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Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, [1885], at


The recent happy issue of the last of the three relief-expeditions sent out by the United States government for the rescue of Lieutenant Greely and his starving band of heroes has given unusual popular interest to the great international undertaking in which he and his men were so perilously engaged. Still very few, comparatively speaking, understand the scope and promise of this first really adequate and hopeful scheme for the investigation of Terrestrial Physics near the Pole. Mr. O. B. Cole, in 1883, described its inception and purpose as follows:—

The representatives of ten nations besides our own are engaged in it; the fields of observation are in both the Arctic

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and Antarctic, as well as the intermediate regions of the globe; there have been established eighteen Polar stations, and upwards of forty auxiliary stations; the observations have been made during the year which will end with the present month—that is, between September 1, 1882, and September I, 1883; they have been made and recorded daily, and bear upon the same identical points of inquiry. This scheme of observation originated with Lieutenant Charles Weyprecht, an Austrian explorer of fame, who, however, did not live to see it carried into execution. He first broached it at a meeting of German naturalists and physicists held at Gratz on September 18, 1875. The plan was formally approved at a meeting of the International Meteorological Congress held in Rome in the spring of 1879, and its details were perfected at other meetings of the same body held in Hamburg, October 1, 1879, and at Berne, August 7, 1880. Finally, on August 1, 1881, ten delegates, of whom General Hazen, chief of the United States Signal Service, was one, met at St. Petersburg and organized an official Polar Commission. All the members of this commission had authority to act for their respective governments.

The Polar stations were assigned among the nations as follows: The United States, at Lady Franklin Bay, Grinnell Land, and Point Barrow, Alaska; Great Britain and Canada, at Fort McRae and Fort Resolution, on the Great Slave Lake, in British America; Denmark, at Godthaab and Upernavik, on the west coast of Greenland; Germany, at Hogarth Inlet, Cumberland Sound; Austria, at Young Foreland, Jan Mayen Island, north of Iceland; Finland, at Soudan Kyla, in Lapland; Holland, at Dickerson Haven, mouth of the Yenisee River, in Russia; Norway, at Bossekop, northwestern coast of Norway; Sweden, at Mosel Bay, Spitzbergen; and Russia, at Moller Bay, Nova Zembla, and Lighthouse Point, at the mouth of the Lena River. The Antarctic stations are those of Germany, on the South Georgia Islands; France, at Cape Horn; Italy, at Punta Arenas, in Patagonia; and the Argentine Republic, at Cordoba. The Polar stations are all within thirty degrees of the North or the South Pole, and the auxiliary stations are spread over the rest of the habitable globe. In his original presentation of the scheme Lieutenant Weyprecht remarked that the unsatisfactory scientific results of the various Arctic and Antarctic expeditions are owing mainly to two causes: first, that the primary object of these expeditions

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has been geographical discovery, while scientific investigation was secondary; and, secondly, that these individual voyages have been of an isolated character, and hence the observations made are necessarily deficient as compared with what would be gained by a properly scientific investigation, which should obtain, for combination and comparison, memoranda of magnetic and meteorological observations simultaneously made in all parts of the world under a uniform system. Such an investigation, he said, would be feasible only by the united action of the great nations of the world.

By the plan adopted, the following schedule of work was agreed upon for each of the several stations: Meteorological observations: temperature of the air, temperature of the sea, barometric pressure, humidity, direction and force of wind, kind, amount, and motion of the clouds, rainfall, and weather and optical phenomena. Magnetic observations: absolute declination, absolute inclination, absolute horizontal intensity, variations of declination and inclination, and variations of horizontal intensity. All these observations were considered obligatory, and were to be made at each station hourly each day, excepting on the 1st and 15th of each month, when the readings were to be made every five minutes. The following observations were considered desirable, and doubtless have generally been made: Variations of temperature, with height, solar radiation, evaporation, galvanic earth currents, parallax of the aurora, spectroscopic observations on the aurora, ocean currents, tidal observations, structure of ice, density of sea-water, atmospheric electricity, and the force of gravity. The several expeditions were started in season to arrive at their respective stations by the date assigned for beginning, September 1, 1882. . . .

