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ice and the sea on each other, is swells of the ocean, while the anparticularly striking, whichever nihilation of bay ice is so sudden may have the ascendancy. If, on and complete, might seem an anothe one hand, the ice be arranged maly or impossibility, were the with a certain form of aggrega- circumstances passed over in si. tion, and in due solidity, it be lence. It must be observed, that comes capable of resisting the the operation of a swell is merely turbulence of the ocean, and can, to rend the bay ice in pieces, while with but little comparative dimi- its destruction is principally effectnution or breaking, suppress itsed by the attrition of those pieces most violent surges. Its resist- against each other, and the washance is so effectual, that ships ing of the wind-lipper. Herein sheltered by it rarely find the sea the essential difference consists : disturbed by swells. On the other pancake ice is formed in masses hand, the most formidable fields so small and so strong, that the yield to the slightest grown swell, swell will not divide them; and and become disrupted into thou- the effect of the wind-lipper is resands of pieces ; and ice of only a pressed by the formation of sludge few weeks growth, on being as on its seaward margin. Hence sailed by a turbulent sea, is broken whenever ice does occur in agiand annihilated with incredible tated waters, its exterior is always celerity. Ice, which for weeks has sludge, and its interior pancake been an increasing pest to the ice, the pieces of which gradually whale-fisher, is sometimes re increase in size with the distance moved in the space of a few hours. from the edge. The destruction is in many cases When aswell occurs in crowded, so rapid, that to an inexperienced yet detached ice, accompanied with observer, the occurrence seems thick weather and storm, it preincredible, and rather an illusion sents one of the most dangerous of fancy, than a matter of fact. and terrific navigations that can Suppose a ship immoveably fixed be conceived. Each lump of ice, in bay ice, and not the smallest by its laborious motion, and its opening to be seen: after a lapse violent concussions of the water, of time sufficient only for a mo becomes buried in foam, which, derate repose, imagine a person with its rapid drift, and the atrising from his bed,--when, be- tendant horrid noise, inspires the hold, the insurmountable obstacle passing mariner with the most has vanished ! Instead of a sheet alarming impressions ; whilst the of ice expanding unbroken to the scene before him is, if possible, verge of the horizon on every side, rendered more awful by his conan undulating sea relieves the sciousness of the many disasters prospect, wherein floats the wreck which have been occasioned by of the ice, reduced apparently to a similar dangers. small fraction of its original bulk ! This singular occurrence I have On the approximations towards the more than once been a witness to.
Poles, and on the possibility of That ice should be forming or
Teaching the North Pole. increasing, when exposed to the Although I am sensible, that
already I have trespassed too much the Pole ; which is, I imagine, upon the Society, in the unexpect- one of the most extraordinary aped extent of this paper, I never- proximations yet realised. theless cannot think of dismissing In Hudson's Bay, between the the subject, without completing longitudes of 50° and 80° west, my original plan, by noticing the ships can seldom advance beyond comparative approximations to- the 74th degree of north latitude; wards the Poles, which have been and only one instance is upon effected on different meridians ; record, wherein the extremity of and at the same time offering, with the bay in 78° N. has been exdiffidence, a few remarks on the plored. possibility of travelling to the In Behring's Straits, the advenNorth Pole, together with a sketch turous Cook, on the meridian of of the reasoning on which the 1612° W. (very near the Ameriprobability of success depends. can coast), advanced to the lati
First, It has already been re tude of 70° 44' N., on the 13th of marked, that the 80th degree of August 1778; and on the 26th, north latitude is almost annually in longitude 176° W. they were accessible to the Greenland whale- stopped by the ice in 690 45 N fishers, and that this latitude, on After his lamentable death, Capparticular occasions, has been ex tain Clerke directed the proceedceeded. On one of the first at- ings in the following year, and tempts which appears to have been reached the latitude of 70° 33' on made to explore the circumpolar the 18th of July, being about four regions, in the year 1607, Henry leagues short of their former adHudson penetrated the ice on the vance. north-western coast of Spitzbergen The southern hemisphere, toto the latitude of 80° 23' N. In wards the Pole, was likewise ex1773, Captain Phipps, on “a plored by Captain Cook on a voyage towards the North Pole,” former voyage, on various meriadvanced on a similar track to 80° dians, and with indefatigable per37 of north latitude. In the year severance.
