Arctic Expeditions from England


With the following tabulated statement, and the notes accompanying it, an attempt has been made to lay before the reader a complete view of the principal Arctic expeditions, from the discovery of Newfoundland down to the present time. When the importance of a quick passage to China is considered, it is no matter of surprise, that, in the absence of that knowledge and experience we now possess, so much concern should have been manifested in all ages, since the discovery of the new world, to effect it by the north, in preference to the tedious passage by the south. And, in contemplating the features of the globe in those regions where the object of so much solicitude lay, now that the discoveries of former voyages are collected, how true a picture have we of what can be effected by the daring firmness and perseverance of man, who, as old Purchas says, has penetrated “where the Tritons, and Neptune’s selfe, would quake with chilling feare, to behold such monstruous icie ilands renting themselves with terrour of their own massines, and disdaining otherwise both the sea’s sovereigntie and the sunne’s hottest violence.”

At the same time, now that the connection of the Atlantic and Pacific by the north is placed beyond all doubt, and its inutility to commerce is by experience established, it is interesting to contemplate the successive attempts that have been made to ascertain it, and the simple obstacles by which the most strenuous exertions to effect the passage by it have been defeated. But, in acknowledging this inutility, we must not forget that these expeditions have tended to promote that spirit for enterprise in a profession which it should be our first care to preserve in all its vigour. And the present, like other intervals between the voyages, will, we trust, be followed hereafter by an attempt that will prove finally successful. It may now be seen, that the only way of reaching Bhering Strait from the Atlantic, is either by passing directly to the north of Greenland, or by following the track of Parry, by Melville Island. But, as it is evident that the greatest flow of water from the polar to the equatorial regions is between Greenland and Norway, the most certain way of effecting the passage would be to commence it from Bhering Strait.

Although, strictly speaking, not an arctic expedition, we have commenced our table with Cabot’s voyage, as the first of the kind that was made from our country. The numbers against the ships refer to the notes following the table.

#[1] Reigning Sovereign. Vessels. Tons. Commanders. Sailed. Where from Returned. By Whom Sent.
1Henry VII.Five ships John Cabot, & Sons—-,
Bristol*UncertainA Compan.
2Ditto.Six ships200Sebastian CabotMay, 1498DittoDittoGovern. & a Company.
3Henry VIII.Dominus
& another
 UncertainMay, 1527Thames1527Probably a Company.
4DittoTrinitie &
 John HoreApril, 1536ThamesUncertainDitto
5Edward VIBona Esperanza,
Ewd. Bonadventure,
Bona Confidentia
120, 160, 90Sir H. Willoughby,
Richard Chancelor,
Cornel. Durfoorth
May, 1553DittoPerished,
6Philip & MaryEdward Bonadventure,
Philip and Mary
160,Richard Chancelor,
7Philip and MarySerchthrift Stephen BuroughMay, 1556Thames1557Ditto.
A Pynasse
30, 35,Martin Frobisher,
June, 1576DittoOct. 1576,
Sept 1576,
180, 300, 30Martin Frobisher,
Edward Fenton
May, 1577DittoNov. 1577Ditto.
10ElizabethFifteen ships Martin FrobisherMay, 1578HarwichOct. 1578Govern. & a Com.
BarquesArthur Pet,
Charles Jackman
May, 1580DittoNov 1580,
12ElizabethFive ships—one the Squirrel10Sir Humphr. GilbertJune, 1583Cawsand B4 lostGovernmt.
50, 35John DavisJune, 1585DartmouthSept. 1585Company.
North Star
120, 50, 30, 10John DavisMay, 1586DittoOct. 1586Ditto.
 John DavisMay, 1587DittoSept. 1587Merchants
70, 60George Weymouth,
May, 1602ThamesAug. 1602Ditto.
17ElizabethGrace50Stephen Bennet—- 1603   
18James IHopewell40John KnightApril, 1606ThamesSept. 1606Ditto.
19James IA small barque Henry HudsonMay, 1607DittoSept. 1607Ditto.
20James ISame Henry HudsonApril, 1608DittoAug. 1608Ditto.
21James IDiscovery55Henry HudsonApril, 1610DittoSept. 1611Ditto.
22James IResolution,
 Sir Thos. Button,
— Ingram
May, 1612UncertainSept. 1613Ditto.
23James IPatience,
Hearts Ease
 James Hall—- 1612ThamesSept. 1612Ditto.
24James IDiscovery55—- Gibbons—- 1614Uncertain—- 1614Ditto.
25James ITen ships Robert Fotherby—- 1614Uncertain—- 1614Ditto.
26James IRichard20Robert Fotherby—- 1615Uncertain—- 1615Ditto.
27James IDiscovery55Robert BylotApril, 1615ThamesSept. 1615Ditto.
28James IDiscovery55Robert BylotMar. 1616ThamesSept. 1616Ditto.
29Charles IA ship —- HawkbridgeBetween 1616 & 31UncertainUncertainSupposed.
30Charles ICharles80Luke FoxMay, 1631ThamesOct. 1631Governmt.
31Charles IMaria70Thomas JamesMay, 1631BristolOct. 1632Company.
32Charles IIA ship Zacchariah GillamSum. 1668uncertain Governmt.
33George ISpeedwell,
–, 120John Wood, William FlawesMay, 1676ThamesLost,
Aug. 1676
Govern.&a Company.
34George IAlbany,
 George Barlow, David Vaughan1719ThamesLostHuds B Co.
35George IWhalebone John ScroggsJune, 1722Churchill1722Ditto
36George IIFurnace,
 Chris. Middleton,
William Moor
37George IIDobbs,
180, 140William Moor,
Francis Smith
May, 1746ThamesOct. 1747Company.
38George IIIBy land Samuel Hearne1769Thames  
39George IIIRacehorse,
 Hon. C. J. Phipps,
Skef Lutwidge
June, 1773ThamesSept. 1773Governmt
40George IIIResolution,
 James Cook, Charles ClerkeJuly,  1776
Aug. 1776
Thames, PlymouthOctober 1780Ditto
41George IIILionBrigRichard PickersgillMay, 1776ThamesSept. 1776Ditto
42George IIILion Walter YoungMay, 1777ThamesAug. 1776Merchants
43George IIIBy land Alex. M’Kenzie1789   
44George IIIBeaver84Charles DuncanMay, 1791Thames1792Huds B Co.
45George IIIIsabella,
382, 252, 370, 250John Ross,
Wm. Ed. Parry,
David Buchan,
John Franklin
April, 1818ThamesOct. 1818Governmt.
46George IIIHecla,
375, 180Wm. Ed. Parry,
Mathew Liddon
May, 1819ThamesSept. 1820Ditto  
47George IIIBy land John FranklinMay, 1819ThamesJuly, 1822Ditto  
48George IVHecla,
375, 327Wm. Ed. Parry,
Geo. F. Lyon
May, 1821ThamesOct. 1823Ditto  
49George IVBaffin321ScoresbyMar. 1822Liverpool1822Ditto  
50George IVHecla,
375, 327Wm. Ed. Parry,
Hen. P. Hoppner
May, 1824ThamesOct. 1825,
51George IVGriper180Geo. F. LyonJune, 1824ThamesNov. 1824Ditto  
52George IVBy land John FranklinFeb. 1825LiverpoolSept. 1827Ditto  
53George IVBlossom F. W. BeecheyMay, 1825ThamesOct. 1828Ditto  
54George IVHecla and boats375Wm. Ed. ParryMar. 1827ThamesSept. 1827Governmt.
55George IVVictory John Ross1829ThamesOct. 1833Private
56William IVBy land George BackFeb. 1833Liverpool Gov.&Sub.

