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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 moVOL. XXXIV. NO. LXVIII,
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 occupation 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. Perseve. ring 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
admire your heroicke courage, ye marine worthies, beyond names of worthiness !” —pp. 182, 183.
We are glad to find that the views long entertained by Captain Parry on the subject of a North-West passage,--the practicability of the enterprize,--the means to be adopted, and the route to be pursued for its accomplishment,-remain wholly unaltered; cept, as he says, “ that some additional encouragement has been afforded by the favourable appearances of a navigable sea near the south-western extremity of Prince Regent's Inlet.'
To that point, then, he still recommends that any future attempt should be directed; and indeed, when we consider the state in which Captain Franklin found the Polar Sea on the shore of America, for 600 miles to the eastward of Hearne's River, and more recently at the mouth of Mackenzie's River, without ice and without islands, as far to the westward as the eye could reach from an elevation of two hundred feet, we conceive that no doubt can reasonably be entertained that this part of the Polar Sea is perfectly navigable. Well therefore may Parry say
"I feel confident that the undertaking, if it be deemed advisable at any future time to pursue it, will one day or other be accomplished; for, setting aside the accidents to which, from their very nature, such attempts must be liable, as well as other unfavourable circumstances which human foresight can never guard against, nor human power controul, I cannot but believe it to be an enterprize well within the reasonable limits of practicability. It may be tried often, and often fail, for several favourable and fortunate circumstances must be combined for its accomplishment; but I believe nevertheless that it will ultimately be atcomplished.'-pp. 184, 185. and he adds,
Happy as I should have considered myself in solving this interesting question, instead of still leaving it a matter of speculation and conjecture, happy shall I also be if any labours of mine in the humble, though it would seem necessary, office of pioneer, should ultimately contribute to the success of some more fortunate individual; but most happy should I be, to be again selected as that individual. May it still fall to England's lot to accomplish this undertaking, and may she ever continue to take the lead in enterprizes intended to contribute to the advancement of science, and to promote, with her own, the welfare of mankind at large ! Such enterprizes, so disinterested as well as useful in their object, do honour to the country which undertakes them, even when they fail; they cannot but excite the admiration and respect of every liberal and cultivated mind; and the page of future history will undoubtedly record them as every way worthy
of a powerful, a virtuous, and an enlightened nation.'--p. 186.
We would fain hope indeed, that the prosecution of an enterprize, which, since the days of Queen Elizabeth, has been considered as a great national object, has only been suspended till the B B 2
issue of Captain Franklin's expedition shall be known; that England will yet be the nation to accomplish it, and Parry the happy individual. We may be well assured that, should we abandon this enterprize, the Americans will take it up. Their attention indeed has already been drawn towards it. In December last, a resolution being offered in Congress, for employing a sloop of war in exploring the north-west coast, it was moved by Mr. Sawyer, of North Carolina, that these words should be added to that resolve, and thence to proceed into Behring's Strait, and, if practicable, to continue her route into the Polar Seas, and through the openings of Prince Regent's Inlet, or Barrow's Strait, into Davis's or Hudson's Strait, thence down the said straits into some port in the United States.'
This amendment to the resolution, he said, was grounded on that part of the president's message which had reference to the English Voyages of Discovery; and the expediency of their (the Americans) coming forward also with a contribution of mind, of labour, and of expense, for the acquisition of knowledge. The time, he observed, was now come, when the American states should likewise enter upon the glorious career of discovery and human improvement. He paid a high compliment to the liberal and enlightened views of the King of England and his ministers for their unabated zeal and persevering efforts under so many repeated disappointments, and passed a well merited eulogium on Captain Parry who, by his skill, resolution and fortitude, had, in his opinion, reaped laurels in the field of discovery more honourable than any gained on the field of blood. The amendment was opposed and lost, on the ground of the inadequacy of the existing means, and the expense that would be incurred by the addition of a second ship; but we venture to say, it will not be lost sight of, and that, if we should unfortunately remain satisfied with having opened the door, our transatlantic brethren, with all their love for the dollars, will not be slow in availing themselves of so good an opportunity of passing the threshold. No one can now dispute how much easier the accomplishment of a passage must be from Behring's Strait to Prince Regent's Inlet, than the contrary way; but this could only be known since the discovery of an outlet through Lancaster Sound into Baffin's Bay had been effected by Captain Parry: Whoever had attempted it along the northern coast of America previous to such discovery would, in all probability, have perished.
It was not to be expected that a man of Parry's activity of mind, and who had so long been engaged in the pursuit of discovery, would be content to remain quietly on shore. He knew that a project had been entertained, by another able and indefatigable officer, of proceeding from Spitzbergen to the North