ePub 版

travellers, so handsome, as to obtain the with the rest, he was in an agony of fear; and, classical appellations of Castor and Pollux. when I first went up to him, with impotent hand On the 1st of June, the boats being finish. he made a thrust at me with his long knife. He ed, the expedition commenced the descent. was, however, soon convinced of our good intentions; and his first request was for tobacco, We shall say nothing of the ice still lin- of which we found men, women, and even chilgering in Great Slave Lake, nor of the dren inordinately fond. **Confidence being cheerful verdant scenery of Mackenzie now fully established, I told them that I requir River. Barley is cultivated at Fort Simp-ed one of their oomiaks, or large family canoes, son, in latitude 62°; and even at Fort Nor-to take us two or three days' journey--or sleeps, man, 200 miles lower down, European per- as they term it-to the westward; after which severance is exhibited in the cultivation of we should return. These skin boats float in half a foot of water. No ice was visible from the ground; "At this northerly spot, in the tents; and, from the trending of the coast, latitude 64° 40', a small quantity of green it was more than doubtful that our journey could barley, and of potatoes, almost as big as have been accomplished in any reasonable time pigeons' eggs, is now annually raised" on foot. They acceded to my demand, without The wood coal, on the banks of the Mac-a scruple. We selected the best of three oomiaks; kenzie, is, for several miles, in a state of obtained four of their slender oars, which they ignition, and these natural fires appear to fitted the oars with lashings; and arranged our used as tent-poles, besides a couple of paddles; have extended since the time of Dr. Rich-strange vessel so well that the ladies were in ardson's visit. They locally affect the cli-raptures, declaring us to be genuine Esquimate; a richer herbage and riper berries maux, and not poor white men. being found in the vicinity of the fires. companions were thus employed, I procured, Near Fort Good Hope, in latitude 66° 16', from the most intelligent of the women, a our author writes "The majestic river, sketch of the inlet before us, and of the coast and its high banks, were steeped in a flood to the westward, as far as her knowledge extended. She represented the inlet as very of light, and except the diminutive size of deep; that they make many encampments in the wood, there was nothing in the land travelling round it; but that it receives no scape to suggest the thought that we had river. She also drew a bay of some size to penetrated so far into the regions of the the westward; and the old man added a long North." and very narrow projection, covered with tents, which I could not doubt to mean Point Barrow."

Let us hasten now from Mackenzie River, to the unexplored sea shores towards the west. With great exertions the boats were forced through the ice about 150 miles beyond the Return Reef of Sir J. Franklin; but the progress being so slow, and the obstructions so formidable, it was thought advisable to prosecute the remainder of the required exploration on foot: with this view, therefore, Mr. Simpson set forth with five companions. The sequel of his story shall be told, as much as possible, in his own words :

Whilst my

The wind blew violently and the sea ran high, but the Esquimaux boat rode gallantly over the waves. At night, propped on the paddles, it formed a shelter on the shore, which is here formed of frozen mud. A fine deep river, named the Bellevue, was discovered further on, and, immediately after, our author descried, with unfeigned joy, the object of his search. He thus describes his arrival at Point Barrow :

"We had now only to pass Elson Bay, which "After travelling about ten miles, and wading is for the most part shallow. It was covered through many a salt creek, the waters of which with a tough coat of young ice, through which were at the freezing temperature, the land, to we broke a passage; and then forced our way our dismay, turned off to the eastward of south, amid a heavy pack, nearly half a mile broad, and a boundless inlet lay before us. Almost at that rested upon the shore. On reaching it, and the same instant, to our inexpressible joy, we seeing the ocean spreading far and wide to the descried four Esquimaux tents, at no great dis-south-west, we unfurled our flag, and with three tance, with figures running about. We imme-enthusiastic cheers took possession of our disdiately directed our steps towards them; but, on coveries in his Majesty's name. Point Barrow our approach, the women and children threw is a long low spit, composed of gravel and coarse themselves into their canoes, and pushed off sand, forced up by the pressure of the ice into from the shore. I shouted 'Kabloonan teyma numerous mounds, that, viewed from a distance, Inueet' meaning 'We are white men, friendly might be mistaken for gigantic boulders. At to the Esquimaux ;' upon which glad news the the spot where we landed it is only a quarter of whole party hurried ashore, and almost over- a mile across, but is considerably wider towards powered us with caresses. The men were ab-its termination, where it subsides into a reef sent, hunting, with the exception of one infirm individual, who, sitting under a reversed canoe, was tranquilly engaged in weaving a fine whalebone net. Being unable to make his escape

