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his diaries, his observations, his instruments-the charter of everlasting fame, the insurance policy against inThe Saturday Review.

famy-in Greenland, to be forwarded thence to America, while he came on by a Danish steamer to Europe.


It is one of the most curious coincidences in the history of discovery that the world had only just been astounded by the statement of Dr. Cook that he had reached the North Pole when the announcement came from Commander Peary that he too had reached it.

Whatever may be thought

of the credibility of Dr. Cook's singular story, no one will question the achievement of Commander Peary, whose Polar expeditions we have all watched with admiration for so many years that we feel that he is an old friend. We suppose that in the long and honorable records of Arctic exploration, where perseverance and patience are the cardinal virtues and the indispensable forms of courage, no one can have displayed those qualities more than this American officer. He has not had to wait till he arrived in the Polar regions to exercise them; he is a poor man who had, as it were, to create every expedition afresh out of nothing in his own country before he led it northwards. With each failure he has appealed to his countrymen for funds with what must have seemed an everdecreasing cogency. Yet he held on; he accepted criticism, continually rekindled his hopes, put up with a certain official chilliness, and devoted his life to his great quest. Truly "it's dogged as does it." First in forming his expeditions, and secondly in conducting them through years of tedium and hardship, he never once admitted that he was finally beaten, or could be finally beaten. There is greatness in this man, and America may well be proud of him. It was in 1898 that Mr.

Peary started with his first fully equipped expedition for the Pole, but he had had many years of experience and deliberate preparation in Arctic regions before then. In this expedition he lost several toes from frost-bite, and he was prevented from pressing on by the seriousness of his illness. In 1900 he penetrated as far north as 83 deg. 50 min., but he was baffled at that point and was forced to return. In 1901 he started again, but failed. When he returned to the United States in 1902 he had been four years within the Arctic circle. In 1905 he had raised enough money for an entirely new expedition, and started on what turned out to be the most successful of his adventures so far; he came within two hundred miles of the Pole. He returned, home late in 1906, dissatisfied as usual, yet as usual full of hope. In the summer of 1908 he started once again, this time to conquer all his difficulties and attain the one object of his life. The long period of preparation and study, and the repeated failures and renewals of effort are an impressive example of a great task greatly conceived and greatly executed. Commander Peary is not a mere "record-hunter," of course; he is a careful and enthusiastic man of science, and every one of his voyages has been fruitful in adding to our knowledge of Arctic phenomena.

It is conceivable, of course, that it will be proved that Dr. Cook, who professes to have reached the Pole a year before Commander Peary, really did so, in spite of the increasing discredit which his story has provoked.

If his narrative be genuine, we can only say that he is the worst advocate of his own cause that we can imagine. He began by sending to the New York Herald a rather turgid and too rhetorical account of his discovery which must have exasperated every serious reader by its want of definiteness. The discovery of the North Pole is an historical event which needs no verbal emphasis. Verbal emphasis, indeed, is an impertinence and ineptitude. But we need hardly say that rhetoric and vagueness are no final argument against Dr. Cook's claim. It is natural to some minds to express themselves in that way, and we all know that Americans have a more buoyant and exuberant style than we Englishmen generally allow ourselves. Moreover, Dr. Cook may have elaborated this piece of fine writing with the particular intention of avoiding all scientific details as inappropriate for a newspaper. We can imagine him furbishing up his narrative in the underground den where he says he lived for so many months, tricking it out with fine-sounding ideas and gloating over the stunning effect it would have on the readers of the New York Herald. That means, of course, that Dr. Cook is a poor literary critic; but, after all, there is no reason why he should be a good one. Even Peary, whose narrative no one doubts, began with exuberant messages about "having the old Pole" and having "nailed the Stars and Stripes to the North Pole." All that is excusable, and even likeable. Everything depends upon the scientific details which follow these preliminary explosions of delight. Here the advantage is very conspicuously on the side of Commander Peary, whose first printed narrative is very austere, consisting almost entirely of dates and figures, while Dr. Cook has answered all requests for something more satisfying than his breezy and nebulous asser

tions with promises of what he will do in the future. We cannot feel certain that he will not be able to prove his story, but at all events he is trying our credulity more sorely than it was ever tried by any one who turned out to be an honest man. We are still in actual doubt whether he brought any written observations with him to Copenhagen. Sometimes he speaks as though he did, and sometimes as though he did not. In any case, some of his more important papers are said to be in charge of Mr. Harry Whitney, who will take them (apparently when he has finished a hunting expedition) to America. We cannot understand why Dr. Cook did not bring his papers with him. As it is, the Danish men of science who have put him through a kind of crossexamination have seen nothing of the kind. It is evident, however, that he came well enough through the test to impress them in a general way with his genuineness, and to make them think it right for the Danish Geographical Society to bestow its gold medal on him.

