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highest latitude, 82° 45' N., was attained, and then Parry was obliged to return, owing to the efforts of his men to proceed north being almost counterbalanced by the southerly drift of the ice. No land was seen to the north ; the only indication of such was some mud in holes of the ice in 82° N. Parry succeeded in reaching the highest latitude that has yet been attained either by ship or by travelling over the ice. From 1835 to 1840 a scientific commission, under the direction of Gaimard, explored and drew up voluminous reports on Iceland, Greenland, and Spitzbergen. From 1858 onwards the Swedes have been making most extensive explorations in Spitzbergen and the surrounding seas. They have accumulated an immense store of valuable scientific information. They have made regular surveys of the Spitzbergen Islands. In 1864, Messrs. Nordenskiöld and Duner completed the survey for measuring an arc of meridian in high latitudes, as a means of ascertaining the true figure of the earth. In August, 1868, the sea off North Cape was almost entirely free from ice. The highest latitude reached in the ship was 81° 42' N. in 17° 30' E., which is higher than Parry's farthest or even Pagès'. No land was seen, but in several places the ice was black with stones, gravel, and earth. In October another effort was made to advance north in the Sofia. In 80° 40' N., sporadic blocks of drift ice were encountered, which increased in number and size the farther the ship went. The ice between the large ice masses was two or three inches thick. An accident happened to the Sofia in 81° N., which compelled her to return to an anchorage in King Bay in order to be repaired; but as she was too much damaged to do further work in the ice, the expedition returned home, reaching Tromsö on October 20. In 1869 Captain Koldewey proceeded to Shannon Island, and made numerous scientific observations there. The winter coming on, he was obliged to go into harbour, where he was frozen in on September 22. During the winter sledge journeys were made, and the highest latitude reached was 77° 1' N., on April 15, 1870, when severe storms drove the party back. At this point the shore was lined by ice four miles wide, and apparently several years old. Extensive surveying and other scientific operations were carried on. A large fiord was discovered in 73° 13', which was ascended for seventy-two miles. This expedition was a very successful one from a scientific point of view, and was important in showing that on the east coast of Greenland, in 75° N., reindeer, musk oxen, and other terrestrial animals occur in great abundance, while the climate seems to be mild. Another important voyage



was made in the autumn of 1870, under the guidance of Count von Zeil and Herr von Heuglin. They went to Stans Foreland, and navigated Stor Fiord, as far as Heelis Sound. In August they went through Thymen's Strait, and ascended Mount Middendorf, 1500 feet high, from whence they saw a large tract of land stretching away east, with a lofty range of mountains running north and south, and visible for about sixty miles. In 1871, Lieutenants Payer and Weyprecht attempted to follow up these discoveries by proceeding through Stor Fiord.

The way was blocked, and so they tried to get to the east of the Spitzbergen Islands. Hope Island was found to be free from ice on August 19. On August 28 they reached 77° 17' N., and further east the ice became lighter. On August 30 they were beyond 78° N. and 41° E. in a sea free from ice. In the night ice was struck drifting to the north. On September 1 they were in 78° 48' North and about 42° E. Their further progress was stopped not by ice, but by fogs and contrary winds. Contiguous land was indicated by driftwood, fresh mud, fresh-water ice, and eider ducks. The whole sea between this and Nova Zembla was free from ice. After this, heavy south-west gales drove the ship to 78° 5' N. and 56° E. The homeward journey was made against a series of south-west storms, and Tromsö was reached on October 4. In September, 1871, Captain Carlsen revisited Barent's House in Ice Haven, followed the east coast of Nova Zembla, and by passing through the Vaigatz Strait he circumnavigated that island. In 1871 Captain Mack sailed from Tromsö as far as 82° 30' E. Captain Johannesen sailed about the Sea of Kara as late as October without seeing ice. Several other captains made voyages in the seas near Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla, during which they met with little or no ice from early in June to late in October. In 1872 another Swedish expedition was sent to Spitzbergen. According to the programme, it is proposed to explore the eastern Spitzbergen Sea, and to map the whole of the eastern lands ; to make a continuous series of meteorological and magnetical observations; and to carry out researches on the pendulum, as also in botany, geology, zoology, and other natural sciences. It is also intended to make another attempt to reach the Pole by means of reindeer and sledges. In the summer of 1872 Captain Altmann found the sea east of Spitzbergen free from ice, and saw eight islands occupying the position assigned by Petermann to King Charles's Land. The south end of the westernmost island is in 78° 43' N. and 28° 5' E., and the most easterly is in 79° 3 N. and 32° 17' E. He sailed between the



islands until he reached the ice-fields to the east of the easternmost island; and, although the weather was clear, he could see no land to the north. This is not the Gillis Land of old geographers, which is probably identical with another group of islands about sixty miles farther north. In the summer of 1872, Captain Johnsen also cruised in this region. He sighted land in 78° 18' 46" N. and 30° E., which he reports as belonging to a large island forty-four miles long, the shore of which is covered with drift-wood. He sailed along the east and south shores of this land, which were free from ice ; there was ice at the north end. In this year also the second cruise of the Sampson schooner yacht took place to the Spitzbergen Seas, of which an account is given in the present volume. Although it was an unusually close season, she reached 80° 30' N., 12° E. ; her further advance being checked by a leak caused by ice nips. She sailed from the Shetlands, May 29 ; left Widde Bay on her return, August 17, and reached Hull, September 26. In 1871 she reached 81° 15' N.

The above sketch shows that except at a few points we know very little respecting the seas and lands situated to the north of about 75o. The degree of flattening in the polar region, and hence the true form of the earth can only be ascertained by the measure

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