Page images

in others from admiration of their gallant spirit and glorious achievements, with many from that feeling which is part of our nature, a leaning to the weaker side. But as none endeavoured to provoke the catastrophe, so none will attempt by word or pen to impede the return of concord. This, however, must not prohibit the frank expression of opinion on great public events, whether as regards their past history or their probable influence on the future.

In contemplating a Union restored by force, we cannot forget what has been so often exemplified—the power of a people's traditions and their tenacity of life. The Union had no stronger bond than its history. Its progress and renown, its great present and unbounded future, its principles and its flag, were common to all and gloried in alike by North and South. Between the two people there had ever been much discordance, which time had widened; but they had fought on the same fields, shared the same misfortunes, rejoiced in the same triumphs. In the place of this strong connecting link, history for the future will be a centrifugal force. Through all time to come there will be two histories, widely different; and if the press of the South be ever free, it will have a literature of its own. It will have its own memories, its own heroes, its own tears, its own dead. Under these traditions sons will grow to manhood, and lessons sink deep that are learned from widowed mothers. Numbers of Northern people will doubtless settle in the country, but there is a well-known tendency in these to become acclimatised in spirit ; nor is it easy to dislodge 5,000,000 of people. Hence, the prospect most apparent in the future is that of a proud people chafing under the bitterness of injustice and the remembrance of defeat. And the extinction of slavery produces a new danger to the Union. It enforced that cohesion of the Northern States, which they do not naturally possess, and which has given them their present triumph. With the fall of slavery this disappears, and the alliance of the South and West, hitherto superficial, may eventually become thorough. This is the first civil war of the race on that continent. It would be difficult to find an instance of a Republic whose first civil war was its last. But the terrible costs of this struggle will long be remembered, and, with such experience, if it should prove that any large section of the American people again desire to exercise Mr. Lincoln's ' most valuable and most sacred right?that of possessing a government of their own, we trust the spectacle will be exhibited which Mr. Seward once described that of a great people re-arranging its Government to common advantage, peacefully, and with the approval of the world.



Art. V.-1. On the Exploration of the North Polar Region.

By Captain Sherard Osborn, R.N., C.B. A Paper read at a Meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, on January

23rd, 1865. 2. On the Origin and Migrations of the Greenland Esquimaux.

By Clements R. Markham, Secretary R.G.S. 3. On the Proposed Expedition to the North Pole: a Letter

addressed to Sir Roderick Murchison, K.C.B. By Dr. Augustus

Petermann. 4. Second Letter to Sir Roderick Murchison on the subject of

North Polar Exploration. By Dr. A. Petermann, 5. On the best Route for North Polar Exploration. By Clements

R. Markham, Secretary R.G.S. A Paper read at a Meeting

of the Royal Geographical Society, on April 10th, 1865. 6. Minute, on the North Polar Exploration, passed by the Council

of the Linnæan Society. 7. Notes on the Ice between Greenland and Nova Zembla ; being

the results of Investigations into the Records of Early Dutch
Voyages in the Spitzbergen Seas. By Captain Jansen, of the
Dutch Navy.
E have only to cast our eyes over the map of the world,

and we shall at once see how small a portion is as yet thoroughly explored. On a recent occasion, when the discoveries of Mr. Taylor, in the region round the sources of the Tigris, were under discussion, Sir Henry Rawlinson truly remarked that, out of Europe, we really knew little of the geography of the world, beyond the high roads of communication. Palestine itself, the common fatherland of all Christians, is not half known, and still awaits the operations of a modern exploration Society. Central Asia is not more accessible than it was in the days of Marco Polo. The land routes from India and Burmah to China are closed to us. Corea and New Guinea are unknown lands. Africa is a vast continent teeming with unsolved geographical problems. In South America, thousands upon thousands of square miles have never been trodden by a civilized explorer. But it is in the extreme north and south that the widest extent of unknown region still offers a field for enterprise.

The North Polar region, that immense tract of hitherto unpenetrated land and sea which surrounds one end of the axis of our earth, is one of the most interesting fields of discovery that remain. To the people of this country it should have a peculiar charm, for the record of maritime, and especially of Arctic enterprise, runs, like a bright silver thread, through the history of the English nation, lighting up its darkest and most discredit


able periods, and ever giving cause for just pride at times when contemporary events would be sources only of shame and sorrow.

