being the Narrative of an Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin in the Years 1860, 1861, and 1862. By Harper and Brothers.. With Maps and One Hundred Illustrations. New York :
THIS book, with the Preface written on board the bark Monticello, June 30, 1864, when the writer was again bound for the Arctic regions, is in some respects the most remarkable account yet rendered to us of life and experiences near the North Pole. The purpose of the undertaking was to find something yet more satisfactory with regard to the fate of the hundred and five men who accompanied Sir John Franklin. Mr. Hall was convinced that life among the Esquimaux was possible, and that in no other way could trustworthy information be obtained from them. His indomitable spirit in pursuing this object is beyond praise. He could not be daunted. The result of this three-years’ sojourn was the discovery of relics of the Frobisher expedition, by which the possibility of discovering news, at least, of the men of Franklin’s expedition was made dear. The unfortunate loss of his expedition-boat made the journey to Boothia and King William’s Land impossible ; but Mr. Hall’s prolonged existence during nearly three years among the “ Innuits ” determined his immediate departure again for those regions as soon as he could return and be properly fitted out for a second trip from the “ States.”
In this naïve history we learn to look at life from the Esquimaux point of view. Mr. Hall’s sympathetic nature fitted him for this difficult task ; and having accomplished it well, he is enabled, by his vivid descriptions, to invite the reader to see what he saw, and to sit by the “ Innuit ” fireside. We must confess, however, it is looking at the world front a very blubber-y point of view; but since it is in the cause of science and humanity, we rise from the reading, which is extremely interesting, with a high respect for Mr. Hall and renewed faith in the result of his undertaking.
In so short a space there is no room for extracts, yet without them we can give little idea of the simple, picturesque character of the narrative. Mr. Hall took the Innuits by the hand as brothers, not as savages, and the result is large because of his wisdom.