Index  Previous  Next 



Arctic Exploration in the nineteenth century opened out with the brilliant expeditions of Sir John Franklin, beginning in 1818, and when he was lost with 129 companions and the two ships which had been fitted out in 1844, a tremendous effort on the part of Great Britain, with the co-operation, too, of private individuals in the United States, was made to find him. Of course these explorers also made many general observations during their several expeditions, and it is from these that we will now proceed to quote many facts that lead to the conclusion that there is not only an open polar sea, as Barrington contended, but a fertile land beyond it.


Among these expeditions was that of Lieutenant McClintock of the. Royal Navy in the steam yacht "Fox" owned by Lady Franklin. This navigator makes three very interesting observations from our point of view. He met with Esquimaux living upon the east coast of Greenland as far north as latitude 76 degrees, and it could not be ascertained how much farther north they lived. It is noticeable that they were separated from the South Greenlanders by

p. 112

hundreds of miles of ice-bound coasts and impassible glaciers. He comments on this to the effect that many centuries before a milder climate might have existed, and that that might have rendered the migration north possible, but he himself doubts if that can be the correct explanation. We, however, shall have more to say on that question a little later.


But the observations of McClintock were nothing like as voluminous or detailed as those of the other explorers of the day. Dr. Elisha Kent Kane sailed as surgeon and as scientific observer with the "Advance" which left America with the "Rescue" the ships being supplied by a wealthy New York man, Mr. Henry Grinnell, and the expedition sailing in 1852. Dr. Kane kept an exhaustive journal of his observations, which he published in two volumes upon his return. An open polar sea was one of the subjects of search of the expedition.

From the time the party reached the polar regions Dr. Kane was astonished by the unexpected phenomena met with. Where the climate was expected to grow colder--as they approached the pole--it grew warmer. At that same latitude of 80 degrees, of which we have seen Barrington's records, Kane found indications of "north water all the year round" as one of his party reported. Another party,

p. 113

later, in practically the same latitude while exploring the Greenland coast reported that:


"The wind blew strongly from the north, and continued to do so for three days, sometimes blowing a gale, and very damp, the tops of the hills becoming fixed with dark foggy clouds. The damp falling mist prevented them seeing any distance. Yet they saw no ice borne down from the northward all this time; and, what was more curious, they found, on their return south, that no ice had been sent down during the gale." Mr. Morton, one of the members of this party, describes this journey--which was northward from Cache Island (see Chapter XXIII of Kane's first volume). The party reached Kennedy Channel after another gale from the north and again there was no ice except what had come up from the south. Ultimately this party reached Mount Parry which was at that time, "the most remote northern land known upon our globe." After quoting many other details of this northern trip Dr. Kane comments on it as follows, and his comment is a reiteration of what Mr. Barrington had claimed many years earlier, and points to what are the facts in the case--although Mr. Kane has difficulty when he tries to explain them:

"It will be seen by the abstract of our 'field-notes' in the appendix, as well as by an analysis of the results

p. 114

which I have here rendered nearly in the very words of Mr. Morton, that, after traveling due north over a solid area choked with bergs and frozen fields, he was startled by the growing weakness of the ice; its surface became rotten and the snow wet and pulpy. His dogs, seized with terror, refused to advance. Then for the first time the fact broke upon him, that a long dark band seen to the north beyond a protruding cape--Cape Andrew Jackson--was water. With danger and difficulty he retraced his steps, and, reaching sound ice, made good his landing on a new coast.

"The journeys which I had made myself, and those of my different parties, had shown that an unbroken surface of ice covered the entire sea to the east, west, and south. From the southernmost ice, seen by Dr. Hayes only a few weeks before, to the region of this mysterious water, was, as the crow flies, one hundred and six miles. But for the unusual sight of birds and the unmistakable giving way of the ice beneath them, they would not have believed in the evidence of eyesight. Neither Hans nor Morton was prepared for it.

