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(Maps 12 and 13.)


1. Position.-British America includes the northern half of the continent. With the exception of the United States territory of Alaska, and the Danish territory of Greenland, the whole mainland north of 49° and the great lakes, and the adjacent islands, belong to the British Crown. It is a truly noble DOMINION.

2. The total Area is nearly 3,000,000 square miles, i.e., an area nearly as large as Europe (3,900,000), and about thirty times as large as the British Islands.

3. The Boundaries are the Atlantic on the E.; Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, and the Arctic Ocean on the N.; Alaska and the Pacific on the W.; and the parallel of 49° N. lat., the great lakes, the S. Lawrence and an irregular line S. of it, on the S.

4. Coast-line.-The coast-line is very extensive, but a large part of it is of no commercial importance, owing, of course, to the climate.

a. CAPES.-The chief capes on the E. are Chudleigh and Charles, in Labrador; Race, in Newfoundland; Canso and Sable, in Nova Scotia. On the N., Walsingham, Liverpool, McClintock, and Bathurst may be mentioned. On the W., Cape Scott, at the N. end of Vancouver Island.

b. BAYS, &c.—In the N., among the islands, are several bays, sounds, channels, &c., named after the various navigators who wholly or partially explored them, the ships in which they sailed, &c. Thus we have Mackenzie Bay, Dolphin Strait, Coronation Gulf, Prince of Wales Strait, Banks Strait, Melville Sound, McClintock Channel, Barrow Strait, Lancaster Sound, Prince Regent Inlet, Gulf of Boothia, Fury and Hecla Strait, Fox Channel, Frobisher Bay (formerly supposed to be a strait leading to Fox Channel, and named after the Elizabethan navigator, Martin Frobisher), Cumberland Sound; and in the extreme N., Smith Strait and Kennedy Channel. The student must make out the position of these from the map; they are named from W. to E.

Of the more important it will be well to give a short account— (1.) BAFFIN BAY, named after the navigator who sailed round it in 1616, is between the West or British Greenland and Cockburn Island. Its northern prolongation is Smith Strait, famous as the passage by which attempts have been made to

reach the North Pole. Its western prolongations are Jones Sound, Lancaster Sound, &c.; and there are probably southern prolongations through Fox Channel to Hudson Bay. On the N. is Melville Bay. The bay was formerly much more noted for whale-fishing than it is now.

(2.) DAVIS STRAIT, named after an Elizabethan navigator, forms the entrance to Baffin Bay; but is rather a channel than a strait, as it is nearly as wide as the bay.

(3.) HUDSON STRAIT forms the entrance to Hudson Bay. At its western extremity is Southampton Island. It and the bay were named after HENRY HUDSON, who, in 1607-10, made three attempts to discover the NORTH-WEST PASSAGE, in the last of which he was abandoned by his crew and perished. Part of it is called Ungava Bay.

(4.) HUDSON BAY, a large mediterranean sea between Labrador and Rupert Land. It is connected with the Gulf of Boothia on the N., by Fox Channel and the Fury and Hecla Strait. Parts of it are Wager River, Chesterfield Inlet, and JAMES BAY.

(5.) GULF OF S. LAWRENCE, a large gulf at the mouth of the S. Lawrence, bounded on the N. by Quebec and Labrador; on the E. by Newfoundland, on the S. by Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, and on the W. by New Brunswick. It contains the islands ANTICOSTI, PRINCE EDWARD, and the French islands of S. Pierre and Miquelon. Parts of it are Chaleur Bay, Northumberland Strait, and the Gulf of Canso.

(6.) BAY OF FUNDY (140 × 45 m.), between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, may be compared with the Bristol Channel as to its high tides (from 30 to 60 ft.)

(7.) Queen Charlotte Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Sound and the mainland.


