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To the Arctic by Canoe 1819-1821

To the Arctic by Canoe 1819-1821: The Journal and Paintings of Robert Hood, Midshipman with Franklin

Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    To the Arctic by Canoe 1819-1821
    Book Description:

    When supplies ran out, the return trek across the Barrens became one of the most tragic incidents in the history of Arctic exploration. Robert Hood was one of those who perished on this trip. Weakened by starvation, he was shot through the head by a member of the party turned cannibal. A highly sensitive and educated man with a painter's eye for detail, Hood was an astute observer of the political and social ways of the North. The journal reveals his awareness, unusual in his time, of the adverse effects on Native peoples and their environment of the coming of the Europeans. Hood's paintings capture the beauty as well as the harshness of the North. His bird paintings in particular are of special artistic and historical interest.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6491-6
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword (pp. xv-xvi)
    W. O. Kupsch

    A REVIVAL OF GEOGRAPHICAL EXPLORATION FOLLOWED THE CESSATION of the Napoleonic wars in the early nineteenth century, when there were still some large unmapped regions in Africa and the Arctic, both lands of extreme though opposite climates. The stories of the many discoveries during that time are more often than not those of Great Britain and its distant colonial lands. The fruits of this second blooming of discovery were to be gathered not only by geography, but by the sciences, literature, and the arts as well.

    Samuel Hearne, in July 1771, was the first European to descend to the mouth...

  5. Preface (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Acknowledgements (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Previous Use of Portions of Hood’s Journal (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Introduction (pp. xxiii-3)

    ROBERT HOOD, THE SECOND SON OF THE REVEREND RICHARD HOOD, LL.D., was born in 1797. He was educated in the town of Bury, Lancashire, eight miles north of Manchester.

    At fourteen, Hood became a midshipman, the first step in the training of a naval officer. One of his duties on ship was to keep a log; two of these books are still in the possession of his family. The first records his service from 28 August 1811 to 23 August 1812 on the famed frigate,H.M.S. Imperieuse, then under command of Captain Henry Duncan, and the second, spanning the period...

  9. 1 Gravesend to York Factory (pp. 4-19)

    On the 23rd of May, 1819, the expedition embarked on board the Honourable Hudson’s Bay Company’s ship,Prince of Wales, and weighed in company with theEddystoneship, and theWear, brig.¹ We anchored with the flood tide having an easterly wind; and arriving on the 24th at the Great Nore were detained by a fresher gale than is usually experienced in England at this season.² After a delay of several days, we reached Yarmouth, where we landed, to provide ourselves with some necessaries, which had been overlooked in the hurry of our departure from Gravesend. While thus occupied, the...

  10. 2 York Factory to Cumberland House (pp. 20-41)

    The first few days after our arrival [30 August 1819], were fully occupied by consultation with such persons at the factory as were capable of giving advice on the best route for the prosecution of our undertaking. At length, Mr. Franklin determined to proceed to Cumberland House, by the rivers affording communication; to winter at that place, and, in the spring of 1820, to commence our journey towards the Arctic Sea. Accordingly, the stores and men were landed, and lodged in the factory. Persons were employed to fit up a boat, and prepare necessaries for the journey. Our endeavours to...

  11. 3 Cumberland House and Pasquia Hills (pp. 42-69)

    The arrival of the Expedition having been wholly unexpected at Cumberland House, we were not accommodated without difficulty, but our men were immediately employed to prepare a house for our reception, within the stockades, which had been partly erected in the summer. It was built of wood, the interstices being choked up with mud, and the roof boarded. The chimneys were made of stones, and the windows of moose skin parchment. Our tardy people were a month in completing it, and it proved rather too airy for this climate. We kept the chimneys in a constant blaze, notwithstanding which our...

  12. 4 Account of the Cree Indians (pp. 70-89)

    The North American Indians, called indifferently Knistineaux, Crees, and Southern Indians,¹ inhabit the country from Churchill and York Factory to the head of the Saskashawan, being there bounded by several of the Rocky Mountain tribes, and towards the southeast their language is spoken almost to the boundaries of Canada.² They do not reside in the country to the northward of the Athapescow Lake, where they are intermixed with the Chepewyans. The numbers occupying this prodigious space are exceedingly small.³ In describing them, however, a general view is given of the manners and pursuits of all the neighbouring tribes. The same...

