11 NOVEMBER 1876, Page 12



Sin,—In your article, "The Way to the North Pole," you say, "It turns out that the land supposed to have been seen by Hall far to the north of his most northerly position has no real existence." Too much appears to have been made of this, and to the detriment of the Polaris' party. The map-makers are wrong, but they often are. It is they who jumped to a conclusion. The real position of matters on that point is given in the official report as follows : —" Mr. Mayer also states that directly to the north he observed on a bright day from the elevation mentioned"—called Cape Mayer—" a line of light, apparently circular in form, which was thought by other observers to be land, but which he supposed to indicate open water." Now as these were suppositions through- out, there was equally good reason for calling the phenomenon " President Sea."

If the 150-feet-thick ice was not where our expedition found it when the 'Polaris' party was in that region, how can the Polar Sea there be called the Sea of Ancient Ice? The ice is, no doubt, ancient, but its " home " was the coast of Siberia, without outlets. The prevailing west winds, combined with other influences, have driven it from Siberia to America. We have evidence of this in the fact that the Norwegian trading expedition was able this summer to go to the Yenesei and return without let or hindrance from ice,—an unprecedented circumstance. The vast quantity of ice which has come down from Baffin's Bay this autumn is indicative of the severity of the season, but it also, I think, shows what might have been accomplished had the expedition, on the breaking-up of the ice, turned to the north.—I am, Sir, &c.,