctly visible. The latter was a remarkable headland, and was named Cape Hotham. They discovered also several headlands on the eastern land; between the northernmost of which and the island to the westward, there was a channel of more than eight leagues in width, in which neither land nor ice could be seen from the mast head. The arrival off this noble channel, to which captain Parry gave the name of Wellington, was an event for which they had all been anxiously looking; for the continuity of land to the northward, had always been a source of uneasiness to them, from the possibility that it might take a turn to the southward, and unite with the coast of America. Every one thought that they were now finally disentangled from the land, which forms the western side of Baffin's Bay; and that in fact they had actually entered the Polar Sea. Fully impressed with this idea, captain Parry gave to this opening the name of Barrow's Straits.

Two thirds of the month of August had now elapsed, and they expected that the sea would remain navigable six weeks more. The ships had suffered no injury, they had a plenty of provisions, the crews were in high health and spirits, and the sea before them, if not open, was at least navigable. On the 23d, a fresh breeze sprung up, and although Wellington channel was open to the northward, captain Parry judged it best to try a large opening south of Cornwallis' island. But their disappointment was extreme, when it was suddenly reported from the crow's nest, that their passage was obstructed by a large body of ice. Lieutenant Beechy discovered, however, that one part of the barrier consisted of loose pieces of ice, and the Hecla being immediately pushed into this part of it, succeeded, after a quarter of an hour's boring,' in forcing her way through the neck. The Griper followed, and they continued their course to the westward, having once more a navigable sea before them. At 2 P. M., having reached longitude 95 deg. 67 min., they came to two extensive floes, which obliged the ships to tack, as there was no passage between them. They then beat to the northward in search of a passage, but none was found. After several unsuccessful attempts to force a passage, they at last succeeded by boring through several heavy streams, and at midnight were enabled to pursue their course to the westward.

The ships made very little way this night, but in the morning they advanced with more speed, and more land was seen to the westward. The space to the westward was now so broad, that captain Parry thought best to appoint a place where the Griper should find the Hecla in case of a separation. But about 7 P. M., this precaution was found to have been needless, for the ice stretched across the strait, and barred the passage. Captain Parry now resolved to seek a passage along the northern shore. As the vessels were rounding the eastern side of the island captain Sabine was despatched to make observations, and examine the natural productions of the shore. He reported that he had found the island much more interesting than any other parts of the shores of the polar regions they had yet visited. The remains of Esquimaux habitations were found in four different places. Some of them are described by captain Sabine, as consisting of stones rudely placed in an elliptical form. They were from seven to ten feet in diameter, the flat sides of the stones standing vertically, and the whole structure being similar to that of the summer huts of the Esquimaux, which had been seen the preceding year. Attached to each were smaller circles of about four or five feet in diameter, and from the moss and sand which covered some of the lower stones, the whole encampment appeared to have been deserted for several years. The fogs now froze hard upon the rigging, which made it difficult to work the ship, as each rope was increased to twice or three times its proper diameter.

On the evening of the 29th, a very thick fog came on, and they sailed under such circumstances as have seldom occurred in navigation. Observing that the wind always blew some hours steadily from one quarter, the quarter-masters steered by the vane at the mast head, instead of the compass, which was here utterly useless. At night the ships made fast to a floe, about six or seven feet thick, which was covered with numerous pools of water, all hard frozen. The officers amused themselves in skating upon the pools, and the men in sliding, foot-ball, and other games. Thus the ships remained until the 21st, when a new expedient for sailing was adopted.

Before the fog commenced, and while they were sailing on a course, which they knew to be the right one, the Griper was exactly astern of the Hecla, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile. The quarter master stood aft, near the taffrail, and kept her constantly astern, by which means they were enabled to steer a tolerably straight course to the westward. The Griper, on the other hand, kept the Hecla right ahead, and thus they steered one ship by the other, for the distance of ten miles out of sixteen and a half, which they traversed between one and eleven P. M. The morning of the first of September brought a breeze, and with it a snow storm, so that they were unable to shape their course that afternoon. At one on the 2d, a star was seen, the first that had been visible for more than two months. The fog came on again, and there was not wind enough to enable them to keep the ships under command. On the morning of the 3d, a northern breeze enabled them to make considerable progress, and on the 4th, at nine P. M., they crossed the meridian of 110 deg. west from Greenwich, latitude 74 deg. 44 min. 20 sec., by which the ship's company became entitled to a reward of 5000 pounds, offered by the king's order in council to such British subjects as might penetrate so far west within the Arctic circle.' On the 5th, they found the passage blocked up again, and as no change seemed likely to take place, they came to anchor in a tolerable roadstead, a mile and a half from the northern shore. In the evening, Captain Sabine and some of the other officers landed on an island, to which they gave the name of Melville Island. Here they saw several flocks of ducks and gulls; tracks of the deer and musk ox were also observed, and some addition made by the gentlemen to their collection of marine insects. The bay of the Hecla and Griper, as they called the roadstead where the ships lay, was the first place in which they had dropped anchor since leaving England. The flags were hoisted in honor of the epoch; the first time that the eye of civilized man had looked on that barren and inhospitable region. In the afternoon the ice . was observed to be in motion; and the ship got under way and sailed a short distance. But finding no opening, the ships were secured to a floe, which it was necessary to do every night, the weather being too dark to allow them to keep under way. Captain Parry, fearing that the floes might change their position, determined to remove nearer the shore. Two large masses lay aground, and the vessels were secured between them and the shore. Parties went out and returned with a white hare, some fine ptarmigans, a few snow-buntings, skulls of the musk ox, and several reindeer's horns; but they were unable to meet with either of the two latter animals. Several lumps of coal were also picked up, and were found to burn with a clear lively flame, like canalcoal, but without splitting and crackling in the same manner. At five A. M., on the 10th, a floe ran against the berg, within which the Hecla was secured and turned it round as on a pivot.

They were now so surrounded with ice, that all they could do was to attend carefully to the safety of the ships. On the 11th, one of the officers killed the first musk ox they had yet been able to approach.

The packed ice remained immovable, and the young ice' rapidly forming, farther progress was considered impracticable that season. Captain Parry thought it best to run back to the bay of Hecla and Griper and to pass the winter there. The signal for weighing anchor was given on the 22d, but the cables had become so stiff with frost, that it was five P. M. before the anchors were brought on board; and they did not reach the anchorage till the evening of the next day. A proper place being found, the ships dropped anchor on the edge of the bay of ice, in the evening of the 24th; and on the next day, they commenced cutting a canal. Two parallel lines were marked out a little more than the breadth of the ships apart; along these lines, a cut was then made with an ice saw, and others again at right-angles with them, at intervals of from ten to twenty feet.