On his first attempt 1806, the ship Resolution of in 1772, they met with ice in Whitby, commanded by my Fa- about 51° south, and longitude 21 ther, (whose extraordinary perse- east. They saw great fields in verance and nautical ability are 55° south on the 17th of January well appreciated by those in the 1773, and on February the 24th, Greenland trade and proved by his were stopped by field-ice in 620 never-failing success), was forced, south latitude, and 95° east lonby astonishing efforts, through a gitude. vast body of ice, which commenced Again, on the second attempt in the place of the usual barrier, in December of the same year, but exceeded its general extent by they first met with ice in about at least a hundred miles. We 62° south latitude, and 172-1730 then reached a navigable sea, and west longitude ; and on the 15th, advanced without hinderance to saw field ice in latitude 66o. On the latitude of 811° north, a dis- the 30th of January 1774, they tance of only 170 leagues from were stopped by immense ice
fields in latitude 71° 10' 30", and to be encountered, -and that some 107° west longitude, which was circumstances might possibly oc the most considerable approxima- cur, which would at once annul tion towards the South Pole that the success of the undertaking. had ever been effected.
Of these classes of objections, the Thus, it appears, that there following strike me as being the subsists a remarkable difference most formidable, which, after between the two hemispheres, briefly stating, I shall individually with regard to the approach of consider in their order : the ice towards the equator ; the 1. The difficulty of performing ice of the southern being much a journey of 1200 miles, 600 going less pervious, and extending to and 600 returning, over a surface much lower latitudes, than that of of ice,—of procuring a sufficient the nerthern hemisphere :-- conveyance,--and of carrying a
That the 73d or 74th degree of necessary supply of provisions and north latitude can be attained at apparatus, as well as attendants. any season of the year ; whereas The difficulty may be increased the 71st degree of south latitude, by has been but once passed :-And, (a.) Soft snow;
That, whilst the antarctic ne (6.) Want of the continuity of plus ultra appears to be the 72d the ice; degree of latitude, that of the (c.) Rough ice; and arctic extends full 600 miles fur (d.) Mountainous ice. ther; the nearest approach to the 2. The difficulty of ascertaining South Pole being a distance of the route, and especially of the 1130 miles, but to the North, return, arising from the perpenonly 510 miles.
dicularity of the magnetical needle. Lastly, With regard to the pro 3. Dangers to be apprehended, bability of exploring the regions (a) From excessive cold; more immediately in the vicinity (6.) From wild beasts. of the Pole than has yet been ac 4. Impediments which would complished, or even of reaching frustrate the scheme: the Pole itself,-I anticipate, that (a.) Mountainous land; without reference to the reasoning (6.) Expanse of sea; on which the opinion is grounded, (c.) Constant cloudy atmosit might be deemed the frenzied phere. speculation of a disordered fancy. 1. It is evident that a journey I flatter myself, however, that I of 1200 miles, under the existing shall be able to satisfy the Society, difficulties, would be too arduous that the performance of a journey, a task to be undertaken and perover a surface of ice, from the formed by human exertions alone, north of Spitzbergen to the Pole, but would require the assistance is a project which might be under- of some fleet quadrupeds, accustaken with at least a probability tomed to the harness. of success.
Rein-deer, or dogs, appear to It must be allowed, that many be the most appropriate.
If the known difficulties would require former could sustain a sea voyage, to be surmounted,-many dangers they might be refreshed on the
northern part of Spitzbergen, sledges for the provisions and apwhich affords their natural food. paratus. They could be yoked to sledges (a.) Soft snow would diminish framed of the lightest materials, the speed, and augment the faadapted for the accommodation of tigue of the animal; to avoid the adventurers, and the convey- which, therefore, it would be neance of the requisites. The pro- cessary to set out by the close of visions for the adventurers, for the month of April or the begincompactness, might consist of ning of May; or, at least, some portable soups, potted meats, &c., time before the severity of the and compressed lichen for the frost should be too greatly rerein-deer. The instruments and laxed. apparatus might be in a great (6.) Want of continuity of the measure confined to indispensa- ice, would certainly occasion a bles, and those of the most port- troublesome interruption; it might able kinds ; such as tents, defen- nevertheless be overcome, by sive weapons, sextants, chrono- having the sledges adapted to anmeters, magnetic needles, ther- swer the purpose of boats; and it mometers, &c.
