Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

76° 57', lon. 1790 25', that was first descried that mine. If there be land to the southward, it must active volcano which could not fail to form a spec- be very remote, or of much less elevation than tacle the most stupendous and imposing that can any other part of the coast we have seen, or it be imagined ; whether considered in regard to its would have appeared above the barrier. Meeting position, 77° S. Jat., or in reserence to the fact that with such an obstruction was a great disappointno buman eye had gazed on it before, or to its ment to us all, for we had already, in expectation, elevation of 12,600 feet above the level of the sea. passed far beyond the 80th degree, and had even What increased the wonder is, that it is but one of appointed a rendezvous there in case of the ships a stupendous chain of mountainsma portion of a separating. It was, however, an obstruction of new continent, of vast but undefined extent—the such a character as to leave no doubt upon my whole mass, from its highest point to the ocean's mind as to our future proceedings, for we might edge, covered with everlasting snow and ice; the with equal chance of success try to sail through sun at that season never setting, but day and night Dover cliffs as penetrate such a mass.”—P. 217. exhibiting the same spectacle of the extremes of nature's heat and cold. In mentioning such a In the course of this and the following phenomenon I may be allowed to make the fol. voyage this barrier was traced through lowing extract from my son's letter :- The water

some thirty degrees of longitude, or for and the sky were both as blue, or rather more intensely blue, than I have ever seen them in the nearly 450 miles; the vessels taking every tropics, and all the coast one mass of dazzlingly opportunity which winds, currents, and icebeautiful peaks of snow, which, when the sun bergs permitted of standing in towards it. approached the horizon, reflected the most brilliant But no symptom of indentation, save one, tints of golden yellow and scarlet; and then to see presented itself in the compact and even the dark cloud of smoke, tinged with flame, rising, precipice. In long. 187° east, the appearfrom the volcano in a perfecily unbroken column, ance of a bay invited investigation, and the one side jet-black, the other giving back the colors barrier was approached on February 9, to of the run, sometimes turning off at right angles the distance of a quarter of a mile. Giby some current of wind, and stretching many miles to leeward. This was a sight so surpassing gantic icicles pendent from the cliffs proved everything that can be imagined, and so height- that the operation of thawing was not abened by the consciousness that we had penetrated solutely unknown to the locality. Still the into regions far beyond what was ever deemed thermometer, at a season of the year equipracticable, that it really caused a feeling of awe valent to an English August, ranged at to steal over us at the consideration of our own noon no higher than 14°, and in this shelcomparative insignificance and helplessness, and at the same time, an indescribable feeling of the tered recess young ice was forming so ragreatness of the Creator in the works of his pidly, that the ships had the narrowest poshand.'”

sible escape from being frozen up. On the

14th of February the main pack of ice was Another great natural feature of these reported in every direction, except to windregions was met with on the following day, ward, and the ships were hauled to the and is thus described by Captain Ross : wind to make their retreat—amid blinding “ As we approached the land under all studding from a chain of icebergs, probably aground,

and with frozen decks and rigging sails, we perceived a low white line extending one of which was nearly four miles long. from its extreme eastern point as far as the could discern to the eastward. It presented an The wind afterwards changed to the eastextraordinary appearance, gradually increasing in ward, and the ships sailed before it with height as we got nearer to it

, and proving at length the intention of making another attempt to to be a perpendicular cliff of ice between 150 reach the magnetic pole, and of seeking a and 200 feet above the level of the sea, perfectly winter harbor in its vicinity. But hopes, flat and level at the top, and without any fissures which none but such navigators as Ross or promontories on its even seaward face. What could now have had the fortitude to enterwas beyond it we could not imagine ; for being much higher than our mast's head, we could not tain, were frustrated. The only position see anything except the summit of a loity range observed which would have answered the of mountains, extending 10 the southward as far latter purpose was found to be fenced by as the 79th degree of latitude. These mountains, an outwork of 15 miles of solid ice, and on being the southernmost land hitherto discovered, February 17 the two commanders relucI felt great satisfaction in naming after Captain Sirtantly concurred in the impossibility of William Edward Parry, R.N., in gratesul remembrance of the honor he conferred upon me, by making a nearer approach to the magnetic calling the northernmost known land on the globe pole, from which at this moment they were by my name. .. Whether • Parry Mountains' distant 160 miles :again take an easterly trending, and form the base to which this extraordinary mass of ice is at- “ Had it been possible to have found a place of tached, must be left to future navigators to deter-I security upon any part of this coast where we

