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out over the polar ice on March 18. Three days later the last of the supporting parties returned, and Dr. Cook continued his march to the pole with only a couple of Eskimos. Between the 84th and 85th parallels of north latitude, he sighted land to the west, but "the urgent need of rapid advance on our main mission did not permit a detour to explore the coast." This, continues Dr. Cook, in the narrative which he has supplied to the New York Herald, was the last sign of solid earth seen on the northward march, though, "from the 87th to the 88th parallel much surprise was caused by an indication of land ice. For two days we travelled over ice which resembled a glacial surface. There was, however, no perceptible elevation, and no positive sign of land or sea." Farther north, Dr. Cook says, "signs of land were still seen every day, but they were deceptive illusions, or a mere verdict of fancy. The mirages turned things topsy-turvy, inverted mountains, and queer objects even rose and fell in shrouds of mystery; but all of this was due to the atmospheric magic of the midnight sun."
Finally, to quote the words used by Dr. Cook on September 7, in a lecture to the Royal Geographical Society of Denmark:-"On April 21 my observation gave 80° 59′ 40′′-that is, 20" from the pole. We advanced the 20" and I made another observation, and several others that day and the next. I think there is no doubt that these observations will prove that we have been on and around 90°-the North Pole." The return march was then begun. Instead of being carried by an easterly drift to the Greenland coast, the little party found themselves some distance west of Axel Heiberg Land. Continuing south to Jones Sound, they wintered in primitive fashion at Cape Sparbo, on the coast of North Devon, and subsequently made their way across to the
Greenland coast, whence Dr. Cook obtained a passage to Copenhagen on board a Danish Government steamer.
Not so much the fact that Dr. Cook was unaccompanied by any white companion as certain surprising features in the above story make it advisable to await the examination of Dr. Cook's instruments and journal of observations before his claim to have reached the pole is definitely admitted. Cape Hubbard, from which Dr. Cook pushed out into the Polar Ocean, is situated in about latitude 81° 15′ N., i.e. 525 geographical or rather more than 600 statute miles from the pole. To have covered this in thirty-five days Dr. Cook must have advanced northwards at an average rate of seventeen statute miles a day, making no allowance for deviations from a due north and south line. An even greater rate of travel was maintained for a longer period of time by Lieutenant Mecham on a sledge journey among the islands of Arctic Canada during the long series of the Franklin search expeditions. Nothing like such a rate of progression northwards has, however, been achieved by any previous traveller over the ice of the open polar sea. Nor is it correct to say, as Dr. Cook is reported to have said, that he was able to rely on more favorable conditions because he travelled earlier in the year than previous explorers. Dr. Nansen and Lieutenant Johansen left the Fram in about 84° north on March 14, 1895, and reached their farthest north in latitude 86° 5' north on April 8, their average daily northing being thus about six miles. Captain Cagni, of the Duke of the Abruzzi's expedition, left the winter quarters of the Stella Polare in Teplitz Bay, Franz Josef Land, latitude 81° 47′ north, on March 11, 1900, and reached his farthest north in latitude 86° 33' on April 25, his average daily northing having been about seven miles. In 1906 Commander Peary pushed out
over the polar ice from the northern coast of Grant Land, just south of the 83rd parallel, on March 6, and reached his farthest north in latitude 87° 6' on April 21, his average daily northing having been about six miles.
From these records it will be seen that by travelling northwards over the Polar Ocean at the rate of seventeen miles a day, Dr. Cook has far surpassed the most strenuous efforts of his predecessors. All the explorers mentioned were capable of, and did on occasion perform, journeys of twenty and more miles a day. But in advancing northward they all found themselves greatly delayed by open lanes of water and pressure ridges in the ice. Dr. Cook says very little about any difficulties of this nature, although he does on one occasion mention that "much of our hard work was lost in circuitous twists around troublesome pressure lines and high irregular fields of very old ice. The drift, too, was driving eastward with sufficient force to give some anxiety." If the conditions he encountered throughout his march were similar to those experienced by previous travellers over the Polar Ocean, it is astounding that he should have been able to travel so much faster than they.
Of course, conditions vary in different seasons and along different routes, and Dr. Cook may have been exceptionally favored. There is no need to doubt his good faith, but for confirmation of his calculations it will be necessary to await the examination of his records. The precision with which he reports his position on April 21 would seem to show that he scarcely appreciates the difficulty of securing exact observations under the conditions as regards refraction, &c., which prevail near the pole.
