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T H E N OR T H - W E S T P A S S A G E. HISTORY TO THE CLOSE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Robert Bylot, in 1615, proceeded about half a degree further north, and, in the following year, embarked with Baffin, to examine the sea lying north and west of Davis’ Strait. In this voyage, one of the most remarkable and important ever accomplished in the same quarter of the globe, they traced the west coast of Greenland up Davis’ Strait, as far as the northern extremity of the sea now named after Baffin; then, turning to the westward, they followed it round, and descended the opposite shores to the south, passing, in their way, several large openings, which they neglected to examine, apparently assuming them to be merely Sounds. Luke Fox followed in 1631, and explored Hudson's Bay; and, in 1608, Zachariah Gillam was sent out by Prince Rupert, to examine the same quarter; and the results of this voyage appear to have led to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company. No further attempts were made on the western coast of America, until the unfortunate voyage of Knight, Barlow, and Vaughan, in 1719, on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company, in search of “the Strait of Anian, in order to discover gold, &c. to the northward;” when, of two ships that were sent out, neither returned. John Scroggs was sent in search of them in 1722 but he returned without accomplishing any thing of the smallest note. In 1737, a similarly unsuccessful attempt was made by the Hudson's Bay Company, at the suggestion of Mr. Arthur Dobbs, who afterwards prevailed on the government to appropriate two vessels for this service, under the orders of Captain Middleton, who left Eng: land in 1741, and wintered in Churchill River; and, in the summer of 1742, proceeded up Sir Thomas Roe's Welcome to Wager River, and sailed round what is called Repulse Bay. The offer by Parliament in 1743, of a reward of 20,000l. to whomsoever o His Majesty's subjects should discover a North-west Passage through Hudson's Strait, seemed to evince that the public opinion still remained decidedly in favour of its practicability. . A subscription of 10,000l. was entered into, and two ships were sent out in 1746, under Captains Moor and Smith, who merely, however, ascertained that Wager River was a deep bay or inlet. On the failure of this expedition, the public ardour seems to have been somewhat damped ; and for nearly thirty years, no attempt at northern discovery by sea was made, either by the government or by private individuals; but, in 1772, Samuel Hearne accomplished a land-journey from the Prince of Wales's Fort, Hud. son’s Bay, to the termination of the Copper-mine River, in the Arctic Sea. About the same time, the question of the practicability of approaching the North Pole was revived by the Hon. Daines Barrington, who presented to the Royal Society a series of papers on |. subject, which induced the President and Council to apply to the Earl of Sandwich, then First Lord of the Admiralty, to obtain His Majesty’s sanction for the fitting out an expedition for that service. The proposal meeting with the countenance of His Majesty, two ships, the Race-horse and the Carcase bombs, were equipped accordingly; the former under the orders of Captain Constantine John Phipps, (afterwards Lord Mulgrave,) who was appointed commander of the expedition; the
latter under those of Captain Skeffington Lutwidge.
They sailed from the Nore on the 10th of June, 1773 and on the evening of the 27th, reached the latitude of the south part of Spitzbergen. On the fifth of July, they, fell in with the main body of the ice, which stretches across from Spitzbergen to Greenland, and commenced looking for an opening by which they
might pass through. The ice was examined from east to west for above ten degrees, but without success; and Captain Phipps now “began to conceive that the ice was one compact, impenetrable body.” After reeated further attempts, the ships were beset in the ice, which soon began to press it fast, being, in many places, forced higher than the main-yard, by the o: together of the pieces. With the assistance of the wind they were at length extricated; and, the season being now far advanced, they returned home. The ill success of this attempt did not cause the hopes of discovering a northern navigable communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to be abandoned. The Act of Parliament granting the reward of 20,000l. was altered so as to include His Majesty's ships, and to extend the condition of a passage through Hudson's Bay, to that of every northern passage; and a sum of 5,000l. was also awarded to an ; that approached within one degree of the K. ole. In 1776, Lieutenant Pickersgill was sent in the brig Lion, to examine the western shores of Basfin's Bay; but the result was unsuccessful. In the following year the same vessel was despatched, under Lieutenant Walter Young, on a similar service, and also to examine the practicability of a passage into the Pacific, in the hope of meeting Captain Cook, who was expected to be about that time engaged in attempting to pass from the Pacific into the Atlantic; but he returned without having accomplished any thing. The narrative of Hearne, whose journey down the Copper-mine River to the Arctic Sea we have already mentioned, was long regarded with mistrust; but a similar expedition, undertaken by Alexander Mackenzie, in 1789, in which he descended the river that now bears his name, and reached the Arctic Ocean considerably to the westward of the point at which Hearne arrived, served to give a stronger appearance of truth to this latter traveller's statements, and, by proving the existence of a sea to the north of America, to increase the probability of a North-West Passage. But the long and disastrous war which soon afterwards convulsed the whole of Europe, directed the skill and resources of the nation into another channel, and put an effectual stop to the progress of northern discovery.