Now that we are studying the coast-line, it may be worth while to consider some few of the chief attempts to solve this problem in practical navigation. It is to the credit of Englishmen that, whether difficulties are near the pole or under the equator, they are the first to face and overcome them. Attempts to discover the N. W. Passage to Cathay (China) and India date back to the reign of Elizabeth. Spain and Portugal arrogated to themselves the way round the CAPE (1499), so nothing remained to English navigators but the way round the north of Europe and Asia or America. An attempt to find a way round the Old World led to the discovery of the White Sea, and opening of trade with Archangel (Sir Hugh Willoughby in 1553). But the chief efforts were made in the American direction; and after many futile enterprises, much suffering, and British heroism, the NORTHWEST PASSAGE was an accomplished fact in 1850, but it was otherwise barren of results. The following is a list of attempts :

i. Early Attempts :

1500. Gaspar de Costereal, a Portuguese noble, discovered Labrador and penetrated Hudson Strait.

1517. Sebastian Cabot.



1576-7-8. Three voyages of Martin Frobisher, a native of Doncaster. Frobisher Strait discovered. He went with two small barkes, of twentie and fyve-and-twenty tunne apeece." Full accounts are

given in old Hakluyt.

1585-6-7. Three voyages of John Davis. Davis Strait, and Cumberland Island and Strait discovered.

1607-10. Three voyages by Henry Hudson. Hudson Bay and Strait, named after him. In the last voyage he was abandoned by his crew. 1613. Bylot discovered Fox Channel.

1614. Bylot and Baffin pushed through Davis Strait, and explored Baffin Bay, as far as Smith Sound, 78° N. lat. 1631. James explored James Bay.

1741. Middleton explored Wager River, &c.

ii. The Expeditions of Ross and Parry :

1818. Captain JOHN ROSS and Lieut. PARRY sent by the British Government to examine Lancaster Sound. In the following year Parry alone discovered Cornwallis, Bathurst, and Melville Islands. Parry and his crew spent the winter on Melville Island, and attempted in vain to reach the Pacific next summer. He passed from the Gulf of Boothia to Fox Channel, and called the strait after his two ships, Fury and Hecla Strait. After this he returned to England, but in 1824 was allowed to try again whether Prince Regent Inlet led westward. He passed the winter at Port Bowen, in Cockburn Island. Next summer the Fury was lost in the ice, and Parry returned home in the Hecla, after three vain attempts. His furthest W. long. was 110°. 1829. Sir Felix Booth furnished the means for a new expedition, led by Capain John Ross. He remained two winters in the neighbourhood of Boothia Felix; discovered the Magnetic North Pole, in N. lat. 70° 5'; W. long. 96° 46′ 45′′; and being unable to extricate his vessels from the ice, returned to Hudson Bay in boats in 1832, and then to England in a whaler. As he had been given up for lost, his arrival caused universal joy. During the alarm, Captain, afterwards Sir George Back, was set out to find him, if possible. He wintered at the eastern end of the Great Slave Lake, and next summer descended the river now called Back River.

Meanwhile other attempts had been made by land.

iii. The Discovery by Franklin: the Franklin Search Expeditions. Lieut. FRANKLIN and Dr Richardson went from England in 1820, descended the Coppermine, and embarked on the Arctic Ocean in July 1821. They explored Coronation Gulf, and after suffering frightful hardships, under which many died, were compelled to


Beechey was sent round by Behring Strait, to meet Franklin, who descended the Mackenzie in 1825. A large part of the coast was explored, and Franklin advanced W. to within 9° of Beechey's furthest . 1838. Dease and Simpson were sent by the Hudson Bay Company to explore the part of the coast left by Beechey and Franklin.

1845. Sir JOHN FRANKLIN was again sent. His instructions were to proceed W. through Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait to Behring Strait. The Erebus and Terror, his two ships, were seen for the last

time in July, two months after he left England; and the remaining attempts to discover the North-West Passage became expeditions to discover Sir John Franklin, all of which were encouraged and countenanced by his brave wife, who is still alive.

