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That however dependant the ice increased coldness of their atmomay have been on the land, from sphere. the time of its first appearance, to
In various countries, changes its gaining an ascendancy over of climate to a certain extent the waves of the ocean, sufficient have occurred, within the limits to resist their utmost ravages, and of historical record; these changes to arrest the progress of maritime have been commonly for the better, discovery, at a distance of per- and have been considered as the haps from six hundred to a thou- effects of human industry, in sand miles from the Pole, it is draining marshes and lakes, fellnow evident, that the proximity ing woods, and cultivating the of land is not essential, either for earth : but here is an occurrence, its existence, its formation, or its the reverse of common experience; increase.
and concerning its causes I am
not prepared to hazard any conOn the situation of the Polar Ice,
jecture. and the effects produced on it by with each recurring spring, exhi
This icy barrier, at present, the change of seasons.
bits the following general outline. The mass of ice lying between After doubling the southern proOld Greenland on the west, and montory of Greenland, it advances the Russian portion of Europe on in a north-eastern direction along the east, though varying consider- the east coast, enveloping Iceland ably in particulars, yet as a gene as it proceeds, until it reaches ral outline is strikingly uniform. John Mayne's Island. Passing
On the east coast of West this island on the north-west, but Greenland, a remarkable alteration frequently enclosing it likewise, it has, however, taken place. That then trends a little more to the part extending from the parallel eastward, and intersects the meriof Iceland to Staten-Hook, was, dian of London in the 71st or 720 before the fifteenth century, free degree of latitude. Having reached of ice, and could always be ap- the longitude of 6, 8, or perhaps proached in the summer season, 10 degrees east, in the 73d or without hinderance. After a con- 74th degree of north latitude, it siderable trade had been carried suddenly stretches to the north, on between Iceland and the Main sometimes proceeding on a merifor upwards of 400 years, singular dian to the latitude of 80°, at as it may appear, of a sudden the others forming a deep sinuosity, polar ice extended its usual limits, extending two or three degrees to launched down by the land to the the northward, and then south Southern Cape, and so completely easterly to Cherry Island ;—which barricadoed the whole of the having passed, it assumes a direct eastern coast, that it has not since course a little south of east, until been accessible. The fate of the it forms a junction with the Sibewretched inhabitants is unknown; rian or Nova Zemblan coast. but they are generally supposed to That remarkable promontory, have perished from the want of formed by the sudden stretch of their usual supplies, or from the the ice to the north, constitutes
parallel motion of the ice leaves many feet in thickness, and in deno opening or evidence of its tached pieces of from 50 to 100 change of place; for here, the ice tons weight each, though crowded meeting with no obstruction to together in the form of a pack, cause it to divide, moves on in a may be penetrated, in a favourable solid body, retained firm and un- gale, with tolerable dispatch ; broken by the tenacious solder of whilst a sheet of bay ice, of a few the interjacent bay ice.
inches only in thickness, with the In the month of May, the seve same advantage of wind, will rity of the frost relaxes, and often arrest the progress of the the temperature occasionally ap- ship, and render her in a few proaches within a few degrees of minutes iminoveable. If this ice the freezing point: the brine then be too strong to be broken by exerts its liquefying energy, and the weight of a boat, recourse destroys the tenacity of the bay must be had to sawing, an opeice, makes inroads in its parts by ration slow and laborious in the enlarging its pores into holes, dis extreme. minishes its thickness, and, in the When the warmth of the season language of the whale-fisher, com has rotted the bay ice, the passage pletely rots it. The packed drift to the northward can generally be ice is then loosed; it submits to accomplished with a very great the laws of detached floating saving of labour. Therefore it bodies, and obeys the slightest was, the older fishers seldom or impulses of the winds or currents. never used to attempt it before the The heavier having more stability 10th of May, and foreigners are in than the lighter, an apparent dif- general late. Sometimes late arference of movement obtains rivals are otherwise beneficial; among the pieces. Holes and since it frequently happens, in lanes of water are formed, which close seasons, that ships entering allow the entrance and progress the ice about the middle of May obof the ships, without that stub- tain an advantage over those preborn resistance offered earlier in ceding them, by gaining a situation the spring of the year.