The pieces thus cut, were again divided diagonally, in order to give room for their being floated out of the canal. The seamen, who are fond of doing things in their own way, took advantage of a fresh northerly breeze, by setting some boat's sails on the pieces of ice, a contrivance which saved both time and labor.

At half past seven P. M., they weighed anchor, and began to warp up the canal; but the wind blew so fresh, and the people were so much fatigued, that it was midnight before they reached the termination of their first day's labor. All hands were again set to work on the morning of the 25th, when it was proposed to sink the pieces of ice under the floe instead of floating them out. To effect this it was necessary for some to stand on the end of the piece of ice, which it was intended to sink, while others hauling upon ropes attached to the opposite end, dragged the block under that part of the floe, on which the people stood. The officers took the lead in this employ, and were frequently up to their knees in water during the day, with the thermometer generally at 12 deg. and never higher than 16 deg. At six P. M. the Griper was made fast astern of the Hecla, and the two ships' companies, being divided on each bank of the canal, soon drew the ships to the end of their second day's work. The next day at noon, the whole canal was completed, a length of four thousand and eightytwo yards through ice seven inches thick. The wintering ground was called winter harbor, and the group of which the island formed a part, was denominated Georgian Islands, in honor of the reigning sovereign of Great Britain.

Having reached the place where they were probably to pass nine months, and three of them in the absence of the sun, Captain Parry was called upon to act in circumstances in which no British naval officer had before been placed. The security of the ships, the preservation of the stores, a regular system for the maintenance of good order, cleanliness, and consequently good health; amusement and employment for the men, were all to be attended to. Scientific observations were also to be made, and Captain Sabine employed himself immediately in selecting a place for an observatory, which was erected in a convenient spot, about seven hundred yards to the westward of the ships. The whole of the masts were dismantled, except the lower ones and the Hecla's main-top-mast; the lower yards were lashed fore and aft amidships, to support the planks of the housing intended to be erected over the ships; and the whole of this frame work was afterwards roofed over with a cloth. This done, Captain Parry's whole attention was directed to the health and comfort of the officers and men. The surgeon reported that not the slightest disposition to scurvy had shown itself in either ship. In order to preserve this healthy state of the crew, arrangements were made for the warmth and dryness of the berths and bedplaces; and finding that when the temperature had fallen considerably below zero, the steam from the coppers began to condense into drops on the beams and sides, they were obliged to adopt such means for producing a sufficient warmth, combined with due ventilation, as might carry off the vapor and thus prevent its settling on any part of the ship. For this purpose, a large stone oven, cased with cast iron, in which all their bread was baked in the winter, was placed on the main-hatch-way, and the stove pipe led fore and aft on one side of the lower deck, the smoke being thus carried up the fore hatch-way. On the opposite side of the deck, an apparatus had been attached to the galley-range for conveying a current of heated air between decks. For the preservation of health, a few alterations were made in the quantity and quality of the provisions issued. The allowance of bread was reduced to two-thirds. A pound of preserved meat, together with a pint of vegetable or concentrated soup per man was substituted for one pound of salt beef weekly; and a small quantity of sour krout and pickles, with as much vinegar as could be used, was issued at regular intervals. They were obliged to institute the most rigid economy, with regard to their coals, as they were unable to find any on the island, excepting a few lumps; and the moss which grew in abundance was found totally unfit for the purposes of fuel.

Great attention was paid to the clothing of the men, and one day in the week was appointed for the examination of the men's shins and gums by the medical gentlemen, in order that any slight appearance of the scurvy might be at once detected and checked by timely and adequate means.

Under circumstances of leisure and inactivity, such as they were now placed in, and with every prospect of its continuance, Captain Parry was desirous of finding some amusement for the men during this long and tedious interval. He proposed, therefore, to get up a play occasionally on board the Hecla; and his proposal being readily seconded by the officers, Lieutenant Beechy having been chosen manager, the performance was fixed for the 5th of November, to the great delight of the ships' companies. In order still further to promote good humor, and to afford amusing occupation during the hours of constant darkness, they set on foot a weekly newspaper, which was to be called the North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle, and of which Captain Sabine undertook to be the editor, under the promise of being supported by original contributions from the officers of the two ships. The meridian altitude of the sun was observed, for the last time, on the 16th of October.

On the 26th the light was sufficient to allow of reading and writing in the cabins, from half past nine till half past two. The rest of the hours were spent by lamp light. It now became rather a painful experiment to touch any metallic substance in the open air, with the naked hand; the feeling produced by it exactly resembling that occasioned by the opposite extreme of intense heat; and taking off the skin from the part affected. They found it necessary, therefore, to use great caution in handling the sextants and other instruments; particularly the eye-pieces of the telescopes, which, if suffered to touch the face, occasioned an intense burning pain; but this was easily remedied by covering them over with soft leather. The month of November set in with mild weather. The fourth was the last day that the sun, independently of refraction, would be seen above the horizon for ninety-six days; but the weather was too thick for making any observations. On the 5th, their theatre was opened, with the representation of Miss in her Teens; which afforded the men a great fund of amusement. Even fitting up the theatre and taking it to pieces again, was a matter of no small importance; as it kept the men employed a day or two before and after each performance, which was a considerable object gained.

On the 11th, the thermometer fell to 26? for the second time. The wolves began to approach the ships boldly, howling most piteously on the beach near, and sometimes coming along side the ships, when everything was quiet at night; but they seldom saw more than one or two together, and therefore could form no idea of their number. The white foxes used also to visit the ships at night, and one of these was caught in a trap, set under the Griper's bows.

The stars of the second magnitude in Ursa Major were perceptible to the naked eye, a little after noon on the 11th of December, and the Aurora Borealis appeared faintly in the south-west at night. The cold continued to increase. About the middle of the month, a serious loss took place in the bursting of the bottles of lemon juice; in some boxes of which, two thirds of the contents were found to be destroyed. The vinegar also froze in the same manner, and lost much of its acidity, when thawed. A few gallons of highly concentrated vinegar congealed into a consistence like honey.

Theatrical entertainments took place regularly once a fortnight, and continued to prove a source of infinite amusement to the men; and more than one or two plays were performed, with the thermometer below zero, on the stage on board the Hecla.

