October 28, 1880
Schwatka addresses a dinner in his honor - "It was the first expedition wherein the white men of a party lived solely upon the same diet, voluntarily assumed, as its native allies. This fact, coupled with those already stated, shows that white men are able to live the same as Esquimaux in the Arctic"
Topics: (click to open)
The best summation of the Expedition is in Schwatka's own words, delivered at a dinner in his honor given by the American Geographical Society at Chickering Hall, New York City, on the evening of October 28, 1880. In his Address, he stated:
"It was the longest sledge journey ever made both in regard to time and distance, having been absent from its base eleven months and four days, and having traversed 2709 geographical or 3124 statute miles if estimated to Marble Island, our nearest point where we returned to civilized food).
"It was the first sledge journey conducted through the heart of an Arctic winter, and a winter pronounced by the natives to be exceptionally severe as the meteorological table will fully confirm. Not but that quite a number of sledge journeys have been undertaken by white men in the Polar midwinter, but I know of none before this encompassing the whole duration of that unfavorable season; and, in fact, they have been generally very short and under circumstances where comfort commensurate with the exposure could be easily attained at some suitable base."
"It was the first expedition wherein the white men of a party lived solely upon the same diet, voluntarily assumed, as its native allies. This fact, coupled with those already stated, shows that white men are not only able to live the same as Esquimaux in the Arctic, and with equal comfort, but also to prosecute any projects that their superior intelligence may dictate or their ambition may desire, and under all the circumstances that the natives themselves would similarly venture to undertake for less laudable objects.
"In its searches the party was the first to make an extended summer's exploration over the ground covered by the unfortunate Franklin Party crews in their deplorable endeavors to reach aid although a glance at the map will show that their base was in a far less favorable position for such an undertaking than that of the greater majority of the numerous searchers who proceeded us. "It established the loss of the records of the Franklin Party beyond all reasonable doubt. As these alone have been the main incentive to the many expeditions since Dr. Rae's in 1854 (who established the loss of the party) this success, although unfortunately of a negative nature, is of no small character, since this fact, coupled with the loss of the party, and the burial of their dead, must necessarily settle the Franklin problem in all its important aspects."