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from the pages of the Literary Gazette, Nos. 559,560, and, though long, is too interesting to be abridged or omitted. · The Hecla having arrived at Hamerfest, took in the rein-deer meant for dragging the boats, snow-shoes, and other articles requisite for the journey over the ice. Having reached the coast of Spitzbergen, a heavy gale drove the ship among packed ice, where she was entangled for several weeks, to the 6th of June. Here the first effort to proceed in the manner projected was tried in two boats commanded by Captain Parry and Lieut. Ross; but the ice broke up, and it was speedily relinquished. The Hecla then wrought to the north as far as Seven Islands, where, finding no harbour, she put back. All along the shore the ice was close packed, the harbours frozen up, and the season more than usually inclement. By the 19th of June, however, having cut through a formidable barrier, to the Wratskel of Van Henloopen, a second attempt to get forward in the ice-boats was strenuously made. Unfortunately, the ice was what is called rotten, and (as we originally feared) so irregular as to render success impossible. 'Nothing could exceed the fatigues and difficulties of transport: the boats had to be loaded and unloaded many times in the course of a few hours; and no field-ice was met with, to any extent, over which they might glide on their way. On the contrary, it was rough in form, hummocky, and dangerous; and intersected by channels of water, which ever and anon rendered new arrangements necessary. By continued perseverance, the party at last attained the latitude of 82 deg. and three quarters N., or to between four and five hundred miles of the Pole. Heavy rains prevailed, but a still more formidable and indeed insurmountable obstacle was soon ascertained to exist. The ice over which they were travelling so laboriously towards the north, was itself drifting more rapidly to the south than the distances which they could accomplish. Thus, the last three days having been spent in this disheartening and fruitless toil, -half the provisions being exbausted,-some of the men falling sick, and being reported unfit for exertion,--the scurvy threatening them,-and no hope of any favourable change remaining-our brave countrymen were compelled to abandon their impracticable design. They accordingly returned to the Hecla, and on the 24th of September put into Longhope, in the Orkneys, without having experienced any loss by death, and with only Mr. Craufurd, the ice-master, much indisposed, on the sick list'. The whole period occupied in these exertions on the ice is stated to have been sixty-one days. . The highest latitude to which thc Hecla reached was 81 deg. 6 min., which is believed to be the farthest north that ever a ship made her way; so that all that was made in the boats was 1 deg. 39 min. Lord Mulgrave got to 80 deg. and some minutes (we do not remember exactly, but think about 20). At the farthest point north, no barrier of ice was seen, as in the case of that noble Lord and elder voyagers; so that the idea of such a barrier always existing may now be dismissed. The ice found by the present ex. pedition was of a very chaotic form. For about a mile, perhaps, it might be tolerably smooth; but at every interval huge ridges were crushed up by the action of tides and currents, and presented the most formidable obstacles to the progress of the enterprise. No sooner was one of these rugged and precipitous masses overcome, than another appeared ; and difficulty after difficulty seemed lengthening as the party advanced. There was plenty of fresh water on the surface; but towards the end of the attempt, when the rains fell, the ridges we have described separated,
common at the essed to the tachty-eight in
and between them the salt sea flowed in divisions like so many canals.
Owing to the condition of the ice over which they had to travel, it was found impossible to make any use of the rein-deer in dragging the boats; and as there were no means of feeding dogs (as once proposed), the whole work was performed by personal labour. Officers and men, twenty-eight in number, were alike harnessed to the tackle, and wrought in common at the exhausting toil. Their time for starting in the morning (their morning being the beginning of the night) was chosen when the light was least injurious to the eyes; for though the sun shone upon them during the whole period, and there was no darkness, yet, when that luminary was lowest in the horizon, the reflection from the bright white surface of snow was more endurable. On setting out, a pint of cocoa, with some biscuit powder to mix with it, was served to every individual for breakfast, which being finished, the whole number yoked to the boats. About seven hours of constant exertion brought them to the hour of their spare dinner meal; which consisted of a piece of pemecan', about the size of an orange, and a few ounces of biscuit powder. These ingredients, scraped into cold water, made a soup, and but a poor sustenance for men whose strength was so severely tasked: in fact, they could not bear up under the fatigue. During their whole march they were soaking wet to the knees, and benumbed by a temperature always at or near the freezing point. At the close of twelve or fourteen hours thus occupied, when they came to seek rest by lying down, the change of their wet for dry stockings and fur boots caused such a reaction, that the tingling and smart were insufferable, and the comparative comfort was more difficult to be endured than the preceding cold.
i It is meat prepared in the same way that the Indians prepare their provision of buffalo or deer. The flesh (beef in this case) is cut into stripes, and dried, according to the particular process, by the smoke of wooď (the root of the ash, we believe). It is then beaten into a powder, and an equal proportion of fat being melted, the whole is mixed up together into a solid mas3. It is evident that more of real sustenance from animal matter cannot be combined in any less bulky or burthensome compound.
When Captain Parry found that the men could not support their toils on the allowance (of about nincteen ounces per twenty-four hours, of pemecan and biscuit-powder), he added, by way of luxury, a pint of hot water at night. This was found to be very restorative, warming the system; and if a little of the dinner food had been saved, it made a broth of great relish and value. Spirits were not drunk; and the reason why even hot water was scarce, was, that it took so large a stock of their spirits of wine to boil it and the cocoa, that the quantity consumed could not safely be increased. . .
The consequences of the hard life we have just faintly pictured were soon obvious. The men became weakened, their limbs swelled, and disease began to thin the number of active workers. There needed no other obstacle to stop their pro, gréss; but observation at last demonstrated that all their strenuous efforts were vain. The ice itself was drifting faster to the south than they could make their way over it to the north : thus, during the last three days of their struggle, instead of gaining a higher latitude, they were actually two miles farther south than when they set out. This put an end to an expedition where every thing which human energy and perseverance could do was done so fruitlessly; but the nature of the ice, so different from what was anticipated, rendered the accomplishment of the object utterly impracticable.
While the boats were away, the Hecla was not exempt from dangers. She had been brought into a
snug birth near the shore, in one of the few places which afforded this shelter. A-head there was about three miles of ice; and a heavy gale coming on, detached this prodigious mass, and drove it with terrible violence against the ship. The cables were cut asunder, the anchors lost, and the poor Hecla forced high and dry upon the coast, by the irresistible pressure. To get her again to the water occupied a considerable time, which was, of course, lost to the sur. veying party. Having effected that, however, they proceeded to Weygatt Straits; and, considering the short period they had to employ, made, we are informed, many valuable observations.
A publication containing the account of these, and the details of Captain Parry's adventure, will, we believe, very speedily appear; and as the facts are few, we presume it will be of a moderate size. We do not hear of any intercourse with natives. Seventy deer were shot by the hunters.
It is vexatious to be forced to the conviction that any attempt to reach the North Pole is but too likely to end in disappointment; but every fresh enterprise seems to lead to this conclusion. In our opinion, the southern hemisphere presents a far more tempting field for speculation; and most heartily do we wish that an expedition were fitted out for that quarter. The sea is much more open (as Captain Weddell observed, in his interesting voyage), and every object of commerce, as well as of science, might be sought towards the South Pole, with prospects far superior to any that are offered in the impenetrable North.
Hudson, whose pame is perpetuated in the bay, reached lat. 82 (as is laid down) in the year 1606; and a Scottish journal states, that the Neptune whaler, in 1816, got as high as 83 deg. 20.min.; but of the accuracy of this fact we have great doubts.