1. JOHN CABOT, and his three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sanchez, were empowered by a patent, in 1495, to sail under the royal flag, to make discoveries in the eastern, western, and northern seas. It was not until the spring of 1497 that the expedition sailed. The account of it is vague and indeterminate, but that Newfoundland was discovered is evident from the following passage, in Latin, extracted from a chart drawn by Sebastian Cabot, and quoted by Hackluyt.

“In the year of our Lord 1497, John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian, dicovered that country, which no one before his time had ventured to approach, on the 24th June about five o’clock in the morning. He called the land Terra Prima Visa, because, as I conjecture, this was the place that first met his eyes in looking from the sea. On the contrary, the island which lies opposite the land he called the island of St. John, as I suppose, because it was discovered on the festival of St. John the Baptist. The inhabitants wear beasts’ skins and the intestines of animals for clothing, esteeming them as highly as we do our most precious garments. In war, their weapons are the bow and arrow, spears, darts, slings, and wooden clubs. The country is sterile and uncultivated, producing no fruit; from which circumstance it happens that it is crowded with white bears and stags of an unusual height and size. It yields plenty of fish, and these very large, such as seals and salmon; there are soles above an ell in length, but especially great abundance of that kind of fish called in the vulgar tongue baccalaos. In the same island also breed hawks, so black in their colour that they wonderfully resemble ravens, besides which there are partridges and eagles of dark plumage.”

2. SEBASTIAN CABOT.—These six ships are stated to have been about 200 tons burthen, and two of them fitted at the king’s expense. The first land seen was Prima Vista, (Newfoundland) and the part supposed to have been seen is now Cape Bona Vista. From thence it is stated that they sailed to the southward, to about the latitude of the Chesapeake, and returned home.

3. THE DOMINUS VOBISCUM, and ANOTHER.—Of these two ships very little appears to be known. They were sent out at the instance of “Master Robert Thorne, of Bristol.” One of them was lost between Newfoundland and Labrador. The other shaped her course for Cape Breton, and explored the coast, the crew frequently landing. This vessel afterwards returned safely to England.

4. TRINITIE AND MINION.—This voyage is little better known than the preceding. It was “set forth by Master Hore of London, a man of goodly stature and of great courage, and given to the studie of cosmography.” The ships arrived at Cape Breton, and named Penguin Island on the south coast of Newfoundland. They afterwards put into Newfoundland, and appear to have been reduced by want of provisions to the dreadful resource of casting lots for who should become food for the rest. Happily a French ship arrived, and they seized her, and found their way home in her. It is related of this expedition, that “one came behind another, who was digging roots from the earth, and killed him, with a view to prepare himself a meal from his fellow-creature’s flesh.”

5. SIR HUGH WILLOUGHBY.—Sebastian Cabot, supposed to have been the son of John Cabot, after having made discoveries in the service of Spain, during the remainder of Henry the Seventh’s reign, and that of Henry the Eighth, returned to England in 1548, and was appointed Grand Pilot of England, with a salary of 166l. 13s. 4d., “in consideration of the good and acceptable service done, and to be done, by him.” He was placed at the head of an association of merchants, whose object was to make discoveries of unknown countries, for the purposes of trade; and Sir Hugh Willoughby was sent out by them, owing to the representations of Cabot, who endeavoured to prove that it was possible to find a way by the NE to Kathay (China) and India. The island of Seynam was seen in this voyage, and the ship passed round the north Cape to Nova Zembla. The Edward Bonaventure, which had separated from the Admiral in a storm, went to Archangel, and Captain Chancelor visited Moscow, and returned the following year. Willoughby and Durfoorth, with their crews, are supposed to have perished in a harbour called Arzina, in Lapland, between Kola and Swjatoi Noss.

6. RICHARD CHANCELOR.—The company, encouraged by the reception of Chancelor at Moscow, sent him again to trade, and plenipotentiaries accompanied him from the coast. He went to Archangel with the two ships. Chancelor, in the Bonaventure, departed from Archangel for England in July, accompanied by the Philip and Mary, the Bona Esperanza, and the Confidentia, the two latter being the ships of Willoughby. The Confidentia was lost on the coast of Norway, with her crew; the Bona Esperanza wintered at Drontheim, and was lost on her way home; and the Edward Bonaventure was wrecked on the coast of Scotland. Richard Chancelor, and most of the crew, were drowned, but the ambassador he brought arrived safely in London.

