« EelmineJätka »
assertion, he cites the legend of some Dutch the North Cape of Cook, to enter among whalemen who pretended to have navigated the floating ice, to penetrate into the Polythis sea. This is not, it must be confessed, nia or free sea, and thence to sail towards the serious side of the argument of the cele- the pole. The considerations on which brated geographer of Gotha, for some of this project is based are of two kinds. these whalemen, to be more sure of having First, a series of facts ascertained by obserreached the pole, pretended also that they vation or deduced from theory inclines us had gone some degrees beyond it.
to believe that the mean temperature, inThanks to the incessant efforts of Doctor stead of falling in a continuous manner to Petermann, the German expedition left Ber- the pole, is, on the contrary, higher there gen in Norway in the month of May last, than beneath the polar circle, that is to under the command of Captain Ch. Koldewey say, at about 67° latitude. There would The lieutenant's name is Hildebrandt; a result from this the possibility of meeting a pilot and thirteen Bremen sailors compose free sea at the pole even, surrounded by a the rest of the crew. The vessel, which barrier of ice which closes completely only bears the name of Germania, is only 80 tons during the coldest months of winter. In burthen. It is quite new, and has been the second place, the attentive examination bought and equipped at Bergen. This of the polar currents and the ice which they modest expedition, but animated with a drift has just confirmed in a striking manstrong will, will first try to reach the east- ner this hypothesis of a vast open sea rollern coast of Greenland, above 74° latitude, ing its waves round the boreal pole. The touch at Sabine Island, and then follow the accounts of Hedenstroem, Wrangel, Anjou, coast to enter the polar sea, and leave it, if who have seen an immense sheet of free possible, by Behring's Straits, which sepa- water to the north of Siberia, the reports of rate America from Siberia. If the expedi- Morton and of Dr. Hayes, who have met tion cannot penetrate beyond Spitzbergen, with an open sea to the north of Smith's it will undertake explorations in Gillis's Strait, acquire therefore a meaning thorLand, situated further east: the Germania oughly clear and precise, which hardly percarries provisions for a year. At the end mits us to preserve a doubt on the reality of July, news has been received of this ex- of a polar sea. pedition; the ship was entangled in a field It is known since a long time that the of icebergs and completely arrested in its temperature of a place is not regulated by progress, as might have been expected. A the position merely which it occupies belittle while since, a Swedish expedition has tween the equator and the pole; this is also set out in search of the pole, following proved by the isothermal lines which Alexthe route Parry indicated in 1827. Would ander von Humboldt has taught ns to it not be time to make a last effort to trace on the maps of the globe. It results permit the French expedition to hasten its that the poles or points at which terminates departure? We are going to set forth the the axis of rotation of the earth are not chances of success which the French project necessarily the coldest points. In 1821, seems to offer, and to explain the reasons Sir David Brewster concluded from the diwhich justify the choice of the route by rection of the isothermal lines that there exwhich M. Gustave Lambert proposes to try isted two poles of cold, situated the one in the access to the boreal pole.
Siberia, the other in North America; the M. Lambert, hydrographer and naviga- mean temperature will, therefore, be sentor, an old pupil of the Ecole Polytechnique, sibly higher at the pole properly so called has already visited the places where he than in some points of the polar circle. wishes to conduct the expedition he is pre- In 1864, an illustrious Italian geometer, paring. Leaving Havre on board of a ship Plana, submitted to calculation the distriequipped for the whale fishery the 12th bution of the solar heat on the surface of June, 1865, he passed Behring's Straits to the earth, and demonstrated that starting advance to the 72nd degree of north lati- from the polar circle the mean temperatude, and during three months, in the midst ture will increase up to the pole, a result of icebergs, he has been able to study on which it was difficult to foresee theoretithe spot the formidable problem which he cally, although it is in accordance with desires to-day to face. M. Gustave Lam- the testimony of observations. More rebert has fixed his choice on a way of which cently, M. Gustave Lambert has arrived only one trial has yet been made, that of himself at an analogous conclusion in inCook. In the month of July, that is to vestigating the laws by which insolation, or say at the great breaking up of ice in the the quantity of heat furnished by the sun, polar regions, crossing Behring's Straits, he will vary from one place to another at difwould double on the west Cape Serdze and ferent epochs of the year.