is to be expected, that although As the rein-deer is, however, a openings amidst the ice should delicate animal, difficult to guide, occur, yet a winding course might and might be troublesome if thin in general be pursued, so as to or broken ice were required to be prevent any very great stoppage. passed, -dogs would seem in some (c.) Many of the most prodirespects to be preferable. In gious fields are entirely free from either case, the animals must be abrupt hummocks, from one exprocured from the countries where- tremity to the other, and field ice, in they are trained, and drivers
as it appears in general, would be would probably be required with easily passable. them. The journey might be ac (d.) The degree of interruption celerated by expanding a sail to from mountainous ice, would deevery favourable breeze, at the pend on the quality of its surface. same time the animals would be If, as is most probable, it were relieved from the oppression of smooth, and free from abrupt their draught. It would appear slopes, it would not prevent the from the reputed speed of the success of the expedition. rein-deer, that, under favourable 2. The direct route would be circumstances, the journey might pointed out, for some part of the be accomplished even in a fort- way at least, by the magnetic night, allowing time for rest and needle ; and when its pole should accidental delays. It would re be directed towards the zenith, quire a month or six weeks with should that position ever obtain, dogs, at a moderate speed; and, the sun would be the only guide. in the event of the failure of these Or, the position of the true north animals on the journey, it does being once ascertained, three not seem impossible that the return sledges on a line, at a convenient should be effected on foot, with distance apart, might enable the
leading one to keep a direct course. ferocious animal known to inhabit A chronometer would be an indis- those regions, and he rarely makes pensable requisite, as the oppor- an attack upon man. At any rate, tunity for lunar observations could he might be repulsed by any ofnot be expected to occur suffici- fensive weapon. And, as the prey ently often. Were the Pole gain- of the bears is scarce in the most ed, the bearing of the sun at northern latitudes, they would not the time of noon, by a chronome- probably occur in any abundance. ter adjusted to the meridian of 4. Hitherto no insurmountable North-west Spitzbergen, would objection has been presented: a afford a line of direction for the few serious obstacles, should they return; and, the position in re occur, remain to be considered. gard to longitude (were the sun (a.) Mountainous land, like visible) could be corrected, at mountainous ice, would check the least twice a-day, as the latitude progress of the expedition, in prodecreased. The degrees of longi- portion to the ruggedness of its tude being so contracted, any re- surface, and the steepness of its quired position would be pointed cliffs. Its occurrence would, neverout by the watch, with the greatest theless, form an interesting disprecision.
covery. 3. (a.) Among the dangers to (6.) From the pretended excurbe apprehended, the coldness of sions of the Dutch, many have bethe air stands prominent. As, lieved that the sea at the Pole is however, the cold is not sensibly free from ice; were this really the different between the latitudes of case, the circumstance would cer70° and 80° with a strong north tainly be an extraordinaryone ; but wind, it may be presumed that at I consider it too improbable to the Pole itself, it would be very render it necessary to hazard any little more oppressive than at the opinion concerning it. borders of the main ice, in the (c.) From the facts stated in 81st degree of north latitude, pages 319, 320 of this paper, I under a hard northerly gale: and think we derive a sanction for calsince this cold is supportable, that culating on clear weather at all of the Pole may be deemed so times but with southerly storms; likewise. The injurious effects and as these occur but rarely, of the severity of the weather, the progress of the journey would might be avoided by a judicious not probably be suspended by an
of woollen clothing; the obscure sky, except for short peexternal air being met by an out- riods and at distant intervals. ward garment of varnished silk, Notwithstanding I have now and the face defended by a mask, distinctly considered every obvious with eyes of glass. The exterior objection and difficulty to be surgarment would, at the same time, mounted, I am nevertheless senbe water-proof, and thus capable sible, that in the realising of any of shielding the body from acci- project for discovery, whether at dental moisture.
sea or on land, there will occur (6.) The white bear is the only many adventitious circumstances