Imágenes de páginas

mouth of the lake is even already so glacier, or, rolling perhaps down its compact, that the Dranse can hardly side to its base, they would only serve work its way below the glacier ; and a to increase its circumference ; and one new lake, which, on the 24th of July, avalanche would increase, and probably was a full quarter of a league in length, double the mass which had been rethough as yet not very deep, announc moved with so much expense and dances, that the causes of a new flood still ger. exist in this unfortunate district of the There is only one means by which valley. If the internal heat of the this valley may be for ever put beyond earth succeed in melting the principal the reach of similar, or even those supports upon which rests the enor still greater disasters which threaten mous cone of ice which has shut up the valley of the Rhone, as far as the valley, it will sink a little, and will the lake of Geneva. This consists in one day or other close up the nar- opening a gallery in the calcareous row outlet which the river still finds strata of the foot of Mount Mauvoisin, beneath it. The heat of the atmos- or Pierre à Vire, which is immediately phere has even little influence on the opposite to the fatal glacier. This surface of the glacier ; threads of wa- subterraneous gallery ought to be ter, hardly visible, trickle down its made so long, that its entrance and sides; and, at four o'clock in the outlet should be removed from the afternoon, the greatest part of the base of the glacier to such a distance glacier is already in shadow under as to prevent all risk of either the the high and precipitous side of the one or the other opening being chokPierre à Vire, a peak which overtops ed up, and thus rendered useless. It Mauvoisin. The nights are grow. would be necessary to make the gal. ing longer; one month more, and lery of a size sufficient to allow the the new snow will cover the glacier ; whole of the Dranse to pass even at every return of a fine day will melt the period of the highest foods. For the snow on the sides of the neigh- this, it appears a gallery, ten feet high bouring mountains, or produce ava- by eight feet broad, would be suffi lanches which will augment the gla- cient ; for if the water run through cier, rendered more homogeneous by it with a velocity of eight feet per sethe cold water which filters through it cond, as will be the case by giving the and freezes. The winter, and even gallery the greatest possible inclinathe approach of the spring, will mul- tion, a mass of water of 640 cubic feet tiply the causes of the increase of the may pass through in a second, which glacier, which bars the valley, and gives fifty-five millions of cubic feet which threatens, in the most alarming in a day; and this volume exceeds the manner, the repetition in the course of estimate which has been made from next year of that scene of horror of observations, of the quantity of water which we have now been reading the which the bottom of the valley could details. The contents of the enor- furnish even during the greatest meltmous mass of ice which forms the ing of the snow. By means of such a barrier has been calculated ; it would gallery, the length of which might be appear to consist of more than fifty 2000 feet, we should for ever give the millions of cubic feet. We may con- Dranse a free issue by the bottom of the trast with it the powers of all the a- valley; and this outlet would be then gents which physics and chemistry altogether independent of the state of furnish to man, and which he so often the glacier. We could even easily abuses for thedestruction of his species; prolong this subterraneous outlet, in but all these are as nothing against the improbable case of the increase of this gigantic mass, the approach even the glacier rendering it necessary to to which is dangerous, on account of change the entrance or the outlet of the detached pieces of ice and rock the gallery. which are continually falling from the All Switzerland is hastening to alupper glacier. If the most extensive leviate, by fraternal aid, the misfor: mines were driven into it, the force of tunes of the inhabitants of the valley the powder would either be lost in the of the Dranse ; a great number of focrevices which traverse the glacier, or reigners, among whom the English cause new ones; or if, in more favour- are distinguished, having contributed able circumstances, large blocks were to the same end. But what avails it blown up, they would fall upon the to rebuild houses in ruins, if the same catastrophe is impending over them? If the Dranse be permitted to folWhile, if the greater part of the money low the disorderly course which it has contributed by benevolence were em- received from the flood, it will underployed on the execution of this gal- mine more and more the sides of the lery, the whole valley would be for mountains of the valley of Bagne ; its ever safe ; an advantage, without water, increased by the melting of which every other will remain preca- the snows next spring, will unite with rious.

