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was kept afloat, and although in continual danger of sinking, was brought into Table Bay on the 21st of February 1790.
[Crantz, Forster, Pringle.
Cold of the North Polar Regions, as ascertained by Lord
Mulgrave. Soon after the Portuguese had discovered the route to the East Indies by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, an idea was formed of reaching that country, the productions of which were so much the object of European avidity, by a north east-passage. . In the year 1527, Robert Thorne, a merchant of Bristol, addressed a paper to Henry VIII. on that subject, but his proposal was not attended to. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Hugh Wil. loughby made the attempt with three ships in 1553. ceeded to the latitude of 75° north, but being obliged to winter in Lapland, he and all his company perished miserably. Three years afterward Captain Burroughs, afterward comptroller of the Havy to Queen Elizabeth, sailed on the same design, and ad. vanced to 78°. To him succeeded Captains Jackman and Pell, in 1580, in two ships; the latter of whom, with his ship, was never heard of. The Dutch began to pursue the same object in 1595, and successive voyages were made, all which tended rather to prove the impracticability of the scheme, than to bring forward any important discovery. In 1607, Henry Hudson was equipped by a company of Loudon merchants, to discover a passage by the North Pole to Japan and China. He penetrated to 80° 23', and was then stopped by the ice. Two years after, another ship was sent out by the Muscovy company of merchants of London, in which Jonas Poole went master. Iłe made the southern part of Spitsbergen on the 16th of May 1609; but, with his utmost endeavours, he could not advance farther than 79o 50. In the year 1614, another voyage was undertaken, in which Baffin and Fotherby were employed, but without any success ; and in the next year Fotherby, in a pinnace of twenty tons, with ten men; but in this voyage the ice prevented his getting further than in the last. John Wood, with a frigate and a pink, sailed in 1676, but seturned without effecting any thing. Most of these voyages have
ing been fitted out by private adventurers, for the double purpose of discovery and present advantage, it was easy to suppose that the attention of the navigators had been diverted from pursuing the more remote object of those who employed them, with all the earnestoess that could have been wished. “But,” says Captain Phipps, “I am happy in an opportunity of doing justice to the memory of these men, which, without having traced their steps, and experienced their difficulties, it would have been impossible to have done. They appear to have encountered dangers, which at that period must have been particularly alarming from their novelty, with the greatest fortitude and perseverance; as well as to have shewn a degree of diligence and skill, not only in the or. dinary and practical, but in the more scientific parts of their pro. fession, which might have done honour to modern seamen, with all their advantages of later improvements. This, when compared with the accounts given of the state of navigation, even within these forty years, by the most eminent foreign authors, affords the most flattering and satisfactory proof of the very early existence of that decided superiority in naval affairs which has carried the power of this country to the height it has now attained.”
This great point of geography was suffered to remain without farther investigation, from the year 1676 till 1773, when the Earl of Sandwich, in consequence of an application that had been made to him by the Royal Society, laid before the King, about the beginning of February, a proposal for an expedition to try how far navigation was practicable toward the North Pole; which the sovereigo was pleased to direct should be immediately under. taken, with every encouragement that could countenance such an enterprize, and every assistance that could contribute to its suc. cess. The honourable Constantine John Phipps (late Lord Mul. grave) was appointed to conduct the expedition, and the Race. borse and Carcass bombs were fitted out to attend upon it; the command of the latter was given to Captain Lutwidge.
After passing the islands of Shetland, the first land made was • Spitsbergen
This coast lying in latitude 77° 59' 1", longitude 9° 13' east, appears to be neither habitable nor accessible. It is formed of bigh barren biack rocks, without the least marks of vegetation ; in many places bare and pointed, in other parts covered with
snow, appearing even above the clouds. The vallies between the high cliffs were filled with snow or ice.
