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another island lying to the east of it, say in long. 170° W., and to the northwest of Point Barrow, with a passage between it and the land I have just described. My reason for thinking so is this: We always find ice to the south of the known land, further to the south than we do the eastward of it. The current runs to the northwest from one to three knots an hour. In the longitude of 170° W. we always find the ice barrier from fifty to eighty miles further south than we do between that and Herald Island, and there is always a strong current setting to the northwest between those localities, unless prevented by strong northerly gales (for in such shoal water as the Arctic Ocean the currents are changed easily by the winds), which would indicate that there is a passage in that direction where the waters pass between two bodies of land that holds the ice, the one known, the other unknown.
I would add that the southwest cape of this island, described above, lies twenty-five miles distant from the Asiatic or Siberian coast.
More recently, Capt. Long has announced this discovery in a letter to the Geographical Society of Paris, which is printed in their journal for Sept., 1868. He has also written for the Pacific Commercial a letter strongly advocating the Behring's Strait route for Arctic discovery. For copies of these very interesting letters of Capt. Long we are indebted to a merchant in New London, Conn., Henry R. Bond, Esq., who has watched very closely the progress of all the Polar discoveries. He informs us that the summer of 1868 has been what is termed “an icy season” in the Arctic Ocean, and that the whaling fleet has probably been unable to go as far north as in 1867, which was a peculiarly open season.
In view of all that is said at home and abroad on this subject, we copy the statement of Capt. Long in respect to the Behring's Strait route for Arctic research.
The route I would recommend as the best would be to follow the Asiatic shore from Behring's Strait as far as Cape Kekurnai or Cape Schelagskoi. The ice melts earliest near the shore, and the melting of the snow upon the land forming innumerable streams of water, impels the ice from the shore, leaving an open lane of water near the shore, through which a ship can pass withont difficulty, especially when assisted by steam in calms and adverse winds. After passing Cape Jakan, there being no land to the north, the ice is driven from the shore by these streams and scattered in fragments in the open sea seen by Wrangell, with sufficient openings for the safe navigation of a ship. In the month of August, 1867, the bark Nile passed over a position within ten miles of the point where Wrangell saw the open sea in March. From some point between Cape Kekurnai and Cape Schelagskoi the course would be from north to northwest, as the ice would permit, until north of the Lääсhow Islands, when the effects of the current from the rivers of Northern Asia would be sensibly felt. From thence a course directly toward the North Pole or Spitzbergen, as would appear most feasible, should be pursued.
After getting to the north of the Lääсhow Islands, should a vessel be obstructed by ice, the current, though not as strong as that found north of Spitzbergen and in Baffin's Bay, would eventually carry the vessel through one of these channels into the Atlantic. In the event of any disaster to the vessel, the chances for the preservation of the lives of those on board are much greater than by the route east from Behring's Strait, as from the river Kolyma to the westward, Russian settlements are found near the mouths of all the rivers, where assistance can be procured.
Another route by which this voyage can be accomplished is to follow the shore from Bebring's Strait to the mouth of the river Lena, and from thence directly north beyond Cape Sievero Vostoschni; from thence to the westward toward Spitzbergen. After passing the mouth of the Lena, a vessel would receive assistance from the current of this river and the other rivers between the 105th and 140th meridians.
The effect of those large rivers in impelling the ice from the land was seen by Franklin in his expedition from Great Bear Lake in 1826 down the Makenzie river, and along the shore toward Point Barrow. In this expedition, he reached the longitude of 149° W., with but little impediment from ice on the 15th of August. At this point he determined to return. His associate, Dr. Richardson, proceeded to the eastward with another party as far as the Coppermine river, without any difficulty. Franklin says that the natives informed him that, from the top of the hills at the mouth of the Makenzie river, no ice was to be seen for two months of the year, i. e., in August and September, showing the powerful influence of these rivers upon the ice. It was the current from this river and its thermal influence which enabled McClure to reach Banks's Land, and bad there been other large rivers to the eastward, with no land to obstruct their discharge northward, would have enabled him to make the passage between one ocean and the other,
The months of August and September are, I think, the best months for explorations along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. American whalers have passed to the eastward of Point Barrow, and taken whales as late as the 15th of September, seeing no ice to the northward except in the immediate vicinity of Point Barrow. Whales have also been taken as late as the 12th of October in lat. 71° N.
Deshnew, it is certain, in 1648, sailed from the mouth of the Kolyma along the coast of Asia, and passed through Behring's Strait to the Anadyr river. The account of this voyage, though vague and uncertain in regard to its details, yet established the fact of the separation of the continents of Asia and America.
Shaularow, Billings, and others attempted exploration along this coast, but were unsuccessful, and some of them perished in their attempts. When we consider the scanty facilities and rude structure of their vessels, we cannot wonder at their failure.
With our modern improvements in the structure of vessels and appliances for propelling them, what to the navigators of 200 years ago appeared possible, should to us appear and be of easy accomplishment.
That a vessel properly fitted for the purpose can winter in safety at almost any point along the shore, is proved by the experience of Capt. Collinson, in the Enterprise, who twice wintered eastward of Point Barrow, once at Camden Bay, where there is no protection from the north, except the ice which may be grounded seaward from the vessel.
That the passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean will be accomplished by one of the routes which I have indicated, I have as much faith in as I have in any uncertain event in the future, and much more than I had fifteen years ago, in the success of the Atlantic Telegraph.
In conclusion, I submit these remarks to the public, and while deprecating criticism on any verbal inaccuracies, would invite discussion in regard to the views advanced, or the feasibility of the routes proposed. Although this route will be of no great importance to commerce as a transit from one ocean to the other, yet could the passage along the coast as far as the mouth of the Lena be successfully made every year, (which I think probable,) it would be of great benefit in developing the resources of Northern Siberia. Yours truly,
Thos. Long. Honolulu, January 15, 1868.