running for some distance in an easterly direction, and partly covered by the sea. One of the first objects that presented itself, on looking around, was an immense cemetery. There the

[blocks in formation]

Among the remarkable features of the line of coast discovered by the expedition is the River Colvile, apparently of great magnitude, for the sea opposite to its mouth was quite fresh three leagues from the shore. This river is supposed by our author to flow from the western side of the Rocky Mountains. It appears that our fur traders on the western side of those mountains, not far from the Russian lines, have heard of a great river a little farther north, the description of which suits well with the Colvile. With a glad heart, and during a gleam of fair weather, our author saw and relished whatever agreeable scenery these desolate shores possess. He thus paints the view from a hill near Demarcation Point:

The intense cold was of unusual duration. The average temperature of the latter half of December was -3340, that of all January -30°. In March when the average temperature was -20°, the thermometer on one occasion sank so low as -60°, or even -66° (66 degrees below zero!). Our author had the curiosity, when the thermometer was standing at -49°, to cast a pistol-bullet of quicksilver, which at ten paces passed through an inch plank, but flattened and broke against the wall a few paces beyond it. This chilling temperature, however, did not repress the gaiety nor subdue the appetites of the party, as will be manifest from what follows:

"On Christmas and New-Year's day we en tertained our assembled people with a dance, followed by a supper, consisting of the best fare we could command. By this time we had, through our indefatigable exertions, accumulated two or three weeks' provisions in advance, and no scarcity was experienced during the remainder of the season. The daily ration served out to each man, was increased from eight to "I ascended the nearest hill, six or seven ten, and to some individuals twelve pounds of miles distant, whence I enjoyed a truly sublime venison; or, when they could be got, four or prospect. On either hand arose the British and five white-fish weighing from fifteen to twenty Buckland mountains, exhibiting an infinite di- pounds. This quantity of solid food, immoderate versity of shade and form; in front lay the blue as it may appear, does not exceed the average boundless ocean strongly contrasted with its standard of the country; and ought certainly to broad glittering girdle of ice; beneath yawned appease even the inordinate appetite of a French ravines a thousand feet in depth, through which | Canadian." brawled and sparkled the clear alpine streams; while the sun, still high in the west, shed his The barren grounds or country immedisoftened beams through a rich veil of saffron-ately to the east of the Great Bear Lake colored clouds that over-canopied the gorgeous have been explored during the winter, and, scene. Bands of reindeer, browsing on the all the preparations being complete, the exrich pasture in the valleys and along the brooks, imparted life and animation to the picture. Re-pedition started again in June, 1838, as soon luctantly I returned to the camp at sunset." as the ice broke up. The boats ascended

The mouth of the Mackenzie was regained without accident, and the wearied crews at length enjoyed repose. "The night was serene, and not a sound broke upon the solemn stillness, save the occasional notes of swans and geese calling to their mates, and the early crowing of the willow partridge, as the soft twilight melted into the blush of dawn."

