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of transmuting his gold, and the mariner of reaching Cathay, that the attenuated and disinterested passion, which alone seems to us romantic, begins to lure the explorer and the scientist. The rougher, simpler impulses are still at work, the passion for knowledge is quite unabated, and there are fallow fields enough for all to plough. One suspects that the record of a thorough exploration of Greenland would make better reading than the story of a dash for the Pole, and there are valleys in Albania still untrodden by any Western European since the Latins trampled through them in the effort to subdue the Eastern Empire. Time has its romance as well as space, and Dr. Evans has found in Crete adventures of the spirit more startling than any journey to the Pole. Mary Kingsley,
exploring the West African
mind, found kingdoms stranger than Timbuctoo, and more secret than Lhassa. The man who will tell us how the mosses and lichens flourish in the Arctic Zone will reveal for us more marvels than Peary can have found amid the desolate ice of the Pole. What has happened in this superb adventure is rather the laying of a ghost. It had walked for good three centuries. It had haunted the dreams of boys, and lured aged captains to their deaths. It had filled these barren solitudes with the graves of better men than ever went to El Dorado. We can see it today the phantom it ever was. The brave, the necessary, the idle achievement is over, and still the seas beckon and the deserts call.
This is undeniably a sporting and adventurous age. Not many weeks ago the great feat of a cross-Channel flight was accomplished, and now we have two explorers competing for the honor of having been the first to reach the North Pole. One thing indeed is certain. The Pole, or its immediate neighborhood, has been attained, though whether by Commander Peary alone or by him and Dr. Cook in succession, is not yet determined. Dr. Cook's announcement of his success was closely pursued by a telegram from the Arctic regions, via Newfoundland, which ran "Stars and Stripes nailed to North Pole-Peary." Those who had not been following the history of Arctic exploration were of course unaware that news was expected from Commander Peary at the time when it actually arrived. That explorer's reputation stands so high and his Arctic experience is SO unrivalled that his
claim to have reached the Pole was not questioned. For twenty-three years Commander Peary has striven with the awful spectres of frost and famine which bar the approach to the Pole, and during the course of that struggle has contributed greatly to our knowledge of the Arctic circle. This, his eighth expedition, started from New York in July 1908, reaching Etah, on the Greenland shore of Smith Sound, on August 20 of that year. After shipping stores the Roosevelt started again northwards through Kennedy Channel. Nothing further was heard of the expedition until this week's telegrams announced that the Pole had been reached and that the Roosevelt was safe. In a subsequent telegram Peary advanced a claim to have been "the first man to reach the Pole." And from Captain Bartlett of the Roosevelt came the further information that "Commander Peary found no trace of Dr. Cook." As
we have said, nobody questions that Commander Peary has climbed "the ladder of latitude," in Dr. Cook's expression, to the ninetieth degree. The question of priority remains to be settled.
Up to this point there had been no disposition directly to challenge Dr. Cook's story. He had a triumphal reception in Copenhagen. On Tuesday he delivered a lecture on his achievement before the Danish Geographical Society in the presence of the King and Queen of Denmark. He received the Society's gold medal from the hands of the Crown Prince, and the University conferred on him its honorary doctorate. All the same, a good deal of scepticism prevailed everywhere except in Copenhagen as to the truth or accuracy of his narrative. Dr. Cook, it will be remembered, claims to have reached the Pole on April 21, 1908, Commander Peary's date being April 6 of the following year. Is it not remarkable that the reports of two achievements, separated by a space of twelve months, should have been published almost at the same moment? People naturally wondered why Dr. Cook should have allowed over sixteen months to elapse between his success and its announcement to the world. His address at the Danish Geographical Society failed to furnish any explanation of this considerable difficulty. The details of the narrative suggested other questions. Dr. Cook must have travelled at a rate of seventeen miles a day, and Arctic and Antarctic experts hastened to point out the practical impossibility of such a speed. On this particular point Peary's account of his own journey throws some light. He followed almost the same route as Dr. Cook. Both "jumped off" on to the Polar sea-ice from the northern coast of Ellesmere Land or the adjacent islands, and their lines of march cannot have been widely separated. So far
from Dr. Cook's speed of travel being impossible it was very greatly exceeded by Commander Peary himself on his return journey. Other questioning has arisen over Dr. Cook's precise calculation that on April 21, 1908, he reached latitude 89 deg. 59 min. 46 sec. N. A margin of ten seconds is allowable even in our latitudes in observations with the sextant. The margin of course increases as the observer advances northwards and the sun's altitude decreases. On April 21 almost at the Pole such precision would be quite impossible, especially for an observer standing on drifting ice. No artificial horizon could obviate these difficulties. Already then, before Commander Peary's later telegrams arrived, Dr. Cook's claim and narrative had suggested a good deal of criticism on this and other points.
On Wednesday, however, the controversy became much more acute, and, indeed, in the opinion of some was finally laid to rest by two messages despatched from Labrador by Commander Peary, the one to his wife and the other to the Associated Press. Both of these give the "lie direct" to Dr. Cook. Commander Peary had communicated with the two Eskimos who accompanied Dr. Cook, and these said that "he went no distance north and not out of sight of land." Other members of their tribe "corroborated their story." It is not surprising that these explicit statements, coming on the top of the doubts and difficulties we have mentioned, should have inclined the balance very strongly against the credibility of Dr. Cook's story. Some organs of opinion did not hesitate at once to surrender all further belief in Dr. Cook and his story. This is perhaps a little premature. After all we have as yet only the conflicting statements of the two men, though we agree that the burden of proof and self-vindication seems now to be defi
nitely thrown on Dr. Cook. And he appears at length to realize the position in which his various equivocating and inconsistent stories have placed him, for he declares his willingness to "lay his observations before a council of scientists from all nations," and to "publish a statement doing away with all doubts." That is what an eager world has been waiting for and even demanding. In fairness to Dr. Cook we may note that he has commissioned Captain Sverdrup to proceed to the North to fetch the two Eskimos to confirm his account of his dash for the Pole. But this is only one of many things upon which the world will require enlightenment before Dr. Cook's claim will be seriously entertained. Happily the Royal Geographical and other such societies in this country have reserved their judgment on the controversy. They have not committed themselves in any way to an acceptance of Dr. Cook's claim. Belgium has also suspended the honors it proposed to confer upon him before he embarked at Antwerp for America. Denmark, in an impulse of generous faith and enthusiasm, has done otherwise. She has bestowed almost all available honors on Dr. Cook. Surely recent events might suggest to their recipient that it would be a gracious act to return these distinctions, so far as possible, until he has cleared himself of the very heavy burden of suspicion which must in the meantime attach to the truth and bona fides of his claim. Nobody desires to prejudge him. Indeed, there is so much reluctance to doubt his good word that his story is attributed by some medical men in America to hallucination produced by his intense brooding on one idea and his severe experiences in the Arctic solitudes. Commander Peary's narrative
is now arriving in this country and must throw some further light on the controversy. No one however has questioned that he reached the Pole, for no such occasion for incredulity could arise as naturally attended a narrative unsupported by the testimony of any reliable witness.
It is unfortunate that these quarrels should have occurred at the final accomplishment of a feat which has defied human determination and heroism for three hundred years. The "Old Pole" however, as Commander Peary quaintly and affectionately terms it, is at last conquered, and this fact must have a great influence on the future of Arctic exploration. Scientific expeditions will no longer be distracted by the temptation to make dashes for this mysterious and tantalizing goal. The laurel having been once fairly won, there will be no such pressing eagerness to risk life or health in the mere repetition of the feat. Scientifically this will be an advantage, though the accounts of Arctic investigation may henceforth be a good deal less popular and exciting. With the discovery of the Pole the long romance of Arctic adventures draws to a close. But with its close a new question arises-to what nation does the North Pole belong? To Canada presumably by virtue of proximity; but (says Commander Peary, in a telegram to the President of the United States), "I have the honor to place the North Pole at your disposal." "Thanks for your interesting and generous offer," replied Mr. Taft: "I do not know exactly what to do with it." Happily therefore no diplomatic complication is likely to arise out of the solution of what for centuries has been regarded as one of the world's greatest mysteries.
COMMANDER PEARY'S MESSAGE.
