[page 499] Two and twenty years ago—on August 30, 1873—the group of ice-covered islands known as Franz Josef Land was discovered accidentally by the Austro-Hungarian Expedition under circumstances of more than ordinary interest. For the Tegethoff, the ship of that expedition, had been beset off the coast of Novaia Zemlia on August 20, 1872, in 76° 22'' N. lat., 63° 3' E. long., and throughout the succeeding autumn and a winter of exceptional severity had slowly drifted, first in a north-easterly, then in a westerly, and finally in a northerly direction. With the return of the sun in the early spring, and the gradual moderation of the climate, the explorers looked for that breaking up of the ice which would enable them to steer their ship on its course. For they had been [page 500] held captive in the ice, carried by wind and current along a course which varied from day to day, and at a speed seldom exceeding a mile mile or two per diem. But the summer of 1873 brought no such escape, and as the month of August drew to an end, the explorers gave up all hope of their being able either to advance in the route they desired, or return to Europe to recoup the strength already threatening to succumb. Yet, just at the moment when their hopes seemed most baffled and their chance of escape least probable, the hour of a glorious discovery drew near. " Not a man among us," wrote Julius Payer, " believed in the possibility of discoveries;" and yet the long aimless drift of the Tegethoff had brought them to the most northern land yet discovered in the eastern portion of the Arctic Regions.
For on August 30, 1873, when in 79° 43' N. lat. and 59° 33' E. long., the deep mist in which the ship lay enveloped suddenly lifted and left the northern horizon clear. There, away to the north-west, ranged the bold lines of lofty coasts and the glistening slopes of an ice-sheeted land. Separated from the ship by many miles of dense and rugged pack, and obviously a country to the last degree inhospitable, the sight of this land might well have checked the enthusiasm of the party, already enfeebled by exposure to ice and snow, and well entitled to be weary of the rigours of Arctic scenery. But it is scarcely necessary to remind this Society that both Weyprecht and Payer, our gold medallists, were true geographers and explorers, and that the men they commanded were loyal to the core. The sight of this land had turned the long melancholy drift of failure into a great and splendid success, for a new and hitherto unsuspected country had been discovered in a latitude higher than that of any known land in the eastern hemisphere. The possibilities it might afford of further advance into the unknown region about the North Pole were probably greater than those offered by any other route—in a word, the discovery was of the first magnitude, and Payer enthusiastically wrote, "There was now not a sick man onboard the Tegethoff;'
Here, and in this way, then, was Franz Josef Land discovered - Franz Josef Land, named in loyalty after the Emperor of Austria, in the same spirit which placed the name of our sovereign in the highest southern latitudes yet reached, and which led Peary to give to the termination of his northern advance, on July 4, 1892, the name of Independence Bay.
But the fate of long endurance, which up to this date had characterized the Austro-Hungarian expedition, dogged it to the end. Locked fast in the ice, and slowly drifting now north, now south, and now west, it was impossible to leave the ship even for the temporary satisfaction of an hour's examination of the coast; and although brief visits were made on November 1, 6, and 7, to the shores of what was called Wilczek Land, the position of the ship was so perilous, and the winter darkness [page 501] so impenetrable, that nothing further could he done till the following spring. It was then that Payer made Ms memorable march up Austria sound, and, ascending Cape Fligeley, looked poleward over that mass of high land lying north of the 83rd degree, which, called by him Petermann Land, remains to-day the land of the greatest promise in the whole of the Arctic Regions.
Then, too, did he reveal the intensely Arctic character of Franz Josef Land, and lay down roughly, in his rapid march north and south, those coast-lines and glaciers which until the other day formed our only conception of the interior of Franz Josef Land. I need not add here the story of the ultimate abandonment of the Tegethoff, nor that of the ever-memorable retreat of the expedition in open boats and under circumstances of terrible privation; but their experience proved sufficient for a number of years to give Franz Josef Land, its configuration, its climate and its avenues of approach, a very bad name indeed. If the land could be safely made and safely left, it held out great possibilities; but the Austro-Hungarian Expedition had apparently made it clear that neither the one nor the other could be relied on-that the chance of the safety of an expedition was remote indeed.