"Landing on the cape and continuing their explorations, new phenomena broke upon them. They were on the shores of a channel so open that a frigate or a fleet of frigates might have sailed up it. The ice, already broken and decayed formed a sort of horse-shoe shaped beach, against which the waves

p. 115

broke in surf. As they traveled north, this channel expanded into an iceless area; 'for four or five small pieces'--lumps were all that could be seen over the entire surface of its white caped waters. Viewed from the cliffs, and taking thirty-six miles as the mean radius open to reliable survey, this sea had a justly-estimated extent of more than four thousand square miles.


"Animal life, which had been so long a stranger to us to the south, now burst upon them. At Renselær Harbor, except the Netsik seal or a rarely encountered Harelda, we had no life available for the hunt. But here the Brent goose, the eider, and the king duck, were so crowded together that our Eskimos killed two at a shot with a single rifle ball.

"The Brent goose had not been seen before since entering Smith's Straits. It is well known to the Polar traveler as a migratory bird of the American continent. Like the others of the same family it feeds upon vegetable matter, generally on marine plants with their adherent molluscous life. It is rarely or never seen in the interior and from its habits may be regarded as singularly indicative of open water. The flocks of this bird, easily distinguished by their wedge-shaped line of flight, now crossed the water obliquely, and disappeared over the land to the north and east. I had shot these birds on the coast of Wellington Channel in latitude 74 degrees, 50

p. 116

minutes, nearly six degrees to the south: they were then flying in the same direction."

That is to say the birds were then flying north as they were now flying north from a latitude of approximately 80 degrees, .50 minutes, and the question at once rises in the mind, why were they flying north? If these birds were dependent upon living sea-plants with living molluscous life on them for their food, and if they are, therefore, always to be found in open water, they could only be flying north for one reason and that reason is that there was open water north, and there could only be open water if there were a more temperate climate than the severe climate to the south that Kane has just described.

Kane goes on:

"The rocks on shore were crowded with sea-swallows, birds whose habits require open water."

As the party left the land marine birds also appeared, no less than four kinds of gulls being seen, and as Kane says, "it was a picture of life all round." Morton, he further tells us, had also seen a large number of flowers in his explorations.

Kane then proceeds:

"It is another remarkable fact that as they continued their journey the land-ice and snow, which had served as a sort of pathway for the dogs, crumbled and melted, and at last ceased altogether; so that, during the final stages of their progress, the sledge was rendered useless, and Morton found himself

p. 117

at last toiling over rocks and along the beach of a sea, which, like the familiar waters of the south, dashed in waves at his feet.

"Here for the first time he noticed the Arctic Petrel, a fact which shows the accuracy of his observation, though he was then unaware of its importance. This bird had not been met with since we left the North Water of the English whalers, more than two hundred miles south of the position on which he stood. Its food is essentially marine, the acalesphæ, etc., etc.; and it is seldom seen in numbers except in the highways of open water frequented by the whale and the larger representatives of ocean life. They were in numbers, flitting and hovering over the crests of the waves, like their relatives of milder climates, the Cape of Good Hope Pigeons, Mother Carey's Chickens, and the petrels everywhere else. . . .


"It must have been an imposing sight, as he stood at this termination of his journey (past Sir John Franklin Island), looking out upon the great waste of waters before him. Not a 'speck of ice,' to use his own words, could be seen. There, from a height of four hundred and eighty feet, which commanded an horizon of almost forty miles, his ears were gladdened with the novel music of dashing waves; and a surf; breaking in among the rocks at his feet, stayed his further progress.

p. 118

"Beyond this cape all is surmise. The high ridges to the north-west dwindled off into low blue knobs, which blended finally with the air. Morton called the cape, which baffled his labors, after his commander; but I have given it the more enduring name of Cape Constitution."

