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tance from them. On the 24th, Iceland was in sight; some of the ice was in motion, and two ships seemed to escape. Another was lost on the 7th of September; and, on the 13th, the Wilhelmina was crushed to pieces by the fall of an enormous mass of ice, which was so unexpected, that those of the crew who were in bed, had scarcely time to escape on the ice, half naked as they were.

One ship now alone remained, to which the crews of four, and the surviving part of the crew of a fifth, (that was wrecked on the 30th of September), repaired. In the beginning of October, they had drifted to the latitude of 64°; and, on the 11th, the last ship was overwhelmed by the ice and sunk. Thus, between three and four hundred men were driven to the ice, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather, almost destitute of food and raiment.

On the 30th of October, the miserable sufferers divided: The greater part betook themselves to the Continent, whilst the rest remained on a field of ice, until they drifted near to Staten Hook, and then followed the example of their comrades. About 140 of the men reached the Danish settlements on the West Coast of Greenland; the remainder, consisting of about 200, perished.

Thus, it appears, that the ship which survived to the latest period, drifted with the ice in a southwesterly direction from the usual fishing-stations, (probably in 78° to 80° of north latitude), to the latitude of about 62°; at the same time, from longitude a few degrees easterly, to that of more tan 30° west; and, that the ice

still continued to advance along the land to the southward.

In the year 1803, the Henrietta of Whitby, while prosecuting the whale-fishery, was, by a southerly storm, entangled among the ice in the latitude of 800 north, and longitude of 6° east; and afterwards accompanied it in its drift to the south-westward, at the daily rate of from ten to fifteen miles. They saw several bears; and at one time they conceived that the land of West Greenland was within sight. The ice pressed dreadfully around them, and accumulated in amazing heaps; but providentially, the ship always escaped the heaviest crushes. After a state of complete inertion during seven weeks, the ice began to slack; when, with vigilant and laborious measures, they were enabled to make their escape, in latitude about 73 north, and longitude 9°


When treating of the pressure of fields, I slightly alluded to a circumstance which occurred within my own observation on my last voyage to Greenland (1814). While it affords a suitable illustration of the tremendous effects produced by the collision of those prodigious sheets of ice, it is no less applicable to the subject in hand; I shall therefore give a sketch of the whole occurrence.

In the beginning of May, we entered, with the ship Esk of Whitby, a spacious opening of the ice, to a distance of ten or twelve leagues from the exterior, wherein we were tempted to stay, from the appearance of a great number of whales. On the 9th of May, the weather calmed, the frost was severe, and the ship was soon

fixed in young ice. At the same time, the external sheets of ice on the north-east wheeled to the south, formed a junction with the ice south-east from us, and completely enclosed us. Until the 16th, we lay immoveable; a break of the bay ice then appeared about half a-mile from us, to attain which, we laboured with energy, and in eight hours had made a passage for the ship. On the 18th, we pursued the same opening to its eastern extremity, and endeavoured, but without success, to force through a narrow neck of ice, into another opening leading further in the same direction. On the 20th, in accomplishing this object, we endured a heavy pressure of the bay ice, which shook the ship in an alarming manner. The next day we made a small advance; and on the 22d, after a fatiguing effort in passing through the midst of an aggregation of floes against the wind, we obtained a channel which led us several miles to the south-eastward. On the 23d, we lay at rest together with four other ships. The day following, having sawn a place for the ship in a thin floe, we forced forward between two large masses, where bay ice unconsolidated had been compressed, until it had become 10 or 12 feet thick. We were assisted by about a hundred men from the accompanying ships, which followed close in our rear; and after applying all our mechanical powers during eight or nine hours, we passed the strait of about a furlong in length, and immediately the ice collapsed and rivetted the ships of our companions to the spot. As they declined our proffered assistance, (which indeed, at

this time, would have been quite unavailing), we determined to improve the advantage we had acquired, by proceeding to the utmost limits of the opening. Accordingly, we advanced, on various winding courses, amidst bay ice and fields, in narrow obscure passages, a distance of several miles.