7. STEPHEN BOROUGH—in the Serchthrift, (pinnace) went to the coast of Norway, passed the north Cape to Cola, and reached Nova Zembla; wintered at Colmagore, and on his return was made Comptroller of the Navy.

8. MARTIN FROBISHER—saw, probably, the southernmost Cape of Greenland. He visited Labrador, and was visited by one of the natives. On their landing him, the crew of the boat, consisting of 5 men, went to the natives, contrary to orders, and were never heard of more: on this account, Frobisher caused a native to be seized, and taken on board his ship. This man was brought to England, but died soon after his arrival. Some particulars concerning this voyage will be found in our 18th number; among them, a statement of all the expenses attending the “strange man of Cathay,” including even his picture, painted by a “Ducheman” for the “Queen’s Majesty.” A list of the instruments will also be found there, that were taken out by Frobisher.

9. MARTIN FROBISHER.—In this voyage, Frobisher appears to have first followed his former track from the Orkneys till he came to Frobisher strait. He then went to the place where he had lost his men in the preceding year, and found their clothes. He, and his crew, had skirmishes with the natives, and brought home a man, woman, and child. No further discovery was attempted, and they returned with ore, as in the previous voyage, that was supposed to contain gold.

10. MARTIN FROBISHER.—This expedition of 15 small vessels, was fitted out with the view of collecting the ore, specimens of which had been brought home from the newly discovered land, called, by desire of Queen Elizabeth, Meta Incognita, which most probably was Labrador, although some writers supposed it to have been Greenland. The persons embarked consisted of 40 seamen, 30 pioneers, and 30 soldiers, among which were bakers, gold-refiners, &c. They passed up Frobisher Strait. The object of the expedition was not accomplished; and the vessels, excepting one, returned the same year, having lost 40 men.

11. ARTHUR PET.—The ill-success to the westward was the occasion of this trial to the eastward to find a way to Cathay. The vessels passed the north Cape, and penetrated as far as Waygatz Strait, Nova Zembla, but did not pass through it. Pet’s ship got safe back to Ratcliff, (Thames,) and the William, being separated from her in a fog, wintered in a harbour in Norway, from whence she sailed in February with a Danish ship for Iceland, and was never heard of more.

12. SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.—This voyage is full of interest, from the circumstance of Newfoundland being taken possession of, the discovery that was made by it, and the fatal events by which it was attended. The ships arrived at Penguin, (now Fogo,) island, and went on to Concepcion Bay, and afterwards to St. John Bay. Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland, and received presents from all the vessels he found there, particularly those of the Portuguese. Mutiny and sickness broke out in his fleet, while in St. John Bay, by which many were lost. He sailed in search of Sablon (Sable) island, on which he was told that the Portuguese had landed cattle thirty years previously. His ship struck on a sand bank, (probably off Sable island) and several of her crew were lost. The admiral was saved, and went on board a small vessel of his fleet, (the Squirrel, of 10 tons!) and shaped his course for England. But, having passed the Azores in September, they were overtaken by a storm; and the small vessel, in which the admiral had embarked, foundered, with all on board. Mr. Barrow, in his valuable Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions, quotes the following passage concerning Sir Humphrey Gilbert, from Prince’s Worthies of Devon. “He was an excellent hydrographer, and no less skilful mathematician; of an high and daring spirit, though not equally favoured of fortune; yet the large volume of his virtues may be read in his noble enterprises; the great design whereof was to discover the remote countries of America, and to bring off those savages from their diabolical superstitions to the embracing the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Christ; for which, his zeal deserves an eternal remembrance.” The day before his vessel foundered she, having recovered from being nearly overwhelmed by a great sea, Sir Hugh was seen sitting abaft, with a book in his hand, and was heard calling out to his crew, ‘Courage, my lads! we are as near to heaven by sea as by land!’”

13. JOHN DAVIS.—The first land made by Davis was named the “Land of Desolation,” probably Desolation Island in the chart. Exeter Sound, Mount Raleigh, Dyer Cape, and Cape Walsingham, were successively named on the coast of West Greenland, the latter after the secretary of state, Sir Francis Walsingham. He sailed up the strait bearing his name, but, the wind being unfavourable, he returned to Desolation Island, and afterwards got safe home to Dartmouth.

14. JOHN DAVIS.—On his second voyage, Davis passed Cape Farewell into Davis Strait. He met with the natives at Good Haab, and, in consequence of their repeated thefts, Davis seized the ringleader, and carried him off. He went to Cumberland Strait, and afterwards to Nain, on the coast of Labrador, from whence he returned to England. Two of the four ships were to seek the passage between Greenland and Iceland. They touched at Iceland, and, crossing over to the coast of Greenland, stood to the southward, passed Cape Farewell, and Desolation Island, to Gilbert Sound, which Davis had appointed as the rendezvous. Finding him gone, they sailed for England soon after, and arrived at Ratcliffe.

15. JOHN DAVIS.—The third voyage of Davis proved to be the most important of all that he made. He proceeded to West Greenland, and, leaving two of the ships in 64° N. to fish, he pursued his course to the north and north-west, and arrived off Disko Island. Continuing to the north, he named the west coast of Greenland London Coast, and penetrated as far as 72° 12’ N. Northerly winds obliged him to return to the south; he descried Mount Raleigh in Cumberland Island, and named Lumley Inlet after Lord Lumley, Warwick Foreland, Cape Chidley, Darcy Island, after Lord Darcy, and returned to Dartmouth.

