American Explorations in the Ice Zones…Prepared Chiefly from Official Sources.

A comprehensive and readable account of American expeditions up to the rescue of Greely, with reference to Great Britain only where necessary, e.g. to explain the Franklin search voyages.

p. 33, Sir John Franklin’s last letter (to his sister) from Disco, 11 July 1845: “My Dear Sister, — … The appearance, dress, and manners of the Esquimaux bespeak that care is taken of them by the government. Several of them can read the Bible with ease, and I am told that when the families are all collected the children are obliged to attend school daily. I looked into one of the huts arranged with seats for this purpose. When the minister comes over from Disco he superintends the school; at other times the children are taught by a half-cast Esquimaux. How delightful it is to know that the gospel is spreading far and wide, and will do so till its blessed truths are disseminated through the globe….”

p. 68: Kane had some two thousand pounds of pemmican and a liberal supply of dried fruits and vegetables, with the usual navy rations; a well-chosen library, furnished partly by Government and partly by Jr. Grinnell; …

p. 88, the end of Hall’s library in June 1855: By the middle of June all of Kane’s disabled men, and some twelve hundred pounds of stores, had been transported, by journeys of in all 1,100 miles, to Annaotah, their first sick station/. The U.S. Coast survey theodolite, the apparatus furnished by the American Philosophical Society, and the valuable library were left behind; the documents of the Expedition were carried forward.

p. 178, Hall’s first sledging journey: Having now acquired some knowledge of the native language, and having the company of the two natives just named, with a third, Koodloo, a relative of a woman whom he had befriended when dying, he thought himself ready for the discomforts of an Arctic journey. His sledge was loaded for a team of ten dogs, with a fair outfit of clothing, provisions, and sleeping comforts; his telescope, sextant, thermometer, and marine glass; a rifle, with ammunition; and a Bowditch Nautical Almanac and other books.

p. 325, on the cruises of the Juniata and then the Tigress in summer of 1879? and their discoveries: The Polaris House was still standing, with its bunks, mattresses, furniture, galley, etc., but provisions, instruments, books, and stores were everywhere scattered along the shore. The “Tigress” took on board all the manuscripts, a mutilated log-book and all other books not torn into pieces; no cairn or place of concealment for records was found.

p. 351, Schwatka sledging near Northern Hudson Bay with a team of Inuit in May 1879, when they met another group of natives who gave further information on Franklin: This was in part substantially the same learned by Hall, viz.: that a ship had been found in the ice off the west coast of Adelaide Peninsula, and that knives, spoons, and utensils had been taken out by cutting a hole into the ship on a level with the ice, as they did not know how to get inside by the doors; they saw no bread; they saw books on board and left them there; and when the ice broke up in the following summer, the ship filled through the hole they had cut, and sank.

p. 408, DeLong’s diary on the Lena Delta, Sept. 19, 1881, under extreme duress: {after four days] we will be at the end of our provisions and must eat the dog (the last of forty) unless Providence sends something in our way. When the dog is eaten—? I was much impressed and derive great encouragement from an accident of last Sunday. Our Bible got soaking wet, and I had to read the Epistle and the Gospel contained some promises which seemed peculiarly adapted to our condition. (The passage is in Matthew v. 24).

p. 585, on the rescue of Greely at Cape Sabine: Commander Schley and his officers arrived at 9 p.m. , to find Greely in his sleeping-bag, his head reclining forward, his remaining strength being exercised in apparently reading from the prayer book to Sergeant Connell, who was in a dying state…. The sight of the officer thus attempting in his own desperate condition to minister consolation to a dying companion brought tears to the eyes of the stoutest.