We then discovered a continuation of the navigation, which, although contracted to the space of a few yards, in a channel extending near a mile, between two immense sheets of ice, we determined to attempt to pass on. The prospect was indeed appalling; but, perceiving indications of the enlargement of the passage, rather than the contrary, we advanced under a press of sail, driving aside some disengaged lumps of ice that opposed us, and shortly accomplished our wishes in safety. Here, an enlivening prospect presented itself: to the extreme limits of the horizon, no interruption was visible. We made a predetermined signal to the ships we had left, indicative of our views. In two hours, however, our sanguine expectations of an immediate release, received a check, for we then met with fields in the act of collapsing and completely barring our progress. As the distance across was scarcely a mile, and the sea to appearance clear beyond it, the interruption was most tantalizing. We waited at the point of union, in the hope of the separation of the two fields; and on the morning of the 26th of May, our anxiety was happily relieved by the wished-for division of the ice. The ship, propelled by a brisk wind, darted through the strait, and entered a sea,

which we considered the termination of our difficulties. After steering three hours to the southeastward, as directed by the northern ice, we were concerned to discover, that our conclusions had been premature.

An immense

devious course nearly ninety miles, and accomplishing a distance on a direct north-east course of about forty miles; we found ourselves at the very margin of the sea, separated only by a narrow sea stream. The waves were so great

that we dared not to hazard an attempt to force through this remaining obstacle. After waiting about thirty hours, on the morning of the 28th of May the weather cleared, and the wind abated. The sea stream, which, the preceding day, did not exceed two hundred yards in breadth, was generally augmented to upwards of a mile broad. One place alone was visible, where the breadth was less considerable; to that we directed our course, forced the ship into it, and by prompt and vigorous exertions were enabled to surmount every difficulty, and accomplish our final escape into the free ocean.

pack opened on our view, stretch-without, and the wind so violent, ing directly across our track. There was no alternative, bat forcing through it: we therefore pushed forward into the least connected part. By availing ourselves of every advantage in sailing, where sailing was practicable, and boring or drifting, where the pieces of ice were too compact, we at length reached the leeward part of a narrow channel, in which we had to ply a considerable distance against the wind. In performing this, the wind, which had hitherto blown a brisk breeze from the north, was increased to a strong gale: the ship was placed in such a critical situation, that we could not for above an hour accomplish any reduction of the sails, and she was thus alarmingly oppressed while I was personally engaged performing the duty of a pilot from the top-mast-head, the agitation and bending of the mast was so uncommon, that I was seriously alarmed for its stability. At length we were enabled to reef our sails, and for a while proceeded with less danger. We continued to manœuvre among the ice, according as its separation was most considerable. Our direction was now east, then north for several hours, then easterly 10 or 15 miles;—when, after 18 hours of the most difficult, and occasionally hazardous sailing, in which the ship received some hard blows from the ice; after pursuing a

I have been thus minute in the relation of the progress of our extrication from an alarming, though not very uncommon, state of besetment, both for the purpose of giving a faint idea of the difficulties and dangers which those engaged in the whale-fishery have occasionally to encounter, and also more particularly to shew the extraordinary manner in which ships are imperceptibly immured amidst the ice, by the regularity of its drift to the south-westward.

From this narrative it will appear, that, notwithstanding we only penetrated 25 or 30 miles on our ingress, and among ice most widely disposed; yet, before our regress was accomplished, we had passed on a direct course a dis


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The profusion of ice in the polar regions produces peculiar and marked effects on the surrounding elements. The sea, in consequence, exhibits some interesting characters, and the atmosphere, some striking phenomena. Of these, the power the ice exerts on the wind,-on aqueous vapour,on the colour of the sky,—and on the temperature of the air, are the most prominent; and of those, accordingly as the ice or swell has the ascendancy, the results are varied and remarkable.