16. GEORGE WEYMOUTH.—The voyage of Capt. G. Weymouth appears to have been determined on in compliance with the general opinion which prevailed of there being a passage to the northward, and the sanguine ideas of the merchants composing the Russian and Turkish company, were considerably influenced by the report of Capt. James Lancaster, who had then returned from a voyage to India by the south. The two ships went round by the Orkneys, and saw the south coast of Greenland; passing Warwick Foreland, they came to Lumley Inlet, and penetrated to the northward as far as 68° 55’. There the crew mutinied, but were quieted. Capt. Weymouth then stood to the southward, and put into an inlet on the coast of Labrador in 56° N. From thence he returned to Dartmouth, without making any discovery.

17. STEPHEN BENNET.—This expedition was sent out at the sole expense of “the worshipful Francis Cherie.” The island which bears his name, in 74° 55’ N, was seen in this voyage, but had been previously discovered by Barentz, the Dutch navigator. Besides, the several other trading voyages were made under the patronage of private individuals to Cherie Island and the coast of Lapland, without being productive of any further discovery.

18. JOHN KNIGHT—had performed a voyage before to the north, in the year 1605, by the appointment of the king of Denmark, as the English mariners were considered the most experienced. Knight, in the present voyage, passed the Orkneys, and “came to land” in 56½° N. An accident happened there, by which his ship was driven on shore, and became full of water. After doing all they could to stop the leak, he went in his boat in search of a harbour in which to repair her. Leaving two men in the boat, he went with his brother and two others, to examine the island on which they had landed. They waited in vain for his return, for they were never heard of more. The crew did all they could to repair their ship, and set up their pinnace, but they were driven away by the natives, and obliged to put to sea, their ship leaky, and the new pinnace neither caulked nor payed. They arrived safely at Newfoundland, from whence they returned to Dartmouth. The land they touched at must have been the coast of Labrador.

19. HENRY HUDSON.—Although several voyages had been performed to India by the English, the hopes of getting there by the north were not yet abandoned. Henry Hudson, an experienced seaman, was considered to possess the resolution that was thought only necessary to make it. He reached the coast of Greenland in 73° N, and named an opening “Hold with Hope.” He had entertained the idea of Greenland being an island, and attempted to sail round it. He landed his mate and boastwain in 80° 23’ N, on the coast of Greenland. He penetrated to 82° N, but could get no further, on account of the ice, and returned to the “Hold with Hope.” It was his wish to have passed through this into Davis Strait, and return home, but the ice prevented him; after which, he reached Gravesend.

20. HENRY HUDSON.—The second voyage of Hudson was directed to the passage between Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen. He reached Nova Zembla, but returned unsuccessful.   21. HENRY HUDSON.—In the year 1609, Hudson had made a voyage to America, in the service of the Dutch, and had discovered Hudson river. Released from his engagements with them, he entered again the service of the English company. It is related of Hudson, in this voyage, that his employers put on board his ship one Coleburne, in whose skill they had great confidence. This excited Hudson’s jealousy, and, when on his way down the river, he deliberately landed this person at Lee, with a letter informing the proprietors of his reasons for so doing; which, no doubt, much annoyed them. Hudson passed the Orkneys and Fero islands, Greenland, and Desolation. He named the islands of God’s Mercy in 62° N, and Good Fortune, and saw the northern part of the coast of Labrador, which he named Magna Britannica. He also named Salisbury Foreland, Cape Diggs, and Cape Wolstenholm. He passed through the strait formed by those capes, and observed a wide sea to the westward, now Hudson Bay. Hudson’s narrative here terminates. The rest of this voyage is supplied by a seaman. They sailed to the southward, with the land on the left hand, and penetrated to 53°, where they had the land on each side of them. Hereabouts Hudson found himself beset by the ice, and obliged to lay up for the winter. They had only taken six months’ provisions, and a series of dissensions and mutiny broke out. They were reduced to great privation, being compelled to subsist on moss and frogs, and the buds of spruce fir, with whatever fish and birds they could kill, several died in consequence. On the opening of the next season, as they were leaving their winter-quarters, the crew again mutinied, and put Hudson, with his son, (a boy,) and seven others, into the sloop, with a gun, and a scanty supply of provision, and left them to their fate. The ship reached the strait, taking birds and moss where they could. They were afterwards attacked by the natives, who killed four of them, but they succeeded in getting clear of the strait. They made for Newfoundland, but, after the severest sufferings from want of provisions, they reached Ireland, where they obtained some with much difficulty, and finally arrived at Gravesend. The southern and eastern shore of Hudson Bay was thus discovered.

22. SIR THOMAS BUTTON.—The command of these two ships was given to Captain, afterwards Sir Thomas Button, and the voyage was partly undertaken with the view of discovering Hudson and his companions who had been left by the mutineers. The ships entered Hudson Strait and passed Diggs Island, and afterwards named an island further west, which they called Carey’s Swan’s Nest. They wintered in Port Nelson, in latitude 57° 10’ N., so called after the first mate of the Resolution. Mansfield Islands were named the following season, and Button Bay, probably Hudson Bay, the western coast being named New Wales. Without finding Hudson and his companions or effecting any particular discovery, they returned to England.

23. JAMES HALL, had already been to the north in the Danish service, but his present voyage, which was his fourth, was as unfortunate as that of Knight. He reached the coast of Greenland in 65° 20’ N., where, in July, he was killed by the spear of a Greenlander. One of the crew was also killed afterwards, but there is no doubt that the atrocities committed by the early discoverers was the cause of this hostile disposition evinced by the natives. Without visiting any other land, the ships returned safely to Kingston-upon-Hull.

24. GIBBONS.—Having entered Hudson Strait, Gibbons was driven back by ice into Nain on the coast of Labrador, called in derision by his crew, “Gibbons his Hole,” where he was detained five months. The season being too far advanced when he escaped from it, he returned direct to England.

25. ROBERT FOTHERBY was accompanied by William Baffin, made for Spitzbergen, and arrived at Red Beach on the north-east point of it. They afterwards made an unsuccessful attempt to get to the north of Spitsbergen, and returned to England. Baffin, as a pilot, had made voyages to the north in the two preceding years.