1848. Sir John Richardson's and Dr Rae's expeditions. 1849. Sir James Ross.

1850. Admiral Collinson with the Enterprise, and Captain Maciure with the Investigator. The latter went through Behring Strait, and, on the 26th of October, while his ship was frozen up in Prince of Wales Strait, between Banks Sound and Prince Albert Land, he ascended a hill and saw over to Melville Sound, thus proving that there was a North-West Passage. His ship was lost on his voyage home, and he did not reach England until 1854. Admiral Collinson returned in 1855, having proved that Victoria, Prince Albert, and Wollaston Lands were connected, and bringing with him relics of the Erebus and Terror. Dr Rae had forestalled both these discoveries.

1857. Captain M'CLINTOCK (afterwards Sir Leopold) determined the unhappy end of Franklin's enterprise, and proved that to him even dead must be awarded the honour of having solved the NorthWest problem.

From 1860 to our own time attempts have been made to discover the NORTH POLE by Smith Sound and Kennedy Channel. The account we have been able to give here is very meagre, and the student will find many names not mentioned in this note, each of which has a history worth the telling. He will best master this account by drawing a good sketch-map of the Arctic Islands and mainland, and putting in it only the names of places mentioned, and the travellers by whom they were discovered, and the date.

We must not omit to say that many other expeditions were, and are still, from time to time, sent out by France, Germany, and the United States.


1. Unfortunately the whole continent of North America slopes towards the fierce blasts of the Arctic Ocean, resembling Asia in this respect. On this account not only the vast Arctic Highlands or Barren Grounds north of 60°, but also large portions of Labrador and Rupert Land, in about the same latitude as Shetland, are for ever barren. With the exception of British Columbia, which slopes W. and S., all the rest slopes N. or N.E., and the proud Dominion of CANADA is but the southern belt of British territory N. of 49°, with "boundaries not determined" towards the N. The whole territory is a vast network of rivers and FRESHWATER LAKES, presenting, in two or three cases, that peculiar feature of American physical geography-a river running or a lake discharging in opposite directions, according perhaps to winds or local rains.

2. Mountain Ranges.

A. British Columbia is the most mountainous part of the

Dominion. It includes part of the great western mountain and tableland system of the continent. There are a large number of longitudinal ranges; but the chief, beginning from the coast, are

(1.) The coast range, called in the N. SEA ALPS, and in the S. CASCADE RANGE—the former name because all English travellers are apt to call all high mountains alps (as in Australia, New Zealand, &c.), and the latter on account of the numerous waterfalls and rapids in the Fraser and Oregon or Columbia, where they break through the range. All the peninsulas and islands along this fiord coast are occupied by spurs from this range. The ranges in Graham, Moresby, and VANCOUVER islands may be considered as parallel secondary ranges to it.

(2.) The second range is also known by two names—PEAK MOUNTAINS, N. of the Fraser and Stuart, and SNOW MOUNTAINS or Gold Range, farther S. Both 1 and 2 may be considered as secondary ranges, as a gradual wave-like descent of the great range towards the Pacific. This gradual depression in three or more parallel ranges to the west is characteristic of the vast North American system.

(3.) The main ridge is called OREGON, ROCKY, or SHINING MOUNTAINS. The first name is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for marjorum, a plant which is abundant, and the second and third originated from the physical characteristics of the range. Formerly all the vast system at the Pacific side of the continent was roughly known as Rocky Mountains. The three highest summits are near the sources of the Athabasca and North Saskatchewan-viz., BROWN (16,000), HOOKER (15,700), MURCHISON (15,789), named respectively from a traveller, the celebrated botanist of the Hudson Bay Company, and the lamented geologist and President of the Geographical Society. Farther N. the range borders the left bank of the great river Mackenzie, and on the shores of the Arctic is known as the British Chain.

There are some minor ranges in the Hudson Bay territory. B. In the provinces of Ontario and Quebec we can distinguish two ranges.

(1.) A rugged watershed range between the Hudson Bay rivers and the S. Lawrence tributaries, called in some maps Laurentian or Laurentide Mountains; average height, 1300 ft.; some summits near Quebec 3000 ft. The range is remarkable for the numerous lakes it encloses (1000 have been surveyed). Dense forests of mixed white and red


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