Dr. Kane goes on to say that this observation of open water to the north harmonized with the observations of all the other members of the expedition. He admits that he cannot explain it, and adds the following comment:


"An open sea near the pole, or even an open polar basin, has been the topic of theory for a long time, and has been shadowed forth to some extent by actual or supposed discoveries. As far back as the days of Barentz, in 1596, without referring to the earlier and more uncertain chronicles, water has been seen to the eastward of the northernmost cape of Nova Zembla; and until its limited extent was defined by direct observation it was assumed to be the sea itself. The Dutch fishermen above and around Spitzbergen pushed their adventurous cruises through the ice into open spaces varying in size and form with the season and the winds; and Dr. Scoresby, a venerated authority, alludes to such vacancies in the floe as pointing in argument to a

p. 119

freedom of movement from the north, inducing open water in the neighborhood of the pole. Baron Wrangell, when forty miles from the coast of Arctic Asia, saw, as he thought, a 'vast illimitable ocean' . . . So, still more recently, Captain Penny proclaimed a sea in Wellington Sound . . . Unlike the others, however, that which I have ventured to call an open sea has been traveled for many miles along its coast, and was viewed from an elevation of five hundred and eighty feet, still without a limit, moved by a heavy swell, free of ice, and dashing in surge against a rock-bound shore.

"It is impossible in reviewing the facts which connect themselves with this discovery, the melted snow upon the rocks, the crowds of marine birds, the limited but still advancing vegetable life, the rise of the thermometer in the water, not to be struck by their bearing on the question of a milder climate near the pole. To refer them all to the modification of temperature induced by the proximity of open water is only to change the form of the question; for it leaves the inquiry unsatisfied--What is the cause of the open water?"

Dr. Kane was not only impressed by the warmer climate toward the pole, however, but he records that in a large indentation in Dallas Bay they found the remains of an Eskimo village, surrounded by bones of seals, walrus and whale. And furthermore:

p. 120


"In impressive connection with the same facts, showing not only the former extension of the Eskimo race to the higher north, but the climatic changes which may still be in progress there, is the sledge runner that Morton saw on the shores of Morris Bay, in latitude 81 degrees. It was made of the bone of a whale and worked out with skillful labor."

That is not the first time the Eskimos have been mentioned by the explorers quoted in this chapter, and every time the mention of them is connected with the north rather than with the south. We shall find more of this sort of evidence as we go along.


To the claims of both Cook and Peary that they have reached the north pole we shall give detailed answers shortly. But there is one paragraph in Dr. Kane's record which we may as well quote while we are dealing with his observations, and it throws some light on the later claims made by some Arctic explorers and the doubts as to their locations expressed by others (Hansen, for instance, in one place frankly admits that he was lost in the Arctic and had no wav of knowing where he was). Here is the passage, which refers to the difference between Kane's projection of the coast around Cape Isabell and that made by Captain Inglefield:

"The difference between our projection of this

p. 121

coast and Captain Inglefield's refers itself naturally to the differing circumstances under which the two were framed. The sluggishness of the compass and the eccentricities of refraction in the Arctic seas, are well fitted to embarrass and mislead a navigator. . . ."

It is interesting, too, to see that, in a note subsequently appended to these observations, Dr. Kane makes some other observations upon the distribution of the polar ice, and remarks: "I do not see how . . . this state of facts could be explained without supposing an iceless area to the farther north.

"How far this may extend,--whether it does or does not communicate with a polar basin,--we are without facts to determine."

But by following the observations of other and later explorers we shall endeavor to supply the facts whose absence left Dr. Kane so puzzled.


We may now turn to the observations of one of Dr. Kane's companions, Dr. I. I. Hayes, who took a prominent part in the expedition and who wrote his account of it under the significant title, "The Open Polar Sea." Dr. Hayes went up Kennedy Channel, along the coast of Grinnell Land almost as far north as 82 degrees. Long before he had reached that point, however, he began to notice the strange contradictions that the arctic regions present. He passed into the Arctic circle on July 30, and was

p. 122

soon in the middle of a vast field of ice-bergs. He says of this experience:

"The air was warm almost as a summer's night at home, and yet there were the ice-bergs and the bleak mountains, with which the fancy, in this land of green hills and waving forests [that is to say, America], can associate with nothing but cold repulsiveness. The sky was bright and soft, and strangely inspiring as the skies of Italy. The bergs had wholly lost their chilly aspect."

