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The possibility of approaching the North Pole asserted Barrington, Daines, 1727-1800 1818

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PR  E  F  AC   E.
THE interesting nature of the subject
to which the following Papers relate,
would, at any time, justify their republication; but at the present moment they
derive an additional value from the expedition which is now preparing to explore
the Arctic Regions. Whether the extended
boundaries of geographical science, aided
by the local information which it is said
has been communicated by those who are
employed in the Greenland Fisheries, will
secure the success of this enterprise, it is
impossible to anticipate ; but,  as English* ■H
ji  r i|6S2r    f « a ■ "Sf^e   *&£ .vis
men, we "must naturally wish, that dis-
coveries, which were first attempted by the
adventurous spirit and maritime skill of
our countrymen, should be finally achieved
by the same means.
jp   As early as the year 1S27, the idea of
a passage to the East Indies by the North'
Pole was suggested by a Bristol Merchant
■elp^ T^j#H$" 1Itttt;^ $%$   rfsMw      fill
to Henry VIII; But no rbyage $eems to
itave been undertaken for the purpose of
navigating the Circumpolar ISeas till the
commencement of the following ^pentfifiry,
when, in 1607, an expeijitiom was fitted
of certain Mereh
of   London.     To   this   attempt   several
~"iue&Jb*ickT -si-       ii& ^fi'fil^I   ■-s^iM^^i^es^i--
others succeeded at different period and
out, at the expense of certain Merc
all of them were projected and carried
into I execution by private individuals,
The adventurers did not  indeerf accom*
plish the object they exclusively sought
~«Z *J» ;??<« Jt|? |J>      «"flf2lwff f lltfo J«*Jf alS ;'^Sp v» sialyl
that of reaching India by a n^rer route
than doubling the Cape of Good Hope
but  though  they failed in that respect,
M¥i*o    ■ 'Mai*' li;ifj^ixrft$£f;       ftii
the   fortitude,    perseverance,    and   ski
which m they   manifestted|| exhibited   the
most   irrefragable   proofs   of  the   early
i»i» «^
existence   of  that   superiority   in   nayal
affairs, which has  progressively elevated
m$m®a        'w§^&fc       :t       ;efJ|        ^TIiaM. ot
this   country fto   her   present   eminence
-sad s. iij raft
among the nations of Europe. K
4   At length, after the lapse of above a
cenjtury ajid a hatf, this interesting ques-
W^0<SfS .**.       E-Jv -Ul V# *.<*..
'%^A .   3.J*      © 8&^a,i in
tion because an object of royal patronage,
and the Expedition which was commanded
by Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Mui-
grave, fti 1773,11 Was fitted out at the
chpj*&" of Government. It will add to
the  value  of the following pages when
1*1!    '%$$^D£$b°': -;MlWr       m%:    ;£S¥00ie-: lill-e.
i m
it ? is known, that the author of them
*Was the first proposer of this memorable
* A ft -#> JR#t»**^ *m,< ,%^m*fijimf     jE^
yoyage; and that, in consequence of his
representations, as to the practicability
of circumnavigating the Pole, the Royal
Society made that application to Lord
Sandwich, then at the head of the Admiralty, which led to the appointment «£
the   ex
ion   for   exploring  those  re-
Though Captain Phipps found it impossibly to penetrate the w^lj of ice, which
extended for more than twenty degrees
between the latitudes of 80° and §1°, th§
opinions of Mr, Barrington, upon the
possibility of proceeding father, under
different circumstances, d remained 4 unshaken. With indefatigable assiduity
therefore he began to collect every fact
co6ft§cted with the$subject ; and as he
accumulated his materials he read Ihem
to  the  Royal  Society, * p This   mass f of
written, traditionary, and conjectural evi^
,k£      lit     V3 .       h
dence, Hae Afterwards  published,   in  the
"t 2±   frmtfCi LCMZ* iff'       a< ^'^9'"ii8
year 177^ ; and it cannot be denied that
its republication at the present mojffgii is
at least appropriate, independently of the
intrinsic value which must alwavs attach
to the researches of so acute and ardent
. M • |ii       ]M Mod
an inquirer.
The Publishers, however, are happy"in
beflig permitted to add to the value of
these Tracts, by subjoining, as an Appendix, some Papers upon the same subject
by Colonel Beaufoy, F.R,S.f The attfen-
ri*vv ■■$&>
tion of that gentleman was turned to tne
practicability of reaching the North P
from Spitzbergen, during winter, by U
m m
veiling over th%ice and snow in sledges
drawn by rein deer*}, He therefore transmitted  various queries^ to which  he received answers  from Russians  who had
wintered in those remote islands, ^The
information thus  elicited is  exceedingly
curious,   and  much  of it may be  most
advantageously employed by those who are
about to brave the dangers and inclemencies of that dreq$y climate. ■^Bg^M^S^^t-
H. In order to render the present volume
as complete as  possible, an entirely new
Map of the North Pole is prefixed, drawn
from the best authorities,  and with the
Pole in the centre, so as to exhibit the
utmost degree of latitude whi<& has hitherto been approached.    Under all these
circumstances, it is hoped the Work will
find a favourable reception.    Its claims, PREFACE.
iffdeed, are of no dubious naturi*; for %&
is the production of persons eminent %>r
their scientific attairrtnents. ^ Subsequent
discoveries 6an $lbne impair its 4&lue*
Till the ardour of wefl-direeted enterpifee
shall discldse what yet remains unexplored,
vM exposilioif of our aftual knowledge,
ahd cwe Speculative deductions of en-
ligHtened taeSfty, cannot be unacceptable
to the lovers of geographical researcB^j^^
Lvrch 1,
iiKbmikAf/l * f iio ^£&rf& lJt* ae!A,
<Tig*  f
jdUMllW      /B-31J$i   I<
sa^ifli#t't^lHiil' ^,li^ifo^>^q^^de^^^d'^.,.
£filf$lfav Bit
■. -su  PREFACE
£ Y     THE
:*$£$       tier
THE following Tracts, relafive to the possibility of near approaches to the Pole of
our own hemisphere, as likewise of a communication between the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans in any Northern direction*
were first published in 177^ &n(l 1776*
I now think it right again to print
them, because they contain many well
attested facts with regard to reaching
high Northern Latitudes, which are not I
^«f*!I?.0 AHT^Iil A JIOeE
to be found elsewhere, and have a ten-
• ;fgpttio yl4ff3i/n^f£id^ Ite ^.Wsni-^ fit
dency to promote geographical discoveries.
I am very ready to admit, indeed, tjjiat
the purposes of commerce can never be
answered by the great uncertainty of a
constant passage (even when such communication is discovered), in seas which
are so frequently obstructed by the ice
packing in vast fields. I find liS^wise,
that since the Resolution and Endeavour
returned from their last" voyage, many
conceive a North East or North West
Passage to be impracticable, bert&use our
ships, in two successive years, were not
able to penetrate beyond Jl°9 by impedi-
ments of ice. Besides, however, that the
ice packing in particular situations varies
ofteji in different years, both these attempts were made in the month of Am-
''j^^-'gyT,' fry*W- y j
gust, which I flatter myself to have provedx
is the very season of the year when the POLAR TRACTS.
&HTC ■ ot Ta6A7&iiti
ice, breaking up on the coast, is floating
. -11M & qi      .       t£i   !w§Sr   j«0i$ &•   oi
in every direction, and consequently often
in masses of an immense extent.
These vast fields of ice, indeed, often
are dispersed; but who hath, or in dee
should have, the fortitude of waiting for
this accident, whilst qt he is ajfeady in a
high Northern Latitude, and the winter is
fast approaching?     If the ice, ijjowevjer;
)&IMflTx3ll ^Xjffu 5l$jr        2IT       tl   "Sni^HDiE
should thus pack in A,priLpr May (fiMch
I conceive it would not, as little must be
[Oil • DSflli
Ijft to float from the preeedi$g jumper),
TO Ili*f05p.!..    £ PY1S3U&1
yet as the warm weather is then htcreag-r
:.&£ XJ-
lag from day to day, the navigator W<w4
wait with some degree of patience till hi|
ship may be released from this temporary
obstruction^ The situattpi&|of the dis^
eoverer, under these circumsitances^iinaj
be compared to a ||aveller passing overn
large tract of sea sand, when the tide is
° iri
flowing or ebbing.     Xp the first instance
OJ   9SJ588UJ HI
he* spurs his horse, because the sea may be
expected at his heeli; in the latter he
proceeds with great composure, as every
instant he loses in point of time the sea is
farther removed.     ^ * % ' *pfc-
"M Otilers again have |despaired of m
North West Passage, from Captain Pick-
ersgill not having^succeeded in his attempt for this pitrpose  during  the year
it This voyage was intended for two puil
poses (at least as I have been informed;)
the first to protect some of our whale
fishers on the coast of West Greenland
from the Americans then in rebellion ; and
the second (if the time after this service
permitted) to join Captain Cook, should
he have been so fortunate as to have accomplished his passage from the Pacific
* In the Lion armed brig,- POLAR  TRACTS.
Ocean, when he would probably have returned to England by Davis's Straits^sipssA
«a$rThis plan seems to have been very
well laid, but that persevering navigator
was delayed at the Cape by Captain CMrk's
ship not arriving till a considerable time
after his own reaching that place of rendezvous, and in the farther progress of his
voyage by adverse winds, which drove
him to  the  Friendly  Islands  instead of
>©taheite, so that he did not make his
attempt of a passage till 1777-fei*pi»^
3&S& Captain Pickersgill did not leave Sqilly
till the M)th of June 1766, and consequently, whatever obstructions he &met
with from floating or packing ice, might
be reasonably expected when he reached
the coast of West Greenland. It appears,
however, by what I shall copy from the
conclusion of his Journal on the 31st of
August, that he did|,not find these to be I
considerable, aftd th&t after the trial his
hopes G#a passage were ve#y sanguine,
" I shall conclude with a few observations on this part of the world (sc. Greenland) and so terribly represented by people, who, in order to raise their own merit,
fttafei dangers and difficulties of common
occurrencesp merely because the places
are unknown, and there is little or no
^arobability of their being ever contradicted. I do not mean this as a pergonal
reflection; but having discoursed with
many of the masters of Greenland vessels
as well as their employerst and heard such
dreadful stories of those countries, I cannot help remarking it as tending to mislead those^lwho, fw&m a laudably principle,
would be benefactors to ^eir country, but
are deterred from it by these misrepresentations. I shall communicate observations  on the  ice,   the  atmosphere,   the POLARTTRACTS.
land of Forbisher, and the probability of
a   North   West   Passage, 9k in    a   short
# This,    however, 4 hath unfortunately
tieen preveilfeed  by Captain ipickersgill^
death $   but the Astronomer Royal, who
communicated Captain Pickersgili's Jourii
®al to the Royal Society,  hath informed
me by letter, " That lie had often heard
this navigator excess  himself asosvell assured of a NorthtfWest Passage \ adding*
that he received accounts  ofrit from the
inhaMtattts on tb^^wrf&Bavis's Straits,
tod that it was directly North West, very
cjiflferent froM Baffin's track.
" Captain^tickersgill likewise thought,
that the best method to find the passage
was&Uo   get   out   early,    before   the   ice
broke away in the upper jwvt a/S Davis's
* Phil. Tvms. for If ?S. part ii, p. 10GS«
b 2 XX
*| It thus appears, that the last attempts
of a North West Passage ended fjwith
the tofficer's employed thereon^being
thoroughly persuaded, that it was not
only practicable, but highly probable. rjitMf
As the late geographical discoveries
have given such genera^ satisfaction^ I
have little doubt but that they will be
farther prosecuted when a peace takes
place, and shall therefore here verrture to
throw out my poor thoughts with regard
to the yet remaining desiderata for the
more perfect knowledge of the planet
which we inhabit. When we are informed
by proper trials, that the attempt 4n any
particular direction cannot succeed, we
shall then be as much at with regard to Lunar oceans or continents,:!* if
such there be. ,v$r   i$h J$$s
§|   I have  mentioned   in   the   following
Tracts,   that the .parliamentary rewards Polar tracts*
given for approaching wiSHib one degree
of the North Pole are not lilrely to produce the effects intended, because the
Greenland whale ships are all ensured;
if they were therefore to go beyond the
common fishing latitudes, it would be
such a departure frdm theyfiyage ensured,
that they would not be able to recover, if
sicciderfts happened in such a deviation.
I am informed, however, that there are
some vessels employed in tim#of peace by
government, to prevent smuggling on the
Northern Coast of Scotland. $ These ships^
might be instructed, when a promising
wind blows from the Southward, to proceed as far North as the ice will permit.
The crew of such a ship would be en-f
couraged by expectations of the paraa-
mentary reward ; and though one attempt
might fail, another might succeed. The
expense to  the public  would be trifling, . I  Hi
whilst the smugglers would $tot know ho/w
soon the ship might return to its station. If
%   Our Commodore upon the Newfoundland station might also send a vessel, at a
small expense, to explore all the Northern
part of Hudson's Bay, with which we are
so impgrfectly acquainted at present.  Sill
%   Such   attempt^  during   peace   might
take place almost every summer; and I
should  suppose  that  this   science land
opulent ination    would jpievett   hesitate
(whilst   there  is  the  least   dawningHof
Jeopes) to send proper Ifllffsels occasionally
to nfake farther  trials   both   of a North
West  Passage   by  Baffin's  Bay,   and  a
North East beyond Nova Zembla.
Ill ; The coast of Corea, the Northern part
pf   Japan,   and   the   Lequieux   Islands,
should also be explored ; the cheapest and
perhaps best method of doing t%is would
be to employ a vessel inline India Com-
pany's service, which might*|je vietus&Ilecf
ait Canton. Jjt^
gyfeThus much with regard to discoveries,
or better knowledge of the more unfrequented  parts   of  the  Northern ^emi-
.sphere^/   -'■■■dl^'  / >': ■'     -■■•*  -•'  x '■ . l   ■
The desiderata iqi that of tire South?
seem to be the following: —
To make the qgmplete circiiinnayiga-:
tion of Ne^ Holla&d, so as at least togbe
better acquainted with some parts of the
coast of this immense island; a vessel for
t|iis purpose might be victualled at the
Cape of Good Hope, or Canton: i^>r is
the voyage a distant one, when compared
with those of Captain Cook.    New Guinea
also should be better explored.
/ We scarcely know more of the islands
of Tristan dia Cunha than their Longitude
and latitude; but their interior parts
should be examined. | Not vasjtly distant
is Sandwich Land, which many on
»J5| . i1. ,i U ■■trjrfTmi
Captain Cook supposed to be a vast con-^
tinent. It may be objected, indeed, that
if it is so, it will turn out to be a continent of ice and snow; I am not here,
however, recommending discoveries for the
purpose of commerce, but for the improvement of geography.
I should conceive, that a voyage either
from the Cape or Brasil would easily give
opportunity of effectuating both these purposes.     ' -     jK- '-; .■■$*'■■ :
Perhaps, whilst discoveries by sea are
thus dwelt upon, encouragement should
be given to travellers by land, for procuring better information with regard to
the central parts of Asia, Africa, and
America, In short, let us endeavour to
know as much as we may of our globe;
nor should this be considered as a vain
and trifling curiosity, though no benefits-
to commerce may result from these iu»
qiairies.'        ■ I ': ; :d$-   ::  ^ INSTANCES OF NAVIGATORS
- '
Read at a Meeting of the Royal Society,
MAY 19, 1774.
AS I was the unworthy proposer of the Voyage
towards the North Pole, which the Council of
the Royal Society recommended to the Board
of Admiralty, I think it my duty to lay before
the Society such intelligence as I have happened
to procure with regard to navigators having
reached high Northern  Latitudes # ;   because
* It is well known, that there are many such accounts in
print, but to these I need not refer the Society. ON   APPROACHING
if    .1
some of these accounts seem to promise, that
we may proceed farther towards the Pole than
the very able Officers, who were sent on this
destination last year, were permitted to penetrate, notwithstanding their repeated efforts to
pass beyond 80^°.
I shall begin, however, by making an observation or two with regard to the Greenland
Fishery, which will in a great measure account
for our not being able to procure many instances of nearer approaches to the Pole than
the Northern parts of Spitzbergen.
Fifty years ago, sfioch apprehensions were
entertained of navigating even in the loose, or
s&hatf is called sailing ice, that the crews commonly continued on shoife *, from whence they
only pursued the whales in boats.
The demand, however, for oil increasing,
whilst the number of fish rather decreased, they
were obliged to proceed to sea in quest of them,
* There were houses still standing on Spitzbergen, where
the Dutch used to bpil their train oil.—Marten's Voyage,
p. 24.    See also Callander, vol. iii, p. 723. THE  NORTH   POLE*
and now by experience and adroitness seldom
suffer from the obstructions of ice*.
The masters of ships, who are employed in
this trade, have no other object but the catching whales, which, as long as they can procure
in more Southern Latitudes, they certainly will
not go in'Search of at a greater distance from
the port to which they are to return: they,
therefore, seldom proceed much beyond 80c
North Latitude, unless driven by a strong
Southerly Wind or other accident.
Whenever this happens, also, it is only by
very diligent inquiries that any information can
be procured ; for the masters, not being commonly men of science, or troubling their heads
about the improvement of geographical knowledge, never mention these circumstances on
their return, because they conceive that no one
is more interested about these matters than they
are themselves. Many of the Greenland Master!* are likewise directed to return after the
* These particulars I received from Captain Robinson,
whom I shall have hereafter occasion to mention.
early fishery is over, provided they have
tolerable success; so that they *have no opportunity of making discoveries to the Northward.
To these reasons it may be added, that no
ships were perhaps ever sent before last summer
^ith express instructions to reach the Pole, if
possible, as most other attempts have been to
discover a North Eastlor North West Passage,,
which were soon defeated by falling in with
land, or other accident.
Having thus endeavoured to show that the
instances of ships reaching high Northern Latitudes must necessarily be rare, I shall now pro*
ceed to lay before the Society such as I have
been able to hear of since the voyaee towards
the North Pole was undertaken during last
When this was determined upon, and mentioned in the Newspapers, it became matter of
conversation amongst the crews of the guard
ships; and Andrew Leekie, an intelligent seaman on boarcl the Albion   (then stationed at THE  NORTH  POLE.
Plymouth), informed some of the officers that
he had been as far North as 84^°.
Whea he was asked farther on this head,
he said, that he was on board the Reading, Captain Thomas Robinson, in 1/66, and that,
whilst he was shaving the Captain, Mr. Robinson told, him, that he had probably never been
soifar to the Northward before, as they had
now reached the above-mentioned degree of
Having happened to hear this account ofi
Leekie's, on my return to London this winter,
J[ found out Captain, Robinson, who remembered
his having had this conversation with Leekie;
but said, that he was mistaken in supposing that
they had reached 84^° North Latitude, as they
were only in S2^.
Captain Robinson then explained himself,
that he had at this time computed his latitude
by the run back to Hakluyt's Headland in
twenty four hours; from which, and other
circumstances  mentioned in  my presence  be- SniCBKMSnpfl
fore two sea officers, they told me afterwards,
that they had little or no doubt of the accuracy
of his reckoning. Mr. Robinson likewise remembers that the sea was then open, so that he
hath no*;doubt of being able to reach 83°, but
how much farther he will not pretend to say.
This same Captain, in the ship St. George,
was, on the 15th of June, 1773* in North Latitude 81° l6',  by  a  very accurate observation
with an approved Hadley's quadrant, in which
he also   made   the  proper  allowance  for  the
refraction in high Northern Latitudes ; at which
time seeing some whales spouting to the Northward he pursued them for five hour%  so that
he must have reached 81^, when the sea was
open to the Westward and East North East as
far as he could distinguish from the mast-head.
His longitude was then 8° East from the meridian of London.
Captain Robinson is a very intelligent seaman, and hath navigated the Greenland Seas
these twenty years, except during the interval sar
that he was employed by tty§ Hudson's Bay
Company *.
I could add some other, perhaps interesting,
particulars, which I have received fijoin Captain
Robinson, wijji regard to Spitzbergen and the
Polar Seas; I will only mention, however, that
he thinks he could spend a winter not uticooir
fortably in the most Northern parts we are acquainted with*^, as there are three or four
small settlements of Russian^ in this country,
for the sake of the skins of quadrupeds, which
* He lived during this winter in Queen Street, near
Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe : he hath sailed, probably, by
this time on the Greenland Fishery. With regard to his
having been in North Latitude 81° 30/,.in •lune*»JL77JU
he can prove it by his Journal, if that evidence should be
f See the Narrative of eight sailors, who wintered in
Greenland A. D. 1630, and who all returned in health to
England the ensuing summer.—Churchill's Voyage, vol. iv,
p. 811.    .-'■, .-• ..fe^-'e   :    :'flpl4i'^ -v^Eleii
*Jhey did not see the sun from the 14th of October tiU
the 3d of February. By the last day of January, however,
they had day-light of eight hours. They wintered ia
North Latitude 77—4°.—Ibid. 8
are then more valuable than if the ammal is
taken in summer.
The next instance I shall mention of a
navigator, who hath proceeded far Northward,
is that of Captain Cheyne, who gave answers
to certain queries drawn up by Mr. Dalrymple,
F. R. S. in relation to the Polar Seas, and
which were communicated last year to the
Captain Cheyne states, in this paper, that he
hath been as far as North Latitude 82° ; but
does not specify whether by observation or his
reckoning, though from many other answers
to the interrogatories proposed, it should
seem that \ie speaks of thejatitude by $jbser-
vation. Unfortunately Captain Cheyne is at
present on the Coast of Africa, so that fjgj|]Bter
information on this head cannot be now procured from him.
Whilst the ships destined for the North
Pole were preparing, a most ingenious and
able Sea officer, Lieutenant John Cartwright,
told me, that twelve years ago he  had been THE  NORTH   POLE.
Informed of a very remarkable voyage made by
Captain Mac-Callam as far nearly as 84° North
Latitude. $£
This account Mr. Cartwright had received
from a brotheid^fficer, Mr. James Watt, now
a Master and Commander in the Royal
Navy, who was on board Captain Mac-CaBam's
I thought it my duty to acquaint the Ad-
miralty|with t|ris intelligence, who would have
sent for Mi? Watt, but he was then employed
on the coast of America.
On his retlrn from thence, within the last
month, Mr. Cartwright introduced a conversation with regard to Captain Mac-Callam's
voyage, when Mr. Watt repeated all the circumstances which he had mentioned to him
twelve^years ago ; after which Mr. Cartwright,
thinking that I should be glad to hear the
particulars tfrom Mr. Watt himself, was so
good as to bring him to my chambers, when
1 received from him the following information.
3gf   In the year 1751 Mr. Watt, then not quite 10
seventeen years of age, went on board the
Campbeltown of Campbeltown, Captain Mac-
Callam, which ship was at that time employed
in the Greenland Fishery.
It seems, that, during the time the whales
are supposed to copulate, the crews of the
Greenland vessels commonly amuse, themselves
on shore.
Captain Mac-Call am, however (who was a
very able and scientific seaman), thought that
a voyage to the North Pole would be more
interesting; and that, the season being a fine
one, he had a chance of penetratitig farlfo the
Northward, as weft as returning before the later
fishery took place. He accordingly proceeded
without the least obstruction to 83^°, wljen
the sea was not only open to the Northward,
but they had not seen a speck of ice for the
last three degrees, and the weather at the
same time was temperate; in, short, Mr. Watt
hath never experienced a more pleasant navigation.
It need be scarcely observed, that the latitude
of 83§° was determined by observation, as the
great object of the voyage was to reach the
Pole; the Captain therefore, the Mate, and
ybung Mr. Watt, determined the latitude from
time to time, both by Davis and Hadley's
quadrants: to this I may add, that their departure and return were from and to Hakluyt's
When they were advancing into these high
Northern Latitudes, the Mate complained that
the compass was not steady, on which^Captain
Mac-Callam desisted from his attempt, though
with reluctance; knowing that if any accident
happened, he should be blamed by his owners,
who would be reminded certainly by the Mate
of the protests he had made against the ship's
proceeding farther Northward.
Several of the crew, however, were for
prosecuting their discoveries, and Mr. Watt
particularly remembers the chagrin which was
expressed by a very intelligent seaman, whose
name was John Kelly; Captain Mac-Callam,
also, after his return from that voyage, hath
I- %wm
■     :
frequently said, in the presence of Mr. Watt
and others, that, if the Mate hud not been fainthearted, the ship possibly might haveiireached
the Pole.
Both Captain Mac-Callam and the Mate
are now dead, and it is rather doubtful whether
the Ship's Journal can be procured.
It remains therefore to be considered what
may be objected to the credibility^ thi|. very
interesting account. ||/_ ■■■^ ■:^^^^^^$^^^:,
I have stated, that M& Watt wajS not, at
the time this voyage took place, quite seventeen
years of age; but I have^also stated, that he
observed himself (as well as the Master an*$
Mate) from time to time. Is j| therefore more
extraordinary he should remember with accuracy, that, two and twent|| years ago, he had
been in North latitude 83§°, than th^t, at ihe
same distance of time^he mightRecollect tjiat
he had been at a friend's house, which was
situate eightj-three miles and a half from
London r Or rather indeed is not his memory,
with regard to this high latitude, much more TH£ NORTH   POLE,
to be depended upon, as the circumstance
is so much more interesting, especially as
Mr. Watt was even then of a scientific turn ?
To this I may add, that it being his first
voyage, and so ^remarkable a one, Mr. Watt
now declares that he remembers more particulars relative to it, than perhaps in any other
since that time : other sea officers have likewise
told me, that tile circumstance^of their first
voyages are most fresh in their memory, the
Reason for which is too obvious to be dwelt
If Mr. Watt's recollection however is distrusted, this objection extends equally to Captain Mac-Callam's freque#t declarations, that,
ifc< the apprehensions o£ the*Mate had not
prevented, he might possibly have reached
the Nortfet Pole: and how could he have conceived this, unless he hacfc4magined himself to
have been in a very high Northern Latitude ?
But it may be possibly said, that this
voyage took place attove twenty years since,
and that therefore, at sfich a distgfece of time.
no oae's memory can be relied upon. 14
It is true indeed, that Mac-Callam made this
attempt in 17^1 ; but Mr. Watt continued his
services the following year fin a Greenland Ship,
§nd therefore, traversing neaj^jjgthe#me seas,
must have renewed the recollection of what he
had experienced in the preceding voyage, though
he^did not then  proceed  farther than North
Latitude 80°. :^|i§|p, itftf0fe (#i& I " JmWm&
This however brings it only to 17&2 ; but
I have already stated, that within these twelve*
years he mentioned all the particulars above
related fj|o his brother officer, Lieutenant Cartwright.
Mr. Watt also frequently conversed \Ah
Captain Mac-Callam about thi%kvojpge after
both of thernjiad quitted th6 Greenland fhips;
Mr. Watferising regularly to be a Master and
Commander in His Majesty's service, and Captain Mac-Callam becoming Purser of the Tweed
Man of War.
It so happened, that in the year of the
expedition against Bel lisle, Mr. Watt, Captain
Mac-Callam, and Mr. Walker (commonly called
Commodore Walker,   from his having   com^
manded the Royal Family privateers in the late
wa?), met together at Portsmouth, when they
talked over the circumstances of this Greenland voyage, Which Mr. Walker was interested
in, by having been the principal owner of the
Mr. Watt and Captain Mac-Callam met also
eleven years ago in London, when they as usual
conversed about the having reached so high a
Northern Latitude.
I now come to my last proof, which I
receivetlf*from the late Dr. Campbell, the able
continuator and reviser of Harris's Collection of
In that very valuable compilation, Conatmo-
doredfloggewein's circumnavigation makes a
most materfal addition, some of the most interesting particulars of which were communicated
by Dr. DalKe, who was a native of Holland *,
and lived in Racquet Court, Fleet Street, about
the year 17^5, where he practised physic.
* He was a grandson of Dallie, who was author of a
book, much esteemed by the Divines, entitled " De Urn
Patrum," 16
I 1
Dr. Campbell went to thank Dallie for the
having furnished Mm with Roggewein's Voyage,
when Dallie said, that he had been farther
both to the Southward and to the Northward than perhaps any other person who ever
He then explained himself as to the having
been in high Southern Latitudes, by sailing in
Roggewein's fleet*, and as to his having been
far to the Northward, he gave the following
account: —
Between fifty and sixty years ago it was
usual to send a Dutch ship of war to superintend the Greenland Fishery, though it is not
known whether this continues to be a regulation
at present.
Dr. Dallie (then young) was on board the
Dutch vessel employed on this service f; and
during the interval between the tWo fisheries
* Roggewein reached South Latitude 62* 30'.— See
•f Dr. Campbell does not recollect in what capacity he,
served; but, as he afterwards practised physic, he might
probably have been the surgeon. THE NORTH POLE.
the Captain determined, like Mr. Mac-Callam,
to try whether he could not reach the Pole ;
and accordingly penetrated (to the best of Dr.
Campbell's recollection) as far as North Latitude 88°, when the weather was warm, the sea"
perfectly free from ice, and rolling like the Bay
of Biscay. Dallie now pressed the Captain to
proceed ; but he answered, that he had already
gojae too far by having neglected his station,
for whichf he should be blamed in Holland : on
which account, also, he would suffer no Journal
to be made, but returned as speedily as he could
to Spitzbergen.
There are undoubtedly two objections, which
may be made to this account of Dr. Dallie's,
which are, that it depends not only upon his
own memory, but that of Dr. Campbell as no
Journal can be produced, for the reason which
I hkve before stated.
The conversation, however, between Dr.
Campbell and Dallie arose from the accidental
mention of Roggewein's Voyage to the Southward ;   and  can it be   supposed   that   Dallie
c 18
invented this circumstantial Narrative on the
spot, without having actually been in a high
Northern Latitude?
