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The next remark is to this effect. . From the best information we have been able to obtain, it would appear that a current of some force runs from the northward towards the upper part of Davis's Sirait, «luring the summer seaso!i, and, perhaps for some part of the winter also; bringing with it fields of ice in the spring, and icebergs in the summer.
Now it does not appear that either Bathin, or Davis, or James, found any such currents; nor have any of the whalers whom we have consulted brought forward any proots of a current of some force' in any place, which was not produced, in the manner formeriy stated, by the winds and tides. The icebergs, wherever they are capable of motion, are drifted either up or down the bay by the winds; and, as the northerly winds predominate in the summer, it is a natural consequence that, to careless observers, they should have suggested the idea of a current down the bay. The real cause of this movement might easily have been discovered, if those who quote Briffin had read him with attention. • In lat. 72° 12', the sea is open,' says Baffin, 'of an unscarchable depth, and of a good colour, onely the tydes keep no certain course, nor rise but a small height, as 8 or 9 foote, and the floode commeth from the southward ; and, in all the bay beyond that place, the tyde is so small, and not much to be regarded, yet, by reason of snow melting on the land, the ebbe is stronger than the floode; by meanes whereof, and the winds holding northerly the fore part of the yeare, the great isles of ice are set to the southward, some into Fretum Hudson, and others towards Newfoundland; for in all the channel where the sea is open, are great quantities of them driving up and downe ; and, till this yeare, not well known where they were bred.'
Presuming, however, that such a current exists, the instructions go on to say, that it must be derived from an open sea; in which case Baffin's Bay cannot be bounded by land, as our charts generally represent it, but must communicate with the Arctic occan.
That Baffin's Bay does exist, and that it is bounded by land,' has been fully proved by this voyage; but even if that had not been so thorougly established, we are at a loss to know on what principle a current should be expected to flow from a supposel Arctic ocean to the southward. No current flows down Behring's Straits-- which, in this case, ought to be equally expected. As to the possibility of a current under vast fields of ice, carrying with it driftwood, which must thus be supposed capable of sinking and travelling unimpeded under ice of the most irregular forms, it does not admit of a serious examination.
• In passing up the Strait,' the instructious add, if such a current should be discovered, it will be of the greatest importance to you, in pointing out that part of the Strait which is likely to be the least encumbered with ice, as well as in leading
you direct to the cpening by which it may be supposed to pass from the Arctic sex into Davis's Strait.' Captain Ross appears, in this case, to have obeyed his instructions with the greatest anxiety; but it is evident, from the sketch of his Journal which we have now given, that no indication of such a current was cver found.
In a subsequent paragraph, he is directed to abandon its pursuit, if it appears to exist in the north-e::st quarter. Now, if Baitin's Bay has no existence, there seems to be no reason why the attempt to sail into the Arctic ocean should not have been macie, wherever it appeared possible. It seems to us, indeed, that a passage might, with most reason, have been expected between ihree islands and Cape York, as Baffin had not seen this part
of the coast. An order follows to examine the strength and direction of the current ' once in 24 hours, or oftener, if any material change is observed to take piace; and it will be most adviseable to take its temperature at the surface frequently as you proceedl, and to compare it with the temperature of the surface, where there is no current.' The expectations founded on difference of temperature, appear not to have been well considered, nor can we conceive on what grounds a current from an arctic seà should be supposed to possess a higher temperature than the water to the southward. The truth seems to be, with respect to temperature at the surface in those seas, that it is so much influenced by the presence or absence of ice, that this must be considered as a disturbing force, capable of destroying any effects which could follow from a warm current, did any such exist. In fict, in examining the Meteorological Journal, it will be found that the temperature of the surface' was extremely steady, and varied only according to its proximity to the frozen shores, or to the presence or absence of ice.
In a subsequent part of these instructions, a passage occurs, in which it is said that Baffin · is supposed to have seen the land.' Batkin's own remark is this - As namely there is no passage, or hope of a passage in the north of Davis's Strait, we having coasted all, or near all, the circumference thereof, and find it to be no other than a great Bay.'- For ny own part, I would hardly have believed the contrarie, untill mine eyes became wit, nesse of that I desired not to have found, still taking occasion of hope on every little likelyhood, till such time as we had al. most coasted the circumference of this
great Bay.' It appears from a multitude of testimonies, that the western Jand had not before been seen beyond the 69° of latitude, and it is here suggested that the north-east point of Americe might be expected about 72o. We have always doubted the observations of Hearne and Mackenzie, respecting the sea which they supposed they had seen; and in consequence of Captain Ross's investigation, the whole question respecting the northern coast of America, has become more than ever obscure. The fear which Mackenzie felt at being detained by the ice, prevented him from ascertaining the fact that he had reached the sea; and, from other causes, Hearne has left the matter in still greater uncertainty. The arguments of both these travellers, rest solely on the presence of whales, and the rise and fill of the tide. Now, with respect to the former, it is well known that the white whale enters the rivers in Hudson's Bay in such abundance, as to have led to the establishment of a fishery in them. In Ellis's voyage we also find that those whales were seen at a distance of 150 miles above the entrance of Wager's Strait, where the water was fresh on the surtice; -- notwithstanding we were now 150 miles from the entrance, on the 2d of August we passed the fall, above which the tide rose only four feet; but the shores were very steep, and no ground was to be telt with 140 fathoms; there still appeared seals and white whales, but notwithstanding this, most of our company were not a little discouraged by their finding the water almost fresh on the surface.' As these whales thus appear to frequent the fresh water, the circumstance of their being seen by Hearne and Mackenzie, proves nothing respecting the presence of the sea ; while the rise and fall of tide in the Fucson, and in many other rivers, extends to an enormous distance from the ocean. We do not mean to dispute, that both these travellers had arrived at the tide part of the respective streams which they examined. But the position of the northern shore of America remains a problem to be ascertained by future discoveries.
