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order, and even, in some measure, the extraordinary state of health which prevailed among us during this winter.'-pp. 50, 51.
When to these methods of recreation and mental employment are added the various occupations of the officers in the duties of the ship, in taking observations relating to astronomy and navigation, in noting down the several atmospherical phenomena, in collecting specimens of natural history, it may readily be supposed that time did not hang heavily on their hands. A great number of important observations on the magnetic influence were conducted by Lieutenant Foster, which are about to appear in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and from which some new, curious, and highly interesting results are expected. In treating of Professor Barlow's plate for correcting the effect of local attraction, and the severe trial it had to undergo in latitudes where the compasses had before been rendered wholly useless, Captain Parry says, never had an invention a more complete and satisfactory triumph; for to the last moment of our operations at sea did the compass indicate the true magnetic direction.'
• Such an invention (he proceeds) as this, so sound in principle, so easy of application, and so universally beneficial in practice, needs no testimony of mine to establish its merits; but when I consider the many anxious days and sleepless nights which the uselessness of the compass in these seas has formerly occasioned me, I really should esteem it a kind of personal ingratitude to Mr. Barlow, as well as great injustice to so memorable a discovery, not to have stated my opinion of its merits, under circumstances so well calculated to put them to a satisfactory trial.'-pp. 55, 56.
It is known that sounds are heard with more distinctness. and at greater distances in severely cold weather than at other times. At Port Bowen it was found that two persons could keep up a conversation with great facility between two stations at the measured distance of 6,696 feet, or about one statute mile and twotenths, the thermometer at 18 below zero.
The atmospherical phenomena in the polar regions during winter appear to be subject to much less change than in places situated in lower latitudes. Thus the range in the barometer and thermometer is very limited; the hygrometer rarely indicates any moisture; the snow that occasionally falls is composed of minute crystals, and scarcely covers the ground at the end of the season to the depth of four inches; the atmosphere gives no indication of electricity; and the aurora borealis is faint and seldom appears-but for the details of these subjects, so interesting to science, we must refer the reader to the volume itself, in the Appendix to which will be found much most valuable matter in the various departments of science.
It was not till the 20th July that the disruption of the ice allowed the ships to remove from their winter-quarters, and enabled them to stretch across towards the western shore of Prince Regent's Inlet, where, after some slight obstruction, they succeeded in making favourable progress along the land. This however did not continue long; the ice was perceived to approach the land, till at length it reached the ships and drove them both on shore, and the Fury was found to be so very seriously damaged as to make it impossible for her to proceed farther without repairs, and probably without, as Captain Parry calls it, ‹ the ruinous necessity' of heaving the ship down.
There being no harbour, it was necessary to form a sort of basin by means of the ice for the performance of this operation; the process was tedious and laborious, and various impediments occurred from the movement and pressure of the ice. They succeeded, however, after immense exertions, in heaving the Fury down: but this had scarcely been accomplished when a gale of wind destroyed the securities of the basin, which rendered it necessary to tow the Fury out, to re-equip the Hecla, and for the latter to stand out to sea. The Fury was once more driven on shore, and it now appeared on a close examination, that it was perfectly hopeless, circumstanced as they were, to make her sea-worthy,that it was absolutely necessary to abandon her. The incessant labour which every one underwent, upon this disastrous occasion, had a curious effect on the mind. The officers and men,' says Captain Parry, were now literally so harassed and fatigued, as to be scarcely capable of further exertion without some rest; and on this and one or two other occasions, I noticed more than a single instance of stupor amounting to a certain degree of failure in intellect, rendering the individual so affected quite unable at first to comprehend the meaning of an order, though still as willing as ever to obey it.'
Whatever expectations Captain Parry might have rested on the result of heaving down and repairing the Fury, these were now at an end. With a twelvemonth's provisions for both ships' companies, (says the Captain,) it would have been folly to hope for final success, considering the small progress we had already made, the uncertain nature of this navigation, and the advanced period of the present season. I was therefore,' he adds, reduced to the only remaining conclusion, that it was my duty, under all the circumstances of the case, to return to England, in compliance with the plain tenor of my instructions.'
Captain Parry adduces a number of instances to prove, what we have noticed on a former occasion, that the western sides of seas and inlets, having a trending at all approaching to north and
south, are, at a given season of the year, generally more encumbered with ice than the shores which have an opposite aspect;' and his observations on this well established fact have led him to the conclusion, that there must exist in the polar regions some general motion of the sea towards the west, causing the ice to set in that direction, when not impelled by contrary winds, or local and occasional currents, until it butts against those shores which are actually found to be most encumbered by it;' and he offers a suggestion for the consideration of others,' whether such a tendency of the sea may not have some connection with the motion of the earth on its axis?' Philosophers, we believe, have long ago settled this point, and are agreed that the sea, as well as the atmosphere, partake of the earth's motion and accompany it very peaceably in its daily revolution without striving either to precede or fall behind it. Perhaps the well known fact of the western shores of lands enjoying a climate considerably more temperate than the eastern ones in a corresponding latitude, may be held sufficient to explain the phenomenon in question. The superior warmth of one shore melts the ice in contact with it, while on the opposite side it remains undissolved; just as in a wide street, (Regent Street, for instance,) running north and south, the eastern side, during winter or in wet or damp weather, will frequently be found entirely dry, while the western side remains completely wet, and this for days and weeks together-an effect arising probably from the superior influence of the western rays of the sun falling more direct on the eastern side of the street, or, which is the same thing, the western side of a continent or island.
