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First Mate Shandon receives a mysterious letter asking him to construct a reinforced steamship in Liverpool. As he heads out for Melville Bay and the Arctic labyrinth, a crewman finally reveals himself as Captain John Hatteras, and his obsession–to get to the North Pole. After experiencing appalling cold and hunger, the captain treks across the frozen wastes in search of fuel. Abandoned by most of his crew, and accompanied by a rival American explorer, Hatteras continues his journey to the Pole, encountering endless perils and adventures along the way.
“To–morrow, at the turn of the tide, the brig Forward, K. Z., captain, Richard Shandon, mate, will clear from New Prince’s Docks; destination unknown.”
This announcement appeared in the Liverpool Herald of April 5, 1860.
The sailing of a brig is not a matter of great importance for the chief commercial city of England. Who would take notice of it in so great a throng of ships of all sizes and of every country, that dry–docks covering two leagues scarcely contain them?