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prepared for this undertaking was called the Rurick, and LIEUTENANT KOTZEBUE, son of the celebrated writer of that name, was appointed to command her. She was of small tonnage, not exceeding one hundred, and manned with twentytwo men, officers included, a surgeon and botanist. His instructions were to proceed round Cape Horn, and make the best of his way to the north-west coast of America, pass Behring's Strait, and endeavour to find some bay or inlet on the American side to lay up his vessel in safety, while, with a certain number of his crew, he should penetrate the American continent by land, first to the northward, to ascertain if Icy Cape be an island, as is supposed, and then to the eastward, keeping the hyperborean sea on their left, and carrying with them light skin boats or baidars to enable them to pass such lakes or rivers as might intervene.
At one of the Aleutian Islands he observed a vast quantity of drift-wood thrown upon the shore, and, among other species of wood, picked up a log of the camphor tree. In the midst of Behring's Strait, between East Cape and Cape Prince of Wales, he found the current setting strongly to the north-east, at the rate, as he thought, of two miles and a half an hour, which is at least twice the velocity observed by Cook. In this particular place also the depth of the water was considerably more than the soundings mentioned in Cook's voyage.
Having passed the Cape Prince of Wales early in August, without any obstruction from ice, and as it would appear without seeing any, an opening was observed in the line of the American coast, in latitude about 671° to 68o. Into this inlet the Rurick entered. Across the mouth was a small island, the shores of which were covered with driftwood; and among it were observed trees of an enormous size. The tide regularly ebbed and flowed through the passages on each side of the island. Within the entrance, the great bay or inlet spread out to the north and south, and had several coves or sounds on each shore. Its extent to the eastward was not determined, but the Rurick proceeded as far in that direction as the meridian of 160°, which corresponds with that of the bottom of Norton Sound...
The shores of this great inlet, and more particu
Indians of a large size; the men were well armed with bows, arrows, and spears. They wore skin clothing, and leather boots, neatly made and ornamented; their huts were comfortable and sunk deep into the earth; their furniture and implements neatly made ; they had sledges drawn apparently by dogs, though the skulls and skins of rein-deer indicated the presence of that animal in the country. The description given by Lieutenant Kotzebue of these people corresponds almost exactly with that of the Tschutski by Cook on the
opposite continent, with whom they sometimes trade and are sometimes at war. They are the same race of people as those on the continent of America lower down and about the Russian settlement of Kodiack, as appeared from a native of that place being able to understand their language.
From these Indians Lieutenant Kotzebue learned, that, at the bottom of the inlet was a strait through which there was a passage into the great sea, and that it required nine days rowing with one of their boats to reach this sea. This, Kotzebue thinks, must be the Great Northern Ocean, and that the whole of the land to the northward of the inlet must either be an island or an archipelago of islands.
At the bottom of a cove on the northern shore of the inlet was an extensive perpendicular cliff, apparently of chalk, of the height of six or seven hundred feet, the summit of which was entirely covered with vegetation; between the foot of this
about five or six hundred yards, covered also with plants, which were afterwards found to be of the same kind as those on the summit. But the astonishment of the travellers may readily be conceived, when they discovered, on their approach to this extensive cliff, that it was actually a mountain of solid ice, down the sides of which the water was trickling by the heat of the sun. At the foot of the cliff several elephants' teeth were picked up, similar to those which have been found in such immense quantities in Siberia and the islands of
the Tartarian Sea ;* these teeth they concluded to have fallen out of the mass of ice as its surface melted, though no other part of the animal was discovered by them. There was, however, a most oppressive and offensive smell of animal matter, not unlike that of burnt bones, so that it was almost impossible to remain near those parts of the face of the mountain where the water was trickling down. By the gradual slope of the side of this enormous ice-berg which faced the interior they were able to ascend to its summit, and to make a collection of the plants that were growing upon it. The stratum of soil which covered it was not deep, and the Lieutenant describes it as being of a calcareous nature. The slip of land at the foot of the mountain was probably formed of the soil and plants which had fallen down from the summit as the ice melted, and which, in fact, while there, they had the opportunity of observing to fall.
Besides this mountain of ice, there was no appearance of ice or snow on the land or the water in this part of America, and the weather was exceedingly clear and mild, and even warm; but on the opposite coast of Asia the weather at the same time was cold, and the atmosphere almost constantly loaded with fogs. There was in fact
* Lieutenant Kotzebue called them mammoths' teeth (mastodontes); but from a drąwing made by the naturalist they were evidently the teeth of elephants: which is the more extraordinary, as being the first remains of this quadruped found in the New world. such a great difference between the temperature of the two continents, on the two sides of the strait, that, in standing across, it was like passing instantaneously from summer to winter, and the contrary. This happened about the end of August, at which time a fair and open passage appeared to lie on the American side, as far to the northward as the eye could reach; whereas on the Asiatic side the ice seemed to be fixed to the shore, and its outer edge to extend in the direction of north-east, which was precisely that of the current.
The season being too far advanced either to attempt to carry the Rurick round Icy Cape, which, however, Lieutenant Kotzebue thinks he could have done without any obstruction, or to prosecute the land journey to the eastward; and fearing if he remained longer in the great inlet the entrance might be closed up with ice, he thought the most prudent step he could take would be that of proceeding to winter and refit in California, and early in the following spring to renew the attempt to penetrate into the interior of America. He accordingly set out again early in March, called at the Sandwich Islands, and reached the Aleutian Islands in June, where the Rurick suffered much from a violent gale of wind, in which Lieutenant Kotzebue unfortunately had his breast bone broken; this accident threw him into such a state of ill health, that after persevering till they reached Eivoogiena or Clerke's Island, at the mouth of