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SIR JOHN RICHARDSON

By PETE BOGGS

AMONG the men whom England has sent forth to explore the arctic regions, Sir John Richardson holds an honored place, although he did not make any brilliant discoveries. The early years of John Richardson were spent at Dumfries in close companionship with Robert Burns, the poet. In 1800, he was apprenticed to a surgeon in Dumfries, and seven years later, he became an assistant surgeon in the Royal Navy. Those were the times of active service before the enemy, and Richardson's letters home spoke of blockade duty on the Portuguese coast, and horrors of the bombardment of Copenhagen, gallant attempts made by the boats of his ship to cut out vessels, and many other stirring tales.

When peace was once more established all over Europe, the English government began to take measures for extending their knowledge of the Arctic Seas. In 1818, voyages northward were made by Lieutenant John Franklin, Captain John Ross, and others. The next year, a more complete expedition was prepared, and the "Hecla" and "Griper" were commissioned. At the same time Lieutenant Franklin was made leader of an overland expedition to the north coast of America. Dr. John Richardson was appointed to go with him as surgeon and naturalist. This expedition did not end without the lives of most of its members being in danger. A party under Richardson found themselves tar from any supplies on the shores of the Arctic sea. Their journey back is a record of continuous suffering, with starvation staring them in the face. A nauseous weed called "tripe de roche" was for a long time their only food. Sometimes they were able to kill a partridge. Privation and hunger were not the only dangers they had to guard against. A Canadian in the party who had at first served them faithfully, under the influence of despair, was after their lives. Watching till the Lime when the other two Englishmen were at a distance, he shot Mr. Hood, a naval officer, through the head. In order to insure the safety of the others, Dr. Richardson had to shoot the Canadian.

After a long time, the party reached Fort Enterprise, and rejoined Lieutenant Franklin; but for some time their condition was no better. For food, they had to boil up old bones and skin robes. But help came at last and the party returned to England after traveling 5550 miles in America. In spite of the many hardships Dr. Richardson had endured, he made many more trips to America and to the Arctic regions as surgeon and naturalist. During the later years of his life he lived in retirement, devoting much of his time to literature, and earning by his kind manner, the affection of all the country side.