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THE FIRST ARCTIC EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH
- The Arctic voyages of the mariners o. Elizabeth stand foremost
mong the heroic achievements of mankind. In our own day, all le resources of the world's first maritime power have been strained
the uttermost to arm our sailors against the perils of the ice and 1 rkness. They go forth with the most admirable instruments and ili pliances of science, and with charts and observations which
body the result of three hundred years of daring and successful
But these men went out with a gallant hardihood into nown regions, in mere fishing boats; slightly manned and base provisioned, sailing out, like the daring Vikings of old, with
last courage, into the bosom of the Arctic night. Sir Edward ther's splendidly-equipped searching expedition, and Martin
bisher's two boats, “ between twenty and five-and-twenty tunne mie," well mark the difference-not, thank God, in courage, skill, ob self-devotion, but in equipment-between the mariners of tibeth and our own. These Arctic sailors were the true
ssors of the Scandinavian sea-rovers, the most daring seamen b e the world has ever seen ; who, battling with those stormy cai Bern seas, which were more terrible to Roman courage than
ray of Cimbric battle on the plains of Italy, found high and
excitement in the conflict, and owned no masters even in the It tempests which beat upon those ice-bound coasts. It is no
eration to speak of the joy, the fierce exultation, of the Tir O men in their perilous conflicts with sea and storm. Read
le alf, read the “ Heimskringla," and you will see how this FODTI found in the Northern Ocean the only enemy with which
rods alt themselves fairly mated; and there they learnt a contempt are bi lor perils, and a joy in difficult adventure, which has infused
blest element into the blood of the most sober, sensible, and hons, but, when pushed, the most daring and terrible nation earth. I often think of the sublime picture of the death and of the old Scyld, son of Scef, the father of Beowulf, with that grand old epic opens. That people must have had a a imagination, the root of all high daring, who could bury haven-sent chief like this:
I rare La
his appointed time, then, Scyld departed, very decrepid, to go into the
3. There does not appear to be any evidence of the occurrence of “useful variations;" nor any prospect that these, minute as they are represented to be, can be of any avail in the struggle for life, against influences of such potency.
4. There is an entire lack of direct evidence as to any change in species. On the contrary, all history tells of their constancy. No new organ has ever been known to have appeared.
5. Neither between species as now existing, nor between those of which we find the records in the earth's strata, is there the slightest evidence of that fine gradation of transitorial forma which we ought to find had organic life been developed on this principle.
6. There is no evidence anywhere of the development of higher from lower forms. On the contrary, it appears that the higher tribes of any given race first appeared ; and that the type afterwards dwindled or was “degraded,” before the advent of a higher order.
7. The assumption of evidence which may possibly exist some where, under the ocean, or in a metamorphic condition, is a gratuitous and dangerous hypothesis, by which any conceivable theory might equally be supported:
Nevertheless, we rise from the perusal of this very remarkable book, not more impressed with the singularly profound inaptitude of the entire hypothesis, than we are with the patience manifested by the author in the accumulation of facts,-the artistic skill with which he can impress them into the support of the most opposed positions, and the fertility of resource and indomitable courage with which he battles for his theory, in the face of the most overwhelming odds of opposed phenomena, qualities which, if better directed, could scarcely fail to enrol the name of Darwin amongst those which have become classic in Natural History.
THE FIRST ARCTIC EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH
The Arctic voyages of the mariners o. Elizabeth stand foremost among the heroic achievements of mankind. In our own day, all the resources of the world's first maritime power have been strained to the uttermost to arm our sailors against the perils of the ice and darkness. They go forth with the most admirable instruments and appliances of science, and with charts and observations which embody the result of three hundred years of daring and successful toil. But these men went out with a gallant hardihood into unknown regions, in mere fishing boats; slightly manned and worse provisioned, sailing out, like the daring Vikings of old, with stedfast courage, into the bosom of the Arctic night. Sir Edward Belcher's splendidly-equipped searching expedition, and Martin Frobisher's two boats, “ between twenty and five-and-twenty tunne apiece," well mark the difference-not, thank God, in courage, skill, and self-devotion, but in equipment-between the mariners of Elizabeth and our own. These Arctic sailors were the true successors of the Scandinavian sea-rovers, the most daring seamen whom the world has ever seen ; who, battling with those stormy Northern seas, which were more terrible to Roman courage than the array of Cimbric battle on the plains of Italy, found high and joyful excitement in the conflict, and owned no masters even in the fiercest tempests which beat upon those ice-bound coasts. It is no exaggeration to speak of the joy, the fierce exultation, of the Northmen in their perilous conflicts with sea and storm. Read Beowulf, read the “ Heimskringla," and you will see how this people found in the Northern Ocean the only enemy with which they felt themselves fairly mated ; and there they learnt a contempt of minor perils, and a joy in difficult adventure, which has infused its noblest element into the blood of the most sober, sensible, and industrious, but, when pushed, the most daring and terrible nation of the earth. I often think of the sublime picture of the death and burial of the old Scyld, son of Scef, the father of Beowulf, with which that grand old epic opens. That people must have had a splendid imagination, the root of all high daring, who could bury their heaven-sent chief like this:
“At his appointed time, then, Scyld departed, very decrepid, to go into the peace of the Lord; they then, his dear comrades, bore him out to the shore of the sea, as he himself requested, the while that the friend of the Scyldings. the beloved chieftain, bad power with his words; long he owned it. There upon the beach stood the ring-prowed ship, the vehicle of the noble, shining like ice, and ready to set out.
