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"Arctic Archipelago"


2 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., Ch. II, p. 26.

3 As John Richardson described it, the appellation, Eskimo, for these far-north people, is one of European origin. There is more than one explanation for this which Richardson set out in his book. One, is that when the Eskimos came out in a fleet of kayak with a view to trade, these people would shout Tey-mo and the sailors then referred to them as Eskimos. Richardson continued: "Some writers, however, have thought the word to be a corruption of the Abenaki term Eskimantik, signifying 'eaters of raw flesh,' which is certainly a habit peculiar to the Eskimos. But be the origin of the name what it may, it certainly does not belong to the language of the nation, who invariably call themselves Inu-it (pronounced Ee-noo-eet), or 'the people,' from i-nuk 'a man,' though families or tribes have, in addition, local designations." (Arctic Searching Expedition: A Journal ..., p. 340.) Incidentally, Richardson gave a number of descriptions of the Inuit, includinding their dress and habits, their boats, their igloos, their dogs, their religion, etc. (See in particular, Chapter XI, pp. 339-76.) (See Bibliography)

4 Leslie, Narrative of Discovery and Adventure in ... (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 4th ed., 1835), p. 305.

5 Arctic Searching Expedition: A Journal ..., p. 341.

6 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., p. 31.

7 History of the English People, p. 183.

8 Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, p. 14.

9 Ibid., p. 27.

10 Ibid., p. 29.

11 Ibid., p. 33.

12 Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, p. 57.

13 York Factory, sometimes known as Port Nelson is located at the juncture of the mouths of the Nelson River and Hayes River. (See Map)

14 It was Hearne who established Cumberland House, c. 1770. (McGoogan, p. 25.) Though, other sources say 1774. "Hearne built Cumberland House for the Hudson's Bay Company, its first interior trading post and the first permanent settlement in present Saskatchewan." (Wikipedia) "... It was not until 1774 that the Company built its first post in the western interior, Cumberland House, on an island in the Saskatchewan River." (Alexander Mackenzie Explorer, by James K. Smith, p. 12.)

15 Fort Chipewyan was established by Alexander Mackenzie in 1788.

16 Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, p. 73.

17 It is to be remembered that there was a great competitive contest that had gone on these northern parts, for years: the North West Company and The Hudson's Bay Company. It was just about then, 1820, that the British government was passing legislation to amalgamate the two.

18 On May 11, 1819, two ships, the Hecla and the Griper, under Lieutenant Parry, had set out from England for Baffin Bay.

19 A person, quoted by James K. Smith in his book, described pemmican: "Pemmican is supposed by the benighted world outside to consist only of pounded meat and grease; an egregious error; for, from experience on the subject, I am authorized to state that hair, sticks, bark, spruce leaves, stones, sand, etc., enter into its composition, often quite largely." [Alexander Mackenzie Explorer (Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson, 1973) pp. 36-7.]

20 Franklin's journal, in Traill at p. 86; it is to be remembered that this was only in September.

21 Ibid. at p. 104. The supplies consisted of "dried deer meat and a few tongues."

22 Ibid. Tripe de roche is a name given by the French to an edible lichen of the genera Gyrophora and Umbilicaria, which afford a slightly nutritious but bitter and purgative food. Also called rock tripe. From the OED, we further learn, that the Chipeways call it waac.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid., pp. 105-7

25 Traill, pp. 123-4.

26 Trial described Fort Franklin and its occupation by Franklin and his men during the winter of 1825-6 at p. 125.

27 Traill, p. 131. A canoe could carry a small sail in a wind going generally in the direction one wished to proceed. But, by 1821, northwestern explorers, unless sending messages express, were not much using canoes, but rather York Boats. These boats were solid and stretched from tip to tip 34 feet with a 9 foot beam. They carried a lot more freight, and, while it was a struggle to get overland when portaging, wore well. For a broader description, see London Correspondence Inward from Eden Colville, 1849-52 (London: The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1956) p. xli.

28 Arctic Explorations: In Search of Sir John Franklin, p. 223 & p. 242.

29 Traill, p. 137.

30 Ibid., p. 138.

31 Jane Griffin was a friend with Franklin's first wife and the attachment to her extended to her daughter, Eleanor, John Franklin's daughter. Jane fitted in very easily as the mother of Eleanor, and, as it turned out, the new wife of John Franklin.

32 Traill, p. 167.

33 Ibid., p. 198.

34 Traill, p. 200 & pp. 218-9.

35 Two of John's brothers saw service in India, "one as a judge, the other as a scientific soldier." (Fletcher, et al., Historical Portraits 1400-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 4 vols, 1909-19), Vol. 4, p. 274.