The North Georgia Gazette, which we have already mentioned, was a source of great amusement, not only to the contributors, but to those who, from diffidence of their own talents, or other reasons, could not be prevailed on to add their mite to the little stock of literary composition, which was weekly demanded; for those who declined to write were not unwilling to read, and more ready to criticise than those who wielded the pen but it was that good humored sort of criticism that could not give offense.

On Christmas day the weather was raw and cold, with a considerable snow drift, although the wind was only moderate from northwest. Divine service was performed on board. The men's usual proportion of fresh meat was increased, as also their allowance of grog, and the day passed with much of the same kind of festivity by which it is usually distinguished at home.

On the first of January scurvy made its appearance among them. Mr. Scallon, gunner of the Hecla, had complained for some days, and the symptoms were now decidedly scorbutic. It was found to be owing to the dampness of his bedding, and proper measures were taken to prevent an increase of the malady. By raising mustard and cress in small boxes near the cabin stove, they were able to give Mr. Scallon and one or two more patients nearly an ounce of salad per day. The vegetables thus raised were necessarily colorless from the privation of light; but they had the same taste as if raised in ordinary circumstances. So effectual were they in the case of Mr. Scallon, that he recovered in less than a fortnight.

Toward the end of the month they began to look out for the sun from the mast head. On the morning of the third of February, the weather being clear, a cross, consisting of the usual vertical and horizontal rays, was seen about the moon. At twenty minutes before noon the sun was seen from the Hecla's maintop, at the height of fifty-one feet above the sea, being the first time it had been seen for eighty-four days, twelve days less than its actual stay below the horizon. There was now, from eight o'clock till four, sufficient light for any kind of work, and on the seventh they began to collect ballast for the Hecla, to make up for the expenditure of stores.

The coldest part of the year was now approaching; yet the sun had sufficient power to affect the thermometer, which rose from 40 deg. to 35 deg. when exposed to its rays. The distance at which sounds were heard in the open air during the continuance of this intense cold was truly surprising. Conversation carried on a mile off could be distinctly heard. The smoke from the ships, too, owing to the difficulty it has to rise in a low temperature, was carried horizontally to a great distance. On the 15th, the mercury sunk to 55 deg. below zero, which was the most intense degree of cold observed during the winter. Mercury was malleable in this state of the atmosphere.

From this time the temperature gradually rose. The length of the days had so much increased by the 26th of February, that a very sensible twilight was visible in the north.

For the last three or four days of April, the snow on the black cloth of the housing had begun to thaw a little during a few hours in the middle of the day, and on the 30th so rapid a change took place in the temperature of the atmosphere, that the thermometer stood at the freezing, or, as it may more properly be termed in this climate, the thawing point, being the first time that such an event had occurred for nearly eight months, or since the 9th of the preceding September.

This rapid change in the weather revived their hopes of a speedy departure from Melville Island; and they all had sanguine expectations of leaving their winter quarters before July. On the first of May, however, it blew a gale, and the sun was seen at midnight for the first time that season. On the 6th, the people began the operation of cutting the ships out of the harbor; and on the 17th, the ships were once more afloat. On the 21st, some of the officers took a walk inland, and were able to fill a pint bottle with water from a pool of incited snow, which was the first they had seen; a proof of the extreme severity of the climate.

A perceptible change had now taken place in the ice. The upper surface was covered with innumerable pools of brackish water, so that the liberation of the sea might be daily expected. Being desirous of obtaining as much game as possible during the remainder of the time that must be passed in Winter Harbor, Captain Parry sent out hunting parties to remain ten or twelve miles inland, with orders to send whatever game they might procure, to the ships, and also to observe the ice from the hill tops, and report any change that might take place.

The dissolution of the ice continued daily, and on the 22d, it was observed to be in motion in the offing settling to the eastward at the rate of a mile an hour. The dissolution of the ice of the harbor went on so rapidly, in the early part of July, that they were greatly surprised, on 'the 6th, in finding that in several of the pools of water, on its upper surface, holes were washed quite through to the sea beneath.

On the morning of the 26th, there being a space of clear water for three quarters of a mile to the southward, they took advantage of a northern breeze to run as far as the opening would permit, and then dropped anchor at the edge of the ice, intending to advance step by step as it separated. The ice across the entrance of the harbor in this spot, as well as that in the offing, appeared from the crow's nest quite continuous and unbroken, with the same appearance of solidity as at midwinter.

On the 30th, the whole body of the ice was in motion toward the southeast, breaking away, for the first time, from the points at the entrance of the harbor. This rendering it probable that the ships would soon be released, Captain Parry furnished Lieutenant Liddon with instructions for his guidance during the coming season of operations, and appointed places of rendezvous in case of separation.

On the first of August, the harbor was clear of ice, and there appeared to be water in the direction of their intended course. At one P. M., every thing having been brought on board, they weighed anchor and ran out of Winter Harbor, in which they had passed ten entire months of the year, and a part of the two remaining ones, September and August.

After a few tacks, they had the mortification to perceive that the Griper sailed much worse than before, though great pains had been taken during her reequipment to improve her qualities. By midnight the Hecla had gained eight miles to windward of her, and was obliged to heave to, to avoid parting company.

A southerly wind springing up the next day, made it probable that the ice would close in upon the ships, and they therefore began to look out for a situation where they might be secured inshore, behind some of the heavy grounded ice. At one o'clock they perceived that a heavy floe had already closed completely in with the land at a point a little to the west-ward of them. A proper place having been found for their purpose, the ships were hauled in and secured, the Griper's bow resting on the beach, in order to allow the Hecla to lie in security without her. This place was so completely sheltered from the accession of the main ice, that Captain Parry began to think of taking the Griper's crew on board the Hecla, and pursuing the voyage in that ship alone.

Every moment's delay confirmed Captain Parry in the opinion that it was expedient to attempt to penetrate to the southward, as soon as the ice would allow the ships to move at all, rather than persevere in pushing directly westward. He therefore ordered Lieutenant Liddon to run back a certain distance eastward as soon as he could, without waiting for the Hecla, should that ship still be detained, and to look out for any opening to the southward, which might seem favorable to the object in view, and then wait for the Hecla.

On the 15th, Lieutenant Liddon was enabled to sail, in the execution of his orders. Captain Parry, however, observing that the Griper made little or no way, hoisted the signal of recall, with the intention of making one more attempt to penetrate westward. The ice had so far separated as to allow him to sail a mile and a half along shore, when he was again stopped. He was fortunate in finding a tolerably secure situation for the Hecla within the grounded ice; but the Griper was left by the wind in a place where, should the ice press upon her, there could be no hope of safety. For fear of the worst, Captain Parry made preparations to send. parties to assist the Griper's company, if the wreck should become unavoidable; but they were shortly after relieved from all anxiety on this account, by the recession of the ice from the shore, whereby the Griper was enabled to gain a station near the Hecla.