26. ROBERT FOTHERBY.—The Richard, in which Fotherby again went out, accompanied by Baffin, was a pinnace, but he did not attain a higher latitude than in the preceding year; and the Russia Company did not make any further attempts at discovery in the north.

27. ROBERT BYLOT, who had been three successive voyages to the north under Hudson, Button, and Gibbons, was accompanied by Baffin in the same ship, Discovery, which had made three former voyages. He arrived at Resolution Island, and the Salvage (Savage) Islands in 62° N. He afterwards saw Salisbury Island, and named the Mill Isles in 64° N. He named Cape Comfort in 65° N., the highest northern latitude that he attained. He returned to Salisbury and Nottingham Island, and sailed from Diggs Island for Plymouth, where he arrived in safety.

28. ROBERT BYLOT.—In this interesting and important voy- age, by which the northern shores of Baffin Bay were discovered, William Baffin served as pilot, having also served as mate of the same ship in preceding voyages. The company by which the Discovery was sent out, consisted of Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Dudley Diggs, Mr. John Wolstenholme, and Mr. Alderman Jones. The first land seen was in 65° N. in Davis Strait. Women Isles were named from the voyagers meeting so many women. Horn Sound, from horns brought to the voyagers by the natives. Cape Dudley Diggs was named, and Wolstenholme Sound—Whale Sound, from the number of whales found in it. Hackluyt Island, Sir Thomas Smith Sound, Carey Islands, Alderman Jones Sound, James Lancaster Sound were successively discovered. The ship continued to the southward along the ice on the west shore of Baffin’s Bay to Cumberland Straits; crossed over to Cocking Sound, 65° in Greenland, and afterwards returned to Dover Roads.

29. HAWKBRIDGE entered Lumley Inlet, Salisbury Islands, Diggs Island, Mansfield Island, Resolution Islands, and afterwards returned home; but there is much uncertainty about the whole voyage.

30. LUKE FOX.—The ship for this voyage was equipped by command of the King, under the direction of Sir Thomas Rowe, Sir John Wolstenholme, and the Trinity House. Mr. Barrow says of Fox, that “he was a keen shrewd Yorkshireman, and evidently a man of considerable talent, but conceited beyond measure; and the style of his journal is so uncouth, and the jargon so obscure and comical, as in many places to be scarcely intelligible.” He had facetiously assumed the name of the “North-West Fox,” and commences his journal thus, “Gentle reader, expect not heere any florishing phrases or eloquent tearmes; for this child of mine, begot in the north-west’s cold clime, (where they breed no schollers,) is not able to digest the sweet milke of Rethorick,” &c. He passed the Orkneys, Cape Farewell, Lumley Island, (now Marble Island,) Dun Fox Island, a group of islands called Brigg’s Mathematics, King Charles Promontory. A promontory of land called Fox’s furthest, about the entrance of Hudson Bay, was seen, after which he returned to the Downs.

31. THOMAS JAMES, in the Maria, passed Cape Farewell, Resolution Islands, Hudson Straits. He met Fox near Port Nelson. His ship at the end of the season was run aground on Charleton Island, where they wintered, and suffered much from the scurvy. By the end of the following summer they contrived to get the ship home, and arrived at Bristol. James appears not to have been qualified for this voyage.

32. ZACHARIAH GILLAM went out under the immediate patron- age of Count Rupert. It is stated that he stood into Davis Strait as far as 75° N., and then into Hudson Bay, and entered Rupert River at its southern extreme. Fort Charles was first built here by him, and the country called Rupert Land.

Previous to the conclusion of this voyage, King Charles the Second granted to Prince Rupert, and to “divers Lords, Knights, and Merchants” a charter, dated the 2d of May, 1669, by which His Majesty styled them, “the Governor and Company of Adventurers trading from England to Hudson’s Bay.” Hence the origin of the Hudson Bay Company.

33. The Speedwell, JOHN WOOD,—was accompanied by the Pink, Prosperous, which was purchased by the Duke of York and Lord Berkley, Sir Joseph Williamson, Sir John Banks, and some gentlemen, to effect a passage to China between Spitz- bergen and Nova Zembla. The land they saw was the north cape of Lapland, afterwards Nova Zembla, where Captain Wood’s ship was lost in the ice, in June. Point Speedwell, in Nova Zembla, was named after her. Having saved all they could, they returned to England in the Prosperous, and arrived at the Nore.

34. GEORGE BARLOW, and VAUGHAN—were sent out by the Hudson Bay Company, under the orders of Captain James Knight, to find the Straits of Anian. But nothing is known of them, as they never returned.

35. JOHN SCROGGS—was sent in a small sloop by the Hud- son Bay Company to search for Knight and Barlow. He saw Cape Fullerton. It was stated that he had entered Sir Thomas Rowe’s Welcome, but he was supposed only to have reached Marble Island, and returned unsuccessful to England.—He reached the parallel of 62° 30’, where he found some islands, probably in the north part of Hudson Bay.

36. CHRISTOPHER MIDDLETON.—The Furnace and Discovery, under the command of Captain Christopher Middleton, passed the first winter at Churchill, from whence they sailed in July, 1742. The land he saw was Marble Island; and, passing through the “Welcome,” he entered the inlet to the west, which he called Wager River, after Sir Charles Wager, and which he explored. He named Savage Sound and Dear Sound, in Wager River; Cape Hope; explored Repulse Bay; and returned to southward by Cape Dobbs and Marble Island, and thence to England. Captain Middleton, after his return from this voyage, was accused by a Mr. Dobbs, at whose instance he had performed it, on the faith of an anonymous letter, of having stifled the discovery of the north-west passage, thereby furthering the interests of the Hudson Bay Company at the expense of Government. Middleton did all he could to refute the charge, but did not succeed even with the Lords of the Admiralty; and in the following year (1743) the act of parliament was passed, offering the reward of £20,000 to any person, being a subject of his Majesty, who should discover a north-west passage through Hudson Strait to the western and northern ocean of America. How completely has time proved that Middleton was an injured man!