The quantity of heat which a point of proved in an unanswerable manner by the the earth receives at a given moment de transportation of the ship Resolute, which pends on the obliquity of the rays; it in- was found in Davis's Strait in 1865, when creases in proportion as the sun rises; but Kellett had abandoned her in May 1854, a when we would appreciate the effect which thousand miles from that point, in the the sun can produce during a period more north, near Cape Cockburn. In Behring's or less long, it is not enough to consider Straits, a very strong current, which flows the direction of the rays: the relative length along the coasts of Asia, seems to present of the days and nights must be taken into a semi-annual character; it goes by turns account. The nocturnal radiation makes from the south to the north and from the the earth lose a considerable portion of the north to the south. The third current caloric which it has absorbed during the descends from the north to the south beday, and it results that the length of the tween Spitzbergen and Nova-Zembla ; the nights can counterbalance up to a certain force of impulsion of these waters is such point the effects of very hot days. Now at that they sometimes break the ice-floe, the pole the sun, during six months, does which facilitates the navigation of these not set; the heat which it emits accumulates parts. The vast space of sea comprised beand concentrates incessantly during the tween the west coast of Spitzbergen and long day of more than a hundred and eighty Greenland gives also passage to a current common days. It may be conceived then which breaks up the ice, while preventing that towards the middle of summer the po- it however from melting. It is this current lar temperature can reach a degree more which in 1827 carried away the floe under than sufficient to produce the fusion more Parry's feet, and did not permit him, in or less complete of the ice formed during spite of superhuman efforts, to go beyond the long night of winter.
82o latitude. All these polar streams seem M. Gustave Lambert has succeeded in to proceed directly from a vast reservoir, constructing a curve representing the pow- from a sea surrounding the boreal pole. er of insolation for the different places of In the austral regions, the currents seem the earth and the different days of the year. on the contrary to affect circular directions In examining the direction and the inflec- and to flow around the icebergs, which tions of this curve, he has ascertained that gives rise to the supposition that a contiat the moment of the solstice (21st June) nent exists at the South Pole. the North Pole will receive in twenty-four Other proofs in favour of this hypothesis hours a quantity of heat greater by one- can be drawn from the study of the masses fifth than that which a point situated under of ice which are met with at the two poles. the tropic of Cancer receives at the same At the south are observed all the phenomemoment. In this calculation, no account na which characterize glaciers properly so is made of the atmospheric absorption, of called, or masses of ice raised on a fixed which the influence is much stronger at the base, earth or rock. There renews itself pole, where the sun is very low, than ud- every year in gigantic proportions the labor der the tropic, where it rises very high at which geologists have observed in the Alps, the hour of noon; the loss which the rays the Himalayas, and the Cordilleras of the suffer in crossing the inferior beds of the Andes. When the colds of winter arrive, atmosphere modifies necessarily the result the watery vapor with which the air has which' is arrived at in considering simply been saturated by the powerful evaporathe position of the sun from its relation to tions of summer condenses into thick snow, the polar horizon. We may nevertheless and falls in large flakes to accumulate duraffirm that the summer heat is much more ing all the gloomy season of the six months considerable at the pole than is commonly of night. At the first fires of spring, when admitted, and in any case that it is more the sun begins to diffuse its heat over these than sufficient to explain the melting of the terrible countries, the ice begins to melt. ice above the 84th or 85th parallel of lati- The water flows then between the fissures tude. The existence of an open sea at the of the ice and in the interstices of the rocks, boreal pole is rendered still probable by the where it congeals again, increasing in volconsideration of the currents which naviga- ume and repelling with incredible force the tors meet in those parts. The polar cur- obstacles which inconvenience it. It is rents are very numerous. From the west not at a few points that this labor takes coast of Greenland, a first current directs place, it is in every sense and on all parts itself to the south-east and accumulates the of the glacier, to which during summer this ice in the straits of Banks, of McClintock, internal labor gives a sort of life and irreand of Queen Victoria. The direction of sistible movement of progression. At the this considerable mass of water is moreover I approach of winter, when-the first signs of