The ice to the west and southwest, as seen from their present station, gave them no reason to expect a speedy opening in the desired direction. It appeared as solid and compact as so much land; to which the inequalities of the surface gave it no small resemblance. Captain Parry, there fore, determined to defer the attempt to try a more southern latitude no longer.

The point at which the ships were now lying, and which is the westernmost to which Arctic navigation has ever been carried, is in latitude 74 deg. 26 min. 25 sec. and longitude 113 deg. 64 min. 43 sec. Cape Dundas seen yet farther west, is in longitude 113 deg. 57 min. 35 sec., by which the length of Melville island appears to be about a hundred and thirty-five miles, and its breadth, at the meridian of Winter Harbor, from forty to fifty miles.

At nine P. M., they were abreast of the place where they had landed on the 5th, and here perceived that the ice closed with the land a little to the eastward. There was no safety for the ships, unless they could get past one of the small points at the embouchure of a revine, against which a floe was setting the smaller pieces of ice and had blocked up the pass age before they arrived. After heaving two hours at the halsers, they succeeded in getting through, and moored the ships to some very heavy grounded ice near the beach. Hares were observed here, feeding on the sides of the cliffs, and a few ptarmigans were seen. The place where the Hecla was now secured, being the only one of the kind which could be found, was a little harbor, formed, as usual, by the grounded ice, some of which was fixed to the bottom in ten or twelve fathoms. One side of the entrance to this harbor consisted of masses of floes, very regular in their shape, placed quite horizontally, and broken off so exactly perpendicular, as to resemble a handsome, well-built wharf. On the opposite side, however, the masses to which they looked for , security were themselves rather terrific objects, as they leaned over so much towards the ship, as to give the appearance of their being in the act of falling upon her deck; and as a very trifling concussion often produces the fall of much heavier masses of ice, when in appearance very firmly fixed to the ground, Captain Parry gave orders that no guns should be fired near the ship during her continuance in this situation. The Griper was of necessity made fast near the beach, in rather an exposed situation, and her rudder unshipped, in readiness for the ice coming in; it remained quiet, however, though quite close, during the day, the weather being calm and fine.

In the evening of the 18th, some heavy pieces of grounded ice to which the bow halser of the Hecla was fastened, fell off into the water, snapping the rope without injuring the ship. Nevertheless, as every alteration of this kind must materially change the centre of gravity of the whole mass, it was thought prudent to move the Hecla out of her harbor to the place where the Griper was lying, lest some of the bergs should fall upon her deck and crush or sink her.

On the 20th and 21st, the young ice formed to such a degree, as to cement together all the loose ice about the ships; nor did it thaw on either of those days, though the sun shone clearly upon it for several hours. The main body remained close and firm in every direction. The same state of things obtained on the 22d, and in the morning of the 23d, the young ice was an inch and a half thick. A breeze springing up from the westward put it in motion, so that by noon the ships were able to warp out and proceed eastward. In a short time, however, the ice closed so firmly around them that they became wholly unmanageable, and received many blows, more severe than any they had received before. After having drifted with the ice six miles, they were made fast to some grounded ice.

The situation in which the ships were now placed, and the shortness of the navigable season, caused great anxiety. Judging from the experience of 1819, it was reasonable to conclude that about the 7th of September, was the limit beyond which the ships could not keep the sea with any degree of safety or prospect of success; but being thoroughly impressed with the idea that it was incumbent on him to make every possible effort, Captain Parry determined to extend this limit to the 14th of September, before which date the winter would have set in. The prospect was not very encouraging, even with this extension; they had only advanced sixty miles this season, and the distance to Icy Cape was yet between eight and nine hundred miles, supposing them to find a clear passage. The provisions, too, were so far reduced in quantity, that by no means could they be made to hold out longer than till April, 1822, and the deficiency of fuel was even more apparent. These and other minor considerations, induced Captain Parry to ask the advice and opinions of his officers relative to the expediency of returning to England. They all agreed that any attempt to penetrate farther westward in their present parallel, would be fruitless, and attended with loss of time that might be more profitably employed elsewhere. They advised that the vessel should run back along the edge of the ice, in order to look for an opening that might lead toward the American continent, and after a reasonable time spent in the search, to return to England. This advice agreeing with his own opinions, Captain Parry resolved to comply with it.

On the twenty-fourth the ships moved again, and found less ice as they advanced, so that when, on the morning of the 27th, they cleared the east end of Melville Island, the navigable channel was not less than ten miles wide. A constant look-out was kept from the crow's nest for an opening to the south, but none occurred. The weather was hazy, so much so that they were again obliged to steer the ships one by the other. As they proceeded, several islands hitherto unknown, were discovered, but no opening was seen in the ice, and when they had, on the 30th, reached longitude 90 degrees they became satisfied that there was no possibility of effecting their object, and Captain Parry, therefore, conceived it to be his duty to return forthwith to England, in order that no time might be lost in following up his discoveries, if his government should deem fit to do so.

The Hecla arrived at the Orkney Islands on the 28th of October; and the Griper on the first of November. Thus did they return from a voyage of eighteen months duration, in good health and spirits, with the loss of only one man.


The discoveries made by the expedition under Captain Parry in 1819-20, being believed to afford a strong presumption of the existence of a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean, the British government commanded that another attempt should be made to discover it. The Hecla having been found well adapted to this kind of service, the Fury, a ship of precisely the same class, was selected to accompany her. Captain George F. Lyon was appointed to command the Hecla, and Captain Parry, whose efforts had made him justly celebrated, was commissioned to command the expedition.

Some alterations in the interior arrangements of the vessels, such as were suggested by the experience of Captain Parry, were made. Among these was an apparatus for melting snow, which was found very useful, and was so little in the way that it could not even be seen. Cots and hammocks were substituted for the former bed places, and some improvements were made in the manner of victualing the ships.

In his official instructions, Captain Parry was directed to proceed into Hudson's Strait, till he should meet the ice, when the Nautilus Transport, which was placed at his disposal, was to be cleared of its provisions and stores. He was then to penetrate westward, till he should reach some land which he should be convinced was a part of the American continent, at some point north of Wager River. If he reached the Pacific, he was to proceed to Kamschatka; thence to Canton or the Sandwich Islands, and thence to England, by whatever route he might deem most convenient.

