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we would ask, As there was neither tide nor current, and the water neither rqsenor fell, while it is admitted that' to the south of Behring's Strait, both on the Asiatic and the American side, strong tides had been experienced'—so strong near the Aleutian islands as to 'run at the rate of seven miles an hour,'—what became of all the water carried to the northward by these extraordinary tides? We should conceive that these tides, and the great body of the northern Pacific, which all navigators have found to be in motion towards Behring's Strait, are the strongest indications of an open and uninterrupted passage for the water (uninterrupted except by ice) through that strait into the polar sea, and a decisive argument against any such bay as Captain Burney has imagined to be formed by the junction of the two continents of Asia and America' Such a tide as he describes, and such currents as are known to exist, rushing into the funnel-shaped mouth of the strait, and finding no passage, would infallibly occasion ' a rise and fall' not less remarkable than those which take place in the bay of Fundy and in the gulf of Tonquin; whereas, by supposing a communication to exist between the Pacific and the polar seas, under the ice, in the way we supposed in a former Article, this rush of water to the northward, though imperceptible on the surface, might prevent any great rise of the tide: in Captain Burney's view of the subject, we know not what satisfactory explanation can be assigned of a phenomenon which, we may venture to say, would have no parallel in the known world; namely, that of a current rushing into an enclosed bay, without occasioning any rise and fall of tide. Captain Burney, however, offers no explanation.

With regard to the ' soft ooze,' the third ' extraordinary circumstance,' we are willing to give him all the advantage that it may be supposed to afford; at the same time it may not be amiss to observe that, in the published account of the voyage, the nature of the ground is mentioned but once, as being 'a soft slimy mud'— such as might be deposited behind the eddy of some submarine rock ;—but that in the manuscript journal of Captain Clerke, (in whose ship Lieutenant Burney served,) the soundings in, and on both sides of, Behring's Strait are very frequently mentioned, and more commonly stated to be sand, gravel, and small stones, than any other substance, which, Captain Burney will allow, are indications of * the bottom' having been 'swept by streams.' It may also be proper to notice, in this place, an observation in Cook's published journal, which seems to militate strongly against Captain Burney's notion of there being no current and no passage through Behring's Strait—it is this; that in the middle of the Strait, when it blew hard from the north,' the wind and current being in contrary directions, raised such a sea, that it frequently broke into the ship;' and it was found in the Discovery, that, when they were as high as the seventieth parallel of latitude, the wind at W. N". W. occasioned a great swell. Captain Burney knows that these things could not well have happened in a close bay with the wind from the land, and where there was 'little or no current.' This expression occurs, it is true, once, and but once, in the publishedvoyage—and on what occasion does it occur? we answer,—when at anchor, at a very short distance from the American coast, insix fathoms water, to the northward of, and far within, 'Cape Prince of Wales,' and consequently out of any current setting to the northward; in both years, however, a northern current was found, under the influence of which the ships were driven 'more from the south-west than any other quarter,'—though 'never t» exceed one mile an hour.'

Captain Burney, however, judiciously reserves what he considers to be his strongest argument to the last. 'The deepest soundings,' he says, 'we had in this sea (between Asia and America) did not exceed thirty fathoms, and this depth was found in lat. 68° 45'; midway between the coast of Asia and the coast of America; northward beyond that latitude, the soundings were observed to decrease; and, in our run from the coast of America westward, we did not find the depth to increase, as is usual in running from land, which peculiarities made us conclude that there was land at no great distance from us to the north, and that we were sailing in a parallel line with its coast.'

