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are bound for."

Knight and Maurer believed, on the basis of their arctic experience, that living by hunting would be easy on Wrangell Island. This was an inevitable view for men who had taken part in our expedition of 19131918, where we repeatedly staked our success and lives on the proposition that it is safe to travel ahead over unknown seas and unknown lands (i.e. lands which we ourselves discovered), relying upon game for both food and fuel. In Wrangell Island fuel is abundantly supplied by driftwood, so that the fat of the animals killed need not be used for fuel and could, therefore, be saved for food. Furthermore, Maurer had the specific knowledge gained in six months of residence, and on that basis a sure confidence.

I never knew exactly what outfit was purchased in Seattle and Nome. We had had general discussions in which we agreed that ammunition and hunting appliances should be paramount. Of all these the most important single item would be a skin boat, an almost indispensable thing for securing walrus where the ice is thickly packed. Apart from that, I merely gave the boys all the money I had, telling them to use it as they considered best, for their expedience and theories of the Arctic were the same as mine. I did point out that, since both the money and the carrying capacity of the schooner they would hire would be limited, it would be well to avoid purchasing tinned fruits, vegetables or meat, for these are costly, bulky and heavy. I also suggested that they should carry sugar only if they wanted to do so as a luxury. Of course, sugar is a good food; but it has a nutritive effect about equivalent to animal fat and, since the animals known to frequent Wrangell Island have proportionally more fat than lean, it would be better to buy some other thing than sugar to supplement the hunting diet.

On arrival at Nome the party chartered the small auxiliary schooner Silver Wave. In spite of all efforts at secrecy they had to tell the

Last edit about 2 months ago by Samara Cary
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captain where they were going, for he would not sail otherwise. The project up to that time had been so mysterious that it appears no one in Nome believed them when they announced Wrangell as their destination. The story had got abroad that on our previous expedition we had discovered gold somewhere to the east of Point Barrow and the popular view remained, in consequence, that the journey was headed east. But they did sail straight for Wrangell Island September 9th and got there on the 15th without seeing a piece of ice on the way. The schooner was in so much hurry to return that there was time only for very brief letters after the party landed. I quote Crawford under dates of September 15th and 16th, 1921:

"(Wrangell Island) resembles in outline and color the country around Lewiston, Idaho. There is snow on the highest hills (only). Have as yet seen not a single ice cake . . . . Finished unloading 11 P.M. Raised flag and issued proclamation of which I enclose two copies (reaffirming British rights). Next year bring a phonograph and records, as we had no time to get one . . . . Fox and bear tracks abundant. Also bring Literary Digest, an assay outfit and explanatory books - may be placer gold . . . Lots of grazing for reindeer. Everyone seems very contented."

In another part of the letter Crawford calls attention to the grocery and hardware bills which he is sending to our office and which will show how much food they have taken and will indicate what we ought to send in or omit next year. But it is interesting that the only three things he specifically asks us to send to Wrangell next year are a phonograph, the Literary Digest and an assay outfit.

Knight's comments on Wrangell Island were to the effect that game signs were very abundant, driftwood plentiful, beautiful grasslands sloping away from the beach, the weather milder than he had expected for that season of the year (September 15th) with daily sunshine and snow

Last edit about 2 months ago by Samara Cary
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only on the distant mountains, and that "we have a good outfit."

The Silver Wave sailed away from Wrangell Island after hurried unloading that took only a few hours. We did not hear anything from the party that winter and we did not expect to. They could have crossed the hundred miles of ice to the Siberian mainland but we had agreed that they were not to do this, for there would be no point in it from our side and it would only emphasize to the Russians or the Japanese, whichever might be in control on the mainland, that Wrangell Island was being occupied. We hoped the world would forget all about us and that the Russians and Japanese had never heard about us at all.

We did expect to communicate with the party the summer of 1922. But the arguments for the value of Wrangell Island, which seemed so lucid and convincing to me, produced little effect when I presented them at Ottawa. Part of the trouble was that there had been a change of government and that the work of converting a Cabinet had to be done all over again. According to the theories held by the party on Wrangell and by myself, they were quite safe. Still, I tried my best to get money from the Government to send in a supply ship, for there were the possibilities of illness and accident. I had spent the previous year all the money I had and during the current winter I had been paying into a bank wages for the men on the island. This had taken my income and, as I had no property to sell or pledge, I was powerless. I thought from day to day that the Government would surely do something, but finally it was getting so late that I went in desperation to a personal friend with a plea of life and death and borrowed three thousand dollars without security. This enabled me to charter the Teddy Bear, under command of an old acquaintance, Captain Joseph Bernard. She made a faithful attempt to get in to Wrangell Island but was handicapped by starting a month

Last edit about 2 months ago by Samara Cary
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too late (because of the difficulty in financing - the Canadian Government eventually voted some money which, although it was used, came too late to affect the sailing date). We know now that the ice conditions were such as not only to prevent the Teddy Bear from getting to the island but also to make it clear to the party on the island that no ship could come through. In my mind I pictured them sitting on the hilltops day by day watching eagerly for a sail. But their diaries show that they took the situation more philosophically. The ice was there to relieve them of the feeling that they were being neglected by their friends of the outside world.

The winter of 1922-23 I thought there was about an even chance of getting news from Wrangell. My instructions had been that the party might use their discretion the second winter. If they liked, they could stay on the island or, if they preferred, some or all of them could cross by dog team to the Siberian mainland and proceed to Bering Straits, whence they could send out a wireless message with whatever report they desired. I had said that the expense of this journey was the argument against it but that if for homesickness or any other reason that seemed to them adequate they cared to come out, they might do so. When no news came I was rather pleased, for I took it to mean things were going smoothly on the island and that the party were not homesick.

In May, 1923, the new Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable W. L. Mackenzie King, gave me the opportunity to present to his Cabinet my general views of the future of the Arctic and my special recommendations with regard to Wrangell Island. Apparently their conclusion was that, while the program I advocated seemed important and that while the particular item of retaining Wrangell Island seemed advisable, it was not equally clear that Wrangell Island was or ought to be a part of Canada. I never received

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definite information on the point, but my judgment was that the majority of the Cabinet probably thought that Wrangell Island, for the time being at least, should be considered a part of the Empire without being a part of Canada. The action they took was to ask me to go to London and present the same case in the same way to the British Government, or at least to those members of the Imperial Cabinet who seemed directly concerned.

When I got to England I found that some at least of the members of the Imperial Cabinet considered it important to take at once foresighted action with regard to the approaching development of the polar regions, and particularly with regard to Wrangell Island, but that the Government as a whole and the nation were obsessed with the tense home and foreign problems of unemployment, Russia, the Rhur Ruhr and France. The feeling appeared to be in Ottawa that Wrangell Island was an Imperial concern; but in London it was looked upon as a Canadian concern and it was desired to postpone action until the Canadian Prime Minister should come to London in the autumn to take part in the Imperial Conference.

The season of navigation in the Arctic north of Bering Straits in an average year will be from late July to late September. Our party were now in their second year of isolation. With my view of the food resources of the polar regions and my confidence in the men themselves, I had not been greatly worried for their safety up till now. But I considered that facing a third winter, the question was becoming definitely one of life and death. My private resources had been spent, my wealthy personal friends were mostly in the United States where I have lived all my life, and it did not seem to them that they should be called upon to assist me in an enterprise the whole bearing of which was so entirely British. The Canadians seemed to feel that the British ought to do something, and the British evidently

Last edit about 2 months ago by Samara Cary
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