more eligible, on account of its Bay ice is sometimes serviceable nearness to the land. Their predeto the whale-fishers, in preserving cessors, meanwhile, are drifted off them from the brunt of the heavy to the westward with the ice, and ice, by embedding their ships, and cannot recover their easting; for occasioning an equable pressure they are encompassed with a large on every part of the vessel : but, quantity of ice, and have a greater in other respects, it is the great- distance to go than when they first est pest they meet with in all their entered, and on a course precisely labours: it is troublesome in the in opposition to the direction of fishery, and in the progress to the the most prevailing winds. Hence fishing ground; it is often the it appears, that it would be ecomeans of besetment, as it is called, nomical and beneficial to sail so and thence the primary cause of late, as not to reach the country every other calamity. Heavy ice, before the middle of May, or
he ice was very severe; inso- in situations near the western coast much, that their iron-tiller was of Spitzbergen, this tendency is broken, the ship lifted above two seldom observed, but rather the feet, and forced within a mile and contrary. This may probably rea half of the land. All the bay sult from the effects of the tide, ice was squeezed upon the top of eddies, or peruliar pressures. Jis the heavy ice, and the whole was universal prevalence, however, at rendered so compact, that they a distance from the land, though could not find a hole sufficient to with some slight variations, may admit a lead, for the purpose of be illustrated by numerous facts ascertaining the depth of the of almost annual occurrence. A water. They got their provisions few striking incidents shall sufupon deck, considering the ship fice. in great danger.
From a narrative of the loss of On the 9th, they were in lati. several of the Dutch Greenland tude 77° 38' N. The intensity of fleet in the year 1777, we learn the pressure was not diminished. that the ship Wilhelmina was The Volunteer lay beset three moored to a field of ice on the 24 miles off, under a like dangerous of June, in the usual fishingpressure.
station, along with a large fleet of In my Father's Journal of the other whalers. On the 25th, the 19th, appear the following re- Wilhelmina was clo-ely beset. marks : “ N. B.-I cannot, from The crew were obliged to work the top-gallant-mast- head, see incessantly for eight days, in sawover the flat of ice to the north- ing a dock in the field, wherein east, into which the ship is frozen; the ship was at that time preand yet in fifty hours it has re served. volved from the south-south west, On the 25th of July, the ire westerly to north, and carried the slacked, and the ship was towed ship with a semi-circular motion to the eastward, during four days 15 or 20 leagues. On the 10th laborious rowing with the beats. instant we were within 14 miles At the extremity of the opening, of the land, whereas our distance they joined forur ships, and all of is now 10 leagues, and our ad- them were soon again benet ty vance to the northward even the ice. Shortly afterwards, they greater. The Volunteer has Irifted were drifted within sight of the out of sight in the south-west coast of Old Greenland, in alvut quarter."
754 of north latitude. On the On the 15th, after labouring 15th of August, nine wail were eight and forty hours without collected together; and about the rest, they escaped into a place of 20th, after sustaining a dreadful safety.
storm, and an immense pressure 3. When speaking of the for- of the ice, which accumulated mation of fields, I had occasion to around them twintv or thirty fert remark, that the polar ice has a high. -*e of the ships were constant tendency to drift to the wriched Two more were wriched south-westward ; with regard to four or five days afterwards, tvwhich, it may be observed, that gether with no others at a dis
tance from them. On the 24th, still continued to advance along Ireland was in sight; some of the the land to the southward. :07 was in motion, and two ships In the year 1803, the Henrietta Jeemed to escape. Another was of Whitby, while prosecuting the inat on the 7th of September; whale-fishery, was, by a southerly and, on the 13th, the Wilhelmina storm, entangled among the ice in was crushed to pieces by the fall the latitude of 60° north, and of an enorinous mass of ice, which longitude of 6 cast; and afterwas so unexpected, that those of wards accompanied it in its drift the crew who were in bed, had to the south-westward, at the daily scarrely time to escape on the ice, rate of from ten to fifteen miles. half naked as they were.