The station of the party of Lieutenant Greely at Lady Franklin Bay is the most northerly one of the whole, and is but about eight degrees south of the Pole. It is very difficult of access on account of the masses of ice that collect in Baffin's Bay. It was arrived at in a vessel by Lieutenant Greely, though the start was made a year in advance of most of the other expeditions, under an apprehension that the vessel might be stopped by ice, and a long journey have to be made overland. The consequence is that the observations of this party began in the fall of 1881. It was the intention, however, to remain two years, and various stores were laid in and arrangements

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were made accordingly. Early in the summer of 1882 a steamer was sent by the government with supplies for the party, but was unable to reach them because of the ice. The supplies were left at points designated beforehand by Lieutenant Greely, whence he could convey them to headquarters by sledges. Another party was started this summer, and if they cannot reach him by navigation will employ sledges and push north till they meet him. He has instructions to retreat this season by sledge in the contingency of the non-arrival of a vessel, and to come down the coast of Grinnell Land. Either by vessel or on these coast-line sledge journeys the two parties will undoubtedly meet, and probably something definite will be heard from them by the end of September. 1 . . .

Point Barrow is on the northern or Arctic Ocean shore of Alaska, in latitude 72° north. The party stationed here is in charge of Lieutenant P. H. Ray. A relief vessel visited the place in the summer of 1882, and found all well. The observers reported that the preceding winter had been long and severe, but not exceeding in these respects what had been expected. Hourly meteorological observations had been kept up uninterruptedly from October 17, 1881, and magnetic observations from December 1. From that date to August 1, 1882, over 90,000 readings of the magnetic instruments were taken, and a corresponding amount of meteorological work had been done. 2


Last summer, just before the world had learned of the rescue of Lieutenant Greely, the commanders of all the different stations, Greely alone excepted, held a conference in Vienna, and congratulated each other and the scientific world upon the success achieved. The recovery of the extremely valuable observations of the then missing officer has now crowned and completed the

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grandest and most beneficent enterprise in which the Christian nations have for centuries, if indeed ever, engaged. Most remarkable, perhaps, of all is the fact that in these several expeditions more than five hundred men, of various nationalities, were kept more than a full year within the Arctic Circle, transported thither and returned, and yet, but for a single mistake in provisioning one of the parties, not one life would have been sacrificed. What could be fuller of promise with respect to the future of polar exploration?

It is to be feared that stratigraphic and paleontologic questions have had too little consideration on the part of the scientific commissions which have planned the latest (as well as the earlier) Arctic expeditions. Whoever has read the fascinating pages of Heer's "Flora Fossilis Arctica," and Count Saporta's "Monde des Plantes avant l’Apparition de l’Homme" (see his chart opposite p. 128), and Baron Nordenskjöld's exceedingly interesting researches and studies in Spitzbergen, cannot well avoid the conviction that the pick and shovel and hammer, intelligently applied anywhere within the Arctic Circle, are almost certain to give us facts of inestimable value both to natural science and to archæology.

The world hath lately made such comet-like
Advance on Science, we may almost hope,
Before we die of sheer decay, to learn
Something about our infancy. . . .
  .    .    .    .    .   All
Thou seest hath holden fellowship with gods;
  .    .    .    .    These rocks retain
Their caverned footsteps printed in pure fire.
Those were the times, the ancient youth of Earth,
The elemental years, when Earth and Heaven
Were one in holy bridals,—royal gods
Their bright immortal issue; when men's minds
Were vast as continents, and not as now
Minute and indistinguishable plots
With here and there acres of untilled brains; when lived
The great original, broad-eyed, Sunken Race
Whose wisdom, like these sea-sustaining rocks,
Hath formed the base of the world's fluctuous lore
                              Philip James Bailey


490:1 Soon after the above was written came the disastrous news of the destruction and failure of the second relief expedition.

490:2 Summary of a paper read before the Boston Scientific Society (from the Boston Daily Advertiser). See also A. Bellot, "Observatoires Scientifiques Circumpolaires," in Bulletin de la Société de Geographie, Paris, 1 Trimestre, 1883, and the current scientific periodicals. The last-cited article has a valuable map of the international system of stations. For an imaginary discovery of the North Pole, see Thos. W. Knox, Voyage of the Vivian. New York, 1884.

Next: Section VIII. The Trustworthiness of Early Tradition