The Journey to the Polar Sea, by John Franklin

 -  These men were short of stature but muscular, apparently
good-natured, and perfectly acquainted with the purpose for which they - Page 370
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These Men Were Short Of Stature But Muscular, Apparently Good-Natured, And Perfectly Acquainted With The Purpose For Which They Were Intended.

They had built themselves a snow-house on an adjacent island where they used frequently to sleep.

The following day I examined the pieces and to my great disappointment found them to consist of three kegs of spirits, already adulterated by the voyagers who had brought them, a keg of flour and thirty-five pounds of sugar, instead of sixty. The ammunition and tobacco, the two greatest requisites, were left behind.

I lost no time in making a demand from both parties and, though their united list did not furnish the half of what was required, yet it is possible that everything was given by them which could be spared consistently with their separate interests, particularly by Mr. McVicar who in many articles gave me the whole he had in his possession. These things were sent away immediately for Fort Enterprise, when an interpreter arrived with letters from Lieutenant Franklin which referred to a series of injurious reports said to have been propagated against us by someone at Fort Providence.

Finding a sufficiency of goods could not be provided at Moose-Deer Island I determined to proceed to the Athabasca Lake and ascertain the inclinations of the gentlemen there. With this view I communicated my intentions to both parties but could only get dogs enough from the North-West Company to carry the necessary provisions for the journey. Indeed Mr. Smith informed me plainly he was of opinion that nothing could be spared at Fort Chipewyan, that goods had never been transported so long a journey in the winter season, and that the same dogs could not possibly go and return; besides it was very doubtful if I could be provided with dogs there; and finally that the distance was great and could take sixteen days to perform it.

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