If there be any truth in the charts, or in the journals of Captains Cook and Clerke, the soundings in 68° 45' abcut the middle between the two continents, were found to be twenty-eight and twenty-nine fathoms, while those farther north by nearly a whole degree of latitude, namely in 69° 30', instead of decreasing, are marked down at twenty-nine and thirty fathoms; but on this point we will not contend with Captain Burney for a few fathoms.* It is the latter part of his statement that principally calls for notice :— 'In- our run from the coast of America westward, we did not find the depth to increase, as is usual in running from land.' Now Captain Cook states distinctly that,' in approaching the American coast, the water shoaled gradually,' (vol. ii. p. 453;) and further, that, being obliged to anchor in six fathoms, it was found, by sending a boat to sound, ' that the water shoaled gradually towards the land.'—Again, in standing to the westward, 'they soon got into deep water;' (ibid.) ' As we advanced to the west, the

* Admitting Captain Burney's statement to be correct, the reasoning is inconclusive. The Strait of Dover is the same depth, and a little more than half the width of the Strait of Behriiig; and though the sea shallows on both sides of it, jet is not closed by laud on either.

E £ 2 water water deepened gradually to twenty-eight fathoms;' (p. 462.) and this, by the way, was to the northward even of 69°. Nay, farther still to the north, Captain Cook observes, ' as we approached the land the depth of water decreased very fast, so that at noon we had only eight fathoms;' (465.)and Captains Clerke and Gore, in the following year, frequently repeat the same observation, and state generally, that' the depth of water in the midway between the two coasts was twenty-nine and thirty fathoms, decreasing gradually as we approached either continent;' (vol. iii. p. 277.) observing moreover, that so regular were these soundings, that they could safely approach either continent even in foggy weather. What could induce Captain Burney to set himself against these numerous and well authenticated facts of which he must have been an eye-witness?

. It does not appear that Captain Cook entertained any doubt whatever of a passage through Behring's Strait into the arctic sea;—and his examination of it was postponed solely from the lateness of the season. Had his valuable life been spared to renew the attempt, we should not now in all probability have had occasion to discuss the question. His calamitous fate, the lingering illness of his successor, and the length of time which the ships had been from England, seem to have cast a damp on the spirits of the whole party; and they became, to use their own words,' so heartily sick of a navigation full of danger,' that they resolved to give it up at a time (July) which was most favourable for commencing it. But not the slightest doubt ever appears to have entered into the minds of any of them, of the separation of the two continents; nor did they contemplate any other difficulty in making the passage to the Atlantic than that which was anticipated from obstruction of ice. Every circumstance, in fact, was favourable to the supposition of a complete separation of Asia and America: the two continents, as they proceeded to the northward, were found to have diverged from thirteen to one hundred leagues, .the. short distance of three degrees of latitude: and so far were they frorn any appearance of approximation, that the farther they were traced to the northward, the farther they were observed to diverge from each other. A French geographer, of the name of De Lisle; and, after his example, a German called Hederstrom, by one of those geographical dashes on paper, so easy to imagine, but so mischievous in their consequences, nave thought fit to unite the imaginary land in the Siberian sea, not with Asia, to which it is supposed to be opposite, but with America, and have thus deprived Captain Burney of the smallest chance of incorporating th* Asiatic Tschutski with the American Eskimaux. We call these tends imaginary, on the authority of one of the ablest navigators and best informed men in all Russia, from whose letter to us on this subject we venture to make the following extract:—

'It is generally understood that four of the seven vessels, which composed the expedition of Deshneff, were lost in the ice; and there is a tradition in Siberia, that their crews were saved on an unknown land lying to the northward of the Kovyma. Since that time this land has frequently been the object of research, and is even supposed to have been discovered by some adventurers, though, in all probability, there is not the least foundation for the story. However, in the year 1758, three officers were dispatched to examine into the truth of this alleged discovery; but they returned without having fallen in with any land. A. length one Andreanoff was sent in 1762, by the governor of Tobolsk, with the same view, and by him the land in question is said to have been actually found. According to AndreanofPs account it is inhabited by two different races of people, one having beards, and strongly resembling the Russians; the other evidently of Tschutski origin; they call themselves Ckrachoy, and their country Tikikhen. Two interpreters of Captain Billing's expedition, Daurkin and Kobaleff, have pretended to vouch for the veracity of AndreanofPs relation, and have even given a drawing of the land, making it a continuation, on one hand, of the coast of America, and, on the other, stretching to what is called New Siberia, which, with some islands lying to the northward of the river Jana, is supposed to have been discovered in the year 1808 by one Hederstrom, who had been sent out by Count Romanzoff to make discoveries in those seas. As to AndreanofPs discovery, it is, to say the least of it, doubtful; and Count Romanzoff, in order to clear up the doubt, has particularly desired Captain Ricord, of the navy, the present governor of Kamtschatka, to employ proper persons to proceed by sea, in baidars, and also parties of Tschutski by land, or on the ice, with the view of exploring whether these supposed lands to the northward of the Kovyma have really any existence.'

