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The first exploring journey seems to have been undertaken by Churchill in 1771, who proceeded as far as the Copper-mine River. A canoe-voyage, by M'Kenzie, was made in 1789, for the purpose of exploring the northwest coast of America.
Franklin, in 1821, accompanied by Back and Richardson, proceeded to the Copper-mine River, returning by Hood River, two hundred miles south of their previous winter quarters. The whole party experienced the greatest privations—half of them perished, and the remainder were saved only'by Back proceeding-forward and obtaining assistance from the Indians' settlement. In 1826 Franklin again proceeded northwards, accompanied by Back and Richardson. They divided their men into two parties—one proceeding north-west to within one hundred and forty miles of Point Barrow, and the other to an opposite direction, down M'Kenzie River. On returning they wintered on the north-west coast of the river, and were attacked by Esquimaux. On their return in the following spring the Esquimaux again opposed them, and the rapid stream of the Copper-mine River afforded great obstacles to their progress. They eventually reached the Bear Lake, and succeeded in surveying altogether the coast from one hundred and forty miles east of Point Barrow as far as Copper-mine River. In 1833 Ross undertook a voyage, and was detained by the ice for a long time in Regent's Inlet. He had to abandon his vessel, and proceed to Fury Beach, where he wintered, and at last met with the Isabella, a whaling vessel which he had, some years previously, commanded, and by her he returned to England.
Ross having been so long away, occasioned a journey in search of him by Back, in the autumn of 1833. Back went by canoe as far as the Slave Lake, wintered at Fort Reliance, and, hearing in the spring of 1834, of Ross's safe return, and having the survey of the coast near Point Heame completed, returned at once to England.
In 1837 the Hudson's Bay Company sent an expedition under Messrs. Dease and Simpson, who surveyed the coast from Point Barrow, northwestward, returning by Bear Lake, where they wintered. In the spring of 1838 they crossed the Copper-mine River, coasted eastward, and arrived at Franklin's quarters of 1821. Leaving their boats, they returned in 1839 by coast to Castor and Pollux River, retracing their steps to Coppermine River. During this expedition, Simpson died in the spring of 18-10. No expedition was sent out again till 1844. Dr. Rae, then coasting on Hudson's Bay, reached Repulse Bay, so as to complete the survey of unexplored coast in that direction.
He had first to learn surveying, and to accomplish this had to perform on foot a journey of twelve hundred miles to Canada, carrying all his clothing, &c, during the whole journey, and going quite alone, with the exception of one servant. On one occasion they were caught by a snowstorm, and lost their path. After resting for the night, and finding all traces obliterated by the snow, they ingeniously re-discovered their path by carefully trying under the soft snow for that which had been previously hardened by footsteps, and they proceeded on their journey.
On their return journey, Dr. Rae could not obtain men to assist in dragging boats; no inducement whatever could persuade them to engage in the laborious and hazardous journey. The Doctor was much discouraged by soi-diaant friends, but having at last procured men, he coasted to Repulse Bay, crossed the land towards the north-west, and—obstructed by the ice—returned to Repulse Bay and wintered there. The cold was so great as to freeze together even the leaves of the books; they thawed them by sleeping on them. They killed about one hundred and fifty deer and two musk oxen in two months, had but a meal a day, and—having no fuel—spent much of their time in bed, although all their time was not wasted, as Dr. Rae kindly established schools for the men. On the arrival of spring, in 1845, Dr. Rae prepared sledges to complete their survey, left winter quarters 5th April, surveyed the Gulf of Boothia, running north-west, and, taking afterwards the north-east coast, they returned to Repulse Bay and met Esquimaux, who received them kindly, and seemed to be an epitome of moral excellence.
