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Captain M'Clure, entering Behring's Straits, had traced his way round Behring's Land westward, in his first year in those seas, he might have attained (we do not say he would) a more satisfactory position by the middle of September than the Bay of Mercy, into which he was forced to drive his ship the year afterwards. It is possible that Captain M'Clintock's plan of entering into Franklin's Channel by Bellot Strait, and going “southward to the Great Fish River, passing east of King William's Island” (p. 316), may yet be attended with success. The scheme seems founded on fairly probable data.
8. We express our hope that the exploration of these lands and seas will not be given up, inasmuch as there is no finer school for seamanship nor field for heroic enterprise than those which they offer, while, with ordinary precaution, and the care a country will readily bestow on its men of success and research, there is nothing unfriendly to life in the extreme cold of the northern regions. That ever this route will be available for commerce, we do not for a moment apprehend; but we entertain at the same time no doubt that in a favourable year, with an early start, the transit may be effected from the eastern to the western sea, and the path indicated be not only seen but followed out.
That the claims of humanity and science combined demand a further investigation of the Arctic seas, so as to complete the geographical outline of the whole of Parry's Sound south, we conceive, will be conceded at once. From Cape Walker, westward, nothing has been done since Captain Ommaney and Lieutenant Osborn discovered and named Ommaney and Osborn Bays respectively, the furthest point reached being only to long. W. 103° 25', Captain Allen Young, that most devoted of Arctic pedestrians, with considerable risk to health and life, has indeed overlapped Osborn's discoveries from the south, so as to complete the insular outline of Prince of Wales' Land, and fix its designation for ever as an island. We greatly desiderate in Captain M'Clintock's narrative the verbatim journal of both Young and Hobson, to the latter of whom by far the most important Franklin discoveries are owing, while the former had the hardest work for his pains with no satisfactory results. We venture to call for these journals. A further westward investigation may lead to important results bearing on the whole question of a north-western passage, and at least suggest a practicable channel, other than Peel's Inlet, by means of which the Erebus and Terror reached their lat. 78° 5' N., and long. 98° 23' W., where they were beset in Sept., 1846. The suggestion is, that there must be, somewhere west of Cape Walker, such a course ; but this is at present doubtful, as, although Captain M'Clintock was barred out by the ice so far north as Bellot Strait, in lat. 72 deg., it is not impossible that in favourable seasons there may be a passage practicable down Peel's Sound as far as Point Victory, where the last known position of Franklin's ships has been ascertained to have been.
After all that has been ascertained and done in these hyperborean regions of the earth, much still remains to be both ascertained and done, no longer in a geographical but social emergency. What is to be done is a renewed exploration of the embouchure of Back's Fish River, for vestiges of those evanished heroes who could not more effectually have escaped detection hitherto had they been swallowed up in a chasm of earth, like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. We must ascertain the history of the adventurers from the hour of their leaving their ship, April 26th, 1848, till the hour of their death or deliverance. We have no doubt that ample records might be found ready to be woven into an Odyssey of a polar Ulysses, an Argonautica of an Arctic Jason, or the Luçiada of some Icelandic Camöens. It is true that broken bottles and empty tin cases, in two or three instances of rifled receptacles on King William's Land, seem to tell of Esqui. maux marauders making away with papers that would supply essential links in the narrative; but many other caches and cairns must have been raised on the journey of these hapless men through the wilderness-Ebenezers of thankfulness or stones of Bochim. Let these be found, and searched, and read.
Let the corpses and skeletons, moreover, be found of our yet un. discovered dead-England and humanity alike require it. Forty men together, tagging at one boat, are the highest numbers which the Esquimaux report as seen by them; but one hundred and five left the ships. Where are the other sixty and five? If they died, and some became the prey.of Arctic foxes or grizzly bears, and some rotted in the summer thaw, this was probably not the fate of all; and, in any case, their bones survive. Where are these? The Esquimaux' report tells of regular burials, and hints at cannibal carousals of survivors, too horrible to believe; but, in any case, where is that formal burial-ground, where they laid their dead in frequent rows and considerable numbers, while there were many to bury and be buried ? This, at least, has eluded search. Only three dead bodies have yet been met with, and those on King William's Land, not more than two or three days' journey from the ships, and these were waifs and strays, casual dead, that dropped as they went. Where is the full cemetery, the charnel-house, necropolis, in which both the ships' companies laid down their bones, and sleep-if sleep they do-in the slumber that knows no waking ? No research has yet ascertained the resting-place of the multitude; and this, at least, demands thorough investigation and a decisive clearing up.