snow,

might have entered, in sight of the brilliant barn that Captain Wilkes was mistaken, and that ing mountain, and at so shori a distance from the bis mistake originated in a too ready acmagnetic pole, both of these interesting spots might have been reached by travelling parties in ceptance of a supposed observation of land the following spring; but all our efforts 10 effect by one of his subordinates,—an accident to that object proved quite unsuccessful. Although which the deception of fog and the interrupour hopes of complete attainment were not real- tions of ice must often expose even expeized, yet it was some satisfaction to know we rienced and scrupulous navigators. On the had approached the pole some hundreds of miles 6th of April the ships were moored in safenearer than any of our predecessors; and from ty in the Derwent, Van Dicman's Land, the multitude of observations that were made in bringing back in health and safety every inso many different directions from it, its position dividual who had embarked in them there may be determined with nearly

as much accuracy in November of the former year. as if we had aciually reached the spot itself. it was nevertheless painful to behold, at a distance,

The second cruise of the expedition was easily accessible under other circumstances, the directed towards the eastern extremity of range of mountains in which the pole is placed, that icy barrier which had repelled the and few can understand the deep feelings of re. attempt of the preceding year. The bargret with which I felt myself compelled to aban-rier was again reached, and the extreme don the, perhaps, too ambitious hope I had so long southern limit of the former voyage was cherished of being permitted to plant the flag of 1 my country in both the magnetic poles of our passed; but the track now followed led to globe.”—P. 246.

no such discoveries of land as had immor

talized that voyage, and a detention of fiftyIn the course of his northward progress, six days in packed-ice from the 60th to the Sir J. Ross takes occasion to notice a cir- 67th degree of south latitude lost them the cumstance which must make the task of a best part of the season for the prosecution navigator of these seas far more unenviable of their intended survey, or for penetrating than that of the Arctic explorer ;-this is, or turning, percbance, the flank of the icy the more constant prevalence of a swell so barrier. Their detention in the pack-ice heavy as to make the calm, in the vicinity was not merely one of those trials of paof land or iceberg, more dangerous even tience of which Arctic voyages of discovery than the gale, preventing the use of boats present so many examples, but of the to tow the ship from danger, and frustrating strength of timber and iron, of rope and the effects of such feeble airs as would give canvas, and still more of every resource of her steerage way in the smooth water of the human courage, skill, and nautical expeArctic seas.

The dangers of gale and calm rience. The narrow pools in which the were alike overcome by the admirable vessel floated were no mill-ponds protected management and unflinching perseverance by the surrounding ice from the fury of the of officers and men. On March 2, for in- Antarctic tempests. These narrow spaces stance, while the Terror's bows and rigging combined the mountain swell of the open were encrusted with ice, some of the hands ocean with all the horrors of a lee shore were slung over the latter for two hours, and an intricate navigation. Lifted by ice drenched at every plunge of the ship, while one moinent, and thrown on their beamrepairing the shackle of the bobstay, broken ends the next by sudden squalls-exposed in by rough contact with the pack-ice. At one instance for twenty-eight hours to a this date they fell in with some of the combination of influences, which at any inislands discovered by Balleny, and had the stant of those weary hours would have satisfaction of verifying the accuracy of his crushed to fragments any ship of ordinary observations. On the 16th they sailed construction, the gallant vessels still held over the precise spot which, on the chart their own. The bawsers snapped by which furnished by the kindness of Captain at the commencement of the gale they enWilkes, had been marked as mountainous deavored to moor themselves to the nearest land. It is unfortunate that the liberality floe. The rudders were torn from the with which that officer communicated to stern-posts-the masts quivered to every his British competitors the information collision with the grinding masses of icewhich he conceived might be useful for the storm-sails, by backing and filling their guidance, should have led to a result which they could alone avoid or mitigate which has occasioned him some annoyance. such collision, strained to the gale-the For the details of the controversy which vessels were tossed in dangerous proximity has arisen, we must refer our readers to Sir to each other ; but Providence helped those James Ross's volumes. We cannot doubt who help themselves, and the gale had scarcely abated when the spare rudders had the 7th of March, the first specimen of the been fixed and due examination had shown vegetable kingdom was hailed in the apthat the skilful construction of the vessels pearance of small pieces of sea-weed.