If this be admitted to have been improbable,
was he not |ikely to have remembered with
accuracy what he was so much interested about,
as to have pressed the Dutch Captain to have
proceeded to the Pole ?
But it may be said, also, that we have
not this account from Dallie himself, but
at second hand from Dr. Campbell, at the
distance of thirty-years from the conversation.
To this it may be answered, that Dr. Cfimp-
belFs memory was most remarkably tenacious,
as is well known to all those who had the
pleasure of his acquaintance ; and, as he
hath written so ably for the promotion of
geographical discoveries in all parts of the
globe, such an account could not but make
a strong impression upon him, especially as
he received it just after the first edition of his
compilation of voyages. THE   NORTH   POLE.
No one easily forgets what is highly interesting to him ; and, though I do not pretend
to have so good a memory as Dr. Campbell,
I have scarcely a doubt, but that, if I should
live thirty years longer, and retain my
faculties, I shall recollect with precision every
latitude which I have already stated in this
What credit, however, is to be given to all
these narratives is entirely submitted to the
Society, as I have stated them most fully,
with every circumstance which may invalidate,
as well as support them ; and if I have endeavoured to corroborate them by the observations
which I have made, it is only because I believe
It should seem upon the whole of the
inquiries on this point, that it is very uncertain when ships may proceed far to the
Northward of Spitzbergen ; and that it depends not only upon the season, but other
accidents,   when the Polar  Seas   may be   so
* m
C 2 20
free from ice as to permit attempts taatnake
discoveries #.
Possibly, therefore, if a king's officer was
sent from year to year on board one of the
Greenland ships, the lucky opportunity might
be seized, and the Navy Board might pay for
the use of the vessel, if it was taken from the
Whale Fishery, in order to proceed as far as
may be towards the North Pole*
* Captain Robinson hath informed me, that at the latter
end of last April a Whitby Ship was in North Latitude 80°*,
without having been materially obstructed by the ice.
Captain Marshall was also off Hakluyt's Headland so early
as the 25th of April, without observing much ice.
Sfc. fyc.
Read at a Meeting of the Royal Society,
DECr 22, 1774.
AS I happen to have collected many additional
facts since my Paper, containing Instances of
Navigators who had reached high Northern
Latitudes, was read before the Society in May
last, I shall take the liberty to state them
according tp chronological order; together with
some general reasons why it may be presumed
that the Polar Seas are, at least sometimes
I think it my duty to do this, not only
because I was the unworthy proposer of the
Polar Voyage in 1773, which was recommended ■
by the Council of the Royal Society to the
Board of Admiralty; but because it would
not redound much to the credit of the Society,
if they planned a voyage to reach the North
Pole, if possible, when g, perpetual barrier of
ice prevented any discoveries in the Spitzbergen
Seas to the Northward of 80^°, which is not a
degree beyond the most common station of the
Greenland Fishers.
I must here however, repeat, that no one is
more entirely satisfied than myself of the great
abilities, perseverance, and intrepidity, with
which the officers, who were sent on thi6 destination, attempted to prosecute their discoveries;
but I conceive from the arguments and facts
which will foMow that they were stopped by a
most unfortunate barrier of ice (of great extent
indeed), but which was only temporary and not
If such a wall of ice hath been constantly
fixed ib this latitude, and must continue to be
so, therS is an end to all discoveries to be made
to the Northward of Spitzbergen ;   but if it is THE NORTH   POLE,
only occasional, the attempt may be resumed in
some more fortunate year*.
The point therefore being of so much importance to geography, I hope the Society will
pardon me if I more fully enter into the subject than I did in my former Paper.
The English have long taken the lead in
geographical discoveries. One of our ships of
war is lately returned, after having penetrated
into the Antarctic Circle; and is it not rather
a reflection upon a scientific nation, that more is
not known with regard to the circumpolar
regions of our own hemisphere, than can be
collected from maps made in the time of
Charles I, especially when the run from the
mouth of the Thames to the North Pole is not
a longer one than from Falmouth to the Cape
de Verde islands ?
* Upon the first return of the king's ships from the
Polar Voyage, this notion of a perpetual barrier of ice at
North Latitude 80£ had prevailed so much, that some very
distinguished philosophers of this country had shown
thoughts of proceeding to the Pole over the ice, in such a
wind boat as the Dutch have sometimes made use of. "24
Though I have the honour to be a Fellow
of a Society instituted for the promotion of
Natural Knowledge, the prejudices of an Englishman are so strong with me, that I cannot
but wish the discoveries to be made in the
Polar Seas may be achieved by my countrymen ; but, if we are determined to abandon the
enterprise, science is to be honoured from whatever quarter it may conie, and it hath therefore
given me great satisfaction to hear, that Mons.
de Bougainville is soon to be sent on discoveries
to the Northward #.
In the outset of my former Paper, I said
I should not trouble the Society with any instances of navigators having reached high
Northern Latitudes, which had appeared in
print. During the course of this summer, however, I have happened to find three such accounts, which were never before alluded to,
and which are extracted from books that are not
* I have since been informed, that this intended voyage
was dropped, by the French minister for the marine department being changed. Ui      ,-nimmu
commonly looked into, or at least often consulted upon points of geography. |||
When the Royal Society was first instituted,
it was usual to send queries to any traveller who
happened to reside in England, after having
been in part§ of the world which are not commonly frequented*.
In the year 1662-3, Mr. Oldenburg, the secretary of the Society, was ordered to register a
Paper, entitled, | Several Inquiries concerning
Greenland, answered by Mr. Grey, who had
visited those parts."
The  19th of these  queries is  the follow**
" How near any one hath been known to
approach the Pole ?
Answer. " I once met, upon the Coast of
Greenland, a Hollander, that swore he had been
but half a degree from the Pole, showing me
his Journal, which was  also attested by his
* Richard Hakluyt rode two hundred miles to hear the
Narrative of Mr. Thomas Butt's Voyage, temp. Hen. VIII,
from England to Newfoundland.—Hakluyt, part iii, p. 131. 26
mate ; where they had seen no ice or land,
but all water **"
Aftejir; which Mr. Oldenburgh adds, as from
himself, fj This is incredible^."
It m$y not be improper, therefore, after
mentioning this first instance of a navigator's
having approached so near to the Pole, to dis~
* Mr. Boyle mentions a similar account, which he received from an old Greenland Master on the 5th of April,
J6?£.--See Boyle's Works, vol. ii, p. 397 to 399, folio,
fne whole of this Narrative is very circumstantial, and.
deseryes to be stated at length. The title is Experiments
and Observations made in December and January 1662.
f See Dr. Birch's History of t(iie *Royal Society, voL ^
p. 202. These queries are nineteen in number, to which
the answers are very circumstantial. I had an opportunity
of reading them over to three very intelligent masters of
Greenland Ships, who confirmed every particular. One
circumstance I think it right to take notice of, though it
does not immediately relate to the point in discission,
which is, that there are coals in Spitzbergen, by which
seven of Mr. Grey's crew were enabled to bear the severity
of the wintir, having been left behind by an accident.
One of the Greenland Masters, to whom I read Mr. Grey's
answers, confirmed this particular; saying, that he had
burnt himself Spitsbergen coals, and that they were very
cuss upon what treasons Mr. Oldenburgh might
found this his very peremptory incredulity.
Was it because the fact is impossible upon
the very stating it ?
This puts me in mind of the disbelief which
is generally shown to a passage in Pliny,
even after the actual fact hath shown not only
the possibility, but easy practicability of what
is alluded to. Pliny informs us*, that Endoxus,
flying the vengeance of king Lathyrus, sailed
from Arabia, and reached the Straits of Gibraltar: yet no one scarcely will believe this
account of Eudoxus's navigation, notwithstanding this course is so often followed.
Was it because no Englishman had then
been so far to the Northward ?
It is very easy, however, to account why
such attempts should rather be made by the
Dutch than the English in the infancy of the
Greenland Fishery.
The  Southern parts of this  country were
* Lib. ii, chap, lxvii. 28
■    :Jlf
discovered by Sir Hugh Willoughby, A, D*
1553; after which no Engh§h ships were sent
on that coast for nearly fifty years. In the
beginning of the last century, however, a comr
petition arose between the English and Dutch,
with regard to the Whale Eishery, find »the
English drove the Dutch from most of the
harbours, under the right of first discoverers *,
in which they were supported by royal instjpCT
tions; so that the Butch were obliged to seeli
for new stations, whereas the English were
commonly in possession of the Greenland Ports9
which they cpnsidered as their owqf,    ^
* It is also assigned, in the Supplement to Wood and
Martejtr*s Voyages, p. 179, 8vo., 1694, as a reason why
the English never proceeded farther ttjan 78° on the East
Coast of Spitzbergen, because the pu,tch were commonly
superior on that side of the Island.
Robert Bacon, of Crowmers in Norfolk, was the first dis-?
coverer also of Iceland. — See the Itinerary of William of
Worcester, p. 311, 8vo., Cambridge, 1778.
f See Purch^s, passim. Whilst these disputes continued,
the Dutch often sent ships of war to protect their Greenland Traders, which accounts for Dr. Dallie's sailing in suck
a vessel to S8°, as I have stated in my former Paper.
mmmmm m
Did Mr. Oldenbiirgh disbelieve the Dutchman's relation, because ice ^s frequently met
with to the Southward of North Latitude 80°?
Ice is commonly seen upon the great bank
of Newfoundland, and the harbour of Louis-
burgh is often covered with it, which Ris only
in North Latitude 46°; yet Davis and Baffin
have penetrated, under nearly the same Ine-
ridians, beyond 7cfi$';
I will now stppose the tables changed between the two hemispheres of ©ur globe, and
that a Southern discoverer, meeting with ice
upon the banks of Newfoundland, returns to
his own hemisphere fully impressed with the
impossibility of proceeding much to the Northward of North Latitude 46°; would not his
countrymen be deceived by the inferences which
were drawn from what had been observed in
the seas of the Northern hemisphere ?
Bouvet, in 1738, sailed to 53° Southern
Latitude, and in a meridian 5° to the West of
the Cape of Good Hope, in which situation he
fell in with floating ice ; after which he did not 30
proceed any farther. Our two ships of war,
lately sent upon discoveries to tfee Southward,
however, have been some minutes within the
Antarctic Circle, upon a no very distant meriP
dian from tln$ in which Bouvet sailed.
Must the fact be disbelieved because all the
4ee in the Polar Seas comes from the Northward? But this is not so, as l^fo Grey informs
us*, that the South East Wind brings the
greatest quantity of ice to the coasts of Spitzbergen ; which indeed is highly probable, as
this wind blows from those parts of the Icy Sea
into which the great rivers of Siberia and Tar-
tary empty themselves f. My own poor conception, with regard to the floating ice in the
Spitzbergen Seas,  is, that these  masses come
* Dr» Birch's History of the Royal Society.
•j- The ice is said to be never troublesome in the harbour
of Newport (Rhode Island, North America); because no
fresh water rivers empty themselves by this port; whereas
the harbour of New York (though much to the Southward)
is often obstructed by the ice, which floats down from Hudson's River. THE  NORTH   POLE.
almost entirely from the same quarter, as }t is
so difficult to freeze any largefquantity of salt
water. These pieces of ice, therefore, being
once launched into the Icy Sea, are dispersed
by windfes, tides, and currents, in every direction,
some of them being perhaps carried to very
high Norther^ Latitudes, from which they are
again wafted to the Southward.
But allowing* for an instant, that all the
ice may come from the Northward^must not
then an open sea be left in the higher Northern latitudes, from wliich these masses ©f ice
are supposed to have floated ?
Was it because the more one advances towards the Pole, vegeta^on invariably is diminished?—But this is not the fact.
Nova Zembla, situate only in North Latitude 76°* produces not even any sorts of grass*;
so that the only quadrupeds which frequent it
are foxes and bears, both of which are carnivorous.    In the Northern parts of Spitzbergen,
* Purchas, voV i, p. 479. ■
on the other hand, they have rein-deer, ^hich
are often excessively fat; and Mr. Grey mentions three or four plants, which flower there
during the summer*.
Was it&because no one had ever conceived
it possible to proceed so fa^a&the Pole^fc
Thome, however, a merchant of Bristol,
had made snch a proposal in the reign of
Henry VIII; and I shall now also show, that
not only Mr. Oldenburgh's contemporaries continued to believe such a voyage to be feasible,
but many great names in science who lived after
Wood sailed on the discovery of a North
East Passage to Japan in 1676; and, in the
publication of his voyage, he hath stated the
grounds upon which he conceived such a voyage
* Dr, Birch's History  of the  Royal Society,  vol. i,
et, seq.
f A Map of the Northern Hemisphere, published at
Berlin (under the direction of the Academy of Sconces and
Belles Lettres), places a ship at the Pole, as having arrived
there according to the Dutch accounts*
to be practicable; the strongest of all which,
perhaps, is the relation of Captain Goulden,
with Regard to a Dutch ship having reached
North Latitude 8$°. Though this account
hath often been referred to, I do not recollect
to have seen it stated witB all the circumstances
which seem to establish its veracity beyond
contradiction : I shall therefore copy the very
words of Wood #.
" Captain Goulden, who had made above
thirty voyages to Greenland, did relate to his
majesty, that, being at Greenland some twenty
years before, he was in company with two
Hollanders to the Eastward of Edge's Islandf;
* Moxon's account of a Dutch ship having been two
degrees beyond the Pole was also much relied upon by
Wood, which hath never been printed at large, but in a now
very scarce tract of Moxon's, and in the second volume of
Harris's Voyage, p. 396. In confirmation of this very circumstantial and interesting narrative, I have only to add,
that Moxon was hydrographer to Charles II, and hath published several scientific treatises. — See the Catalogue of the
Bodleian Library.
f Edge's Island was discovered, A. D. 1616, by Captain
li 34
\ 1
and that the whales not appearing on the shore,
the twosHollanders were determined to go farther
Northward, and in a fortnight's time returned,
and gave it out that they had sailed into the La<-
titude 89°, and that they did not meet with any
ice, but a free and open sea; and that there run a
very hollow grown # sea^like that of the Bay of
Biscay. Mr. Goulden being not satisfied with the
bare relation, they produced hhn four Journals
out of the two ships, which testified the same,
and that they all agreed within four minutes f."
Thomas Edge, who had made ten voyages to those seas.
— See the Supplement to the North East Voyages, 8vo.
London, 1694. Whyche's Island, so called from a gentleman of that name, was discovered in the following year.
—Ibid.    .     :.    ^Ai     '   '      Jfc.' «'    ■ M
* Grown Sea is the expression in the original, jjjf Which
is not practicable in these tempestuous high grown seas."
— Dr. Halley, in his Journal, p. 45.
f Wood's Voyage, p. 145.—Wood's Voyage was published by Smith and Walford, Printers to the Royal Society
in 1694, together with Sir John Narborough's, Marten's,
and other Navigators. The book is dedicated to Pepys,
Secretary to the Admiralty ; and he is complimented
therein for having furnished the materials. THE   NORTH   POLE.
Having thus stated Wood's own words, it
should seem,  that theyriwho deny the authenticity of the relation  must contend, that the
crews of \Mth. these Duf^h ships entered into a
deliberate scheme of imposing upon their brother Whale Fishers,  and had drawn up foui?
fictitious Journals accordingly, because so many
are stated to have been produced out of the/||wo
ships t® Captain Goaalden, whilst each of^them
varied a few minutes /in the latitude ; whereas,
if  they  had   determined   to   deceive  Captain,
Goulden  and   his  crew,   the  Journals  would
probably  have   tallied   exactly.     I   must  beg
leave also tot make an additional observation on
the account as stated by Wood, which is, that
the Dutch ships only went to the Northward
in search of whales, but did not give it out
that they intended to make for the Pole, which
if they had done, it might possibly have been
an inducement  to carry on  the deception by
forgeries  and  misrepresentations.    To this  it
may likewise be added, that the Dutch are not
commonly jokers.      ** *K
d 2
I have already remarked, that Wood makes
this account one of the principal reasons for
4iis undertaking the North East Passage to
Japan. Wood therefore (Mr. Oldenburgh's
contemporary) was not a disbeliever before his
voyage of the possibifity of reaching so high a
Northern Latitude, nor of any of the circuit
stances stated in tins Narrative.
But Captain Wood is not a single instance
of such credulity, as, the very year before he
sailed on his Voyage, we find in the Philosophical Tsansactions for 1675 * the follo\$jng
passage :—u For itfis well known to all |*hat
~$&il Northward, that most of the Northern
Coasts are frozen up many leagues, though in
the open sea it is not so, No, nor under the Pole
itselfe unless by accident." In which passage,
the having reached the Pole is alluded to as
a known fact, and stated as  such to the Royal
'Society.  :' ■'. '"'^IP' ' ' -;-'.-";:'  '"■''"" f0''
Wood indeed, after not being able to proceed
* No. U8,
Farther than North Latitude 76% discredits in
the Htmp all the former instances of having
reached high Northern Latitudes, in the following words : —
" So here tie opinion of William Barentz
was confuted, and'fsall the Dutch relations*,
which certainly are all forged and abusive
pamphlets, as also the relations of our countrymen f."
In Justice, however, tcpdie memoirs of bcttfa
English and Dutch Navigators, Ifecannot but
take notice^pf these very peremptory and ill-
founded reflections, made by Wood ; and which
seem4o be dictated merely by 6Ss disappointment,  in not being  able  to  effect  his  disco-
Wood attempted to sail in a North East
* The Dutch made three voyages for the discovery pf
the North East Passage jn three successive years, the third
being in 1596, which last was by the encouragement of a
private subscription only.—See Gerard de Veer, p. 13, folio,
Amsterdam, 1609.
f Wood's Voyage, p. 181. 38
direction between Spitzbergen and Nova Zem-
bla, but was obstructed by ice, so that he could
not proceed farther than the West Coast of
Nova Zembla, in North Latitude 7^°- Thinking it, therefore, prudent to Teturn, he at Once
treats as fabulous, not only the ideas of that
most persevering seaman William Barentz, but
likewise all other accounts of ships*5 having
reached high Northern Latitudes. Now that
the ice, which obstructed Wood in Ntffth Lati-
\ "tude 760, was not a perpetual, but only occasional barrffer, appears 'by2the Russians having
not only discovered, but lived several years Hi
the island of Maloy Brun, which lied between
Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla, &nd extends
from North Latitude 77° 25' to 78° 45'*. The
Dutch also sailed round the Northern Coast of
* See the English Translation of Professor Le Roy's
account of this Island, p. 85, Svo., London, 1774, printed
for C. Heydinger. As also the Sieur de Vaugondy's Essai
d'une Carte Polaire Arctique, published in 1774, who represents this island as extending from North Latitude
77° 20* to 78° 30*, its longitude being 60° East from
Fero. »<ttrnrn<fiauan
Nova Zembla, and wintered on the Eastern side
in 1596*. |^|>; 3ftY."|j| -^■•'■*.§*-■ Jjg' \ti\tijk((
As for Wood's treating all discoveries towards the P&le, from the Northern parts of
Spitzbergen, as fabuloulg he had not the least
foundation, from what he had observed on his
own voyage, for this unmerited aspersion upon
their veracity ; because, if Wood's barrier between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla, in North
Latitude ^6°, had been perpetual^ what hath
Aiis to do with the course of a ship sailing from
the Northern parts of Spitzbergen upon a meridian^!© wards the Pole ?
I  cannot however dfsmiss Wood's Voyage
without making some farther remarks on  bis
* See the Map of the circumpolar regions, which accom-
panies^:Wood's ^foyage. The Northern point of Nova
Zembla, in this Map, is in 77° nearly. There were factions
in Holland, with regard to the method of discovering the
North East Passage. Barentz, instigated by Plancius the
€teographer, was for making the trial to the North of Nova
Zembla ; the other two ships, which sailed on that expedi-
tion of discovery, were to attempt passing the Weygatz.—■
Recueil des Voyages au Nord, torn. iv. Linschoten's
ii P
concluding, that the obstructions which he met
with in North Latitude ?6° were perpetual.
Almost every voyage to seas, in which
floating ice is commonly to be fojand, proves
the great difference between the quantities, as
well assize, of these impediments; to navigation, though in the same latitude and time of
Davis, in his two first voyagesl^to discover
the North West Passage, could not penetrate
beyond 66°; but in his third voyage, in 1587,
he reached 72° 12'*. ^M^^^k^^^^^^^''
y In the year 1576, Sir Martin Erobisher
passed the Straits (since called from their first
discoverer) without any obstructions from ice;
in hjf[two following voyages, however, he found
them in the same month, to use his own expression, " iiifa manner shut up with a long mur^
of ice -f~."
In the year l6l4, Baffin proceeded to 81°5
* See Hakluyt, and Purchas, vol. i, p. 84.
f Purohas, ibid. THE   NORTH   POLE.
and thought he saw* la$l as far as 82°* W the
North East of Spitzbergen, which is accordingly marked iaone of Purchas's Maps. During
this voyage he met near Cherry Island, situate
only # 74° North Latitude, two banks of ice ;
thefone, ISfrty leagues in length, the other one
hundred and twenty; which last would extend
to twenty-five degrees of longitude in North
Latitude 76°> where Wood fixes Ms barrier.
: Lf'Aft— ff ^f AF 'iJPx
It need therefore scarcely be observed^that
such a floating wall of ice, one hundred and
twenty leagues long, by being jammed in between land, or other banks of ice, might
afford ah appearance ipdeed of forming a peS
petual barrier, whed perhaps,^ withiaatttfe next
twenty-four hours, the wall of ice might en*
§t Of the sudden al^emblage of such an accumulation of ice, I shall now mention two,
rather recent, instances.
* See also the Supplement to Wood and Marten's Voyages, in the 8vo. publication of 1694, in which point Pur-
chas is stated to be in North Latitude 82°. -.At
I have been very accurately informed, th
the late Colonel Mu^ay ^happened ^o go, in
the month of Majfe from one of our Southern
Colonies to Louisburgh, when the harbour was
entirely open ; but, on rMn^in the morning, it
was completely filled with ice, so thjtt a waggon
might hive passed over it in aflry direction^.
I have also i%eceived the following: account
from an officer in the Royal Navy, who was
not  niany   years !Tfi|*o   on   the   Newfoundland
In the middle of June, the whole Straits of
Bell isle were covered in the same manner with
thefharbour of Louisburgh, and for three weeks
I On the 19th of December, 1759, the Potowmack/
in a part where it was two miles broad, and nearly in
North Latitude of only 38°, was frozen entirely over
in one night, when the preceding day had been very
mild and temperate. — Burnaby's Travels through North
America, p. 59.
Camden, in his Annals of Elizabeth, asserts, that Davis
reached 83°, where the Straits, called after him, were
nartfbwed to forty leagues. — See Camden, anno 1585.
We have not since been able to proceed so far to the
Northward. ■•tiiJfe
fe< sat
together a carriage might have passed from one
shore, to tj^e other j^but during a single night
the ice had almost entirely disappear^? ^ Such
is the sudden accumulation of ice, in latitudes
twenty-four and th^ty degrees to the SoutB*
ward of Wood's situation.
Linschoten asserts, that being in the Straits
of Weygate the last day of July, he was told
hy the Sapnohads on that coast, th&t in ten or
twfjye day%jafterwards the ice ^ the Strait!
would be all gone, though they wer^e thefti
qu^s backed up with it. When he jrepassed
these S$raits afterward^, on the 13tb of August,
he found not the least vestige of it, sp^&ickly
do these huge masses dissolve ^fltshthe^once
begin to thaw*.
On the other band, Callander admi1fe^#bat
by accumulation of floating ice places are now
inaccessible wlaft#h wer% not formerly so, and
instances the Eastern Coast of Greenlahd,^fJso
Frobisher's Straits-frvi  Kergulen, in his account
* Callander's Preface, p. 38
t Ibid. !
of Icelanu> likewise mentions, that the sea between Iceland and Greenland was entirely cldsed
during the whole summer of 1766.
I shall now endeavour to show, that
-'jffir.- Halley was no more incredulous with regard to the possibility of reachingliigh NofUhern
Latitudes, than Captain Wood was before the
ill success of his royage on discovery.
Mr. Miller^ in his Gardener's Dictionary,
hath the following passage, under the article
Thermometer : —
$ Mr. Patrick has fixed his thermometer to
a scale of 90°, which are numbered from the
top downwards, and also a moveable index to
fit. The design of this is to show, how the heat
and cold is changed from the time it was last
looked upon, according to the different degrees
of heat and cold in all latitudes. As by the
trial of two thermometers, which have been
regulated abroad; the one by Dr. Halley, in his
late Southern Voyage; and the other by Captain Johnson, in his voyage to Greenland; the
first hath  a heat under the equinoctial line, HB
and the ojther a degree of cold in 88? of North
I have taken some pains to find out a more
full account of this voyage of Cajitain John-
son'jfo but have only met with the following
confirmation ofjjit perhaps:—|
% I have been assured, by personsjqf credit,
that an English Captain, whose name was
Monson, instead of seeking a passage to China
between the Northern countries, hadiflirected
his course to the Pole, and had approached it
within two degreesjiewhere there was an open
sea without any ice *.w
As ih&i Captain Monson mentioned in this,
passage reiched exactly the same degree of
latitude with Capfein Johnson, I shoulfl ralber
think, that this fe the same voyage; especially*
as it is wellrinown, that the French writers
seldom trouble themselves about the orthogra-
phy ot foreign names.
3lfthis, however, should not be the case,sft
off See M. de BuftWs Natural History, vol. i, p. 215,4t$tr
s,|ir ^i niSri- JrS&&l*&m
on Approaching
must be admitted to be an additional instance of
a ship's having reached North Latitude *98°,
as well as Moms. defBuffon's giving credit to
suchirelatfon*. <|&
Having therefore not been able to pick up
any other circumstances in relation to Captain
Johnson's Voyagej^I sMall now state what seems
to be fairly deducible from the passage, which I
have copied from Miller's Gardener's Dictionary.
Dr. Halley made his voyage to the Southward
in 170®| on the return from which, he probably
employed Patrick, as the ihost eminent maker
of weather glasses*^, to graduate a therifiometer
,t ..a, -^
* To this list of credulous persons (as perhaps they may
be considered by some), I shall beg leave to add the names
of Maclaurin and Dr. Campbell. The former of these was
so persuaded of the seas being open quite to the Pole, that
he hath no^jonly advised this method of prosecuting discoveries, but, as I have been told, was desirous of going the
voyage himself.
f I have been informed, that his shop was in the Old
Bailey, and that he died about fifty years ago. Patrick was
a great ringer, and some of the most celebrated peals were
i jjj
e?Ce, m
according to the heat he had experienced under
the equator. It was very natural therefofej
when such a point of heat was to be marked
upon the instrument, to make the scale eitiher
for high Southern or Northern Latitudes.
It should seem, then, tha&iDn#Ialley had
procured Captain Johnson (who was Master of
a Greenland Ship) to carry a thermometer on
his voyage to Spitzbergen, and that he fortunately was able to reach so high a degree, of
latitude as 88°.
If the thermometer had been calculated only
for imaginary degrees of heat and cold, it would
have been marked for the Equator arid the
Pole ; whereas it was only regulated for 88°
of North Latitude, whiihN*Captain Johnson
therefore had as clearly reached, as Dr. Halley
had the Equator. ^j
At all events, Patrick's Thermometer must
have been made under Dr. Halley's inspection ;
invented by him more than fifty years ago. Ho^styled
himself, in his advertisements, Torricellian Operator.■—
Sir John Hawkins's History of Music, vol. iv, p. 1^4. 48
and would he have permitted it to be marked
for 88° of North Latitude, according to Captain
Johnson's Voyage,  if he had  disbelieved his
My thfrd and last instance, from any printed
authority, but in a book which is notajcom-
monly toibe met with, is that of Captain Alexander Cluny, &$ by a Map engraved under
^isgjrfifection, the very spot is marked tl> the
Westward of Spitzbergen, and in somewhat
more than 82° of North Latitude, where he saw
neither land nor ice^.^^^H^^.^dJ^KiijI^i^
IdL Before I proceed, however, to stSie several
other instances of reaching high Northern Latitudes whicli have never appeared in print, and
ne     ;siir
which I have collected sincejny last Papefjon this
head, I must beg the indulgeWcW of the Society,
whilst I lay before them some additional rea-
* See the American Traveller, 4to. London, 1769 ; as,
also, the Sifeur de Vaugondy's Essai d'une Carte Polaire
Arctvque, published in 1774; in which, however, he lays
down this spot from Cluny's Map in little more than 81p,
wherea84$ is fully in 82°. The longitude of this spat is 30®
East from Fero.. THB NORTH   POLE.
sons iwhy the Polar Seas may bf* conceived to
be navigable *. jjjii^^ Wf^'^
Speculative geographers have supposed, that
there should be nearly the same quantity of
land and sea in both hemispheres in order to
preserve the equilibrium of the globe.
It is possible, indeed, that this may be accounted for by the Antarctic Seas being more
shallow than those near the North Pole; as we
do not know ilthis, however* %f the actual
soundings*!--but are4»formed fey Captain Fun-
neaux, that tliere is no land even as far as the
AntarctifcjCircle, upon the meridian in which
* I have received a letter from the Rev^Mr. Tookg,
Chaplain to the Factory at St. Petersburgh, dated December 30,1774, whie% he concludes in the folrowmg manner:~»
ii I have a fact or two to communicate, which seem to B*di«
cate, if not to a certainty, yet at least to a degree of probability, that the sea is open to the Pole the year throughout;
but my- paper will not hold them." From the accuracy
with which^jfeveral other interesting particulars are stated
in this letter, I have great reason to regret, that I have not
an opportunity of laying the facts alluded to before the
Public, with all their circumstances, as I suppose *j|hat
Mr. Tooke's information came from Archangel Seamen, so
he sailed, as also that no land was obseigped
during the course of his circumnavigation in
55° South Latitude at a me<Kum, it seems necessary, as the quantity of .land so greatly preponderates in the Northern hemisphere, that
frouif^NortlAatitude 80J° to the Pole itself must
be chiefly, #$ot entirely sea*.