That is sufficiently remarkable--surely indicating, according to what other explorers have already told us, in these pages, that the wind must have been from the north for the few days previous that would have brought some of the mildness from the actual polar regions down. If the reader is not yet convinced of that let him watch Dr. Hayes as he proceeds further toward that region. Conviction will follow.


By November 2, Dr. Hayes had reached Cape Alexander, on the Greenland Coast (Grinnell Land forms the other coast of Kennedy Channel which the explorers will soon reach) at a latitude of a little over 78 degrees. Here they were hit by a gale, strong enough to break up the ice and send it scudding away southwest. But Dr. Hayes is surprised by two things: Although the gale is from the north east, the temperature has all the time been very mild

p. 123

[paragraph continues] --in fact it has never been below zero, and moreover, when the gale had driven the ice away there was no more ice from the north to take its place.


By November 13th the party has proceeded a little further north, and Dr. Hayes, believing as he did that the pole was a solid ice-cap, is sorely puzzled by the actual phenomena with which he is met. Here is his diary, the first entry, "Worse and worse," referring to the fact that snow had been falling, which made it very disagreeable on the ship:

"November 13: Worse and worse. The temperature has risen again, and the roof over the upper deck gives us once more a worse than tropic shower. The snow next the ice grows more slushy, and this I am more than ever puzzled to understand, since I have found today that the ice, two feet below the surface, has a temperature of twenty degrees; at the surface it is nineteen degrees, and the snow in contact with it is eighteen degrees. The water is twenty-nine degrees.

"November 14. The wind has been blowing for nearly twenty-four hours from the northeast, and yet the temperature holds on as before. At ten o'clock this evening it was four and a half degrees. I have done with speculation. A warm wind from the 'mer de glace,' and this boundless reservoir of Greenland frost, makes mischief with my theories, as facts have

p. 124

heretofore done with the theories of wiser men. As long as the wind came from the sea I could find excuse for the unseasonable warmth."

It is a pity that the open-minded spirit shown there is not more evident among other scientists. Dr. Hayes would have tried to explain that warmth if he could possibly have done so. But when the wind that brought it came no longer from a sea that was itself above freezing point but came from a land that was covered with ice, he was simply at his wits' end and frankly acknowledged that he could not account for the phenomenon. So he left it an open question. And it has really been an open question ever since--but it is at last closed.

Let us, however, follow Dr. Hayes still further north. By the end of November the Arctic night has set in. The voyagers are by now a little farther north. And yet here is the sort of thing that hap-pens to the temperatures:

"The temperature had been strangely mild, a circumstance at least in part accounted for by the open water, and to this same cause was due no doubt the great disturbance of the air, and the frequency of the gales. I have mentioned in the last chapter a very remarkable rise in the thermometer which occurred early in November (see above); but a still greater elevation of temperature followed a few weeks later, reaching as high as 32 degrees. In con-sequence of this sudden and unaccountable event, the

p. 125

thaw was renewed, and our former discomfort arising from the dampness on deck and in our quarters was experienced in an aggravated degree. . ."

Then snow began to fall, and Dr. Hayes was still more astonished--for this was above the line where snow usually falls--when it was followed by a shower of rain. He also noticed that the snow came in very beautiful and perfectly formed crystals, which is always, he says, a sign that the snow was formed in a temperature that is quite mild. "I have not observed them when the thermometer ranged below zero."

But by January 13 quite .a good deal more snow had fallen, and in spite of the fact that there had been terrific storms the air had never been really cold. (The party were wintering at Port Foulke.) The explorer notes these high winds and high temperatures, and snow, and says:


"All these unusual phenomena are, as has been hitherto observed, doubtless due to the proximity of the open sea. How extensive the water may be is of course unknown, but its limits cannot be very small to produce such serious atmospheric disturbance. It seems, indeed, as if we were in the very vortex of the north winds. The poet has told us that the north winds

'Are cradled far down in the depths that yawn
Beneath the Polar Star

p. 125

and it appears very much as if we had got into those yawning depths, and had come not only to the place where the winds are cradled, but where they are born."