An and the compact stowage of their holds had awful moment of danger yet remained to enabled them to ride through every danger try the skill and courage of both ships' without any vital injury. At length on the companies. It is due to them to quote en1st of February, in latitude 679. 59' S. tire the vivid description of their comand having longitude 1590 W., they mander :emerged from their stormy prison into a comparatively clear sea. Under ordinary During the next three days we made rapid circumstances the appearances of stars to progress to the eastward, experiencing strong men who for five weeks had scarcely seen southerly winds and severe weather, bui we met the bowsprit from the quarter-deck through hundred miles, and began to think we had got to

only four or five beigs during a run of several fog and blinding snow, would have been the northward of their latitude. On the afternoon welcome enough, but this apparition told of the 1:21h, several were seen during thick weathem that the season for navigating those ther, and whilst we were running, under all the seas was fast drawing to a close. On the sail we could carry, to a strong north-westerly 16th of February, in latitude 75°, though breeze. In the evening, the wind increased so cheered by the prospect of a clear sea, they much, and the snow-showers became so incessant, could not but remember that two days an rate sail. Numerous small pieces of ice were also

that we were obliged 10 proceed under more modeterior to this date in the former year the

met with, warning us of the presence of_bergs young ice had enforced a retreat. The concealed by the ihickly falling snow. Before present temperature, indeed, indicated a midnight I directed the topsails 1o be close-reefed, milder season than the last, but on the 21st, and every arrangement made for rounding-10 un-, with the thermometer at 19° and a clear til day-light, deeming it too hazardous to run any sea, the waves froze as they fell on the decks longer. Our people had hardly completed these and rigging, and while the people of the operations when a large berg was seen ahead, and Terror were cutting it away from her bows, to the wind on the port tack, with the expectation

qnite close to us; the ship was immediately hauled a small fish was found in the mass, which of being able to weaiber it; but just at this moment must have been dashed against the ship: the Terror was observed running down upon us, and instantly frozen fast. Being laid aside under her top-sails and foresail, and as it was imfor preservation, it was unfortunately possible for her to clear both the berg and the pounced upon by an unscientific cat. On Erebus, collision was inevitable. We instantly the 23d the great barrier was seen from the hove all aback to diminish the violence of the

shock: but the concussion when she struck us mast-head. It was approached within a

was such as to throw almost every one off his mile and a half, but young ice prevented a feet : our bowsprit, fore-topmast, and other smaller nearer approach, and every indentation was spars, were carried away, and the ships, hanging frozen up. In latitude 780 9' six miles in together, entangled by their rigging, and dashing advance of the former year, with strong in- against each other with fearful violence, were dications of land, but without that certainty falling down upon the weather-face of the lofty required by such an observer as Sir James berg under our lee, against which the waves were Ross, he was again compelled by the ad-breaking and foaming to near the summit of its

Sometimes she rose high vanced state of the season to close his ope- above us, almost exposing her keel to view, and rations—which, but for their unlooked-for again descended as we in our tumn rose to the top detention, and the time spent in forcing of the wave, threatening to bury, her beneath us, their way through more than a thousand whilst the crashing of the breaking upperworks miles of pack-ice, might have led to far and boats increased the horror of the scene.