Captain Parry made every endeavour to avail himself of this well-established fact; but this was always attended with constant and unavoidable risk to his ships, and we cannot, therefore, as he observes, be reasonably surprized, that, on a single occasion, out of so many in which the same accident seemed, as it were, impending, it should actually have taken place.' The wonder certainly is that the accident never happened before; for, strong as the ships were made, it is quite certain that no combination of wood and iron, however skilfully disposed, can withstand the continued pressure between unyielding ground on one side, and an enormous moving body of ice on the other; and this consideration rather inclines us to hesitate, in the. general, as to the propriety of keeping ships in the narrow channels formed between the land and the main body of the ice which is found in most of the narrow passages among islands. Parry himself asserts that, ' on numerous occasions, the ships might easily have been placed among the ice, and left to drift with it in comparative, if not absolute security, when the holding them on was preferred, though
attended with hourly and imminent peril.' It is true that, on running the ships into the midst of a field of ice, there is no knowing whither they might be drifted, or when disentangled, but in other respects we are apt to think such is the safest way to navigate frozen seas; and when we are told by Captain Parry that, during the time the Fury and the Hecla were made fast on the coast of Prince Regent's Inlet, the ice was setting to the southward, and sometimes at a rapid rate, full seven days out of ten on an average,' we cannot help expressing a wish that both vessels had been shut up in the midst of it, instead of being in a situation where they were almost every instant liable to be squeezed between the huge masses and the unyielding shore, and where the former was finally crushed and wrecked.
We speak from some little experience when we say, that the danger from being beset' is very trifling indeed. Even the frail Greenland fishing ships, though sometimes nipped' in the ice, are rarely lost; and when such an accident does take place, the crews are generally preserved upon the ice or in their boats if the ice should separate. The loss of life, therefore, from shipwreck among the ice cannot be argued as an objection to the attempts at discovery in those seas; and assuredly as little objection is there on the score of loss of health. In the late voyage one man was found drowned in a pool of water, and one died of an abscess occasioned by a fall. The exposure to the rigour of an arctic winter has no longer any terror; that bugbear is at an end. When indeed we compare the risk to which ships are exposed on the west coast of Ireland and in the British seas, with that of those engaged in the northern fisheries, and the loss of health and life in the squadrons employed in the West Indies and on the coast of Africa, with the very trifling loss of either in the five northern expeditions; we see nothing whatever to object to the continuance of these Polar voyages-so long as there is any thing to discover-on the score of danger, either to ships or men. It is a curious circumstance, however, that, in the early periods of the Greenland fishery, when in the hands of the northern nations, the mortality must have been prodigious. This is quite obvious from the fact, but recently discovered, of there being not fewer than five thousand graves on the northern shores of Spitzbergen and its neighbouring islands, containing, most probably, the remains of Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Russians, of whom, however, no memorial is left to inform posterity how or where so great a mortality took place. Captain Buchan opened a few of the graves and found the bodies perfect; their woollen caps and worsted stockings were as fresh as when first put on. The death of such a multitude could only be owing to some gross mismanagement; for on the same spot, at this mo
ment, an establishment has been formed by Mr. Crowe, an intelligent English merchant of Hamerfest in Norway, which has existed two or three years under the management of his brother. The little colony consists of twenty-five men, who continue in perfect health; indeed we understand from Mr. Crowe himself, that during the whole of last winter not a man suffered from sickness; and so little severe was the climate, that there was not a day, except one, in which they could not pursue their occupa tion of hunting rein-deer, foxes, and the various fur-bearing animals, which are the objects of their search and abode in this dreary region. A ship brings annually to Hamerfest the produce of their exertions.
Captain Parry bears honourable testimony to the extraordinary and valuable labours of our early navigators in the polar regions -Davis, Hudson, Baffin and others. In almost every incident of these plain and unpretending narratives may be recognized, he tells us, some circumstance familiar to his own recollection and experience, and he finds their remarks to be such, as bear most unequivocally about them the impress of truth.
'While thus doing justice to the faithfulness and accuracy with which they recorded their discoveries, one cannot less admire the intrepidity, perseverance, and skill with which, inadequately furnished as they were, those discoveries were effected, and every difficulty and danger braved. That any man, in a single frail vessel of five-and-twenty tons, ill-found in most respects, and wholly unprovided for wintering, having to contend with a thousand real difficulties, as well as with numberless imaginary ones, which the superstitions then existing among sailors would not fail to conjure up,--that any man, under such circumstances, should, two hundred years ago, have persevered in accomplishing what our old navigators did accomplish, is, I confess, sufficient to create in my mind a feeling of the highest pride on the one hand, and almost approaching to humiliation on the other: of pride, in remembering that it was our countrymen who performed these exploits; of humiliation, when I consider how little, with all our advantages, we have succeeded in going beyond them.
Indeed, the longer our experience has been in the navigation of the icy seas, and the more intimate our acquaintance with all its difficulties and all its precariousness, the higher have our admiration and respect been raised for those who went before us in these enterprizes. Persevering in difficulty, unappalled by danger, and patient under distress, they scarcely ever use the language of complaint, much less that of despair; and sometimes, when all human hope seems at its lowest ebb, they furnish the most beautiful examples of that firm reliance on a merciful and superintending Providence, which is the only rational source of true fortitude in man. Often, with their narratives impressed upon my mind, and surrounded by the very difficulties which they in their frail and inefficient barks undauntedly encountered and overcame, have I been tempted to exclaim, with all the enthusiasm of Purchas, "How shall I