By the middle of the nineteenth century, the North-West Passage, a trade route from the Atlantic to the Pacific, had been sought for centuries without success. The Franklin expedition of 1845 became the latest victim, and Irish naval officer Sir Robert John Le Mesurier McClure (1807-73) took part in the attempts to ascertain its fate. His ship, H.M.S. Investigator, spent the years 1850-4 in the Arctic, and in the course of their search for the lost expedition, the crew discovered the North-West Passage. Upon his return to England, following the loss of the Investigator to pack ice, McClure handed over his journals to author and fellow officer Sherard Osborn (1822-75), who prepared this narrative of the pioneering expedition. First published in 1856, the work remains a compelling account of Arctic exploration, revealing how McClure and his men survived four forbidding winters.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Return of the Arctic squadron of 1848; 3. Slow sailing of the Arctic ships; 4. Voyage continued to Honolulu; 5. The Investigator gives up hope of meeting the Enterprise, and departs alone; 6. The narrative of Captain Maguire; 7. A thunder-storm, slow progress; 8. Approach to Cape Bathurst; 9. Cape Bathurst left; 10. Signs of a rapidly approaching winter; 11. Severe pressure on the ice; 12. New-Year's Day 1851; 13. Signs of summer increase; 14. The Investigator bears up, and goes round the south end of Banks Land; 15. The New Year, 1852; 16. The Enterprise; 17. Captain M'Clure proceeds to Melville Island to see Captain Kellett; 18. Gloomy prospect in the autumn of 1854; Appendix.