They saw several bears; and at One ship now alone reinained, one time they conceived that the to which the crews of four, and land of West Greenland was withthe surviving part of the crew of in sight. The ice pressed dreada fifth, (that was wrecked on the fully around them, and accumusoch of September), repaired. In lated in amazing heaps; but prothe beginning of October, they videntially, the ship always escaped bad dritted to the latitude of 64°; the heaviest crushes. After a state and, on the 11th, the last ship of complete inertion during seven was overwhelmed by the ice and weeks, the ice began to slack; suink. Thus, between three and when, with vigil..ut and laborious four hundred men were driven to measures, they were enabled to the ice, and exposed to the in- make their escape, in Jatitude clemency of the weather, almost about 73 1° north, and longitude 9' destitute of food and raiment. west.
On the 30th of October, the When treatin of the pressure miserable sufferers divided : The of fields, 1 slightly alluded to a cirTeater part betook themselves to cumstance which occurred within the continent, whilst the rest re- my own observation on my last mained on a field of ice, until voyage to Greenland (1814). they drifted near to Staten Hook, While it affords a suitable illusand then followed the example of tration of the tremendous effects their comrades. About 140 of the produced by the collision of those men rearted the Danish settle- prodigious sheets of ice, it is no ments on the West Coast of Green- less applicable to the subject in hand; the remainder, consisting hand; I shall therefore give a of about 200, perished.
sketch of the whole occurrence. Thus, it appears, that the ship In the beưinning of Miy, ve which survived to the latest period, entered, with the ship E-k of drifted with the ice in a south - Whitly, a spous opening of the westerly direction from the usual ice, to a distance of ten or twelve fishing-stations, (probably in 7 levue, frointly exterior, wherein to sum of north lititude), to the we were tempted to stay, from the Latitude of about 62" ; at the appealt mee of a seat number of same time, from longitude a few while. On tie 9th of May, the drgrees ensterly, to that of more weather calmned, the front was tan sowest; and, that the ice severe, and the slip was soon
ing less resistance from the water, for the purpose of placing a moorin proportion as its depth beneathing anchor, have been known to the surface is diminished. From rend asunder and precipitate the the iceberg's firmness, it often careless seamen into the yawning affords a stable mooring to a ship chasm, whilst occasionally the in strong adverse winds, or when masses are hurled apart, and fall a state of rest is required for the in contrary directions with a properformance of the different ope. digious crush, burying boats and rations attendant on a successful men in one common ruin. The fishery. The fisher likewise avails awful effect produced by a solid himself of this quiescent property, mass many thousands of tons in when his ship is incommoded or weight, changing its situation rendered unmanageable by the ac. with the velocity of a falling body, cumulation of drift-ice around, whereby its aspiring summit is in when his object is to gain a wind- a moinent buried in the ocean, ward situation more open. He can be more easily imagined than gets under the lea of the iceberg, described ! - the loose ice soon forces past If the blow with any edge-tool the berg,--the ship remains nearly on brittle ice does not sever the stationary,—and the wished-for mass, still it is often succeeded by effect seldom fails to result. Moor- a crackling noise, proving the ing to lofty icebergs is attended mass to be ready to burst from the with considerable danger : being action of an internal expansion ; sometimes finely balanced, they in this way, sometimes deep chasma are apt to be overturned ; and are formed, similar to those oc whilst Hoating in a tide-way, curring in the Glaciers of the should their base be arrested by Alps. the ground, their detrusion neces It is common, when ships moor sarily follows, attended with a to icebergs, to lie as remote from thundering noise, and the crushing the danger as their ropes will alof every object they encounter in low, and yet accidents sometimes their descent: thus have vessels happen, though the ship ride at a been often staved, and sometimes distance of a hundred yards from wrecked, by the fall of their icy the ice. Thus, calves rising up mooring. Men and boats are a with a velocity nearly equal to that weaker prey,—the vast waves of the descent of a falling berg, alone occasioned by such events, at have produced destructive effects. once overwhelming every smaller in the year 1812, whilst the Thoobject, within a considerable dis- mas of Hull, Captain Taylor, lay tance of the rolling mountain. moored to an iceberg in Davis
Strails, a calf was detached from Fragility of Icebergs.
beneath, and rose with such tre
mendous force, that the keel of All pure ice becomes exceed. the ship was lifted even with the ingly fragile towards the close of water ai the bow, whilst the stern the whale-fishing season, when was nearly immersed beneath the the temperate air thaws its surface. surface. Fortunately the ship was Bergs, on being struck by an axe, not materially damaged.