Providentially they gradually forged past each greater results. It was now determined to shape the most the foaming breakers and we had the gratifica,

other and separated before we drifted down amongst direct course the pack would admit for the tion of seeing her clear the end of the berg and Falkland Islands, at which Sir James pro- of feeling that she was safe. But she left us posed to refit previous to a third trial of his completely disabled; the wreck of the spars so fortunes on that meridian of 35° W. longi- encumbered the lower yards, that we were unable tude, on which Captain Weddell had to make sail, so as to get headway on the ship; reached the 75th degree of lattiude.

nor had we room to wear round, being by this It was found impossible to effect a short they struck against it, threw back their sprays in.

time so close to the berg that the waves, when passage through any opening in the body to the ship. The only way left to us to extricate of he ice, but the flank of the pack was ourselves from this awful and appalling situation successfully turned, and, in latitude 649 on was by resorting to the hazardous expedient of a

stern-board, which nothing could justify during closely connected, that, except the small opening
such a gale and with so high a sea running, but by which we had escaped, they appeared to form
to avert the danger which every moment threatened an unbroken continuous line; it seems, therefore,
us of being dashed to pieces. The heavy rolling not at all improbable that the collision with the
of the vessel, and the probability of the masts giving Terror was the means of our preservation, by
way each time the lower yard-arms struck against forcing us backwards to the only practicable chan-
the cliffs, which were towering high above our nel, instead of permitting us, as we were endea-
mast- heads, rendered it a service of extreme danger voring, to run to the eastward, and become en.
10 loose the mainsail; but no sooner was the order tangled in a labyrinth of heavy bergs, from which
given than the daring spirit of the British seaman escape might have been impracticable."— Vol. ii.,
manifested itself. The nxen ran up the rigging pp. 217-221.
with as much alacrily as on any ordinary occa-
sion; and although more than once driven off the

The harbor of Port Sims was reached on
yard, they, after a short time, succeeded in loosing
the sail. Amidst the roar of the wind and sea, it the 7th of April, and the interval from this
was difficult both to hear and to execute the orders date to the close of the year was occupied
that were given, so that it was three-quarters of an in the refitting of the ships, in the prose-
hour before we could get the yards braced bye, cation of scientific occupations, and in a
and the maintack hauled on board sharp aback-voyage to and from Cape Horn.
an expedient that, perhaps, had never before been
resorted 10 by seamen in such weather; but it had tailed remarks on the last and least success-

We shall not at present offer any dethe desired effect. The ship gathered stern-way; ful of the three voyages. The lottery, in plunging her stern into the sea, washing away the gig and quarter-boats, and with her lower yard- which Weddell had drawn the prize of a arms scraping the rugged face of the berg, we in a mild season and an open sea, presented to few minutes reached its western termination, the Ross nothing but the blank of pack-ice, “ under tow," as it is called, or the reaction of the contrary gales, and, in one quarter, a barwater from its vertical cliffs, alone preventing, us rier much resembling that of the 78th debeing driven to atoms against it. No sooner had we cleared it, than another was seen directly astern gree, though of inferior altitude. Before of us, against which we were running; and the these obstacles, and the near approach of difficulty now was to get the ship's head turned the Antarctic winter, the ships were finally round and pointed fairly through between the two put about in the 71st degree, on the 7th bergs, the breadth of the intervening space not ex: March. They came safely to anchor at ceeding three times her own breadth ; this, how the Cape of Good Hope on the 4th April, ever, we happily accomplished ; and in a few

1843. minintes after getting before the wind, she dashed

One sailor washed overboard near Kerthrough the narrow channel, between two perpendicular walls of ice, and the foaming breakers guelen Island, and a quarter-master, James which stretched across it, and the next moment we Angelly, who fell from the mainyard on were in smooth water under its lee.

their return from the second cruise, make The Terror's light was immediately seen and up the whole list of fatal casualties for the answered : she had rounded-to, waiting for us, and three years of toil and danger. The sick the painful state of suspense her people must have list is equally compendious—a single officer endured as to our fate could not have been much and sailor invalided, and since recovered. less than our own; for the necessity of constant These statistics are the best commentary and energetic action to meet the momentarily vary. ing circumstances of our situation, left us no time on the management, as well as the outfit, 10 reflect on our imminent danger.

of the expedition. “We hove-to on the port tack, under the ice One important branch of the commission of the berg, which now afforded us invaluable intrusted to it has been admirably carried protection from the fury of the storm, which was out by its botanist, Mr. S. D. Hooker, a still raging above and around us; and commenced worthy son of the learned Director of the clearing away the wreck of the broken spars: Kew Gardens. It must be remembered saving as much of the rigging as possible; whilst a party were engaged preparing others to replace that the operations of the expedition, them.

