Kane Elisha Kent
Born in Philadelphia. During
his short 37-year life, he spent at least 20 years traveling in
various regions of the earth. After
graduating from gymnasium courses at the universities of Virginia
and Pennsylvania in 1843, he passed the exam for the doctor of
medicine and received the post of surgeon at the American Embassy in
endurance and patience, he walked around and explored the Philippine
Islands, traveling around Indonesia. His
companion Prussian Baron Loe fell ill and died on Fr. Java,
and Kane returned unscathed with a large number of scientific
first reached the Tal volcano, climbed it and descended into the
crater on a rope. He
was dragged out of it in an insensate condition, but he brought with
him everything that he had collected, and even a bottle with an air
feat made him famous.
Traveler led Kane to the fleet. In
a ship's doctor, he made scientific trips to India, Egypt, to
Ceylon, he walked around the west coast of Africa, where the fever
almost sent him to the next world.
Then Kane took part in the war with Mexico, where he was wounded. Neither
hostilities nor wounding prevented him from exploring the
country.Among his achievements, the first accurate measurement of
the height of the Popocatepetl volcano. After
making peace, he again worked in Mexico as a marine engineer. It
was at this time that an event occurred that turned his face to the
North and determined his entire subsequent life: he was offered as a
ship doctor to participate in the expedition of Lieutenant E.
De Haven, equipped with the money of the American millionaire G.
Grinnell and aimed at
finding the missing expedition J.
The expedition of De Haven on the brigs "Advance" and
"Rescue" lasted for 1850-1852. Ships
from the Baffin Sea passed into the
Lancaster Strait, discovered the land, calling it the Grinnell
Land (later it turned out to be part of
Devon Island) ,
and passed into the Wellington Strait, where they were captured in
ice.Together with E.
Ommanney from the G.
the first traces of the Franklin expedition were found. After
a ten-month ice drift went into the Davis Strait.
Shortly after returning, in December 1852, Kane received a
complimentary offer from the minister of the sea to head the next
expedition to the Arctic for the same purpose.The company has met
with warm sympathy among the general public. Grinnell
again provided “Success”, allocated a significant amount to J.
Peabody, and the Geographical Society in New York, the
Smithsonian Institution and other scientific societies and
individuals made serious donations. Means
was enough for long searches.
In the middle and second half of the XIX century, the view was
dominated by the German geographer A.
Peterman about the
existence of an ice-free sea in the polar region.Kane also adhered
to this opinion and believed that Franklin, whose task was to search
for the Northwest Passage, headed north. This
position of Kane seems strange, since by this time traces of
Franklin had already been found near Beachy
decided to climb aboard the Baffin
Sea as far north as
possible, and then on a sleigh or in boats to penetrate further to
the pole, looking for traces of Franklin on the banks.
The expedition consisted of 19 people, 10 of them were
experienced sailors. The
expedition was equipped with everything necessary, but without
put forward three strict requirements to the participants: to obey
the boss or the one who will replace him; without
special orders not to use strong drinks and, finally, refrain from
They left New York on May 30, 1853, after 18 days arrived in
Newfoundland, after 4 days moved to the shores of Greenland and
reached the Baffin Sea without incident.Further, maneuvering against
the strong wind, by July 27 we reached Melville
By the end of August, overcoming the floating ice, under sail or
with the help of twine, waiting for storms and headwinds in the
bays, reached Rensselaer Bay at 78° 41′ N.
No matter how hard these people were, the hard continuous
work and the sudden onset of winter had a depressing effect on the
officers and sailors. Kane
convened a meeting in which all the crew members, with the exception
of one, spoke out against continuing the voyage. They
offered to go south and look for a place to winter there.The boss
could not agree with that. He
explained to everyone how important it is for future search
expeditions to choose a place as far as possible to the north. On
a boat and sleigh, Kane and a group of volunteers made a
reconnaissance route to the north, as a result of which he was
convinced that Rensselaer Bay would be the best place for wintering.