The more one looks into the dispute between the Cookites and the Pearyites, the more bewildering it appears. The only parallel to it we can think of is the dispute between Burton and Speke as to the discovery of the sources of the Nile. Many experts declare that Dr. Cook, with the few dogs he had, could not possibly have trayelled over the ice to the Pole at the rate of about fifteen miles a day. To our mind, that is not a final argument in itself. All Arctic expeditions have travelled "heavy," and it is not inconceivable that a man who determined to try the experiment of travelling "light," and who watched his opportunity among the changing conditions of Arctic ice, might have made a successful dash to the Pole. Then what is the value of Dr. Cook's "observations," even if he will consent to produce

them? He appears to have had a sextant and a chronometer with him, but owing to the absence of an horizon in the neighborhood of the Pole the sextant would not have fixed his position with any accuracy. He ought to have had a theodolite for this purpose, but he admits that he had not one with him. If his instruments were at fault, the truth might be-and we should not be surprised if this were the solution of the whole episode that Dr. Cook did make a long march towards the Pole, that he had a reasonable conviction that he had reached the spot, and, though he had no means of deciding the point with accuracy, he thought his accomplishment "good enough," or "near enough," for all practical purposes. If this be so, his claim is not indeed creditable to him as a man of science, and it may never be proved exactly where he did get to; but it would not be necessary to suppose that he is an out-and-out impostor. In spite of all his inaccuracy and perversity, it is not easy to believe that for the sake of a temporary fame he would commit himself to one of the most stupendous lies in history with the certainty of being exposed. Louis de Rougemont; Ireland, the literary forger; Psalmanazar, the author of the fictitious history of Formosa (which was the standard work on the subject for many years); and others would pale their ineffectual fires before the supreme mendacity of Dr. Cook. One naturally turns to his earlier career for indications of his trustworthiness. His chief exploit, apart from his work in the Arctic and Antarctic circles, was the ascent of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. His account of that climb, thrilling as it is as a narrative, certainly errs on the side of scientific indefiniteness. It is full of very moving yet very vague description. should say that he set out in search of The Spectator.


"copy," and over-emphasized his experiences with a good deal of conscious skill. But although there may be much make-weight in his account, it does not follow that he did not reach the top. We imagine that most people have indulgently accepted the bare fact that he did so, although we understand that in the United States Survey his claim is not acknowledged. For the rest, Dr. Cook depends for confirmation of his North Pole journey on the word of the two Eskimos who accompanied him. And here we come to the most extraordinary circumstance in all this extraordinary affair, the fact that Commander Peary telegraphed that these two Eskimos say that Dr. Cook did not go near the North Pole. We have not a shadow of doubt that Commander Peary telegraphed that statement only because he believed it to be true. Yet he must have felt conscious that the information would have "come better" from any one than from himself. For naturally he is an interested witness, and, further, there is a longstanding enmity between the two men which makes it undesirable for either of them to discount the value of evidence by being the first to discover and apply it. We need not go further into the deplorable dispute which mars the grandeur of the greatest geographical achievement of our time. We will only say this: that we believe people will be following a will-o'-the-wisp if they think anything decisive can come of searching out Dr. Cook's two Eskimos, and submitting them to a sort of legal examination. It is not certain that they would try to tell the truth, even if they knew the truth-the scientific truth-about Dr. Cook's journey. It is improbable that they understand much about it. If Dr. Cook wishes to be believed, he should lay his observations before competent men of science, and should do so without delay.


The world has lost one Arctic hero in the brief space of a week, only to gain another. The mood in which the news of Dr. Cook's exploit was received has passed rapidly from hope to scepticism. But the success of Commander Peary, even before his narrative has reached civilization, admits of no honest doubt. His character and his record stand plain for all men to read. For twenty years he has labored towards the goal which he has reached at last. He has lived meanwhile in alternations of total silence and worldwide glory. No explorer is better known or more generally respected among his comrades in adventure and his fellow scientists. His writings proclaim the simplicity and modesty of the man, as his records prove his courage and determination. Voyage after voyage has carried him at each attempt a little nearer to the Pole. In his final success there is nothing surprising. is the crown of a great career, the career of a "generous spirit," which worked to the fortunate end, through youth and middle age "upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought." From such a man the world asks only one authentic sentence, that it may accept his claim. It knows, as his daughter put it, that "if he failed by fifty yards to reach the Pole, he would say so." The authentic sentence has come, and we are assured that behind it will be the full testimony, not only of Commander Peary himself, but of the scientists who accompanied him to assure for his observations the maximum of accuracy and for his records of the phenomena around the Pole the fullest value. The exploit has been no “vacation ramble." It is the last of eight long journeys, and the fruit of a life of endurance, suffering, and study. What will be its scientific value we do


