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them will be sufficient to show that they supply an excellent reason for a renewal of our noble voyages of discovery.
In the first place, Polar discovery will solve many important questions in physical geography. The northern part of Greenland is still utterly unknown, and the extreme points to which our knowledge extends are separated from each other by sixty degrees of longitude. Hundreds of miles of coast-line, therefore, remain to be discovered in this direction, besides the land running north and south on the west side of Sinith Sound, which is the most northern known land in the world, and which Dr. Hayes saw stretching away in the direction of the Pole, from his farthest point in 81° 35' N. Then again, the extensive land to the northward of Siberia awaits discovery. One end of it was seen by-Captain Kellett, and the existence of a large expanse of land in that direction will alone account for several phenomena on the Siberian and American coasts. The interesting and practically important questions connected with ocean currents will also be solved by discoveries in the unknown region; and pendulum or trigonometrical observations to ascertain the exact shape of the earth become more important as the Pole is approached. For the latter object alone it would be desirable to send out an expedition to the North.
But one of the most urgent reasons for exploring the unknown region is the necessity of sooner or later completing the series of observations on the variation, dip, and intensity of the magnetic needle. When the observations which have already been made by the different Arctic expeditions have been co-ordinated and placed before the public, we are told by General Sabine that the gain to terrestrial magnetism will be found to be very considerable. But much remains to be done, for there is a vast area within which no observations have been taken: We have the highest authority for saying that observations within the Arctic and Antarctic circles have a more than ordinary value in furthering our knowledge of terrestrial magnetism, and that the observations which would contribute in the highest degree to this end would be such as might be made by a magnetic survey, on a great circle connecting New Siberia with the discoveries of Dr. Kane up Smith Sound. The duty of the present generation, in connection with terrestrial magnetism, has been to accumulate accurate observations, in order that others may hereafter compare them, and complete and perfect a very abstruse but important theory. Let it be our care, then, that our work is not done inefficiently and negligently.
The unknown Polar region also offers a wide field for geological research. Ice, in the form of glaciers and sea-borne floes,
is one of the most powerful agents in effecting those mighty changes which geologists have observed on all parts of the earth's crust. Hitherto no professed geologist has accompanied an Arctic expedition, and much important work may be done by a trained observer, whether he watches the phenomena connected with the mighty glacial system of Greenland, or with the tremendous ice-fields of the Polar ocean. An examination of the land within the unknown space will also throw light upon that remarkable feature of Arctic geology connected with the vast deposits of timber which are already known to exist from Cape Taimyr, in Siberia, to the Parry Islands. The existence of these deposits proves that, in a geological period which is comparatively recent, the now treeless and frozen wastes of the Arctic regions were clothed with verdure. The wooden hills' of Kotelnoi Island consist of enormous deposits, thirty fathoms high, composed of horizontal layers of sandstone with bituminous treestems. Similar tree-stems, on a smaller scale, were met with on Banks's and Prince Patrick's Islands, and in Northern Greenland the coal-beds prove that eternal glaciers now occupy the sites of primeval forests of the miocene tertiary age. It will be most important, in a geological point of view, to ascertain how far the mild climate extended in the direction of the Pole. We know that such a climate once enabled waving forests of oak and cypress to grow on the now frozen tundra of Arctic Siberia, and in the ravines of Northern Greenland, now choked up with glaciers. These and other interesting additions to geological knowledge may be expected from an examination of the coasts within the unknown area.
With regard to the specific results in natural history which may be expected from North Polar exploration, we cannot do better than quote a passage on the subject from an able Minute recently agreed to by the Council of the Linnæan Society :
'It is now known that the Arctic Ocean teems with life, and that of the more minute organized beings the multitude of kinds is prodigious. These play a most important part, not only in the economy of organic nature, but in the formation of sedimentary deposits, which in future geological periods will become incorporated with those rockformations whose structure has only lately been explained by the joint labours of zoologists and geologists. The kinds of these animals, the relations they bear to one another and to the larger animals (such as whales, seals, &c., towards whose food they so largely contribute), the conditions under which they live, the depths they inhabit, their changes of form, &c., at different seasons of the year and at different stages of their lives; and lastly, their distribution according to geographical arcas, warm and cold currents, &c., are all subjects on which very littlo is known. In connection with this subject, and, indeed,
inseparable from it, is a similar inquiry into the conditions of life of the microscopic vegetables with which the Polar seas equally swarm, and which both form the food of the microscopic animals and contribute to the sedimentary deposits above mentioned the siliceous coating of their cells. These siliceous coats are indestructible, and being of irregular geometric forms, and the different kinds having differently and exquisitely-sculptured surfaces, may be recognised wherever found, and at all future epochs of our globe ; and a knowledge of the species inhabiting the Arctic Ocean would throw great light on investigations into the age of the rocks of our own island, and on the later changes of the climate of the Northern hemisphere. With regard to the larger animals, the fish, shells, corals, sponges, &c., of the Arctic zone, those of Greenland alone have been well explored. A knowledge of their habits and habitats is most desiderated, as are good specimens for our museums. More important still would be anatomical and physiological experiments and observations on these animals, under their natural conditions.