At the end of September, they made a monthly trip to the north
and laid down three food depots for spring search routes. Wintering
was hard, however, polar explorers conducted a fairly wide range of
scientific studies, which included magnetometric and astronomical
observations, tracking tides and ebbs, measuring air and water
temperatures, and studying the state of ice. Kane
admits that "to produce them properly, there was no possibility
during those terrible frosts that stood at that time. The
observatory is a real ice house. The
walls are not covered with snow ... because there was almost none of
it this year. There
was not enough fire, buff and canvas cloak to raise the temperature
near the magnetometer to 0°, and on the surface where the observer
was standing, it dropped to minus 50°. From
frost, some tools became useless due to the uneven expansion of
steel and copper”.
Kane attached great importance to leisure activities, trying with
all his might to diversify him: they released the newspaper “Ice
Sparkles”, went on a hunt, and organized various games. "Among
the darkness and forced inaction it was difficult to find any mental
exercise that could maintain the fortitude necessary to prevent
disease ... This long night, during which we were embraced by the
darkness, in the full sense of the word impenetrable, had a
disastrous effect on everything and all Even
our dogs, the permanent inhabitants of these cold countries, did not
escape its fatal influence; most
of them were numb from a strange disease, the cause of which, apart
from the extraordinary cold, was obviously a lack of light”. Almost
all members of the expedition suffered from scurvy. "When
I look at the pale, emaciated faces of the sick, I feel that this
struggle costs us many years of life, and I am convinced by the
terrible experience that a day in the polar countries make a person
older than whole years in some other country of the world".
Since January, with the advent of light, they began to prepare
for spring trips. The
first trial, consisting of 8 people, was carried out in the second
half of March and almost ended in tragedy. 5
people were completely exhausted and were left in a tent. Fortunately,
the rescue party with great difficulty managed to find them. After
that, the whole squad got sick. Both
the rescuers and the rescued lay sick and exhausted by the cold. One
of them, Backer, passed away.
In late April, two groups of 5 people made a first toboggan trip
along the coast to the
which they visited last fall. The
trip was very hard. All
suffered from snow blindness, scurvy, overstrain. Returned
on May 14th. Kane
on the way completely exhausted, fainted, got frostbite on his legs,
signs of numbness appeared. For
a week after his return, he was between life and death. Another
participant died - Kok Schubert.
In the midst of the polar night and frost, Kane began to lean
toward the idea that Franklin and his companions were dead. However,
when the sun grew warm and the sun appeared, he again believed in
the possibility of their salvation. “I
hardly believe that out of 138 people elected by the Franklin crew,
between whom there were whalers and young people, hardened under
such an active bosses, no one would live. At
least one detachment may have found a place for himself or with the
help of the Eskimos .... to hold out for three or four years”.
During the summer, made two more hike. Only
by the seashore the search teams traveled 960 English miles, not
finding the slightest trace of the Franklin expedition and receiving
no news of their fate. The
whole way they made, on foot or by dog, was more than 2,000 English
coast of Greenland was surveyed to latitude 82° 27′N. Polar
explorers found that the
Smith Strait widens
in the north, forming a vast basin, under 80 ° 10
′ N. discovered
in it a channel extending to the northeast.
Autumn was approaching, and the ice around the ship was not about
to break. The
prospect of a new wintering became real. Kane
tried to get to Beachy Island, where the English expedition of E.
Belcher was based, but he had to return, having encountered
Fermentation began among the expedition members, many considered
it necessary to leave the ship, but Kane objected. "...
It was possible to leave the ship, but I considered it to be
dishonorable ...". At
the same time, he understood that only a strong spirit, a welded
team could withstand the second wintering. "Disobedience,
gloom and cowardice would be disastrous." He
gathered all the participants, told them the state of affairs and
the reasons for which he considered it necessary to stay. He
did not interfere with the desire to go south, and each made his
the 17 people, 8 agreed to stay. The rest were given all the food
they owed, and they left on 28 August. One came back two days later.
The departure of comrades, of course, reflected in the morale of
those who remained. If
during the first wintering the main topic of conversation was the
fate of the expedition of Franklin, now everyone was more concerned
about their own fate. Having
discussed the situation, they decided that the order adopted earlier
should not change. The
distribution of official duties, religious ceremonies, the regime of
the day, watch, scientific observations were to enter the same rut. Engaged
in the procurement of fuel and food, the device warm housing like an
Eskimos, with whom good relations were established, rendered
significant assistance, as in the past year.