not know as yet. It is conceivable that some of Peary's earlier journeys, which broke no record in the struggle to reach the Pole, may be, like Nansen's crossing of Greenland, richer in scientific results than either of their dashes to the North. But as an adventure the thing has fallen out as every generous man and every romantic boy would have wished it to happen. The palm of glory has gone to the ideal "Happy Warrior." It has been wrested from nature by a sheer triumph of the human will, and by the old methods of ship and sledge, to which generations of explorers had trusted their lives. Three hundred years after Captain Henry Hudson's first essay, a sailor of the same race has solved the problem which he set. Had the achievement been delayed another year or two, it might have been some aeronaut with wings for sails, and petrol for dogs, who would have closed the record by entering a verdict of defeat against all who had attempted the task in the brave old pedestrian way.

There is little need to-day to write of Dr. Cook. His brief bid for fame raises a psychological as well as a scientific puzzle. It is at present impossible to accept his claim. If it is rejected, what folly or madness was it which could induce a man, who had already a certain position among Arctic explorers, modest if not unchallenged, to face the obloquy that awaits one who consciously makes a claim which must be mean if it is false? There is little need now to analyze his singularly unconvincing narrative. Its literary style alone conveyed a warn ing. A man who expresses himself in bombast is a man who values first of all the applause of the ignorant. The Crusoe-like adventurers, the pic

turesque details about shooting Polar bears and musk-oxen with improvised bows and arrows, make a severe claim upon our faith. Much harder to accept is the assertion that Dr. Cook had accomplished in two months the journey from Etah to the Pole, though it is fair to say that on the final dash Peary went faster than Cook. The unfortunate mistake over the recording of unparalleled temperatures, explained away by the simple substitution of Fahrenheit for Centigrade, makes another element of doubt. Astronomers and physicists do not admit that his alleged methods of taking his bearings at the Pole could possibly result in accuracy. It was difficult to understand why an American explorer should have preferred to return home via Copenhagen, and elect to leave behind him the diary and the calculations on which his claim must be based. It is still more disconcerting to find that Mr. Whitney, whom Dr. Cook named as the bearer of these invaluable documents, is in no hurry to return to the United States, and has apparently been quite recently the fellow-traveller of Commander Peary, who none the less denies Dr. Cook's entire story. The fabric of evidence seemed from the first to be slight. There were no witnesses. There were no documents. But Peary's telegram to the effect that the two Eskimos who are said to have accompanied Dr. Cook to "the Great Nail" declare that he was never out of sight of land, leaves nothing to stand against all these disavowals, contradictions, and improbabilities, save the solitary voice of Dr. Cook himself. It would be harsh and rash at this stage of the controversy to pass a final judgment; yet this can hardly be a case of an explorer insufficiently equipped, sincerely believing himself, through faulty observations, to have reached a point which in fact he did not reach. Dr.

Cook, unless he can prove his claim and confound his Eskimos, will stand confessed a deliberate thief of glory. Nor does he seem at present to be even a skilful or plausible artist. He shares with Madame Blavatsky the distinction of having interested Mr. Stead. There lies behind this claim of one explorer to have anticipated his more famous rival by a year some war of cliques and clubs and newspapers which we in this country can with difficulty follow. Against all the probabilities we have, however, to set the fact that the Danish officials in Greenland, who are not novices in Arctic affairs, promptly accepted Dr. Cook's claim. To a fair trial before an impartial jury of experts he is still entitled, whenever he chooses to produce his evidence. In the meantime, the only fact which interests us is that Peary reached the Pole in April of this year.

There is in all our minds some momentary spasm of regret at the thought that there is now one world the less for Alexander to conquer. The threshold of Thibet has been crossed; the Pole has been trodden; men sail below the surface of the sea, and flight becomes a commonplace. The limits of the unattainable are shrinking, and with each year some breach is made in the flaming ramparts of the world. Yet one may well ask whether this quest of the San Graal of adventure has really filled so large a part in the knightly life of mankind as poets are apt to suppose. Most explorers have had a severely practical end in view. Columbus did not sail to seek the baths of all the Western stars. He went to find a way to the Indies. Hudson, when he opened in 1607 the secular search for the North Pole, was simply a captain in the service of the Muscovy Company, determined to sail across the world's roof to "the islands of spicery." It is only in the last stages of adventure, when the alchemist has despaired

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