66 The prospect." says Captain Phipps, “ would have suggested the idea of perpetual winter, had not the milde's of the weather, the smooth water, bright sun shine, and constant day-light, given a cheerfulness and novelty to the whole of this striking and romantic scene." The current ran along the coast half a knot an hour, north. The height of one mountain seen here, was found to be fifteen hundred and three yards. Close to the harbour of Smeerenberg is an island, called Amsterdam, where the Dutch used formerly to boil their whale oil; and the remains of some conveniency erected by them for that purpose are still visible. Once they attempted to make an establishment here, and left some people to winter, who all perished; though the Dutch ships still resort to the place for the latter season of the whale-fishery. It lies in 79° 44' north, g? 50' 45' east.
Captain Phipps brought the two ships to latitude 80° 31' north, where are seven islands surrounded with ice. Captain Lutwidge of the Carcass and the master of the Racehorse ascended a moui. tain on one of them, from the summit of which a prospect ex. tending ten or twelve leagues, eastward and north-eastward, presented itself; the whole view consisted of one continued plain of smooth unbroken ice, bounded only by the horizon. They also saw, stretching to the south-east, what is laid down in the Dutch charts to be islands. The weather was exceedingly fine, mild and clear.
Mr. Israel Lyons, a very distinguished botanist and astronomer, who went out in the Racehorse, found here the head of a man, of which nothing remained but the bones; they were entire, and white as ivory; a puncture appeared on the skull, of a square form, which seemed as if made by a large nail. Mr. Lyons was in possession of this curiosity at the time of his death, which too eager a pursuit of knowledge brought on in the prime of life, to the great regret of his numerous literary friends.
The most remarkable views which these dreary regions present, are what are called Icebergs, (Ice-hills), consisting of large bodies of ice, filling the vallies between the high mountains. Their face toward the sea is nearly perpendicular, and of a very lively light green colour. One was about three hundred feet high, with a
which lies on the porth-west side of Spitsbergen. In prosecutir: this voyage, the most northern point of latitude which they reached was 81° 3ti', and between the latitudes of 79° 50' and 81°,, they traversed 1710 of longitude; being from 2° east, to 19° 30 east.
The following are some of the most curious observations made during the voyage :
On the 19th of June, by a meridian observation at midnight, the sun's lower limb O deg. 37 min. 30 sec. above the horizon, latitude 66° 54' 39" porth, longitude o deg. 58' 45' west. In la. titude 67° 35' Captain Phipps sounded with a very heavy lead the depth of seven hundred and eighty fathoms without getting ground ; and by a thermometer, invented by Lord Charles Ca. vendish for the purpose, found the temperature of the water at that depth, to be 26 deg. of Fahrenheit, the temperature of the air being 48 deg. and a half. June 24, in latitude 73° 40' a fire was incle in the cabin for the first time. On the first of July it was touud so warm, that they sat without a fire in latitude 78° 13' 36". In 73° 650", at four in the morning, Lord Charles Ca. vendish's thermometer was 31, that of the air 40 and a half. At two in the afternoon, at 115 fathoms, the water was 33 deg. at the surface 40 deg. and in the air 44 deg. and three quarters.-July 16, the greatest height of the thermometer was 58 deg. and a ball, at eleven in the forenoon, and at midnight 57 deg. in lati. tude 79° 50' longitude, 10° 2' 30" east. On the 19th of August, at eleven in the evening, an appearance of dusk was observed at Smerienberg. On the 24th of September, stars became visible. “ 'The sight of a star," says captain Phipps, was now become almost as great a plenomenon as the sun at midnight had been two months before, when we first got within the Arctic circle. The sky wasio ger ral loaded with hard white clouds, insomuch that the sun and horizon were never entirely free from them, even in the clearest weather."
Whilst upon this subject we may observe that the first Venetians who explored the northern extremity of the European continent, were struck with the greatest astonishment at the continual appearance of the sun above the horizon, and relate that they could only distinguish day from night by the instinct of the sea-fowl, which went to roost on shore for the space of four hours. Pietro Quirino sailed in April 1431, and in January 1432 he was ship