EXPEDITIONS OF CAPTAINS ROSS AND BUCHAN.
No sooner, however, had peace been restored, than the attention of the British government was again drawn to this long-agitated question. The possibility of effecting a North-West Passage, became once more a fruitful source of debate, and was discussed with a keenness, and a regard to the results of former experience in estimating the probability of its success, that had rarely been evinced before. The reasons assigned in its favour were many and cogent. A perpetual current setting down from the northward, along the eastern shores of America and the western coast of Greenland, was said to afford a strong presumption, that between Davis’ Strait and the Great Polar Basin, there was an uninterrupted communication. The vast quantities of drift-wood floated down by this current, whose appearance frequently indicated that it had recently been in a growing state, and in a warmer climate, and whose substance denoted the produce of milder latitudes, was adduced as another powerful argument to the same effect. . A third, on which equal stress was laid, was derived from the fact, well known to those engaged in the Greenland fisheries, that whales which had been harpooned in the Spitzbergen Seas. and Davis’ Strait, have been caught in the Pacific' Ocean, on the western coast of America. The general trending of the northern coast of that continent, as indicated by the three points then known, Icy Cape, and the mouths of the Mackenzie and Copper-mine Rivers; the testimony of the native Indian maps; and the occurrence, in Greenland, of a species of heath which had never been found in America; were all regarded as additional grounds of the same supposition. The disappearance of a large quantity of ice from the Arctic Regions, and the removal of the icy barrier which was supposed to have, for four centuries, blocked up the eastern coast of Greenland, seemed to present an opportunity peculiarly favourable for the resumption of those labours which had been interrupted only b the political disturbances of Europe. It was resolve therefore, that two distinct expeditions should be fitted out and despatched; the one to proceed up Davis' Strait, for a considerable distance to the northward, and then, rounding the north-east point of the continent of America, to hold a westerly course, with the view of reaching Behring's Strait; the other, to proceed in a direction as due north as might be found practicable through the Spitzbergen Seas, and, in the event o finding an open Polar Basin, to pass across the Pole, and make for Behring's Strait also. Accordingly, four merchant-ships were hired and commissioned for this purpose; two of which, the Isabella, of 385 tons, commanded by o John Ross, and the Alerander, of 2524 tons, by Lieutenant
William Edward Parry, were destined for the NorthWest Passage; and the remaining two, the Dorothea, of 382 tons, commanded by Captain David Buchan,
and the Trent, of 2494 tons, by Lieutenant Jöhn Franklin, for the Polar route.
These vessels, having been most completely repaired and strengthened, so as to enable them the better to resist the pressure of the ice, and having been fitted with stores of every description for two years, dropped down the river on the 18th of April, 1818, and started for their respective destinations, with the most sanguine anticipations of success on the part of all on board, and with a confident expectation of obtaining the reward which the munificence of Parliament held out to them, in the event of a fortunate issue. Nor were the hopes of the public less eager; for never had an expedition departed from our shores, for the discovery of a northern communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, fitted out on so extensive a scale, or so completely equipped in every respect.
Early, however, in the month of October, the expedition under Captain Buchan had returned unsuccessful. The ships under his command had proceeded to about latitude 80° 30', when they were overtaken by a tremendous gale, which drove them direct into the ice, and so disabled the Dorothea, as to render it necessary for her to be sent home; and, as she was deemed unsafe to proceed alone, the Trent was obliged to accompany her.
