Page:The cruise of the Corwin.djvu/19

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INTRODUCTION

mand of Captain Calvin L. Hooper, was ordered into North Alaskan waters in pursuance of her regular duties. But Captain Hooper had also been directed to make all possible inquiries for the missing whalers and the Jeannette. He returned with no tidings of the lost, but with reports of starvation and death among the Eskimos of St. Lawrence Island on account of an uncommonly severe and stormy winter in the Arctic regions. He entertained no hope for the lost whalers, but thought De Long and his party might be safe.

A general demand for relief expeditions now arose. Petitions poured into Congress, and the American Geographical Society addressed a forcible appeal to President Garfield. When the Corwin was sent to Alaskan waters again in 1881 it was with the following specific instructions to Captain Hooper:—


No information having been received concerning the whalers Mount Wollaston and Vigilant, you will bear in mind the instructions for your cruise of last year, and it is hoped you may bring back some tidings of the missing vessels. You will also make careful inquiries in the Arctic regarding the progress and whereabouts of the steamer Jeannette, engaged in making explorations under command of Lieutenant-Commander De Long, U.S.N., and will, if practicable, communicate with and extend any needed assistance to that vessel. . . . You will in your sea-