We have less apprehension of the passage through Behring's Strait being closed against our navigators, except by ice, than of the difficulties which they may probably have to encounter on this side of America; not that we despair of a water communication between the Atlantic and the arctic sea; for many arguments may be adduced in favour of the separation of Greenland from America, as 1. The north-west current and swell of the sea.* 2. The ice-bergs and drift-wood brought down by that current. 3. The whales wounded off Hakluyt's headland and caught in Davis's strait. 4. The general trending of the American coast, in or about the 70th parallel, from Icy Cape to Hearne's river. 5. The native American Indian maps, painted on skins, which continue the sea from Copper Mine river to the northward of Repulse bay, but be

* IAst i'car the Andrew Marvel of Hull, the Thomas, and several other ships, were as Iiigh as 75° 20', when the sen was open, and a heuvv swell from the we,&t,

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low the {parallel of 70°.* 6, and lastly, and what botanists will consider as the strongest argument of all, two species of erica—the vulgaris and c&rulea—both natives of northern Europe, and both very abundant on the east coast of Greenland,+ whereas it is well known that no species of heath has been found on any part of the continent of America, either north Or south.

But though there is every reason to believe Old Greenland to be an island or an archipelago of islands, we have no inclination to deny that some 6f them may not stretch far enough to the westward to form those several sounds of which Baffin so briefly and vaguely speaks, the narrow channels of which, if they actually exist, toiay occasionally be choked up with ice. It is to guard against a failure from such a possibility, we conceive, that the polar expedition has been planned; in order that, by attempting to sail on a meridian across the pole, or to double Old Greenland to the .north-westward, another chance may be afforded of reaching Behring's Strait by a more direct route. In the mean time, while these expeditions are pending, it may not be uninteresting to discuss the points on which the probability of their success may be calculated, and which we think will mainly depend on two circumstances—the existence of a circumvolving current from the North Pacific into the North Atlantic, which would prove the communication,—and of a great polar sea free from land; two positions very difficult, we admit, of direct proof, and therefore the more fitting to be canvassed.

In discussing the question of the current, which we have supposed to set through Behring's Strait into the Atlantic, it will not be necessary to inquire, whether there be 'little current' here, or 'no current' there; it being well known that the strength and direction of partial currents are affected by a thousand local circumstances, which are too often overlooked by superficial observers; the important and indeed the only point to be ascertained is, the general and permanent direction taken by the great body of the northern Pacific—for it is scarcely now a question that, in this as well as in every part of the ocean, the water, either by tides or currents, is kept in a perpetual state of motion, and thus made to undergo a perpetual circulation. This motion may not every where be obvious, though it may every where exist. No one, however, can doubt the perpetual and unchangeable direction of

* 'One of these maps,' says Dairy mple, ' indicates that, beyond the limits of Capt. Middletoti's discoveries, the sea is continned to the Copper river; in this fact all the Indian maps and report* concur; so that there is every reason to believe Repulse bay does not close up Hudson's bay on that side, but that it communicates with the hyperborean sea'—Memoir of a Map of the Lands around the North Pole, 1784.

t Geiscke, Art. Greenland, iii Edin, Encyclop. The Cffirulea, however, is no longer considered by botauisU as an erica.


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