However this may be, and whatever the precise point attained by Dr. Cook, there seems little doubt that he made
an extended journey over the polar ice; but scientific research was not Dr. Cook's object, and his journey can possess little scientific value. He carried no sounding apparatus, and has brought back only the vaguest information about the new lands to the northwest of Greenland. The land which he did sight, indeed, was probably the land which Peary sighted in 1906, or some extension thereof. Further north, there is a suggestion that the party travelled over glacial ice, but Dr. Cook has nothing definite to report which indicates the existence near the pole of anything but the ice-covered Polar Ocean. Some points have still to be cleared up. In more than one report Dr. Cook is credited with stating that the land he sighted after leaving Axel Heiberg Land abounds with game; yet he did not come within several miles of the land, and, according to the Times, met with no game beyond Heiberg Island. If Dr. Cook reached the pole, he has given a remarkable illustration of pluck and endurance, but his journey seems likely to have a minimum of scientific value, and there is still room where he has been for a well-equipped scientific research expedition to do excellent work in studying the geographical problems of the region. A mere "dash" to the pole may awaken a certain amount of sentimental interest, and direct public attention to the traveller, but it is of no value from the scientific point of view unless exploration-physical or geographical-is carried on. Commander Peary appears to have been equipped with apparatus for taking soundings and making other observations of polar conditions, and he has telegraphed to the director of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, "I am bringing a large amount of material for the museum." The scientific importance of polar expeditions must be judged by the new knowledge obtained
rather than by the determination of a mathematical point more or less accurately according to the instruments used and the precautions taken. suming that the North Pole has been reached by one or both the explorers,
the way is now clear for the scientific study of Arctic hydrography, meteorology, and many other problems of terrestrial physics without the disturbing effort to attain the highest latitude.
AS THE POLES ASUNDER.
"Why do they believe Shackleton and Peary if they won't believe me?" The question is to the point, and we shall answer it.
The week just passed has chronicled an achievement for which the world has waited nearly four hundred years. There has been a fascination about the search for the North Pole which has continued undimmed down the ages because of the apparently eternal inaccessibility of the goal. Now we are confronted by two claimants for the highest honor an explorer can obtainthe attainment of 90 deg. N. There are four alternatives in the competition for credibility: A and B may be both right or both wrong; A may be right and B wrong, or B may be right and A wrong. Each has made a categorical claim; how are these alternatives to be tested and settled?
When an explorer returns and says he has done a specific thing, he is entitled to be taken at his word; and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, before the polite exchange of compliments is over, he has spontaneously produced evidence of the truth of his statements. When Lieutenant Shackleton returned from the neighborhood of the South Pole a few months ago, his first announcement was accepted as accurate; but while the man in the street in his thousands was reading the long telegram, there were half-a-dozen keen minds at work jotting down the positions on maps, calculating mileages and dividing them by days, setting one
statement against another, so that if any discrepancy existed it would be brought to light. Some of these were friends of the explorer, never doubting the truth of what he said; some perhaps were critics who had predicted that the expedition would be a failure, anxious to vindicate their own prescience at the expense of the explorer's reputation; and some were mere scientific Gallios caring neither for the honor nor the discredit of the man, but simply desirous of testing the statements before accepting them. The public never heard of this; it probably does not yet know whether Shackleton has proved his assertions; or faces the world on the mere statement of what he has done. The public does not know, but the experts do, that no discrepancy was found in Shackleton's story; that all his original records have been examined and corroborated by independent authorities; and that, all the time it read of honors and fêtes, no honor worth having was offered without tests having been made, and no distinction bestowed until the word of a man no one dreamed of doubting was established out of the mouths of two or three witnesses. So the public does not know how much weighing of probabilities, how much "ringing up" of people specially fitted to form opinions, took place in the newspaper offices, before the headlines which appeared a few hours after the first telegrams came in were penned. It is worth while to glance at the sort of evi
dence which led the newspaper manwho is anxious not to mislead his readers to hit upon the headlines: one day, "Reported Discovery of the North Pole by Dr. Cook"; and a few days later, "Peary reaches the Pole."