twilight show themselves, the power of im- lastly be invoked. The expeditions which pulsion is subdued by the cold, and dimin- have entered into this dangerous labyrinth ishes by degrees to lose itself in the long of islands which stretches to the west of sleep of winter. This life of the glaciers Greenland speak of it more than once. At is one of the most dangerous obstacles for the same time one may notice a remarkable those navigators who approach the South and very significant difference between the Pole. When the season has been warm, climate of the two zones or parallel bands and the breaking up has made itself which these islands form on the north of strongly felt, the glacier hurls into the sea the American continent. In the zone nearenormous blocks mixed with rocks and est to the continent, animal life shows itself vegetable detritus. The icebergs play a only rarely, while on ascending towards the great part in the recitals of the explorers north it is seen to multiply even to exuberof the antarctic pole; at every moment ance: it seems to apprize the traveller that their ships are threatened by floating moun- he is about to tread on the last fragments tains, or by detached blocks of formidable of ice. This fact, which corresponds to a walls of ice, which seem as if they would line of great cold extending almost from bar their passage. If the configuration of 68° to 75°, is assuredly of considerable the floe of the South Pole, of which the im- value, since it is intimately connected with mense glaciers must have been laid on fixed the existence of a free sea. foundations in the most distant periods of What seems to result from all these facts the glacial age, forces us thus to admit a is that there exists a polar sea free from ice. continent, the study of the physical nature What seems equally certain is, that an exof these masses of ice demonstrates also pedition in sledges, as Mr. Sherard Osborn their terrestrial origin. In the water they has proposed, would offer no serious prosappear black, while in the light they are pect of success. There remains then only transparent and of an azure color.
to discuss the choice of the route by which Very different phenomena characterize a ship might hope to arrive at the pole with the regions of the North Pole. There one the least danger. If at first we throw our meets rather ice of marine formation, the eyes on the labyrinth of islands, canals and ice of the ice-fields. The snow which falls bays which stretches to the north-west of into the sea forms at first a sort of thick Baffin's Bay, the nearness of the fields and yeast; if the weather is calm it congeals, mountains of ice which get loose from it, and the water is covered with a thin sheet would render this route excessively dangerof ice, partly clear and partly flecked or ous. “Any ship dragged to the north and agglutinated snow. “As soon as the wind the east of Parry's Islands into the polar rises,” says M. Gustave Lambert, “ every- basin is necessarily ground to pieces,” says thing breaks up, crumbles, and presents McClure. Scoresby is of the same opinone of the most wonderful spectacles that ion, and the fate of so many ships which can be seen. Every little morsel of ice in have disappeared in these terrible places melting surrounds itself with a regular foot- should remove any hope of venturing into bath of soft water which does not mix with them with a polar expedition. “Fly from the sea-water; the rays of the sun, which is the land!” such should be the motto of the very low, give to all these pools of water expedition. Parry's idea of opening a way the colors of the rainbow, reproducing on for himself through the floe which extends an enormous scale the phenomenon of the from Greenland to Spitzbergen will appear colored rings of Newton, and reflecting all equally chimerical, if one recalls the nuthe shades of the spectrum, but so pale that merous attempts which have been made the charm vanishes to give place to a pain- without any success in this direction. What ful and lugubrious impression; it seems for hope can one have of piercing a barrier of an instant that nature sees itself in full as ice 250 miles broad, where terrible tempests through a sort of winding-sheet or shroud reign unceasingly?' The same objections of gauze. These are the embryos of ice-hold against the way chosen by the German bergs." This ice is opaque and of a milky expedition, which is going to try to ap; white; there are never found in it debris of proach the pole between Spitzbergen and rocks or vegetable detritus, as in that of the Nova-Zembla, where Willoughby, Wood, South Pole. The fields of marine ice, Barentz, Hudson, and Sutke have broken which are rare at the austral pole and com- their energy against one of the strongest mon at the boreal pole, permit us again to points of the polar cuirass. In spite of the affirm the existence of a continent at the power of the gulf-stream, so much invoked South, of a free sea at the North.