Let us now consider, whether such a sea is*
probably, at all times, in a state of don gelation.
1 do not know, whethet it hath been settled
bv thermometrical observation that there is
any materia! difference between the heat under
tM* Equator, and that whifch is experienced
within %he Tropics ; mosPfravellers complain
indefinitely of its excess in such latitudes.
Ai this point, therefore, seem$ not to have
been settled by the thermometer, let us have
recourse to what is found to be the freezing
point upon mountains, situate almost under
the  Equator,   and c6mpare  it with the same
* It is now known that Captain Cook also found very
little land during his persevering attempts to the Southward. an
heighten the Peak of Teneriffe, which, being in
North Latitude*B8*.j$ five degrees to the North-
ward of the tropical limits^
The French Academicians suppose, that the
freezing point, 3^ which all vegetation^ ceases,
and ice takes place, commences, on CotopaxL at
14X1 toises above ifthe/level of the sea; or, by
our measure, at the height of about a mile and
three quarters .* $tflj^ Mm^^^^^m 0j^§^
*|Mr. Edens, on the other hand, hath given
us a very particular account of what ha observed
ingoing toiihe top of Teneriffe -J- ; *and so £ar
from seeing spow or |pe (except in a cave) his
c»at was cpy£$f d, during the night, with dew., at
the very j&mmit; which, according to Dr. He-
^%otopaxi is the highest mountain of the Andes, at
least in the neighbourhood of Quito. The plain of Cara-
buca, from which it rises, is 1023 toises above the level of
the sea, and the height of the mountain above this plain is
I26S toises, iW&fngH>gether 2291 toises. If 880 toisef
therefore are deducted from 2291, 1411 toises becomes the
height of the freezing point upon this mountain. — See
Ulloa's Account of South America.
f Philosophical Transactions Abridged, vol. v, p. 147^
Sprat's History of the Royal Society.
I it
1 111
r i
berden's comffatation, is 15,396 feet high, or
wants but 148 yards of three niles*.
No#f as it is thus settled, that the Peak of
Teneriffe is neatly three miles high, which exceeds by more^ihan a mile the height of ttater
freezing point on Cotopaxi, skuate under the
Equator, it should seem that there is no material
difference betwe<$i the heat under the Equatof
and within the Tropics ; for if it is urged, that
Teneriffe i§*$nore iWrounded with sea than
**4$btopaxi, it mist on the other hand be recollected, that this mountain is situate 5° to the
Northward of the TSopic, at the lame time that
the summit exceeds the freezing point on Cotopaxi by more than a mile; both which circum-
etances^should render It colder than the freeing
point on Cotopaxi.
The inference to be drawn from this com-
parfi$§fi' seems to bejr that as the heat varies so
little between   the Equator  an<fr the tropical
* See Hawkesworth's Voyages, vol. ii, p. 12. Goats also
feach the very summit, which must be in search of food, as
tbey do not bear cold well.
limits, it may differ asalittle betweeB-vthe Arctic
Circle and the Pole.
Nothing hath been supposed to show more
strongly the wisdom of a beneficent Creator,
than that every part of this globe should (taking
the year throughout) have an equal proportion
of the sun's liglk.*
It is admitted, that the equatorial parts have
rather too much heat for the^comfbrtsibf thqan-
habitants, and those withintthe Polar <Sircl#s too
little; but, atwe#to^ow that the tropicil limits
are peopled, it should seem that the two Polar
Circles are equally destined for the same purpose ; or if not for the benefit of man, at least
ofor the sustenance of certain animals.
The largest of these, in the whole scale of
Creation, is the whale ; which, though a'.$sh,
cannot live long under water, without occasionally raising its head into another element, for
the purpose of respiration *:  most other fish
* f Sometimes the ice is fixed, when there are but few
whales seen, for underneath the ice they cannot breathe."	
Marten's Voyage to Spitzbergen.
The whales, likewise, are supposed to come from the North *
but how can this be, if there is an incrusted sea over them ? 54
also occasionally approach the surface of the
water/>d?!^    *f lift''   #&li#ii
If the ice therefore extends frcttn Nofth Latitude S6^° to the Pole, all the intermediate space
is denied to the Spitzbergen whales, as well
perhaps as to other fish. And is that glorious
luminary, the sun, to shine in vain for half
the year^upoh tea degrees of latitude round
each of the Poles, without contributing either
to animal life or vegetation ? for neither can
ta&e place upon this dreary expance of ice*
If this tract of sea also is thus rendered improper for the support of whales, these enormous fish, which require so much room, wiU
be confined to two or three degrees of latitude
in the neighbourhood of Spitzbergen ; for all
the Greenland Masters agree, that the fcest
fishing stations are from 79° to 80°, and that
they do not often catch them to the Southward.
I will now ask, if the sea is congealed from
North Latitude 80^° quije to the Pole, when
did it thus begin to freeze, as it is well known,
that a large quantity of sea water is not easily THE  NORTH   POLE,
forced to assume the form jaf ice* ? Can it be
contended, that ten degrees of the globe round
eachf^Pole were covered withafrozen sea at the
original creation ~\* ?    And if this is not insisted
* g There are three kinds of ice in the Northern Seas.
The first is like melted snow, which is become partly haft
dened, is more easily broken into pieces, less transparent,
is seldom more than six inches thick, and, when dissolved,,
is found to be intermixed with salt. This first sort of ice is
the only one which is ever formed from sea water.
™If a certain quantity of water, which contains as much-
salt as sea water, is exposed to the greatest degree of cold,
it never becomes firm and pure ice, but resembles tallow or.
suet, whilst it preserves the taste of salt, so that the meet
transparent ice can never be formed in the sea. If ^he ice
of the sea itself, therefore, confined in a small vessel with~
out any motion, cannot thus become true ice, much less
can it do so in a deep and agitated ocean." The author
hence infers, that all'the floafing ice in the Polar Seas
comes from the Tartarian Rivers and Greenland, as I have
before contended. — See a Dissertation of Michel Lomo-
nosof, translated from the Swedish Transactions of 1752.
Collection Academiqve, torn, xi, p. 5, et seq., 4to, Paris, 1772.
The Dissertation is entitled, " De VOrigine des Monts de
Glace, dans la Mer du Nord."
f If there had been a fixed barrier of ice from the time
of the creation, extending from 80|° to the North Pole, the
height of syich ice must have been excessive, by the accu*
1 56
upon, can it be supposed, that, when the sur-»
face of the Polar Ocean first ceased to be liquid
it could have afterwards resisted the effects of
wigds, currents, and tides? ^-^0^. ^#fei^
I beg leave also to rely much upon the ne-
cessity of the ice's yielding to the constant reciprocation of the Jatter; because no sea was
ever known to be frozen but the Black Sea, and
some small parts of the Baltic*, neither of
which have any tides, at the same time that the
waters of both contain much less salt than
those of other seas, from the great influx of
many fresh water rivers. For this l$st reason,
it may likewise be presumed, tb#t the circum-
polar seas are very salt, because there is probably no such influx beyond North J-atitucJtf
80°, Spitzbergen itself having no rivers.
Having thus given some general reasons,
mulation of frozen snow from winter to winter. Marten
therefore observes, that the ice mountains in Spitzbergen
are constantly increasing by the snow and rain which falls
freezing, and winch seldom melts at the top.—P. 43.
* To thes« perhaps may be added the WhiteaSea* THE NORTH   POLK
why^the sea should not be supposed to be
frozen in the ten highest degrees of latitude, I
shall now proceed to lay before  the Society
several instances, which I have lately collected,
.       .     aliifeafi t ^ ft I
and which prove that it is not so covered with
ice considerably to the North of 80§°.
I shall, however, previously mike two observations ; the firs¥^f whicn is, that every in*
stance of exceethng North Latitude 80j , as
much proves that there is no perpetual barrier
of #ce in that latitude; as if the navigator^hath
reache#*ttie Pole.    The second is, that as four
CF if ¥
experienced Greenland Meters have concurred
itt informing me, that they can see what is
cralled the bWnk of the ice* for a degree befool tlfem,  the^  nev# can  be  off  Hakluyt's
* This is described to be an arch formed upon the clouds
by reflection from the packed ice. Where the ice is fixed
upon the sea, you see a snow white brightness in the skies,
as if the sun shined, for the snow is reflected by the air jusfi'5
as a fire by night is, but at a (distance you see the air blue
or blackish. Where there are many small ice fields, which :
are as meadows for the seals, you see no lustre or brightness of the skies.—Marten's Y&yage to Spitzbergen. 56
upon, can* it be supposed, that, when the sur-
face of the Polar Oc§an first ceased to be liquid
it could have afterwaijds resisted the effects oj|g
winds, currents, and tides ? ^
I beg leave also jto rely much upon the ne-
cessity of tbelice's yielding to the constant reci-
procatioix of the lattery because  no  sea was
ever known to be frozen but the Blac^Sea, and
some  small pails of the  Baltic*    neither qJL
which have anvtides, at the same time/that the
waters  of  both  contain  much  less   salt than
those of other seas, from the grea%f|nflux of
inany fresh Jitter rivers.    For this lf^t reason,
it mayJikcwise be presumed, that the cfocum-
polar se^as i are very salt, because there is pro-
bably nonsuch influx  beyond North Latitude
80°, Spitzbergen itself having no rivers.
pljtaving thus  given some  general  reasons,
mulatfcpn of frozje% snow from winter to winter. Marten
therefore observes, that the ice mountains in Spitzbergen
are constantly increasing by the snow and rain which falls
freezing, and wKfch seldom melts at the top.—P. 43.
* To these perhaps may be added the. White Sea. THE NORTH POLE.
wlrpthe sea should not be supposed to he
frozen in the ten highest degrees of latitude, I
sBall now proceed to lay before the Society
several instances, which I have lately colliJcBed,
and which prove that it is not so covered with
mmM n   x   *i    senidU   ro^iid
ice considerably to the JNorth or 80§ .
I shall, however, previously make two? observations ; <*the first of winch is, that every instance of exceeding North Latitude 80^°, as
much proves that^here ■% no perpetual barrier
office in tha#%titude, as if the navigator hath
relched^ttie Pole?1 The second is, that as four
experienced Uteenland Masters have concurred
in^lnfllming rile, that they can see what is
called the btBik of the ice* for a degree be
fore them,  they  never  can  be off  Hakluytifr
* Thi^jis described to be an arch formed upon the clouds
by reflection from the packed ice. Where the ice is fixed
upon the sea, you see a snow white brightness in the skies,
as i| the sun shined^/or the snow is reflected by the air jusfcL
as a fire by night is, but at a distance you see the air blue
or blackish. Where there are many small ice fields, which
are as meadows for the seals, you see no lustre or brightness of the skies.—Marten's Voyage to Spitzbergen.
if F
: H     I
ill i!
Headland, which is situate in 79° mm with-*
out observing this effect of theftce upon the
sky, if there was a perpetual barker at 8o§°,
which is not much more than half a degree
wL j wl       * % . At.
from them, when in that situation. Now
Hakluyt's Headland is what they sp perpetually
take their departure from, that it hath ob-
tained the name of The Headland by w7ay of
This mountain also is m high, that it can
be distinguished at the distance of a Megree:
in such instances, therefore, wnich Ilshall pro*
nit iii iii4  l    -i   *■ *
duce, that do not settle  the latitude hy ob-
servation,    whenever   the   reckoning   depends
upon  the   approach   or   departure  $rom   this
Headland, the account receives the addition
ioe   f£3 •'■%&}& -s«w-
check of the mountain's being increased or
diminished gradually to the eye of the observer.
My second previous remark shall be, with regard to all instances of reaching high Northern
Latitudes, for which the authority ot the ship s
Journal may be required, that it is almost im- m
iii mm
pogteible to procure this sorft^ evidence, except
the voyages have been recent; not only for the
reasons I have given in my former Paper, but
because* I fimd, thatiC,the Ship's Journal isaaot
wanted by the owner&in a year or two (which
seldom happens) it is afterwards considered as
Without the least impeachment also of the
knowledge in navigation of the Greenland
Masters, when they are in the actual pursuit of
fish, they do not trouble themselves about their
longitude or latitude; they are not bound by
their instructions to sail to any particular pointy
and their only object is to catch as many whales
a$ possible ; the ship's situation therefore, at
such time, becomes a matter of perfect indiffe-
rence. It will appear^ however, that they not
only keep their reckonings,, but observe, when
they are not thus employed in fishing.
JHfaving made these previous remarks, I
shall now proceed to lay before the Society
such instances of navigators having penetrated
beyond  8o§° as  I   have happened to procure «0
since the reading of my former Paj>er*|on this
subject in May last.
James Hutton  (then belonging to the ship
London, Captain Guj)   was, $hirtjr years ago,
0i North Latitude 8if0, as both the Captain
and Mate informed him ybutdie did nof^observe
himself. A very intelligent sea officer was so
good as to take from him this account, together
with the following particulars, which perhaps
<4nay be interesting to Greenland Navigators.
^||ta|ton hath been employed in the Whale
fishery nearly these forty years, during^hich
he hath been several times atrthe Seven Islands,
and the Waygat Straits. In some of these
voyages the sea hath been perfectly clear from
ice, and at other times it hath set in so rapidly
towards the Waygat*, as to oblige the vessels
which happened to be thereabouts to force all
x% l
sail possible, to escape/being^inclosed.
* The Weighgatt is so called from the wind which blofps
through this Strait (weihen, to blow), because a strong
South West Wind blow¥out of it. Another name for it is
Hindelopen.—See Marten's Voyage, p. 27. ^ tlflWq i HhBHIWM |BB^BiflBMM8MBMIBMBBMBilHl^^^
wt'This hardy%ld tar likewise %uppo^»s, that
he hath been farther up the Waygat than per-
%aps anyfjperson now living; fiftr he was once in
•«$ ship wlich attemptedCto pass througMW, nor
did the master desist, till they'lhoaled the wafer
to three fathoms, when the sea was so clfflf,
that they could distinguish the bottom from the
ffeMr. John Phillips, now master oFthe Exciter,
but then Mate of the Loyal Club, in the year
1752, reached Norlh Latitude #lTO and several
minutes by observation, which circumstance
was confirmed by another person on biara tne
Exeter last summer,  <M  her rSlurh frdm the
^tffftenland  Fishery,  f Captain Phillips  added,
that   it ivas viTy common   to   fish %   such
latitudes.  '^^^W^^^^0^^6^^m^khrB^m'
Mr. George Ware, now living at Erith in
Kent, served as chief Mate in the year 1754,
on board the Sea Nymph, Captain James
Wilson, when, at the latter end of June., they
sailed through floating ice from 74°$o 81°; but
having then proceeded beyond the ice they pur- 62
sued the whale^to 82° 15', which latitude was
determined by MrfeWare's own observation.
As the sea was now perfectly clear, as far as
he could distinguish with his best glasses, both
Mife Ware aiMfeCaptain Wilson had a strong
inclination to push farther towards the Bifle;
but the common sailors hearing of such theif*
intention, remonstrated, that if they should be
able to proceed so far, the ship would fall into
Bieces,  as the Pole would draw all die  iron
sy<e '■ /
WQfk cmt of her.
On this Captain Wilson and Mr. Ware desisted, as the crew had these very singular imp-
prehensions ; especially as they had no whales
insight to?ihe Northward, which alone Ivould
justify the attempt to their owners*. It need observed, however, that the notion
which prevailed among the crew shows, that
the common seamen on board the Greenland
* This circumstance of not seeing any whales in that gte
rection accounts for Captain Guy's desisting, in the following instance,  from sailing to  the Northward, as also io
many others which I shall have occasion to state. THE  NORTH  POLE.
Ships conceive, that the sea is open to the Pokrj
they would otherwise have objected on account
of the ice being supposed to increase. Ib should
seem also, that the practicability of reaching th#
Pole is a point which they often discuss among
In this same year and month, Mr. John
Adams (who now is master of a flourishing
academy at Waltham Abbey, in Essex) was
on board the Unicorn, Captaiu Guy, when they
anchored in Magdalena Bay*, on the Western
Coast of Spitzbergen and North Latitude
79° 35'.  p^-vf||fe  '*$ii «§;■:..   -  ^; ^#%.kfel#
Tfcey continued in this bay for thfcee or four
days, and then stood to the Southward, when
the wind freshening from that quarter, but the
weather foggy, they proceeded with an easy
sail for four days, expecting to meet with fields
of ice, to which they might make fast; buMhe^
did not encounter so much as a piece that
floated.    On the fifth day the wind veered to
* The Greenland. Masters mosl-commonlv call this Bay
Mac-Helena. 64
the Westward, the weather cleared up, and
Mr. Adams had a good observation (the §un
above the Pole*) by whieh he found himself
three degrees to the Northward of Hakluyt's
Headland, or in North Latitude 83°.       -i^ ''%
Captain Guy now declared, that he had
never been so far to the Northward before, and
crawled up to the main topmast head, accompanied by the chief mate, whilst the second
mate together with Mr. Adams went to the fore-
topmast head, from whence they saw a sea as
free from ice as any part of the Atlantic Ocean,
and it Was the joint opinion of them all, that
they might have reached the North Pole.
The ship then stood to the Southward, and
twelve hours afterwards Mr. Adams had a
second good observation (the Sun beneath the
Pole) when their latitude was 82° 3. In both
these observations Mr. Adams made an allowance of 5' for the refraction, which, he says,
was his captain's rule, who was now on bis   .
* The old navigators to these parts call this a South
Sun* ?••&
fiftyfcflinth or sixtieth voyage to the Greenland
Seas  '%#*K^I^^ fe ^^^^^fh^m'
In the year 17^6, Mr. James Montgomery,
now a merchant in Prescot Street, Goodman's
Fields, but then master of the Providence, followed the whales difring the month of June till
he reached North Latitude 83°, by observation.
Another Greenland Master  informs me,   that
•He remembers wTell the ice packed much to
the Westward, but that the sea was open to the
JNorthward during that summer.
In 17#2, David Boyd, then mate of the brig
Betsey, was driven by a gale of wind from 79°
to 82°, odd minutes, by observation ; during
all which time he was beset in ice. A Greenland Master has likewise told me, that he re-
collect^ many other ships were driven to the
NortH**East from theft5 fishing stations duri
that season.     :s «f '# *# *    f   W: «
MIS Jonathan Wheatley, now master of a
Greenland Ship, was in 1766 off Hakhiyt's
Headland*, whence, not meeting with success,
* He was then on board a ship called the Grampus.
mg 1
he sailed North West to 81 J, in which latitude
he could see no ice in any direction whatsoever
from the mast head, although there was a very
heavy sea from the North East.
Mr. Wheatley also informs me, that whilst
he was off the Coast of Greenland, three Dutch
Captains told him, that a ship of their nation
had been in 89°, and they all supposed, that
the sea in such a latitude might be as free from
ice as where they were fishing. This account
probably alludes to the Dutch man of war, on
board of which Dr. Dallie happened to be, the
circumstances of which voyage 1 have stated i»
my former Paper.
This same Captain is so thoroughly persuaded of being able to approach the Pole, that
he will attempt it whenever an opportunity offers
of doing it, without prejudice to his owners.
On such a voyage of discovery, he would not
wish a larger vessel than one of ninety tons*,
* Clipperton reached China in a bark not much exceeding ten tons, as did also Funnell, in another such
vessel.—Callander, vol. iii, p. 223. THE NORTH POLE.
nor more than ten hands : I find, indeed, that
this is the sijge of the ship in which most of
the early navigators attempted to proceed far to
the Northward.
• In 1769, Mr. John Thew, now Master of a
Greenland Ship called the Rising Sun, was in
North Latitude 82°, and one hundred leagues
to the West of Hakluyt's Headland. The circumstances by which he supposed himself to
have been in this situation were stated to me
in the presence of a very able sea officer, who
told me afterwards, that he was perfectly satisfied with the accuracy of his account.
Captain John Clarke of the Sea Horse,  at
the latter end of June,  177#> sailed from the
Headland  North North East  to   81§°,   which
he computed by his run from the Headland in
eighteen hours, having lost sight of it.    At this
time there was an open sea to the Northward,
and such a swell from the North East,  that the
ship would not stay,  being under her double
reefed topsails, whilst the wind blew fresh.
f 2 6$
■ 11
During this run from the Headland,
Mr. Clarke fell in with Captain Robinson in
81° 20', whom I mentioned in my former Paper
as having reached 81J in the same month and
year, by a very accurate observation.
This same Captain Robinson, „ on the 28th
of June last, passed by Hakluyt's Headland,
lying off and on for several days, during which
he was sometimes a degree to the Northward of
it, and, till the 20th of July following, there
was no obstruction to his proceeding Northward ; to which, however, he had no inducement, as he caught two large whales in this
Captain John Reed of the Rockingham,
also in July last, pursued some whales fifteen
leagues to the Northward of the Headland, and
confirms   Captain Robinson's last account,  by
* The Second Part of Marten's voyage (who received
certain queries from the Royal Society) begins almost by
saying, " We sailed to the 81st degree, and no ship ventured farther that year/' viz. 1,671. gmj^/gmmmm
saying he could then see no ice from his mast
Captain Reed was brought up in the Greenland Fishery, and remembers well, that w7hilst
on board his father's ship, the Thistle, the
Mate told him, that they had reached 81° 42',
when there was indeed a good deal of ice, but
full room to sail in any direction.
Mr. Reed likewise hath informed me, that
about fifteen years ago, a Dutch Captain (whose
name was Hans Derrick) told him, whilst they
were together in the Greenland Seas, that he
had been in North Latitude 86°, when there
were only some small pieces of floating ice to
be seen. Hans Derrick moreover added, that
there were then five other ships in company,
which took one with another eighteen small
whales. 5
I have great reason to expect several other
instances of the same kind, in a short time,
from the different ports of this kingdom where
there is any considerable Greenland Trade:   I
ill    '  I   \
is^f.. 1
§>m I
':!.:' .: ' , Hi
shall not, however, trouble the Society with
them, till I know whether they would wish any
farther information on this head.
I shall now recapitulate the different latitudes which have been reached by the several
navigators whose names I have mentioned in
this and my former Paper. I shall also take
credit for nearly a degree to the Northward of
their several situations, because the blink or
glare of the packed ice is to be distinguished
at this distance, when the weather is tolerablv
Captain John Reed  80° 45'. "%     .
Captain Thomas Robinson  (for three weeks
together)  81°.
Captain John Phillips  81° odd mi.
James Hutton, Jonathan Wheatley, Thomas
Robinson, John Clarke (four instances)...... 81° 30'.
Captains Cheyne and Thew (two instances.... 82°.
Cluny and David Boyd (two instances)  82° odd mi.
Mr. George Ware  82° 15'.     W
Mr. John Adams and Mr. James Montgomery
(two instances)  83°.
Mr.  James Watt, Lieutenant in  the  Royal
Navy  83# 30'. mm
£ive ships in company with Hans Derrick...... 86*.
Captain Johnson and Dr. Dallie (two instances; to which, perhaps, may be added
Captain Monson, as a third)  88*.
Relation of the two Dutch Masters to Captain
Goulden*  89*.
Dutch relation to Mr. Grey  89 30'.
* This instance, however, hath before been relied upon,
though never, perhaps, circumstantially stated but by
Captain Wood.  POSTSCRIPT,
January 8, H75.
Having procured the three following instances
before the reading of my Paper was finished, it
may not be improper to add them in a Post-*
In Harris's voyages * is the following passage :-?—" By the Dutch Journals they get into
North Latitude 88° 56', and the sea open."
I have, within these few days, asked
Dr. Campbell, the very able compiler of these
voyages, upon what authority he inserted this
account ? who informs me, that he received it
from Holland about thirty years ago, as being
an extract from the Journals produced to the
* Vol. ii, page 453. 74
States General in 1665, on the application for a
discovery of the North East Passage to Japan,
which was frustrated by the Dutch East-India
In the Journal des Sgavans, for the month
of October 1774** is likewise the following
paragraph :—
" To these instances, produced by Mr. Harrington" (of navigators having reached high
Northern Latitudes), ff our countrymen*" (viz.
the Dutch) S could add many others. Att able
officer in the English service hath in his cus-
tody the Journals of a Greenland Ship, wherein
he hath remarked, that in the month of May
he had penetrated as tfar as 82° 20', when the
sea was open."
My third and last instance is that of Captain Bdteson, who sailed ill 1773) from Liverpool, in a ship called the Whale, on the
Greenland Fishery, and who, on June 14,
reached North Latitude 82° 15', computed by
* PafM ii, page 503. THE  NORTH   POLE.
his run back to Hakluyt's Headland *. As this
happened so recently, Captain Bateson (as well
as many of the other Masters, whose accounts I
have before mentioned) hath his Journal to
produce, if it should be required.
This seems to be the strongest confirmation
of both Captain Robinson and Captain Clarke's
having been, during this same year and month
in 81~° ; as also of their having met each other
in 81° 20', according to what I have already
I must not lose this same opportunity of
laying before the Society the information, which
I have just now received from M. de Buffon, in
relation to what I have cited from his Natural
History of Captain Monson's having reached
North Latitude S$°, § as he was told by persons
of credit"
Upon my taking the liberty to inquire who
* His inducement to proceed so far North was the pursuit of whales. I have shown the extracts from Captain
Bateson's Journal to a yery able sea officer, who is perfectly
satisfied with the accuracy of it. 76
those persons of credit were ? M. de Buffo n refers me to Dr. Nathan Hickman, who, in 1730,
travelled as one of Dr. Ratclift's fellows * ; and
who supposed, that Captain Monson's Journal
might have been at that time procured in
England. M. de Buffon also recollects, that a
Dutchman was then present, and confirmed the
* He was also a fellow of the Royal Society in 1730,
-ml jrmiMPiahfiM
WHILST I was waiting in expectation of several additional instances of Dutch ships, which
had been in high Northern Latitudes, I received
the following answers to certain Queries relative
to the Greenland Seas from a very eminent Merchant of Hull, and which he is so obliging as
to permit me to lay before the Public.
March 31, 1775. 78
i i ■ is
First Query. How near hath any ship approached the Pole ?
Answer. I have known ships go into the
latitude of 84° North, and did not hear of
any difficulty they met with; but it is not
often that the ice will permit them to go so far
North. ,_,; ;|   . ;■:. ^e■■.■;■        ■'.,   .',   ■
N. B. On inquiring of Captain Hall what
ships he had known, ^proceed so far r He
replied, they were some Datch shipa he heard
had done so, but knew no particulars.
Second Q. When are the Polar Seas most
free from ice ?
A. The seas are most incumbered with ice
from about the 1st of September to the 1st of THE NORTH POLE.
June following; and, in consequence, between
the 1st of June and September, the ice lieth
farthest from Spitzbergen. And I kno.\V no
other precaution to be taken, respecting the
Pole, than that they must watch the opportunity
when the ice lieth farthest from the land.
Third Q. How far to the Southward have
you first seen ice ?
A. In the space of twenty years, I have
twice known that we met with the ice in the
latitude of 74° 30' North, and could not find a
passage to the Northward till the month of July,
and then got into the latitude of 78° with much
difficulty, in running through the openings of
great bodies of ice ; and some years we find a
passage to the latitude 79 and 80° North, without much difficulty from the ice. Some years I
have known ships go round the North part of
Spitzbergen, and so come out between Nova
Zembla and the South part of Spitzbergen ; but
this passage is seldom to be found free from
ice. 1 Nil
Fourth Q. From what quarter is the wind
coldest whilst off Spitsbergen ?
A. Northerly and East North East Winds
are most frosty; but snow and frost we have
very common with all winds, except during part
of June, July, and August. If the winds be
Southerly the weather is milder, but subject to
snow, sleet, and thick weather. The winds,
currents, and the ice are very variable.
The opinion of the old seamen is, that we
may proceed farther North than ever has been
yet attempted; but this must be done with
caution. An opportunity is to be watched for
in those seas. The mpst likejy time for such
discoveries to be made is^ in the months of July
and August, when the ice is most commonly
farthest from the land; but some years not
to be found open at all from the land. And
when it is open, they must observe the ice to lay
a long way from the North part qi Spitzbergen;
for I have known ships that made attempts to
go to the Northward, and before they returned
back, the ice set in with the land, so that they HH 5
have bee%t>bliged to leave the ships to the East
of Spitzbergen,
N.B.    The ice always sets in with the land the
back of the year.
ll-.        ,;    THE  MANCHESTER. Tk.
First. I was once as high as the latitude
81° 30' North, in the ship Dolphin of Newcastle, in the year 17^9 or 6o, and have been
several times since as high as the latitude 81° in
the ships Annabella and Manchester, in which
latitude I never met with any uncommon circumstances, but such as I have met with in the
latitudes 75, 76, 77, 78, and 79°; if to the
Westward, I was commonly incumbered with
large quantities of ice.
Second. I suppose that the Greenland Seas
are most incumbered with ice in the months of im
December, January, February, and March ; for
in the latter part of April and the first of May
the ice generally begins to separate and open;
and in the months of June and July we generally find the Greenland Seas most clear of ice.
Third.    The only precaution to be taken, in
ordfer to proceed towards the Pole, is to fit out
two strong ships, that are handy and sail fast,
well equipped, and secured in the manner of
those that are generally sent to Greenland on the
Whale Fishery.     Such ships should be manned
with  about forty  able   seamen  in  each,   and
victualled for  eighteen  months or two years,
and be entireiv under the command  of some
expert,   able, .and  experienced   seaman,   who
has frequented those seas for some time past.
