McClure therefore proceeded alone, Following along the north coast of America as for as the 125th meridian, he turned to the north-east, and sailed through Prince of Wales' Strait betveien Banks' Land and Wollaston Land, till his progress was stayed by the firm ice of Merville Sound. He was compelled to turn southward, and by 10 Oct. had completed the arrangements for wintering in the strait. A journey along the coast of Banks' Land brought him to its north-eastern extremity on S6 Oct., and ascending a hill some six hundred feet high, he looked across the ice to Melville Island and to Parry's farthest' in 1820 [see Parry, Sir William Edward]. No land lay between. The north-west passage was discovered. It was not till several years afterwards that it was known that Franklin and companions had discovered another passage more than four years before.
In the summer of 1851, McClure, finding it impossible to advance into Melville Sound, retraced his steps and, endeavouring to pass round Banks' Land, made a most arduous and dangerous navigation between the heavy pack and the shore, He had hoped to be able to cross Banks' Strait to 'Parry's farthest;' but Banks' Strait was then as impassable as it has always been found; and on 23 Sept. the Investigator was forced into a bay on the northern shore of Banks' Land, which, with a sense of immediate relief, McClure named the Bay of Mercy. There the ship remained,
In April 1852 McClure with a sledge party succeeded in crossing the strait and actually arriving at Winter Harbour in Melville Island. He found a notice of McClintock having been there the previous June, but no stores, nor news of probable relief. The summer of 1852 passed and the Investigator was blocked up in the Bay of Mercy. Provisions were running short, the men were falling sick, and McClure had made his arrangements for abandoning the ship in April 1853, when on the 6th Lieutenant Bedford Pim [q. v.] of the Resolute reached them from Melville Island. McClure's first idea was to get what relief was possible from the Resolute, and remainm in the hopes of getting the Investigator free in the course of the summer. He crossed over to Melville Island to consult with Kellett; but after a medical survey of the Investigator's crew, it was Resolved that further stay was unadvisable, that the ship must be abandoned. The were therefore conveyed across the ice to the Resolute. The season, however, proved very unfavourable. The Resolute was unable to get to the eastward, and the Investigator's men thus passed a fourth winter in the ice. In April 1854 they were transferred to the North Star, and arrived in England on 28 Sept. The news of their safety and of their great discovery had been brought home by Lieutenant Cresswell in the Phœnix with Captain Inglefield in the previous October.
McClure was, as a matter of form, tried by court-martial for the loss of his ship, and most honourably acquitted. He was afterwards knighted and promoted to the rank of captain, his commission being dated back to 18 Dec. 1850. It has been said that it was dated to the day on which he actually discovered the north-west passage (Osborn, p. 367). The date was really two months later. In the session of 1855 parliament awarded a grant of 10,000l. to the officers and crew of the Investigator.
In 1856 McClure was appointed to the Esk for service on the Pacific station; in the following year he brought her to China to reinforce the squadron there, and in December commanded a battalion of the naval brigade at the capture of Canton. He was afterwards for some time senior officer in the Straits of Malacca: he was nominated a C.B. on 20 May 1859, and returned to England in 1861. He had no further service, but was promoted to be rear-admiral on 20 March 1867, and vice-admiral, on the retired list, on 29 July 1873. He died in Duke Street, St. James's, on 17 Oct. 1873, and was buried on the 25th in Kensal Green cemetery.
McClure, according to Osborn, who knew him well, 'was stem, cool and bold in all perils, severe as a disciplinarian, self-reliant, yet modest as became an officer. With a granite-like view of duty to his country and profession, he would in war have been a great leader; and it was his good fortune, during a period of profound peace, to find a field for all those valuable qualities.' He married in 1869 Constance Ada, daughter of Richard H. Tudor of Birkenhead. His portrait, by S. Pearce, is in the possession of Colonel Barrow, F.R.S.
[Dublin University Magazine, March 1854, p. 334; O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, viil. xliv. p. cxxiix; Times, 21, 22, 27 Oct. 1873; Sherard Osborn's Discovery of a North-West Passage (the edition here referred to is the 4th, 1865); Armstrong's Discovery of the North-West Passage: five years Travel and Adventure in the Arctic Regions; Cresswell's Eight Sketches of the Voyage of H.M.S. Investigator.]
MACCODRUM, JOHN (fl. 1750), Gaelic poet, the son of a peasant, was born in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, in