4. Hall's Search for Sir John Franklin. The newspapers have recently published some apparently fresh reports respecting Capt. Hall's search for Sir John Franklin. As some of these reports were quite inaccurate and have led to confusion, we have obtained the following trustworthy information from a correspondent in New London, Henry R. Bond, Esq., already referred to as a merchant interested in every thing which pertains to Arctic discovery,
These reports were brought by Dr. Goold, steward of the whaling brig “ Isabella,” which arrived from Cumberland Inlet in September last. The Isabella was in Hudson's Bay in August, 1867. This is the date of Hall's letters to Mr. Henry Grinnels of New York, which were received and published more than a year ago ; so that the Isabella’s report contains no new information.
No whaling vessels remained in Hudson's Bay last winter. Two have gone there this summer, and will probably pass the present winter there. It is not likely that there will be any further news from Hall until such vessels return next August.
“ The whaling master," continues our correspondent, "who last saw Hall, has just left my office. He reports that the latter intended if his expedition was successful to go down to York Factory, one of the Hudson's Bay Company's posts, in the summer of 1868, and sail thence to England if opportunity offered. If he had done so, it is time to have heard of his arrival in England. Hall had a party of five men with him all armed, and he proposed to fight his way to King William's Land if the natives opposed him.” III. REPORT OF HON. A. CAMPBELL ON THE NORTHWEST
BOUNDARY. Some time since we called attention to the interesting maps of the regions adjacent to the disputed boundary of the United States and British possessions in the Northwest, published by Archibald Campbell
, Esq., U. S. Boundary Commisioner. His Report, which has since been printed (Washington, 1868, 270 pp. 8vo), contains much geographical information, especially respecting San Juan and the neighboring islands in dispute (pp. 128–142). The document and the map together are a very important contribution to our knowledge of a region in respect to which we were nearly plunged into war. We make a single extract descriptive of the San Juan island, regretting that we have not room for a more complete synopsis of this important document.
San Juan Island is the most western of the Haro group, and has an area of about fifty-four square miles. Its greatest length is about fourteen and a half miles; its general shape being very irregular, the width varies at different localities; its widest part is about six and a half miles. Low ranges of hills trend along its eastern and western shores, those on the western side being the highest, Mount San Juan, in this range, having an elevation of about one thousand feet. These ranges slope out toward the north, and there are no elevations of any consequence on the northern shore of the island. Between these hill ranges, near the center of the island, lies a basin-like country, gently undulating in its character. There are extensive prairies in several localities, and from the south end of the island to within a short distance of its northern extremity flocks can feed on green grass almost throughout
The greatest amount of arable land is found within the southern third of the island.
Bellevue prairie, situated on the lower end of the island, is about two miles long by half a mile wide. Oak prairie, which takes its name from the groves of oak scattered over it, containing about one thousand acres, is bounded on the north and west by the hills along the west shore that extend across the island at its greatest width. Some of these hills are grassy to their summits, while others are more or less timbered. Immediately north and west of these hills lies a beautiful valley, stretching toward the north end of the island. The southern end of this valley contains several
hundred acres of meadow land, but on the north it is heavily timbered. The land contained in it is all apparently fertile, and around it the hills are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass. This valley lies immediately opposite to Henry Island and adjacent to good harbors.
The northern end of the island contains much good land, now covered by a heavy forest, but when divested of this it can be brought into profitable cultivation. In this region there is a grove of large cedars very valuable for lumber. One-third of the entire area of this island, or about twelve thousand acres, is well adapted to cultivation, and nearly all the remainder to pastoral purposes. The soil of the arable portions is excellent, with the exception of Bellevue prairie, which is somewhat gravelly.
Upon this island are at least four beautiful lakes. From some of these flow rivulets of sufficient size and force to produce good water power: but as yet there are no inducements for the erection of mills, as the lumber of the adjacent shores of Puget Sound is superior to that of the island, the latter having all more or less suffered from frequent conflagrations; but in a few years more, when the husbandman shall begin to receive returns for his labors in rich crops of grain, some of these sites may be selected for erecting mills to prepare the produce for distant markets.
A circumstance of great importance, in connection with this island, is the existance upon it of extensive deposits of limestone. It is to be found near the southern end, in the vicinity of the Hudson's Bay Company's station. On the western shore, near the base of Mount San Juan, immense masses raised up into perpendicular walls are seen at several localities, covering an area of many acres. The northeastern corner of the island is composed of an extensive ledge of the same material. A very small island, (O'Neal's) lying close to the northeast end of San Juan Island, containing only a few acres, is composed almost entirely of limestone. Tested by acid and burning, it proved to be of a superior quality. It exists in sufficient quantities not only for lime, but might be profitably quarried for building stone. The value of these deposits can better be appreciated from the fact that up to the time of the discovery of limestone on this island it was not known to exist at any point on Pugent Sound, within United States territory, and for building purposes it was necessary to procure all the lime used, from California or Vancouver's Island.
In the vicinity of the southern end of the island are, perhaps, the best fishing grounds on Puget Sound. Great quantities of halibut, codfish, and salmon, are taken by the numerous tribes of Indians who, at the proper season, resort to this vicinity for the purpose of fishing The Hudson's Bay Company were formerly in the habit of putting up at this place from two to three thousand barrels of salmon alone, which were bought from the natives. Persons supplied with the proper appliances for carrying on a fishery would find it a very profitable vocation.
At the southern end of the island there is a large bay, known as