They should sail from England about the middle of April, in order to be in with the edge of
the ice about the 10th of May, when it begins
to separate and open.
Fourth.     There is not the least reason to MgHHMflPl
|HE  N0RTH   POfcfe.
suppose^ that the seas to the West, North West,
#nd North of Spitzbergen are covered with permanent and perpetual fee, so as never to be
opened by the operation of the winds ; for daily
experience shows us, that a Northerly Wind,
when of any long duration, opens and separates
the ice, so as to admit the ships going amongst
it in sundry places to a very high latitude, if attempted.
N.B. I never was to the Eastward of Spitzbergen ; but am of opinion, that the ice is
much the same there as to the North and
North West of Spitzbergen.
I generally find, tfeast Northerly winds bring
frost and snow ; on the contrary* Southerly
Winds bring mild weather and rain ; but none
of those winds appear to be periodical, except
close in with the land called Fair Foreland,
where I generally find the winds in the months
of June and July to blow mostly from South
South West, and very often excessive strong,
g 2 84
It is my opinion, by observing the above,
that in some years ships might sail very nigh
the Pole, if not, the impracticability must
arise from the large quantity of ice that lies in
se seas.
I am willing to give you my opinion, in regard to the Queries received of you, so far as my
observations will justify. ild
j First. In the year 1773, I sailed North 81°,
when I was much incommoded with large fields
of ice, but the air was not sensibly different
there from what I found it a few more degrees
Southerly.   |g| ■DBS
Second.    I have for many years used
Greenland Fishery;  and have,  by ex
/found those seas the least incumbered wit
betwixt the forepart of May till July.
Third. The same year I sailed to the lati-
tude above mentioned, I found in May, to the
West of Spitzbergen, a fine open sea, the wind
then blowing South West, and the sea (as far as
I could observe from the mast-head) was little
incumbered with ice, which fully convinced me
that there was a probability of proceeding to a
very high latitude.
Fourth. I have observed, that let the wind
blow from what quarter it will, it is at times impregnated with frost, snow, &c.; but when most
so I am not able to determine. As for rain, I
do not recollect ever seeing any there. The
weather I have generally found mildest when
^he wind biowan Southerly. As for periodical
winds, I do not suppose there are any in Greenland. 'troll
In regard io the Queries sent to me, all I
have to say is, that if a passage to the North
Pole is ever to be accomplished,  my opinion is,
it must be obtained by going betwixt Greenland
and Nova Zembla, as I myself have been to the*
Westward of Giteenland, and reached s# far ta
the Northward as 82° of North Latitude, and to
the North and North West of that found nothing  but  a  solid body of ice :   my opinion,
therefore, is, that it is impossible ever to obtain
a passage that way.   eGaptain Jolm Cracroft, in
the South  Sea Company's tim©.#, was once so
far as 83° North  Latitude, and to the Noiith-
ward of Greenland, and met with nothing but a
solid field of ice.    And in regard to the winds
and weather,   it> freezes   continually;   b#t the
* The South Sea Company s,ent a small number of ships,
for about nine" years, on the Greenland Fishery. It.
wind from the Southward doth commonly bring
j?ain and thick foggy weather, which is chiefly in
the latter end of June and July. If you are to
the Northward and Westward of Greenland
the wind from the North West and Nojrth
North West doth always open the iee; but at
the sameet^me, if it come to blow any time from
that quarter, packs it close in with the land;
and the winds from the Southward have the
contrary effect.
Who has been Twenty-four Voyages from England to the Greenland Seas.
Fkst. Said Andrew Fisher says* that in the
year 1746, being on board the ship Ann an/I
Elizabeth from  London, on  a. voyage to the
i-*- I
IT*   *
Greenland ^fjieas, he steered from Hakluyt's
Headland in Spitzbergen Nortfe and North
West in clear water till they were in laljitude
82° 34', where they met with a loose pack of
ice, and made their fishery, or otherwise they
might have got through that loose ice, and
doubt not, but that they might have gone considerably farther North ; they returned, however,
in clear water to Spitzbergen.
Second. Best seasons of the year are, to be
at or near Spitzbergen from the 13th of May to
the 1st of June, though the years differ, and
the laying of the ice exceedingly: some years it
is not possible to get North of 80°; at other
times you may meet with very little ice, which
is chiefly owing to the weather in winter, and
the winds in April and May.
Third. There is not any reason to suppose*
that there is any permanent ice, either North or
West of Spitzbergen, so far as 90°; and it hath
been always found, by able and experienced na-
vigator^j that there is not near the quantity of
ice, nor so liable to set fast to the Norm of
Spitzbergen, as there is to the South of 80° as
far as 74°, owing to  the continent of Ameitca
(called Gallampus  Land  by  the  sailors)   and
Spitzbergen, which makes a narrow passage in
proportion  to what it is to the North  of Spitzbergen.    The   land   of  America  is  sometimes
seen by  our Greenland^Traders from latitude
74° to 76°; and,  as  it is not  seen any farther
North, is supposed to round away to the North
West, which makes it imagined by many, that
there is not any land near the Pole.
Fourth. South winds bring most snow;
North winds bring frost; but that is in the
month of April and two-thirds of May; after
that time, to the 1st or 10th of Julv, it is in
general mild, fine, clear, sunshine weather, and
winds variable ; after that again, often thick
fogs and high winds.
Fifth.    It is very possible, by steering North
: ' 1
ft I SO
or North North East by the ship's compass (if
it can be so contrived as to have the card oft
the needle steady, and the winds prove favourable), with a little perseverance, a ship may get
near the Pole, if they do not meet with rocks.
IN the year 17 66, trade being dull, I
fitted a ship at my sole expense to the Greenland Seas ; arid the said s&p returned with one
fish, eleven feet bone. FindSfng the trade could
be condiifcted better in private hands than a
company^ I was induced to send a second sfcip
in 1767? and as I had otfter concerns in shipping, thought it most prudent (being brought
upito the se&, and having made an easy fortune
from it) to go a voyage to the Greenland Seas,
to see with my own eyes what chance there
might be of making or losing a fortune. So
sailed from Hull the \4th day of April, in my If
ship the British Queen, with an old experienced
Master, and on the 2 4th and 25th of April was
in the latitude of 72°, catdiing seals  amongst
great quantities of loose ice.    As we did not
choose to stay in that latitude, we made the best
of our way North; and after sailing through
loose ice, which is commonly the case, about the
6th of May we were as far North as latitude 80°
(which is near what the Masters call  a fishing
latitude)   and   about   fifteen   leagues  West  of
Hakluyt's Headland.    I found theifarther North
the less quantity of ice§ and from the inquiry I
made, both from the English and Dutch, which
was very considerable, there is a great probability of |$bips going to the Pole, if not stopped
by meeting land or rocks,  jj|t appeared to me,
that the narrowest place in those seas was betwixt
Spitzbergen and the America^ shore, where the
current is observed to come always  from the
N$rth, which fills  this narrow place with ice,
but in general loose and floating in the summer,
though I believe congealed and permanent ia
winter.    Those;From whom I inquired informed
ill Q2
II 11
j ill
ine^ that the sea was abundantly clearer to the
North of Spitzbergen, and the farther North the
clearer.    This seems to prove a wide ocean and
a great opening to the North, as the current comes
from thence, that fills this passage as aforesaid.
The best method of reaching the highest latitude
m my opinion is, to hire two vessels  of about
two hundred and fifty tons burthen each, and if
done on a frugal scheme,  the same ships might
be fitted for the whale fishery,  and  premiums
given both for the use of the ship and crew, in
proportion to their approach to the Pole, which,
from many circumstances that  may intervene,
might be two or three years  before they could
complete their wishes.    And it is more likely
they might make their fisbery^sooner than to the
Southward ; as, if they met with ice, the fistt
would be undisturbed ; if clear water and a good
wind,  they  very   soon   might reach the   Pole.
What I mean bv two vessels Is,  one to foresail
the other at the distance of three or four leagues,
as the latter may avoid the dangers the  first
might run into; and to be always ready, on mm NORTH  POLE.
seeing and hearing proper signals, to aid and
assist, and by that means secure a retreat. I am
also of opinion, that such ships being sent on
discoveries are much more likely to succeed than
his majesty's ships and officers. The above
hints I have pointed out for your consideration;
and, if I can be of any farther service, may
Your most humble Servant,
March 4, lj}74.
I take this opportunity of laying before th$
Public the following letter from Captain Marshall, Master of a Greenland Ship, to Captain
Heath of the 41st Regiment, who formerly made
two voyages to Spitzbergen.
In compliance with your request of
Wednesday last, I acquaint you, that six years
ago I was as high as rS2° 30' North Latitude, 94
by observation, which is the highest I have ever
been in ; at that time I was Mate of the Royal
jSxchange Greenlandm&B, of Newcastle. I do
not know of any one who has been in a higher
degree; but k has been reported at Newcastle
(with what truth I cannot say),* that Captain
Greensbaw, of London, had told his friends,
that he had been as high North as 84°.
The Dutch, I have been informed, have
proceeded to 83° 30'; but I have it only by
hearsay. x
In respect to your second Query, I remember, that about five years since, when I was
master of the above-mentioned ship, I was
in 81° North Latitude, by observation,
when there was a clear sea to the Northward, as far as the eye could reach from the
mast head ; and I could not help observing to
my people, that if it had happened that we
were then upon discovery, we might have had
a fine run to the North, as the wind blew fresh
at South. The like clear sea I have observed
several times during the time I have been in BSBSI Hi
the Greenland Service, which is now about
twenty-one years. I have no doubt but that
a navigator might reach a higher latitude than
I have been in, provided he was well acquainted
with the currents! and the ice, for much depends
thereon,   and fiok the advantage of a favour-
e season. I have remarked, that when the
frost has been severe in England, and to the
Southward *, there has been a great deal less
ice to the Northward the ensuing summer than
usual; and the weather has been remarkably
fine in Greenland. I have, for this reason,
great expectations that the approaching season
will produce a successful fishery, and that it
will also afford an opportunity for a trial to
reach the Pole -j*.
But the greatest difficulty attending a navi-
* I conceive that this arises from the ice becoming of a
greater thickness during such severe winters, and consequently cannot be so soon broken up, or observed by the
dreenland Ships, which return to the Southward, before
the-ice*can have floated to them in the Spitzbergen Seas.
f 1 am sorry to have been informed, since the Bill for
promoting Discoveries passed, tl^at the attempts to penetrate
li 11
gator in very high latitudes is how to get back
again, for, should he be beset there in the ice,
his situation would be very dangerous;   for he
'is1    &;
might be detained a long time, if not for the
whole winter. I speak this from/experience,
foi*M was ipnce beset for* three months, and
was given up fpr lost, and with difficulty got
Any farther information in respect to the
land, the currents, ice, or other particular!, you
may wish to have, I shall very readily communicate it, and am,
ft* 1, Ul      c *
Your very humble Servant^
^^^ln''rtiJf| **$ii^ '     JAMES MARSHALL. ;
*Nq. 5, Spring Street, Shadwell,
~®m~$mimA M$%m«
February 25, 1776.
'miMold *fa
Captain Heathy to whom I am indebted for
to the Northward will not be so frequent as I had flattered
myself; because> most of the Greenland vessels being insured, if any accident should happen to a ship which is
not prosecuting the Whale Fishery, jjhe owners will not bp
entitled to recover. £1
this communication, also informs me, that on
the 15th of Dece'mber, 1777 > he minuted the
following particulars from a person employed in
the Whale Fishery.
$ That being on board the Prince Frederick
of Liverpool in 1^65, commanded by James
Bisbrown, he reached the latitude of 83° 40',
where he was beset in ice for three weeks to
the Southward, but that he saw, during this
time, an open sea to the North."
The Astronomer Royal having been so good
as to furnish me with the following memorandum, which he made at the time it bears
date, I here subjoin it, as a well authenticated
instance of a navigator's having reached 84^
of Northern Latitude.
iC Mr. Stephens, who went many voyages
to the East Indies, and made much use of the
lunar method of finding the longitude, in
Which he is very expert, tells me,, this l6th of
March, 17/3, that he was formerly two voyages
H 98
on the Greenland Fishery ; that, in the second,
in the year 17^4, he was driven off Spitsbergen,
together with a Dutch Ship, by a South South
East Wind, North North Westerly by compass
into latitude 84^°, or within 5^° of the Pole, in
which latitude he was near the eud of the
month of May. They saw no land after leaving
Hakluyt's Headland (or the Northernmost
part of Spitzbergen), and were back iii the
month of June. Did not find the cold excessive, and used little more than common
clothing; met with hot little ice, and the less
the farther they went to the Northwatd: met
with no drift-wood. It is always clear weather
with a North Wind, and thick weather with a
Southerly Wind ; nevertheless they could take
the sun's altitude for the latitude most days.
The sea is quite smooth among the ice, as
in the river Thames, and so thev also found it
to the North of Spitzbergen. Met with no
ice higher than the ship's gunnel. Imagines
it would  hardly have been colder under the
Pole,   than they experienced it;   although he ^sgiMmmM
thinks Hhetjucold rather increased on going
Northward. Thinks tthe currents are very
variable, and have no certain A* constant direction. Says he has often tasted the ice, when
the sea water ihas been let to run or dry feff it,
and always found it fresh. That the sea water
will freeze against the ship's bows and rigging,
but he never saw it freeze in the ship. Tjfaat it
never freezes in the pumps. A little piece of
ice detained under a large piece of ice, when
it gets loose from it and comes up to the surface of the water, is very dangerous, it emerging
with a force which will sometimes knock a hole
in the bottom of the s^ip. The Dutch Ship
which was driven with theirs from Spitzbergen
ran against a large piece of ice, and was lost,
the ships being then separated to a considerable distance. The winds in these seas are
generally Northerly; the Southerly Winds are
commonly damp and cold."
Having thus stated the memorandum as I
received it from Dr. Maskelyne, I shall now
make some observations on the contents.
h 2 100
It appears, by the preceding pages, that, in
this same year, viz. 17^4, both Mr. Ware and
Mr. Adams* sailed to 82^° and 83° during
the month of June, and both of them conceived that they might have reached the North
Pole. / -" • '"     ta§r~.'     ."'v.-
Mr. Maister, by letter from Hull, dated
February 24, 1777? bath procured me the
following information from a friend of his, who,
at my desire, inquired at Whitby with regard
to any ships having reached high Northern
f Captain Brown of the Freelove says, that,
in the year 1770, he was certainly in 82° North
Latitude, when the water was clear. Captain
Cole also of the Henrietta say$, that in 1776
he was near the latitude of 81° North, and after
he was certain of being in that latitude, he was
with strong South East Gales, drove for three
days to the Northward, but as he had thick
weather,  the distance was  uncertain.    In the
* See the  Probability  of reaching the North Pole,
p. 42, &c. jJS£m
■ imiliTrirMi
course apf this drift he met with nothing but
loose ice."
It appears also by the above account, that
Mr. Stephens had proceeded as far as 84^°, the
sea beinglppen teethe Northward a month earlier
in this same year.
From this, and other facts of the same kind,
I cannot but infer, that the attempt should be
made early in the season; if I am right also in
what I have before supposed, that the ice, which
often packs near the coasts of Spitzbergen, comes
chiefly from the rivers, which empty themselves
into the Tartarian Sea, it seems highly probable,
that this is the proper time of pushing to the
Northward, as the ice in such rivers cannot be
then completely broken up. What other ice
therefore may be seen at this time is probably
the remains of what was disembogued during
the preceding summer.
Another proof of this arises from what happened in 1778* f°r the Carcase and Race Horse
were obstructed, at 80§°, by an immense bank 102
of ice, during part of the months of July and
August; but four Greenland Masters were a
degree farther to the Northward, during the
months of May and June, in the same year *.
No one winters in Spitzbergen, h&t some few
Russians, from whom however we have not
been informed what happens during that season,
though it should seem, from the observations of
Barentz, those of the Russians in MalovBrun,
and a ship having pushed into the Atlantic, flom
Hudson's Bay, during the midst of December ftp
that the Northern Seas are then navigable.
For the same reason, probably, Clipperton J,
who passed the Straits of Magellan in the
midst of winter, saw no ice, which is so frequently met with at Midsummer by those who
sail to the Southward of Cape Horn.
* See the Probability of reaching the North Pole, p. 4,
45, 46, and 57.
•j: See the Probability of reaching the North Pole, p 83.
% Frezier was as far South as 58° in the middle of May,
and saw no ice, though he speaks of a South East Wind as
cold.—See Callander's Collection of Voyages, vol. iii,
p. 461. "imtmtiini
I take this opportunity of recapitulating the
years since 1746*, during which it appears, from
the instances I have stated, that the sea to the
North of Spitzbergen hath been open, so as to
perttiit attempts of approaching the Pole, which
will show tfcat such opportunities are not uncommon, and it is hoped that they will he
more frequently embraced, from a parliamentary
reward of five thousand pounds being given to
such of his majesty's subjects as shall first penetrate beyond the 89th degree of Northern Latitude ; the Bill for which purpose hath already
passed both Houses of Parliament-^.
* Viz. 1746, 1751, 1752, 1754, 1756, 1759, 1703,
1765,  1766,  1760, 1771, and  1773.   f
f By the same Bill, a reward of twenty thousand
pounds is given to such of his majesty's subjects as shall
first discover a communication between the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans, in any direction whatsoever of the Northern
ilia 104
''k^^M^m^'' ,m$A
AS ifcappears, by the two first collections of instances, that I have had much ccgiijgrsation
with the officers^ of th& Royal Ngvy, as well as
masters of Greenland Ships, abouf a Polar
Voyage;, I shall now state se^fral hints which
have occasionally dropped from them, with re-*
gard to prosecuting discovepes to the North*
The $hip should be s^ch as is commonly
usedLin the Greenjand Fishery, or ratl^er of a
smaller size, as it works the more readily when,
the ige begins to pack around it.
There should, on no account, be a larger
complement of men than can be conveniently
stowed in the boats, as it sometimes happens^
that the Greenland Vessels are lost in the ice ;
but the crews generally escape by means of their
boats. The crew also should consist of a larger
proportion of smiths and carpenters than are
usually put on board common ships, lllfttB^0*'tejfo' U^a
As it may happen, that the crews in boats
may be^kept a considerable time before they
can reach either ship or shore, there should be
a sort of awning to be used occasionally, if the
weather should prove very inclement.
As it is not wanted that the boats should
last many years, it is advised, that they should
be built of the lightest materials, because, on
this account, they are more easily d*agged over
the packed ice *.
As it is possible, also, that the crew may be
obliged to winter within the Arctic Circle, it is
recommended that the ship should be ballasted
with coals£;
That there should be  a  framed  house  of
* General Oglethorpe informs me, that the Dutch Vessels on the Greenland Fishery have three boats fastened on
^ach side of the Jfcip, which may be sufficient to contain the
whole crew in case of accidents; and that the earlv dis^
coverers had always what was called a ship in quarters on
board, which might be put together when a creek, &c. was
to be explored. He also advises, that the sailing of the t#9*
ships, to be sent in concert on discoveries, should be previously tried, as there should not be too great a disparity in
that circumstance. 11
1 %
Wood on board, to be made as long as possible
for the opportunity of exercise within doors ftj
That there should be also a Russian Stove,
as a fire in a common chimney does not warm
the room equably.
It appears, by the accounts of the Dutch,,
who wintered in Nova Zembla^, as well as the?
Russian^ who continued six years in Maloy
Brun, that during this season there are some-
times days of a tolerable temperature; snow
«hoes, therefore, should be provided, as also
snow eyes, not to lose the benefit of air and ex-
crcise during such  an interval-J.    The beard,
* On the Labrador Coast, the furriers raise a wall of
earth all round their huts, as high as the roof, which is found
to contribute much to warmth within doors, so as to want
little more heat than arises from the steam of lamps. Such
wall is commonly three feet thick.
f The Russian Hereti&ks, ofjhe old faith, as they are
stiled, sometimes winter in Nova Zembla.—-Account of
Maloy Brun.
% A barrelled organ, which plays a few country dances,
might amuse during the dark months, as also be of use in the
first intercourse with the savages, music'k being a sort of
tyaiversal language; and Sir Francis Drake, for that reason,
carried out musicians with him.
likewise, should be suffered to grow on the approach of winter, from which the Ru&ian Couriers are enabled to support the severity of the:
open air.
Russian boots, and the winter cap of the
furriers of North, America, are also recommended ; but recourse should not be had to this
warmest clothing upon the first approach of
winter, for by these means the Russians do not
commonly endure cold so well as the English ; because when the weather becomes excessively severe, they cannot well add to their
When the weather is very inclement, leads
for the hands, dumb bells, and other such exercises, should be contrived for within-doors.
In order to prevent the scurvy, likewise, fre-<
quent use of the flesh-brush is recommended, as
also occasionally a warm bath, from which
James's crew received great benefit, when they
wintered on Charlton Island.
With regard to the provisions, I shall here
insert a method of curing meat, communicated
1 1
" iljl
to me by Admiral Sir Charles Knowles, the
.good effects of which both himself and others
have frequently experienced *.
*■ So soon as the ox is killed, let it be skinned and cut ur>
Into pieces, fit for use, as quick as possible, and salted
whilst t^he meat is hot; for which purpose, have a sufficient
quantity of saltpetre and bay salt pounded together, and
made hot in an oven, of each equal parts ', with this sprinkle
the meat, at the rate of about two ounces to the pound.
Then lay the pieces on shelving boards to drain for twenty-
four hours; wrhich done, turn them ana* repeat the same operation, and let them lay for twtenty-four hours longer, b}r
which time the salt will be all melted, and have penetrated
the meat, and the juices be drained off. Each piece must
then be wiped dry with clean coarse cloths, and a sufficient
quantity of common salt, made hot likewise in an oven, and
mixed (when taken out) with about one-third brown sugar.
The casks being ready, rub each piece well with this mixture, and pack them well down, allowing half a pound of
the saltand sugar to each pound of meat, and it will keep
good several years.
N. B. It is best to proportion the casks or barrels to the
quantity consumed at a time, as the seldomer the meat is exposed to the air the better. The same process does for
pork, only a larger quantity of salt, and less sugar; but the
preservation of both equally depends on the meat's being
hot when first salted. Sir John Narborough salted young
seals, and Sir Richard Hawkins many barrels of penguins,
both of which are said to have been wholesome and palatable : fish likewise caught at the approach of winter might THE  NORTH   POLE.
The flour should be kiln-dried, and put into
tight barrels which are capable of holding liquids #. Flour thus preserved and packed hath
been perfectly good for more than three yeffos,
without the least appearance of the weevils.
To make the best use of flour thus preserved,
there should be both a biscuit maker and an
oven on board. S*«l* Wktl-■ifjp -u A m^   |g|
With regard to liquors, a large quantity of
shrub from the best spirits and fruits i§; recommended, wbSch should also be made just before
the voyage takes place; the stronger the spirit,
the less stowage. Dampier preferred Vidonia
to other wines, on account of its acidity; and
perhaps old hock might still answer better.
I should stand in need of many apologies^
■be so cured, or indeed preserved by the frost without any
salt. Captain Cook's precautions need not be here alluded to.
* Woodes RogeTS observes in his voyage, that the water,
which he had brought with him from England, on his arrival
at Juan Fernandez, was all spoiled by the casks being bad*
—-CallaUder, iii, p. 259. 110
for having sugg^ftted fjiese hints to Northern
Discoverers, had I not received them from officers
6f the Royal Navy, as well as Greenland Mas*
ters, and eminent physicians ; if any of these
particulars, however, would nojt have been
otherwise thought of upon fitting out the ship
for such a voyage, and should be attended with
any good effects, it will become my best excuse.
In order also to promote such a voyage
of discovery, I should conceive that extending
the parliamentary reward of twenty thousand
pounds by 18 Geo. II, cap. 17, for the passage
to the Pafgi^e Ocean through Hudson's Bay, to
a Northern communication between the Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans in any direction whatsoever^
might greatly contribute to the attempting such
an enterprize.
To this, another incitement might be perhaps
added, by given one thousand pounds for every
degree of Northern latitude, which might be
reached by the adventurer from 85° to the Pole,
as some so very peremptorily deny all former instances of having penetrated to such high l&ti* gasa
fades. An act hath accordingly passed for th$
first of these purposes; and, for the second, with
thm variation, that a reward of five thousand
pounds is given only for approaching within a
degree of the Pole.
I shall conclude, however, in answer tQ
their incredulity by the following citation fronj
Hakluyt: —
",Now, lest you should make small account
of ancient writers, or of their experience, which
travelled before our times, reckoning their authority amongst fables of no importance, I have,
for the better  assurance  of those proofs,   set,
down part of a discourse written in the Saxon
iongue,and translated into English by Mr. Nowel^
servant to master secretary Cecil, wherein is described a navigation, which one Ochter made
in the time of King Alfred, king of West Saxe,
anno 871 ;  the words of which discourse are
these:  * He sailed right North, having always
the desert land on the starboard,  and on the
larboard the main sea, continuing his course till
he perceived the coast bowed directly towards
ii 112
the East, &c* Whereby it appeareth, that he
went the same way that we do now yearly trade
by St. Nicholas into Muscovia, which no man
in our age knew for certainty to be sea, till it
was again discovered by the English in the
time of Edward VI.
cc Nevertheless, if any man should have taken
this voyage in hand, by the encouragement of
this only author*, he should have been thought
* Perhaps the same sea is alluded to ia the following
line of Dionysius :—
Tlovrov ps'/ xatescri, ms7rr}yolcc9 xgoviov, ?€.
as the name of Frozen can scarcely be applied to that of the
As for the Thule of the ancients, about which so many
conjectures have been made, it seems to have most clearly
been Ireland, from the manner in which Statius addresses a
Poem to Crispinus, whose father had carried the Emperor's
commands to Thule :—
 tu disce patrem, quantusque nigrantem
Fluctibus occiduis,fessoq, Hyperione Thulen
Intravit mandata gerens.
It should also seem, from other parts of the same Poem*
that this General had crossed from Scotland to the North of
Iceland, or Thule:—
Quod si te magno teUusframata parenti
Accipiat, quantum ferus exultabit Araxes ? THE   NORTH   POLE.
}%ut simple, considering that this navigation was
written so many years past, in eo barbarous
a tongue, by one only obscure author; and yet
in these our days, we find by our own experience his reports to be true."
Quanta Caledonios attollet gloria campos?
Ouna.tibi longaevus referfit trucis incola terras,
Hie suetus dare jura parens, hoc cespite turmas
^i^Pari i nitidas speculas, castellaque longe.
Aspicis? ille dedit cinxitque hsec mcenia fossa.
Stat i us, v. ]-k
Crispinus's father, therefore, must have resided some time in
Scotland, from whence he went to Thule or Ireland, for the
Hebrides (the only land to the West except Ireland) could
not have been of sufficient consequence for the Emperor's
commision, or the fortifications alluded to ; besides that the
expression of fessoque Hyperione implies, that the land lay
considerably to the Westward.
U* 116
variety of causes, that, at different times, have
retarded undertakings of the utmost importance
to the human species.    Among these we may
justly consider the conduct of some great philosophers, who, as our judicious Verulam wisely
observes, quitting the luminous path of experience to investigate the operations of nature by
their own speculations, imposed upon the bulk
of mankind specious opinions for incontestable
truths; \{hich, being propagated by their disciples through a long series of years, captivated
the minds of men, and thereby deprived them
of that great instrument of science, the spirit of
inquiry*.    In succeeding ages  a new impediment arose, from the setting up profit as the
ultimate   object   of  discovery;    and   then,   as
might  well   be   expected,   the   preferring   the
private and particular gain  of certain individuals to the general interests of the community,
as well as to the interest of the whole world, in
* Baconi Opera, torn, iv, p. 100; et alibi passim. But
these passages may be found collected in Shaw's Abridgment of Bacon's Works, vol. ii, p. 52. fiiiriiriMfffTMriimiiiii
the extension of science. This it was that induced the ^States General, at the instance of
4heir Ea§{fe>alndia Company, to discourage all
attempts for fipding a North East Passage, and
to stifle such accounts as tended to show that
it was practicable. We may add to these, the
sourness of disappointed navigators, who endeavoured^ to render their own miscarriages
proofs of the impracticability of any like attempts.
Thfcs was the case of Captain Wood, who was
shipwrecked upon Nova Zembla, and who declared that all endeavours on that side wejre,
and would be found vain; though Barentz,
who died there in a like expedition, affirmed,
with his last breath, thaj, in his own opinion,
such a passage might be found.
That the Earth was spherical in its form was
an opinion very early entertained, and amjpngst
the learned generally admitted. It seemed to
be a plain deduction from thence, that a right
line, passing through the globe, would terminate
in two points diametrically opposite. Plato is
thought to be the first who spoke of the inhabitants (if such there were) dwelling at or near
1 ■ .1 s a
life 118
those points by the name of Antipodes. This
doctrine occasioned disputes among philosophers
for many ages; some maintained, some denied,
and some treated it as absurd, ridiculous, and
impossible*. Whoever will examine impart
tially the sentiments of these great men, weigh
the contrariety of their Opinions, and consider
the singularity of theirv reasonings, will see and
be convinced how unsatisfactory their notions
were, and discover from thence, how insufficient
tfle subtle speculations of the human understanding are towards settling points like these,
when totally unassisted by#he lights of observation and actual experience.
The division of the globe by zones being
agreeable to nature, the ancients distinguished
them Very properly and accurately into two
frigid, the Arctic and Antarctic Circles ; two
temperate, lying between those circles and the
tropics ; and the torrid zone within the tropics,
equally divided by the equinoctial.    But judging
* Lucr. de Natura Rerum, lib i, ver. 1063; Cicer. Acad.