Accordingly, in the beginning of April, 1821, the three vessels sailed from England. Nothing worthy of note occurred till they met with the ice in Davis' Strait, where the vessels were moored to an iceberg, and the Nautilus was unladen. This done, she parted company on the 1st of July, and sailed for England, while the Fury and Hecla stood towards the ice, which they reached a little before noon, and ran along its edge, keeping as much to the westward as possible.

On the 24th they reached the Savage Islands, and landed on one of them. They are many - all exhibiting the same appearance of utter sterility. That on which they landed was from six to eight hundred feet above the level of the sea. Here they noticed the same appearances of an Esquimaux camp as had been seen at Melville Island, with a few pieces of fir, which proved that the savages, in these parts, were not in want of wood, since they could afford to leave it behind them. Hares and several species of birds were seen on this island.

As soon as the exploring party returned on board, all sail was made to the westward, the sea being now nearly free from ice. The next day the hills on the coast of Labrador were seen. Thus they kept on till the 31st, discovering islands as they proceeded. On the afternoon of this day, an Esquimaux oomiak was seen coming from the shore of Salisbury Island, under sail, accompanied by eight kayaks. In this boat were sixteen per sons, of which two were men, and the rest women and children. In dress and personal appearance, these people did not differ from the Esquimaux last seen, but their behavior was far less offensive.

On the first of August, the ships kept on westward between Nottingham Island and the north shore, which is fringed with small islands. This channel is about twelve miles wide. In the course of the morning, some Esquimaux came to the ships from the main land, bringing oil, skin dresses, and walrus' tusks, which they exchanged for any trifle that was offered. They also offered toys for sale, such as models of canoes, weapons, etc. Here, for the first time, the navigators saw the dresses of the savages lined with the skins of birds, having the feathers inside.

Having run forty miles in the night without seeing any ice, they came the next morning to a pack so close as to prevent their farther progress. The ships received very heavy blows, and with considerable difficulty got clear of it. They ran along the edge several miles to the northward, in search of an opening; but finding none, they stood back to the southwest, to try what could be done in that quarter.

The expedition being now about to enter upon ground hitherto unexplored, it became necessary for Captain Parry to decide on the route he should pursue with most advantage; and after mature deliberation, he came to the resolution to attempt a direct passage of the Frozen Strait, though he greatly feared the loss of time that would be the consequence of a failure.

After contending with the ice for several days, on the 11th, the ship succeeded in getting to the northern land, and a party of the officers landed upon a small rock, or islet, a mile and a half from the shore.

Soon after the party returned on board, a fresh gale from the north compelled them to make the ships fast to the largest floe near, in order not to lose much ground. The gale moderated about noon, and they cast off from the floe and made sail. They made considerable progress till evening, when the ice closed round them again. After sunset on the 13th, they descried land to the westward, which they believed to be a part of the continent. Yet they continued closely beset, and on the 15th the Hecla drifted back with the ice, out of sight of her consort. This was partly owing to the extraordinary refraction upon the horizon, which apparently diminished and distorted objects, at no great distance, in a wonderful manner. On the next day, however, the Hecla hove in sight, and upon which the Fury set sail and beat through the channel. On the morning of the 17th, the weather being too foggy to move, parties from both ships went on shore, to examine the country and to procure specimens of its natural productions.

As soon as the weather cleared up, they returned on board, and sailed to the northeast, where alone they had any chance of finding an outlet. Having ascertained the continuity of land round this inlet, they gave it the name of the Duke of York's Bay. It was now certain that the object of the expedition could not be effected in that direction; and they therefore sailed back, through the narrow channel by which they had entered, with the intention of seeking an opening further north, without delay.

It would be tedious to tell of every obstacle that hindered or delayed the ships. They pursued their intended course along the shore, when the wind and weather permitted; and when unavoidably detained, they land ed. Among other places, they landed at Repulse Bay, in latitude 66 deg. 30 min. and longitude 86 deg. 30 min. From all indications, the water through which they had been sailing, was the imperfectly known Frozen Strait; and Captain Parry resolved to keep along the land to the northward, and examine every bend or inlet, which might appear likely to afford a practicable passage to the westward.

Sailing on the 23d along the northern shore of Frozen Strait, it was observed that the land appeared in one place to consist of islands only, behind which no land was visible. This part of the coast appeared to Captain Parry so favorable to the accomplishment of his enterprise, that he resolved to examine it more closely. Having beat up to the mouth of an opening that seemed practicable, he found the greater part of the channel filled with a body of ice, rendering examinations in ships or boats impossible. The only means, therefore, of exploring it were, to despatch a party by land. Captain Lyon undertook this service, accompanied by five persons, furnished with a tent and four days' provision. The ships were anchored to await his return a mile from the shore. The flood tide came out of this inlet, a circumstance that materially strengthened their hopes of success.

Captain Lyon first landed on an island, and then crossed a strait to a steep point. Thence proceeding northward to a hill, he found the strait continuous, and returned to the ships. On this short journey, he passed the remains of a great many Esquimaux habitations. The result of Captain Lyon's excursion was to convince all concerned, that a communication existed here between Frozen Strait and a sea to the northward and eastward of it, and Captain Parry determined to explore it as far as possible.

After drifting about some time in the ice, and more than once narrowly escaping shipwreck, measures were taken to survey this part of the Frozen strait; but little knowledge was gained by all their efforts. On the 1st of September, the prospect of getting northward, was by no means encouraging; and they were, from time to time, beset with ice, and drifted back. On the 3d, they found that after a laborious investigation, which had occupied a whole month, they had returned to nearly the same spot where they had been on the 6th of August, near Southampton Island.

On the 1st of October, rain fell, which immediately freezing, made the decks and ropes as smooth as glass. For several days the thermometer had been below the freezing point, and sometimes as low as 20 deg. at night, which change, together with the altered aspect of the land, and the rapid formation of young ice near the shores, gave notice of the approach of winter. The commencement of this dreary season in these regions may, indeed, be dated from the time when the earth no longer receives and radiates heat enough to melt the snow which falls upon it.

On the 8th the young ice on the surface began to give them warning that the navigation of those seas was nearly ended for the season. When the young ice has acquired the thickness of half an inch, and is of considerable extent, a ship must be stopped by it, unless favored by a strong and fair wind; and even when making progress, is not under the control of the helmsman, depending mostly on the thickness of the ice on one bow or the other. Boats cannot be employed in such situations with much effect.

