Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 35.djvu/10

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McClure
McClure
4

gentlemen belonging to the Toasel for me here to acknowledge that you have used eveery argument in your power to persuade me from this uncommon and unprecedented step. . . . It is nothing but my zeal for my country that prompts me.' Wedgeborough finnaly supplied him with arms and other necessaries from the ship's stores, and left him. It would seem that the long and arduous work in New Guinea had weakened his mind, and that he was unable to resist the fascinations of the dusky beauties of the islands. It is only by a species of insanity that his extraordinary conduct and breach of all rules of naval discipline can be explained.

After fifteen months' residence on the island McCluer tired of his solitude, and resolved to go to Ternate 'to hear the news.' As bad weather came on he changed his mind and steered for China, reaching Macao after a perilous navigation in a native boat, without compass or other instruments, and with no provisions except cocoa-nuts and water. He had five men in the boat with him, who seem to have all arrived safe, though McCluer himself was afterwards laid up with a severe attack of fever and ague. On recovering he purchased a vessel, by means of a bill drawn on Bombay, and returned to the Pelew Islands, where he embarked bis family and property, with men servants and women servants, after the manner of the patriarchs of old. He then sailed for Calcutta, and meeting on the way the Bombay frigate, bound to Bombay, he sent some of his family on by her. He himself, with the rest, wont on to Calcutta, and Bailing thence was never heard of again.

[Dawson's Memoirs of Hydrography, i. 15; Low's History of the Indian Navy, i. 188 et seq.; Hockin's Supplment to the Account of the Pelew Islands; Notes and Queries, 2nd sec. i. 353, 442.]

J. K. L.


McCLURE, Sir ROBERT JOHN LE MESURIER (1807–1873), vice-admiral, son of Robert McClure (d. 1806), captain in the 89th regiment, and of Jane, daughter of Archdeacon Elgee, rector of Weilord, was born at Wexford, five months after his father's death, on 28 Jan. l807. Captain (afterwards General) John Le Mesurier [q. v.] of Alderney, on old comrade of his father, was his godfather and guardian. McClure was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and entered the navy in 1824. He passed his examination in 1830; and in 1836-7 was mate of the Terror in her Arctic voyage under Captain (afterwards Sir) George Back [q. v.] On the return of the Terror in September 1837 McClure was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In l838-9 he was serving on board the Niagara, the flagship of Commodore Sandom on the Canadian lakes during the rebellion (O'Byrne, p. 1026 b); and from 1839 to 1842 in the Pilot in the West Indies. From 1842 to 1346 he had command of the Romney, receiving ship at Havana; and in December 1846 he was appointed to the coast-guard, which he left in 1848 to go as first lieutenant of the Investigator with Captain Bird in the Arctic expedition of Sir James Clark Ross [q.v.] On Ross's return in the autumn of 1849 it was at once determined to send out the same two ships to renew the search for Sir John Franklin [q.v.] by way of Behring Straits. Captain Richard Collinson [q.v.] was appointed to the Enterpise as senior officer of the expedition, and McClure, who had shown himself a man of energy and resource, was promoted, 4 Nov. 1849, to the command of the Investigator.

The ships sailed from Plymouth on 20 Jan. 1850. As they passed into the Pacific on 16 April they were separated in a gale, and did not again meet. When McClure arrived off Honolulu on 1 July, he found that the Enterprise had gone on at once ahead of him, fearful of losing the short remains of the Summer. Sailing for the north on 4 July, the Investigator joined the Plover in Kotzebue Sound, 29 July, The Enterprise had then got into a streak of contrary winds, and was a fortnight behind. McClure had but faint hope of meeting her at the next rendezvous, off Cape Lisburne; and on departing from Kotzebue Sound he left a letter for the admiralty, explaining the course he proposed to follow in the event of not falling in with the Enterprise. 'After passing Cape Lisburne,' he wrote, 'it is my intention to keep the open water which appears about this season of the year, to make between the American coast and the main pack, as far to the eastward as the 130th meridian, unless a favourable opening should earlier appear in the ice, which would lead me to infer that I might push more directly for Banks' Land, which I think it is of the utmost importance to thoroughly examine.' The rest of his letter is an accurate forecast of his proceedings for the next three years. The direction followed was of course mainly determined, not by the prospects of discovering the north-west passage, but by the hopes of finding the survivors of Franklin's party.

When some thirty miles past Cape Liftburne, the Investigator fell in with the Herald, but though Captain Kellett did not think that the Enterprise had passed, and suggested that the Investigator had better wait, he would not order her to do so.