Qusest. lib. iv; Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. ii, cap. 65 ; Plut. de
^acie^ Orbe Lima?; Macrob. de Somn. Scip. lib. ii. I
from them experience of the nature of the climates at the extremities of the zone which they
inhabited, they concluded, that the frigid zones
were utterly uninhabitable from cold, and Ithe
torrid from intolerable heat of the sun. Pliny
laments very pathetically upon this supposition,
that the race of mankind were pent up in so
small a part of the Earth. The poets, who were
also no despicable philosophers, heightened the
horrors of these inhospitable regions by all the
colouring of a warm and heated imagination* ;
but we now know, with the utmost certainty,
that they were entirely mistaken as to botfr.
For within the Arctic Circle there are countries
inhabited as high nearly as we have discovered ;
and, if we may confide in the relations of those
who have been nearest the Pole~J~, the heat
there is very considerable, in respect to which
* Cicero in Somnium Scipjonis; Virg. Georg. lib. i;
Ovidii Met. lib. i; Tibullus Panegyr. ad Messalam, lib. iv;
Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. ii, cap. 68; Pomp. Mela de Situ
Orbis, lib. i, cap. 1; Claud, de Raptu Proserpinse,
lib. i.
f   That the   Earth had  inhabitants,   even  under the
Poles,   seems to have   been   believed   by  many at   the 120
our own navigators and the Dutch perfectly
agree. In regard to the torrid zone, we have
now not the least doubt of its being thoroughly
inhabited ; and, which is more wonderful, that
the climates are very different there, according
to the circumstances of their situation. In
Ethiopia, Arabia, and the Moluccas, exceedingly hot; but in the plains of Peru (and particular a* Quito) perfectly temperate, so that
the inhabitants never change their clothes in
any season of the year. The sentiments of the
ancients therefore in this respect are a proof
how inadequate the faculties of the human mind
are to discussions of this nature, when unassisted
by facts.
The Pythagorean system of the universe^e-
■Vii H fit
latter end of the  sixteenth century,  from the following
lines:— JjW
" Fond men!  if we believe that men do live
Under the zenith of both frozen poles,
Though none come thence advertisements to give,
Why bear we not the like faith of our souls ? ™
Sir John Davis's Nosce te ipswni
probably  written  in  1596,   from  a  compliment to  Lord
Keeper Egerton on his first receiving the Great Seal.
vised and restored near two hundred and fifty
years ago by the celebrated Copernicus, met
3#ith a^very difficult and slow reception, not
only from the bulk of mankind, for that might
have been well expected, but even from the
learned ; and some very able astronomers a#
tempted to overturn and refute it^a Galileo
Galilei wrote an admirable treatfce in its support, in which he very fully removed most
of the popular objections *f". This, however, exposed him to the rigour of ijhe inquisition, and he was obliged to abpre the
doctrine of the Earth's motion.    Our noble phi-
* Amongst the most considerable of these was John Baptist Riccioli, who published his Almagestum Novum with this
view. Yet afterwards, in his!5 Astronqmia Reformata, he
found himself obliged to have recourse to the doctrine of
the Earth's motion, that he might be able to give his calculations with a proper degree of exactness.
f This celebrated work of his was entitled, Dialoghi de
Sistemi di Tolomeo, e di Copernico. This is much better
known to the learned world by a Latin translation, which
so clearly proved the superiority of the Copernican System,
that the only means of refuting it was by the censures of the
■t 122
lojsopher, the deep and acute Lord Verulam,
could not absolutely confide in the truth and
fgrtainty of the Copernican System; but seems
to think, that its facilitating astronomical calculations was its principal recommendation, as if
this had not been also a very strong presumption
at least, if not a proof, of its veracity *. It was
fpom this consideration that the church of
Rome at length thought fit so far to relax in
her decisions, as to permit the maintaining the
Earth's motion in physical and philosophical
disquisitions. But SirLjJLsaac Newton, who
built upon this basis his experimental philo-
sophy, hath dispersed all doubts on this subject,
and shown how the most sublime discoveries
may be made by the reciprocal aids of sagacity
and observation. On these grounds, therefore,
all inquiries of this nature ought to proceed,
without paying an implicit submission to the
mere speculative notions even of the greatest
men ; but pursuing steadily the path of truth,
* Shaw's Abridgement of Bacon's Works, vol ii, p. 21^
where the Doctor endeavours to defend this opinion. THE  NORTH   POfcE.
under the direction of the light of experience.    *-■   -jjffi'ffi  ^mh'- •'"    ' % I
It may be urged, in excuse of the ancients,
and even of our ancestors in former times, that,
as they were unassisted by facts, they could
only employ guess and conjecture, and that
consequently their conclusions were from thence
erroneous. But to wave the visible impropriety
of deciding in points, where observation was so
obviously necessary, without its direction, let
us see whether this plea of alleviation may not
be controverted in both cases. Cornelius Nepos
reports, that some Indians being cast on shore
in Germany were sent by a prince of the Suevi
to Quintus Metellus Celer, then the Roman
proconsul in Gaulfej A very learned writer, in
discussing this point, hath shown, that it was
iff i»' ^ \
possible for these Indians to have come by two
different routes into the Baltic. He thinks;
however, that it is very improbable they came by
either, and supposes, liiat they were either Nqr-
* Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. ii, cap. 67. ESUSBBd
wegians, or some other wild people, to whom,
from their savage appearance, they gave the
name of Indians*. But though this observation
may well enough apply to the Romans, who at
that time had no knowledge of these Northern
People, yet it is not easy to conceive, that the
Suevi could fall into this mistake; or, if they
did not, that they should attempt to impose
upon the Romans. It appears incontestably,
that, in the time of King Alfred, the Northern
Seas were constantly navigated upon the same
motives they are now ; that is, for the sake of
catching whales and sea-horses. Nicholas of
Lynn, a Carmelite Friar, sailed to the most
distant islands in the North, and even as high
as the Pole. He dedicated an account of his
discoveries to King Edward the Third, and was
certainly a person of great learning, and an able
* Huet Histoire de Commerce, et de la Navigation des
Anciens, p. 531.
f See Barrington's Translation of Orosius from the Anglo-Saxon of King Alfred, part ii, p. 9. jggjgmmmmmmm
astronomer *, ifi;we may believe the celebrated
Chaucer, who, in his Treatise on the Astrolabe,
mentions him with great respect.
After Columbus discovered America, under
the auspices of Ferdinand and Isabella, the
Sovereigns of Europe, and especially Henry
thj£ Seventh, turned their thoughts towards
and gave great encouragement to discoveries.
Mr. Robert Thorne, who^ejidfeoVjnanjyears as
a merchant in Spain, and who was afterwards
mayor of Bristolr wrote a letter to Henry the
Eighth, in which he strongly recommended a
voyage to the North Pole. He gave his reasons
more at large in a!3ong Memorial to our ambassador in Spain; which show him to have
been a very judicious man, and for those times
* Leland. Comment, de Script. Britan. cap. 370; Bale,
vi, 25 ; Pits, p. 505. His description was intituled, Inventio
Fortunata; besides which, he wrote, amongst other things,
a book, De Mundi Revolutione, which possibly may still remain in the Bodleian Library. This Friar, as Dr. Dee
asserts, made five voyages into these Northern Parts, and
S if O m.
left an account of his discoveries from the latitude of 54* to
the Pole. m
!       ilfa
a verv able cosmographer; and accompanied
this Memorial witha Map of the World, %&■
prpve the practicability of his proposal*.
Though this project of his was not attended to,
yet a variety of expeditions^were made for discovering a passage by the North West, and
others by the North East, into the South Seas
on the one side, and into the Tartarian Ocean on
the other,until at length both were declared impracticable by Captain James and Captain Wood;
soured by their own miscarriages, and being
strongly persuaded, that, as they did not succeed,
none else could. But even these unsuccessful
voyages were not unprofitable to the nation upon
the whole, as they opened a passage to many lucrative fisheries, such as those in Davis's Straits,
Baffin's Bay, and on the coast of Spitzbergen.
Besides this, they laid open Hudson's Straits
and Bay with the coast on both sides, which
* HaWuyt's Voyages, vol. i, p. 212—220. The Letter
to Dr. Ley, who was the King's Ambassador in Spain, is
dated A. D. 1527. This Mr. Thome's father was engaged,
with others, in the discovery of Newfoundland.
C5H*&    %&>*>?£q       44 &&'fai&it€i
/XfiU^      <$*£,
54*.®t-*ujis § c &£&£&{&*  <^>
&+*   J^£JQx>f      fPoGvcj-G      £
U&jUy-^   Y#4f*M
have been already productive of many advantages, and which, in process of time, cannot
fail of producing more, in consequence of our
being in possession of Canada, and being thereby sole master of those seas and coasts*
It is, however, very remarkable, that notwithstanding the views, both of our traders
and of such great men as were distinguished*
encoutpagers of discoveries, the ablest seamen
(who without doubt are the best judges) were
still iddfined to this passage by the North, such
as Captain Poole, Sir William Monson|^|e and
others; and this was still the more remarkable,
as they were entirely guided therein by the
lights of their own experience, having no know-
ledgsiflEM^Thorne's proposal, or of the sentiments of each other. From the reason of the
thing, hovr§ver, they uniformly concurred in
the motives they suggested for such an undertaking. They asserted, that this passage would
be much shorter and easier than any of those
WSk i
/ /       V
"  'S3 /j   c±~* * Naval Trac& p«4^.
H&M-'tuz     & &1&1
%tn^f^t^   a6*f&to2   fi^$ij  Mm
Q tihvT<z^,   Ae,ay u%
fPtCLp m
Nova Zembla hath no soil, herbage, or animals ; and yet in Spitzbergen, in six degrees
higher latitude, there are all three ; and, on the
top of the mountains in the most Northern
part, men strip themselves *of thejfc shirts that
they may cool their bodies*. The celebrated
Mr. Boyle, from fehese and many other ini
stances, rejected the long/ received notion, \h%i
the Pole was the principle of.icold. Captain
Jonas Po$le, who in l6lO sailed in a vessel of
seventy tons toumake discoveries towards the
North, found the weather warm in near
79° of latitude, whilst the ponds and lakes were
unfrozen, which put him in hopes of finding a
mild summer, and led him to believe, that a
passage might be as soon found by the Pole as
any other way whatever; and for this reason,
that the sun gave a great heat there, and that
the ice was not near so thick as what he had
met with in the latitude of 73°t* Indeed, the
Dutchmen,   who   pretend   to   have   advanced
* See Marden's Account of Spitzbergen, p. 105.
f Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. iii, p. 702.
'A -***^ ^^^
-ef>*c*h*e£*ci    tfs f<S€&e*z4z&.
within a degree of the Pole, said it was as hot
there as in the summer at Amsterdam.
In these Northern  Voyages we hear very
much of ice, and there is no doubt that vessels
are very much hindered and incommoded thereby.    But after all, it is, in the opinion of able
and  experienced  seamen,  more formidable in
appearance ihan fatal in its effects.    When our
earliest discoveries were made, and they reached
farther North  than we commonly sail at present, itswas performed in barks of seventy tons,
with some trouble, no doubt, but with very little
hazard.    At this day it (ik known, that in no
part of the world there are greater quantities
of ice seen than in Hudson*s Bay,  and yet there
is no navigation safer, the company not losing a
ship in twenty years, and the seamen, who are
used to it, are not troubled with any apprehensions about it.    It is no objection to this, that
we hear almost every season of ships lost in the
ice on the Whale Fishery ; for these vessels^
instead of avoiding, industriously seek the ice,
as amongst it the whales  are more commonly
K 2
ifl i
& Oi^rCL/^.
rki4 132
found than in  the open sea.    Being thus continually amongst the ice, it is no wonder that
they are sometimes surrounded by it; and yet
the  men,  when  the  ships are  lost,  generally
speaking,  escape.    But in  the  se„as  near  the
Pole, it is very probable, there is little
ice,  for that is commonly formed in bays and
rivers during winter, and does not break up and
get into the sea till the latter end of March, or
the beginning of April, when it begins to thaw
upon the shores.    It is also, when formed,  very
uncertain as to its continuance, being broken
and   driven   about   by  the  vehemence  of the
winds.    As a proof of this we have an instance
of a vessel frozen in one of the harbours of
Hudson's Bay, which, by the breaking of the
ice, drove to sea, and, though it was Christmas,
found the Straits quite free from  ice*, which
are  frequently  choked   with   it   in  May   and
June,   and  made  a  safe  and  speedy passage
home.    All our accounts agree, that, in vei^y
* Mr. Dobba's Account of Hudson's Bay, p. 69, 70. THE  NORTH   POLE,
high latitudes, there iseless ice. Barentz, when
his ship was frozen in Nova Zembla, heard the
ice broken with a J&ost horrible noise by an
impetuous sea from the North, a full proof that
it was open. It is the invariable tradition of
the Samoidefc and Tartars, who live beyond the
Waygat, that the sea is open to the North of
Nova Zembla all the year; and the most knowing people in Russia are of the same opinion.
These authorities ought certainly to have more
weight than simple conjectures.
The notion, that approaching to a passage
unde% the Pole would destroy the i|se of the
compass, is a popular opinion without any just
grounds to support it. For. it presumes that
the needle is directed by the Pole of the World;
which it certainly is not, as appears from the
needle's variation, and even the variation of
that variation, which, if this notion was true,
could never happen. In Sir Thomas Smith's
Sound in Baffin's Bay the variation was found
to be 56° Westward, the greatest yet known.
Captain Wood is very clear upon this point,
(lis 3
3&d maintains, that no dangeniwas to be apprehended from this cause*. Those who asserted,
that they had advanced within a degree of the
Pole, estimated the variation there at five poin%i
of the compass. Captain Wood, in stating the
account given of the Dutch seaments voyage by
Captain Goulden, omits one very material point,
of which we are informed by Mr. Boyle, which
is, that one of the Dutch capt&ins coming over
to England, Captain Goulden carried him
to some of the Northern Company, who wrere
perfectly satisfied as to the truth of his relation ^. On the whole, therefore, whether we
respect reason 6t facts, there are no just
grounds for apprehensions on >Hliis head, more
especially as there are tether means by which
the true situation of a vessel might be determined,  and the difficulty, if any arose, would
* Wood's Voyage for the Discovery of a North East
Passage, p. 139.
f See the Honourable Mr. Boyle's History of Cold, in
respect to this and a multitude of other curious particulars,
which show with how much industry and care he struggled!
to deliver truth from vulgar errors, and fiction. m
be but of very short continuance. But as such
a voyage could not fail of affording many new
lights in respect to astronomy and geography,
so in this respect also it must necessarily ascertain fully what is at present only matter of
doubt and conjecture.
As notions long received acquire from
thence a degree of credit due only tort truth ;
and as new opinions, contrary to these, and
in other respects perhaps extraordinary in themselves, meet from these causes with slow and
difficult belief, however they may appear to be
Mpported by arguments, authorities, or facts
(which it is presumed have been freely and
fairly urged in the present case, to a degree
that may at least entitle the matter to some
attention) ; let us now proceed one step farther.
Thfc shall be to show, that what seems to be
so repugnant to the common course of things
(viz. that near the North Pole the cold should
relax, and the ice be less troublesome) is perfectly conformable to the laws of nature, or,
which is the same thing, to the will and wisdom $r
of our great Creator. If this can be proved,
there can be no farther dispute as to the possi-
bilityvof this passage; more especially when it
shall also appear, that thfe affords a full solution
of all the* doubts that have been suggested, and
at the same time cleady accounts for, and effectually confirms, the facts and reasonings deduced from them, wThich have been already advanced upon this subject. To come then at once
to the point.
Sir Isaac Newton, who it is universally allow*
ed was equally accurate, cautious, and judicious,
*ffrhis philosophical decisions, hath demonstrated
clearly, that the figure of this our Earth is not
spherical,   but  of an   oblate  spheroidal  form,
the diameter at the Equator being the greatest,
and at the axis the least of all the lines that can
pass through the centre.    He also determined,
by a most curious calculation, the proportion of
these diameters to be as two hundred and thirty
to two hundred and twenty-nine.    These senti-
ments of his  have been experimentally verified
by the means whiih he also pointed out> viz. THE  NORTH   POLE;
observing the motion of pendulums in very different latitudes, and the actual measurement of
a degree at the Equator and under the Arctic
Circle.    This Hast evidently proved the depression of the Earth's surface towards the Pole,
whjtch no doubt gradually increases.    The very
learned and  saga^ous Dr. Hooke asserted, in
one  of his  lect|ires,   and  brought very strong
reasons to show^that there is nothing but sea at
the Poles *.    These points then, being maturely
considered, will be found to militate in favour
of m free passage this waf, and at the same time
give  much  light into other things that have
been advanced in the  course of this inquiry,
by showing the true causes of those facts that,
at  first   sight,   have   appeared   to   many  very
strange  and  unaccountable.    For example,   if
there be no land near the Pole, then there can
be no bays in which ice can be formed to interrupt the navigation^  Again,   the  rays  of the
sun,   faljfing on  so flat a surface, and  being
* Hooke's Posthumous Works, p. 351. Hill!
continually fe reflected from the water, must
afford a great degree of heat to the air. At the
same time this will account for the sun's being
seen by the Dutch in Nova Zembla a fortnight
earlier than he should have appearedj^according
to astronomical calculations*. Many other
circumstances might be mentiofiid^ but these
will doubtless occur to the intelligent^ and
therefore it|is unnecessary to dwell longer upon
The great injustice of rejecting opinions,
on account of thei# appearing, at first sight,
paradoxical, or somewhat inconsistent with
notions commonly received, having been clearly
shown, and the mischievous consequences flowing from it by various instances pointed out;
the foundation of this conjecture, that there
may be a passage near the Pole, having been
fairly stated, the popular objections to it clearly
removed, the general advantage that might
he  expected  from thence placed in a proper
*' See Purchas, vol. iii, p. 499, 500. HHUWH
light, and the consistence of all the circumstances relative thereto, with the established
coifrse of nature, having been also rendered
evident; there can be nothing more looked for
respecting this matter merely in the light of a
philosophical speculation. But if supporting*
this had been thp only motive, these reflection
had iiot employed the time of the writer, or
trespassed so long upon the reader's patience/
What then remains ? To demonstrate, that, as
the po^ibility, practicability, and facility, of
such an undertaking have been insisted upon,
its national utility should be shown to deserve
consideration ; and that as it is an object of
the greatest importance to the public welfar^f
its execution should be no longer delayed.
There is unquestionably no country in Europe
so well situate Ipr such a$ enterprize as this.
The transit from Shetland to the Northern
parts of Asia would, by this way, be a voyage
only of a few weeks. The inhabitants of these
islands and of the Orkneys are, and have been
for many years, employed  in  the Greenland 140
Fisheries, and the natives of these isles are the
persons mostly sent to the establishments in
Hudson's Bay. By these means they are inured
to cold, to ice, and hard living, and are conse-
quentlyithe fittest for being employed in such,
expeditions. When thisyjshall be once executed
with success it will necessarily bring us acquainted with new Northern Countries, where
ordinary clothes and other coarse woollen goods
will probably be acceptable, new channels of
commerce would be thereby opened, our navigation extended, the number of our seamen aug~
mented, without exhausting our strength in
settling colonies, exposing the lives of our sailors
in tedious and dangerous voyages through unwholesome climates, or having any other trade
in prospect than that of exchanging our native
commodities ,and manufactures for those of
other countries. This, if it could be brought
about, would, in the first instance, convert a
number of bleak and barren islands into cultivation, connect them and their inhabitants intimately with Britain, give bread to many thou- A
sands, and by providing suitable rewards for
many different species of industry, encourage
population, and put an easy and effectual period
to the mischiefs and scandal of emigrations.
The benefits derived from these discoveries, and
the commerce arising from them, will necessarily extend to all parts of our dominions.
For however fit the poor people of ttfbse islands
may be for such enterprises, or however commodious the ports in their countries may be
found for equipping and receiving vessels employed in these voyages, yet the commodities,
manufactures, &c. must be furnished from all
parts of >thje British Empire, and of course be of
universal advantage.    These, as they are true,
will it is hoped appear just and cogent reasons
for wishing, that a project, which has dwelt in
the mouths and memories of some, and in the
judgment and approbation of a few, from the
time of Henry the Eighth, should be revived,
and, at length, for the benefit of his subjects,
carried into effect, under the auspices of George
the Th>r<felf \     A?- '   ■ .'  l£# I HAVE mentioned in the preceding sheets*,
that I expected some additional instances of
Dutch Ships, which had been in high Northern
Latitudes; but, though I delayed the publication for some weeks, they did not arrive time
enough to appear with the others. I have
however since received them from Professor
Allamand ofijLeyden, F. R. S. by means of
Mr. Valltravers, F. R. S., &c, and take the
earliest opportunity to lay them before the
public, as a valuable addition to the formed
Having made inquiries (agreeable
to your desire) from Professor Allamand of
Leyden, F. R. S. with regard to Dutch Navigators, who have reached high Northern Lat$£
* In the Additional Papers from Hull, p. 77. mm
1 ran in—
titudes : he has been so kind to s'end me the
following account, drawn up by Captain William May, a very'distinguished and experienced
Sea Officer, in the Dutch Service, which begins
with a lettfer from Mr. John Walig to his
ownefs, who h$k been Master of a Greenland
Ship ever since the year 1740.
I am, &c.
Helder, Jan. S, 1775.
" In answer to your Letter of the
22d of December concerning the question*
whether we have been nearer to the Pole than
80^°, I must inform you, that we have been,
often to 81°, near the Seven Islands, to the,
Northward of the North East Land, and some
have been in 82°, but then not clear from ice, in
which tliey drove about. I never heard of any
discoveries made there, as they have always
been fishers, wiio, driving with the ice to the
JNorthward, leave that  direction upon getting
Hi I
i iii- 144
room ; and when now and then the sea has
been free from ice, that has happened com-
inonly in the months of June and Jijy. In
1763, I spoke with a Scotch Captain in Greenland, who told me he had been to 83°, that the
sea was then free from  ice,  but that he had
Miff   ^T"^7
made no discoveries, without mentioning any
more particulars, for we ask after nothing but
whales. When I spoke to him it was in July,
and then we could get no farther North than
79° 30/ for the ice. In short, we can seldom
proceed much higher than 80|0, but almost
alwavs to that latitude, for it seems that the
conjunction of the currents often fastens the ice
there. I fished last year from 80° 2b' to 80°35',
according to the land we made afterwards.
H But in the year 17°7j Captain Cornelis
Gillis, having gone without any ice far to the
Northward of 81°, sailed to the North of the
Seven Islands, proceeded from thence East, and
afterwards South East, remaining to the East
of the North East Land, when coming again
to latitude 80° he discovered about twenty-five mm
miles * East from the country to the North
, East very High Lands, on which, as far as we
know, no body has ever been. As to the season
when the Spitzbergen Seas may be expected to
be free from ice, 1 believe, according to my
observations, that the most open sea to the
Northward generally happens in the mouth of
September, but then the nights begin, and make
the navigation dangerous.
" I am, &c.
* Fifteen to a degree at the Equator.
L —«
Jj H
E«' Jg» „T> •
I WENT to Amsterdam the 26th of March, ||
being the most proper time to make the desired
inquiries, and to obtain information from all
the commanders that were to depart this year
to Greenland ; for then you meet six, eight,
and more together, in houses where they enlist
their men. I am, however, sorry to mention,
that but few of those commanders keep journals
when they are near, or in the ice; but, notwithstanding this, the accounts they give carry with
• * This account was drawn up by Captain William Majk
in the service of the States, at the desire of Professor
Allamand of Leyden. — See p. 94.
h 2 148
them such an air of truth, from being confirmed
Jjy minute circumstances, and corroborated by
so many witnesses, that these relations (I verily
believe) may be depended upon as well as some
journals. I particularly applied myself, however, to those to whom a great number of
voyages had given experience, and (contrary
to my expectations) met with men of candour
and penetration. I thought it proper, likewise, to take the following extract of a Journal*
it showing the common form in, which som§ of
them are kept.
Translation of part of a Journal, kept on Boar
the Vrow Maria, Commander Martin Breet.
N. B. The sun's altitudes were taken with an
octant, and twelve minutes allowed for the
sun's semi-diametfer, refraction, and dip of
**tfie horizon * the longitude from Tenerifle ;
the miles fifteen to a degree at the equator $
the bearings with a compass unrectitled.
The  22d  of April,  1771> sailed from the THE   NORTfl   POLE.
Texel for Greenland. 8th of May, latitude,
according to the run, 700 33", longitude 19° 22';
saw the first ice.
13th ditto, latitude 74° 50', longitude 24° 35';
met with a border of ice.
14th  ditto,  latitude by observation 75° 44',
longitude 26° 13'; came against some ice.
15th ditto, latitude 76*r13/, longitude 25° 40';
saw Spitzbergen,  the South Cape;   bore East
North East fourteen miles.
N. B.    Drove about in the ice; made fast to a
25th ditto, in the morning saw the North
Foreland, North East by East, latitude 790 12',
longitude 20° 40'.      W Iff^   *% >
v   26th ditto, latlfude by observation 79° 10'. M
27th ditto, against the ice. &&
28th ditto, passed through some ice.
29th ditto, got fast in the ice; saw two ships
sailing pretty freely in the East North East.
N. B. in the ice till the
7th of June, got more room;   beat to the
Southward, and made fast to a field: saw land in
j:c 1
the East North East, distance fourteen or fifteen
miles ; supposed it the Quade Hoek, latitude
by observation 79° 58'> made fast to the 4ce
till the    '   - • "'^i^ # It?  ;-- ■■'''$■'   •
11th June, at noon ; alriolent storm, wind
South West, latitude by observation 80° 19'. In
the night, drove towards the coasts, for it blew
too hard to carry sail.
12th ditto, in the morning, laid fast in the
ice, the ffbrm continued, and the ship so much
pressj&d by the ice, that we were obliged to unhang the rudder.
*"•* *» £-, -
13th ditto, hard pressed by the ice, latitude
by observation 80° 29'. Remained pressed by
the ice till the
18th ditto, latitude by observation 80° 50';;
the ship not moveable.
19th ditto, latitude by observation 80° 57';
the ice in great motion.
20th ditto, fast in the ice again, latitude by
observation 80° 58'; calm till the '%%' *f?v'"
2-ta difto, began to bloup-a storm ; got some
room in the ice.
25th ditto, having got more room we ad?
26th ditto, locked up again.
2fth ditto, saw the land, namely, the Dorre
Hoek, South by East half East, and the Vlakfcfc
Hoek, East South East; lay beset till the
•';|J    29th ditto, latitude by observation 80° 16'.
30th ditto, wind North East.     •   hgk
1st of July, saw water in the West South
West, which we had not seen  for many days*
In the afternoon got more room.
2d ditto, worked our way through as much
ice as we could, wind East North East, towards
the evening North ; made fast to a field.
3d ditto, at noon, saw the land, being the
Robbe Bay, bearing South West by West about
one mile.
I  have left out many little circumstances
respecting the wind, tides, &c, as thinking ther
above sufficient for ascertaining the latitudes,
and to show the method in which many of the
Greenland Masters keep their Journals.    Thajt ill:
ii ■ ■:
■ mil
year seems to have been favourable for getting
more    to   the   North;    for,    notwithstanding
Mr. Breet  met  with   so  much  ice,  from  the
lafitude of 79° 30'Jo that of 80° 58', Captain
Jan Klaas Castricum, in the sjbip the Jonge Jan,
at that very time of the year,  and nearly in^he
same longitude, reached 81° 40', by the medium
of several observations with forestaffs, where he
fished  with  success,  iu  company  with Witje
Jelles, who sailed from Hamburg, and found
but little ice.    There weredikewise two English
ships, who sailed  so  far to  the North,  that
Castricum lost  sight of them from  the mast
head, which two ships returned  in something
more  than  two  days,  and the captains came
on board of Castricum*, and assured him, that
they had been to upwards of 83°, and could
have gone much farther,  as they had no ob-
structions from ice, but finding no whales, they
f& i . Pr *
returned.    I spoke at the same time with other
''• )•*? Captain Castricum neither asked their names, nor those
of their ships; all that he knew was, he said, if he remembered right, they sailed from England. mft
commanderff who, having been in sight of those
^lips, confirmed Castricum*! account.
SiS of the oldest masters assured me (amongst
whom were John Walig, j&laas Keuken, and
J. Klaas Castricum), that they had known, from
1730 to 1742, afliold English commander, whos^
name was Krickrack*; it was his custom between
the fisheries, if not obstructed by ice, to sail to
the Northward ; and some of them affirm, that
when they have been at an anchor in Bran-
dewyns Bay, he once stayed away ten, and at
another time twenty days, before his return, and
Si i$d
they are very>sure that he reported (and they
have reasons to believe him), that he had been
tjivo degrees, and even more, North of the Seven
Islfmds. Ah I could farther learn of thif
Mr. Kfickracjf was, that in 1740 he was in the
only ship sent fruai* England ; that for several
voyages he had the same ship's company; that
in or about 1742 he had the command of a
transport, ^on board of which he lost h§s life
^ From 1730 to  1740, most of the Masters of English;
Ships, fitted out for the Greenland Trade, were Dutchmen. 154
by a musket ball : they were certain that
he kept Journals, out of which they think much
light might be obtained.
The greatest part of the Dutch commanders
Kve at the Helder. Mr. Walig and others
assured me, that the most Northern voyage
then ever heard of, and on which they could
with certainty depend, was that of Jacob Schol
in 1700, who had been so far North, that on
hi6 return he sailed with a fresh gale of wind^
due South, forty-eight hours and then fell in
with the Seven Islands ; he consequently had
been (reckoning that run at only four Duvtch
miles an hour, which they thought too little) in
upwards of 84° North Latitude. As Mr. Schol
was an inhabitant of the Helder, they told me
that they would strive to procure me his papers
from his heirs; and, if I mistake not, they said
that they bad actually seen those papers in their
younger days.