In 1848 Rae and Richardson proceeded in search of Sir J. Franklin, and—going north-west to Bear Lake—descended M'Kenzie River in boats, and returned by the south-east coast towards the Copper-mine River; but meeting with ice they abandoned their boats, and went to winter quarters on Bear Lake, where they underwent great privations, and suffered much from cold ; yet Richardson, although sixty years of age, shouldered his traps like a man, and shared work with the rest. Rae and Richardson parted in the spring of 1849. Rae descended the Copper-mine River and lost his boat, which was swamped by a rapid, and after this proceeded to Bear Lake. Here Dr. Rae inculcated the necessity of abstinence from wine, &c, both on their own and on account of the Indians—a drunken man making a bad trader. Tea and coffee only were used as their beverage. Pullen, having passed by boats from Behring Straits, met Dr. Rae at Bear Lake; and they afterwards proceeded to M'Kenzie River, wintered there, and returned to England.
Dr. Rae having received instructions from the Admiralty to proceed in search of Sir J. Franklin, the choice of course being left to his own discretion, started to Bear Lake in the spring of 1851, ascended the Copper-mine River, proceeded north-east to Prince Albert's Sound, and there left his boats. It is a curious circumstance that Collinson and Dr. Rae never met, although on May 21st they were within about sixty miles of each other. He now descended the Copper-mine River, and passed north-east to Victoria Strait, and there found two pieces of drift-wood and rope, evidently part of the stores of Sir J. Franklin. Here he met the Esquimaux, who could give no trace or information of any white men, and Dr. Rae returned by Bear Lake, kc. to England.
In 1853 Dr. Rae desired to complete the survey of the coast between Peel Sound and Victoria Strait, and started with two boats from the coast of Hudson's Bay, accompanied by fourteen men, on the 26th of June. Proceeding northwards, and being overtaken by a fog, the party went up a river by mistake, and had to return through a dangerous and rapid stream. He then proceeded, after dividing his party and choosing the most able, to Repulse Bay, with seven men and three months' provisions, and arrived there the 15th August. Whilst suffering great privations from want of food, Dr. Rae eulogises the conduct of the men; no murmuring, but rather a cheerful desire to share and meet all dangers, and all volunteered to stay and winter; and although their prospects were very bad, most providentially some reindeer were found and killed. These animals are only to be obtained by intercepting them during their migrations, and the chance of obtaining food from them is so slight as to leave but two winter's quarters tenable in these parts, thus destroying the hope of Sir J. Franklin's having obtained food by such means.
But spring returned. They had lived in snow houses during the whole winter, the cold being fearful, reindeer skins only serving for clothing, bedding, &c, and their flesh for food. To keep the men's minds employed Dr. Rae established a school, and between that and bed they spent their time at a temperature of twenty-seven degrees below Zero!—Zero being thirty-two degrees below the freezing point of water.
Not discouraged, they started north-west, and met the Esquimaux whom they had seen in previous expeditions. On making inquiries of one, he stated that a party of white men had been seen some time previous. On Dr. Bae pressing him to accompany them in their search for them, the man declined, urging the necessities of his family, he being out hunting for their support.
The man stated that all the whites were starved to death, and showed their number by causing four to hold up their ten fingers, counting thus forty souls! Rae still proceeded, and met more Esquimaux. They also spoke of white men, and sold to Dr. Rae spoons, sovereign, gold bands, watches, silver plate, it forks, and knives, the greater part of which had engraved on them the initials of some of Sir J. Franklin's party; he also bought Sir J. Franklin's order of Hanorerian distinction, and the Esquimaux stated that the white men had proceeded south by Victoria Strait from Peel Sound.
On collating all information obtained, Dr. Rae fixes 1850 as the year in which the white men died; and stated that even the Esquimaux sometimes die of starvation owing to the scarcity of food, and some years ago lost several of his own party owing to the same cause.
The Esquimaux depend much on seals for food, and have great tact in catching them. White men can never succeed in this. The Esquimaux watch by the seal holes, and listen till the seals come up to breathe, and they then spear them with great dexterity.