the River Dease for some miles; they were then carried over a short portage to the Dismal Lakes, by means of which, and the River Kendall, they descended into the Coppermine River. This communication between the Coppermine River and Great Bear Lake was frequently examined, and four times crossed by the expedition, with all their luggage: our author must, therefore, be regarded as a competent authority, From the return of the expedition to the when he asserts that the descent is equal Mackenzie, to its arrival in winter quarters on both sides. The consequence is, that at the north-eastern angle of Great Bear the Coppermine River, from the mouth of Lake, a month elapsed; and, in that month, the Kendall River to the sea, or in a course the glow and serenity of autumn had given of seventy miles, has as great a fall as the way to the immitigable severity of a north- Great Bear Lake, the Great Bear River, ern winter. Various accidents had pre-and the Mackenzie altogether, in a line of vented the completion of the buildings and 700 miles. The dangers of so impetuous a the accumulation of provisions, and if the torrent were fully experienced by our whole party-men and leaders-had not been expert hunters and backwoodsmen, it is probable that the expedition would have experienced the extremities of famine.

author and his companions; their boats, however, were fortunately steered by expert Canadians well used to shoot the rapids, and thus they reached the sea in

safety. A little to the west of the Copper- more to their old quarters at Fort Confimine River another large stream, named dence, on the Great Bear Lake. after Dr. Richardson, was found to dis- The incidents of the winter of 1838-9 charge its waters into the same inlet. exhibit the usual vicissitudes of the backThe prosperity of this campaign may be woodsman's life. There was much feasting said to have ended here. The winter had on venison and much fear of famine. been unusually severe, the summer late. Hordes of begging Indians poured in, and The sea was compact ice; thick fogs dark-numerous expert hunters brought supplies ened the heavens. On the 19th of August, of meat to the fort, and ate more than they the boats had only reached within a league brought. Particulars such as these, howof Franklin's farthest encampment in 1821. ever, cannot detain us. The manners of The lateness of the season, and the appear- the native tribes will be found sharply ance of new ice, forbade the attempt to na- sketched, though with no flattering lines, in vigate any further. Mr. Simpson, there- our author's pages. Yet the following bold fore, with a few chosen companions, volun- attempt to discriminate the native races of teered to explore some distance on foot, so North America, may, from its brevity, be that their exertions hitherto might not be admitted here :wholly fruitless. He had not proceeded far beyond Franklin's limit, when he descried, shores of America, have doubtless originally "The Esquimaux inhabiting all the Arctic over the sea, land about twenty-five miles spread from Greenland, which was peopled from distant. On the third day, an appearance northern Europe; but their neighbors, the of land extending round the horizon, dis-Loucheux of Mackenzie River, have a clear traheartened the explorers: but here we shall have recourse to our author's descrip


dition that their ancestors migrated from_the westward, and crossed an arm of the sea. The language of the latter is entirely different from that of the other known tribes who possess the "As we drew near in the evening to an ele- vast region to the northward of a line drawn from vated cape, land appeared all around, and our Churchill, on Hudson's Bay, across the Rocky worst fears seemed confirmed. With bitter dis- Mountains, to New Caledonia. These, compreappointment I ascended the height, from whence hending the Chipewyans, the Copper Indians, a vast and splendid prospect burst suddenly upon the Beaver Indians of Peace River, the Dogme. The sea, as if transformed by enchantment, ribs and Hare Indians of Mackenzie River and rolled its free waves at my feet, and beyond the Great Bear Lake, the Thecanies, Nahanies, and reach of vision to the eastward. Islands of vari-Dahadinnehs of the Mountains, and the Carriers ous shape and size overspread its surface; and of New Caledonia, all speak dialects of the same the northern land terminated to the eye in a bold original tongue. Next to them succeed the Crees, and lofty cape, bearing east-north-east, thirty or speaking another distinct language, and occupyforty miles distant, while the continental coasting another great section of the continent, extrended away south-east. I stood, in fact, on a tending from Lesser Slave Lake through the remarkable headland, at the eastern outlet of an woody country on the north side of the Saskatice-obstructed strait. On the extensive land to chewan River, by Lake Winipeg to York Facthe northward I bestowed the name of our most tory, and from thence round the shores of Hudgracious sovereign Queen Victoria. ** Our son and James bays. South of the fiftieth present discoveries were in themselves not unim- parallel, the circles of affinity contract, but are portant; but their value was much enhanced by still easily traced. The Carriers of New Calethe disclosure of an open sea to the eastward, and donia, like the people of Hindostan, used, till the suggestion of a new route-along the south-lately, to burn their dead; a ceremony in which ern coast of Victoria Land-by which that open sea might be attained, while the shores of the continent were yet environed by an impenetrable barrier of ice, as they were this season. Our portable canoe, which we had not had occasion to use, was buried in the sand at the foot of a huge round rock on the beach, and with lighter burdens we commenced retracing our steps."