Finding that Mr. Van Keulen had put down
(in his chart) the land discovered by Captain
GilHs, mentioned in Mr. Walig's letter, I went SRn
to him, to see on what foundation he had placed
that discovery; but as those papers could not
be found, I applied to Mr, Walig, who told me,
that Mr. Cornelius Gilfis had been an inhabitant of the Helder; that Walig, together
with Mr. Keuken, Mr. Baske, and others, since
dead, had often examined Gillis's papers, maps,
&c, and found that he was an enterprising man,
and very accurate in his remarks and charts;
that his* grandson had his Journals and other
Papers i» his possession ; and his grands
daughter, who was married to an Officer of
Walig's Ship (who had formerly been a commander) had his charts, some of which that
officer generally took with him, in order to
correct them. I begged hard to have them, if
only for twenty-four hours ; and next morning
Mr. Walig put into my hands the original
draughts of all the discoveries Mr. Gillis ever
made with regard to Spitzbergen, excepting
some particular drawings of bays and views of
land, with permission to keep them in my Jfosffj
session till Mr. Walig's return from Greenland ;.
fl 156
copies of which are hei^ annexed*, Niifd
Mii W^lig promised to procure me, i§ possible,
all the papers of that old commander before he
left the Texel, which I hope to receive in a few
days, and shall not fail in sending over every
thing I find material. Asking what particulars
Mr. Walig and others remembered out of those
papers, they gave the following short account.
That Mr. Gillis passed more than a degree '0&\
the Northward of the Seven Islands, without
any hindrance from ice: that he proceeded East
for some leagues with an open sea, then bent
his course South East, and afterwards South;
saw in the latitude of 80°, to the East, verjfthigh
land ; run through the East Coast of the North
East Land, and entered the Waygats Straits;
came to an anchor in Lamber Bay, arfd took
two whales, and from thence proceeded to the
Texel. Mr. Baske gave also an account of his
uncle's having, in company with three ships,
* These were copies of the draughts of the different
coasts of Spitzbergen, of which Captain Gillis hath taken
accurate surveys. HMBRillllI'lllliiilli
entered Waygats from the North, and advanced
as far as the same bay, but found too much ice
to get through, which the other three, being
young commanders, made la trial of. The
North Passage, however, on their return being
shut, and it being the«beginning of September,
they made preparation to leave their ships, in
order to get over land to Smeerenberg, but the
ice luckily giving way, they got out to the
Northward, i Jklr. Baske, who is a curious man,
promised me, amongst other things, his ther-
moraetrical observations, which, by the conver-
sation I had about them, I have reason to think
will be accerateiji
After having passed six mornings with a
great number of our commanders quartered in
different houses, I find, that scarcely a year had
passed but some of them have been to 81° North,
buj| rarely found the seaiffree from ice.
Thisps all the information I have been able
to procure during iny short stay at Amsterdam,
which I would have prolonged, if a call to the
Hague had not prevented ine.    I can only add,
MM ■M l\m
1 iii
that waStipg upta Mr. Boreel, that gentleman
promised that he would order a search to be
made for the Journals of those ships, which were
formerly employed in protecting our Greenland
Fisheries. |fp
I must, however, not forget to mention a
■particular that Mr, Van Keulen acquainted me
with. He had, at his housed, last summer, a
conversation with a Russian, who had passed the
winter last year in Spitzbergen, and gave him
the following account. That being iii the utmost distress, for want %f eatables, on the
$i#tth Coast, he made a trial to get with his
boat towards the middle of the island^by means
of the Bayihf Wyde Bay in GilM## Majjfnmto
which he proceeded, till, to his great surprise,
he fell into Wybe Jansz's Bay, and so came out
to the South of Spitzbergen; Ifei^he hi#*taken
no notice of the depths of watelP Being questioned as to that particular, he said he was
very sure that he did not? pass through the
In allmf conversation with our Gitfinland
& f-nm
commanders, I never failed to ask which course
they would take to reach high Northern Latitudes ; the result was, that they would never
seek it to the Westward of Spitzbergen, but run
out to the North, from the West Coast of Nova
Zembla; Mr. Baske's reasons and those of
other commanders were,
1st, That all the Western coast of the Northern countries were, for the most part, free
from ice, occasioned from the winds and tides
chiefly coming from the  East,   which ex»
perience proves,
2d,   That |he ice comes  originally from the
Tartarian Rivers ;   for, that the sea never
freezes but whereat is calm, and at the same
time a great quantity of snow falls,
jld, (^hat near the   Seveng Islands navigators
often meet with a .jgreat North East swell,
which proves, that at such tifne the sea, to a
l ml,
considerable diftance to the North East, is
not locked up by the ice.
4th*  That the drift wood could not come to
,the Northward of Spitsbergen, in  case the
III   ■ i6o
-seas between the North of Asia and that
island were frozen ; whereas a great quantity
of that wood is drove on the North Coast of
Iceland, which is a demonstration that the
currents cdme from the North East.
5tb, That in some of the trees the marks of the
axe were very plain, and the colour of the
wood so fresh, that they certainly bad not
been six months in the sea.
6th, That some whole trees appeared with buds
thereon, which they think could not have
remained so fresh, if the trees had beein a
year in the salt water.
7th, That the East of Greenland was now discovered to the latitude of 79i°> t'iat " Pro~
bably extended farther to the North NoHh
East, which they look upon to be cause
of the stoppage of ice between that coast
and Spitzbergen, and the reason why they
never find a North West or Northerly
8th, That generally all ships, which had oace
got to the North as&r as 82°, met with little Illil
Or no obstructions from the icj^;  and more
arguments   to   the   same   purpose.    There
were some, however, would rather make the
trial between Spitzbergen a^id the land discovered by Mr. Gillis.
N. B.    They kitew Nothing of the Papers read
before the Royal Society*
%      TO ROD. vlLLTRAVErl^ ESQ. &e." W.
Professor Allamand, being very de-
sirottSiffthat the inclbsed might be sent to you
as soon as possibly has obliged me to dra% up
with haste the above account of the informations  I   received   at  Amsterdam^ In   reading
it over and comparing it with my notes, I find
no fault ag to the facts related, whatever there
may be in the manner in which it M drawn hp;
in case the whole or any part of it should be
thought worth publishing, I hope you will be so
good as to have i|acorrected#.
* This hath been done in some trifling particulars* rela-
tiv#4nerely to the stile, as Captain May is not a native ot
England. ^
I In 162
I could have made it more circumstantial,
as my notes are very full, in particular with
regard to the reasons our commanders gave
for not making the trial to the West of Spitz-
bergen, &c.
I am informed, that Mr. De Bougainfyille
intends to go by the way of Nova Zembla*.
I am, wit]&<profound respect**-
5-fc f-4
Your uiosrt obedient HumbMFServant,
m&*%     ;-ifr^M   Wi&fiIAM*MAY.
April llE, 1775.
* This voyage of discovery, however, did  not take
' MLt JfB it J W||M|Mf|E8 n
T&fy&ft THE   NORTH  t»OLB.
THUS do the Dutch Seamen, employed in the
Greenland Fishery, agree with our oWn countrymen, in never having so much as heard of a
perpetual barrier ox fixed ice, to the Northward of Spitzbergiefn, inSBoJ0*, which indeed is
one of their most common latitudes for catching
whales, whilst all of them suppose the sea to be
generally open in those parts, and many of them:
proceed several degrees beyond it.
I shall only add, thai in my former pamphlet*^, I have mentioned a fact or two I had
reason to expect from the ReV. Mr. Tooke,
Chaplain to the factory at Petersburg!], which
he conceived would strongly prove that the sea
is open to the Pole, and which I have since
received in a letter from him dated the 26th of
May last.
Mr. Tooke  hath  been  assured  by  several
* One of them indeed says, that the ice frequently packs
in that latitude, which he supposes to arise from the meeting
of two currents.
f Page 49, note.
M 2
I 164
persons, who have passed the winter at Kola in
Lapland, ttjat in the severest weather, whenever a Northerly wind blows, the cold diminishes instantly, and that, if it continues, it
always brings on a thaw as long as k lasts.
He hath also been informed by the same
authority, that the seamen, who go out from
Kola upon the whale and morse fisheries earl$
in March^for the sea never freezes there), throw
off their winter garments as soon as they are
from fifty to one hundred wersts* from land,
and continue without them all the time they
are upon the fishery, during w7hich tfyey experience no inconvenience from the cold, but that,
on their return (at the end of May), as they
approach land, the cold increases to such a
severity, that they suffer greatly from it.
This account agrees with that of Barents,
whilst he wintered in Nova Zembla-^, and that
of the Russians  in Maloy Brun :   the North
* Three wersts make two miles.
•j- See Thoughts on the Probability, &c., of reaej^ng the
North Pole. THE  NORTH   POLE.
wind cannot therefore, during the coldest seasons of the year, be supposed to blow over ten
degrees of ice.
Governor Ellis indeed, whose zeal in prosecuting the attempt of discovering the North
West passage through Hudson's Bay is so well
known, hath suggested to me an argument,
which seems to prove the absolute impossibility
of a perpetual barrier of fee from 80^° to the
Pole.   \       '; —-  ^—•-■:   ' r   ■■'■-
If such a tract hath existed for centuries,
the increase^ in point of height, must be ama£-
ing in a course of years, by the snow, which
falls during the winter, being changed into ice,
iShd which must have formed consequently a
mountain perhaps equal to the Peak of Teneriffe*.
Now the ice, which sometimes packs to the
Northward of Spitzbergen, is said commonly
not to exceed two yards in height.
* Mr. De Luq observes also that the ice upon the Gla-
eieres is always increasing. — See his interesting observations on those mountains of Switzerland.
I    B
'J i* I* he,
I1II imttmd
Jr A'
mm K
SINCE the return of the King's ships from
voyages of discovery, both in high Northern
and Southern Latitudes, I have found that it
hath been a disputed point, whether the ice
which they have met with was formed chiefly
from the salt or fresh water.    I should gather
conceive that this doubt must have arisen from
what is mentioned by the great Mr. Boyle, in
his experiments on heat and cold ; or from an
observation of M. Adanson, at the end of his
vpyage from Senegal, because from the quantity
" 'r
:i 168
11      ii
of ice merely (at least to the Northward) the
early navigators never conceived that it was
produced from sea water.
In full proof of this, not to state the opinion
of several others on the same head. I shall content myself with citing that of Sir Martin
Frobisher, who is well known to have made
three successive voyages to Greenland, with a
farther intent of discovering the North West
Passage from Europe to the Pacific Ocean.
In the second voyage of this celebrated navigator, he observes:—&
" We found none of these islands of ice salt
fn taste, whereby it appears that they were not
of the ocean water congealed, whicti is always
salt, but of some standing or little moving
lakes ; the main sea freezes not, add therefore
there is no Mare Glaciate"
Iifihis third voyage he most anxiously repeats
this same opinion, and in still stronger terms,
so that what he hath thus laid down was not
an occasional observation merely, but what he
had much reflected upon, and found to be con- m
firmed  by his   experience  in   those   Northern
Tfeis opinion of Sir Martin Frobisher's
seems not to have been disputed by any one,
till the time of Mr. Boyle, who observes, that
there are several in Amsterdam, who used to
thaw the ice of sea water for brewing, and then
gites Bartholinus D® Nivis usu. (i De glacie
ex aqud marind, certum est si resolvatur, sahum
sapor em deposuisse, quod non ita pridem expertus
est Clarissimus Finkius in glaciei frustris, ex
porta nostro allatis^*"
I shall not now criticise either what falls
flfom Mr. Boyle himself or from Bartholinus,
though it i& very clear that the ice alluded to
by both mu|t have probably been formed from
fresh water, either in the rivers, or lakes which
empty themselves into the Zuyder Sea, because
* See Hakluyt, vol. ii, p. 62 and 67. In 1776,
Mr. Marshall, Captain of a Greenland Ship, was so good as
to bring me a bottle of water, which was melted from ice
foundelloating in the Spitzbergen seas, and which had not
the least saline taste.
f Boyle^Works, vol. ii, p. 264, folio.
N 170
I shall hereafter contradict the assertion of
Bartholinus, by the actual experiment, which
I have tried myself during the late hardtrost.
To do justice indeed to Mr. Boyle, he
afterwards, upon more mature consideration,
shows dt to be his opinion, agreeable to that
of Sir May tin Frobisher, that the fresh water
obtained from ice floating in the sea proves
it could not have been formed from the
ocean, " because the main sea is seldom or ever
frozen *.'*
The next author, who supposes that congealed aea water is by this process rendered
sweet to the Caste, is M. Adanson, who
informs us, that, upon his return from Senegal
in 1748, he carried two bottles of sea water,
taken up on the Coast of Africa, from Brest to
Paris, which, during an intense frost, was so
frozen as to burst the bottles, and the contents
afterwards beqajn# p%latahle^.
To this fact I shortly answer, either that
* Boyle's Works, vol. ii, p. 30& 5
f Voyage au Senegal, p. 190. iiv'.'l-i
the bottles were changed, or otherwise that
M. Adanson does not mention the ch>
cumstance by which the taste of the sea water
was thus altered upon its being dissolved.
Mr. Nairneihath been much more accurate in
"'■; "#<'W/-:*■"
stating his experiments with regard to the
freezing sea water, in a paper read before the
Royal Society on the gd of February, 1776, as
he mentions, that, in order to clear the ice from
any brine, which might adhere to it, he washed
it in a pail of pump water for a quarter of an
hour, after which he informs the Society, that
torfeis palate it was perfectly free from any taste
of salt.
This  is   most   undoubtedly  the  fact,   but
Mr. Nairne  does not seem   to  be aware from
whaflMhcumstance   the   ice   thus   melted  ha#
become fr$sh water * ; and indeed I must adfiit,
* As Mr. Nairne, in his Letter to Sir John Pringle, says,
that one of his great reasons for trying these experiments
was to determine whether the ice, which floats in the Northern Seas, is formed from the salt water or not, he therefore
should have thawed the ice precisely under the same cir-
* U.ill^
ih 172
that upon the first experiment which I made
with regard to freezing sea water, I deduced
the same inference that he hath done, having:
washed it in fresh water for the same reason
that he did, viz. to get rid of the brine which
♦» _
might adhere to the surface of thence.
To determine, therefore, whence this fresh-
nessbto the thawed ic$4might arise,   I placed
cumstances with the sea water adhering;, as thje navigators
take it up. The truth is, that, if the piece of ice formed
from sea water is at all large, the adhering salt water can
scarcely affect the taste at all; and I have melted the central parts of a pretty large mass, which hecame very salt
after dissolution, though entirely detached from the sea
water in which it had been frozen. ™ In the severe frost
last January (viz. 1775), some salt water, beiri£ set abroad,
fr»ze into an ice, wfyich was not solid but parow&jthe hollows
being filled with the saltest part of the water, for the ice
when drained was quite fresh. The salt water being again
^fiSt abroad, froze as before, what remained still unfr&fcen
was now become exceeding salt, but the ice drained and
dissolved was little if at all brackish; by this experiment,
if another time more fully repeated, it may be found to what
degree the saltness of water may be increased, by continuing: to freeze away the fresh water."—-Mr, Barker in Phit
Trans, vol. Ixvi, p. ii, T776, p. 373. BBR
a large piece of what remained frozen (without
being washed at all in pump water) to be dis^
solved before the fire, which tasted very salt^as
one might naturally suppose.
The weather continuing to be very severe, I
froze more sea watej$p repeating the experiment
of freshening it or not, by leaving or not leaving
it |ji pump water, w^ich always turned out
uniformly to be the same; and the reason of
*1vhich is the following.
When sea water is frozen,  it does not form
ice similar to that from fre§b water, being by
no means so solid or transparent, as it consists
of^thin  laminae or plates,   between which  the
brine is deposited,  and if thence is accurately
examined, the small portions of brine between
the plates may be easily distinguished.    If this
brine therefore  is removed,  the lamina? of jce
when dissolved become sweet to the taste,  but,
if thawed together with the brine intercepted
between the lamina?, the taste is salt, nor crfn
the ice be considerably divested of the brine, by
merely leaving it to drain. i»J:F"
Having satisfied myself tlfus far fronillthe
freezing sea water by the natural cold, and
under the common circufastances of exposing it
to the air in small dhina cups, I applied to
Dr. Higgins to prosecute these trials with his
more ample apparatus, and knowledge of chemistry; who was immediately so good as ft
sugg^Sp and try the following experiments,
which will throw farther light upon this
$ JanuarV 2df, 1776. A gallon, Win-
chtfcter measure, of sea water, which I haaTtesh
imported front Mr. Owen in Fleet Street^ was
placed in a shallow dish of Welsh ware, glazed
* It would be great injustice to Mr.hLomonosofF, a
Swedish chemist, noi^to mention that he seems to have
tried experiments those which I have made
myself, and found the result to be as I have stated it.
Collection AcadMdque, torn, xi, p. 5, et seq. 4to, Paris^
1772.—See also the Probability o£ reaching the North Pole
f Mr. Nairne began his experiments at the latter end
of this month.
yellow; the depth of the water was three iftches
and a half in this shallow dish, which I marked
A, anjd placed on a btick wall eight feet high
above the ground behind my house. This wall
on the Eastern side faces the gardens belonging
to five off six houses in the same street with
mine; and on the Western side of it is fhe area
between my house and the elaboratory; and
Westward of my area is the garden of
Messrs. Wedgwood and Bentley, which I believe
is fi&rty feet wide, bounded on the West by high
buildings. -|j|[   m   .    .-   > .  ,. :..■> ^p^^-f||-;' "
At the same time I placed another^gallon
of the same sea water in a glass body. The
column of water in this vessel was about thir-^
teen inches high, about six inches diameter at
the bas&, and about three inches at the mouth of
the Vessel. I placed this body with the sea
water close by the vessel marked A ; so that
both were equally tfistaftfc from the adjoining
houstfc; and after marking the glass body B,
I covered the vessels A and B with glass basons
in such a manner, tfrat the air might commu- 176*
■ ;'  Ami-
nicate wi£h the surface of the water, but rain or"
snow might be excluded. ^^^^MU.^^i^
\dLA Thermometer was placed betlveeipthese
vessels. . ..,,. \yj#foi&&dteh f^%^£&y%fc
" From the 2d Jo the 7th of January, the
mercury in the thermometer stood^ at various
times, as low as 31° of Fahrenheit; and Thames
water, in shallow wooden vessels, placed on the
ground, near the wall above mentioned, was
often frozen to the ^thickness of a crown piece.
But an earthen oil jar containing twenty gal*
Ions of Thames water, and a like jar containing
twenty gallons of distilled water, and each
eoveredi^with a pepter dish, preserved the water
contained iqt them  from  freezing  during this
interval. %fy^0#j$.:, e • A^^m^%i&ibmM i\ "#.'
% About the 7^b of January, the mercury
in the course of^twenty four hours did not
rise above 31°, but sometimes sunk to 30°.
Ice was formed in the vessel marked A; but
none in the vessel marked B. ^Jce was at the
same time formed in the great jars* containing
Thames water and distilled water;   and to a THE  NORTH   POLE.
thickness much greater in the Thames water
than in the water distilled. The ice obtained
from the vessel A was all formed on the surface
of the water; and consisted of thin laminae
adhering to each other weakly, and intercepting
in their interstices a small portion of water,
which was saline to the taste. This ice, beaten
gently with a glass pestle to divide the laminae,
then drained, and then washed in distilled
water, tasted like the ice of fresh water; and
being placed in a glass futfnel before a culinary
fire, so that the water might drain off as soon as
formed, it dissolved in half an hour, and not
in less time, although the thermometer placed
at the same distance close to the funnel rose
to a hundred and sixty; and the side of
the funnel next to the fire was hot to the like
degree, as nearly as could be ascertained by the
touch. The water of the ice thus melted was
fresh and palatable, and measured half a pint.
te From the 9th of January to the 11th inclusive, the mercury rose some days to forty,
<and during three or four hours on other days it
Iii 178
sunk and remained at thirty, and sometimes for
an hour or less it sunk to twenty-nine. But it
did riot remain at thirty during  any of these
davs for more than four or five hours,  unless at
* j
the hours of rest, when no observation was made.
During this period, a thin coat of ice, like the
former, was produced on the water in the shallow
vessel A; but no ice was formed in the vessel B.
if January 12, the thermometer pointed for
several hours between thirty-one at the highest,
and twenty-nine at the lowest. A thick crust
of ice, of the texture before described, wT<is
formed in the vessel A. This ice broken,
washed, and dissolved, became fresh water,
measuring a pint or m$re. This quantity of
ice, placed in a funnel before a tire, in the circumstances already described, was not all dissolved in an hour and ten minutes. No ice was
formed in the vessel B#.
" January the  13th at night,  and  14th in
* " The fuse going observations were committed to writ-
ing on the days when they were respectively made, but
the. day of the month was not then accurately noted.    It THE  NORTH   POLE.
the morning, the thermometer sunk for some
hours below twenty-seven, and did not rise
duiSng sixteen hours above twenty-eight. The
water in the Vessel A, remaining after the fore*
going congelations, was frozen to the thickness
of a quarter of an inch in the centre, and
three quarters of an inch in the circumference;
but no ice was formed at* any greater depth in
the water. This ice, like the former, was laminated, and when bruised and washed, it formed
fresh water to the quantity of three pints.
u On the same day, v&&#Sl4th of January, in
the morning, the thermometer pointing below
twenty-seven, the Thames water in the great jar
was frozen to the thickness of three or four
inches, if not more|tcontiguous to the jar and
the surface. The distilled Thames water in the
other jar was frozen to the thickriess*$of two
inches, or thereabouts, and contiguous to the
jar and surface of the water; and the sea water
may therefore be found that I have placed some of the
foregoing temperatures a day before or after that ©a
which they were observed."
N 2
U 180
in the glass body marked B was for the first
time frozen. On the surface, and in the centre
of this surface, the ice was half an incff thick ;
at the circumference it was an inchflthick ; and
from the circumference and surface the ice
formed contiguous to the glass, in such a manner, that the crust was an inch thick nearfhe
glass and surface; but, as it proceeded downwards towards tfie wider part of the glass, it
tapered to an edge, terminating within an inch
of the bottom of the vessel.
" Thus all the ice was formed on the surface
and contiguous to the glass,   and was thickest
where the vessel was narrowest;   that is,  the
quantity of ice was inversely%s  the diameter of
the vessel.    Thfe ice resembled that obtained in
the sMallow vessel in its laminated structure and
sponginess, and in its enveloping a portion of
the salt water, with this difference only, that the
laminae shot vertically,  and from the circumference inclining towards the centre, not directly,
but so as to form with the  centre an angle of
about  fifteen degrees.    This ice,  bruised  and rHE   NORTH   POLE.
washed, melted to a pint and a half of pleasant
fresh water. The time and heat were nearly
the same as I described above.
e( Mr. Barrington at this and former periods
observed, that the separation of the laminae of
the ice by bruising accelerated the effect produced by washing; that is, the extrication of
the intercepted brine.
(i January the 19th at night, the mercury in
the thermometer sunk toa^twenty-six. The sea
water, remaining after the foregoing congelations in the flat dish marked A, was frozen so
far, that only a pint remained fluid at the bottom. This ice was in all respects like the
former portions. Bruised, washed, and melted,
as on former occasions, it ga^e a quart of fresh
water. At the same time, the water in B was
frozen in the manner before described, but in a
larger quantity, and some laminae of ice shot
close to the glass as far as the bottom of the
vessel. This ice bruised and washed as formerly, and placed before the fire in a glass
funnel,  melted in a heat of a hundred  and 182
sixty, in an hour and a half, to one quart of
fresh water.
" January the 20th, the mercury, which
Stood at twenty-seven in the mornipg, and fell
to Uwenty-si^ towards twelve o'clock, fell in a
few hours to twenty-four, and, before nine at
night, fell to twenty-three. Only a thin coat
of ice was formed on the water in A, which I
did not disturb, expecting it to freeze deeper
during the night. The water in the vessel B
was frozen to some thickness at the surface, and
contiguous to the sides of the glass bod}', but
not at the bottom. Expecting a stronger congelation, I suffered this also to stand until the
next morning, and consequently could not
determine the quantity of ice formed in it,
otherwise than by feeling near the surface, whereby I presumed the quantity of i?e to be equal to
that last obtained, and formed hi the same
it January the 21st in the morning, the
thermometer pointed to j twenty-eight. The
thin crust  of ice,  observed  on the preceding [IpLl
night, did not appear to be increased or diminished in the vessel marked A. The laminae
of this ice adhered so weakly, that the whole
crust could not be raised without break ing
This ice, bruiied and well washed, dissolved to
near half a pint of water, brackish to the taste.
And the, in the morning, the ice in B
was removed, bruised, and washed; it melted to
a pint or more of fresh water.
" From the 21st to the 26th of January, the
water in the vessel marked B was frozen twice,
and the ice formed each time was bruised and
washed, and melted to fresh water, both portions
measuring one pint or more.
" From the 26th of January at sun set, to
the 27th at eleven o'clock in the morning, the
mercury in the thermometer stood, at the usual
hours of observation, between twenty and
eighteen. The water remaining after the foregoing congelations in B was frozen so far, that
only half a pint remained fluid. The ice,
bruised, washed, and dissolved, tasted a little
brackish, and measured one pint and a?4Mrff.
Hi     '
111 184
i On the 2Sth of January the mercury stood
in the morning and until four o'clock in the
afternoon between twenty-two and nineteen,
and before eleven o'clock at night it sunk to
seventeen. Very little ice was formed in the
vessel B ; and what was formed very easily
crumbled or fell to small flakes in attempting to
take it out. I therefore suffered it to remain in
the liquor until the morning.
m On the 29th of January the mercury stood
between twenty and twenty-two until six o'clock;
and between twenty and nineteen, from six
until  twelve  at  night.     The  quantity  of ice,
formed on the preceding day, was not notably
augmented or diminished; bruised, washed, and
melted, it yielded two ounces of water, brackish
to the taste, in a greater degree than any of the
foregoing portions which were washed.
N On the 30th of January, finding that the
temperature of the preceding evening, of the
night, and of this day, which was between nine-
teen  and  twenty-one,   had   caused no notable
congelsftion in the small quantity of water re*
maining in B;  finding also that the residue of
the water in A admitted of no farther congelation worth notice;  and considering that the
slender laminae of ice, lately formed in these
waters, melted to salt water, und consequently
that no farther congelation, capable of separating the fresh water from the brine, even with
the Iassistance of washing,  could   take place;
I mixed the concentrated brine in A with that
in B, and found both scarcely measured a wine
pint;   some small crystals  were found in the
bottom of both vessels, which sunk in the brine,
and were to  the  taste  sea salt.    It  is hence
evident that some sea salt is formed in crystals
by the concentration  produced by cold acting
gradually, and causing congelation only on the
surface of the water, or not affecting that part
of it which is contiguous to the bottom of the
ff The quantity of these crystals of sea salt
was about two grains. I poured them together
with the water into a china plate, set in a sand
heat, and, by crystallization, obtained sea salt
*   4 186
II f
and the other saline contents of sea water, in a
dry form, near two ounces averdupois.
1 Now,  as this quantity of sea water (that
is, two gallons), taken on our cdast,  generally
yields about seven ounces of suline matters, it
appears, that two-thirds or more of the sea safe,
£iid bitter salts of ffeea water, are intercepted in
the ice of the successive congelations, and are
washed away by fresh water, applied as above
Mentioned,    Hence  we learn   that   sea water
may  be  freshened   by  freezing,  provided   the
brine enveloped between the laminae of its ice
he washed away.    And in  cold countries salt
might be prepared from  sea water at a very
moderate   expense;    for   by  freezing   shallow
ponds of this water, by turning the ice to drain
off the brine, and when the brine is  reduced to
a twentieth  part or less by evaporation, very
little   evaporation   and   fuel  will be  necessary
towards the formation of the salt*.  But all the
salt of the sea water employed will not be ob-
* " Wallerius says,  this art is practised in the Northern
tained, because the greater part of it will be re-
tained between the laminae of the ice, which
.must be rejected; and the concentration by
freezing cannot be advantageously carijg&d farther
than is above expressed, because M that degree
of concentration the cold, ^nd the time necessary to cause farther congelations, must be very
-con sifter able, as wrill the w|ste of salt likewise,
6ince the fee is then strongly saline.
" A small portion of the ice, taken at various
times from B since the 26th of January, was
hot washed,j>but only left to drain in a funnel)';v
and each portion thus drained during five or siSc
days, being separately dissolved, tasted strongly
^E salt, although the like ice, which was bruised
imd washed, yielded fresh water. This proves
that washing removes the intercepted brine;
and that this brine does not separate by
ft. January the 20th, at eight o'clock in the
evening, the thermometer pointing at twenty
three, in the open air where the1 thermometer
stood,  I   mixed   snow with smoking spirit of
!'l if'
P 188
nitre, and placed ifi the mixture a glass half
pint tumbler full of sea water ; and at the same
time placed the thermometer in the mixture.
In two minutes the mercury sunk out of the
tube quite into the globe.    The scale extends
only twenty-five degrees below O of Fahrenheit;
wherefore I could not determine how many de-
grees lower it would have sunk on a more ex*
tended  scale.    In  five  minutes, some  slender
laminae of ice began to shoot from the circumference of the water, and adhered to the glass.
The whole water was not frozen in less than an
hour, at which time the mercury in the thermometer   rose   to    twenty   degrees   below   O.