We rather wonder, too, we must confess, that M'Clintock did not insist on the guidance of the Esquimaux to that stranded ship of which they told him everywhere, which had been rifled by the men of their race, and which had proved, by its exhaustless stores of timber and iron, a gold-diggings to these wanderers of the frozen north. It could not have been far distant, on all the premises and ascertained data of the catastrophe; and its spoils met the captain on every band, in the hut of every Esquimaux; and yet that shell of the forsaken ship was never hunted up. This we cannot but think a great fault, demanding renewed search and reparation. The natives talked of the body of a large man being found on board, and many books. Who can tell what these might reveal, if carefully sought up ? At least they would speak of Christian faith and hope in their selection, like those found in the boat: “Five or six small books were found, all of them scriptural or devotional works, except the Vicar of Wakefield” (p. 295). We except the exception, as we think Goldsmith's charming tale an edifying as well as interesting work of its class. But all the works of human genius pale their light before the full-orbed sun of inspiration. It is interesting to note how our English love and veneration for the Bible, which follow us everywhere, even to the regions of the reindeer and the whale, command the attention of foreigners. In the Indépendence Belge, a daily Belgian journal, an observant and candid writer (M. Lemoine) thus expresses himself on the subject :
“Le sentiment intime de la Bible si commun aux Anglais, les suit partout; il les accompagne dans toutes les épreuves, les soutient dans tous les dangers. Quand le Calife Omar brûla la bibliothèque d'Alexandrie, il dit, si les livres ne contiennent que le Coran ils sont inutiles, s'ils contiennent autre chose, ils sont de trop sur la terre.' Ainsi, les Anglais, avec leur Bible, ce livre unique leur suffit ; il contient tout. Et quand on les suit dans ces courses héroïques qu'ils font dans les régions inexplorées, on ne peut s'empêcher d'ouvrir avec eux le livre des livres. Ces intrepides pionniers, ces précurseurs de la civilization qui ouvrent à l'humanité des nouvelles voies, nous apparaissent comme des Moïses qui vont à la conquête de la terre promise."
The whole course of Arctic research, with its melancholy close, is a fresh lesson read to us on the ever-pertinent text of vanity and vexation of spirit. The north-west passage is probably never open for navigation, save perhaps in an exceptional year, once in a decade, or once in a century; but even if open more frequently, the passage, at the best of times, is too precarious for the uses of commerce. In pursuing this phantom we have lost some of England's best and bravest, whose bones bleach in the wilderness, or garnish the sea-monster's cave. The stable course of Heaven is in strange contrast with the feeble achievements of man : “ They shall perish, but Thou remainest.” While frailty pens her In memoriam over her human dead, the inexorable chariot-wheels of the universe crash heedlessly along their way, and grind the opposer to powder. In those regions where feeble humanity melts into impalpable decay, God still builds up his palatial architecture of avalanching snow and piled iceberg ---cathedral heights of grandeur—Milan miracles of more than marble whiteness ; while shining prisms of crystal paint the surface to the shifting eye with the hues of the rainbow-with natural frescoes that surpass the pencillings of Giotto. There, too, the perpetual ordinance of the Aurora plays, though the gaze that might look upon it is sealed in darkness, spanning with its luminous arches the width of heaven, opening high portals of glory into better worlds, and dancing in the fulness of its electric joy. The winds that sweep the northern wastes will still make them merry with their mournful music, whether there be an educated ear to mark their measures or no-and life, animal life, life in the waters and life on the shore, will still roll and range, quicken and thrive, in the very presence of man's mortality. All the phenomena and scenery of the Arctic regions are emphatic insignia of the Divine power, and of the quiet irresistible working of unchangeable laws, various in aspect, yet appointed by one hand and co-operating to one end,
“ As in an organ, from one blast of wind
ANSCHAR, THE APOSTLE OF THE NORTH.