37. WILLIAM MOOR.—The California and Dobbs galley, under the command of Mr. Francis Smith, were equipped by a company, at the instance of a Mr. Dobbs. Saw Marble Island; wintered at Port Nelson, and fitted their long-boat, naming it the Resolution. They proceeded on in July, 1747, and looked into Chesterfield Inlet, and Wager Water, and returned to Yarmouth roads.

38. In the year 1769, Mr. Samuel Hearne was sent by the Hudson Bay Company to make discoveries to the north, in America, by land. He set out in November of that year, and in the following reached Copper-mine River, which he traced to the sea.

39. HON. JOHN PHIPPS.—The Racehorse and Carcass, the former under the command of Captain the Hon. Constantine John Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave, were sent out by Government, at the request of the Royal Society, while Captain Cook was absent on one of his voyages. They proceeded to the east of Spitzbergen, and attained the lat of 80° 48’; from thence to Nova Zembla, and soon arrived at Waygat Strait. They then endeavoured to penetrate to the westward, but, being stopped by the ice, returned home.

40. COOK.—We now arrive at the memorable voyage which deprived England of her great and justly admired circumnavigator. It is remarkable also, that Captain Clerke, who accompanied him in the same voyage, in command of the Discovery, died after he had succeeded him as the chief of the expedition. Forster relates the following anecdote of this officer:—“Clerke, a man of a noble disinterested spirit, had been security for the debts of his brother, Sir John Clerke, at the time that he went on board a king’s ship to the East Indies. He having died in India, his creditors would have come upon Captain Charles Clerke for payment. Some people of rank, who wished him well, advised him to go into the King’s Bench, as the sum that Sir John owed was pretty considerable, and much more than his brother Charles was able to pay. An act of grace, which came out soon after, set many thousands of prisoners at liberty; and, among others, Captain Clerke regained his freedom towards the end of July, and set sail in the Discovery, from Plymouth.”

Respecting the premium for the discovery of the north-west passage, Mr. Barrow observes—“It has been mentioned, that a reward of £20,000 was held out to the ships belonging to any of his Majesty’s subjects which should make the passage; but it excluded his Majesty’s own ships: the reward was, moreover, con- fined to such ships as should discover a passage through Hudson’s Bay. This act was therefore, on the present occasion amended, and so framed as to include his Majesty’s ships, and to appropriate the reward for the discovery of “any northern passage” for vessels by sea, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; and it also awards the sum of five thousand pounds to any ship that shall approach to within one degree of the north pole.”

The vessels visited Table Bay, Van Diemen Land, New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, Otaheite, Turtle Island, Nootka Sound, in 49½° N., from whence they commenced exploring their way to Behring Strait. The west coast of America was passed from thence to Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Oonalashka, and the coast of America to the northward; they then crossed to the coast of Asia in 66½° N. The northernmost extent that Cook reached on the coast of America was lat. 70° 45’ N., and the cape he saw received the name of Icy Cape. From thence, after again crossing to the Asiatic coast, he returned to the Sandwich Islands, where he met his untimely end. The command of the expedition having devolved on Captain Clerke, he proceeded to Behring Strait in the following season, and was prevented by the ice from penetrating so far as the ships had been under Captain Cook. Having determined to put into the harbour of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Kamtschatka, he died in sight of the entrance, in the thirty-eighth year of his age. The command of the expedition now devolved on Lieutenant Gore. On their way home, they touched at Macao, Simon Bay, the Orkneys, and arrived in England, after an absence of four years, two months, and twenty-two days.

41. R. PICKERSGILL—was sent to penetrate to the north-west by Davis Strait. He ranged along the coast of Greenland and Muskito Cove. The furthest north latitude he attained was 68° 14’, in Davis Strait; after which he stood to the southward, to the coast of Labrador, and returned to England.

42. WALTER YOUNG—who succeeded Pickersgill in the command of the Lion, was sent out to explore the western shore of Baffin Bay; and if he should discover an outlet to the westward, affording any probability of a passage to the Pacific, his orders directed him to attempt it. He succeeded in reaching the latitude of 72° 42’ in Baffin Bay, but returned to the Nore without having made any discovery.

43. In the year 1789, Mr. ALEXANDER M‘KENZIE departed from the Lake of the Hills, in North America, with the view of penetrating to the polar sea. He passed down the M’Kenzie River to Whale Island, which he placed in lat. 69° 14’, and which was afterwards corroborated by Franklin.

44. CHARLES DUNCAN, a master in the Royal Navy,—has added his name to the list of polar voyagers, in conducting an enterprise as little productive of the desired object as any of his predecessors. He encountered much ice in Hudson Strait, and only reached Charles Island in August. He wintered at Churchill, in Hudson Bay, and in July of the following year entered Chesterfield Inlet, where his crew mutinied, and the voyage was afterwards abandoned.

45. JOHN ROSS.—The first expedition of Capt. Ross was certainly made on a grander scale than any other that had gone before it. Not only were the ships employed in it larger, but they were fitted in a manner “as strong as wood and iron could make them,” and were supplied with a plentiful stock of instruments, such as the advanced state of science demanded, with “divers cunning men,” as old Hackluyt would have expressed it, to use them. This expedition had two objects—one, the north-west passage, to be attempted by the Isabella and Alexander; the other, the voyage across the pole, to be attempted by the Dorothea and Trent: the four ships to find their way through Behring Strait. No pains nor expense were spared in their equipments, and most sanguine were the expectations of the result. The Isabella and Alexder passed Cape Farewell in May, and in August they had penetrated to lat. 75° in Baffin Bay, where, of course, a vast quantity of ice was found. The northern shores of Baffin Bay were passed as near as the ice would permit; and the description of that able navigator (who, it will have been seen, accompanied Bylot) was concluded to be as nearly correct as could have been expected. Still, however, they were not explored; and it is the opinion of experienced men, that channels will yet be found leading out of Baffin Bay, at its northern extreme. Captain Ross, being satisfied that no outlet could be found through Lancaster Sound, passed down the western shore of Baffin Bay, and returned to England.

