stefansson-wrangel-09-31-004r

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vii

PREFACE

This book has been written under difficulties that are
not ordinary. Crawford, Galle, Knight, Maurer and I
were friends and disciples of a common faith; two of them
had been with me on a former expedition through illness,
hunger and shipwreck. Now they are dead and I have
had to write their story. In that writing I found myself
continually handicapped by too strong a sympathy for
the aims of the work I was describing and too personal
an affection for the heroes of that stern adventure. Fear-
ing I might say too much, I have, I fear, said too little,
especially about the nobility and unselfishness of their
motives. They were patriots in the Canadian and the
Imperial sense through what they did; but in their minds
was a larger patriotism, for they believed in the coming
unification of the English-speaking peoples and thought
that whatever they might do either for the Empire or for
the United States they would be doing for both. They
were gallant adventurers in the Elizabethan meaning of
that word, pioneers whom we have all the more reason
to admire now that their frontier type is gradually disap-
pearing from every country under the softening influence
of our coddling civilization.

I was, then, handicapped in the writing of this book by
the fear that my sympathies might lead me into what
would seem over-zealous advocacy or intemperate praise.
Obsessed Preoccuiped, Engrossed by that fear,I have been led into the contrary
error of hiding my sympathies too well and writing as if
I did not myself see the heroism and glowing romance

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