EXACTLY eight centuries have passed, according to the current computation, since the iron law of the first Emperor of Rome brought the Virgin Mother to Bethlehem, to give birth in a cattle-stall to her royal Son. Meanwhile, the Jewish peasant has made the proud pagan empire bow down to the tree of infamy to which it nailed Him, and because its homage was insincere, has dashed it in pieces like a potter's vessel. Still further to pour contempt upon the potsherds of the earth, a lamp of coarser clay is just being fashioned on the wheel of history, to carry the light to islands, shores, and continents yet unknown ; and then so soon as it also shall have become too foully choked with soot and filthy lees for further honour, will be shattered in its turn. On the high festival of that lowly nativity a new Christian world is born. A second Augustus is kneeling before the symbol of weakness in the City of Strength. On his head is a diadem destined to be worn by himself and his successors for more than a thousand years ; and the ornament which overtops all its glittering gold, and all its blazing gems is the cross. No augur of old Rome had divined her downfall by the hands of a crucified Jew, and the transfer of her purple to one of his barbarian worshippers ; least of all that a Pontifex Maximus should solemnize the act. Yet here in the seat of the Cæsars, on the old Brumalia, now changed into the joyous commemoration of the furcifer's birth, the most sacred roof in the Eternal City, that dedicated not to the Capitoline Jove, but to the Galilean fisherman who has succeeded to the honours of the god, witnesses such a transfer. Karl*
• We adopt the German form of the name, in this and analogous cases, as a protest against the too common confusion of the Frankish history with the French.
the Great, the mightiest ruler whom mankind has seen for centuries, or will see for centuries to come, is being crowned by the most venerated of priests Emperor of the West, and devoutly pledges himself as such never to forget that he is the servant of the Nazarene.
We need not stop to point out how this consecration by Leo III., in old St. Peter's, of the great Frankish realm, stretching from the Ebro to the Elbe, and from the Baltic to the Appenines, was far from being an unmixed triumph for Christianity. Yet with every drawbackand they are many—it was surely a sublime moment in its victorious march towards the final consummation, although the outward pomp and splendour of the scene served but to bedim its real significance. Neither the pontiff with his ampulla, nor the Frank soldier on whose head, during a momentary pause in his Thirty Years' War against the pagan Saxons, the sacred oil is poured, is the most fitting exponent afforded by even that rude age of the holy Christmas mystery. A manifesta. tion of the truth, tbat God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty, happened about the same time in a remote province of Karl's empire, which, if less conspicuous than that dazzling display before the high altar of the principal church in Christendom, was far truer to the original. For it was within this ecclesiastical year, and perhaps whilst the Roman deacon was reading in that imperial solemnity the Gospel for the Advent season, that a poor but pious Picard mother gave birth to the Apostle of the North. The great evangelist of Scandinavia, Anschar, was thus a native of the same district of France which, seven centuries afterwards, when the long and harsh apprenticeship of the Medieval Church was just drawing to a close, produced a still greater man, the Romanic Reformer, Calvin. After crossing the Channel from Folkestone in one of the South Eastern Company's splendid steamers, you are in Picardy as soon as you land at Boulogne. Beneath the pavement of the new cathedral, lately opened there with so much pomp, is a very ancient crypt; and if, as is not unlikely, you have paced its solemn and sombre aisles, you may possibly have been treading in the very footsteps of Anschar. Two-thirds of the railway thence to Paris passes through Picardy, of which Amiens was formerly the capital.
Born thus beneath the sceptre of the first Frank Cæsar, Anschar belongs to that period of renaissance styled after its founder, the Karolingian age, when Europe once more began to settle down into something like order after the Northern deluge. In the history of the Church that age stands just midway between the time of Apostolic purity and the epoch when ecclesiastical corruption had attained such Titanic proportions that Reformation or death became inevitable. This is its chronological signature, and the more closely we study it, the more proofs shall we discover that its inward character corre. sponds to this intermediate position which it occupies on the chart of time. It is more than most, before or since, a yeasty age, teeming with fresh creative energies for good and also for evil. But the antagonist forces which are afterwards to come into glaring contrast