by Mr. Petermann, this floe has only been The testimony of navigators who have slightly dissolved, and even during summer perceived from a distance this polar sea can the masses of ice pile themselves on it at
a depth which has not yet been determined. that it was inhabited, which would accord Moreover, if it is true that some vessels with the traditions preserved among the nahave formerly ventured beyond the 820 de- tives of the Siberian coast. * The route gree, it is only to the hazard of an excep- which I should recommend,” says Captain tional breaking up that this success must be Long in a letter published by the Moniteur attributed, for these coasts of Nova-Zem- Commercial of Honolulu of the 18th of bla, into which in 1839 the Recherche pene- January last, “would be the following. trated pretty far, had been, so M. Charles The Asiatic coast should be followed from Martins tells us, inaccessible during several Behring's Strajts to Cape Recouanas or summers. Consequently, so long as the Cape Chelagskor. It is towards the coast great States do not have men and more es- that the ice first melts, and the numerous pecially ships to sacrifice to the dangerous currents of water produced by the melting and continual endeavor to make a breach of the snow drive the ice to the north, in in these thick floes, it is not by a route ex- such a manner as to form along the land å ceptionally free that one should try to reach free passage which a vessel can traverse the North Pole, but by a road which is only very easily, especially if it is aided by rarely encumbered.
steam. Beyond Cape Yakan the ice diFor this reason, the choice of Behring's rects itself from the land towards the north, Straits imposes itself as a necessity. One and is carried by these currents, which discannot invoke against this route either an- perse in Wrangel's free sea in fragments terior checks or the innumerable difficulties sufficiently apart from one another to perwhich the other ways present at the first mit a ship to circulate in it without danger. view. We have neither icebergs here, nor From a certain point between Capes Recoudangerous currents. The voyage of Wran- anaï and Chelagskoï, the direction to folgel proves that in many points the floe is, low would be that from the north to the so to speak, only a thin screen, scarcely north-west, as the ice would permit, to the separating during some months the free north of the islands of Laakhow, where one waves of the Polynia from the waters of would begin to undergo the effects of the Behring's Sea, frequented every year by currents which proceed from the rivers of numerous wbalers. "Resting on these indi- Northern Asia. Thence it would be neccations of Wrangel, and after having made essary to go straight to the pole or the himself a reconnoitring campaign into these islands of Spitzbergen, according to cirparts, M. Gustave Lambert has fixed his cumstances. That the passage from choice on the route which is to conduct him the Pacific to the Atlantic will be accomto the pole. After having crossed Behring's plished by one of the routes indicated Straits at the earliest in July, he takes a above, I believe as firmly as one can bewesterly direction, passes beyond Cape lieve in an event to come. Serdze, then the North Cape of Cook, the A letter of Captain Long's, addressed extreme point reached by that navigator. from Honolulu to the President of the He then finds himself in the midst of the Geographical Society of France under date movable debris of the floe, between which of June 15, 1868, confirms the preceding dethe ship is steered, the more extended bar- tails, and contains very exact indications riers being blown up with powder or cut on the state of the sea to the north of Siwith saws; he penetrates into the free sea, beria. “Last season,” he says, “ has been crosses in his vessel the points where Wran- very favorable to polar explorations; the gel's sledge was stopped by pools of water sea near the coast, going from Behring's separating fragments of thin and flat ice, Straits towards the east, was free from ice. and at length reaches the North Pole. When we were 40 miles to the north of
The choice of Behring's Straits has, more- Cape Chelagskoî, not a vestige of ice was over, just been justified in a manner as strik- perceived from the top of the masts in the ing as unexpected. In the month of August, directions comprised between the north and 1867, Captain Long, an American, com- the west. The weather was clear and beaumanding the whaler Nile, entered the Polar tiful, the sky in that direction was of a dark Sea, and was able, without meeting any se- watery appearance. The absence of whales rious obstacles, to approach to within ten in those parts rendered the continuation of miles of the point where Wrangel had per- the voyage little profitable; I returned then ceived a sheet of free water in the month towards the east, and I passed at less than of March, 1823. On his return, he discov- ten miles this side of the point where Wranered, at about 70 miles to the north of Cape gel had seen the free sea in the month of Yakan, a vast land covered with verdure, on March. To the north of this position, there which walruses and seals were playing. were some sheets of ice at considerable inThe aspect of this land seemed to indicate tervals, and I believe that a ship could have