that which has insinuated itself into the There is still, in the present state of numerous crevices, and produce more the valley of Bagne, a very disagree extensive destruction; the Dranse will able circumstance, which cannot be be filled with these, and its course amended but by the united labours will thereby be rendered more irregue of the inhabitants, or by the inter- lar and destructive even to the Rhone, vention of government. The enor- the bed of which is at present rising in mous heaps of rocks and pebbles which a very sensible degree, and threatens the flood has formed in the valley, injury to the lower parts of the valobstruct almost every where the course ley. "If every proprietor in the valley of the Dranse, and throw it upon the of Bagne is allowed to erect his dykes steep declivities which bound it. Here, at pleasure on the bank, the evil will as in every spot where a vigorous ve only be so much the greater, for these getation, either natural or the effect partial operations will unite with the irof agriculture, is produced on the regularities of the natural course of the slope of the mountains, these declivia river to render it still more destructive. ties are composed of debris from the If it is meant to protect the interests of upper rocks, which cover the base, ori- the valley, and to turn to the best ginally naked and uncultivated : this account the small means left to the again is covered with a layer of vege- unfortunate inhabitants, they must not table mould, generally pretty thin, be permitted to waste their resources which renders it fertile. But already on partial operations on the torrent. the base of these slopes, more or less Let as regular a course as possible be productive, and covered with forests, marked out for it in the middle of the has been attacked in many quarters, valley; the perfect safety of all the poand undermined at the base by the pulation will then be insured, with the destructive effect of the flood; and least possible expense ; the torrent will thus the upper parts of these steep de- be removed from the foot of the mounclivities are without support, and be- tain sides, by giving it the straightest gin to slide into the bottom of the possible direction ; the largest of the valley. Broad and deep crevices, great rocks and pebbles, which cover which are sometimes a thousand feet the extensive plains, will be accumuin length from the bottom of the val- lated as much as possible at the foot ley upwards, indicate this sliding down, of the slopes already attacked; and whose consequences are so much tó while dangerous and sudden overflowbe deprecated. The melting of the ing will be prevented, the bottom of the snows next spring will fill these rifted valley will be cleared of the greatest obslopes with a great quantity of water, stacles to its renewed cultivation. The which will soften, and cause them to union of all human energy, wisely dishrink and tumble down, as gen- rected, is required to diminish the evils erally happens in those which so which extraordinary accidents very of often lay waste the different vallies ten occasion in the Alps. Individual exof the Alps. The evil is not limited ertion can do little against such misforto the destruction of the vegetation of tunes, and partial charity but too often these declivities, but the torrent of diverts the unfortunateobject of it from the valley is filled with an enormous the means which would effectually aquantity of pebbles, which it rells meliorate his condition. The populam along as long as its slope gives it tion of a whole district is very often impulse : it is in the plains or con- insufficient to repair the ravages of the siderable vallies that these rolled elements in our Alps. A greater union pebbles are deposited, elevating the of strength and means is required to rebed of the torrent, causing the banks medy great misfortunes, and to guard to give way, and producing these in- against their return. A whole valley, undations which so often desolate our nay, a whole canton, ought sometimes low vallies.

to unite to obtain this end. But after

vere one.

certain disasters, a union of means On the 9th of June they anchored still greater than any one canton can to an iceberg, which was aground afurnish, is requisite to save the popula- bout a mile from the shore, in 38 fation of an entire district. In such cases, thoms of water, in latitude 68° 22', and the whole nation ought to unite around longitude 53° 42', and they now obthe altar of their native country, and tained an accurate measure of the of humanity. Let us not overlook, in variation, free from any irregularity this dispensation, in this urgent and in the action of the ship. The variaaffecting case, in which man receives tion was found to be 67° 39' W., and assistance from his neighbour, his fel- the dip 83° 7'. This iceberg was so low-citizen, and his country, the plan firmly moored, that the levels of the of Providence for uniting man with dipping-needle were not in the slightman, the village with its neighbour, est degree affected. In anchoring to the valley with a whole country, and an iceberg, the boat goes ahead with every part of the nation with the whole the anchors, and fixes them before the nation. The free man respects those ship approaches. The ship then stands sacred bonds which give unity to every in, and makes fast her bow to the ice. nation, and assures it civilization, du- An iceberg that is aground is always ration, and happiness.

preferred ; and if it is so low that the ESCHER DE LA LINTH. bowsprit can lie over it, so much the Berne, August, 1818.


On the 16th, they touched at the Whale Islands, where there is a Dan

ish resident, who told them that the ACCOUNT OF THE EXPEDITION TO preceding winter had been a very seTHE NORTH POLE.

On the 15th, the Isabella anchored (THE following account of the expedition to an iceberg about a mile from the to the North Pole, to the result of which all north-west coast of Waygatt, or Hare Europe is looking with anxiety, has been Island. All the astronomical apparadrawn up from original letters from Captain tus was now got ashore, a temporary Ross and Lieut. Robertson of the Isabella, and from other documents; and we con observatory was erected, and the folsider ourselves particularly fortunate in hay. lowing accurate observations on the ing had it in our power to present our read- variation and dip were obtained : ers with so full and interesting an abstract North lat. of observatory, 70° 26' 13" of its proceedings.]

