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have come only from the Asiatic islands, or from some part of tropical Asia.
But this drift-wood does not all stop at the Aleutian islands; much of it, floating through their intermediate passages, finds its way still farther north into Behring's Strait, where it was taken up on both sides, and as far to the northward as the seventieth parallel of latitude, in such quantities, as to serve both the Resolution and Discovery for fire-wood; and it is stated to have been found excellent fuel. An observation in Captain Clerke's journal respecting this wood is particularly deserving of notice, 'it was not,' he says,' in the least rcater-soaked;' now it is evident that, had it lain any great length of time in the water, it must necessarily have been water-soaked; and the inference is, that the logs and trees of the preceding year's drift had passed through the strait with the ice into the polar basin; we say, 'with the ice,' because it is equally evident, from the published account of Cook's voyage, that the ice, like the drift-wood,. has a progressive motion to the northward through the strait. This will appear from comparing the time and place of falling in with the ice in the two attempts to pass the strait; in the latter it was first met with by Captain Clerke on the 6th of July, in lat. 67°; whereas Captain Cook, in the preceding year, first fell in with it on the 17th of August in lat. 70° 41'; the northerly progress on these data being about a quarter of a mile an hour. In the months of'May and June, the southern entrance into the strait would probably be fouud to be choaked up with the ice, which, floating out of the numerous bays and creeks of each continent as soon as the frost breaks up, is borne by the current into the strait. The formation of this ice by the land and in shoal still water is so well known, that the fact of Captain Clerke having entered in his journal under the head of' remarks,' his having observed, on various floating patches, sand, gravel, and small pebbles, is here mentioned only as one which has escaped the notice of the right reverend editor of Cook's last voyage.
It must not be concealed that the tardy motion of the ice through the strait, and the slow rate of the current which, we are informed by Cook, never exceeded a mile an hour, together with the narrowness of the passage, are grave objections against an adequate supply of water being thrown into the polar basin, to furnish the perpetual current which sets out of it into the Atlantic —objections which, we apprehend, the additional aid of all the great rivers of Siberia and America, and the melting of the ice in the summer months, will hardly be thought sufficient to remove, without having recourse to some such hypothesis as that suggested in a former Article, of a rush of water from the Pacific, under the
ice, whenever it presents what our charts are pleased to call an 'impenetrable barrier.' That this is really the fact we infer from what happens in Davis's Strait, where it has frequently been observed that an ice-berg, apparently fixed in the midst of a field of ice, will break through it, and move along in a contrary direction to the field ice, to the wind, and to the upper current. This is a fact known to thousands, and is particularly noticed by that intelligent naturalist and missionary, Fabricius :—' It is truly surprizing (he says) to observe the rapidity with which a mountain of ice will sometimes move even against the wind; the reason of which is, that the base, sinking deeply into the water, is acted upon by the current below with greater force than the wind can exert on the smaller part above the surface; and this is the case even when the upper current, caused by the wind, runs in a different direction to that below;' ' and thus,' he continues, 'from the bases of ice-bergs being of different depths, one may conceive how it is that one mountain moves along with greater velocity than another, or even in an opposite direction.' Here then is the mystery solved; the field-ice, by blocking up the surface of Behring's Strait, may cause the stagnation of the superficial current and force the water to rush beneath it into the polar basin, as we have already stated, without being observed on the surface.
We have but few lights to guide us in tracing this current through the unknown arctic sea or polar basin; but those few are favourable to our hypothesis. From the diverging of the two continents it will necessarily take the direction of both; of that which flows along the northern coast of America we literally know nothing; but the current which comes down Davis's Strait must either have ranged that coast, or originated in the polar sea, or, which is the least likely of all, in a close bay. On the northern coast of Siberia, however, a fact or two may be found in favour of the hypothesis. Shalaurof, in his voyage from the mouth df the Lena, eastward, or towards Behring's Strait, was stopped in his progress when opposite the Kovyma by an opposing current setting westerly, at the rate of a verst an hour, and car-r rying with it large bodies of floating ice.* Near the island of Sabadei he made his vessel fast to the ice, and found that he was carried along with it to the westward by a current setting at the rate of five versts an hour; and it is further stated, as something remarkable, that, on his return to the Lena,' he found the currents setting almost uniformly from the eastwardf—that is to say, from Behring's Strait towards the Atlantic. Approaching nearer to the opening into this latter ocean, we find, from the accounts of
iu _____ __—'
• Rustian Discoveries.—p. S89. t M,,d—331.
the old navigators, that a current was perceived to set from tk« northern part of Nova Zembla, and from W \ gat Strait towards Spitzbergen; and from Spitzbergen it is well known to all the whale fishers that it invariably sets to the south-west, and determines the general position of the ice in this sea, from which such stupendous fields have recently broke loose, and disappeared in the warmer temperature of the Atlantic.
Having thus traced the waters of the Pacific through Behring's Strait, along the two shores of the polar basin, down Davis's Strait and the sea of Spitsbergen into the Atlantic;—and having, besides, in a former Article, noticed the passage of ice-bergs and ice-fields, of wounded whales and drift-wood, as further proofs of a northern communication between the Pacific and the Atlantic;—it remains only to state a few additional facts, which, in our opinion, still more strongly favour the hypothesis of such a communication.
