Pictorial Chronicles of the Mighty Deep

Z Ztracená Franklinova expedice
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Základní údaje o knize

The "Erebus" and "Terror" in the Artic region
Název: Pictorial chronicles of the mighty deep, také The sea, its ships and sailors
Autor: Kolektiv autorů, editor Francis Watt
Vydavatel: London: Frederick Warne
Rok vydání: Údaje se liší: mezi 1888 a 1907, nebo 1880
Jazyk: Angličtina
Copyright: Volné dílo

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Vztah k Franklinově expedici:

Kniha obsahuje kapitolu o siru Johnu Franklinovi, které popisují soudobý stav vědomostí o osudu jeho expedice

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Soubor PDF (3759 kB): Pictorial-chronicles-franklin.pdf

Text anglického originálu

SIR JOHN FRANKLIN

SUFFERINGS OF HIS EXPEDITION — ITS TERRIBLE FATE.

WE here present our readers with an authentic portrait of Sir John Franklin, that noble-minded and heroic Englishman who made so many bold and energetic attempts to dispel the mystery which hangs over the frozen North. He penetrated to regions where man had rarely, if ever, been before.

"In the day-time," says the record, "the presence of our expedition was not disregarded. The birds shunned us in their flight, and every noise which was occasionally made, sounding strange to the place, "sent to a greater distance the sea-gulls that were fishing among the rocks, and kept on the alert whole herds of animals, many of which would otherwise have been lost in sleep; causing them to raise their heads when anything fell upon our deck, and to cast a searching look over the bay, as if to inquire whence so unusual a disturbance proceeded. When we first rowed into this bay, it was in quiet possession of herds of walruses, who were so unaccustomed to the sight of a boat that they assembled about her apparently highly incensed at the intrusion, and swam towards her as though they would have torn the planks asunder with their tusks. The wounds that were inflicted only served to increase their rage, and I frankly admit that when I considered how many miles we were from our vessel, and what might be the result of this onset, I wished we had the support of a second boat. We continued, however, to keep them off with our firearms, and fortunately came off without any accident. When we afterwards came to anchor, we went better provided, and succeeded in killing several of these animals upon the ice at the head of the bay."

Alas! after all Franklin’s daring exploits, the Arctic regions proved too strong for him. He and his brave companions in their ships, the Erebus and Terror, disappeared, and none could ever tell their doom. Afterwards Dr. Rae came upon the traces of a lost expedition, and he tells the following terrible story :—

"The Eskimo," he says, "would give us no information on which any reliance could be placed, and none of them would consent to accompany us for a day or two, although I promised to reward them liberally. Apparently there was a great objection to our travelling across the country in westerly direction. * Finding it was their object to puzzle the interpreter and mislead us, I declined purchasing more than a piece of seal from them, and sent them away.” On the 21st the party started westward across the peninsula. They had not proceeded far, when they were met by a very intelligent Eskimo driving a dog-sledge laden with musk-ox beef. This man readily consented to accompany Rae two days’ journey. He explained that the road by which he had come would be the best for the party. Shortly after this the party was joined by another Eskimo, who had heard of white men being in the neighbourhood, and was curious to see them. Here we must quote somewhat freely from Rae’s brief narrative: "This man (the new-comer) was very communicative; and on putting to him the usual questions as to his having seen 'white men' before, or any ships or boats, he replied in the negative, but said that a party of 'Kabloonans' (whites) had died of starvation a long distance to the west of where we then were, and beyond a large river. He stated that he did not know the exact place, that he never had been there, and that he could not accompany us so far. The substance of the information then and subsequently obtained from various sources,” continues Dr. Rae, “was to the following effect :--

* "I found that it was their favourite hunting ground for musk-oxen, deer, etc., and that the natives had caches of provisions in that direction." -—— DR. J. RAE.

"In the spring, four winters past (1850), whilst some Eskimo families were killing seals near the north shore of a large island, named in Arrowsmith’s charts, King William Land, forty white men were seen travelling in company southward over the ice, and dragging a boat and sledges with them. They were passing along the shore of the above-named island. None of the party could speak the Eskimo language so well as to be understood; but by signs the natives were led to believe the ship or ships had been crushed by ice, and that they were then going to where they expected to find deer to shoot. From the appearance of the men (all of whom, with the exception of one officer, were hauling on the drag-ropes of the sledges, and were looking thin), they were then supposed to be getting short of provisions, and they purchased a small seal, or piece of seal, from the natives. The officer was described as being a tall, stout, middle-aged man. When their day’s journey terminated, they pitched tents to rest in.

At a later date the same season, but previous to the disruption of the ice, the corpses of some thirty persons and some graves were discovered on the continent, and five dead bodies on an island near it, about a long day’s journey to the north-west of the mouth of a large stream, which can be no other than Back’s Great Fish River, as its description and that of the low shore in the neighbourhood of Point Ogle and Montreal Island agree exactly with that of Sir George Back. Some of the bodies were in a tent or tents, others were under the boat, which had been turned over to form a shelter, and some lay scattered about in different directions. Of those seen on the island, it was supposed that one was that of an officer (chief), as he had a telescope strapped over his shoulders, and his double barrelled gun lay underneath him. From the mutilated state of many of the bodies, and the content of the kettles, it is evident that our wretched countrymen had been given to the last dread alternative — cannibalism - as a means of sustaining life. A few, of the unfortunate men must have survived, until the arrival of the wild-fowl (say until the end of May), as shots were heard, and fresh bones and feathers of geese were noticed near the scene of the sad event.

There appears to have been an abundant store of ammunition, as it the gunpowder was emptied by the natives in a heap on the ground, out of the kegs or cases containing it, and a quantity of shot and ball was found below high-water mark, having probably been left on the ice close to the beach, before the spring thaw oommenced. There must have been a number of telescopes, guns (some of them double-barrelled), watches, compasses, etc., all of which seem to have been broken up, as I saw pieces of these different articles with the natives; and I purchased as many as possible, together with some silver spoons and forks, an order of merit in the form of a star, and a small plate engraved 'Sir John Franklin, K.C.B.'"

Although in time more was learned, yet there was doubt as to the exact fate of Franklin till Captain McClintock, in his northward expedition in the Fox, found manuscript records expressly stating that H.M. ships Erebus and Terror were deserted on 22nd April, 1848, and that Sir Iohn Franklin died 11th June, 1847; so the sad mystery was solved at last.

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