Talk:Charles Francis Hall

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Expedition Facts[edit]

A fact check is needed on the story of the expidition. The original information in the article switches the two groups (the ones on the ice flow versus the ones in the boats) when compared against the story at Houghton Mifflin. I don't know enough about the story to verify which is the accurate story.--P Todd 18:29, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Split Request[edit]

Perhaps we should split the section on the Polaris Expedition out into its own article since it deals with other topics and individuals besides Charles Francis Hall.--P Todd 18:44, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree, the Polaris expedition and the surviviors on the ice floe are different stories. Hall is worthy of a story himself.

At odds with Loomis' biography...[edit]

Having just finished reading Chauncey C. Loomis' biography of Hall, Wierd and Tragic Shores, I am able to confirm that the fates of the groups of survivors in this article is somewhat jumbled and confused. The order of events given is thus:

i) Under command of Budington after Halls death, Polaris, attempting to make for open water, becomes beset again by ice. The vessel is already leaking badly, and is moored tightly to an ice floe. ii) Polaris drifts with the floe through the pack ice for several weeks her pumps running full time. iii) A storm with gale force winds blows up on October 12th, causing pack ice to be driven against the Polaris, thrusting her partly from the water and damaging her further. iv) Budington orders evacuation of people and supplies onto the ice floe as the Polaris is now severely damaged. v) Some supplies, Tyson, the Inuit guides, all told 19 people were on the floe, along with both of the ships boats when the moorings broke from the floe and Polaris was cast adrift with Budington and the remaining crew. vi)Polaris was swept swiftly away from the floe in the gale, the remaining crew presumably struggling to regain control of her. vii)Polaris was next/last sighted by those one the floe the next day, in the distance proceeding at speed under steam and sail, she did not respond to their attempts to hail her. viii)Several hours after this sighting (Although unaware of it) Budington ran the Polaris aground as she was taking more water than the pumps could handle. ix)Tyson's group on the floe, drifted with it, using the two ship's boats to move to other floes as neccessitated by the floes melting as they drifted south. x)Budington's group wintered where they had run aground, salvaging as much as they could from the ship. xi)Tyson's group were picked up by the Tigress on the date the article indicates. xii)Budingtons group BUILT 2 boats, though it is not especially clear whether this was from timber from the supplies of the Polaris, or from the actual timbers of the Polaris, and sailed away, being picked up by whalers based in Scotland and being taken first to the UK. xiii)Last remains of Polaris washed into sea/sunk by a storm before investigated by relief parties.

Thus paragraph 3 of the section "Polaris Expedition" is accurate, but paragraph 4 in it's entirety is not. The impression is conveyed that these events succeeded the events in the previous paragraph, when in fact they are describing parts of before, after and during the events of the previous paragraph, and thus being discontinuous are confusing. Although each sentence on it's own is accurate, they do not hang together chronologically.

Secondly the article asserts that Loomis' testing showed Hall died of arsenic poisoning. Loomis' words did not seem that definite to me. I beleive he was careful to say that evidence consistent with arsenic poisoning was discovered on analysing the samples. Ergo a high dose of arsenic had been taken by Hall in some fashion. But Loomis' was careful to note that might have been after the original affliction, presumed to have been a stroke by the official enquiry, which still may have been the actual cause of death, even if latterly the arsenic weakened him. Arsenic could have been the primary cause of his death, or maybe just a contributing cause when he was already seriously ill.


  • FWIW, I based the original version of this article primarily on Berton's account. I'd also read the Loomis book some years earlier. I think the jumbled facts were introduced as an artifact of later edits? Dr.frog 20:18, 6 October 2005 (UTC)


Loomis' Conclusion on Arsenic[edit]

For those of you who saw this in the few minutes between my creating it and editing it, I appologize. I posted with only a cursory read of my source, and this was an error.

Loomis avoids the conclusion of poisoning according to this book review, but Parry points out that Dr. Bessel's treatment of Hall was obviously flawed and that his documented actions were consistent with that of a poisoner. Also, Buddington fell sick not long before the rescue, and Parry asserts that this may have been Bessel's at work again, tying up loose ends.

It seems rather convincing in some respects.

http://www.ric.edu/rpotter/trial.html

Accuracy tag[edit]

I've gone over the article carefully, and read the discissions. It's my feeling that the present version of the article is reasonably consistent with the known facts as stated in Loomis, Mowat, and Berton. If anyone feels the tag should stay, I'd be open to hearing an argument, but if there are no objections, I'll remove this tag within the week. Clevelander96 (talk) 22:18, 16 July 2008 (UTC)