It remained for our own countryman, Mr. Leigh Smith, to give Franz Josef Land a better name. As a matter of fact, we owe it to him and his interesting voyages in the Eira, that the general conception of the difficulty of reaching Franz Josef Land underwent, not merely a change, but a complete revolution. The voyage he made in 1880 served to emphasize, among other things, the great variation from year to year in the conditions of Arctic navigation. Over the very spot where the Tegethoff was abandoned, frozen fast in the solid pack, Mr. Leigh Smith steamed without difficulty in open water. The Austrian Expedition, beyond going almost due north and south to and from Cape Fligely, had only just touched the south-east point of M'Clintock island and, as we now learn from Mr. Jackson, guessed at the land on the west of Markham sound. It was Mr. Leigh Smith's plucky navigation in 1880 which revealed to us the southern coast of M'Clintock, Brady, Hooker, May Etheridge, Northbrook, Bruce, Mabel, and Bell islands; which opened up, headland after headland, the great western region he called Alexandra Land, with its capes Grant, Crowther, Neale, Ludlow, Lofley; which enabled him to explore Nightingale sound and the harbours of Gray bay and Bell island ; to penetrate westward as far as 44° E. long., and as far east as 59° E. long.; and to show that the intensely Arctic scene drawn by Payer might be modified—that at the foot of the hills of eternal ice there ran, in the short summer, a narrow ribbon of green grass, flecked here and there with sprays of flowers, blue and yellow and white; and that, chief of all, no insuperable difficulty was encountered either in approaching or leaving Franz Josef Land, when the ship kept between the meridians of 45° and 55° E. long.
[page 502] And again, in 1881, the accessibility of Franz Josef Land was proved with even more striking emphasis, for the northward route of the Eira lay between 45° and 50°, and showed scarcely any of the deviation and winding which usually characterize the track of ships passing through the pack. The unfortunate loss of the Eira, when in a position of comparative safety off the coast of Franz Josef Land, necessitated the wintering of the expedition on Franz Josef Land; and while this entailed some personal suffering and privation, it resulted in a valuable series of experiences and observations.
The fluctuation of the winter temperature ; the immense quantity of fresh food supplied by bears, seal, and walrus; the open water that occurred even in mid-winter; and the early break up of the ice ; all served to present Franz Josef Land in a new and more favourable light to the Arctic explorer. For here was a land which we now learnt could be reached with fair fortune in any ordinary year; where winter quarters for the ship and land quarters for the explorers might be found; where abundance of fresh animal food was ready to the rifle; and where exploration might be carried on in the autumn and early spring on firm ice, and during the summer in open water by boat. The fact that Mr. Leigh Smith had no intention of wintering in Franz Josef Land, and that in consequence he had neither fur outfits nor sledging equipment, rendered it impossible for him to carry out any exploration during his enforced detention; bat, in the course of his summer journey and his winter pursuit of fresh food, he learnt enough to add considerably to our knowledge of the islands off the southern coast of Franz Josef; and his careful husbanding of the strength and health of his crew, aided most efficiently as he was by Dr. Neale, was subsequently justified by the excellent work they performed when retreating to Novaia Zemlia in open boats.
Is it not a singular thing that, for eleven years subsequent to this remarkable proof of the great suitability of Franz Josef Land as a means of approach to the unknown North, not a single expedition should have been despatched to its shores ? Expert opinion, basing its views mainly on the experience of Mr. Leigh Smith, was practically unanimous in placing Franz Josef Land above all positions in the Arctic Ocean, as the vantage point of a polar expedition. In the discussion which took place before this Society, after Mr. Clements Markham, then the honorary secretary of the Society, had read his interesting paper on Mr. Leigh Smith's discoveries, Sir George Nares declared that " he had opened up what, according to present lights, must be the future route to the pole." Captain Beaumont was of opinion that "Franz Josef Land appeared to offer the best facilities at present;" and Admiral Sir Erasmus Ommanney admitted that " we must now accept Franz Josef Land as the base for future operations." And, again, in 1883 , after Mr. Markham had read a paper on the experiences of Mr. Leigh Smith in 1881 and 1882, expert [page 503] opinion was similarly emphatic and unanimous. Sir Allen Young, who had gone out in command of the Leigh Smith Relief Expedition, and had met with the party at Matotchkin Schar, declared that "Franz Josef Land now appeared to be the only land, extending far to the north, by which such journeys could be made;" and emphatic, too, were the remarks made by Sir George Nares on the advantages which Franz Josef Land held out as winter quarters.
Still nothing was done to take up and continue the work which had begun so auspiciously. Arabs and ivory had taken possession of the geographical mind, and Arctic exploration was apparently forgotten. Yet there was one man who bore gallant testimony for a renewal of Arctic work, with a special appeal for the claims of Franz Josef Land—I allude to Admiral Markham, who in the Isbjorn, in 1879, had come very near indeed to sighting the southern coast. In his ' Life of Sir John Franklin,' he occupies the concluding pages of the volume with a strong presentation of the case for Franz Josef Land. He points out how experience favours and probability augurs for success in this remote part of the Arctic Region; and I do not think I am betraying a confidence when I say that it was Admiral Markham's opinion which weighed so strongly with Mr. Harmsworth, when he finally undertook to despatch an expedition to Franz Josef Land.