To begin with the reason for the more positive statement, Commander Robert E. Peary is an American who is able on occasion to speak great swelling words on the greatness of his nation and his own destinies; not the sort of speeches which a British explorer would make; in fact, when only his first writings were known, sixteen years ago, they did not attract much attention in this country, nor was the man looked upon as a very serious explorer. But Peary went on; year after year he went up into the Arctic; year after year his reports attracted more and more attention; at length în 1897 he came to London and gave a lecture to the Royal Geographical Society. The Arctic veterans of the Franklin Search saw him, questioned him about his experiences, and pronounced him good. His maps were fitted into the framework of earlier explorers of repute of many nations, and they were found to fit. Whenever Peary made a statement, important or trivial, that could be confronted with the statement of a known authority or another of his own, the two were compared; whenever he produced a photograph it was found to correspond with description. In a word, Peary conquered prejudice and proved that he was truthful; and the confidence of the Royal Geographical Societya tribunal the adverse verdict of which means the non-bestowal of rewardswas expressed by giving him one of the coveted gold medals. Year after year Peary went on, forcing his way farther and farther into the shifting wastes of the frozen sea, and year after year he came back in the bit
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terness of disappointment, having done his best, but yet confessing failure. Had he been the sort of man who would tell a lie he could have done it. He knew so much of the Far North that it would probably never be detected; but the man who can do what Peary had done up to 1907 is the kind of man who cannot tell lies regarding what is nearest to his heart; and he is the kind of man who shows unasked to competent authorities the proofs which would reveal any deviation from truth in his narrative. Each year Peary had proved one fresh point in his reasoned scheme for reaching the Pole. He tamed the shy savagery of the Arctic Highlanders, and won the respect of these mistrustful people, so that they were ready to follow him over the sea-ice in the darkness of the Arctic night. He tested the powers of the Eskimo dogs, the amount of provisions requisite to accomplish a given number of miles; in fact he worked out like a mathematical problem the conditions precedent to reaching the Pole. Thus when he went North last year, an old man as polar explorers go, full of experience, with perfect equipment and a volcanic fervor of desire to reach the Pole this time, his friends knew that it was not the ap、 plause of success he was striving for, but the thing itself. The public were quick to see that the man who had left so little to do in the matter of miles to travel, who had many a time gone through hardships as great as he could ever be called upon to face, could be trusted not to depart from his own tradition of first telling the truth; and when the London newspapers printed the headline "Peary reaches the Pole" they had questioned London geographers who know Peary as an intimate friend, and Arctic travellers, keen to detect the slightest improbability or inconsistency; and what they heard gave them
full confidence in the man and in his word. We know that Peary will submit his records not to satisfy doubt, but to confirm belief; and if anyone can then prove them to be in error the fact will not be hidden. In the case of Peary we judge the man by the flawless record of his past; and, what will appeal even more strongly to some minds, by the fact that Captain Bartlett, the captain of his ship, who was with him, confirms the
Dr. Frederick A. Cook may, for all we know to the contrary, have reached the Pole a year before Peary. He says that he did so. He was subjected, so far as he would subject himself, to the same tests as Shackleton and Peary. In 1891-92 he had been a member of one of Peary's North Greenland expeditions, and there he became acquainted with the Eskimo. But Peary and he did not go out together again. In 1897 Cook joined the Belgian Antarctic expedition, and for a ghastly year he lived on board the "Belgica," drifting helplessly in the Antarctic floe. He wrote an eminently readable book on the expedition, full of rhetorical outbursts-not very much more extravagant than some of Peary's. His companions liked him, but they did not all take him too seriously. Later Dr. Cook made a notable expedition in Alaska, and started to scale the giant heights of Mount McKinley, the loftiest peak of North America. He made the last stages of the ascent alone, and wrote a book describing the achievement. Mountaineers are keen on the first climbing of virgin peaks, they keep careful records of such exploits, and a man is had in reputation when he establishes by definite rules his claim to such distinction. This Cook failed to do. He had no evidence to offer but his word. He had no observations to show, no companion to substantiate his state
ments. His experiences struck experienced mountaineers as almost more than improbable. We have, however, no proof that Dr. Cook did not climb Mount McKinley, and we do not say that he did not.
Now comes the statement that he has reached the Pole at the first attempt. Ploughing with the heifer of Commander Peary, he has solved his riddle; but unfortunately the answer is not convincing. We should find it easier to believe that Cook reached the North Pole than that several other statements in his narrative were correct. He had a year to write a telegram, and yet he states that the telegram as despatched from Lerwick and printed in the Paris edition of the "New York Herald" is full of telegraphic and typographic mistakes. He gave a temperature of 83 deg. below zero Centigrade, and when the absurdity of such a degree of cold was pointed out, he said he meant Fahrenheit, and that 83 deg. below zero Fahrenheit is quite common in the Arctic regions. Let it be granted that the Lerwick telegraph clerk or the Paris printer deliberately changed "Fahrenheit" to "Centigrade," the fact remains that no polar expedition ever found a temperature lower than 73 deg. below zero Fahrenheit, so far as we have been able to discover. Then the observations of latitude were given to the nearest second, and the telegram laid great stress on the seconds. A second of latitude is 100 feet; to be within two or three miles of the truth is exact enough for any polar traveller, and in later interviews Cook says that is all he claims. But the crowning marvel of the journey— greater even than going to the Pole with no white companions, but only two Eskimo boys-was that Dr. Cook solemnly says to newspaper reporters, to Princes, Kings, and even to Professors, that he left all his records,