When to these difficulties were added the disadvantage, of a temperature near zero, and twelve hours of daily darkness, Captain Parry became convinced that it was expedient to place the ships in the most secure situation that could be found, rather than run the risk of being permanently detached from the land by attempting to gain the continent. Accordingly a canal was sawed into a harbor on the south side of a small island, to which the name of Winter Island was given, and the ships were warped to their winter stations. Thus ended their operations for the season, after having explored a portion of coast six hundred miles in extent, one half of which belonged to the continent of America.

The arrangements for passing the winter comfortably were pretty much the same as those which had been made at Melville Island, with some improvements, suggested by former experience. The theatre was better fitted than before, and a school was established for the benefit of such of the crews as might wish to learn to read and write. The lower deck of the Fury was fitted for a church, and the companies of both ships attended during the winter. The men were sent to walk on shore for exercise, whenever the weather was favorable; and finger-posts were erected in various parts of the island, to prevent them from losing their way.

On the 11th of December, the weather being tolerably clear, stars of the third magnitude were visible to the naked eye at forty minutes past eight, and those of the second magnitude till a quarter past nine, which may give some idea of the degree of light at this period. The twilight was, of course, very long, and the redness of the sun's rays might be seen more than three hours after its setting.

On the 13th, the thermometer fell to 31 deg., being the lowest temperature yet experienced. Rising on the 17th to 5 deg., the play of The Poor Gentleman was performed. On Christmas eve the theatre was again put in requisition, and the next day was celebrated to the utmost extent their means would allow. Among the luxuries of the Christmas dinner were a few joints of English roast beef, which had been preserved expressly for the occasion, the first and last ever eaten in Frozen Strait.

The same occupations, that had employed them at Melville Island served to beguile the time this winter. Nothing material occurred till the first of February, unless the circumstance of seeing a white bear may be accounted so.

On the first of February, a number of Esquimaux were seen coming toward the ships over the ice, and the appearance of huts was discovered on the shore with a telescope. Captains Parry and Lyon, with three or four others, set out to meet the natives who were slowly approaching, to the number of twenty-five. As the officers advanced, they stood still, awaiting their approach. They had no arms, but carried only a few strips of whalebone, which they had brought for a peace-offering, and which the gentlemen immediately purchased for a few small nails and beads. There were several women and children with the party, and the behavior of all was quite peaceable and orderly. They were all handsomely dressed in deerskins, and some had double suits.

However quiet these savages were, they did not exhibit the slightest signs of apprehension or distrust. As soon as some understanding was established, the officers expressed a wish to visit their huts, and the Esquimaux readily complying, they all set out together. The savages were greatly astonished on the way, to see a large dog, belonging to the whites, fetch and carry; and the children could scarcely contain their joy. when Captain Lyon gave them a stick to throw, and the dog brought it back to them. An infirm old man, who supported himself with a staff, which he much needed, was left behind by his companions, who took no notice of his infirmities, but left him to find his way as he might, without reluctance or scruple.

An intercourse was kept up between the ships and the Esquimaux, as long as the latter remained there, which was until the 23d of May, when they set off with all their goods and chattels, including a parting gift from Captain Parry.

The caulking of the bows being now completed, the ships were released from the ice by sawing around them; an operation which made them rise in the water six inches and a half, in consequence of the buoyancy occasioned by the winter's expenditure.

An increased extent of open water appeared in the offing, Captain Lyon again departed, accompanied by nine persons, with a tent, fuel, and provisions for twenty days. Each individual was furnished with a light sledge, to draw his provision and baggage, which might weigh about an hundred pounds. Their instructions were, after gaining the continent to proceed along the coast and examine it, and to make observations respecting the tides and the natural productions of the country.

He set out on the 8th of May, and rested on the 9th at a low, rocky point, which he called Point Belford. Proceeding northward, he had given the following names successively to different parts of the coast, viz: Blake's Bay, Adderly's Bluff, Palmer Bay, Point Elizabeth, and Cape William; when, finding his provision and fuel half expended, he judged it prudent to return.

Flocks of birds now began to give token of returning summer, and, on the 25th, some Esquimaux, who came from an encampment to the west ward, reported having seen a great many reindeer. Yet at the close of May it was a matter of general regret that there was little prospect of the departure of the ice, and that few indications of a thaw had been observed. The navigators could not fail to remember that at Melville Island, though so much farther north, the season had, on the same day two years before, advanced full as far as now at Winter Island. The parts of the land which were most bare were the smooth, round tops of the hills, on some of which were little pools of water. There were also, on the low lands, a few dark, uncovered patches, looking, in the snow, like islets in the sea. Vegetation seemed striving to commence, and a few tufts of saxifrage oppositifolia, when closely examined, discovered some signs of life. Such was the state of things on shore: upon the ice, appearances were as unpromising. Except in the immediate vicinity of the ships, where from incessant trampling, and the deposit of various stores upon the ice, some heat had been absorbed artificially, there was no perceptible sign of dissolution on the upper surface, where six or seven inches of snow yet remained on every part. In these circumstances, Captain Parry resolved to try what could be done to release the ships by cutting and sawing. Arrangements were, therefore, made for getting everything on board, and for commencing this laborious work.

The operation began on the 3d of June, and was completed in sixteen days, by severe and persevering labor. In the meanwhile, Nature seemed unwilling to lend our mariners any aid: the dissolution of the ice was so slow as scarcely to be perceptible. However, it was so weakened by the cut made, that the first pressure from without effected a rupture, so that a favorable breeze only was needed, to enable the ships to put to sea. On the 2d of July, the wind, for the first time, became fair, and the ships sailed.

Winter Island is ten miles and a half in length, from north-west by north, to south-east by south, and its average breadth from eight to ten miles. It is what seamen call rather low land; the height of the south-east point, which was named Cape Fisher, out of respect to the chaplain and astronomer, being seventy-six feet, and none of the hills above three times that height. The outline of the land is smooth, and in the summer, when free from snow, presents a brown appearance. Several miles of the northwest end of the island are so low and level, that when the snow lay thick upon it, our travelers could only distinguish it from the sea by the absence of hummocks of ice.

The basis of the island is gneiss rock, much of which is of a gray color, but in many places also the feldspar is so predominant as to give a bright and red appearance to the rocks, especially about Cape Fisher, where also some broad veins of quartz are seen intersecting the gneiss; and both this and the feldspar are very commonly accompanied by a green substance, which appeared to be pistacite, and which usually occurs as a thin lamina adhering strongly to the others. In many specimens these three are united, the feldspar and quartz displaying tolerably perfect crystals. In some of the gneiss small red garnets are abundant, as also in mica-slate. In lumps of granite, which are found detached upon the surface, the mica sometimes occurs in white plates, and in other specimens is of a dirty brown color. There are several varieties of mica-slate, and some of these have a brilliant metallic appearance, like silver; those which are most so, crumble very easily to pieces. The most common stone next to those already mentioned is lime, which is principally schistose, and of a white color. Many pieces of this substance, on being broken, present impressions of fossil-shells, and some have also brown waved lines running quite through them. Nodules of flint occur in some masses of lime, but they are not common. Iron pyrites is found in large lumps of black stone, tinged externally with the oxyde of iron: it is here and there met with in small perfect cubes.