the widow of the deceased, though not sacrificed as in the latter country, was compelled to continue beating with her hands upon the breast of the corpse while it slowly consumed on the funeral pile, in which cruel duty she was often severely scorched."

The Loucheux differ, it appears, from every other tribe of red Indians, by their In returning to the Coppermine River bold, open, and perfectly frank demeanor. much hardship was endured, and the ascent They are as free as savages can be from of the bold rapids of that river with a fallen treacherous cunning and dissimulation, and stream, which former travellers had pro- have never yet shed the blood of white men. nounced impracticable, proved the consum- The Esquimaux seen by our author are not mate skill of our author's Canadian follow-the stunted race hitherto described. Among ers. The boats and part of the stores were buried in a convenient spot on the banks of the river, and the party returned once

those met with on the Circumpolar shores, there were many robust men, six feet high. He considers the Esquimaux as much supe



When we add that the southern shores

rior to the Indian in intelligence, provident | precise limits of this great continent were fully habits, and mechanical skill. He had the and finally established." good fortune to procure, this winter, an Esquimaux interpreter from the missionary settlement of Ungava, in Labrador. Passing over the reiterated toils of descending to the coast, it will be sufficient for us to state, that in July, 1839, the expedition found the sea, at the mouth of the Coppermine River, tolerably free from ice. The voyage eastward, therefore, was successful, though it furnished no incidents calling for especial notice. A river, larger than the Coppermine, and named the Ellice, was discovered in longitude 104° 15' west. In his Journal of the 15th of August, our

author observes:

"All the objects for which the expedition was so generously instituted were now accomplished, but Mr. Dease and myself were not quite satisfied. We had determined the northern limits of America to the westward of the Great Fish River; it still remained a question whether Boothia Felix might not be united to the continent, on the other side of the estuary. The men, who had never dreamed of going any further, were therefore summoned, and the importance of pro: ceeding some distance to the eastward explained to them; when, to their honor, all assented with

out a murmur."

After an interval of five days, the narrative of discovery is continued in these words:

"It was now quite evident to us, even in our most sanguine mood, that the time was come for commencing our return to the distant Coppermine River, and that any further foolhardy perseverance could only lead to the loss of the whole party, and also of the great object which we had so successfully achieved. The men were therefore directed to construct another monument in

commemoration of our visit; while Mr. Dease and I walked to an eminence three miles off, to see the farther trending of the coast. Our view of the low main-shore was limited to about five miles, when it seemed to turn off more to the right. Far without, lay several lofty islands; and in the north-east, more distant still, appeared some high blue land: this, which we designated Cape Sir John Ross, is in all probability one of the south-eastern promontories of Boothia. We could therefore hardly doubt being now arrived at that large gulph, uniformly described by the Esquimaux as containing many islands, and, with numerous indentations, running down to the southward, till it approaches within forty miles of Repulse and Wager bays. The exploration of such a gulph, to the Strait of the Fury and Hecla, would necessarily demand the whole time and energies of another expedition, having some point of retreat much nearer to the scene of operations than Great Bear Lake; and we felt assured that the Honorable Company, who had already done so much in the cause of discovery, would not abandon their munificent work till the

of the great island named Victoria-land were traced through an extent of 156 geochief results of the expedition, which, if we graphical miles, we shall have stated all the consider that it comprises the navigation of a tempestuous ocean, beset with ice, for 1600 statute miles, in open boats, together a distance exceeding 1400 geographical, or with all the fatigues of long land journeys and the perils of the climate, was certainly

omit to state, that science was not neglecta wonderful achievement. Nor must we ed; good astronomical observations were Mr. Dease is appended to our author's volmade, and a list of the plants collected by ume. Let us add, too, that the men appear to have done their duty well and cheerfully, which reflects as much credit on their leaders as on themselves.

