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it was curious no sledges were found at
the place. I replied that the boat was
likely fitted with sledge-runners that screwed
on to it. The natives answered, that sledges
were noticed with the party of whites
when alive, and that their tracks on the ice
and snow were seen near the place where
the bodies were found. My answer then
was, That they must have burnt them for
fuel; and I have no doubt but that the kegs
or cases containing the ball and shot must
have shared the same fate.

Had there been no bears thereabouts to
mutilate those bodiesno wolves, no foxes? is
asked; but it is a well-known fact that, from instinct,
neither bears, wolves, nor foxes, nor that
more ravenous of all, the glutton or wolverine,
unless on the verge of starvation, will touch
a dead human body; and the carnivorous
quadrupeds near the Arctic sea are seldom
driven to that extremity.

Quoting again from the article on the lost
Arctic voyagers. "Lastly, no man can with
any show of reason undertake to affirm that
the sad remnant of Franklin's gallant band
were not set upon and slain by the Esquimaux

This is a question which like many
others is much more easily asked than
answered; yet I will give my reasons
for not thinking, even for a moment,
that some thirty or forty of the bravest
class of one of the bravest nations in the
world, even when reduced to the most
wretched condition, and having firearms and
ammunition in their hands, could be
overcome by a party of savages equal in
number to themselves. I say equal in number,
because the Esquimaux to the eastward
of the Coppermine, seldom, if ever, collect
together in greater force than thirty men,
owing to the difficulty of obtaining the
means of subsistence. When Sir John Ross
wintered three years in Prince Regent's
Inlet, the very tribe of Esquimaux who
saw Sir John Franklin's party were
constantly or almost constantly in the
neighbourhood. In the several springs he
passed there, parties of his men were travelling
in various directions; yet no violence was
offered to them, although there was an immense
advantage to be gained by the savages
in obtaining possession of the vessels and their

In eighteen hundred and forty-six-seven
I and a party of twelve persons wintered at
Repulse Bay. In the spring my men were
divided and scattered in all directions; yet
no violence was offered, although we were
surrounded by native families, among whom
there were at least thirty men. By murdering
us they would have put themselves in
possession of boats and a quantity of cutlery
of great value to them. In the same spring,
when perfectly alone and unarmed, except
with a common clasp knife, which could
have been of no use, I met on the ice four
Esquimaux armed with spear and bow and
arrow. I went up to them, made them
shake hands; and, after exchanging a few
words and signs, left them. In this case
no violence was used; although I had a
box of astronomical instruments on my back,
which might have excited their cupidity.
Last spring, I, with seven men, was almost
in constant communication with a party
four times our number. The savages
made no attempt to harm us. Yet wood,
saws, daggers, and knives were extremely
scarce with them, and by getting possession
of our boat, its masts and oars, and the
remainder of our property, they would have
been independent for years.

What appears to me the most conclusive
reason for believing the Esquimaux report, is
this: the natives of Repulse Bay, although
they visit and communicate for mutual advantage
with those further west, both dislike
and fear their neighbours, and not without
cause; as they have behaved treacherously
to them on one or two occasions. So
far do they carry this dislike, that they
endeavoured, by every means in their power,
to stimulate me to shoot several visitors to
Repulse Bay, from Pelly Bay, and from near
Sir John Ross's wintering station in Prince
Regent's Inlet.

Now, is it likely that, had they possessed
such a powerful argument to exciteas they
expected to domy anger and revenge as the
murder of my countrymen, would they not
have made use of it by acquainting me with
the whole circumstances, if they had any such
to report?

Again, what possible motive could the
Esquimaux have for inventing such an awful
tale as that which appeared in my report to
the secretary of the Admiralty. Alas! these
poor people know too well what starvation is,
in its utmost extremes, to be mistaken on
such a point. Although these uneducated
savageswho seem to be looked upon by
those who know them not, as little better
than brutesresort to the "last resource"
only when driven to it by the most dire
necessity. They will starve for days before
they will even sacrifice their dogs to satisfy
the cravings of their appetites.

One or two facts are worth a hundred
theories on any subject. On meeting some
old acquaintances among the natives at
Repulse Bay, last spring, I naturally enquired
about others that I had seen there in eighteen
hundred and forty-six and forty-seven.
The reply was, that many of them had died
of starvation since I left, and some from a
disease which, by description, resembled influenza.
Among the party that died of
starvation was one man whom I well knew
Shi-makeckand for whom I enquired by
name. I learnt that this man, rather than
endure the terrible spectacle of his children
pining away in his presence, went out and
strangled himself. Another, equally well

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