Fabricius, who resided several years in Greenland, and collected many valuable facts, mentions, among others, the following curious circumstance which occurred while he was there: 'A Greenlander,' says he,' brought to me one day from the floating ice the skull, hoofs and hairs of a beast of the ox genus, which had probably been devoured by a bear.' He then proceeds to describe every part with great minuteness, and observes, that it appeared to him to be that species of wild ox which best answers the description of the bos grunniens of Linnaeus, or the yak or Tartaric cow peculiar to northern Asia; and as this notion fell in with his theory of currents from the earth's motion, long since exploded, he concludes that it must have floated on the ice all the way from Tartan, round Spitzbergen, and up Davis's Strait with the eddy current, which is known to set for a little distance round Cape Farewell. Fortunately he has given a figure of this animal in his Fauna Gronlandica, from which it is quite evident that it is not the Asiatic bos grunniem, but the American species boa moschatus, or the musk ox, which frequents the northern shores of that continent, and which was then unknown to Fabricius, who otherwise could scarcely have failed to assign, as the vehicle of this animal, the West Ice, as he calls those fields and islands which are brought down from the north-west.
The principal part of the drift-wood thrown upon the northern shores of Spitzbergen* and Iceland aml the western coast of Old Greenland, being equally the produce of North America and northern Asia and Europe, may have floated down the rivers of those
* On an bland near the norther* extremity of Spitzbergen, fir trees were found seventy feet long, which had been torn up by the roots. Others had been cut down with the axe, and notched for twelve-feet lengths; not the least decayed, nor the strokes of the hatchet in the least ctfaced.—I'hipps's Voyage towards the North Pole, p. 58.
continents continents into the polar basin; but this could not be the case will) regard to the logs perforated by the sea-worm, an animal which operates only in a warm climate.* We have not been able to trace the camphor wood beyond the Aleutian islands, but its having reached that high latitude may assist in explaining another fact in favour of a circumvolving current. The governor of the Danish settlement of Disco, on the west coast of Old Greenland, is possessed of a mahogany table made out of a plank which was drifted thither by the southerly current; not far from the same place there was also taken up a tree of logwood. These products of the isthmus which connects the two Americas could only reach the spot on which they were found by the way of Behring's Strait, along the coast of America, and down Baffin's sea. Had they floated into the gulf of Mexico, they might have been carried by the gulf-stream to the banks of Newfoundland, and from thence to any part of Europe, from the coast of Norway to the strait of Gibraltar; but by no possibility could they pass up the coast of Labrador into Davis's Strait in the very teeth of a current which we shall presently prove to be perpetual. Equally difficult would it be to explain, in any other way, the situation of another log of mahogany picked up by Admiral Lowenorn in 1786, when sent out to re-discover the east coast of Old Greenland. From the admiral's manuscript journal in our possession, it appears that in lat.65e 11', long. 35° 8' W. of Paris, the land then in sight, at the distance of about sixty miles, but the mtermediate space covered apparently with fields and mountains of ice, he discovered a floating log of wood of such enormous size that they were unable to hoist it on board, until they had sawn it in two. Some sea gulls were perched on this log. 'It was a remarkable circumstance,' says the admiral,' that it was mahoganywood, which is generally too heavy to float in water, but the wood in question was so much perforated by the worms, to the very centre, that its specific gravity might probably have been diminished.' The situation in which the mahogany was discovered was far more 'remarkable' than its swimming. The current was invariably found (as it always has been) setting from the north-east and parallel to the coast of Greenland; and if the log in question was not brought down from the arctic sea by the same current which brings so much drift-wood to the shores of Spitzbergen, Green
* One of the grounds assigned by Wood for his attempting the discovery of a northeast passage was that Goolden told him all the drift-wood found on the shores of Greenland (Spitzbergen) was eateu to the very heart by the sea-worm, and that it must therefore hare come from a hat country—' from Jedzo, Japan, or some country thereabouts.' Marrii'i Veyagct.
land, land, Jan Mayen's Island,* Iceland, and the coast of Labrador. we know not by what chance or operation it arrived at the spot where it was picked up.
To prove that the southerly current along the coast of Labrador to Newfoundland is not confined to the summer months, though from the expansion of the polar sea its velocity must be greater in those months, it might be sufficient to quote the authority of Captain Buchan, who for four or five years was continually in that neighbourhood; but that a circumstance of so much importance may not rest on the assertion of a single individual, however respectable, a few facts may be stated which will put the question beyond all doubt.—Captain Beaufort fell in with ice-bergs floating to the southward on the 4th October, in lat. 461°.—Lieutenant Parry, on the 2d April, in lat. 44°21'; the Fly sloop of war, after 'being cut out of the harbour-ice for nearly two miles entered the Greenland floating ice, and drifted in the midst of it round Cape Race for three days, before she got clear; and in lat. 42* fell in with two islands of ice: this was at the end of March. The Grace packet from Halifax, when in lat. 41° 51', long. 50? 5.}', on the 28th March last, had the wind from the north so excessively cold during the whole day and following night, that Captain Vivian concluded they could not be far from ice. Accordingly, about eight in the morning of the 29th, several large islands of ice were observed stretching in an east and west direction for more- than seven leagues, several of them appearing to be from 200 to 250 feet above the surface. On the whole of that day the packet was running at the rate of seven miles an hour, and at the end of it had but just lost sight of the ice.
The brig Ann, of Poole, William Dayment, master, left the .harbour of Greenspond in Newfoundland on the morning of the 19th of January, 1818; the same evening she got among ice, and proceeded about forty miles, when, at day-light the next morning, the Captain found himself completely beset, and no opening to 'be seen in any direction from the mast-head. In this state he continued for fifteen days, drifting with the ice about sixty miles, in a direction S. E. by E. or about four miles in twenty-four hours. The ice was now become very heavy, being about fourteen feet above the surface, and about twenty large mountainous islands or ice-bergs in sight. With this ice the ship drove until she was in lat. 44° S7' and about three hundred miles to the eastward of Cape Race, when, on the 17th of February, she got clear through the only opening that appeared round the whole horizon from east to .south-east, all the rest of the circle affording one solid compact
• The quantity brought to this island alone i« said by Crantt lo spread oscr a surface <.]uatto the base of the whole island.