advanced very far without meeting any ob- all classes and of opposite tendencies was stacle. With a well-equipped ovessel I nigh at hand. The Dean of Cork avoided would not have hesitated to attempt the both of these mistakes. His copious Irish passage through the Polar Sea to Spitz- eloquence, and a powerful voice, might bergen ; but with my barque, which was easily have tempted him to indulge in imnot prepared for the pressure of the ice, passioned rhetoric, but this temptation was and with provisions for four months only, severely resisted, and, with one or two it would have been folly.” Captain Long momentary exceptions, the sermon was a insists afterwards on the well-ascertained fine example of logical precision in the use fact that the winds of the north and the of language, even though it was delivered north-west bring to Cape North fogs and an without written notes. His theme was, elevation of temperature which seem to in- " I am come that they might have life, and dicate the presence of a free sea in the di- that they might have it more abundantly." rection of the north.–Such is the last phase There was a sense, he said, in which these of the question and the summary of what is words might serve as the motto for all true known to-day of the mysterious regions teachers in all ages of the world. The which surround the boreal pole. Every-final cause and aim of all science and all thing gives us reason to hope that in a little philosophy is the enrichment of human life, while a fortunate and hardy ship will trace the making of the life of humanity in some its furrow in this unexplored sea, will re- way or other a nobler, a cleaner, a fairer connoitre these lands, inhabited, perhaps, thing than it was before. And as that and of which we did not even know the exist- great Association moved about from city ence yesterday, will affirm at length at the to city, investigating the conditions, the extremities of the world the power and the resources, and the philosophy of existence, energy of man. Theoretical science ex- and bringing to light such truth as was atpects great results from the observations tainable in relation to the world in which which can be made at the pole, and when men lived, it might, with greater signifitheory advances, practice always feels the cance and without the least irreverence, effects. Will not moreover the expedition adopt for itself the language of the Foundwhich will make us acquainted with the last er of the Christian religion, and say, "We point of our domain, until now withdrawn are come among you that ye might have from our investigations, mark an important life, and that ye might have it more abundate in the history of humanity ?
dantly." In discussing the sense in which these words had been first used, he observed that the Christian religion differed
from all other ancient faiths in the profesFrom The Spectator.
sion which it made to impart a new and
divine life to man. Christ did not come THE DEAN OF CORK AT THE BRITISH AS. to be the teacher and helper of man's life SOCIATION
only. He claimed to be the author and One of the most noteworthy incidents in the giver of it. He does not merely say the brilliant and busy week just spent by that He is the discoverer of that life or the the savans at Norwich was the delivery of teacher of its laws, but He says, “I am a sermon on Sunday in the cathedral by that life. I am essential to it. It cannot Dr. Magee. Such an occasion seldom oc- be without Me." The writings of His folcurs in a preacher's life, for in the vast lowers, and notably of Paul, are filled and congregation which filled every cranny of saturated with this idea of a Christ whose the building, there were the President and life is in them, who lives in them. No principal officers of the Association, be- Jew ever said that he lived in Moses, no sides conspicuous representatives of all Mussulman that the life of Mohammed was those forms of modern thought and inquiry imparted to him or reproduced in him. It on which Christian preachers too often is the distinctive mark of Christianity that look with jealousy if not with avowed hos- it alone professes to give the life of its tility. It was an occasion on which weak Founder to men: that it is not merely a men of one school would have vented creed, or a system of doctrine, or a code of vague denunciations of the aggressive and laws, or a scheme of philosophy; but a sceptical spirit of modern science; while new vital force in the world – a life having still weaker men of another type would its own phenomena, its own conditions of have flattered their hearers by making light existence, its own laws of manifestation, a of the conflict between science and reli- life as real as any of those forms of life gion, or by expressing a dim belief that a which science arranges and classifies, a life reconciliation between “ truth-seekers ” of which it was said had been supernaturally