Having another mixture of the same kind ready
made, I briskly removed the tumbler with the
ice it contained into the fresh mixture, which,
like  the former,   sunk the mercury into the
" The ice of sea water is more opaque than
that of fresh water, when both are naturally
congealed. For the elastic fluid in common
water forms bubbles only in the central parts THE NORTH POLE;
of the water last frozen ; but the ice of sea
water consists of alternate parts of ice and
brine; the density of which being unequal, and
the matter of them being also dissimilar, light
cannot be freely transmitted, but is partly reflected and refracted, according to Sir Isaac
Newton's ideas of light.
"■In the experiment last mentioned, the ice
was commonly opaque; and when it was ex-
posed to the fresh frigorific mixture, it became
like a mass of snow compressed, having a snowy
whiteness and opacity, perfect near the surface,
hut not perfect towards the bottom.
" The tumbler, with the ice it contained,
was kept in this last mentioned mixture an
hour, when the mercury denoted that no farther
degree of cold could be given by this mixture*.
The tumbler was then placed in snow until the
next day, to preserve the ice for farther observation. Notwithstanding the extreme cold to
which it had been so long exposed, and the cold
medium in which it was placed, the ice was not
solid like that of fresh water, but, on the con-
i 190
trary, could easily be cut through the centre of
the mass with a knife. The ice tasted equally
of salt through the whole mass, in the same
manner as a like quantity of sea water.
Bruised briskly, washed as already described,
and melted, it yielded fresh water to the quantity of four-fifths of the water frozen ; wherefore in washing very little ice was dissolved,
whilst the salt water intercepted in the ice was
u Mr. Barrington having observed that an
artificial freezing commences from the bottom
and sides of the mass of water placed as usual
in the frigorific mixture, but that natural freezing commences on the surface and proceeds
downwards ; and it occurring to me that the
specific gravity of incongelable brine is greater
than that of the congelable water; and, consequently, that this greater specific gravity favours
the separation of brine from the ice of sea
water, when the freezing commences on the
surface of sea water, and may be an impediment
to the separation of the incongelable brine from m
the ice artificially formed in the sea water, when
the congelation proceeds from the bottom upwards ; on these considerations it seemed that
the foregoing experiments indicate, that ice
formed in sea water cannot, when melted, become fresh wjater, unless it be washed in fresh
water; but do not fully prove, that ice formed
on the surface only, and proceeding slowly
downwards, in sea water, may not consist of
fresh water, and he freed from brine, bv reason
of the specific gravity of brine and other unnoticed circumstances. Therefore, on the 21st
of January, at two o'clock, when the mercury
stood in the open air at twenty-nine, I made
the following experiment, with a view to determine whether sea water, frozen artificially from
the surface downwards in the manner performed
by nature, would not yield ice of a solid texture
capable of melting to fresh water, without
washing, merely by draining ; which must take
place in mountains of ice, if any are formed in
the Northern Sea: because, ice being specifically lighter than water, and the access of con-
.1     .   Ml iii
gealed water being at, the base, the portions
firit frozen will be raised above the water by
succeeding portions frozen, and thus a mountain of ice may be raised, whose mass and height
above water will be to the massive base im-
mersed#n water, inversely as the specific gravity
of ice is to that of water.
" I placed therefore a gallon of sea water in
a glazed earthen vessel, whose diameter was
one third greater than the depth of the water.
In this water I slung a thin glass bason, cut
from a bolt head, capable of containing near
4;wo quarts of water, in such manner that it
might be immersed two' inches deep in the sea
water. The vessel containing the sea water
wias surrounded with snow. I then filled the
bason, which was suspended in the sea water,
with snow pressed down wTith a glass pestle,
and poured into the snow the usual quantity of
strong nitrous acid.
" In fifteen minutes some crystals of ice
were formed on the interior glass bason, in the
part where it was contiguous to the surface of
***t- . a— m mm I iifaaa?:
jttfJj^MK^ 9$3($PR vm.
the sea water. In three hours the whole
bottom of the bason, containing the frigorific
mixture, was coated with ice, the thickness of
wl&h wa$*half an hjch or less at the. bottom of
the bason, increasing to three-fourths of an inch
at the part which corresponded with the surface
of the water.
rfiii easilyiseparated it entire from the bason,
found it somewhat firmer in its aggregation
than the ice slowly formed by natural freezing,
and not composed (bf laminae like this lattely
but similar in texture to the salt water frozen
by aittfieial cold applied in the usual manner.
I placed it on a heap of snow, where it remained to drain upwards of six hours, but still
was wet to the touch on the surface, and in the
fresh surfaces of the fractured partd^ I titen
placed a part of it in a glass funnel before the
jSre to melt, and found the water strongly
saline to the taste, but not near so sMine as
equafcparts of sea and rive^f water mixed.
\f Another portion  of this  ice,   which was
wrapped up in filtering paper, and left to drain
I ft
on a heap of dry snow during four days, when
melted, was saline to the taste, and not sensibly
different from that which had drained only six
or seven hours. Whence it appeared, that ice
formed in the sea water, in circumstances
similar to those which attend natural congelation, is, nevertheless, saline to the taste.
i The several portions of water obtained in
the foregoing experiments, from the washed ice
of the sea water in A and B, being preserved in
glass stopper bottles, were not examined. Although they were fresh to the taste, it appeared
by the quantity of luna cornea, which they all
formed with saturated nitrous solutioti of silver,
that they were strongly impregnated with marine
salt, comparatively with Thames and New
River water, examined in the like manner.
" Mr. Barrington, observing that salt in
water is an impediment to the congelation of
that water, presumed, that salt in water would
accelerate the thawing of ice immersed in it;
and that in equal temperatures ice would be
thawed   in   sea water   sooner   than   in   fresh
WBk                                                     W&k |jp
Nf§l                  £?S$ THE  NORTH   POLE,
water.    I therefore made the following experiment.
cc January the 20th, when the thermometer
pointed to twenty three, about nine o'clock at
Ifight, I placed five ounces and half a drachm,
avoirdupois, of Thames water in a half pint
glass tumbler; and the like quantity of the
same water distilled in another half pint glass
tumbled of equal figure and capacity with the
foregoing. The tumblers -were placed on the
wall formerly described, and left there covered
with glass until-eleven o'clock next morning.
i( In the morning at eleven o'clock, Hie
thermometer pointed to twenty-eight. The
water in both tumblers was frozen quite
through, and formed masses of ice, transparent
as crystal in every part, except the centre, and
near the bottom, which parts Were rendered
opaque to the thickness of half an indh, by a
number of air bubbles locked up in the ice.
The distilled water had been kept several days
in the jar abovS described, whose mouth was
only covered with an inverted pewter dish.
o 2
, .flj'V.i';
■      i j
■ li
" Into a glass tumbler, capable of holding a
Winchester pint or more, I putv a wine pint of
T/hames water;   and  into another  tumbler of
the same figure and capacity,  I poured a pint
of   sea-water   concentrated,    by   freezing   one
fourth of it, the better to represent sea water
of the great oceans, which are not affected by
rivers so much as the sea water used in these
experiments must be, as it was taken up near
fhe North Foreland.    The sea water was thus
concentrated  for  these  farther reasons:   first,
thtft the  effect of salt in the water might be
more  conspicuous   during the thawing of the
ice; and secondly, to prevent the first portions
of ice thawed from diluting the salt water to'lji
degree which never is found in the ocean.    I
Reduced the sea and the Thames water, contained in these tumblers, to the same temperature exactly,  in the open air;   then  taking
hold of each by the summit of the glass above
the water, I carried them into my study, and
placed them on  a  carpet  fifteen   feet  equally
distant front the fire, and three inches from the li
wainscot of the wall opposite the fire, and
equally distant from a door on one side, and a
window, which extends within fourteen inches
of the floor, on the other. The tumblers, containing the frozen water, were immersed in a
large pan of hot water, close to each other, and
near the centre of the pan, the water rising to
the height of the ice in the tumblers; aft§r a
few minutes the ice was thrown out, by inverting the glasses on clean paper. The two
pieces of ice were equal in size, figure, and
weight; the weight of each being five ounces
|| The moment before the ice was taken out
of the tumblers, I found the temperature of the
sea and fresh water, placed as above-mentioned,
to be equal, and exactly thirty-four; the temperature of the air in that part of the room
being forty six. I plunged the pieces of ice
Immediately, one in the sea water, the other in
the fresh water. It was > at this instant two
o'clock in the afternoon. In te;n minutes the
erature of  the sea water was thirty-two,
■ 198
that ojf the fresh water was thirty-three and a
half. In ha|f an hour the sea water raised the
mercury to thirty-three, the fresh water raised
it to thirty-four and a half,
" At this instant, viz. half an hour past two
o'clock, I took both the pieces of ice at the
same tirne^ weighed them briskly, and replaced
them in their respective ves&ej|§ at the same instant, Of the ice placed in the sea water,
half an ounce was dissolved ; of the ice placed
in the fresh water, only four drachms and a half
were dissolved.
" From half an hour past two o'clockjitmtil
six I frequently changed the position of the
tumblers, making one tJjke the place of the
other. At six, the temperature of the sea water
was thirty-six, that of the fresh water was
thirty seven and a half. In the manner already
mentioned, the ice was at this time weighed
and replaced. Of the ice in sea water three
ounces and four drachms were dissolved; of
that in fresh water, only two ounces and eight
drachms. THE  NORTH   POLE.
" It is observable, that the £ea water was
a degree and a half colder, ever since the immersion of the ice, than the fresh water, acted
on by the like mass of ice, and placed in the
like circumstances; and nevertheless the ice
was dissolved much quicker in the colder seal
water. The quicker solution of the'tice in sea
water was evidently the cause of thel^reater
degree of cold preserved in it&friMgf.four hours,
and it already appeared, that salt water is a
more powerful solvent of ice than fresh water
in the like temperature. And, agreeable to
Mr. Barrington's suggestion, the matter which
impedes the congelation of water must of course
facilitate the thawing of ic#C?( The nitrous acid
furnishes us with another striking instance to
this effect; for no cold ca# be produced to
freeze tihe water in it; and a red hot ladle
cannot thaw ice placed in it, so quickly as ice is
thaw4d by nitrous acid.
" At ten o'clock, or in eight hours after the
pieces of ice were first placed in the sea and
Thames water,*the temperature of the sea wAter
11 **•*1
was thirty-nine, that of the Thame# water
only thirty-eight. At this time, of the ice in
sea water four ounces eight drachms were
dissolved; of the ice in Thames water, four
ounces onlv were dissolved. The sea water
being at this period warmer than the Thames
water, corresponds with the small portion of
ice remaining in it, compared with that remaining in the fresh water. The temperature of the
room in the place where the tumblers stood,
being, by reason of the fire kept Constantly
in it, forty-four or forty-five, for the last sis*
" In twelve hours, or at two o'clock in the
morning, the temperature of the room near the
vessels of water being nearly the same as formerly described, the temperature of the sea
water was forty, the temperature of the fresh
water was thirty-nine. Four ounces fifteen
drachms of the ice in salt-water were dissolved,
only one drachm remaining; four ounces ten
drachms of the ice in fresh water were dissolved,
only six drachms remaining. If
"At the end of the thirteenth hour, after the
immersfen of the masses of ice in the fresh and
in the salt water, that is, at three in the morning, the temperature of the  room   was  forty-
five near i^he place where the  tumblers  stood.
The temperature of the open air was thirty-one.
The  ice in the  sea water was   malted. ^Fhe
quantity of ic#: remaining in the fresh water was
one drachm, which,  in  fifteen minutes more,
was entirely melted.
"" At this period, when the ice in the fresh
water was melted, that is, a quarter of anrhour
past three, the mercury stood  at forty in the
fresh   water,   in   the   salt   water   it   stood   at
forty-one.     In   a   quarter   of   an   hour   after
this,   the mercury  stood  at   forty-two  in   the
salt   water,    and   at   forty-one   in   the   fresh
water.    In  a  quarter   of  an   hour   more,   the
temperature  remained   unalterable in  the   salt
and fresh water, although  the temperature of
the air^between and near the vessels was forty-
five, and the vessel on the right was placed on
the left, and replaced several times.    And both 202
vessels were at all times equidistant from the
wainscot, which was perfectly close, as were the
boards of the floor also.
% In a quarter of an hour more, the temperature of the air near and between the tumblers
remained forty-five; the temperature of the
fresh water was scarcely forty-two ; the temperature of the salt water was forty-two atiid a
halt;    • -   m     '    4|j|. K-     ■ .  -
" In a quarter of an hour more, the temperature of the air between the tumblers being
forty-four and a half, the temperature of the
salt w&ter was forty-three ; the temperature of
the fresh water was somewhat more than ibrtjM
two. It was now past foui? o'clock in the
morning, on Monday the 22d of January. I
yrent to bed, leaving the tumblers in the position
" It was observed, duiftng the foregoing and
other experiments, and it is visible, from the
experiments related, that fire, ku'iKffusing itself
from warm bodies to contiguous cold bodies,
proceeds slowly;  that cold bodies do not ac- THE  NORTH   POLB.
quire the temperature of the warmer medium in
which they are immersed so soon as is commonly
imagined, but, on the contrary, require a considerable time for that purpose ; and this time is
directly as the diameter of the cold body.
" It was inferred from these experiments,
that a temperate body, like water, placed in a
cold medium, as in air, cooled to thirty or
thirty-one of Fahrenheit, requires many hours
before it acquires the temperature of the sur*-
rounding medium, and before a congelation
commences ; and that the time necessary for
the commencement of the congelation is directly
as the mass and shortest diameter of the water,
#nd the progress of the congelation is inversely
as the depth of the water.
"It was also observed, that as much of a
given mass of water was frozen in five hours in
a temperature of twelve degrees below the
freezing point, as was frozen in one hour in a
temperature fifty degrees below the freezing
point; and that long duration of the temperature between twenty and thirty-two is>  to*
w mi
\     m     \
wards the congelation of jwater,%equivalent to
intensity of cold, such as is marked 0, and
below 0, in Fahrenheit, but of short duration.
(C It was moreover observed, that water in
thick jars covenfd was not frozen, when water
in open vessels was frozen ; that water included
-gffc massive vessels of wood, or surrounded by
any matter except water, to some thickness^
preserved its temperature, and resisted congelation, longer than the, like quantity of water
exposed to the cold air ; and that wateiii[in
thick vessels was not frozen sc| soon as a like
quantity of water in thin vessels of l%e matter,
fi^ur4 and capacity. It was thence inferred, that
fire does not so quickly pervaflf thick bodies
as it does thin bodies ; and that fire pervades
water more freely than it does solid bodies, and
sooner diffuses itself from water to air, than
from any other body containing water to air.
|jj Thence it followed, that in reasoning on
thexphenomena of congelation, the masses of
water, the duration of cold temperature in the
atmosphere,  and the  masses  of otbfT matter im
surrounding water, aref to be considered. Deep
rivers and lakes do not freeze so soon as shallow
rivers and lakes. Large bodies of water are
never frozen in any temperatufi* of short duration; but shallow waters are often frozen in the
|| It need not be presumed, that certain
lakes, which are never frozen^ communicate
with subterranean fires, or hot mineral streams ;
or that they are impregnated with matter which
impedes congelation : but it is rather to be
presumed, that as fire slowly pervades, enters, or
quits bodies, the time necessary for its diffusing
itself from deep lakes to the cold atmosphere is
greater than ever such temperature of the atmosphere continues without intermission below
the freezing point.
" By the like reasoning applied to masses
of earth and other matter, which are not so
quickly pervaded by fire as water is, we can
conceive why deep wells and springs at or near
their issuing from the earth are not frozen in
this climate, even when navigable rivers ar& ice
II ■
I 111
Hi —ip
bound. We also understand why the main
pipes, buried in our streets, retain the water
fluid, when the pipes leading from these to the
houses, and crossing the area of each house, are
choked with ice; and why hay bands twisted
round these small pipes prevent the freezing, &c. *
" On these grounds it is presumed, that no
considerable congelation ever takes place in the
sea, because this is the greatest and deepest ma§
of water we know of; because it is always in
motion, and communicates with the water of
temperate climates; because sea water is not so
easily frozen as fresh water ; because the ice
found in the sea is solid, and in transparency
not different from *lhe ice of fresh wateff
and, lastly, because this floating ice, which is
met with by navigators, both iii high Northern
and Southern Latitudes, wrhen melted, is palatable to the taste ; whereas the ice formed from
sea water is very saline, if it be thawed without
having been washed in fresh water.
" It  is also presumed! that in the deep ill
Northern seas the water near the surface will be
found warmer than that near the bottom at the
approach of summer; and will be found colder
near the surface than at the bottom in the first
month of the cold season, for the reasons already expressed : and in like manner, that,
daring the first six or eight hours of a frost in
England, the water in any deep lake will be
found colder near the surface than at the bottom,
but that the water at the bottom will be found
colder than that near the surface in twenty-four
hours after a thaw, provided the air be temper
rate, or nearly so."
It having been proved, from what hath been
already urged, as well as by the preceding experiments of Dr. Higgins, that the floating ice,
which is observed both in high Southern and
Northern Latitudes, cannot be probably formed
from sea water, it may be thought incumbent
upon me to show how such quantities can be
supplied from springs, rain, or frozen snow.
The rivers, which are always found at cer-
i :|j 208
tain intervals in any large tract of land, uri-*
doubtedly supply considerable part of such ice *
but tbrfre are not wanting other sources from
which these floating masses may be produced.
The larger and higher ice islands * I con-
ceive jto be chieflv formed on shore, after which
they are undermined by the rills and melted
snow, during the summer, of which we have an
accurate account in the late voyage towards the
North Pole-J*.
* Mr. Whales observes, that in the islands of ice, neaf
Georgia Australis and Sandwich Land, there are strata of
dirty ic&, which irrefragably proves their having- jHeen
formed on the land. — Remarks on Dr. Forster's Account,
&c. 8Vo. London, 1778, p. 106.
With regai^to the formation of ice islands/See likewise
<Baptain Cook's* Voyage, vol. ii, p. 313 and 240; who conceives them to arise from congealed snow and sie^ in the
valines. Captain Cook also supposes, that the ice cliffs, at
the end of these rallies, often project a great way into the
sea, when they are Sheltered from the violence of the wind,
p. 242.
+ " Large pieces frequently break off from the ice bergs,
and fall with' great noise into the water: we observed
one piece which had floated out into the bay, and grounded
in twentv-four fathoms; it was fifty feet high above the mmmmm
■nnsn       ■ c,3g** \ '
Others,  which  happen  to  have  projected
surface of the water, and of the same beautiful colour as the
ice berg/' p. WO.
I have likewise been favoured with the following account of ice islands on the coast of Labrador, from Lieutenant John Cartwright, of the Royal Navy, to whom I have
not only this obligation.—*See the Probability of reaching
^he North Pole, p. 8.
Dear Sir, " Thursday, Feb. 28, 1776.
t( In conformity with my promise of yesterday, I
now send you, as nearly as I can recollect, my brother's
account (who hath resided four years on the Labrador
Coast)4$£ the formation of those great masses of frozen
snow, seen annually in very great numbers on the Northern
Coasts of America, and by mariners usually called Islands
of Ice,
" Along the Coast of Labrador, the sea, in winter, is frozen
to a great distance from the land. The North West is the prevailing and coldest wind. The snow, carried by this or any
other Westerly Winds over the cliffs of the Coast, falls becalmed upon the ice at the foot of the said cliffs, drifting up to
the very tops of them, although many of them are not inferior
to that of Dover, or those about Lulworth. The current of
the strong Western Winds, having passed these precipices,
takes its course downwards into the undisturbed air below ;
but it is not until it arrives at some distance from the land,
that it can be felt on the surface of the sea. Having the.
frozen surface of the sea for a base, and the precipice for a
P 210
oveprfjhe sea, may have had their foundations so
perpendicular, %n hypothenuse is made by the descending
direction of the wind. The enclosed triangle^ be the cldfe
ever so high, will be filled ^with snow ; because the tops of
the adjoining hills, being quite naked, are entirely swept
clear ofsnow by the violence of the storms, and what would
otherwise have^lain there is carried to the leeward of the
hills, and under the shelter of the cliffs, where i#1s deposited
in infinitely greater quantities than it would fall in without
such a cause. The hypothenuse of such triangle is frequently of such a slope as that a man may walk up or down
^hoijj difficulty. By frequent thaws, and the occasional
fall of moisture interrupting the frost, during the first parts
of the winter*, the snow will, in some small degree, dissolve,
by which means it only acquires a greater hardness when the
frost returns ; and during the course of that rigorous season
it generally becomes a very compact body of snow ice.
In the sj^ing of the year the icy base gives way^and
its burden plunges into the sea, sometimes entire, sometimes in many fragments. As the depth of wate^ ia
many part&^s forty, fifty, Tone hundred fathoms^ and upwards, close to the shore, these bodies of ice, vast as is
their bulk, will frequently float without any diminution
of their contents, although the very large ones do often
take the ground, and sometimes are not sufficiently reduced by either the penetration of the sea and the uaia,
water, or of a whole summer'^ sun, to get at libe^r
again before another winter.
H The above relation, which my brother gives Irom his
sapped by the waves during a sjtornv*, as to
have lost their support; whilst others again
may have been reft from the mass to which
they before adhered by the expansive power of
the frost f.
Great part of the field, or l#wer ice, I take
to be formed by the snow falling on the sands
left bare for six hours (from half ebb to half
own observation, in North Latitude 52° 13', accounts very
naturally and easily for the formation of that surprising
number of the vast pieces of ice which is annually seen on
the Labrador Coast, and considerably to the Southward.
" John Cartwright.,>
* >f*The sea has washed underneath the ice cliffs, as high
as the Kentish Forelands, and the arches overhanging support mountains of snow, which have lain since the creation."
/^-Wood's Voyage, p. 20.
" Cuncta gelu, canaque eeternum grandine tecta,
Atque aevi glaciem cohibent, riget ardua montis
iEtherii facies, surgentique obvia Phcebo,
Duratas nescit flammis mollire pruifias."
Silius Italicus, lib. iii, 1. 480.
f § The rocks along the coast burst with a report
equal to that of artillery, and the splinters are thrown
to an amazing distance." Mr. Wales, in Philosophical
Transactions, vol. Ix, p. 125.
P 2 212
.   ■&F^ * ■    -if—.'_"^; c   g*e©
O^THf  OIO I v J£JI     trj     *&nfOjir>llfVPrr tffj .Oj/w   i^flif
flood),    whicS    immediately' dissolves    upon
touching the sands, and, before the tide rau¥i%
W ..JSftS?
becomes solid ice; part of these pieces Ire by
the wind, or tide, again returned to the same
sands,  where they again meet with   another
store of ice, formed during another six hours,
which, in the course of a winter, musijby packing, accumulate to immense masses. That this
is not mere conjecture, but the fact, I appeal
to Captain James's account of what Be hint^
self   was   witness   of   whilst he  wintered   at
&ci    i* wi-: \BW' !noo':#nj
Charlton Island, in Hudson's Bay*.
Now, if we examine a globe, we shall find,
that from sixty to seventy degrees of Northern
latitude more than half its circumference is land,
which is open to a Northern Sea, from which
large tract of coast much greater quantities of
floating ice may be derived than have ever been
* For Captain James's account, see Boyle, vol. ii; as also
Harris/ vol. ii, p. 420; where it is considerably abridged,
and differs in some few circumstances. It is stated, however, that in a few hours the snow thus frozen will be five
or six feet thick. '
met with by navigators, without being obliged
fidcrtf'  8dVio??*rr*
** sffff (Tl
to suppose that any part of it is formed from
.^ihinbi §bitwdf m   NET fc^0R      M$fg&)
sea water.
But jit may be said,   that  our  late enterprising navigators to the Southward have also
met with as great a quantity of ice in the oppo-
%m&b %m idfljodft^" ril f&miol ^m lo moiB
site hemisphere,  without scarcely   discovering
-~2i9it'Cf yd       in gtsjfiiw ~s to sbiimkI ?mo jffi *fioi.'
m m
any land.
To this I answer, that their circumnaviffa-
1B30CIJS   I £t?f$ si'i'^sfflO'i *>s
tion was, at a medium,  about 57° of Southern
.hhhij I       '..flw        ikiuooM''ve&Q\   . ■ siw$€tB\j o*.
Latjtude, though ttjey made pushes  greatly to
sB     OdlSI^.--    It " @       Jdltf: 10 SltjtjK SW     11$1
the Southward in three points, and in one of
theselo 71° 10*.    In the other instances, as far
is i^ iftrj^ *^^v
as 67° and §7° 30'.
IH9U"    .■■rl   lO   899X390        #?98 4*J,\     :p ftlOlI ' tfinl
There is consequently a very large space in
which there may be many a frozen region,
which they have not had any opportunity of
discovering. If, for example, a navigator ffom
the Southern was sent upon discoveries to the
Northern hemisphere, and Europe, as well as
Asia^and North America, having been sunk
by earthquakes*^ was to report that he had
~£irtum$Mfigated at 55° North  Latitude at a
it 214
medium ;$snade pushes even to 71° in different
directions, without seeing any continent; and
that therefore there was no land to the North
of 55°; his countrymen would be $xiuch deceived by such report, because Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Muscovy, Tartarian Asia, and
part of North America, cqtilinued in *|heir present situation.
i Besides, however,) tfie ice which may come
from Tierra del Fuego, Captain Cook hath discovered two frozen islands between Cape Horn
and that of Good Hope, which were covered
with   ice   and   snowf.:,   The first  *pf  these
* Hence whatever land is discovered to the South of this
latitude must produce ice. There is also a large tract of
land, named in some maps the Gulph of St. Sebastian, which
is not far distant from Georgia Australis, and which possibly may have escaped Captain Cook. This great navigator
also conceives, that the ice floats from 70° South, and is detached by accidents from land lying to the South of that
parallel, as the currents in the Antarctic Seas always set to.
the North.—Cook's Voyage, vol. i, p. 268.
Captain Furneaux in 1744, passed between Georgia
Australis and Sandwich Land (rather supposed a continent),
without see^ig either of these new discoveries, though the i
situate in 54°, is called Georgia Australis;
and the second, Sandwich Land, in 59°, which
appeared sot large, to some eyes, that it was
conceived to be part of a continent*.
It is believed also, that no ship hath been
beyond 4$P to the Southward of New Zealand ;
and from^the coldness of the most Southern of
these large islands, I cannot but suspect that
there is a considerable tract of land between it
and the Pole. -|^^^i *'^^ .triASSiMft^-
Having thus endeavoured to account how
the floating ice which is met with may fee supposed to be forriied from snow or fresh water;
mountains on both are remarkably high, particularly those
in Sandwich Land, one of which, by several, was considered
to equal Teneriffe.
Captain Furneanx could not have been well more than
two degrees from either of these countries. — See his Track
in the lately published Map.
* See Captain CooVs Voyage, vol. ii, p 230; where he
supposes land near the South Pole, chiefly opposite to^the
Southern Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, as on those meridians ice is found as far North as 48°. It is in this tract of
^Southern Land that Cook supposes the ice to be chiefly
formed, which is met with in the Southern Oceans. — Ibid.
. I 216
I cannot but risk another conjecture, thatl th©
time of the year at which attempts are commonly made to make discoveries td&ards the
two Poles (though favourable in many other
circumstances*) fe probably the season when
the greatest quantity of floating ice will be ob-
This seems to follow as a necessary consequence from the push being never made before
Midsummer, and often a month later, which is
spfcecisely the time when the ice begins to break
up in the fresh water rivers^ &c.
I have accordingly minuted down, from
several voyages into high Northern Latitudes,
the day on which navigators first mention seeing
the floating ice.I^III^L  *    mmm^m^^^^^t
The result of which is as follows : —
Sir Martin Frobisher on the^23d of June.
-Hackluyt, vol ii, p. 77*
s» SI!
* :tP*2. file nights being shorter, and the rigging not being so subject to be frozen.
»    i THE  NORTH  POLE.
®&: Davis in hfe^rst voyage, Jjily 19th.    In his
third, July 2d.— Ibid. p. 90^ yd^g^i?'$r  :idg§ir
Pet and Jackman on the 13th of July.—Ibid,
p. 447*   m$?0ffiilf' ''&/0*  *fe^^|WSfeSI ■••
Burrow, on the*21st*of July.—Ibid. p. 277*
Governor Ellisjt July 5th.—-Voyage to discover the North West Passage, p. 127»
•* The shores of Hudson's Bay have many
inlets or friths* which are full of ice and snow,
and frozen to the ground. These are broke
loose, and launched into the sea, by land floods,
during the months $£ June, July, and August,"
1st " The first floating ice, which is observed
on the coast of Labrador^ is a joyful presage
to the inhabitants of the approach of summer."
—Lieutenant Curtis, in Philosophical Transactions,
f: The ice begins to break up the 18th of
June."—Danish Account of Greenland.—Voyages au Nord, vol. i, p. 167.
" The lakes of Lapland continue frozen on
.<■!•    111; I   ; MS
June the 24th."—Linsahoten's Voyage,   ibid,
vol. iv,
H On the 5th of July, the sea on *wo sides
is   observed to be  covered  with   ice."—Ibid.
W^od sees the first ice in North Latitude
75° $9% on June 22.   -■• - ;ip|," '^pfeit'   - < '-lil'
^1   On the 17th of August vast pieces of floating
§ j$n the month of August the French observe, on the Labrador Coasts, mountains ef
ice as high as the ships."—Bovle's
vol. ii, p. 303.
f{ On June l6th,  a river ia Hudson's B«
breaks up."—~Mr. Wales, in PhUosophica) Transactions, vol. lx, p. 126.
" The mouth of the Lena is not open4iH
the middle of August."—Observations Geogra-
phiques, par M. Engel, p. 329.
B  With regard to the ice which may be observed  in  Southern  Latitude^   I   shall only j£jSMS|P»-
take notice, that*P$F Francis Drake, Feuillee,
and Clipperton, passed Cape Horn, or the
Straits of Magellan, during Ij the month of
December, without Mentioning ice *, from,
which it should seem that it breaks up chiefly*
during the months of January, February, and
March, answering to pur «|uly, August, and
September f.