The Dorothea and Trent made direct for Spitzbergen, and were much beset by the ice on the shores of that island. In July, they penetrated as far as 80° 32’, but were driven by a violent gale to seek shelter in the harbour of Smeerenburgh. The Dorothea was so much injured by the ice, that it was with much difficulty she reached it. In October following they returned to England.

46. WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY.[2]—The foregoing expedition may be considered to have been the first of that recent series of polar voyages which have contributed so much to our knowledge of that part of the globe; and this, commanded by Lieutenant Parry, as is well known, was the immediate consequence of it. The Hecla and Griper passed up Davis Strait, and were in Lancaster Sound by the end of July. On the 3d of August the ships, having been detained by a foul wind, penetrated through the sound to the westward, and discovered the strait which is justly distinguished by the name of Barrow, the enlightened secretary to the Admiralty, to whom the science of geography stands deeply indebted. The shores on either hand, as far as Melville Island in 110° W. long, were discovered, and named in this voyage, and the ships by the commencement of September had gained to the westward of it. The ice forming round them obliged Lieutenant Parry to seek a harbour in Melville Island, in which to pass the winter. The islands on the north, among which was Melville Island, were called the North Georgian Islands. The month of August had arrived before the ships could be moved from their winter’s position, when they returned to England by the same route they had so successfully adopted.

47. In connection with the foregoing expedition of Lieutenant Parry, a journey by land was performed by Lieutenant Franklin,[3] which, in point of severe and protracted suffering, has not been surpassed either before or since. In May, 1820, he left England with Dr. Richardson, of the navy, and, descending the Coppermine River, arrived at its mouth in July following. With the view of reaching Repulse Bay, the party proceeded eastward along the coast in light boats which they had with them. The shore of the Arctic sea between the mouth of that river and Point Turnagain was explored, from whence the party returned to their winter quarters, not without the loss of some of their companions. In a former number we laid before our readers the account of this journey from the pages of the Edinburgh Cabinet Library, a little work signalized among others of the present day by the very able manner in which it is conducted.

48. WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY.—Commander Parry,[4] in this his third voyage to the polar regions, attempted to penetrate to the westward in a lower latitude than Melville Island, in consideration that the shores from Wager River to the northward not having been closely examined, a passage might be found there. In July the two ships were in Hudson Strait, and in August had reached Fox Channel. Being disappointed in not finding a passage through Repulse Bay, as Middleton had been before them, the navigators succeeded in gaining the northern part of Fox Channel, where they passed the winter. In July following they continued to the northward, and in August reached the strait which was named after their ships the Fury and Hecla. A journey on the ice was performed by Commander Parry, who, when he had reached the western extreme, considered the sea to the westward to be the Polar Sea, but which, by the information brought home by Captain Ross, is proved to be no other than the Gulf of Boothia, forming the termination of Prince Regent Inlet. By the end of October the ships were safely moored in a harbour at the entrance of this strait, where another winter was passed. It was in the beginning of August before the ships could be moved. Determined to leave nothing undone by which he might succeed in finding a passage to the westward, Commander Parry had meditated leaving one of his ships, after removing the crew from her, and passing another winter in the polar regions. Symptoms of scurvy among his men obliged him to relinquish this plan, and to make the best of his way to England, where the two ships arrived in safety. In this expedition, the shores of Melville peninsula were explored by Commander Lyon.

On the 3d May, 1823, Commander Clavering, in H.M.S. Griper, made a voyage to Greenland, Spitzbergen, and Hammerfest, for the purpose of performing some experiments with the pendulum in high latitudes; and, although it was highly useful to science, was not remarkable for any geographical discovery.

49. SCORESBY.—Although not a voyage expressly undertaken with the view of discovery, the extent of coast laid down by Scoresby entitles his voyage to notice here. On the 27th April the Baffin had reached Hackluyt Headland of Spitzbergen, in nearly 80° lat., without having experienced any frost. She was compelled to turn to the southward the next day, having encountered the edge of the ice, notwithstanding that in a former voyage he had reached the lat. of 81° 30’, in long. 19°E. The coast of Greenland was seen between the latitudes of 74° and 70°, and the various points, bays, and islands were laid down and named by Mr. Scoresby. It must, however, be conceded, that this coast had been previously discovered, and was not unknown to the old navigators. Hudson (19) had penetrated even to the latitude of 82°, but owing to the want of some depository for such documents, his charts and observations are lost to us. It is much to be regretted, for the sake of geography, that our ancestors, in their zeal for extending our knowledge of the globe, had not first formed a geographical society, or even a hydrographical office, in which such valuable and important documents might have been preserved to posterity.

50. WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY.—The plan adopted by Capt. Parry on this fourth voyage was to pass through Barrow Strait and down Prince Regent Inlet, from whence, if possible, to gain the coast of America, and to continue along it to Bhering Strait. By the middle of June the ships had reached Davis Strait, but it was not till September that they could get into Lancaster Sound, and the 28th of that month found them in their winter quarters, named Port Bowen, in Prince Regent Inlet. In July following the ships left Port Bowen to make the grand attempt on which was founded all his hopes. The result was, however, at hand. Having gained the latitude of 72° 42’ and longitude 91° 50’ on the 11th of August, the Fury was nipped by the ice, so as to become leaky, and not even sea-worthy. The provisions and stores were landed, with the view of repairing the ship, but the damage she had sustained proved to be too severe, and having taken her crew and part of her stores on board the Hecla, Capt. Parry found himself compelled to abandon her, and return to England, where he arrived in safety.

51. GEORGE FREDERICK LYON.—The voyage of Captain Lyon in 1824, in the Griper, was productive only of disappointment. The first object of the voyage was to gain Repulse Bay. Having passed up Hudson Strait, the Griper was nearly lost on Southampton Island: the place was named by Captain Lyon “the Bay of God’s Mercy.” The Griper experienced further bad weather in the Welcome, and, being fairly driven from her anchors, made for England. It has been stated that the Griper was a vessel but ill calculated for this voyage.