Sailing northward along the coast, the ships were soon stopped by the ice. While they remained stationary, a party of natives was discovered on shore, who proved to be their neighbors of Winter Island. They were cordially greeted by the officers and seamen as old acquaintances, and loaded with presents. On leaving the ships, one of them sent Captain Parry a piece of seal skin as a present, without the least prospect or expectation of a return. We mention this trifling incident, merely because it was the first and only undeniable proof of gratitude observed among these people.

Slowly and painfully our navigators pursued their course northward, always with difficulty and often with great danger. On the 12th of the month, they discovered the mouth of a considerable river, and Captain Parry went on shore to examine it. The water was fresh, and the stream varied in breadth from four hundred yards to the . third of a mile. After ascending a mile and a half, the Captain heard the roar of a waterfall. At the mouth, the banks of the river were about two hundred feet high, but here they rose much higher, and the water ran on a more elevated level. As Captain Parry proceeded inland, he found the stream rushing with great fury over two small cataracts. Then turning a right angle of the river, he perceived a greater spray, occasioned by a very magnificent fall. Where the stream begins its descent it is contracted to the breadth of one hundred and fifty feet, the channel being worn in a solid bed of gneiss rock. After falling about fifteen feet, at an angle of thirty degrees, the river is again narrowed to forty yards, and as if collecting its strength for a great effort, is precipitated ninety feet, in one unbroken mass. A cloud of spray rises from the cataract, surmounted by an uncommonly vivid rainbow. The basin which receives the fall is circular and about four hundred yards in diameter, rather wider than the river immediately below. Above the cataract, the stream winds in the most romantic manner imaginable among the hills, with a smooth and unruffled surface. To this beautiful water-course Captain Parry gave the name of Barrow's River. Its entrance is in latitude 67 deg. 18 min. 05 sec., and longitude 81 deg. 25 min. 20 sec.

The next day large herds of walruses were seen upon the drift ice, and all the boats were sent to kill some for the sake of the oil. The sportsmen found them lying huddled together, piled upon one another. They waited quietly to be shot, and were not greatly alarmed even after one or two volleys. They suffered the people to debark on the ice near them, but on their near approach displayed a somewhat pugnacious purpose. After they got into the water three were struck with harpoons and killed. When first wounded, they were quite furious: one of them resolutely attacked Captain Lyon's boat, and injured it with his tusks. Those which remained uninjured surrounded the wounded animals, and struck them with their tusks whether to assist their escape, or with a hostile intention, cannot be ascertained. Two of the animals killed were females, and one weighed over fifteen hundred pounds, which was not considered an uncommon bulk. The strength of the walrus is very great. One of them being touched with an oar, seized it with his flippers, and snapped it with the utmost ease. Many of these animals had young ones, which, when assailed, they carried off, either between their flippers or on their backs. They were most easily killed with musket-balls, even after being struck with the harpoon, as their skins are so tough as to resist a whaling lance.

On the 15th, the ships reached Igloolik, for the situation of which we refer our readers to the map. Here they found a new band of Exquimaux, who proved to be the acquaintances and relatives of those of Winter Island. These people dwelt not in snow huts, but in tents, made of the skins of the walrus and seal, the former shaved thin enough to allow the transmission of light. They were clumsily made, and supported by a kind of tent-pole, constructed by tying bones or deer's horns together. The edges of the tents were kept down by placing stones upon them. To keep the whole fabric erect, a thong was extended from the top to a large stone at the distance of a few yards. These abiding places had little appearance of affording comfort or convenience.

From these people Captain Parry learned that he had unquestionably been coasting the continent. He then determined to attempt to penetrate a large inlet, stretching west-ward from Igloolik, which, at the time of his arrival, was closed by a fixed barrier of ice, and which he named The Strait of the Fury and Hecla. We shall not follow the navigators in their arduous but unsuccessful efforts to penetrate west-ward at this point, as we have already alloted more space to their adventures than consists with our intended limits. Suffice it to say, that after persevering in the attempt till the 30th of September, they found themselves as far from the attainment of their object as at first. The cold weather then setting in, they were compelled to lay the ships up at Igloolik.

One important point, was settled, however, beyond the /possibility of doubt. Finding his researches ineffectual by water; Captain Parry under took to explore the Strait of the Fury and Hecla by land. He found it continuous, and pursued his journey far enough to see the open sea beyond, thus proving the existence of a passage at this point, though it was then, and probably ever will be, closed by an insurmountable barrier of ice. Besides this result of his endeavors, the position of Cockburn Island, and indeed of all the lands adjacent to Igloolik, was ascertained, and correctly laid down on the map.

Besides the Esquimaux found at Igloolik, our friends had the society of the savages of Winter Island, who rejoined them shortly after their arrival. We are sorry that we cannot relate the adventures and observations of this winter, as they are extremely entertaining; but as they are not important in their nature, we trust to be excused for omitting them.

Igloolik is a low island, ten miles long and six broad, and exhibits the same appearance of sterility as the adjacent continent, excepting in places which have been inhabited by the natives. There, the accumulation of animal substances has produced a luxuriant vegetation. In some parts there are spots several hundred yards in extent, covered with bright green moss. The whole land seems to be composed of innumerable fragments of thin schistose limestone, some of which contain the impressions of fossil remains, while others present the cellular structure usually found in madreporite. The interior is almost an entire swamp; but there are rising grounds, which, with the remains of Esquimaux habitations upon them, are excellent landmarks.

East of Igloolik is a group of small islands called by Captain Parry Calthorpe Islands. Like almost all the land in this vicinity, they are low, but their geology differs from that of Igloolik, and resembles that of Winter Island, being composed of gneiss. Two of this group, however are high and rugged. From the top of one of these there is a view of the adjacent shores.