Three Dutch Ships, which sailed on Atsc°-
veries *il4th Comniodore Roggeweift, ftt 1721,
met with much ice to the South of Cape Horn
ii| the nliddle of January. The A#thc?$* of the
Narrative afterwards makes this qbservation^
^ ^PBbsf mountains of ice, which arte seen in
the latittide of Cape Horn, prove that there is
land towards the Southern Pole, it being certain
* See Callander's Voyages under these three articles.
f It may possibly break up in some years earlier, perhaps in December; but some time must be allowed for its
floating to the North, as far as the latitude of Tierra del
Wuego, From the instances cited, it appears, that the earliest floating ice which is seen in the Northern hemisphere
is not observed sooner than the 16th of June, whilst in much
the greater part mention is not made of it till July.
'Tf 220
that this ice tgannot be formed in the ocear^
though the colc^is so severe*."       |
But it may, perhaps, be said, that |he ic%!
which breaks up in June, July, and August, or
during the correspondent months in the opposite hemisphere, may remain flowing for ^years
without being much dissolved. g
To this I will not ^tke upon myself to say
that some such islands, when very large, may
not continue more than a year; but I should
conceive this not to be very common. Storm?
and other accidents must probably break them
into small masses, which wilj quickly be thawed;
3$ that able geographer and promoter of disco*
veries, Mr. BailiffEngel, observes, tha^if a pffce
of ice is fastened by a cord and let down |nto
the sea, it is presently melted f,-
Mr. Wales also informs us, that he supposes
mo$t of these islands of ice are soon wasted, in
the following words:   "The   truth   is^  their
*$&Hi$i6ire de VExpedition de trois Vaisseaux, 8fC.   Hague*
1739, p. 81. ' S      _ ■   %
f See Observations Geographiques, p. 22'k
m < *^Vv ^m% >>lvi v\in 020*iSilv3P'' THE  NORTH   POLE.
motion and dissolution are apparently so very
quick, that I am of opinioniit mu&t be a pretty
large%land which is inot dissolved in onfe sum
How soon likewise does the ice disappear,
whfch is discharged from our own rivers ittto
the sea, after our most intense frosts'ite >dtxw
I have omitted stating the degree of cold at
which the sea water I exposed to the air began
to be frozen, and cannot now recover the mgs
tHo^andum which I made at the time. I am
pretty confident, however, that the mercury ftiad
sunk only to twenty-seven.
Buc though congelation thus took place at
3five degree^ below the freezing point) it is proper that I should state some other circumstances
attending the experiment. iii
The sea waiter which I used came from the
North Foreland, which is at the mouth of
the Thames, and consequently, not being the
same with that of the ocean, was more easily
* Philosophical Transactions, vol. lx, p. 1 Itf. *—rfl
Besides this, the quantity was so** small as
fcot to cover a thin china bason delper than an
inch, both which particulars contribute greatly
to the more speedy formation of ice: it need
scarcely be mentioned also, that the liquid to be
frozen was in a quiescent state.
How much a considerable degree of motion
impedes congelation, may be inferred from what
may be observed iii every liver; for as high as
the tide hath any force, I doubt much wbe4l$$
any ice is scarcely ever formed in the fair op#n,
channel, during our most intense frosts* I a#*
tended to the Thames, in this y^spect, during
the late severity of the weather, and it seemed
to me that all the ice floated dovtn from the
upper parts of the river; but packing afterwards
between the lighters, occasioned the formation
of very large masses.
I have little doubt, from these circumstances,
but that the open sea, if it be frozen at all, must
require a much more intense cold than twenty-
seven ; allowing however any greater degree of
cold in the high latitudes, it seems deducible, THE NORTH  POLE.
from the experiments of Dr. Higgins, that sea
water cannot be frozen into a solid state, if cbm-
pared with that of ice formed from the water of
rivers ; nor will such ice #hen melted become
palatable, unless it hath been previously washed
in fresh water.
Hence it seems to be almost demonstration,
that the floating ice met with by navigators,
being both solid and sweet to the taste after
dissolution, cannot be produced from the wat#-
of the ocean*. '^h'M ^p«
I wiH vellttre also to insist, that if such ice
WW'* actually frozen from the ocean, it must
very spiickly be melted, because, as it must consist of detached laminae intercepting the brine,
Ae sea would soon insinuate itself between the
interstices, so as to cause its dissolution. If
any ice, therefore, should be formed in tho^
parts of bays which are land locked, have Httle
* The ice taken up by Captain Cook, during his circumnavigation in high Southern Latitudes, was solid and transparent ; being placed also on the deck for the salt water td
drain off, the 19% became wholeiome and palatable water. 224     ON APPROACHING THE NORTH   POLE.
or no tide, and receive considerable quantities
of fresh water, when such ice is wafted fairly
out to sea, I should conceive that it must disappear in a very short time.
I ch * ii f a cm ■ 51 ii t ' y U! 1 Hato a uha
., fii-i vJAtf
•SlA *»-»
L™?#0JT jsjSj&iSBSfek
<f&&$ '    T/i'.-rs-
A*§P P E N D I X
a i&oi'tf) Mtest passage
These Papers are extracted from Thomson's Annals of Philosophy,
by Permission of Colonel Beaufoy.  APPENDIX.
'"■■'•   •
of £pit#er0eit, tfje j&ortfj Pole,
SOME years past I was impressed with the
idea oJ^the possibility of reaching the North
Pole from Spitzbergen, during the winter, by
travelling over the ice and snow in sledge*
drawn by rein deer.    Therefore, with the view
a 2 228
of determining how far this plan was practicable, I sent several Queries, and requested
Answers to them from Russians,** who were
at that time living at Archangel, and had
wintered in those remote island's. Those Que-
ries, together with the Answers, are as follow,
as I learn from conversation that the practicability of such a journey, conducted in a similar
manner, is entertained by well-informed per-
sons; and, before a plan is put in execution,
it is desirable to know tvhat has been previously done on the same subject. The 31st and
33d seem contradictory, probably from some
error in translating the Queslftins into Russ, or
the Answers into English.
1. Query. How many settlements have the
Russians on the island of Spitzbergen, and
which is tne most Northeily ?
Answer. There aie neither settlements nor
fixed inhabitltnts in Spitsbergen, except those
fishermen who go there in quest of fish, and
likewise of?those anitnals from Megen, Arch an- HMWMtfi
gel, Onega, R§]a, and other places bordering t
the White Sea, in vessels from sixty to one
hundred and sixty tons. They sail fr§m the
above-mentioned places, those for the summer
fishery in the beginning of June, and those for
the winter in June and July. They arrive on
the West side of Spitzbergen, and commonly
return home, the former the same year in September, and the latter the next year in August
and September. Theyi winter in the Gulphs of
Devil Bay, Clock Bay, Ring Bay, Crus Bay,
German Island, Magdalene Bay, and to, the
Northward in Liefde Bay, and others. The
farthest North oujr fishermen ever have sailed
to is Liefde Bay, and from thence in sma^}
boats as far as *Nordoste$Jsland.
2. Q. i^flt what time of the year does the
winter commence ? M
far P
A. The winter generally sets in about the
latter end of September and beginning of
3. Q.    Is it ushered in by storms ? and is
any one wpid particularly productive of them ?
A.    The   w&ter   sometimes   sets in   with
iii 230
winds from the North, North North We%t, and
North West; and sometimes commences wit&
calm weather, hard frosts accompanied with
4. Q. Is the weather, generally speaking.,
calm in winter, or are the winds high |
A. The winds'are very high and* frequent?
so that two-thirds of the winter may be said to
be boisterous.
5. Q. What quantity oft snow do you suppose falls annually-; thatf^lv to what depth Mm
fhe ground ?
A. On even places the snow is fromfefhree to
five feet deep; but the whras drive it from place to
place, so as sometteies to render all passage impracticable ; and on the coats between the hills
there are mountains of ice, occasioned by the
pressure of the waters and drift of snow.
6. Q. Are the storms of snow frequent, and
of long duration ?
A. The storms of snow are very frequent,
continuing for two, three, and four days, and
sometimes for as many Wrecks; but the latter do
not oc&ur above once or twice in a year. THE  NORTH   POLE.
7* Q. Is the cold much more severe at
Spitzbergen than at Archangel ? Has the degree ever been ascertained by the thermometer ?
If ilrhas, what was it ?
A. From the fishermen's remarks, the cold
is more severe at Spitzbergen than at Archangel ; b%t the degree is not known, as tjie people
who go there have no thermometers.
S.ilQ. Is-the cold ever so intense as to
render going abroad dangerous ? M       yfi
A. The cold is never so severe as to hinder
the fishermen, they being accustomed to it,
from  exposing jhems^ves ; but^sometimes  the
1 m ° q>f!Hp?
winds and drifte of snow confine J^gem to their
huts. y^
9- Q» Admitting it to be so, by what exercise do the Russians keep rff the scurvy^
A. When the last mentioned weathems jin
obstacle to their leaving their huts, t^ey keep
off the ^mrvy by the exercise of throwing the
snow from off and around their huts, which
from stormy weather are often buriej ; and in
$grder to get out, they are then obliged to make 232
a passage through the roof. They likewise oppose the cSltemper by making use of a particular sali&d or herb, which grows there on
stones, and with which they generally provide
themselves in due tirri©^ agaia&t winter; but
sometimes, from necessity, they are obliged
to dig through the sUONJv for it. Sqjne of it
they eat without 5&ny preparation ; and a part:
they^scald with wate?, and drink the liquid.
They also carry with them for the same pur-
• pose, as a preventive, a raspberry, called in
Russfe moroshka, whicfr they preserve by baking
with rye flour, which %hey eat $&$/&& when
pressed, drlfek the juice. They also take fit*
tops with them, which they boil; and tihe
water they drink a^an antidote likewise against
the scufrvy. *•
10. Q* In what 'manner are the huts constructed?   - ^|^^i#'" x ^^ ^   *■■'*#    •
A. The huts ttte people use they always
take with them in thSSr vessels, and on their
arrival there put ffiem togfether. TIley are
constructed  of tMn boards,  and in the same BBS
manner as th#.peasants' houses here. They
likewise generally take bricks with them for
building their stoves ; but when they fall shojf|£;
clay found there is made use of in thei): stead.
Their largest hut, which is erected in the
ribighbourhood of their vessels, boats, &cw is
from twenty to twentyrfive feet square, and
serves as a station and magazine; but those
hutfe the«feien erect who go in quest of^$&ns
are only from^even to eighf: fee* square, and in
the autumn are Jjarried along the shores in
boats, and put up at distances from each ot|ier
of ten to fifty Russia^ verst^ Thej! take the
necessary provisions with them for the whole
winter to serve two o^| three men, as mj|ny
generally occupying each hut.
o J x J     ©
11. Q. What fuel have they, alld in what
naanner are their huf^ heated ?
A. The fuel commonly used for heating
their k$ts;?i& wood, which they likewise bring
with them M their vessels, and lanc^.at the
station hut. In autumn the necessary quantity
for heating the aforesaid small huts is conveyed
1    L
i   j 234
in boats, or on small hand sledges, to th# destined places. They often meet with wood there
too, thrown by the sea on the shores
12. Q. On what kinds of provisions do the
Russian** subsist during tfee winter 5 *
A. The provisions they subsist on during
the winter consist in rye flojur (of vvh^h they
make bread), salt beef^salt cod, and salted
halibut, butter, oat and barley meal, curdled
milk, peas, honey, Unseed oil; all which they
bring to Spitzbergen with them, and divide the
same proportionally by weight to each man.
Their employers allow them prdv^ionji for one
year and a half, besides which the fishermen
kill wild lion deer in winter, and birds* in summer, which are experienced to be excellent food,
and very healthy.
13. Q. Do-they chiefly use spirituo\^s or
malt liquors}
A. Th#y chiefly drink a liguor called nuas,
made from rye flour and wafer. Malt and
spirituous liquors are entirely excluded and forbidden by their employers, to prevent drunken-
•0 wesm
ness, as the Russians, when they had it, drank
so immoderately that work was#bften neglected
14. Q. When in the ^ipen air, how do
thev defend themselves2!
A. They defend themselves from the rigour
of the weather by a covering made of skin,
above which they wear another made of the
skin of rein deer, ^hsAled^kushy, and wear boo®
of the same. ^0fi: f^H^I;- *'lJ^f5pil^P'
gjffi. Q.    Do they not use masks, and oml
the practice of sf aving K||^- %    ff«#
A. They use no masks, nor do the;f shave;
but they wear*a large wa*fm cap, called truechy,
which covers the whole Head and neck, and
most part of^the^acelf They also wear gloves
of sheep skin.
l6\ Q. Do the inhabitants cross the' country during the winter ?
A. There are no inhabitants, as said
before ; but the f^hepmen, who are there for a
time, do go over from one%land to* the other of
small distances.
il     -J- 238
but when it contmues for any length of time,
the poor wretch of tens perishes.
22   Q.    What degree of slight is there in
winter ?
■  -m
A. The fishermen do not know what the
degree of light may be in winter; indeed, they
are ignorant of the meaning of the term : however, they say from the latter end of Oc|obe& to
the 12th of January the sun does not appear
above tbg horizon, which causes a continual
darkness, and obliges them a|gvay§ to^keep a
light in their huts by burning train oil in
lamps ; but as soon as the pi makes its appearance, the day^increafe very rapidly. |gt
23. Q. What difference does the absence of
the moon occasion ? Are the stars in general
brilliant ? Can you seejo read wheftlthe moon
is under the horizon ?
A.    From the appear|nce§of the moon ?jg:
her^second quarter to her decline in the last,
the nighty are very luminous, and -fhe stars extraordinary light both dfLj and njght.    In the
gloom of wpter t|ie people keep time ftom the THE   NORTH   POLE.
position of certain stars.    When the moon is
below the horizon, it is impossible to read.
24. O. Is the Aurora^cBorfc&lis verv bril-
liant; and in what part of the horizon is it
seen?     -0*mmmf*' ■•        If"   .     e-
A. In the dark time of winter the Aurora
Borealis is commonly seen most strong in the
North, atfi appears very red and fi&y.
25. Q« Does it appear possible to crofe the
ice in winter to the North Pole ? If it does
not, what are the obstacles ?
A.    The  likelihood  of   a  passage   to  the
North   Pole   does   not  seem   probable   to   the
fishermen, as^they have not had *an opportunity
to  attempt  it;   dnd,   from  their observation!,
think all passage impossible, as the mountains
of   ice   appear   monstrously  large   and lofty.
Some of the ice is continually drifting about:
so  that   in   many  places   water   is  discerned.
Those  who  have been  ok the  most elevated
parts ofiNordoater Island declare, thaf, as far as
A is visible, open water is only seen;   but to
what distance it may continue so, it is impos- 240
sible for them to ascertain, as an attempt for
the discovery has never been made; but seefai*
ingly it is practicable to bring the fuel and provisions in vessels to the Nordoster island.
26. Q. If the passage should be deemed
practicable, in what manner should it be attempted ? and what means of conveying fuel
and provisions appear to be the best ?
A. As the fishermen thifek all passage impracticable, it is not in their power to give any
answer to this demand.
27. Q. Might not three different huts, constructed like those §0 which the people iff
Spitzbergon.r^!fee> together with a sufficient
quantity of provisionShi$n each for hstlf a dozen
of people, be conveyed on sledges, and be left
at theudifferent distances of two hundred, of
four hundred, of six hundred miles, No#th of
Spitzbergen, as places of deposit for the assistance of those whueshall undertake the journey?
A. ^uch huts might be built, and placed
on shoEe^ as said in the tenth article, at a convenient distance from their vessels ; but &s for THE  NORTH   POLE.
conveying them ready built to the distances
proposed appears to the people an impossibility.
28. Q. What number of persons and rein
deer, or of^dogs, would be requisite for conveying the huts ?
A#^ From the mountains of ice and great
falls of snow, neither dogs nor rein deer would
be able to draw loads ; for the fishermen themselves, to be as light as possible, go on snow
29• Q- At what price per man for each
day's j#urney would the people of Spitzbergen,
if they think the adventure practicable, be likely
to undertake the conduct of the sledges ?
A. As, in the last reply, the fishermen show
if is not convenient there to draw with dogs or
rein fleer, therefore no price can be said.
30. Q. Are there any persons in Archangel
who have formerly ffesided in Spitzbergen who
would engage |n tjfce business ? and are there
any who would be willing, in icompany with
two Englishmen, to .attempt <bn this plan a passage to the North Pole ?
1IM 242
A. As there are not, nor ever were, any
natives of Spitsbergen, none therefore can be
resident in Archangel: however, many men
may be met with here who have wintered
there : but as they have never made an attempt
to go to the Pole, }they cannot undertake the
conduct of the business. Notwithstanding, if
an Englishmen should determine on the endeavour, some people mjght be met with who
would perhaps, with an English ship's company,
engage themselves.
31. Q. In the spring, have flights of birds
ever been observed to direct their course North
of Spitzbergen ?
A. It has been always experienced by those
who have been at the most northerly parts of
Spitzbergen, that in the spring a great number
of wild geese, ducks, and other birds, take their
flight farther North,   fa • .|.
32. Q. What animals and birds have they
during the summer, and what species winter on
the island ?
A.    In Spitzbergen they have wild rein-deer, saw
white and blue foxes, and white bears, which
remain continually on the island ; but geese,
ducks, &c, are only there in summer.
33. Q. Those which quit Spitzbergen on
the approach of winter, in what month do they
generally emigrate, and to what point of the
compass ?
A. All the before-mentioned birds on the
approach of winter, that is, in the latter end of
September, fly to the Southward, and return
again in the latter end of April.
N. B. The 31st .and 33d Answers do not
apparently agree. |t-
R 2  ON
THE reign of his presertl Majesty will ever
be famous for the encouragement given to
science; but in no branch has the King's gracious patronage been more conspicuous than in
the discoveries made by different circumnavigators, especially by the immortal Cook. Considering the inducement and encouragement
held out by our monarch for exploring the
Northern Parts of the globe, and the number of
ships annually fitted out from the different ports
of the United Kingdom for Davis's Straits,
Baffin's Bay, and Spitzbergen ; it may appear
very remarkable that no new discoveries are
made, or old verified, or any voyage extended to
a higher latitude than 81° North.    The King's
, \ 246
wish of promoting discoveries in this part of the
world is evident from Lord Mlflgrave's expedition, and more especially from the Acts of Pat"*
liament promising a reward of twenty thousand
pounds to any of his Majesty's subjects who
shall sail through any passage between the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the Northward
of latitude 52° North, and also from a reward of
five thousand pounds to anj^British sfcpp that
shall approach within one degree of the North
Pole. To what cause, then, can be Jattribu$ed
the indifference and apathy of those commanders
of Greenland ships who, having been unsuccesS*
ful in the fishery, might be supposed to have it
in their power to defray the expense of the outfit
by sailing to the West or the North, with the
view of claiming one of the above rewards ? It
cannot be said with justice that the masters of
our Greenlanders are either deficient in skill, or
indifferent to discovery; for among them, as in
other professions, men are found of superior
talent and of enterprising spirits. The paradox
will, however, be solved by referring to the sub- THE  NORTH   POLE,
joined oath*, which effectually Excludes every
conscientious person from endeavouring to carry
into execution the scientific views of the Legislature in passing what^may, without impropriety, be namedtfthe Discovery Act. When
this last Act was passed, it if* probable the former Act for promoting Northern discoveries did
not occur to the framers. I Remember some
years past that a learned and scientific Member
of the House of Commons was so much struck
with the discouraging effect of the oath, that it
was his  intentLsit to have brought forward a
* The following is a copy of the oath taken by the master, and also by the owner, of ^Greenland ships: —faster
of the ship-- maketh oath, that it is really and truly his
firm purpose, and determined resolution, that the said ship,
shall, as soon as license shall be granted, forthwith, proceed
§0 manned, furnished, and accoutred, on a voyage to the
Greenland Seas, or Davis's Straits, or the seas adjacent, there
in the now approaching season to use the utmost endeavours
of himself and his ship's Company to take whales, or other
creatures living in the seas, and on no other design or view
of profit, in his present voyage, and to  import the whale
fins, on, and blubber thereof, into the port of  —.
Sworn at the Custom House." ^p
clause enabB^g the masters of Greenland ships
to prosecute discoveries as well as to catch fish;
and it was owing to accident that a clause of the
above nature was not introduced. This ornis^
sion, however, it is hoped, may yet be supplied
at nltf distant per|fcd, aj»d Greenland voyages,
conducted as they are by^eamen best qualified
for such an undertaking, be made^subserlnent to
the exploring of the Northern Regions.
It may farther be observed, navigating among
the ice being in itself a science, men regularly
brought up to the sailing and working of ships
in the Arctic Circles should be fetected for such
service, in, preference to those accustomed^d navigate the more temperate parts of the globe.
It follows, therefore, that if at any future period
it should be the intention of Government to pro-?
mote Northern discoveries, it would be advisable, both for economy and the greater probability
of success, to hire one of the Greenland vessels
and crew, sending on board as many scientific
and philosophical men as are deemed requisite.
The following statement was sent me some years THE  NORTH POLE.
past by Captain Brown, an able and expert seaman, regularly brought up in the Whale Fishery,
who was  willing to  undertake   the  exploring
Baffin's Bay, or endeavouring to approach the
Nojrth Pole.    He mentioned, that, though in
Baffin's Bay he had frequently run to the Westward, he had nevm got sight of land imthat direction;   which implies the Northern part of
America mav be much contracted.    Brown, un<-
fortunately, was killed at one of the Sandwich
^SIR, " Jan. 16, 1789.
" I shall begin fitting out the first of next
month for Davis's Straits; and should you wish
to explore Baffin's Bay, I shall be glad to have
timely notice, that I may prepare a larger stock
of provisions, provide presents for the Indians,
and several other articles which will be necessary for that voyage. It wrill be proper for the
bounty to be paid by the Treasury, or the Custom
House Oath altered; and I think, when you
J peruse the subjoined account of expenses, you
^j& 250
will not think my requisition of five hundred
pounds per month, for two ships, extravagant.
I only desire it to be paid from the time of leaving the fishery in 72° North till we return %o
Cape Farewell; and ®o payment to be made
unless it shall satisfactorily appear the utmost
has been done to explore Baffin's Bay, Lancaster
Sound, &c. The expense Government would
possibly incur would be very trifling; but as underwriters will not insure such voyages, the
owners should be indemnified, and the value of
the ships ascertained by the surveyor who values
the transports, against the enemy, and other
extra risks. I have perused all the Northern
Voyages, and shall perfect myself in lunar qth
(Signed) " William Brown." THE NORTH POLE.
Ship  Buttertuorth,    three   hundred   and ninety-two    Tons**
Boats, and forty eight Men,
Per Month.
1 Master.,...., ,.,,. 500
1 Surgeon \  3 10    0
1 ChiefMate.... -.  3 10   0
I Carpenter.., „ 3 10   0
1 Carpenter'u Mate..... ,  2 10 e.rfJ
1 Second Mate...„........,..,,...., Mf. 2 10   0
1 Boatswain...... ,, ,,  2 10   0
1 Skim-man ,, ................  2 10   0
1 Cooper ...,^.v., r., ,, 2 10    0
7   Harpooners st,pOs. each.,,.., T...... 17  10 ^
:-W**l Cook .,„    200
! VBoat steerers at 40s. each.... ,.,£. 14    0    0
^ 7 Line coilers at 32s. 6d. each,.........j;?...,.. 11 ■$$£ 6
17  Men at 30s. each., 25  10   0
48 Men's wages ., *,. 98    7    6
Men's provisions at 3Qs. each ,..,......,. 72    0    0
Wear and tear, 392 tons, at 51. per ton......... 98    0   0
o£268    7    <?
Cabin allowances, presents for Indians, extra liquor,
and other encouragement for the people, cannot be
estimated at less than $]l. 12s. 6d. per month*
making a total of 300/.
Brig Lyon one-third less expense:
1 A Vessel of the above tonnage with a rising floor is
the best adapted for this service, as it has a sufficient momentum among the loose ice, and is easily managed. %2
As experiments are making on the length of
the pendulum in the Orkneys, it is highly desirable that scientific men be sent for the same
object in one of the Greenland ships to Spitzbergen ; and at the conclusion of the fishery they
might return in the same vessels.
Every Greenland vessel should be furnished
'with an artificial horizon; of which the first
and best is a shallow cylinder of wood four
inches diameter in the clear, and three-tenths
and a half deep, into which, by means of an
ivory funnel, is poured quicksilver. To prevent the mercury from being ruffled by the
wind, two glass planes are placed over it,
whose surfaces are parallel, and forming an
angle with each other of Q0°; and if this be
not sufficient protection when the mercury is
agitated by wind, or any heavy object passing
near, a circular piece of glass is floated on the
quicksilver. The second (invented, I believe,
by the late Mr. Adams, of Edmonton) is a
plane concave glass four inches in diameter,
and ground to a long radius.    It is fitted into THE  NORTH   POLE.
a metallic box, with its concave side downwards. This box, when wanted, is nearly filled
with spirits, leaving a bubble; and by means
of three screws, this bubble is brought into
the centre of the glass. On one side of the
box is a small thumb screw, to be taken out
when filling, that the air may escape. This
screw should notibe made of iron, because it
will corrode. If this instrument be well made,
and pain%Jgiken in the levelling, it may be
depended on to two minutes, which gives an
error of one minute of altitude. Neither of
these artificial horizons can be used when the
altitude of the object exceeds 670.
It would be extremely curious to ascertain
the extent of the variation of the compass in
Baffin's Bay. Captain Brown found it to be
79° 42' West, in latitude 72° 4& North (see the
Annals of Philosophy, vol. vii, p. 14) ; and
there being an increase from Cape Farewell to
this latitude, it is not impossible, that in
higher latitudes the augmentation may continue, until the needle loses its polarity; which ^^'■asp$
extraordinary declination of thet«ompass   (peculiar  to  th^^art  of  the   woqitf^  is   so re^-
markable,  that, were a vessel sem for no other
purpose  than  of making magneticaf oilier va-
tions,  both the time and npney which might
be bestowed on  the expedition #emld be laW-
vantageously employed for the advancement of
science.    The variation of the compass in latitude  70° 177 North,  and  longitude   \63q  24t
West, is 30° 28' East;   and in la tirade 70° 58',
and  longitude   54°   14'  West,   is   74°  West;
whence  it  appears,|gthat  in   nearly the  same
parallel  of latitude,    and  in   a difference   not
exceeding 109° 10', or about one thousand six
hundred and eighty*five geographical miles of
longitude, there is a difference in the variation
amou&tiig to 84° 42'.    It would also be a desirable discovery to ascertain whether on  going
to the Westward it would be found that 3fhe
variation gradually decreases to the point of no
variation, and afterwards gradually increases;
or whether its returnahe not by a sadden ijump
from West to East.    Observations on points of v;-
this description, accompanied with remarks on
the depth, temperature, and saltness of the sea,
and with a meteorological journal, would con^?
tain much interesting and valuable information,
and throw great light on the natural phenomena of these unexplored regions.
The depth of the sea in Baffin's Bay has
been determined beyond doubt by Brown to be
more than a mile. It is not unusual in April
(the time the Greenland vessels arive in Davis's
Straits) for Fahrenheit's thermometer <io stand
at 10° or 22° below freezing.
Considerable diversity of opinion prevails
respecting the form of Greenland, which is
conjectured by some to bend to the Westward,
and, joining the continent of America, to form
the vast and suppose!! gulf of Baffin's Bay; by
others, to be onetfarge island ; and by a third
class, to be a cluster oft islands intersected bv
a variety of channels running from sea to sea,
but so blocked up with ice as to render the passage between them impracticable. In a journal
hefore me it is mentioned that a strong current 256
sets round Cape Farewell to the North jJVest, and
that the water breaks for several miles. It ap->
pears probable, therefore, from th#, circumstance, that Greenland does not consjjst of a
multitude of islands ; because in that case the,
current would b&ve taken its direction between
them, instead of flowing round the extremity of
the land. The junction of Green^nd with
North America appears to me to be likewise
improbable, from the following reasons : first,
that Brown (as already mentioned) never saw
the Western land : next, that Hearn in his
travels arrived at the sea, seals having been seen
by him : and, thirdly, that Mackenzie, whose
travels lie to the Westward of Hea^rn's course,
came to the mouth of a large river, which also
emptied itself into the Arctic Ocean: and,
lastly, from the great probability that the immense quantity of drift wood found in Baffin's
Bay, on the Coast of Labrador, and on the
North West Coast of AmeidtJaj has been deposited there after being brought down by
Mackenzie's River, and driven to the East and THE NORTH POLE,
West, and afterwards Southward, according to
the direction of the winds and currents : all
which circumstances combine, in my opinion,
to furnish a ground of belief that North, as
well as South America, is surrounded by the
ocean; and that the North West Passage is
to be sought about1 latitude 72°« That Greenland is an island seems also to be highly probable, from the quantity of drift wood found on
the Coast of Iceland; for it is much more natural to suppose the trunks of trees found in
that part of the world are carried off from the
Northern extremity of America, and driven
round the North of Greenland, than that, being floated fronl the mouths of the Obi, Lena,
and other great rivers of Russia, they should
pass Nova Zembla, round the North
Cape, to the prodigious distance of 20° West
Cape Farewell, the Southern extremity of
Greenland, according to the Requisite Tables,
is. in latitude 59° 38' 00" Norths and longitude
4S° 42' 00" West. By observations in my possession, it is in latitude 59° 42' North and longitude 45° \& West.    <v/ ,vj. . :y|fc;   .efV .f#|
Poppin's Court, Fleet Street, London.
J gl
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