* In botany very much remains to be done ; not, perhaps, in the discovery of new kinds, but in tracing the distribution of those already known, in connexion with existing currents, and with the effects of the cold and warm epochs of the world's late history. It is well made out that the Arctic flora comprises three floras, namely, the Scandinavian, American, and Asiatic; but it has only recently been shown that these floras do not bear that relation to the geographical areas they respectively inhabit which the existing relations of land and sea would lead us to suppose ; thus the West Greenland fora is European, and not American; the Spitzbergen flora contains American plants found neither in Greenland nor in Scandinavia ; and other anomalies have been traced, which indicate great recent changes in the physical geography of the Polar land. To correlate and examine these anomalies requires a natural history survey of the Polar area, and can only be accomplished by the joint labours of energetic officers who could devote a considerable time to the subject.'
Not the least valuable discoveries of a Polar expedition will be those that may confidently be expected to be made in the science of ethnology, and respecting the distance to which the migrations of tribes of human beings have been extended in the direction of the Pole. It is a very remarkable fact that human remains have been met with in every part of the Arctic regions. No corner of them to which explorers have reached, however dreary and in hospitable it may be, is without these vestiges. Thus ruined huts and fox-traps were found along the whole extent of the Parry Islands, which are all now uninhabited. Scoresby saw recent vestiges of inhabitants at every point of the wild coast of East Greenland, on which he landed. Clavering actually met with two families at the furthest northern point that has been reached on the east side. Kane found the runner of
a sledge on the beach, beyond the Humboldt glacier. Men have penetrated, in remote times, to every part of those distant Arctic regions which have since been reached with so much labour and difficulty by modern explorers; and there is every reason to believe that isolated tribes-certainly their remains—will be found within the still unknown Polar region. Such tribes will have been absolutely isolated for centuries from every other branch of the human family. As they are unacquainted with the use of metals, their implements must be exclusively of bone, driftwood, and stone; and here alone can the condition of man be realised and studied, under circumstances analogous to those which surrounded those early races which have lately been discussed among us.
The denizens of the Pole, like the men who used the flint implements of Abbeville, are living in a glacial country, and in a 'stone age. Researches into the habits and mode of life of these Hyperboræans will, therefore, be of great importance to the sciences of geology and ethnology.
We have now briefly alluded to some of the scientific results of North Polar exploration. There are many others to be attained, especially in meteorology and in hydrography ; but we have said enough to prove that they are sufficiently numerous and important to afford ample justification for the despatch of a scientific Polar expedition.
In conducting such an expedition, the object in view will not be to reach the North Pole, which is merely a mathematical point, but to explore, as thoroughly as possible, the unknown area, and to commence in that direction which promises to lead to the most important results. Unlike the Southern Pole, the Northern Polar region is surrounded, at a distance of about 1200 miles from its centre, by the three great continents of our planet, while the enormous glacier-bearing mass of Greenland stretches away towards the Pole for an unknown distance. There are three approaches by sea to this land-girt end of the earth—through the wide ocean between Norway and Greenland, through Davis Strait, and through Behring's Strait. One wide portal and two narrow gates.
In the discussions which have followed the reading of Captain Sherard Osborn's admirable and well-digested proposal for North Polar exploration, two different routes have been advocated, namely, that by the Spitzbergen Seas and that by Smith Sound.
The true question that has thus been raised is, whether Arctic exploration should be chiefly conducted by means of ships, or by sledge travelling? This is a question of the first importance; and we, therefore, propose to discuss it fully, bearing in mind that the object to be attained is the thorough and complete
examination of the largest possible area of unknown region, in the direction which leads to the most important scientific results.
It is through the wide ocean portal that men first sought to reach the mysterious region of the Pole; but the invariable failure of numerous attempts to penetrate the Polar pack in this direction, during the last two centuries, has led the highest authorities, from Parry and Franklin to Osborn and M.Clintock, to turn to sledge-travelling rather than to uncertain ice navigation, as the true method of Polar exploration. The region of the Pole, on the meridians between Greenland and Nova Zembla, is covered during the winter with gigantic fields of ice. On the approach of spring there is a break up, and the centrifugal force of the earth causes the ice to drift, in closely-packed masses, to the south-west, until it meets the warmer currents flowing from the Equator. All the land which intercepts this great ice-bearing stream, such as the east coasts of Spitzbergen and Greenland, is of course lined with huge floes and ice masses, rendering navigation impossible. For the same reason there is usually a navigable channel on the western shores, which, in the case of Spitzbergen, is further cleared by the agency of the Gulf Stream. In summer and autumn the mighty ice-fields continue to drift to the south-west until they are melted by the equatorial currents. The ice packs in vast masses along the east side of Greenland, leaves a channel under the lee of Spitzbergen, so that vessels can generally reach 80° N. on that meridian in the summer; and again forms an impenetrable barrier between the east side of Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. No vessel has yet penetrated beyond the edge of this Polar pack, which extends to the Pole itself; and there are strong reasons for the belief that, in this direction, no land of any extent intervenes. The Polar pack consists of ice of most formidable character. The fields are often 30 miles broad by 100 long; and Scoresby says that they are not unfrequently met with in single sheets of solid transparent ice nearly 40 feet in thickness. When they come in contact with each other, a noise is heard like resounding peals of thunder ; the pressure is fearful, and ridges of broken-up ice rise high into the air. Many whalers have been destroyed by the pressure between two ice-fields; and when large fleets frequented the Spitzbergen Seas, twenty-three have been lost in a single season. It was well, perhaps, for the numerous bold discoverers who have examined the edge of the Polar pack, that they never succeeded in penetrating far into its dangerous and treacherous openings.
Yet to sail across the North Pole was long a favourite project with English explorers. In 1527 Master Robert Thorne of Vol. 118.-No. 235.