Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.


  ’Midst the foaming of the breakers and the howling of the storm,
  ’Midst the crashing of the timbers, stood a solitary form;
  He thought upon his distant home, then raised his look on high,
  And thought upon another home—­a home beyond the sky. 
  Sublimer than the elements, his spirit was at rest,
  And calm as if his little one was nestling on his breast.


  In agony they watched him, as each feature grew elate,
  As with folded arms and fearless mien lie waited for his fate;
  Now seen above the breakers, and now hidden by the spray,
  As stealthily, yet surely, heaved the ocean to its prey. 
  A fiercer wave rolled onward with the wild gust in its wale,
  And lifeless on the billows lay the Captain of the Drake.



[16] Marshall’s Naval Biography.


In the year 1824, notwithstanding the repeated failures which had attended the expeditions to the Polar Seas, the British government determined to make another attempt to discover a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; for this purpose Captain, now Sir Edward Parry was appointed to the command of the Hecla, and a second vessel was commissioned by Captain Hoppner, who was directed to put himself under the orders of the beforenamed officer.

The vessels being fully equipped and furnished with provisions and stores for two years, sailed from England on the 16th of May.  Their progress had been unexpectedly slow, from the quantity and magnitude of the ice, which had kept the people constantly employed in heaving, warping, or sawing through it, so that they did not arrive at the entrance of Lancaster Sound until nearly the middle of September.

There was no doubt that the more than ordinary difficulties which they encountered in crossing the barrier of ice in Baffin’s Bay was owing to a season of very unusual severity; indeed, Captain Parry was of opinion, that but for Phillips’s capstan, the Hecla and Fury would have been obliged to winter in the middle of Baffin’s Bay.

The season was now too far advanced to give any hopes of the ships being able to penetrate to the westward, according to their instructions, during the present year; Captain Parry determined, therefore, to push on as far as the present season would permit, and devote the whole of the next summer to the fulfilment of the object of the expedition.

It is not our intention to enter into a detailed description of the many difficulties which they met in their passage; it is enough to say that their toils were incessant, and nothing but the most unwearied vigilance and perseverance could have prevented the ships being materially damaged by the enormous pressure of the ice.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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