We might say here that if the open sea really accounted for the high temperatures it follows that there must be a still greater source of heat to account for the open sea. And we should remember, too, that Dr. Hayes observed the same high temperatures when the northeast wind was coming across, the frozen surface of Greenland.

And let us also say that if the poet imagined a great space where the winds are born, beneath the Polar Star, the fact may again turn out to be more wonderful than the fiction--the depths may yet be plumbed. In fact we have indubitable proof that they can be plumbed and explored. But that we will discuss later.

At last the Arctic winter began to wear away. One of the first signs of the change in season was the appearance of a flock of birds, which, curiously enough, "warmed their feet in the water which the winds would not let freeze." The explorer was surprised to find these birds the Dovekie of Southern Greenland--"denizens of the Arctic night so near the Pole." But there again we must reserve comment until later.


When the sun did arise the explorer left his ship and undertook a sledge journey whose object was to

p. 127

cross the frozen sound to Cape Sabine on its other side (just south of Grinnell Land). As a matter of fact he had to strike for a point north of that on account of the ice hummocks. Before long the explorer finds that although the sea is now frozen over so that he can cross it in this manner, the air is quite warm. The warmth, he thinks, is "unseasonable," and it must have indeed felt so, for the party wished to take off their coats and could not as the added weight of the coats on the sledges would have been an unfair handicap for the dogs. At one time the members of the party wondered whether the ice was going to melt under them, and kept a watchful eye in the direction of Port Foulke. The author notes that along the entire coast of Grinnell Land, which could be seen in the distance, there were no glaciers, which he noted as being in striking contrast with the Greenland coast. At this point in Dr. Hayes' journey he had reached a point somewhat to the northward of that reached by Morton, the member of Dr. Kane's expedition whose observations we have already noted, being in fact at a point, "sixty miles to the northward and westward of Cape Constitution." He pushed on, and was soon stopped by bad ice. Returning to the Grinnell coast and climbing an elevation, the author made the following observations which had better be given in his own words:

"The ice was everywhere in the same condition as in the mouth of the bay, across which I had endeavored

p. 128

to pass. A broad crack, starting from the middle of the bay, stretched over the sea, and uniting with other cracks as it meandered to the eastward, it expanded as the delta of some mighty river discharging into the ocean, and under a water sky, which hung upon the eastern and northern horizon, it was lost in the open sea.


"Standing against the dark sky at the north, there was seen, in dim outline, the white, sloping summit of a noble headland--the most northern land upon the globe. I judged it to be in latitude 82 degrees, 30 minutes, or four hundred and fifty miles from the North Pole. Nearer, another bold cape stood forth; and nearer still the headland, for which I had been steering my course the day before, rose majestically from the sea. .. .There was no land visible except the coast upon which I stood.

"The sea beneath me was a mottled sheet of white and dark patches, these latter being soft, decaying ice or places where the ice had wholly disappeared.

"I reserve to another chapter all discussion of the value of the observations which I made from this point. Suffice it here to say that all the evidences showed that I stood upon the shores of the Polar Basin, and that the broad ocean lay at my feet; that the land upon which I stood, culminating in the distant cape before me, was but a point of land projecting

p. 129

far into it, like the Ceverro Vostochnoi Noss of the opposite coast of Siberia; and that the little margin of ice which lined the shore was being steadily worn away; and within a month, the whole sea would be as free from ice as I had seen the north water of Baffin Bay,--interrupted only by a moving pack, drifting to and fro at the will of the winds and currents."


Dr. Hayes was, of course, unable to proceed any further, as the ice was rapidly vanishing and rotten where it was exposed outside the bay. But before planting his flag and other evidences of his discovery and returning to his base at Port Foulke, he was surprised to note again those small birds, a flock of Dovekie. He expresses surprise at seeing them so far north so early in the season. He also saw a number of burgomaster-gulls which, significantly enough, were "making their way northward, seeking the open water for their feeding grounds and summer haunts." Rather curious, is it not, that these birds should be flying toward the North Pole in search of summer haunts and open water and food?


