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The details of the voyage along the coast of the Polar Sea, exhibit a succession of most trying circumstances of difficulty and danger. Ice, shoals, fogs harassed the navigators incessantly, and necessitated a severity of exertion and endurance, that was sustained with unbroken fortitude. A long detention at Foggy Island was fatal to the further prosecution of the expedition; and after urging a laborious course a few miles further, to latitude 70° 24' N., and longitude 149° 37' W., Captain Franklin determined on returning. In the mean time, the barge of the Blossom had pushed on from Icy Cape to latitude 71° 23' 39" N., and longitude 156° 21' W., leaving a distance unexplored of about one hundred and sixty miles. The boats' heads were turned homeward August 18th.
Dangers beset the party on its return. In a violent storm on the 26th, the boats were in most imminent peril, and were saved only by running on shore at all hazards. Providentially, when there was little
expectation but that they must be inevi. tably staved, they took the ground at a favourable point. Three days after this escape, they were rescued by the warning of some friendly Esquimaux, from the treacherous intentions of a strong body of Mountain Indians. The story of this deliverance is not uninteresting.
• Seven men of that tribe had been to Herschel Island, to trade with the Esquimaux, who shewed them the different articles they had received from us, and informed them of our being still on the coast, and that our return by this route was not improbable. This intelligence they set off at once to communicate to the rest of their tribe, who, supposing that we should ruin their trade with the Esquimaux, resolved on coming down in a body to destroy us; and that they might travel with expedition, their wives and families were left behind them. They came to the sea-coast by the Mountain Indian River, opposite Herschel Island, and finding that we had not returned, but supposing it possible that we might pass them there, as they had no canoes to intercept us, they determined on travelling to the mouth of the Mackenzie, where they could conveniently subsist by fishing and hunting until our arrival. They had been informed of the manner in which we had been robbed by the Esquimaux at that place, and they formed a similar plan of operations. When our crews were wading and launching the boats over the flats in Shoal Water Bay, a few of them were to have offered their assistance, which they imagined would be readily accepted, as we should probably take them for Indians of the Loucheux tribe, with whom we were acquainted. While pretending to aid us, they were to have watched an opportunity of staving the boats, so as to prevent them from floating in the deeper channel, which runs close to the land near Pillage Point. The rest of the party, on a signal being given, were then to rush forth from their concealment, and join in the assault. They were, in pursuance of this plan, travelling towards the Mackenzie, when they discovered our tents; and it appeared, that the two young men who brought us the intelligence, had been sent, as an act of gratitude, by an old Esquimaux to whom we had given a knife and some other things on the preceding day. After hearing the plans of the Indians, he called the young men aside, and said to them: “ These white people have been kind to us, and they are few in number, why should we suffer them to be killed ? you are active young men, run and tell them to depart instantly." The messengers suggested, that we had guns, and could defend ourselves. " True," said he, “ against a small force, but not against so large a body of Indians as this, who are likewise armed with guns, and who will crawl under cover of the drift timber, so as to surround them before they are aware ; run, therefore, and tell them not to lose a moment in getting away, and to be careful to avoid the flats at the mouth of the river by entering the western channel.”.
On the 21st of September, the boats reached Fort Franklin, after an absence of three months, and a voyage of two thousand and forty-eight miles; six hundred and ten of which were through regions until then unknown but to the native savages.
The voyage of Dr. Richardson and his party had, in the mean time, been successfully performed; and, although not without casualty, with less difficulty and hazard than fel to the share of the western expedition. An attempt, by the Esquimaux, to pillage was repelled in the same way; but the assault, though similar in most of its circumstances, was neither so fierce nor so persevering. A storm of great severity endangered their safety, and the ice was not only embarrassing, but frequently menaced them with destruction. All, however, was overcome; they reached the Copper-mine River, ascended to the proper point, abandoned their boats and superfluous stores, and crossing the Copper Mountains, reached Bear Lake on the 18th of August, and Fort Franklin on the 28th. Dr. Richardson, without waiting for the chance of Captain F.'s return by the Mackenzie, went on to Slave Lake with the view of extending his geological researches.
After making every arrangement for the comfort of the men, and spending a considerable part of the winter with them, Captain Franklin set off on a sledge journey to Fort Chipewyan, which he reached on the 12th of April, 1827. On May 31st, he took canoe for Cumberland House, where, on the '18th of June, he met Dr. Richardson after a separation of eleven months. During the absence of the expedition to the northward, Mr. Drummond, the assistant botanist, had been very actively employed in the interior, under circumstances of great privation. In September and October 1827, the whole party in two divisions reached England, with the loss of one individual from consumption, and another by drowning.
It is exceedingly satisfactory to find, from the statements before us, that measures have been taken for the melioration, as far as practicable, of the moral and social habits of the Indians, and that they have not been without good effect. A singular history occurs towards the close of the narrative, which may be worth extracting as an illustration of native character.