The entrance of the Strait of the Fury and Hecla is about three miles wide, and is formed by two projecting headlands between which the tide rushes with great velocity. The south shore is high, but of gradual ascent, perfectly smooth, and composed of beautifully variegated sand-stone. Be yond the entrance the land is bold and mountainous. Captain Parry, who it will be remembered explored the southern shore of the Strait, states the hills to consist of gray gneiss and red granite, rising, in some instances, a thousand feet above the level of the sea. In some places he saw slate, and in others sand-stone. He has left no positive data, by which we may determine the length of this Strait; but as he was rather more than a day in accomplishing the distance on foot, by a circuitous route, we may conclude that it does not exceed fifteen or twenty miles. From the point where his journey terminated he saw a continuous sea to the westward, open and unobstructed save by ice and by one small island.

There are several islands in the Strait of the Fury and Hecla. On one of these (Liddon Island) abundance of beautifully veined clay iron-stone was found. The other minerals were asbestos, crystals of carbonate of lime, and a great variety of sand-stone, of which the island is formed.

Amherst Island is flat, and on the northern part is formed of black slate, with strong indications of coal. This part of the island is utterly bare of vegetation. In a low cliff of black and rugged slate there is a beautiful and romantic grotto. The water oozing through the sides and roof, has formed the most brilliant stalactites, which form a splendid contrast with the shady part of the ebon grotto behind. The other part of the island is of clay and limestone, on which there is a very scanty covering of shriveled grass and moss.

The winter in Igloolik was spent like the preceding one, in amusements on board ship, and intercourse with the Esquimaux.

On the 9th of August the ships ran out of their harbor, where they had been detained three hundred and nineteen days. They were so embarrassed by the ice, that little use could be made of their sails; nevertheless, by the 30th of the month they passed Winter Island, having been carried three degrees by the drift in which they were beset. On the 9th of October, they made the Orkney Islands, and on the 10th reached Lerwick in Shetland, where they were received with many congratulations on their safe return.

THIRD VOYAGE. The British Government having resolved to fit out a third expedition, under Captain Parry, the Hecla and Fury were made ready for sea, the latter under the command of Captain Hoppner, and sailed from England on the 16th of May 1824. They were to attempt the northwest passage at Prince Regent's Inlet. Having crossed the Atlantic without any material adventure, they made the bay of Lievely in Disko Island on the 5th of July.

Sailing up Baffin's Bay, on the 17th the ships came to ice, and after many obstructions, only penetrated seventy miles to the westward. Here they encountered a hard gale, and sustained several shocks that would have crushed any ship of ordinary strength. They reached Lancaster's Sound on the 10th of September. The winds not being favorable, the ships made small progress, and on the 13th the crews had the mortification to perceive the sea ahead covered with ice, in attempting to penetrate which they were soon immovably beset. Nevertheless, the exertions of Captain Parry and his coadjutor were unremitting.

The officers landed at one place, a little east of Admiralty Inlet. The vegetation was, as usual in those regions, very scanty. With great exertion and extreme difficulty, the expedition reached Port Bowen in Prince Regent's Inlet, on the 27th, where, by the middle of October, Captain Parry deemed it advisable to lay up the ships for the winter. Several journeys inland proved the country to be exceedingly broken and rugged; so much so that the researches of the explorers were of necessity confined to a very limited extent.

About midnight on the 27th of January, a brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis was observed. It broke out in a single compact mass of yellow light, appearing but a short distance above the land. This light, notwithstanding its general continuity, sometimes appeared to be composed of numerous groups of rays, compressed laterally, as it were, into one, its limits to right and left being well defined and nearly vertical. Though always very brilliant, it constantly varied in intensity; and this appeared to be produced by one volume of light overlaying another, as we see the darkness of smoke increase when cloud rolls over cloud. While some of the officers were admiring the exceeding beauty of the phenomenon, they were suddenly astonished at seeing a brilliant ray shoot down from the general mass between them and the land, thence distant about three thousand yards.

The principal animals seen were bears, foxes, hares and mice, but no deer or wolves. These appeared but rarely, and the same nay be said of the feathered creation. In July, a canal was sawed in the ice, and the ships were towed to sea. Captain Parry hoped to sail over to the western shore of the inlet, but he had only made eight miles in the intended direction, when he was stopped by the ice. As no opening appeared in that quarter, he determined to try to cross more to the northward. The most he gained was some knowledge of the character of the shores.

On the 30th of July, the ships being beset close to the land, a hard gale brought the ice close upon them. The Hecla received no damage but the breaking of two or three hawsers; but the Fury was forced on shore. She was heaved off again, with little injury, but this was but the commencement of her misfortunes. On the 1st of July, she was again nipped, and so severely strained as to leak a great deal. As the tide fell, her stern, which was aground, was lifted several feet, and the Hecla also remained aground. No place was found where the Fury might be hove down to repair the damage, as the shore was everywhere lined with masses of grounded ice. The ships were again made to float, but it was found, notwithstanding incessant labor on board the Fury, that four pumps constantly going could hardly keep the water under. In these circumstances the only harbor that could be found was formed by grounded masses of ice, within which the water was from three to four fathoms deep at low tide.

On the night of the 2d, the ice came in with great violence, and again forced the Fury on shore. The strength and number of the Hecla's hawsers only saved her from sharing the same fate. In the meanwhile the crew of the Fury were completely exhausted by labor, and their hands had become so sore by the constant friction of the ropes that they could no longer handle them without mittens. In this situation it was determined to land the stores and provisions of the vessel, in order that she might undergo a complete repair.

Accordingly anchors were carried to the beach, by which the grounded icebergs that formed the harbor were secured in their position, thus enclosing a space just sufficient to admit both ships. In this position a great part of the Fury's stores were landed. The injury was found to be more severe than had at first been supposed; indeed, it appeared that the compactness of her fabric had alone saved her from sinking. Nevertheless, no exertion was spared to render her seaworthy again, though the daily pressure of the ice was another, and a very great disadvantage.

In spite of every effort, it was found impossible to save the Fury, and the Hecla was greatly endangered in the attempt. She was compelled to leave the land and drift about among the ice, to avoid being forced on shore. On returning, Captain Parry found that the Fury had been driven farther on the beach than before, and nine feet of water were in her hold. Her keel and bottom were more injured than ever. The first glance satisfied Captain Parry that the vessel could never return to England. By and with the advice of a council of his officers, therefore, he decided to leave her to her fate, and as his provisions would barely suffice for another twelvemonth, to return home. In pursuance of this resolution the Hecla reached Sheerness on the 21st of October. On the eastern shore of Prince Regent's Inlet is Cape Dater, the most southern point attained by the ships in this expedition. It is in latitude 71 deg. 53 min. 30 sec. and longitude 90 deg. 03 min. 45 sec.