The merits of Mr. Simpson were at once recognized by his employers and the Government. The Hudson's Bay Company accepted his offer to conduct another expedition to the Straits of the Fury and Hecla ; the Royal Geographical Society awarded him its medal; and the Government intimated its intention of bestowing on him a pension of £100 a-year. But, alas! all this cheering news arrived too late to satisfy and calm his impatient spirit. The letter of the Company was written on the 3rd of June: on the 6th of that month Mr. Simpson left the Red River Colony to proceed by the way of the Missouri to Europe. He hurried on before the rest of his party, with four men. Two of these were shot by him on the evening of the 13th or 14th of June; the other two fled, but returned with their friends on the following morning, when our author's death took place. All the circumstances of this painful tragedy are involved in deep mystery; and we feel no desire to hazard conjectures on such a matter. But one thing is certain, and will be acknowledged by all attentive readers of this volume, that in Thomas Simpson the world lost no common man.

MARLBOROUGH PAPERS.-It is stated that eighDuke of Marlborough during the war of the succesteen boxes full of the correspondence of the famous sion with Prince Eugene and all the foreign princes, statesmen, and generals, concerned in that great struggle, have been found in a house in Woodstock. These very important documents have been confided to Sir George Murray; and are said to form a collection not dissimilar to the publication of Colonel Gurwood.-Lit. Gaz.


parents, was best deserving of the reward. There unhappily followed a schism between the temporal and spiritual powers of Nanterre, and the priest refused to favor the ceremony with his presence. Leaving him, therefore, we pass at once to the triumphal procession, which conducted Mademoiselle Giraud, the fortunate Rosière, to the Town Hall. The drums of the national guard struck up when it began to move, and the church bells would have rung merrily out, only the disaffection of the curate condemned them to silence. A double line of national guards occupied the space between Mademoiselle Giraud's house and the Town Hall, from the magnificent spectacle, tending to incite all mankind to virtue-had all mankind been able to witness it. Indeed, we propose that a congress from the world in general should meet at this time of year in the commune of Nanterre for that purpose.

