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The Tibbs Reader: 1851

Elijah Pangborn and a woman.

Fort Conifer, 27th September, 1851.

SIR,— Having in my report, dated at the Pendleton River on the 10th June, and addressed to Sir A. von Klacik J. Grant, communicated the details and result of my spring journey over the ice, snow, and slippery little frosts along the Lankville Boreal Shores, I have now the honour to acquaint you that the boats expedition under my command, which visited the Great Polar Ocean this summer, arrived here yesterday in safety, but I regret to say without having gained any information of Sir J. Tibbs and party.

The morning of the 4th August being lusciously fine and clear, land was seen in one or two directions in which it had not been previously noticed, and bearings were taken of it. The islands were bereft of all flora and fauna although we did then discover a small satchel of groceries upon the shore of the nearer which did contain therein curious canisters of beans and many empty bottles of diverse spirits. The young ice did not thaw until after the tenth hour after which, by great perseverance, we made very tolerable progress. Working all night, and sometimes aided by the sails and the burner, at 7h. 15m. a.m., on the 5th, we landed on the Western shore of Heinish Bay, and after staying 3 hours again probed on; but the ice being thinner, and consequently more closely packed on the shore, we had great difficulty in making headway, and were at last obliged to wait the rise of the tide at a point in Krimpett Bay.

We remained here 3 hours, and had an interview with a party of Region Natives. Our interpreter, a Region Native named Whapcornuck had intercourse (verbal) with this tribe who did report the presence some time ago of a large white man holding a sphere to the heavens on many an occasion.  We then again commenced creeping along the shore, and had proceeded but a short distance when we did discover a rounded sphere of pine-wood which excited feverish interest and seemed to corroborate the account of these savages. In appearance it was remarkable– nigh so perfectly spherical as to appear other-worldly. It had a curious mark, resembling the letters “t” and “d” and apparently stamped upon one side, and at a few feet distant from the globe there was a bit of white line in the form of a loop nailed into a crude cross with two copper tacks. Both the line and the tacks bore the Ninth Republic Government mark, the broad arrow being stamped on the latter, and the former having a red worsted thread running through it.

We had not advanced a 1/2 mile when another sphere was discovered lying in the water, but touching the beach. This was a piece of oak, perhaps 9.0-9.5 inches in diameter and uniformly round. The sphere had the appearance of having been pushed into or through a clasp or band of iron, as there was a mark of 3 inches broad across it and small pocks and dents which circumnavigated the mysterious orb. And it was also discovered, quite nearby, the remaining part of a stanchion (as I suppose it to have been) which had been formed in a turning-lathe, and was 3 inches in diameter.

As there may be some difference of opinion regarding the direction from which these globes of wood came, it may not be out of place to express here my own opinion on the subject.

From the circumstance of the flood-tide coming from the northward, along the Eastern shore of Upper Craughing Land, there can be no doubt but there is a water-channel dividing Upper Craughing Land from The Northern Cloister, and through this channel I believe these globes have been carried along with the immense quantities of ice that a long continuance of northerly and north-easterly winds, aided by the flood-tide, had driven southward. I shall here opine that this same flood-tide carried forth the satchel of groceries. The ebb-tide not having power enough to carry these items back again against the wind, the large bay immediately S. of Medium Craughing Strait became perfectly filled with ice, even up to the S. shore of Northern Cloiser Land. Both orbs of wood appear to have come to shore about the same time, and they must have been carried in by the flood-tide that was at the time flowing on during the previous ebb ; for the simple reason, that although they were touching the beach they did not rest upon it.

The spot where they were found was in lat. 61′ 49′ N. ; long. 98° 17′ W.

I have the honour to remain,

Sir, your most obedient servant,

Elijah Pangborn

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