The worst period came in November. The
firewood was decreasing quickly, there was no place to get them. Four
people fell ill with scurvy, all were emaciated, weakened in spirit. In
early December, the Eskimos brought two people from the departed
turned out that the others were 200 miles from the ship, quarreled,
lost heart, had no means of livelihood. Kane
began to organize a rescue squad, but after a few days they came
themselves and were gladly received by their comrades.
For heating and cooking had to cut down the ship's
the end of winter, after the fire, it became clear that the ship
could not be saved.
In the winter, Kane made a last attempt at finding Franklin. In
May, preparations began for a campaign to the south. Sleighs
and three bots were repaired and reinforced.
We set off on May 17, 1855. Check
out solemnly furnished. The
whole crew gathered in a cleared cabin, read a prayer and a chapter
from the Bible. Kane
pulled a Franklin portrait out of the frame and wrapped it in a
waterproof bag. He
turned to his comrades, spoke about the upcoming difficulties and
expressed confidence that everything would be overcome with the
necessary energy and unquestioning obedience to the boss. And
he added: "... honor and religion require the duty of all to forget
themselves and use all their strength to help the sick and wounded". All
signed a document, which noted the complete fairness of the
requirements and intentions of the chief. On
the ship, Kane left a document outlining the reasons for leaving the
ship: “... I consider leaving the ship inevitable. We
only have food left for 36 days, and I was convinced through
experience that we could no longer use the wood of a ship for fuel
... Under the most favorable circumstances, our continued stay would
be disastrous for us ... I can say to myself and my companions that
we did everything in human power. The
attempt to go to the sleigh through ice to the south seems to me as
a duty and the only means to save life and some scientific
information gathered by our expedition with great difficulty ... ”.
It was a journey of 1300 miles in ice and water to the nearest
points visited by Europeans. During
the month, drags were mounted on sleds along the ice. They
lost one of their comrades, the mighty Olsen, who, thanks to his
strength, saved the heavily laden sledge, which began to fall
through the ice. He
burst out and died three days later in torment. Fortunately,
the Eskimos often helped them move and provide food. "We
never had such faithful people like them."
On June 19, they reached the edge of the ice and, with three
bots, “Nadezhda”, “Red Erik” and “Vera” set sail. “The
move was very bad, the waves strongly hit our ships, and after a
while the Red Erik was flooded with a wave. The
three people who were on it were saved by other bots, but it was
impossible to unload the luggage, and we could hardly prevent the
ship from sinking and took it in tow. ” Often
went out on the ice and pulled the bots. They
moved, overcoming the ice, risking their lives during the hardest
storms, sometimes waiting for several days on the shore. July
21 reached Cape
Melville Bay, we fell into heavy ice, moving on a sleigh again. Often
the situation became critical due to the lack of food and fuel. In
early August, they reached the clean water, in mid-August, they met
a Danish whaling ship under the command of Karley Mossin. "Here,
for the first time, we received the concept, however, very vague
about what was divided in the world of God during our absence." “Mossin
seemed to us to be an oracle, and we caught his words with intense
attention: Sevastopol has not yet been taken. -
What do we have to do with Sevastopol! Well,
Sir John Franklin? This
is much closer to us ...". And
they learned that the traces of the dead people of Franklin were
found 1000 miles south of them than they were looking for them.
Further, the oars went to Upernivik,
and from there on September 6 on the ship “Marianna” in Godhavn. Bot
"Faith", the only thing that survived from "Advance", as "something
sacred" was floating with them. On
September 11, they arrived at Godhavn, where they waited for the
ships of Captain Garsten, by a decision of Congress sent in search
of them. The
rescuers, who included Kane's brother, reached the Bay of Melville,
where they learned from the Eskimos that those whom they were
looking for had already gone home.
In October, the long-suffering Kane expedition arrived in New
Further plans for Kane were not implemented due to premature
once powerful organism was broken by severe arctic tests. Hoping
to improve his health, he moved to Cuba, but his days were numbered. Kane
lived as long as it took to complete the processing of materials and
a description of his last journey.
He died in Havana. He
was buried in
Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.
An island in
the north of the archipelago Franz Josef Land. Opened
and named by Y.
Paier in 1874.
Strait of Sternek. In
the center Brosh
left far away Kane
(photo by S. Tikhonov)
the northwest coast of Greenland.
part of the straits system between Greenland and Ellesmere). Discovered
and explored by Kane in 1854.