The undiscovered region is bounded, on the European side, by the 80th parallel of latitude, except where Scoresby, Parry, Kane, and a few others, have slightly broken into its outer circumference; but on the Asiatic side it extends fully to 75° and 74, and westward of Behring's Strait our knowledge is bounded by the 72nd degree. Thus, in some directions, it is more than 1500 miles across, and it covers an area of upwards of 2,000,000 square miles. The parallel of 70 skirts the northern shores of the continents of Europe, Asia, and America ; and between 70° and 80° there is an intervening belt separating the known from the unknown, which, in different directions, has been more or less explored by the intrepid seamen and travellers of various nations. Their successes and disasters, their daring exploits and wonderful adventures, form the record whence we must gather such information as is at present within our reach respecting the outer edge of the unknown Polar Region. This information will assist us in the necessary speculations, by means of which we must form an estimate of the uses and advantages that will be derived from a North Polar expedition.

Voyages of discovery, and the surveying expeditions which supplement them, are the most useful occupations of our navy in times of peace. Apart from their direct and positive results, such enterprises have an excellent effect on the naval service. They form a school for the exercise of those high qualities which combine to make the character of a Nelson or a Cochrane. Self-reliance, decision, indomitable determination, and fertility of resource, are produced in those officers who serve in the Arctic regions. The combined audacity and sound judgment displayed by Nelson at the Nile and at Trafalgar may be traced to the education of the Spitzbergen seas and the Polar pack. Another useful result of Arctic expeditions is the interest and sympathy they excite throughout the civilized world. Nothing tends more to strengthen the friendship between nations. If it can be shown that the scientific results to be obtained from a Polar expedition are important in themselves, and that no undue risk will be incurred by the explorers, there are assuredly the strongest reasons for undertaking such an expedition on grounds of public policy. We propose, therefore, in the first place, to examine the results of former Arctic expeditions, and the reasons which have been adduced for exploring the unknown Polar region.

In the earlier period of our naval history the voyages of discovery to the Arctic regions were undertaken with the view


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of opening shorter routes to the Indies, and of seeking fresh sources of commercial wealth. Their main object was not attainable, but the practical results of these voyages, taken collectively, were so important that they may be ranked among the most fruitful and successful enterprises in the commercial history of England.

The Muscovy Company despatched Sir Hugh Willoughby, in 1553, to search and discover the northern part of the world, and to open a way


passage to our men, for travel to new and unknown kingdoms ;' and in the school of this ill-fated but illustrious father of English northern discovery were trained up such worthy disciples as Chancellor, Burrough, Pet, and Jackman. Their voyages opened a communication with Muscovy, and led to a rich and lucrative trade with Archangel. Fifty years later the expeditions of Hudson, Fotherby, and Poole into the Spitzbergen seas were the direct causes of the establishment of an important whale-fishery, which at one time gave employment to 255 sail, and added materially to the wealth of the country. The discoveries of Davis and Baffin led to a similar result. The voyages of Hudson, James, and Fox were the beginning of those efforts which ended in the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company.

The first voyage of Ross round Baffin's Bay, in 1818, opened up another prolific whale-fishery. Arctic discovery in Greenland has enabled the Danes to derive a large revenue from the graphite, cryolite, skins, and ivory of their northern possessions. In Arctic Siberia the Russians have long derived great wealth from their trade in fossil ivory. These are not the objects for the attainment of which any future expedition would be fitted out, because thinking men of the present age believe that there is solid advantage in the increase of knowledge as well as in the accumulation of wealth. Yet the commercial profit derived in former times from Arctic expeditions led Milton to say that these enterprises might have seemed almost heroic if any higher end than excessive love of gain and traffic had animated the design.'

North Polar exploration is now advocated by the leading scientific men of England, headed by Sir Roderick Murchison and the Geographical Society, on the ground that the results of such an enterprise will add largely to the sum of human knowledge, and enrich the stock of registered facts in almost every department of science. It is difficult to conceive a more thoroughly practical reason for undertaking an expedition. Our space will not permit us to enter fully upon a discussion of the numerous important results of Polar exploration; but a statement of some of


« EelmineJätka »