SAILING THROUGH THE ICE,
The issue of the expedition under Captain Ross was less disastrous. The ships left Lerwick, in the Shetland Isles, on the 30th of April, and, passing Cape Farewell at a considerable distance to the south, fell in with the first iceberg on the 26th of May. Entering Davis’ Strait about midway between its opposite shores, they found the ice more abundant as they advanced; and their progress was soon impeded by firm masses of this substance, which compelled them to seek a course nearer to the eastern coast. The navigation now became remarkably intricate and dangerous; and some idea of the difficulties attendant upon it may be formed from the above copy of a sketch made by
DESCRIBED BY CAPTAIN ROSS.
Captain Ross, which represents a remarkable passage through the ice on the 16th of June. Nevertheless, these obstacles were all surmounted by the skill and perscverance of our enterprising navigators; and on the 17th they reached Waygat Island, where the observatory and instruments were landed, and several observations made. From hence, they continued coasting to the northward; and when in latitude 75° 54', were surprised to observe a party of Esquimaux approaching the ships over the ice, as they had passed the limits of what had been usually considered the inhabited part of Greenland.
[To be continued.]
o BENJAMIN B. PRICHARD, THE MAMMOTH MAN.
so We would recommend to those who are accustomed error. They will there see an American who bids
3 to look with contempt on every cis-Atlantic production, fair to rival, and indeed to excel, that most famous of to devote a few moments to a visit to the American all the great men of the old world, Daniel Lambert Museum where they will at once be convinced of their himself. In the same room they will also see the body
MY THO LOGY.
of a tree larger, we presume, than many of the transAtlantic dwellings. But more of this vegetable manmoth at another time; our object now is to describe the Kentucky Giant. Benjamin B. Prichard was 43 years of age on the 5th instant. His height is not remarkable, though quite passable, being 6 feet 2 inches without shoes; His present weight is 520 pounds; size round the breast, 5 feet 10 inches; round the abdomen, 6 feet 6 inches. In giving us the last named dimensions, he remarked, that he supposed he was larger still, but that even this was larger than he wanted to be. He is still growing, and, for aught we know, will yet be, as large as an elephant. At any rate, we advise those who think that every thing depreciates in America, to suspend judgment a few years, and then they will be better able to form a correct opinion. And we further advise such of them as are in this country to make all due speed home again, lest they become infected with the deteriorating-qualities of our hemisphere. Mr. Prichard was born in Harford county, Maryland; but at an early period of his life, removed with his parents to Mount Sterling, Montgomery county, Kentucky. He was bred to the occupation of a stonemason, in which he was engaged a number of years. At the age of 23, he had attained his natural size, weighing about 225 pounds; and being then more than 6 feet in height, must have been extremely well proportioned, and is said to have been a very handsome man. In re iy to a question put to him on one of our visits, whether he had ever been married, he replied, “No ; I have never had that bad luck. Being very handsome when I was young, the girls made such a fuss about me, that I concluded i would let them all go.” Being, however, still single, he is happy to receive a visit from the ladies at any time, whenever it may suit their convenience to call. At the age of about 23, his extraordinary increase in size began ; in consequence of which, he adopted a vegetable diet, but this only served to accelerate his growth, so that he at length resumed his former mode of living. He is however very abstemious, and takes daily exercise. His health has all along been excellent. In consequence of his extreme corpulency, he is under the necessity of sleeping with his head considerably elevated ; and during the night he is frequently awakened by an attendant, to prevent suffocation. The hero of our story is more of the real hero than the reader may at first suppose. He witnessed the tragic scene of Frenchtown, at the river Raisin. He was a private under Gen. Winchester on that occasion. He belonged to the 5th, or Col. Lewis's regiment, to Maj. Graves's battalion, and to Capt. Williams's company, half of which company were slaughtered. It was here that the Indians in the British service set fire to the building containing the American wounded, and thus, in true savage style, burnt them alive Prichard was among the faroured portion of our forces that were made prisoners, and marched nearly 300 miles to Fort George, where he suffered great hardships and privations; but through the interposition of some benevolent individuals, he was at length released on parole, and made his way back to Kentucky on foot. Mr. Prichard is a very pleasant, agreeable individual, easy of access, communicative, and open-hearted. His conversation is frequently enlivened by sallies of pleasantry, a specimen or two of which we have given in the foregoing description. He is therefore worth hearing as well as seeing; and those who have not yet paid him a visit, would do well to improve their opportunity of doing it while he remains in town. Mr. Prichard does not at present contemplate a visit to Europe, though we could almost wish he did; for we are persuaded that were they of the old world but once to see him, whatever they may think of our lions and tigers, they would be persuaded that on the score of men, we are even with them.