I mentioned in my former Narrative, that the northern Indians had cherished a belief for some years, that a great change was about to take place in the natural order of things, and that, among other advantages arising from it, their own condition of life was to be materially bettered. This story, I was now informed by Mr. Stewart, originated with a woman, whose history appears to me deserving of a short notice. While living at the N. W. Company's Post, on the Columbia River, as the wife of one of the Canadian servants, she formed a sudden resolution of becoming a warrior; and throwing aside her female dress, she clothed herself in a suitable manner. Having procured a gun, a bow and arrows, and a horse, she sallied forth to join a party of her countrymen then going to war; and, in her first essay, displayed so much courage as to attract general regard, which was so much heightened by her subsequent feats of bravery, that many young men put themselves under her command. Their example was soon generally followed, and, at length, she became the principal leader of the tribe, under the designation of the " Manlike Woman.".. Being young and of a delicate frame, her followers attributed her exploits to the possession of supernatural power, and, therefore, received whatever she said with implicit faith. To maintain her influence during peace, the lady thought proper to invent the above-mentioned prediction, which was quickly spread through the whole northern district. At a later period of her life, our heroine undertook to convey a packet of importance from the Company's Post on the Columbia to that in New Caledonia, through a tract of country which had not, at that time, been passed by the traders, and which was known to be infested by several hostile tribes. She chose for her companion another woman, whom she passed off as her wife. They were attacked by a party of Indians, and though the Manlike Woman received a wound in the breast, she accomplished her object, and returned to the Columbia with answers to the letters. When last seen by the traders, she had collected volunteers for another war excursion, in which she received a mortal wound. The faith of the Indians was shaken by her death, and soon afterwards, the whole of the story she had invented fell into discredit.'
The Dog-rib Indians are of the Chipewyan race, and their traditions are evidently from the same source. Captain Franklin has given a specimen or two of their legends; remarkable, amid strange and bewildering absurdity, as ascribing labour and mortality to the eating of forbidden fruit, and as containing a palpable reference to the Deluge, the preservation of a single family with all manner of birds and beasts,' and the sending forth of animals to ascertain the state of the waters.
• For a long time, Chapewee's descendants were united as one family; but at length, some young men being accidentally killed in a game, a quarrel ensued, and a general dispersion of mankind took place. One Indian fixed his residence on the borders of the lake, taking with him a dog big with young. The pups in due time were littered, and the Indian, when he went out to fish, carefully tied them up to prevent their straying. Several times as he approached his tent, he heard a noise of children talking and playing ; but on entering it, he only perceived the pups tied up as usual. His curiosity being excited by the noises he had heard, he determined to watch ; and one day, pretending to go out and fish according to custom, he concealed himself in a convenient place. In a short time, he again heard voices, and rushing suddenly into the tent, beheld some beautiful children sporting and laughing, with the dog-skins lying by their side. He threw the skins into the fire, and the children retaining their proper forms, grew up, and were the ancestors of the Dog-rib nation.'
This is simply absurd; but, to our feelings, there is something inexpressibly affecting in the following statement:
On Mr. Dease questioning some of the elderly men as to their knowledge of a Supreme Being, they replied – We believe that there is a Great Spirit, who created every thing, both us and the world for our use.
suppose that he dwells in the lands from whence the white people come, that he is kind to the inhabitants of those lands, and that there are people there who never die: the winds that blow from that quarter (south) are always warm. He does not know of the wretched state of our island, nor the pitiful condition in which we are.” To the question, Whom do your medicine men address when they conjure ? they answered—“ We do not think that they speak to the Master of Life, for, if they did, we should fare better than we do, and should not die. He does not inhabit our lands.'
Captain Franklin gives it as his opinion, founded on the discoveries actually made, as well as on the coincident statements of the northern Indians, that the coast trends eastward from Cape Turnagain towards Repulse Bay; and he recommends a renewal of the attempt made by Captain Lyon, but frustrated by the tempestuous weather that disabled the Griper. Admitting the obvious advantages connected with the commencement of the voyage on the Atlantic side, he suggests counteracting considerations of great weight, and appears to wish for nothing better than opportunity of making the experiment.
A valuable Appendix is subjoined, containing-Topographical and Geological Notices- Meteorological Tables Observations on Solar Radiation-On the Velocity of Sound—Tables of Latitude, Longitude, and Variations—The daily Variation of the Horizontal Needle-On the Aurora Borealis. The observations of Captain Franklin on the Aurora, led him to conclusions at variance with those of Captains Parry and Foster, who could not find that it influenced the movements of the needle.
A scientific Supplement is in course of preparation, under the superintendence of Dr. Richardson and Professor Hooker.
Art. II. The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man.
By Dugald Stewart, Esq., F.R.SS. Lond. and Edin., &c. 2 vols. 8vo. 1828. [Concluded from page 233.]
, treat of Moral Obligation, and of certain principles • which co-operate with our Moral Powers in their influence ' on the conduct'; and proceed to the third book, in which Mr. Stewart treats of the various branches of our duty. His arrangement is founded on the different objects to which they relate, viz., God-our fellow creatures and ourselves. He observes that, ' as our duties to God must be inferred from the
relations in which we stand to him as the author and governor of the universe, an examination of the principles of natural re• ligion forms a necessary introduction to this section.' (p. 328.) We are willing to admit the necessity of the introduction, but we do marvel at its disproportionate size. The great subject introduced-the various branches of our duty to God-is crowded into ten or twelve short pages, while the prefatory matter is expanded into three hundred. Doubtless, this preliminary inquiry is a very important one, and, on that account, its prolixity may be in some measure excused. It embraces the proof of the existence of the Deity-of his Moral attributes, -and of a Future state.
In proof of the existence of the Deity', says Mr. Stewart, two modes of reasoning have been employed, which are commonly distinguished by the titles of the arguments à priori, and à posteriori ; the former founded on certain metaphysical propositions which are assumed as axioms; the latter appealing to that systematic order, and those combinations of means to ends, which are everywhere conspicuous in nature.' p. 333.
We agree generally in the opinion expressed by our Author, that the argument à posteriori is both more level to the comprehension of ordinary men, and more satisfactory to the philosopher himself. It contains, Mr. Stewart states, two steps.