Press enter after choosing selection

The Dangers Of The Pole

The Dangers Of The Pole image
Parent Issue
Day
22
Month
September
Year
1876
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Thu Enghsh press has just begnn to discuss the question, who is tho proprietor Of the North pole ? The discussiou may be :t 6ïy proper thing, but the Engli.Sh1 aré certamly eomewhat late in entefíhíí iftio it months after srading an expedition in ülïüMt of the polo. If the North pole belongs to tilo Britisb nation there was no necessity for sendilig tt naval force to take possession of it, and, dn the other hand, if it belongs to some other nátiOíi, Great Britain is incurring an enormous expefiöo ineroly in order to hunt up a Germán, Danísli oí American jóle. . This question of proprietoföhip night to have been settled long ago, and ;he coát of the present British polar exjedition avoided. There is no doubt ;hat every nation ought to look after its own polo, and that a gratuitons search after a pole to which no one has any cletir title ia not a business-like rarocedmi'ti. There seems iö be a very fair prospect that the British navai expedition which recontly wintered in Smith's Sound, will succeed in reaching the pole during the summer. If it accomplishes this task and returns to England, thero will no longer bo any room fot discussion in regard to the ownership of tho polo. England will promptly claim that she has pre empted the Nörth pole, and will attach it as a province to the Dominion of Canada. It may not prove a very valuable possession, but it will afford the English Cabinet an opportunity to appoint Mr. Whalley, oï some equally oppressive statesman, to a Governor Generalship, and to thus gel him peaceably out of the country. We ourselves might reap some littlo benefit froni the formal organization of the British province of the North pole, sinee we could send Sergt. Bates or BeT. Mr. Talmadge as Consul-General to that cool and quiet locality. All this, however, depends not only upötl the successfui reaching of the pole by the British expedition, but upon its safe return. The former eveut is rather probable than otherwise, but it can be easily shown that there is very little probability oi the expedition's return. There is, of course, one greatdifficulty in the way of a naval officer who tries to sail his vessel to the pole. We do not now refer to such obstacles as ice and polar bears, but to the f act tb at the pole is situated in no less than 360 separate degrees longitude. Now, yonr scientific navigator, on being ordered to carry his sliip to a point situated at the crossiug of any single degree of latitude with any single degree of longitude, will take his chronometer, liis sextant, and a good sl&te and pencil, and will soon find his way to the designated place, provided it is not an inland town. But what can the best of navigators do when ordered to sail to the 90th degree of north latitude, and 360 distinct and separate degrees of east or west longitnde - tho choice of the particular species of longitude being, perhaps, left with him ? This is a problem concerning which the best treatise on navigation is silent, aud the effect of such an order as the one sapposedwould probably be to convinco tho most ao complisned navigator tbat the admiralty authorities were a collection of rare and curious idiots. But let us suppose that the commander of the British expedition leaves his ships at some reasonable degree of latitude, and setting out overland on sledges contrives to reach the North pole without confusing his mind with nautical observations. When he arrivés at his destination he will find one particular spot of the earth's surf ace which will be the actual extremity of the axis of tho earth. Being a British marmer, he will, of course, plant himself on that preoise spot, holding the union jack in his hand, and rauging his men about in order to salute the emblem of his country in a proper manner. Mark the inevitable result. The unfortunate commander will instantly begin to rovolvo on his own axis with the same speod with which the earth revolves. The axis of the earth will, of course, correspoud with his personal spine, and the latter will become, so to spemk, a mere prolongation of the former. He will have his regular day and night, and his inclination to the plane of the eliptic wilï 'ive him proper seasons. The spectnele t a captain in the royal navy revolviug at tremeudous speed on his private axis, with, perhaps, the run rising behind his eastern whiskers, or gilding the top of his western ear as it sinks below the horizon of his waistband, can hardly fail to appal the minds of his officers and crew, and to keep them rooted to the spot until they are frozen with horror and the prevaiüng area of low temj-erature. Of course, giddiness would almost immediately seize upon the revolving captain, and settle forever the question of his return to England. The csseinbled ring of mariners would, however, fare no better. Those on ono side of the pole would see those opposite to them revolving from east to west, waxiag ftud waning in the shadow of their unhappy commauder's legs, and at times totally eclipsed by his coat-tails. If they survived this awful sight, and rushed headlong for the pole, bent upon an immediate return to England, they could not teil what course to steer. A divergence of a qnarter of an inch from the true route to London might carry them to Oshkosh or Kamtschatka; and the hope of picking out the meridian of Greenwich froni the other 359 tangled degrees of lougitnde would be simply hopeless. It is true tliat scientific persous assert fchat none of these terrible calamities are possible, and that a party of explorers at the north pole would undergo no more inconvenience from the revolution of tho earth than they would were they at the equator. This is all vory well, but it shonld be noticed that while the scientiüc persons are perpetiwlly egging on the simple mariuer to go and find the pole, they never offer to accompany him. The'only explanaüon of this f act is that they are reluctant to try the esperimont of revolviug on their own axis. They may seek to conceal this humiliatiug truth by whole slutes full of ligure, and the most impressive display of familiarity with the procession f the equinoxus and other aristocratie astronomical phenomena. Common sense teachos us thut if a man perpetual ly whirla on his own axis at the rate rf s. eed maintained by the earth, he would undergo a terrible attack of vértigo, and until some scientific person goes to the polo and returns in good conlition, we should decline to accept the airy aBsertion that sailors can yisit that locality without dauger, or, indeed, with the slightest reasonable hope of ever coming back agafli.

Article

Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus