4 JULY 1908, Page 31


IT is recorded that many centuries ago the. Icelander Gunnbiorn, driven westward in a gale, sighted the strange land he called White-Shirt from its snowfields, which Eric the Red, following a long time afterwards, more happily renamed: "What; shall we call the land ? " he was asked. "Call it Green Land," replied Eric. "But it is not always green !", "It matters not ; give it a good name and people will come to it." It is with the people who have got to it and attempted, to go beyond it in historical times that this volume is con- cerned. Or, in the words of the author, it deals with the gradual progress of. exploration towards the North along the, different areas of advance within the Arctic Circle. Men love, to essay the difficult and to know the hitherto unknown, and, so the Polar regions have been the scene of persistent effort, and exciting adventure. Each country is keenly anxious that. one of its subjects should be the first to reach the Pole. The. various attempts made since Columbus gave an impetus to discovery to Peary's last are all referred to concisely, and- attention is drawn to facts of interest and new discoveries in each attempt. "Cabot and Sons "—an ingenious name given, to the famous Bristolians by Anderson in his Origin of Coin-, merce—began in 1497 their splendid series of discoveries for England in the Labrador regions and the Hudson Strait ; and' men like Thorne, Willoughby, Chancellor, Borough, Pet and Jackman, Bennet and Poole, maintained the nation's prowess.. It is interesting to note that as early as 1618. the idea,, not new to Englishmen, that colonies should be started' by criminals was acted upon, and the Muscovy Company, procured the reprieve of a batch of prisoners under' sentence of death, and landed them in Spitsbergen to remain there: for a year. But the wretches • "conceived a horror and inward fear in their hearts," and besought the -captain, to' take them home at once. "Being a pitiful and merciful'. gentleman," he did. Mr. Gordon thinks that "the attainment. of the Pole" is a mere matter of money. Nature, in all her. uncertainty and fierceness, can be overcome. Given the: funds, all else will be forthcoming: It will be attained on; some systematic station-to-station plan, though it is not impossible that it may be done in some exceptional year, for. the climate there is variable, with a very wide range of temperature. We recommend this volume. In addition to. what we have indicated, it shows how our commerce has extended by the feats of endurance, the skill and ingenuity, of our countrymen. The volume is illustrated by excellent, woodcuts and rare illustrations by Mr. Edward Whymper.