In concluding this sketch of Captain Ross's voyage, it is fully apparent that he has established and extended the discoveries of Baffin, so as once more to convert his “gratuitous' bay into a real bay, notwithstanding the demonstrations of its non-existence which preceded his voyage, and, as we understand, have even attended it since his return. The term gratuitous' must now be transferred to Bashin's 'sea, He has also most clearly established, that, so far from there being a perpetual current setting down along the eastern coast of America, and the western shores of old Greenland, at the rate of four or five miles an hour, no current whatever exists in any part of the Bay, from Disco to Cumberland Straits, which is not transient and superficial, generated by the diurnal motion of the tides, and the drilting of the ice by the winds,
That he has disproved the existence of a North-west Passage, or of any passage, throughout the whole space which he circumnavigated, appears to us to be also most clearly demonstrated. The anxiety for this object, as we deduce from some hints in his book, has persecuted him, since his return, in a manner that does not appear very creditable to those who have set themselves up as its champions. Indeed we have, even here, heard more than enough of the heat which has been excited on this occasion. We leave it to those who have so acted, to determine, and to show by their conduct, whether the unwillingness to abandon their hypothesis, has not been a stronger motive for this pertinacity than the advancement of science. The real philosopher is distioguished by his anxiety for truth; and we have never been able to understand on what other grounds the discovery of a North-West Passage, to the north of Cumberland Strait at least, has been esteemed a desireable object. The condition of Baffin's Bay, to a late period in the summer, is such, and the uncertainty of effecting a passage through that Strait, if it existed, so great, as plainly to make it impossible that any advantageous commerce should ever be carried on by such a route with the Pacific Ocean.
What the event of the new expedition to this quarter, now afloat, may be, we do not venture to predict, as far as relates to Cumberland Straits; but we have no hesitation in expressing our belief, that, to the north of this, it will confirm the discoveries of the last season. The Hecla bomb, and a gun-brig, have, as we understand, been fitted out for this expedition ; the latter having been raised on. This measure we humbly conceive to have been palpably injudicious; and in thus making room for both crews, in case of accident, the other essential properties so requisite have been sacrificed. She now draws more water than the Hecla; and from being so deep in the water, she will necessarily sail (like the Alexander) so heavily, as to be unfit for exploring bays or inlets on a leeshore. She thus also has become more unsafe even than the Isabella, her wall side being under water; in consequence of which, it is to be feared that she will be crushed, if she should happen to be nipt by the ice. We understand that, in addition to these defects, she is top-heavy, and unable to stow provisions for her crew. The Hecla appears to have been fitted with more judgment. All vessels employed among fields of ice ought to be sharp, without which they cannot rise between two fields; and the part which receives the pressure must consequently give way. If the ship is ' wall-sided,' or perpendicular, the ice can have no effect in raising her: as is seen in merchant built ships, which are constrncted to carry cargoes.
The form of the American schooner has been found best adapted to the ice; and there are many instances where these vessels have been fairly lifted on the top of a field without receiving any damage, while others of a different construction have been crushed. It is also necessary that a vessel intended to work among ice should be a fast sailer, as it is only on a shift of wind that any progress can be made. When it has blown fresh for a day in any one direction, the ice becomes packed, and the ship is consequently beset, but is generally enabled to get into some interval forined by the irregular shape of the fields. Here she must remain until the ice is again set in motion by a change of wind; and as the channels thus formed are often very intricate and narrow, she mast, in passing through them, make her course on every point of the compass. She is, therefore, often compelled to beat against the wind; and a good sailer will consequently, by weathering a point sooner than another, make her passage through a channel before it is closed up. It is to be remarked also, that, in these cases, ships make the best way when the wind is contrary; as the ice opens first to leeward, and moves on until it is stopped by grounded icebergs, or by land. A good sailing ship has, therefore, an additional advantage; for as the lee side of the packed ice first opens, and continues opening gradually to windward, the fastest sailing ship keeps longest in the loose ice. As in all cases the greatest pressure of field ice is experienced in a space from three to six inches above the water's edge, pieces ought to be fitted on to carry the diagonal line above this part of the ship’s side, that at the first trip she may immediately rise; a precaution which has been neglected both in the Hecla and Griper. We have only to suggest, in addition to these remarks, that a light schooner should be added to the present expedition, for the purpose of exploring in-shore.
A variety of matter is contained in a bulky appendix, which our narrow limits will not allow us to examine; nor are the several subjects all of equal importance; certainly not sufficient to justify the space which they occupy. A few remarks must suffice.
The first of them is a long paper by Captain Ross, with a tedious detail of experiments, respecting the deviation of the magnetic needle; a circunstance which we have already noticed in the narrative. The result deducible from these, appears to be the following, and we shall slate it in as brief a form as possible. The magnetic needle is in the first place subject to that well known influence which causes it to tend to a certain varying