“Then they laid down the dear prince, the distributor of rings, in the bosom of the ship, the mighty one beside the mast; there was much of treasure, of ornaments, brought from afar. Never heard I of a comelier ship having been adorned with battle-weapons and war-weeds, with bills and mailed coats. Upon his bosom lay a multitude of treasures, which were to depart afar with him, into the possession of the fiood. They furnished hiin not less with offerings, with mighty wealth, than those had done who in the beginning sent him forth in his wretchedness alone over the waves. Moreover, they set up for him a gulden ensign, high overhead; they let the deep sea bear him; they gave him to the ocean. Sad was their spirit, mournful their mood. Men know not in sooth to say (men wise of counsel, or any mer under the heavens) who received that freight.—BEOWULF (Kemble's Translation.)
Thus the Northmen took possession worthily of those stormy seas. Thus, too, the patriarchs took possession of Canaan : by making it the burying-place of their dead. This distinction between the Roman and the Saxon courage is very worthy of attention. Roman courage would dare anything for duty, or in pursuit of notable and sufficient ends. It could stand calmly at its post under the lavafloods of Vesuvius, or leap full-armed into a yawning chasm, for its country and its gods. But that daring which loves peril for its own sake, and, mad with the excitement of the conflict, woos danger as a bride, belongs to the Northern races alone. There are many brave races among the modern European people of Romance origin ; French, Spaniards, Italians, have never been charged with backwardness when daring deeds had to be done. But to this day the Englishman's love of adventure, the joy he takes in perilous enterprises, for the sake of the excitement and the high occupation of the faculties which they afford, is a mystery to these peoples. In Anglais is always regarded and treated abroad as a man who may break out into a kind of adventurous mania at any moment. The old Berserker furor still survives among us, though in a milder formteste, Mr. Wills on the edge of the Wetterhorn, or Dr. Tyndale guideless on the peaks of Monte Rosa or Mont Blanc. So these stormy oceans, by a kind of elective affinity, belong to us. Our ancestors took possession of them royally; and down through Alfred, Athelstan, Knut, Harold, the Lancastrian house, Edward IV., to Elizabeth, passed of right the sceptre of the narrow seas. In those ages, English maritime enterprise was but limited. There was little to tempt it forth into the broad ocean; but the changeful climate, the frequent storms, the long winter nights, and the perilous rockbound coasts of these Northern regions, tended to nurse that skill, daring, and love of maritime adventure, which broke out at last, when the field was prepared, into the enterprises which I am about to chronicle, and which won, in one brief generation, the naval mastery of the world.
In a former paper, we have traced the history of oceanic discovery from its dawn in the days of the kinsman of our Lancastrian kings, Prince Henry of Portugal, to the commencement of Arctic discovery in the reign of Elizabeth. The idea of a nearer path to the gem and spice regions which Gama and Columbus had laid open to European enterprise and commerce, was the inspiration of the daring mariners who forced the barrier of the Polar zone, and led
the van of the most brilliant exploits of modern times. Commerce was the genius of discovery; but imagination cast a halo of splendour even around the traffic and barter of that romantic age. Science has long since occupied the place of commerce as the genius of Arctic discovery ; but the stately dame may acknowledge her debt to her homelier sister without shame. “First that which is natural, then that which is spiritual,” is the law everywhere. But the men who led the expeditions-Frobisher, Davis, Baffin, Hudson, Button, Fox, and James, were knight-errants of the most exalted school. The honour to be won through danger and difficulty was their cynosure; they left the profit to the stay-at-homes who furnished the expeditions, and who looked for some substantial recompense in spices, gems, and gold. At any rate, Martin Frobisher, the pioneer of Arctic discovery, had a hero's soul in him, and inveighed as bitterly against the narrow souls and the timid hearts of the traders, as the brawniest of our muscular Christians could rail at the dogmas of the accepted gospel of free trade. Frobisher, the first of our Arctic mariners—the first in time, the first in honour-seems to have been a north countryman, from near Doncaster. From those parts too one day the Pilgrim Fathers would cast wistful glances at the New World. Drake was a south countryman, from Devon, as were most of the naval heroes of Elizabeth's reign. A very interesting account of the man, and of the origin of the enterprise, is given by one Master George Best, or Beast, as some write it, who was engaged in the voyage. Our readers will like to have it in his own words. After a long exordium to prove the Arctic zone habitable, he proceeds :-“Which thing being well considered, and familiarly known to our general, Captain Frobisher, as well for that he is thorowly furnished of the knowlege of the sphere, and all other skilles appertayning to the art of navigation, as also for the confirmation he hath of the same by many years' experience, both by sea and land, and being persuaded of a new and nearer passage to Cataya than by Capo de Bona Speranza, which the Portugals yearly use : he began first with himself to devise and then with his friends to conferre, and laid a plain plot unto them that the voyage was not only possible by the north-west, but also he could prove easy to be performed. And further he determined and resolved with himself to go make full proofe thereof, and to accomplish or bring true certificate of the truth, or else never to return again : knowing this to be the only thing of the world that was left yet undone vhereby a notable mind might be made famous and fortunate. But although his will were great to perform this notable voyage, whereof he had conceived in his mind a great hope, by sundry sure reasons and secret intelligences, which here for sundry reasons I leave untouched, yet he wanted altogether means and ability to set forward and perform the same. Long time he conferred with his private friends of these secrets, and made also many offers for the performing of the same in effect unto sundry merchants of our country, about fifteen years before he attempted the same, as by