HUMANITY OF THE PEOPLE OF VIENNA.-Mr. Kohl, in his "Hundred Days in Austria," relates that he witnessed a scene in one of the streets of Vienna which was alike honorable for the human and the feathered animals who figured in it. A couple of young sparrows, making their first essay in flying with their parents over the roofs of the capital, had fallen exhausted into the street, where they were picked up and carried off by a boy, in whose hand they fluttered and chirped most pitifully. The parent birds followed, uttering most sorrowful cries, fluttering against the walls, perch-windows of which flags were suspended. It was a ing on signs of the shops, and venturing even into the turmoil of the street. I begged the lad to let the young ones go, and as the cries of the old birds had already excited his compassion, he did so; but the creatures flying awkwardly against the walls, fell a second time into the street, and were again The march was commenced by the garde departpicked up. "Give them to me for my children; mentale, (police,) followed by the band of the nagive them to me," cried some women; but the re- tional guard, playing pleasing and lively airs. Next monstrances of the feathered parents were so pitiful, appeared the Rosière, between the mayor and his that in the end the whole assembled crowd (all of deputy. Behind walked the municipal council, the lowest class) raised a general shout of "No, dressed in white, with their most showy badges, no; let them go; give them their liberty." There followed by a guard of honor, composed of Meswere some Jews among the populace, who cried sieurs, marching in front, and armed with long out louder than any. Several times the birds were pikes, such as ornament the national colors. The flung up into the air, and as often fell down again, Messieurs are the principal agriculturists of the amid the general lamentation of all present. At commune, who form a defensive, and often an oflast a ladder was procured, all lent a hand to raise fensive body, to make up the insufficient superinit against a small house, and hold it fast while some tendence of the rural police, in guarding the counone mounted it and placed the little animals in try and in protecting the harvests against theft. safety on the roof. The parents flew to them im- Upon the steps of this yeomanry it is usual for the mediately, and the whole family took wing, amid Rosière of the preceding year to follow, wearing on the general acclamations of the multitude; even a her head the crown which will soon pass from her couple of "glacéfränzel" (petits maîtres) stood still forehead to that of the new heroine. But this time at a little distance and eyed the scene smilingly the ex-Rosière had become a defaulter; since her through their glasses.-Chambers's Edinburgh Jour. coronation, she exchanged the state of single blessedness for the troubles of matrimony. The office THE FETE OF NANTERRE.-An interesting cere- of carrying the chaste emblem, therefore, was transmony takes place annually in some of the French ferred to one of the village maidens, who bore it on towns and villages. Every year a young woman, a velvet cushion in her place. Next appeared the who has rendered herself remarkable for general members of several religious orders; amongst good conduct, is selected to be crowned with white others that of the Virgin,' distinguished by the roses, and to receive certain other rewards at the scarf of blue ribbon worn by its sisterhood. Lastly, hands of the civic functionaries. The following a number of women, the relations and friends of the account of such a ceremony is abridged from a Rosière in their holiday dresses, walking in two French illustrated newspaper, called "L'Illustra-lines, presently in four, and finally pressing fortion, Journal Universal." The scene is Nanterre, ward in a compact crowd to form the rear of the which lies between Paris and St. Germain :procession. "Nanterre,' commences the sprightly French reporter, "honors virtue-Nanterre crowns the fortunate candidate (called the Rosière) for the year of little grace and many sins, 1843. Till now, we believed that Rosières only existed in comic operas and in Monsieur Bouilly's tales; but Nanterre has had the honor of undeceiving us.

Arrived at the town-house, the principal actors in the ceremony ranged themselves in the great hall, where marriages ordinarily take place. The mayor sat between his colleagues and the municipal councillors; the Rosière stood in front of him; the Sisters of the Virgin were placed on the right and left; behind were the friends, relations, officers of "The Rosière of this year is a young woman the national guards, and other great people of the who appears to be a model of every virtue-Made-village. At the bottom of the hall, amid a tableau moiselle Giraud. She is only twenty-six, and supports, by her own labor, part of her family. Her conduct up to this day has been exempt from reproach; never was there brought against her the smallest tittle of slander. But, would you believe it? a formidable opposition was raised against the coronation of Mademoiselle Giraud. Monsieur, the curate of Nanterre, demanded the honors of the roseate crown for another candidate, whose great merit consisted, in his eyes, of having assiduously frequented the church and the confessional. The mayor and the municipal council stated, however, that, though they admired the piety of the priest's candidate, they thought that she who labored hard, like Mademoiselle Giraud, to support her infirm

formed of tri-colored flags, appeared in large letters this appropriate inscription, To VIRTUE. After an impressive delay, and a silence which may almost be called religious, the mayor began to speak, and pronounced a pathetic discourse on the advantages of virtue; then, by way of peroration, he placed round the neck of the Rosière a collar of gold; handed her a pair of ear-rings, a magnificent brooch, divers other trinkets-the forms and uses of which we have forgotten-and a sum of three hundred francs (about £12): finally, he removed the crown of white roses from the cushion on which it was deposited, and placed it on the head of the damsel, saying (we write from stenographic notes,) Mademoiselle Giraud, receive, as the reward of

« 上一頁繼續 »