Dr. Rae considers, that although graves of Franklin's officers were found on Beechey Island, Franklin proceeded westward of Barrow Strait, and that the vessels were lost at the north-west end of Peel Sound. From drift-wood having been found in Victoria Strait, he presumes that the party had proceeded southward towards Back River, and "from the slight chance they had of meeting deer, they, in the absence of any means of support, died of starvation!"
In the course of his lecture Dr. Rae complained of the misrepresentations of Mr. Lester Buckingham; he defended himself from such aspersions, and said that he relied on his extensive experience as a justification of any opinions or inferences which he advanced.
Finally, he referred to the expedition which is now on its way to explore the part described by the Esquimaux as the place where the white men are to be found. He fervently hoped that their journals may be discovered; for although the Esquimaux stated that many of the books had been destroyed, yet he believed, from the knowledge he has of their careful character, the books may yet be found hidden under stones, according to the custom of Esquimaux in concealing things. Dr. Rae concluded with thanks to the audience for their indulgence, as his lecturehad lasted two hours, and he retired amid the plaudits of the large assembly, who evidently admired and respected him for his modest, unassuming, brave, and learned deportment."
Since these lectures have commenced, Mr. Pepper has had the good fortune to receive a present from his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of France. The present is truly an imperial curiosity, which all should go to see, being the largest bar of the new and remarkable metal, aluminium, in existence. It is a metal made from any earth, clay, bricks, or matter containing aluminium, and, from its highly valuable properties, both chemical and physical, it will probably take one of the most useful positions yet attained by a metallic substance. Mr. Pepper is now lecturing daily on this gracious present, and we shall give our readers the benefit of his information in our next.
MADAME DE CHANTAL.*
At the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the wars of the League, there lived in the ancient town of Dijon a president of the Parliament of Burgundy, named Benigne Fremiot. He was a faithful adherent of Henry IV. the Protestant king, an enemy of the League, and yet it stanch Catholic. Though he took no share in the persecutions directed against the Huguenots, he detested their religious opinions. This gentleman was married to a lady of good family, who had already given him one daughter, when a second was born to him on the 23rd of January, 1572. This was the festival of St. John the Almoner, and, after him, the child was named Jane. Monsieur Fremiot proved a kind and attentive father. To preserve his children from the doctrines of Luther or Calvin, he instructed them carefully in the points contested between Catholics and Protestants. Little Jane relished such teaching exceedingly; for she was a precocious child, deeply impressed with a sense of religion, and ardent and impetuous in her faith. Even when about five years of age she evidenced such intemperate zeal as might have degenerated into bigoted intolerance but for the indulgence her father inculcated, and which her own kindness of heart led her to feel. She rejected the addresses of a gentleman of rank and wealth because, as he was a Huguenot, she considered him an enemy to the church.
It was her wish to enter a cloister, but to this her father would not consent. "Christian virgins," he said, "should remain in the world and edify it with their virtues." Jane dutifully yielded, and left the choice of a husband to the president, who married her, in her twentieth year, to the Baron de Chantal, two distinguished officer, high in favour of Henry IV., rich and noble, and no more than twenty-seven years of age.
A few days after the ceremony had been solemnized, the baron took his bride to his seat at Bourbilly. As a proof of his confidence, he insisted on giving up to her the management of all his property. She shrank from so heavy a responsibility, which would not, she conceived, leave her sufficient time for her devotions; but her father-in-law very sensibly objected, that piety was not incompatible with the daily tasks of life. He quoted the case of his own mother, a lady of many virtues, reared in a court, and who had yet found it possible to become the most notable woman in the province.
We reluctantly pass over the many instances recorded of the active charity of Madame de Chantal. Doubtlessly many of them were prompted by the peculiarity of her religious sentiments, and savour much of fana
• This sketch is, with a few verbal alterations, abridged from Miss Kavanagh's "Women of Christianity."