52. A similar journey to that which he had performed before, became again the duty of Commander Franklin.[5] He was also, as before, accompanied by Dr. Richardson, and measures were adopted, by establishing provision posts, to prevent the possibility of a recurrence of those severe hardships which they had endured in their first journey. Provided with boats of a peculiar construction, by Lieut. Col. Pasley, of the Royal Engineers, they left Liverpool in February 1825. The party wintered on the banks of the Mc Kenzie River, at Fort Franklin, near the great Slave Lake; Commander Franklin having previously employed a short interval between their arrival there, and the setting in of the winter in visiting the mouth of this river. In the month of June following, they embarked on the Mc Kenzie river, and, arriving at its mouth, one party, under Commander Franklin, proceeded along the western shore, while another, under Dr. Richardson, directed their course to the eastward. Having reached the meridian of 150° W. in the lat. 70° and named Point Beechey, Commander Franklin was compelled, on the 18th August, to retrace his way to the Mc Kenzie River, in order to secure his arriving at winter-quarters before the season was over. Dr. Richardson and his party, in the mean time, explored the coast between the Mc Kenzie and Coppermine rivers, and both parties met at Fort Franklin in September.

53. FREDERICK WILLIAM BEECHEY.—In connexion with the foregoing expeditions was the voyage of Captain Beechey in the Blossom. And considering them all as directed to one object, that of settling the question of the north-west passage, while they afford a splendid instance of the exertions of an enlightened nation to ascertain, by well-planned and well-combined operations, the natural boundaries of sea and land, they are no less remarkable for individual exertion and perseverance, than as affording an instance of the uncertainty of human enterprise, and how the best laid plans of man may be rendered abortive. While Commander Franklin was using his best exertions to get to the westward from the Mc Kenzie River, casting many an anxious look to seaward for the ships of Commander Parry, we have seen that an accident lost the Fury, one of his ships; and, indeed, that if this had not happened, Ross has since shewn us that he never could have got to the westward from Prince Regent Inlet! At the same time that this occurred, the Blossom was off Icy Cape, and, being unable to proceed further to the east, her barge, under the command of Mr. Elson her master, was despatched, to meet if possible Commander Franklin and his party. The very day before the latter turned back to retrace his steps, Mr. Elson departed on his interesting voyage, and having reached Cape Barrow, distant only 146 miles from Point Beechey, was obliged to set out on his return to his ship.

But, although each party may be said to have separately failed in achieving their object, yet the question of a connexion by sea between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the north pole was satisfactorily established; and many miles of sea-coast, before entirely unknown, was delineated on the map.

54. WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY.—We now arrive at the remarkable attempt of Captain Parry to reach the pole by means ofboats from Spitzbergen. They were constructed with thin planksand waterproof canvass, with stout felt between them, by whichmeans they united strength, lightness, and pliability. They weremoreover supplied with wheels, to be used when crossing the ice.The idea, we believe, originated with Capt. Sabine, and the plancertainly required all the energy and firmness of Captain Parryto put it into execution. The Captain proceeded to Spitzbergen with these boats, in the Hecla, his former ship, callingfirst at Hammerfest, in Norway, where he took on board eightreindeer to draw the boats. Owing to the state of the ice, it wasthe 20th of June before he could leave the ship on his perilousexpedition. Having secured her in Treurenburg bay, in Spitzbergen, he took seventy-one days’ provisions, and, leaving thereindeer and wheels as useless, in consequence of the state of theice, he set out on the 22d of June, to arrive, if possible, at thepole. It was not long before the party reached a loose mixture,that was neither ice nor water, butwhich was to be passed.Having the sun in their faces, they soon converted night into day,as, from being lower, the glare was not so powerful. Theirprogress was slow and most laborious, having to unload the boatsfrequently to carry them over small floes of ice, which wereseparated from each other by lanes of water.[6] They were alsomuch annoyed and delayed by thehummocks of ice, and, occasionally, it was so rugged and sharp, that their feet sufferedconsiderably. The party continued on their arduous and difficultjourney, sleeping by day in their boats, until the 24th of July, atwhich time it was found that, in consequence of a fresh northerlywind that had been blowing for some days, they were losingground; and although in the course of three days they hadtravelled over ten miles to the northward, they found themselvesfour miles to the south of the place from whence they had started.This circumstance, with the great difficulties they had met with inpenetrating so far as they had done, determined Captain Parry torelinquish the attempt to proceed any further northward. Greatefforts had been latterly made by the party, to reach the lat. 83°;but in vain, 82° 45being the furthest that they could attain. Inreturning, to the south the same difficulties were experienced, andit was the 21st of August before they rejoined the Hecla atSpitzbergen.

55. JOHN ROSS.—Captain John Ross, who had made a previous voyage in command of the Isabella, fitted out a small steam-boat, the Victory, with the generous assistance of Felix Booth, Esq. and departed with the intention of following up the plan of Captain Parry, by passing down Prince Regent Inlet. An account of this voyage has been already given in a former number—the narrative of Captain Ross, we believe, will shortly be before the public. The result of it has proved that Prince Regent Inlet has no outlet to the westward, and that it terminates in the gulf represented in the map, and named Boothia.

56. GEORGE BACK.—The circumstances under which Commander Back, the companion of Franklin in both his journeys, went out to America, are known to all the world. And, as one of the objects of his journey has been accomplished by the return of Captain Ross, there is no doubt that the directions forwarded out to him when this occurred, will enable him so to proceed, that his future exertions may be directed with the greatest efficiency towards adding to former discoveries in the polar regions.

[1] Arctonauts note: this column does not exist in the original publication, index numbers were put in ‘Vessels’.

[2] Now Sir Eduard Parry

[3] Now Sir John.

[4] He was made Captain in Nov. 1820.

[5] Now Sir John

[6] See the views on the Map.