1. When the wind blows forcibly across a solid pack or field of ice, its power is much diminished ere it traverses many miles: insomuch, that a storm will frequently blow for several hours on one side of a field, before it be perceptible on the other; and, while a storm prevails in open water, ships beset within sight will not experience one-half of its severity.

It is not uncommon for the ice to produce the effect of repulsing and balancing an assailing wind. Thus, when a severe storm blows from the sea, directly towards the main body of ice, an opposite current will sometimes prevail on

the borders of the ice; and such conflicting winds have been observed to counterpoise each other a few furlongs distant from the ice, for several hours: the violence of the one being, as it were, subdued by the frigorific repulsion and lesser force of the other. The effect resulting, is singular and manifest.

2. The moist and temperate gale from the southward, becomes

chilled on commixture with the northern breeze, and discharges its surplus humidity in the thickest snow. As the quantity of the snow depends considerably on the difference of temperature of the two assimilating streams of air, it follows, that the largest proportion must be precipitated on the exterior of the main body of ice, where the contrast of temperature is the greatest: and since that contrast must be gradually diminished, as the air passes over the gelid surface of the ice, much of its superabundant moisture must generally be discharged before it reaches the interior. Hence we can account for the fewness of the clouds,-the consequent brightness of the atmosphere,-and the rareness of storms, in situations far immured among the northern ice.

From this consideration, it might be supposed, that after the precipitation of a certain small depth of snow on the interior ice, the atmosphere could alone replenish its moisture from the same surface, and that whatever changes of temperature might occur, it could only discharge the same again: or, in other words, that the very same moisture would be alternately evaporated and depo

sited, without a possibility of adding to a limited depth of snow. Now this would assuredly be the case, if nothing more than the same moisture evaporated from the snowy surface of ice were again deposited. But, it must be observed, that notwithstanding winds from the north, east, or west, may not furnish any considerable quantity of snow; and that although those warm and humid storms which blow from the south, may afford a large proportion of their humidity to the exterior ice; yet, as the temperature of the northern regions would be gradually elevated by the long continuance of a southerly gale, the advance of the wind must in consequence be farther and farther before it be reduced to the temperature of the ice; and, therefore, some snow would continue to be precipitated to an increasing and unlimited extent.

Hence, as winds blowing from the north must be replaced by air neither colder nor less damp, and as every commixture with warmer streams must produce an increased capacity for moisture; therefore no wind can occasion a detraction of vapour from the circumpolar regions: on the contrary, as the snow deposited on the interior ice by southerly storms, (from the nature of the circumstances), must be derived from evaporations out of the sea; it is evident, that there must be an increase of snow in the icy latitudes, and that we cannot possibly determine any limit beyond which it may be affirmed that no snow can be deposited.

3. On approaching a pack, field, or other compact aggregation of

ice, the phenomenon of the iceblink is seen whenever the horizon is tolerably free from clouds, and in some cases even under a thick sky. The ice-blink consists in a stratum of a lucid whiteness, which appears in that part of the atmosphere next the horizon. It is evidently occasioned thus: those rays of light which strike on the snowy surface of the ice, are reflected into the superincumbent air, where they become visible; but the light which falls on the sea is in a great measure absorbed, and the superincumbent air retains its native ethereal hue. Hence, when the ice-blink occurs under the most favourable circumstances, it affords to the eye a beautiful and perfect map of the ice, 20 or 30 miles beyond the limit of direct vision, but less distinct in proportion as the air is hazy. The ice-blink not only shews the figure of the ice, but enables the experienced observer to judge, whether the ice thus pictured be field or packed ice: if the latter, whether it be compact or open, bay or heavy ice. Field ice affords the most lucid blink, accompanied with a tinge of yellow; that of packs is more purely white; and of bay ice greyish. The land, on account of its snowy covering, likewise occasions a blink, which is yellowish, and not much unlike that produced by the ice of fields.

4. The ice operates as a powerful equaliser of temperature. In the 80th degree of north latitude, at the edge of the main body of ice, with a northerly gale of wind, the cold is not sensibly greater than in the 70th degree, under similar circumstances.

5. The reciprocal action of the

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