« ForrigeFortsett »
I FEAR with the many of my cloth, my crime in writing a book will be an unpardonable one; the more so, that I cannot conscientiously declare, that it has been at the urgent desire of my friends, &c., that I have thus made my debût.
My motive is twofold, to tell of the doings of a screw steam vessel, the first ever tried in the Polar regions, and by a light readable description of incidents in the late search for Sir John Franklin, to interest the general reader and the community at large upon that subject. Without fear, favour, or affection, I have told facts as they have occurred; and I trust have, in doing so, injured no man.
A journal must necessarily be, for the most, a dry narration of facts; I have, therefore, thrown in here and there general observations and remarks founded upon such facts, rather than a dry repetition of them.
To the officers and men serving under my command, I can offer no higher compliment than, in having thus placed their severe and zealous labours before the public; and no professional reader who reads these “ Stray Leaves,” can fail, I am certain, to perceive how heavily must have fallen the labours here recounted upon the men and officers of the steam tenders, and how deep an obligation I their commander must be under to them for their untiring exertions, by which this, the first and severe trial of steam in the Arctic regions, was brought to a successful issue.
The “ Resolutes,” no doubt, will object to the round terms in which I have growled at the bluffbowed vessel it was my fate and now my pride to have towed so many miles in the Frozen Zone; but on second thoughts, I doubt not they will acquit me, for they will remember the joke was once on their side; and if I do not love their ship, at any rate I liked them.
To Lieutenant W. May and Mr. M ́Dougall, I am much indebted for their faithful sketches. I fear
letter press is unworthy of the companionship. To those who may accuse me of egotism in confining my remarks so much to the achievements of my own vessel, I have merely to say, that in doing so, I was best able to be truthful; but that I am fully aware that to the other screw steamer, the
Intrepid,” and my gallant friend and colleague Commander J. B. Cator, there fell an equal amount of labour; and that to all, ships as well as screws, there was an equal proportion of hardship, danger, and privation. I should indeed be forgetful as well as ungrateful, did I here fail to acknowledge the more than kindness and assistance I have ever experienced from my friend Mr. Barrow, a name past and present inseparably connected with our Arctic discoveries; so likewise I have to offer my thanks, heartfelt as they are sincere, to those who, like Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, and Captain Hamilton of the Admiralty, bade me speed, when sincerity and zeal was all I had to boast, and who dared to overlook the crime of youth, and granted to “ seven-and-twenty” the deference which “five-andfifty" alone can claim.
Richmond, Feb. 15. 1852.