16 APRIL 1921, Page 17


Tim late Sir Clements Markham, who devoted his long life to the cause of geographical research, was the very man to write a history of Polar exploration. He had taken part in one of the Franklin search expeditions in 1850, he had known many of the leading explorers of the Victorian age, and, as President of

the Royal Geographical Society, he had helped to organize many an expedition to the Arctic or the Antarctic. It is natural, then, that the substantial volume which he left almost complete at his death in 1916 and which Dr. Guillemard has now revised for publication should prove to be a most instructive and enter-

taining work. We could have wished for a few more maps to elucidate the text, especially for the North-West Passage and for the Antarctic, but the narrative is well planned and most comprehensive without being tedious. The author's personal estimates of many more or less eminent explorers are of special value, for the human element is all important in the Lands of Silence round the Poles.

It would be hard to say when the Arctic first excited the curiosity of Europe. Pytheas, the Greek astronomer of Manilla (Marseilles) in the days of Alexander, sailed to the Orkneys and brought back reports of " Thule," near the frozen ocean, where in the summer there was no night. " Ultima Thule " was proverbial at Rome, but no Roman, so far as we know, went to look for it. The first Arctic navigators were the Norsemen. Ohthere, the bold sea-captain, told Alfred the Great how he rounded the North Cape and entered the White Sea. In the ninth century Gardar Svafarson had discovered Iceland, and his fellow-vikings colonized it. Late in the tenth century Erie the Red left Iceland and founded a colony in Greenland, which did not die out till after the Black Death of 1349-50. The first Englishman reported to have sailed to the Arctic Circle was Nicholas of Lynn in 1360. Darkness then fell upon the far north until in the Tudor period English merchants began to dream of a North-East or North-West Passage by which, without passing through the Spanish sphere, they could reach Cathay and the Spice Islands. Sir Hugh Willoughby in 1553 was the first of the many English seamen who sought that fabled short cut to the riches of the Far East. Willoughby tried the North- East Passage and fell a victim to the rigours of a Lapland winter ; but his subordinate, Chancellor, reached what is now Archangel and opened up a now and profitable trade with Muscovy. Frobisher, in a barque of twenty-five tons, sought the North- West Passage in 1576 and reached Greenland. Unluckily, he brought back some black stone which the credulous believed to be gold ore ; a Cathay Company was formed to work the supposed mines, and Frobisher was sent to get, shiploads of the worthless mica, with the result that Arctic exploration was somewhat discredited. John Davis, with the help of Raleigh, sailed thrice to Greenland in 1585-7 and penetrated through Davis Straits. Sir Thomas Smith and his friends in 1610 equipped Henry Hudson's last expedition, in which he discovered Hudson s Bay and was cast adrift there by his mutinous crew. Smith, too, through a company of " Discoverers of the North-West Passage," financed Baffin's great voyage of 1615-16, in which he explored Baffin's Bay and reached latitude 78° North in Sir Thomas Smith's Sound. These fearless explorers did not find the route to China, but they rev ...Lied the natural riches of the Arctic and pointed the way for the great whaling fleets of Western Europe. Arctic exploration in the wider sense was discontinued after Baffin's day and was not resumed in full vigour till the early nineteenth century. In the meantime the Hudson Bay Com- pany's.agents explored part of Northern Canada, Captain Cook sailed through Bering Strait, and Russian travellers traced the Northern coast of Siberia. Phipps's naval expedition. of 1773 beyond Spitsbergen is remembered not so much because it reached 80° North latitude as because Nelson was a midship- man in H.M.S. Carcass,' one of the two bomb vessels employed. Acts of Parliament, of 1745, 1776, and 1818, offered rewards to mariners reaching high latitudes beyond 83° N., and as much as £20,000 to the man who made the North-West Passage. After Waterloo, the Admiralty took up the question in earnest. Ross M 1818 was followed by Sir Edward Parry, Franklin, • The Lands of Silence' Maori, of Ardis and Antarctic Exploration. By ffIr Clemente R. Markham. With a Preface by Dr. I. IL If naillamard. WO. bridge: at the Vniversity Press. fibs. net.l

-Scoresby, and others, whose attention was directed mainly to ,the Arctic north of Canada. Sir John Franklin's expedition -of 1845 excited greater interest than any earlier voyage, because the whole party perished and many efforts were made to find their remains. The author says bluntly that Franklin at sixty was too old to command such as expedition, and that if the ' Erebus ' and ` Terror,' in the summer of 1846, had gone south instead of north of King William Land, they would have made the North-West Passage safely and reached Bering. Strait. Sir Clements Markham wrote well about the Franklin search expeditions in which as a -youth he was actively concerned. He thought that the Admiralty might have sent relief by land through Northern Canada and saved some at least of Franklin's men, who perished because ;their tinned food went bad. The search continued year by year revealed_ the cause of the disaster and also completed the exploration of the archipelago north of Hudson's Bay. After that time the :main object of Polar explorers was to reach the North Pole. Their work in high latitudes gradually reduced the unknown area of Arctic land. Whether the late Admiral Peary actually attained the imaginary 'spot, 90° North latitude, on the frozen sea surrounding the Pole, was to Sir Clements Markham .a debatable question. Explorers, he thought, might be better employed. The Beaufort Sea, north of North-Western Canada, remains to be traversed, but the main problems of the Arctic have been determined.

The history of Antarctic discovery is treated more briefly in this book. It begins with Captain Cook, who sailed right round the fringe of the Antarctic in 1771-74. James Weddell, a half-pay naval officer in charge of a sealing vessel, made his famous voyage in 1823, when he found the Weddell Sea free from ice for the first and last time in Antarctic history and reached 74° South latitude. Many later explorers down to Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914-15 have had reason to envy Weddell his astonishing good fortune in that wild part of the Antarctic. Sir James Ross -with the Erebus ' and Terror' in 1840-42 first sighted the South Polar continent, . in what is now called the Roes quadrant, due south of Australia. Half a century elapsed before any attempt was made to continue Ross's work. But between 1896.8—when the Belgic& ' expedition went to Graham Land and the Sir George Newnes expedition went to Victoria Land—and the outbreak of the war, the mysterious Antarctic became almost familiar through the efforts of successive explorers, culminating in the attainment of the South Pole by Captain Amundsen in December, 1911, and by the late Captain Scott a month later. The author does justice to both these remarkable men, and points out the im- portance of Scott's geographical discoveries, apart -from his Polar journey. When the world settles down again sfter the war, Antarctic research will have to be resumed, for there is much to be found out about that terrible region, beside which the Arctic seems almost a temperate clime. Sir Clements Markham's sketch of a fascinating sukject may be read with interest and profit.