COLLINSON’S ARCTIC JOURNEY
This account, somewhat enlarged, has been written up by an�other hand than Stockton’s and published for a very large audi�ence, the readers of Scribner’s Magazine, April, 1891. The value of all journeys to remote regions depends primarily on the fidel�ity and accuracy with which the account of such voyages may be written. No one who knows Redmi, or who has heard its personal account, doubts that it has rather under�stated than exaggerated the circumstances of his voyage. It is therefore with a feeling of very great disappointment that every well informed reader must have perused the opening paragraphs, which are incorrect in statement and most unjust by inference to the gallant predecessors of Commander Stockton. The article, entitled “Where the Ice never Melts,” begins as follows : ” Two score years ago�it was in August, 1850�a vessel lay at anchor far to the north, beyond the Arctic circle. To the south of her rose a lofty cone-shaped island ; to the north, to the east, to the west, beyond the narrow lane of open water wherein she lay, stretched for untold miles the blue ice, that, hard as granite, yields nothing to the blaze of the sun. Above her was the gray Arctic sky, colder even to behold than the blue ice itself. All around was the silence of the far north�the terrible Arctic silence that drives men mad with the longing for some sound. Only the coming and going of the vessel’s crew gave life to the scene. “The vessel was Her Britannic Majesty’s ship Investigator, Captain McClure ; the place was the month of the great river Mackenzie ; the island was that named in honor of the famous astronomer, Sir William Herschel. ” For nearly two score years no vessel crossed the waters of Mackenzie bay. Herschel island, unvisited for more than a generation, was but a name on the maps. At last one summer drove back the ice farther than before in forty years, and the west wind helped it, and then through the narrow lanes of water and through the shifting ice came nine vessels, eight of them dingy craft�whaling vessels�but the other a trim ship, whose sails were white, whose metal-work shone, from whose peak flut�tered the stars and stripes�the United States steamer Thetis, commanded by Lieutenant - Commander Stockton, the first man-of-war that ever reached Herschel island, the first vessel ever to fly in that lonely place the flag of the United States.” The Arctic voyage made by the late Captain (afterwards Ad�miral) Sir Richard Collinson in H M S Enterprise, from 1851 to 1854, was perhaps, everything considered, the most successful expedition made in Arctic research prior to the use of steam. Collinson passed point Barrow in 1851 and wintered for that season in Walker bay (71� 35’ N., 170� 39’ W.), on Prince Albert land, to the east of Bank’s or Baring’s land. The next season, 1852-3, he wintered in Cambridge bay (69� 3’ N., 105� 12’ W.). He left. Cambridge bay in the summer of 1853, on August 10, and on September 15 reached Camden bay, near Flaxman island, between the Mackenzie and point Barrow.