The cut above represents the Ruler of the Waves in an attitude and condition somewhat different from the one in our last. . He is supported by two winged sea-horses. One of his feet is placed on the back of one of the horses, the other on the head of a dolphin between the horses, which, by intertwining their tails, form a kind of pillow, the ends of which being opened and spread, form a seat for his Marine Majesty. in his left hand he holds as usual his trident. “Neptune and Apollo, by Jupiter's command, were forced to serve Laomedon, in building the walls cf Troy, because he and some other gods had plotted against Jupiter. Then he took Amphitrite to wife, who refused a long time to hearken to his courtship; but at last, by the assistance of a dolphin, and by the wer of flattery, he gained her. To recompense this indness, the dolphin was placed among the stars, and made a constellation. Amphitrite had two other names; Salacia, so called from salum, the sea, or the salt water, towards the lower part and bottom of the sea; and Venilia, from veniendo, because the sea goes and comes with the tide, or ebbs and flows by turns. “During the Trojan war, Neptune was once sitting on a woody mountain-top, in the islé" of Samos, and looking from afar at the combat. He was very angry at Jupiter because he suffered the Trojans to be victorious. "Descending from the mountain, which trembled under his feet, he made three steps forward, and with the fourth he was in Aege, where, in the deep of the sea, was his palace. There he mounted his chariot, and drove in so rapid a course over the waves, that the brazen axle of his chariot remained untouched by the water. All the hosts of the sea rose to hail their king, and the waves on both sides of the chariot fell back in awful respect. “Neptune was esteemed the president over horseraces. At his altar in the Circus at Rome, games were instituted, in which they represented the ancient Romans by violence carrying away the Sabine women. His altar was under ground, and sacrifices were offered to him by the name of Consus, the god of counsel; which for the most part ought to be given privately ; and therefore the god Consus was worshipped in an obscure and private place. The solemn games Consualia, celebrated in the month of March, were instituted in honour of Neptune. At the same time, the horses left working, and the mules were adorned with garlands of flowers. , Hence it also happens, that the chariot of Neptune is drawn by hippocampi, or seahorses, as well as sometimes by dolphins. “Poetic as well as plastic art does indeed represent the king of the waters in a similar majesty with Jupiter; but still the expression of power and sublimity always appears subordinate in the former. It is not that quiet, eminent power which commands with the brow of the eye, which clears up the sky with a smile, and which is but seldom prompted to grow angry, because it is in the least degree restrained. On the contrary, with Neptune; the expression of anger, and wrath is prevailing. He chides the winds, which, at the instigation of Juno, had ruffled the waves of the sea without his consent; and his expressive ‘Quos ego to with which he threatens and overawes them, has, even in modern times, been frequently recurred to by plastic art, with the view of exhibiting his character in an appropriate representation.”
ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. [Continued.] It is now our business to discover in which of these it actually did happen; which being discovered, and eight years added thereto, will give the precise period of the foundation of the Tultecan empire, which arose from the ruins of Amaguemecan or Anahuac. It could not have been in the first period, for this would fall on the sixth year after Wotan’s arrival at Rome, nor in the second, for if ninety years, the duration of Amaguemecan, be added to two hundred and thirty-three, on which the year one flint falls, these added together would make three hundred and twenty-three years, and as Wotan was at Rome in two hundred and ninety-one, the colony would thereby be dated thirty-two years before his arrival there; which is not satisfactory for many obvious reasons. From hence it may be concluded that the true epoch of the fall of Amaguemecan, and the consequent peregrination of the Tultecas or Chichimecas, is that in which the Mexican year one flint corresponds with the year one hundred and eighty-one before Christ, because, if the ninety years assigned as the duration of Amaguemecan be added thereto, they will make two hundred and seventy-one. The result therefore is, that the date of the colony will be two hundred years after Votan’s arrival, or six years before the first Punic war; the decree of the recal by the Carthagenians will appear to have been promulgated thirty-eight years before the second war commenced, thirty-one years before the third war broke out, and thirty-four years before the destruction of Carthage. The continual wars waged by Carthage during this interval against the Romans and Numidians, deprived it of any opportunity of avenging the affront of its rejected decree, and chastising the disobedience of its American subjects. Boturini concurs with this epoch; he was well acquainted with the figures, symbols, characters, songs,
and manuscripts of the Indian authors, and in the Tuktecan history he found that above a hundred years before Christ, they had observed in their ancient country Huehuetlapallan the excess of nearly six hours in the solar, over the civil year, which they regulated by adding an intercalary day to every fourth ear. y Claviger speaking of the idol Quetzalcoatl (a name signifying a snake covered with feathers) the god of the air, says, the Mexicans believed this deity had been the chief priest of Tula, the capital of Tulteca, and that he was of a white complexion, tall, and corpulent, with a broad forehead, large eyes, long black hair, and a thick beard; a man of austere and exemplary life, clothed in long garments from a sense of modesty, of a most gentle and prudent disposition, which showed itself in the laws he enacted for the good of the people; added to which, he was very expert in the arts of melting metals, and of polishing precious stones, which he taught the Tultecas. * Tescatlipoca, the god of providence, or more correctly speaking the providence of god, or god in our acceptation, being desirous of withdrawing Quetzalcoatl from Tula, appeared to him under the form of an old man, stating it was the will of the gods that he should go to the kingdom of Tlapalla to obtain immortality; he then gave him a certain liquor to drink, which i: had no sooner swallowed, than he felt so anxious a desire to repair thither, that he set out immediately, accompanied by many of his subjects. Passing by Cholula he was detained by the inhabitants, who conferred the government upon him, which he retained for twenty years; being still resolved upon continuing his journey to Tlapalla (which Clavigero supposes to be an imaginary place) and having proceeded as far as the province of Coatzacoalco, he despatched four noble youths who attended him, to acquaint the Cholultecas that he would afterwards return and render them happy. Doctor Liguenza believes this Quetzalcoatl was the apostle Saint Thomas, who preached the gospel to them, and he maintains this position with much learning in a work mentioned by Betancourt, and doctor Eguiara in the Biblioteca Mexicana, among others, supports a similar opinion. This work was unfortunately lost through the negligence of his heirs; he therein drew a comparison between the name which Saint Thomas bore, viz. Didymus, signifying twin, and Quetzalcoatl, compounded of the words Quetzalli a precious stone, and Coatl twin, a precious twin. This agrees admirably well with the time fixed in the narrative of Boturini, which mentions a regulation of the calendar to have taken place at Huehuetlapallan, upwards of a hundred years before the kingdom of Amaguemecan was destroyed. If this epoch be adopted, it will be obvious that there was ample time for the kingdom of Tulteca to become well established after its foundation in the year eight reed, agreeing with one hundred and seventy-four years before Christ so that it had o existed more than two hundred years before Saint Thomas announced the gospel to that people. The kingdom of Tlapallan was not an imaginary one as Clavigero supposed, and the route taken by Quetzalcoatl from Cholula to Coatzacoalco, in the absence of all other proofs, is sufficient to show that it was not situated to the northward of Mexico, but to the south east. Huehuetlapallan is a compound name of two words, Huehue, old, and Tlapallan, and it seems the Tultecas prefixed the adjective to distinguish it from three other places which they founded in the districts of their new kingdom, to perpetuate their attachment, to their ancient country, and their grief at being expelled from the same; whence it arose that the place which formerly had the simple name of Tlapallan, was afterwards denominated Huehuetlapallan; at east so says Torquemada. :