West long, of ditto, 54° 51' 49"
Variation west,

71° 30' The ships under Captain Ross's com- Dip,

82° 48' 47" mand left Shetland on the 3d May,

A pendulum, which vibrated 82 seand, after a good passage across the conds more than twenty-four hours in Atlantic, they reached Cape Farewell the latitude of London, when the temon the 22d.' The variation now in- perature was 52°, vibrated in Waygatt creased as they advanced to the west, Island 153 seconds more than twentyand the thermometer stood at 42" four hours, when the temperature was In latitude 58° 38', and west longitude 43°. Waygatt, or Hare Island, is a50° 54', the first iceberg was seen with bout nine miles long, and 1400 feet much loose ice floating


high. Some of the rocks are basaltic, On the 2d of June the main west ice and coal is found near the surface, in appeared, in latitude 65° and longitude the north-east part of it. The latitude 56o. On the 4th they made the coast of the island is 70° 22' 15" W., and of Greenland, in latitude 65° 62'. The its longitude 54° 51' W., instead of variation this day was as follows: 50° 15', as given in the charts.

Variation. On the 20th of June the ice opened Ship's head N. to compass, 66° 22' W. a little to the northward, and the IsaShip's head S.,

58° 23' W. bella and the Alexander attempted Ship’s head E.S.E., 47° 23' W. to get to the coast of Greenland, by Ship’s head W.,

77° 34' W. warping and towing the ships through On the 8th of June the Isabella was the straits. The winds were light and hemmed in with ice on all sides; and variable, with frequent calms. The Isathough a south-west gale was blowing, bella was first in the attempt, and was she was obliged to tack about where drifted about with the ice, by the she could find room.

tides, till the morning of Monday the 22d. The Alexander, however, was the extreme being 17o, making the more fortunate, and succeeded in get- variation 64° on that tack. ting over to the land, and into clear On the 27th June, when there water, on the evening of Sunday the was the appearance of an opening, the 21st, when it anchored to an iceberg Isabella cast off from the ice, and to wait for the Isabella.

cruised about in a narrow pool for On the 26th of June, at the dis- several days. tance of only twenty miles from Way- On the ed of July a fine fresh gatt Island, the Isabella got into a breeze opened a passage for the ships, piece of clear water that carried them and on the 3d they were in latitude to the land-ice, on the north side of 71° 30', and on the 4th in latitude Jacob's Bight, where they made the 72° 30'. The following measure of following observations.

the variation was then taken: North latitude,

71° 21

North latitude, 72° 44' West longitude.

54° 17' Variation on the ice, 78° 54' W. Variation on the ice, 759 29' On the 5th of July they were in

The ship was now swung, and azi- 73° 15' north latitude, and 57° 14' muths taken on board at every five west longitude. Some of the Esquipoints, when the following results maux families visited both the Isabella were obtained.

and the Alexander. The women are

Variation. dressed in the same manner as the Ship’s head, NORTH, 77° 43' W. men, only their hair is tied on the Ship’s head, NORTH EAST, 70° 30' W. crown of their head, and they have Ship's head, East, 64° 56' W. a small sort of peak on the fore and Ship's head, south EAST, 67° 7' W. after part of their jackets. These faShip’s head, south, 76° 27' W. milies reported, that the part of the sea Ship’s head, souTH WEST, 84° 38' W. where they were had been clear of ice Ship’s head, west, 93° 33' W. the whole winter; that no whales had Ship’s head, NORTH WEST, 90° 20' W. been seen during the season ; and

Captain Ross is decidedly of opinion, that, in their opinion, there would be though there is some difference of senti- plenty of clear water to the northward. ment on the subject, that the follow. This opinion was considered probaing points are established by his ob- ble; for though the number of iceservations: 1. That the deviation oc- bergs were, in the present latitude, as casioned by the direction of the ship at Riskoll, Waygatt Island, and Black head, is not on the magnetic meridian, Hook, almost beyond belief, yet the but differs in every ship. In the Isa- field ice appeared by no means so bella, it is to the east of north, and in close as to stop their progress. One the Alexander, and the Harmony of of these icebergs, which was measurHull, to the westward of north. 2. 'I'hat ed, was 123 feet above water, and there is a point of change in the de- aground in 125 fathoms, yet this viation, which may easily be found by was a very small one compared with azimuth or bearings of a distant object; some hundreds that had been seen. and that when this point of deviation Whenever the depth of water is under is found, it may in like manner be 100 fathoms, there are found immense found what proportion is to be added mountains of ice aground. In fine weaor subtracted from the true variation, ther, streams of perfectly fresh water are but only by actual observation, for the continually flowing from them. Whendeviation does not increase either in ever a fog, with a north wind, touches an arithmetical or logarithmic propor- these icebergs, it becomes ice, and adds tion. On board the Isabella, and in to their bulk. The air, during these latitude 74°, the point of change is N. fogs, is 28°, and the water 311°; but 17° E. The extreme deviation is, in clear weather the temperature has when the ship's head is N. 80° W. risen so high as 84o on an iceberg in viz. 19°, which is additive to the the sun. true variation ; so that with the ship's