36 Traill, p. 222.

37 "Starting in 1816, more free settlers began arriving from Great Britain. On 3 December 1825 Tasmania was declared a colony separate from New South Wales, with a separate administration..." (Wikipedia)

38 See Traill, p. 242.

39 Ibid., p. 246.

40 Wikipedia.

41 Traill, p. 288.

42 Transportation to Tasmania ended in 1853.

43 Robert Wm. Service, "Men of the High North," Ballads of a Cheechako.

44 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., pp. 27-8.

45 Partial list of the officers of the Erebus and the Terror is set out in McClintock's The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., at p. 28 and at pp. 37-43.

46 McClintock set out extracts of certain of the letters, other than Franklin, that were sent off when the expedition was still on the west coast of Greenland. These were from the various junior officers. One is touched upon reading them. What is for sure, is they all were highly complimentary of Franklin, almost of a worshipping manner. (The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., p. 43-5.)

47 See Traill, p. 340.

48 Whalefish, Disco Bay was the last station for Franklin at which he might get supplies. He arrived there on July 4th, 1845, and stayed there from "ten to twelve days." (Ibid., pp. 345 & 347.)

49 Ibid., p. 344.

50 Ibid., p. 342.

51 Ibid., p. 352.

52 As set in Traill, pp. 381-2.

53 Ibid., p. 357.

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid., p. 359. "Franklin's chosen passage down the west side of King William Island took Erebus and Terror into '... a ploughing train of ice ... [that] does not always clear during the short summers...,' whereas the route along the island's east coast regularly clears in summer and was later used by Roald Amundsen in his successful navigation of the Northwest Passage." (

56 Ibid., p. 367.

57 Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55 (London: The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1953) p. xxxix.

58 Trial, p. 370. Trail wrote that at the point that they left the ships their numbers had been reduced to 105, with "no fewer than nine officers (including Franklin himself) and twelve men having died, not counting the three who had died on Beechey island during the first winter (1845/6). We read from J. M. Wordie's introduction (p. xxxix) to the Hudson's Bay publication, Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55: "The ships then lay fifteen miles north-north-west of Point Victory, and Crozier landed near there with 104 officers and men, 9 officers and 15 men having died."

59 Traill, p. 359.

60 A facsimile of the note is set out in Traill at p. 362.

61 Traill, p. 376.

62 The Hudson's Bay Company was very covetous of its monopoly position. Its policy "was to throw every obstruction in the way of private adventurers." (Cawston, The Early Chartered Companies, p. 170.) It was certainly not much interested, at first, to go hunting for missing explorers, such as Franklin, especially when they were not working for the Company. "There can be little doubt that the Hudson's Bay Company were for a long time exceedingly jealous of their monopoly; and that they not only discouraged all attempts at northern discovery, but withheld what little information came to their knowledge ..." [Barrow, A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions, p. 280.]

63 See J. M. Wordie's introduction (p. xliii) to the Hudson's Bay publication, Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55.

64 An accounting of this expedition made by Richardson and Rae overland, beginning in 1847, is set out in some detail in J. M. Wordie's introduction (pp. xli-xlii) to the Hudson's Bay publication, Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55. Further along Wordie wrote: " There is no doubt that Rae was irritated by Richardson, and still more by the men recruited from England, whom he describes as the 'most awkward, lazy, and careless set I ever had any thing to do with.' ... [As for what Richardson thought: "His [Rae's] ability and zeal were unquestionable; he was in the prime of life [Rae was then 35 and Richardson was 26 years older] and his personal activity and skill as a hunter fitted him peculiarly well for such an enterprise." (Pp. xlix & l.)

65 DCB - under kellett_henry_10E.html

66 See, Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55 (London: The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1953) p. liv).

67 "On 25 July 2010, HMS Investigator, which had become icebound and was subsequently abandoned while searching for Franklin's expedition in 1853, was found in shallow water in Merc Bay along the northern coast of Banks Island in Canada's western Arctic. The Parks Canada team reported that it was in good shape, upright in about 11 metres (36 feet) of water." (

68 Traill, pp. 380-1.

69 Ibid., pp. 381-4.

70 Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55 (London: The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1953) p. lxxix.

71 Traill, p. 395; See Rae's written account of this meeting in 1864 with the Eskimos contained in Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55 (London: The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1953) p. 275; at pp. 286-7 is to be found Rae's list of the articles purchased from the Eskimos, including such things as: silver table forks, a silver plate engraved with "Sir John Franklin, pieces of watch cases, pieces of Optical instruments, etc.

72 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., pp. 52-4.

73 It must be that parties of the Inuit saw these two ships, stuck as they were for better than two years, and maybe a number of years after.

74 McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., p. 54. At page 194, we find: "After much anxious enquiry we [McClintock and his party when made in May of 1859] learned that two ships had been seen by the natives of King William's Island; one of them was seen to sink in deep water, and nothing was obtained from her, a circumstance at which they expressed much regret; but the other was forced up by the ice, where they suppose she still remains, but it is much broken. From this ship they have obtained most of their wood, etc.; Oot-loo-lik is the name of the place where she grounded."