The familiar proverb that it never rains but it pours has seldom been illustrated more strikingly than by the reports of success in North Polar exploration which have followed closely upon one another in the last few days. The announcement of Dr. Cook's triumph, which must have come as a complete surprise to all but a very small number even of his own countrymen, has not ceased to arouse the keenest discussion before the news is circulated that the famous Arctic plorer, Commander Peary, has also reached the goal. Though full details of Commander Peary's achievement have not yet been received, the announcement of his success will not be received with the same initial incredulity which, in the minds of some, attended the publication of Dr. Cook's claim. It will doubtless be noted today with increased interest that Dr. Cook, who is by no means devoid of Arctic and Antarctic experience, was a member of Commander Peary's expedition eighteen years ago. Since then the more famous explorer has added one striking achievement to another; and since April, 1906, when he reached the latitude of 87 deg. 6 min., he has held that record for the nearest approach to the Pole, which appears to have been wrested from him since by his countryman. For, if Dr. Cook's claim is substantiated in all its details, he will go down in the history of Polar exploration as having anticipated Commander Peary's success by a year. He states that the Pole was reached by him on April 21, 1908; and it was not until nearly three months later that Commander Peary sailed for the Northern Ocean. He then anticipated that he would be home by October, 1909, and that if he reached the Pole the news of his triumph would arrive
between the middle of August and the middle of September. It appears, therefore, that his expectations have been exactly fulfilled. The whole world will be glad to receive certain information that the dogged devotion to Arctic exploration which he has displayed on no fewer than eight expeditions has been crowned by the attainment of the supreme goal, even if the honor of absolute precedence has not been won.
The route by which Commander Peary intended to push northward was described in an article which we published in July last year, soon after he had sailed. Its general direction was to be the same as that followed by him in his previous expedition. The settlement of Etah, of which much has been heard in the accounts of Dr. Cook's journey, lies on the western shore of Northern Greenland, looking across Smith's Sound to Ellesmere Land. The northern part of Ellesmere Land is know as Grant Land, and faces the Polar Sea. Westward of this remote tract, and separated from it by a narrow strait, lies Axel Heiberg Land, which also occupies an important place in Dr. Cook's itinerary. It was Commander Peary's intention to settle his winter quarters on the shore of the Polar Sea in Grant Land, as he did on his previous expedition, and in February of this year to push north with his Eskimos and dog teams by a route rather more to the westward than he took last time, so as to counteract the drift of the Polar ice to eastward which he discovered on that occasion. When the last news was received from him he was thrusting his way northwards across the frozen sea. On August 3 the relief schooner sailed from St. Johns, Newfoundland, for Etah to reopen communications with his expedi
tion. Yesterday a message was forwarded from Indian Bay, in Labrador, announcing that he flew the Stars and Stripes on the site of the Pole on April 6 this year.
The outlined record of this achievement naturally raises some interesting comparisons with the details of his own journey which have so far been provided by Dr. Cook, who claims to have reached the Pole very nearly a year earlier. Dr. Cook's route across Axel Heiberg Land lies further to the westward than that followed by Commander Peary; and on his long return journey before reaching Anoatok, in Greenland, he would have followed a path which lay far to the south and west of that along which Commander Peary attacked the Pole this year. It is rather remarkable that no news of the departure of Dr. Cook from Etah with his Eskimos in the early spring of 1908 appears to have been sent home to America by members of the Peary expedition. Those critics who still view Dr. Cook's account with an obdurately sceptical eye will doubtless be encouraged by the report of Commander
Peary's success to inquire very exactly into the course of Dr. Cook's wanderings between April, 1908, when he claims to have reached the Pole, and the date of his return to the Greenland settlements. But until Dr. Cook produces his full evidence all comment must necessarily be speculative and unfruitful. Both the reputedly successful explorers have firmly pinned their faith to the native means of transport. Commander Peary's equipment of Eskimos and sledges was considerably more elaborate than Dr. Cook's. In scientific results his expedition may be expected to be a good deal richer than the "dash to the Pole" conducted by Dr. Cook with the lightest possible equipment. It was his intention to take with him on his sledges a light sounding apparatus, with a view to determining the oceanography of the Polar seas. He hoped also that the two parties which he proposed to send back to his ship before making his final advance upon the Pole would each be able to make valuable observations in a separate direction from the base.
THE NEW CORDON BLEU.
To Dr. Cook, of the North Pole.
If you can swear upon your soul
That, having passed the icy seas,
You have unearthed the long-lost Pole
(And, though your tale sounds like a wheeze
Told to Marines by giddy middies,
I must not doubt its bona fides);—
If it is true that you achieved
The dash across those dismal floes
In isolation unrelieved
Except by stuffy Eskimos,
Let me, although a mere land-lubber,
On you the general gaze is bent;