  13. 5 The Buffalo, Climate, Aurora Borealis, Magnetic Phenomena (pp. 90-103)

    The dimensions of a large male buffalo were as follows. The height of the hump, or boss from the ground, 5 feet 11 inches, and the length from the horns to the insertion of the tail, 9 feet. The length of the fore leg was 2 feet 3 inches and of the hind leg, 2 feet 5 inches. The head was 1 foot 2 inches in length, and 1 foot 8 inches in breadth, between the roots of the horns, which are not more than 1 foot 2 inches in length, and form about 60° of a circle. The neck...

  14. 6 Cumberland House to Fort Chipewyan (pp. 104-121)

    We soon found that canoes were not calculated to brave rough weather on a large lake [Cumberland], for we were compelled to land on the opposite border, to free them from the water which had already saturated their cargoes. The wind became more moderate, and we were enabled, after traversing a chain of smaller lakes [Cross and Namew], to enter the mouth of the Sturgeon River, at sunset, where we encamped.¹ The lading of the canoes is always, if possible, carried on shore at night, and the canoes taken out of the water.

    At 3 a.m., June 13th [14th], we...

  15. 7 Fort Chipewyan to Fort Enterprise (pp. 122-143)

    Our present situation was discouraging, though not hopeless, and the traders had prognosticated that we should pass the winter at Fort Chepewyan. Mr.Franklin had engaged 12 Canadians in the service of the expedition, and caused two strong canoes to be built for him. But the men stipulated to be furnished with clothing, for which our small store was insufficient. The fort could not provide them with food for a single day, and they were scattered about the country, or fishing a scanty and uncertain meal from the lake, disgusted at so unpropitious a commencement of the enterprize. On us, they...

  16. 8 Fort Enterprize to Point Lake (pp. 144-154)
    Robert Hood

    On examination, we soon perceived our mistake with regard to the trees, many of which, though not more than 30 or 40 feet high, were two feet in diameter at the root. We fixed upon the top of the bank, which was flat and sandy, for the construction of our habitation. The beauty of the situation far exceeded our most sanguine expectations. Behind us, the ascent of the bank closed our view, but sheltered us from the northern winds. To the eastward was the lake which we had left, and to the westward, at the distance of three miles, appeared...

  17. [Illustrations] (pp. 155-155)
  18. EPILOGUE The Death of Hood (pp. 156-165)
    Dr. John Richardson

    On 4 June 1821, a party of fifteen voyageurs and eight Copper Indians, led by Dr. Richardson, set off from Fort Enterprize for the mouth of the Coppermine. Franklin, Back, Hood, Hepburn, and Wentzel left ten days later, accompanied by some of the voyageurs who had returned to aid them, two Eskimos, and two interpreters. They joined Richardson’s party on the shores of Point Lake, an expansion of the Coppermine River where the ice was still six or seven feet thick on 21 June. Here Dr. Richardson found the first recorded nest of the Eskimo Curlew. They travelled with difficulty...

  19. COMMENTARY Hood’s Paintings (pp. 166-188)

    Much as we appreciate the work of Hood’s pen, we are even more appreciative of the delicate sensitivity of his brush. He and George Back were the first artists to visit the Saskatchewan River, twentyseven years before Paul Kane. Hood’s artistic ability must have influenced, and may have been the deciding factor in, his appointment to the first Franklin expedition. Prior to the invention of photography, an artist, especially one whose landscapes were almost photographic in their reproduction of detail, was considered essential to the success of any major scientific expedition. Paintings also added to the interest and saleability of...

  20. [Illustrations] (pp. None)
  21. The Men of The First Franklin Expedition (pp. 189-206)

    JOHN FRANKLIN, Lieutenant. Born 16 April 1786, at Spilsby, Lincolnshire. Six weeks before his fourteenth birthday Franklin entered the Navy and only three weeks later participated in the naval battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1800, ‘the greatest victory ever gained’ by Nelson. He had his first taste of exploration when he served from 1801 to 1803 as midshipman under his cousin Captain Matthew Flinders, on a second exploration of the coastline of Australia. The attendant hazards of such explorations are of interest in comparison with later expeditions under Franklin’s command. Of the eighty officers and men, eight drowned when...

  22. Selected Bibliography (pp. 207-208)
  23. Index (pp. 209-217)