75 Rae's Arctic Correspondence ..., pp. lxxxi & lxxxvii.

76 Traill, p. 398.

77 The Fox was built and refitted by Messrs. Hall and Co., of Aberdeen. See McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., Ch 1, p. 4, for the refit. Also check

78 Traill, p. 403.

79 Named after the London distiller, Felex Booth.

80 McClintock was asked the question why so few bones were found of the 100 men, or so, that died along the way of their retreat. He wrote: "The answer is simply, because -- like those who travelled in search of them -- they were compelled to drag their boats and laden sledges upon the sea ice, which affords a level roadway, and which the land does not. And, it is hardly needful to observe that the bodies of those were overtaken by death upon the ice, found their final rest at the bottom of the sea, upon the summer thaw of 1848." (McClintock, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., Conclusions, p. 279.

81 Traill, p. 410.

82 Ibid., p. 411. A seemingly complete list of these relics discovered by McClintock are set in his work, Appendix, The Voyage of the 'Fox' ..., p. 282-8.

83 I suspect O'Reilly Island off the est coast of Adelaide Peninsula of the main land - see Map.

84 In his introduction to the Hudson's Bay publication, Rae's Arctic Correspondence, 1844-55, J. M. Wordie wrote this in referring to what the Inuit had said at the time: "One of the ships apparently sank in Victoria Strait. The other was found by Eskimos either near O'Reilly Island or near Grant Point off the west coast of Adelaide Peninsula. [It is speculated that some] of the officers and men ... returned to the ships after these had been abandoned, and a few, according to Eskimo reports, lived on the one which was found near O'Reilly Island." What, of course, has recently been discovered at the time of this writing (2014) is one of Franklin's ships in a few fathoms of water, which the searchers confirmed was the Erebus. They have not, understandably, given a location point, but it looks like the position is just off the northern part of off O'Reilly Island; we will see. This was what the Inuit said years ago.

85 Schwatka, The Search for Franklin: A Narrative of the American Expedition under Lieutenant Schwatka (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1882), Intro., pp. 16-7.

86 Schwatka, Intro., p. 17.

87 Richardson, Arctic Searching Expedition: A Journal ..., p. 2.

88 Traill, p. 390. There was one cairn built by Gore. We might suppose that Franklin was of the view that his was a sea voyage and he did not waste time going ashore, especially where there was open water to sail through. The absence of cairns, of course, caused considerable trouble and expense, as searchers were given few clues as to where to start or where to follow along; though, when the site of the first winter's camp was discovered in 1850 (see Austin), finally the searchers had a place to start.

89 See Traill, pp. 386-8 & p. 411.

90 Russell A. Potter, in his review of Michael Smith's book, Captain Francis Crozier: Last Man Standing? Features of any great leader: "Fine character and outstanding competence, his patient, sympathetic understanding, his measured judgments, and his ability to command." (Found at John Franklin had most all of these qualities, except, it seems, "outstanding competence" and "ability to command"; maybe it had it all earlier, but, simply put, his age caught up with him. To quote Huntford, "Franklin was hampered by grotesquely unsuitable methods, the product of rigid thought and incapacity to adapt to circumstances." (The Last Place On Earth, p. 10) Though liked by his men, Franklin was "a tragic bungler." (Ibid., p. 151.)

91 Smaller ships proved to be better: In 1535, Frobisher's ship, the Gabriel, was but 35 tons. In his discoveries, John Davis sailed in two small ships Sunneshine (50 tons) and the Mooneshine (35 tons)

92 After outlining the numerous arctic trips taken to find Franklin, Traill made this point: "The wide range of hitherto unexplored land and water which their crews traversed and the immense value of their contributions to geographical science will appear in the course of this narrative; but an examination of the area of their travels only makes their prolonged failure to raise the veil of obscurity which shrouded Franklin's fate the more remarkable. It would be an almost pardonable exaggeration to say that they discovered nearly everything except what they sought." (Traill, p. 382.)

93 See, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - Part IV.

94 "In addition, Canada claims the water within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as its own internal waters. The United States is one of the countries which does not recognize Canada's, or any other countries', Arctic archipelago water claims, and has allegedly sent nuclear submarines under the ice near Canadian islands without requesting permission." ( "The Canadian decision to place a moratorium on commercial fishing in its Arctic waters is both a bold and a necessary step. We do not understand the implications of retreating ice and warming waters on the movement of fish stock into Canadian arctic waters. Thus, this is exactly the type of situation in which to apply the precautionary principle when in doubt take no action that could hurt the environment. Furthermore, it appears that the relevant northern aboriginal peoples were fully involved in developing this policy to ensure that their long-term interests were respected and protected." (The Globe and Mail, Oct. 21 2014.)


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Peter Landry