“ From the 65th deg. to this, says Mr head W. and N. there is 100° of Robertson, the sea is literally covered with variation ; or by steering W. and N. bergs, and we see no end to them : Where the ship actually makes a S. by E. it is not in 74. or to the southward on this

they are generated is yet unknown to us; course. On the other hand, the vari

coast. That they are forined on the land ation decreases when the ship's head is is certain, from the many stones great to the east, but not in an equal ratio, size which are seen ;- some of them are covered with sand and dirt, others have re- ice, and got to the lat. of 74° 43', gular strata of sand and stones running where they were again stopped and through them horizontally. They are of fast to a field in a thick fog which all forms-generally they have a high cleft froze as it fell, and covered every thing on one side, and shelve down to the water with ice. The compasses were now dicular all round. Loose or stream ice con- traversing very sluggishly, owing prow sists of pieces about the size of an acre and bably to the increase of the dip. under ; about a foot above the surface, On the 22d of July, an opening in shen it is blown together by strong winds, the ice enabled the ship to reach 75° ne piece is edged up on the top of another; of north lat. The following measure it is then called packed ice, or a pack of the variation was then taken : Flaws are large pieces of field ice. The North Lat. iæ generally drifts with the wind, though a Variation on the ice,

74° 55'

84' 30' West. current must set southward, or how would the bergs find their way south. We have

The coast of Greenland now apnot been able to detect any current. The peared a continued smooth ridge of flood tide sets here from southward. At snow, variegated here and there with Waygatt we had a rise and fall of seven feet the black peak of a lofty mountain.* at spring tides. Where the icebergs drift Some of the large islands on the coast into shallow water (that is to say 150 fa- appear less covered with snow. The thoms or under) they ground, and obstruct land ice extends to the distance of the passage of the smaller ice, and form three or four leagues from the land, barriers which it is difficult to pass. In 68 so that it is impossible to approach the there is a reef, in 70% another, in 74 another, generally found full of ice by the coast in this latitude. Soundings were fishers; we have found it the same. In here taken in from 2 to 400 fathoms, standing a few leagues from land we find and soft mud and small stones were 85 fathoms here, closer on 150, 90, and so obtained. No current could be ob D. The water runs in small streams from served by the lead lying at the bottom, the bergs, so we have no difficulty in get- although the ice on the surface was in ting it I am now more sanguine of get motion. ting a long way north and west than I was at the first of the voyage. I am of opinion lat. 75° 21', and long. 60°. 30'. The

On the 25th of July they reached that the ice will clear away, and that very soon. The small ice has been for some

weather was now clearer than it had time consuming fast, and will be all dis- been for some time, and the variation solved by the end of this month, even with. was increasing so fast, that it became out wind to break it.”

difficult to find out exactly how the The following measure of the varia- ship was steering by the compass.tion was taken on the 5th of July. The following measure of the variation

North latitude, - 73° 20' was taken,
West longitude,

57° 14'
North lat.

75° 5' Variation on the ice, 80° 1' W.

West long.

60° 22' On the 7th of July, in 74', the Variation,

87° W. ships were again obstructed by the ice. Dip,

84° 25' The icebergs and the flaws were much On the afternoon of the 25th, the heavier than they had hitherto appear. Isabella was jammed between two ed. The ship now reached the Three flaws of ice, and having seen whale Islands discovered by Baffin about ship at a short distance, Captain Ross 200 years ago. They are situated in resolved to send home his despatches lat. 74° 4', and in west long. 57° 45' with her, lest he should not fall in greatly to the west of the point for- with another, and lest the ice should merly assigned to him. Captain Ross open and separate them. Just before has found, in general, that the coast the despatches were sent off, the iee of Greenland, above the lat. of 68°, is about 100 miles farther to the west * The article GREENLAND,'which was than in the Admiralty charts. The written for the Edinburgh Encyclopædia dip was here 84° 9'.

by Sir Charles Giesecké, who resided seven On the 9th and 10th, the ships years in that country, has been found to stood to the westward, but they found contain a very correct account of it. “The the ice quite fast. Baffin was stopped letters from on board the Isabella, given in

description of Greenland, says one of the by the ice in that very spot, and at Dr Brewster's Encyclopædia, is so correct the same season of the year.

that no one need add any thing more on On the 17th of July, the vessels that subject, until the face of the country is took advantage of an opening in the again changed." Vol. IV.


« AnteriorContinuar »