Press enter after choosing selection

Major Greely's Experience

Major Greely's Experience image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Ontj oí the nuuiy wisethingsdoneby Major Grecly during the three yearsof his liiu in the Aretic regions, was his observance of all festive, religious and nationul holidays. As soon as the liabitation at Fort Conger was finishoil, he assembled his command of 25 n:en on Sunday morning, and deliyered a short address on their situation, and tlie duties which it suggested. Ho said to them, that, although thuy were separated from the rest of the world, it was most proper and i right that Sunday should be observed and he informed "them that he should on every Sunday morning publicly read a selection from the Píalms. He expucted every member of the expedition to be president unless any one had conscientious scruples against listenmg to the reading of the Bible. After the service any parties Wïvhing to leave the station for hunting or other recreation should havo permission to duso, as such exercise was especial ly ncededto break the monotony of their lives. He then read the psalms appointed for the tw eighth day of the month, one verse of which reminded them "how delightful a thing it is for brethren to dweil together in unity." This text was so appropriate to their situation that the commander feit impelled to preach a little sermón upon it. He dwelt upon the depressing effect of a monotonous life in the darkness of un arctic winter. He hoped that every one would endeayor to avoid discouraging words and irritating conduct, and would endeavor to concíllate and reconcile any who might get into a disagreeable controversy. Every Sunday during their stay, even when the circumstances were most dishearttning, the commander never failed to repeat the brief Sunday service, and to distinguish the day by some little indulgences or extras in the matter of diet. The birthday of each member of the party was also observed, themanhimself beingallowed tochoose thedirmer, to which the commander always added someunusual luxury aslongas luxuries remainod. Such days as the Fourth of July, Washingtou's birthday, Decoration Day, Christmas and Thanksgi ving weve eelebrated with all the eclat and festivity which their circumstances permitted. Even the last Thanksgiving, when the whole party were shut up for the sunlees winter in a miserable little smoky hut, was honored with all the means at their command. They were living then pon quarterrations; but the commander thought it right and best to give the men one more tolerable ineal, perhaps the last they would ever enjoy. They had been looking forward to the day for weeks, for they were almost mad with hunger whenever they were awake. Their Tnanksgiying feast consisted, in addition to their usual quarter-ration, of six poundsof rice, five pounds of raisins, two pounds each of coffee and chocolate, a little rum and a few lemons. The psalms of the day were read, and the bauquet was enjoyed most keenly. "It seemed to me, Major Greely eays, "that making this a great and happy day would so break in on our wietchedness and misery as to give us new courage and determination. lam convinced that the idea was a most wise one. To-day we have been almost happy, and had almost enough to eat. . . . Long's stories and merriment in general, kept us all amused and cheerful until midnight." Never was a party of forlorn and desperate men commanded more ably or governed more wisely, more tenderly, or with more judicial firmness, than the party which served under Major Greely in the Arctic regions.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat