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idea which has been adopted by some persons unacquainted withr naval affairs, that I had uselessly lumbered my ship; when, in fact, had I succeeded in reaching Repulse Bay with less stores than I now carried, certain starvation would have attended us all, if we were detained, as might have happened, a second winter. It may also be proper to mention, that the Fury and Hecla, which were enabled to stow three years provisions, were each exactly double the size of the Griper." P. 20.
The want of an accompanying ship, "if not to help, at least to break the deathlike stillness of the scene," could not but be strongly impressed upon all minds at their parting. It was in some measure relieved by the affectionate confidence mutually subsisting among the crew. They already arranged their little places of study and amusement, and "looked forward with pleasure to the approach of winter."
The strong north-easterly gales prevalent all July and August, had very materially altered the usual trending of the ice in Davis's Strait, and the tunnel-shaped entrance to Hudson's Strait, afforded it an easy reception. Owing to this circumstance, even before the 10th of August, when barely within the mouth of the Strait, Captain Lyon had already encountered more ice (always excepting the Strait of the Fury and the Hecla) than in the whole of his last outward voyage. No water was seen in any direction; the sea was crowded, and in many places closely packed, so far as the eye could reach.
On the 12th the first Esquimaux made their appearance, about sixty in number, speaking the same language as those of Igloolik. Little that was new occurred in this interview. The two first hours of introduction were spent in raving and screaming. Some of the natives attempted their usual thefts, and were reduced to honesty by being knocked down or thrown overboard. The few animals in the ship excited more fear than admiration. For two Shetland ponies they entertained a profound and distant reverence; and when they had overcome the first alarm excited by the squeaking of some pigs, they expressed great satisfaction, by a loud laugh and general shout, at having seen what they considered to be two new species of rein deer (Tooktoo.) The customary barterings concluded the visit; and here, for the first time, Captain Lyon states, that the ladies, with a violation of decorum hitherto unknown, were by no means unwilling to dispose of their breeches for knives and tenpenny nails.
As the ice thickened, the sluggishness of the compasses increased rapidly. Gilbert's, which had hitherto been fully
corrected for the local attraction of the ship, by Professor Barlow's plate, on the 15th, on a still day, under the broad glare of the sun, whenever the ship's head was eastward, began to shew as much deviation as the others. Off Southampton Island on the 23d, when the ship's head was southward, they were all quite useless; that in particular to which the plate was fitted, was so powerless that the north point stood. wherever it was placed by the finger. With the head northward they all traversed again; but this was of little benefit, for as the course lay south-west, they had no other sure guidance but the celestial bearings which could not always be obtained. Captain Lyon particularly marks the defects of the old charts, respecting the coast of Southampton Island. It is laid down as a bold precipitous shore, having from go to, 130 fathoms. On almost every part which Captain Lyon coasted, the hand leads were going, at from five to ten miles. from the beach, (which no where could be approached within a mile by the ships) at from 35 to 50 fathoms.
To the south of Cape Pembroke more Esquimaux were met with. The first who came off as the herald of his tribe, floated on three inflated seals-skins instead of a canoe. Across one of these he sat astride, and his legs protected by seal-skin boots dangled almost to the knee below the water. He guided himself by a whalebone paddle, secured by a thong to his float. A friendly intercourse was soon established. This tribe appeared in greater destitution than any others which had been seen. They were less clamorous than the generality of their countrymen, and even when the officers shot several birds before their eyes, they expressed neither fear nor curiosity at the report or the effect of the gun. Contrary to usual custom, they did not lick any article which was given them. Captain Lyon visited their tents about two miles distant from his landing place. He found them very small and full of holes, every where giving admission to wind and rain. The floors, excepting a small place assigned for sleep, were strewed with salmon and its offal. They had no lamps, no sledges, and only one miserably constructed cooking-pot; so that their fish, agreeably to Captain Cochrane's taste, were generally to be, eaten raw. None of those little domestic toys were seen, which graced the tents in Winter Island. The women possessed two iron-needles made from nails, not much reduced in size, and with such diminutive eyes that they must have been useless, and a few others constructed of the pinionbones of birds. These ladies were slightly tattoed on the face, and each wore her hair twisted into a strait club hanging over the temples. The gloves of the men were made of
the reversed skin of the dovekie, dried without further preparation, so that the long stiffened neck-part pointed forward, and was always in the way. Each had an immense ball of hair projecting from the rise of his forehead; one of which was opened before Captain Lyon; it was bound tightly at the base, measured above four feet, and consisted of six long strips of hair, originally plaited, and afterwards matted into greater consistency by dirt and tufts of deer's skin. From their total want of iron, their extreme poverty, their good behaviour, and their simplicity, Captain Lyon thinks it probable they had never before seen Europeans.
In the course of the 31st, from the extraordinary change in the deviation of the needle, and from the erroneous manner in which the land was laid down in his charts, Captain Lyon found himself entirely at a loss as to his relative position to the shore on either side of him. During the night he steered N.w. by the polar star, and ran under easy sail, his soundings varying from 28 to 30 fathoms, till about half-past two, on the morning of the 1st of September, he shoaled suddenly to 19.
"Fearing danger, I turned the hands up, but having shortly deepened to twenty-seven and twenty-five, again sent them below. At six A. M. having quickly shoaled to nineteen, running N.N.W. from midnight, I shortened sail, but came to seventeen at dawn, when we discovered land bearing N.N.W. and apparently not continuous to the right, but a thick fog which hung over the horizon limited our view. As our run had been about fifty miles N.N.W., and as I expected to find the American shore east of its position in the charts, I conceived that this would be Cape Fullerton of Middleton, and therefore kept it on our larboard hand, intending to run past it at five or six miles, which was its distance at this time. We soon, however, came to fifteen fathoms, and I kept right away, but had then only ten; when being unable to see far around us, and observing from the whiteness of the water that we were on a bank, I rounded to ‹at seven A.M., and tried to bring up with the starboard anchor, and seventy fathoms chain, but the stiff breeze and heavy sea caused this to part in half an hour, and we again made sail to the north-eastward; but finding we came suddenly to seven fahoms, and that the ship could not possibly work out again, as she would not face the sea or keep steerage way on her, I most reluctantly brought her up with three bowers and a stream in succession, yet not before we had shoaled to five and a half. This was between eight and nine A.M. The ship pitching bows under, and a tremendous sea running. At noon the starboard bower anchor parted, but the others held.
"As there was every reason to fear the falling of the tide, which, we knew to be from twelve to fifteen feet on this coast, and in that case the total destruction of the ship, I caused the long-boat to be hoisted out, and with the four smaller ones, to be stored to a certain
extent with arms and provisions. The officers drew lots for their respective boats, and the ship's company were stationed to them. The long-boat having been filled full of stores which could not be put below, it became requisite to throw them overboard, as there was no room for them on our very small and crowded decks, over which heavy seas were constantly sweeping. In making these preparations for taking to the boats, it was evident to all, that the long-boat was the only one which had the slightest chance of living under the lee of the ship, should she be wrecked, but every officer and man drew -his lot with the greatest composure, although two of our boats would have been swamped the instant they were lowered. Yet such was the noble feeling of those around me, that it was evident that had I ordered the boats in question to be manned, their crews would have ⚫entered them without a murmur. In the afternoon, on the weather clearing a little, we discovered a low beach all around astern of us, on which the surf was running to an awful height, and it appeared evident that no human powers could save us. At three P.M. the tide had fallen to twenty-two feet, (only six more than we drew,) and the ship having been lifted by a tremendous sea, struck with great vio lence the whole length of her keel. This we naturally conceived was the forerunner of her total wreck, and we stood in readiness to take the boats, and endeavour to hang under her lee. She continued to strike with sufficient force to have burst any less-fortified vessel, at intervals of a few minutes, whenever an unusually heavy sea passed us. And, as the water was so shallow, these might almost be called breakers rather than waves, for each in passing, burst with great force over our gangways, and as every sea "topped," our decks were continually, and frequently deeply, flooded. All hands took a little refreshment, for some had scarcely been below for twenty-four hours, and I had not been in bed for three nights. Although few or none of us had any idea that we should