And Dr. Hayes evidently felt to the full the strangeness of his situation and the possibilities that were hidden in that stretch of polar sea which he could not explore. Something of a prophetic vision

p. 130

would almost seem to be behind the following words with which he ends this chapter in his record:

"But I quit the place with reluctance. It possessed a fascination for me, and it was with no ordinary sensations that I contemplated my situation, with one solitary companion in that hitherto untrodden desert; while my nearness to the earth's axis, the consciousness of standing upon land far beyond the limits of previous observations, the reflections which crossed my mind respecting the vast ocean which lay spread out before me, the thought that these ice-girdled waters might lash the shores of distant islands where dwell human beings of an unknown race, were circumstances calculated to invest the very air with mystery, to deepen the curiosity, and to strengthen the resolution to persevere in my determination to sail upon this sea and to explore its furthest limits; and as I recalled the struggles which had been made to reach this sea--through the ice and across the ice--by generations of brave men, it seemed as if the spirits of these Old Worthies came to encourage me, as their experience had already guided me; and I felt that I had within my grasp 'the great and notable thing' which had inspired the zeal of sturdy Frobisher, and that I had achieved the hope of matchless Parry."

We can understand those feelings. Often a vision of achievement like that has led men to make great efforts and those efforts have resulted in achieving

p. 131

not what they saw in the vision but something even better. It was not reserved for Hayes to discover what he thought might possibly be found. And he might think it a strange thing if he could revisit the earth and see that the first actual discovery of what is really at the "ends of the earth" is made not by an explorer with ships and sleds and dogs, but by an explorer of the facts which observations have gradually given us. It is not the actual explorer, collector of facts, or in an army, the actual scout, who wins the victories of science or of war. It is the philosopher who puts the facts together and draws inferences; it is the general who puts together the isolated tidings brought in by scouts. And so in this case. Kane and Hayes, Greely, Nansen and Peary, have indeed gathered in many a fact and observation. But the very nearness of these men to their own actual problems has perhaps prevented them from seeing the whole field at a glance. By taking all their results and comparing them with what the astronomers tell us of other polar regions and of the evolution of planets in this way only can the actual visions of men like Hayes be turned into the concrete reality of scientific knowledge. And then, once having achieved that, the task of the explorer is rendered much more easy and more fruitful, for he is guaranteed a definite goal, and knows just at what he is aiming.

p. 132

But to return to Hayes. In a very interesting chapter he summarizes the available knowledge of the open polar sea. He first draws the reader's attention to the fact that the north coasts of Greenland and Grinnell Land are about the only boundaries of this sea which have not been well defined along their northern coasts. He also makes special note of the fact that while the boundaries of the Open Polar Sea are all within the line of perpetual frost, the sea itself is open and all the serious attempts of polar explorers have had to reckon with this fact. For their difficulty has been to break through the ice barriers and to reach the open sea. He, himself, of course did reach this open sea but as he had come to it by sledge he was unable to take advantage of his discovery. Had he been able to get a ship up to that point all would have been easy--he might well have been the discoverer of the so-called "pole".


In this chapter Hayes prints a very interesting note about the temperature of the polar regions. If the pole is what it has always been supposed to be--namely a sheet of solid ice, the coldest part of the world,--it would follow that the closer we approached to it the lower the temperature would be. And even if the equator were not the parallel of maximum heat (for as a matter of fact that is

p. 133

only an approximation, and the actual parallel of maximum heat departs from the line of the equator) it would still be true that at, or very near, the place which has always been called the pole, there would be a spot where the temperature reached a perpetual minimum. But as early as the first serious attempts to get to the pole, it became evident that this was not the case--that the polar region was warmer than the regions immediately surrounding it. As early as 1821, Sir David Brewster, knowing that exploration pointed to a higher temperature at the poles wrote a paper in which he put forth the theory that figuring from the mean heat of the globe, compared with actual heat measurements on various parts of it, it might be found that the heat at the pole was ten degrees higher than at other points in the Arctic circle.