though they were extended beyond the re“ As soon as day broke we had the gratification gions of vegetable life, were not conined of learning that the Terror had only lost two or to such barren latitudes. The ships were three small spars, and had not suffered any serious in no instance frozen up, and the long indamage; the signal of all's well, which we tervals of nautical inaction were fertile in hoisted before there was light enough for them 10 employment for Mr. Hooker, in such localisee it, and kept flying until it was answered, served to relieve their minds as speedily as possible oi ties as the Falkland Islands and New Zeaany remaining anxiety on our account.

land. We believe that a moderate governA cluster of bergs was seen to windward, ex- ment grant was never more scrupulously tending as far as the eye could discern, and so and ably applied than the 5001. allotted

[ocr errors]

66

for his publication of the “Flora Antarc-features, to assist the revival of a most imtica ” _à book which must find its place in portant, though at present, to all appearevery botanist's library, and which contains ance, moribund department of British much matter interesting to other classes of industry, the Southern Whale-fishery. We readers.

care not whether the term be used in that The extracts which we have given may extensive sense which it has derived from save us the trouble of commenting on Sir the circumstance that the vessels destined James Ross's work, as respects literary for it take a southern departure from Engexecution. They will speak better than land, or whether it be used with more we could for the plain, modest, and manly limited reference to the southern circumtaste of the author—which seems entirely polar regions. In the former sense, it may worthy of his high professional character be said to embrace the whole extent of and signal services.

ocean minus the Greenland seas. If the We must beg a parting word with those time should arrive, perhaps some symptoms who persevere in asking the old utilitarian of its approach are discernible, when Eng question, What good is to result from these lishmen can find capital, leisure, and discoveries ? What interest shall we re- intellect, for any object and any enterprise ceive for the expense of outfit, pay, and other than that of connecting points in allowances ? We are not about to make a space by intervening bars of iron, we beflourish about national reputation, the lieve that few speculations will be found advance of science, or other topics of small more sound, more profitable, and more interest to such questioners. Let them congenial to our national habits than that study the pamphlet of Mr. C. Enderby in suggested by the present grantee of the connexion with the description of the Auckland Islands, which were discovered Auckland Islands given in the sixth chapter under his auspices—the industrious, the of Sir James Ross's first volume. They liberal, and the eminently sagacious and will learn that this little group is singularly practical Mr. Enderby. adapted, by position and other natural

from Fraser's Magazine.

LATHOM HOUSE, AND THE STANLEY FAMILY. LATHOM House, seated on a flat, boggy owners, the De Fitz-Henrys, or De Latract of land, and encompassed by a wall thoms, when an incident is said to have of two yards in thickness, was, in days of occurred, which, whether real or imaginary, yore, as strong a domestic fortress as any seems to be worth describing. armed host might invest, or general view in Robert de Fitz-Henry, in the time of the silent despair. On the wall above men- Plantagenets, first adopted the surname of tioned were raised nine towers, each of Lathom, from his place of residence. His them planted with six pieces of ordnance, descendant, Sir Thomas Lathom, in the so mounted as to enfilade the country, and reign of Henry IV., enjoyed, with one alloy, command every approach. A moat, twenty- that inheritance. No son promised to profour feet in breadth and six in depth, sur-long the family honors, which were vested rounded this strong wall, between which in the fair young Isabel, the heiress of all and the grass was a row of palisades. From his broad lands, for whose favor knight and the centre of the house rose the Eagle noble humbly proffered suit. One day, Tower, surmounting the whole edifice, and however, as Sir Thomas and his lady were connected, in the remembrance of the first walking in their park at Lathom, they were owners of the heritage, with a tale of startled by loud cries; the place was solino common interest. On each side of the tary, but in no direction could they pergate-house, at the entrance of the first court, ceive any object. They soon, however, frowned a strong tower, and in these, in discovered that an eagle had its nest in time of siege, were stationed the best that secluded spot, and on searching the marksmen to harass the assailants. Thus eyrie, an infant, in rich swaddling-clothes, stood Lathom House in the days of its first was found lying unharmed within its warm

« VorigeDoorgaan »