survive the gale, we did not think that our comforts should be entirely neglected, and an order was therefore given to the men to put on their best and warmest clothing, to enable them to support life as long as possible. Every man, therefore, brought his bag on deck and dressed himself, and in the fine athletic forms which stood exposed before me, I did not see one muscle quiver, nor the slightest sign of alarm. The officers each secured some useful instrument about them for the purposes of observation, although it was acknowledged by all that not the slightest hope remained. And now that every thing in our power had been done, I called all hands aft, and to a merciful God offered prayers for our preservation. I thanked every one for their excellent conduct, and cautioned them, as we should, in all probability, soon appear before our Maker, to enter his presence as men resigned to their fate. We then all sat down in groups, and, sheltered from the wash of the sea by whatever we could find, many of us endeavoured to obtain a little sleep, Never, perhaps, was witnessed a finer scene than on the deck of my little ship, when all hope of life had left us. Noble as the character of the British sailor is always allowed to be in cases of danger, yet I did not believe it to be possible, that amongst forty
one persons not one repining word should have been uttered. The officers sat about, wherever they could find shelter from the sea, and the men lay down conversing with each other with the most perfect calmness. Each was at peace with his neighbour and all the world, and I am firmly persuaded that the resignation which was then shewn to the will of the Almighty, was the means of obtaining his mercy. At about six P.M. the rudder, which had already received some very heavy blows, rose, and broke up the after-lockers, and this was the last severe shock which the ship received. We found by the well that she made no water, and by dark she struck no more. God was merciful to us, and the tide, almost miraculously, fell no lower. At dark, heavy rain fell, but was borne with patience, for it beat down the gale, and brought with it a light air from the northward. At nine P.M. the water had deepened to five fathoms. The ship kept off the ground all night, and our exhausted crew obtained some broken
"At four A.M. on the 2d, on weighing the best bower, we found it had lost a fluke, and by eight we had weighed the two other anchors and the stream, which were found uninjured. The land was now more clearly visible, and the highest surf I ever saw still breaking on it, and on some shoals about half a mile from the shore. Not a single green patch could be seen on the flat shingle beach, and our sense of deliverance was doubly felt from the conviction that if any of us should have lived to reach the shore, the most wretched death by starvation would have been inevitable. In standing out from our anchorage, which in humble gratitude for our delivery, I named the Bay of God's Mercy,' we saw the buoy of the anchor we had lost in ten fathoms, and weighed it by the buoy rope, losing therefore only one bower anchor. We now hoisted the long boat in, and an occasional glimpse of the sun enabled us to determine the situation of our recent anchorage, which was in lat. 63° 35′ 48′′, long, 86° 32' 00". The land all round it was so low that it was scarcely visible from the deck at five miles distance, while the point which I had taken for Cape Fullerton, and which I named after Mr. Kendall, (assistant surveyor,) was higher than the coast of Southampton hitherto seen, although still low land. The extreme of the right side of the bay was named after Lieutenant Manico. Keeping abreast of Cape Kendall, and steering west in from ten to thirteen fathoms, at six or eight miles off, at seven P.M. we anchored in thirteen fathoms. The weather was calm, with a heavy ground-swell setting for the shore. The ship being now somewhat to rights, I called the hands aft, and we offered up our thanks and praises to God, for the mercy he had shewn to us. All hands then turned in, and the ship lay quiet for the night." P. 76.
We will not injure the effect of this simple and sublime picture, by a single comment of our own; nor will we deprive our readers of the satisfaction of appreciating for themselves the high-minded courage and the genuine piety which it so forcibly exhibits.