But if we admit that Sir David Brewster's guess is right--and it is remarkable that, on the evidence available in his day he should have hit upon this idea--what can possibly cause that rise in temperature? If the poles were solid, or at least if they had no source of heat such as out theory predicates, how could they possibly reach that higher temperature? Where could the heat come from? Only if there were such an inner source as we indicate could this take place. And if there were such an inner source,

p. 134

[paragraph continues] Sir David Brewster's guess might prove to be remarkably accurate. For the heat coming from the interior of the earth would not make the whole polar basin into an ice-free region. As we shall show later, there are icebergs and glaciers on the inner lip of the polar orifice. We shall show how mammoths have been entrapped in the crevasses of these glaciers and carried into Siberia in a freshly frozen condition. The polar ice of the external surface would be sufficient to cover the whole pole as well as the region which we speak of as the ice basin, if the polar region were solid. As it is not solid, but communicates with a warmer region, we have the ice from the outside forming a barrier around that region and also forming into ice-fields and glaciers on the inner rim, these latter, however, being prevented from becoming one solid mass by the warm currents from the hotter parts of the interior. It might well be, although we do not say this dogmatically, that the resulting mean temperature in the region that we may call the "lip" of the polar orifice would be found to be on the whole about ten degrees higher than the temperature further south, just as Sir David Brewster thought. But that actual temperature is a matter for actual observation by an expedition. Here we merely call attention to the curious fact that without knowing of this polar orifice a scientist was led to postulate such a relatively high and with difficulty

p. 135

explained temperature at what was thought to be the solid pole.


Before leaving Hayes, however, we may briefly note a number of interesting observations he makes all of which go to support our explanation of the true nature of the polar regions. Lest it be thought that the foregoing accounts of open water were simply due to temporary conditions it may be noted--on Hayes' authority--that as early as the time when Baron Wrangel, then a young lieutenant in the Russian navy made his polar attempts it was clearly proved that the open water to the north was always open whatever the time of year. He also quotes Dr. Kane's findings, whose explorations preceded his own and have been already described here. It may be noted that Wrangel found the open polar sea from an almost opposite point in the polar circle while Parry discovered it to be open from a point above Spitzbergen.

One of the most interesting of these closing observations of Hayes, however, deals with the Eskimo. An Eskimo to whom he spoke before his dash for the polar circle told him that he would find the tribesmen as far north as he could go. Dr. Hayes did find traces of them "up to the very face of Humboldt glacier" and as far north as Cairn Point. Dr. Hayes goes on to say:

p. 135

"The simple discovery of traces of Eskimos on the coast of Grinnell Land was not altogether satisfactory to Kalutunah, for he had confidently expected that I would find and bring back with me some living specimens of them; but he was still gratified to have his traditions confirmed, and he declared that I did not go far enough or I should have found plenty of natives; for, he said, in effect, 'There are good hunting grounds at the north, plenty of musk-ox (oomemak), and wherever there are good hunting grounds, there the Eskimo will be found.'


The importance of that point will readily be seen. Good hunting grounds means vast tracts of land that will support the animals, in which they can not only find food but opportunity for breeding. It means, in short, a salubrious climate. But to that point we shall return later, fortified with a vast mass of positive evidence.

That musk-ox is not the only animal to be found where we should hardly expect it is evident from another entry in Hayes' diary. When he was in latitude 78 degrees, 17 minutes, early in July, he says "I secured a yellow-winged butterfly, and--who would believe it--a mosquito. And these I add to an entomological collection which already numbers

p. 137

ten moths, three spiders, two bumble-bees, and two flies". One wonders where they all came from, especially the butterfly and the mosquito which have been known to find even the American climate too cold for them. But here again we shall not press the subject until we come to treat it in greater detail, for we have other explorers to follow and other evidences to record drawn from their experiences in looking for that pole which does not exist.

Next: Chapter VI. Greely's Explorations