Yet, independently of this, and relying only on the experience of Payer and Leigh Smith, a young Englishman, who had already received baptism in Arctic waters, was thinking out a shrewd and plucky plan of discovery in the unknown polar area by way of Franz Josef Land. This countryman of ours was Frederick George Jackson. Early in 1893, on February 1, he communicated in a letter to the press an outline of the plan he proposed to follow on arriving at Franz Josef Land-a plan which was so carefully thought out and based on grounds so secure, that he is now pursuing practically the identical method he then advocated.
But at that time no munificent patron had come forward to provide the very large funds which a thoroughly well-equipped Arctic expedition demands; and Mr. Jackson himself was anxious to test, with a special view to the geographical conditions of Franz Josef Land, the various articles of a complete sledging equipment. It was this anxiety which led him to start in the summer of 1893 for the Samoyad settlement of Habarova and undertake his subsequent mid-winter sledging journey over the frozen Tundras. What good work he did, and how he accomplished, under severe climatic extremes, a journey of nearly 2500 miles, are narrated in simple and unaffected language, eminently characteristic of the author, in his book, ' The Great Frozen Land.' This book was published as recently as this year, and was without exception most favourably received. Unquestionably, it gives us the best and most authoritative account in the English language of that strange [page 504] remnant of a primitive folk—the Samoyads—and the only description which exists of Waigatz island and the Great Tundra lying between the Ob and the Pechora. Among works of Arctic travel it occupies a unique position, and must be consulted by every student of Arctic geography and anthropology.
It was during Mr. Jackson's absence on this adventurous and arduous journey that I had the good fortune to make his work and projects known to Mr. Alfred Harmsworth. There was no occasion to dwell on the scientific value of polar exploration, nor on the desirability of England once again assuming her rightful place in the van of Arctic discovery; for in Mr. Harmsworth I found a close student of the history of polar exploration, and all the ardour of an enthusiast. For many years he had read and noted all that went on in connection with this fascinating branch of geographical work, and he was perfectly aware of its needs and demands. Moreover, I found in him an eager, an uncompromising patriot; one who desired above all to see the Union Jack again going forward across the unknown and unexplored regions of the polar basin. With the keenest admiration for the persistent pluck of Peary and the hardihood of Nansen, he was at the same time almost impatient to see an Englishman take up this great work of endeavour and endurance, and uphold in the far North those undying laurels which were won by the labours, the lives, ay, and the deaths, of a long line of our illustrious countrymen.
With his decision to send Mr. Jackson in command of a fully equipped expedition, the genesis of the Jackson-Harmsworth Polar Expedition was complete, and its projects and some of its accomplishment are now familiar to you.
In the month of June, 1894, Mr. Jackson read a paper before this Society, in which he dwelt on the plans he hoped to pursue, and described the more novel parts of the equipment with which he was so abundantly provided. For the details of that paper, I must refer you to the issue of our Journal published in August of last year; it is sufficient for me merely to mention here that on arriving at Franz Josef Land he intended the expedition to become almost entirely a sledging expedition, and that the sledges and boats were of a type specially adapted to the purpose in view. The Windward—a whaler of excellent record, which had been purchased and fitted out by Mr. Harmsworth—sailed from Greenhithe on July 12, and arrived on the 31st at Arkhangel, where she took in the log-houses, ponies, and Samoyad fur outfits which have proved so unqualified a success during the past year. Thence she sailed to Habarova, where the Siberian dogs were shipped; and then she turned north toward the ice-pack; and that land of promise which the Austrians had discovered two and twenty years before. From the date of her entering the pack all knowledge of her movements and fortunes became impossible, and it was only as recently as September, with her emergence [page 505] from the pack and return to Europe, that we learnt the latest tidings of the expedition. The ship had been frozen in the pack almost as soon as she had reached Franz Josef Land, and on her southward voyage this year desperate and gallant had been the struggle against the odds of the heavy ice. Only now, indeed, has it become possible to tell, even briefly, the story of the last eventful year; and it is with peculiar pleasure, but with considerable diffidence, that I now attempt to obey the command laid upon me by our President, and give you in outline something of that story, interspersed as it is with tale of discovery, incident of work, and anecdote of sport.
The Windward left Khabarova on August 16, and on the 17th entered a quantity of drift-ice, and soon after met with heavy fog, which continued, off and on, for several days. On the 20th the ship ran during the fog into a shallow bight of ice, but returned to the edge of the pack, proceeding in a north-westerly direction. On the 22nd, after experiencing a moderate south-west gale, with considerable sea, the ship reached the pack. This was in 76° 49' N. lat. and 49° E. long. The ice proved thick and formidable, and it was not until the 24th that a lead was found in 78° 11' N. lat. and 41° 44' E. long. This possibly formed the channel between the two main masses of Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land ice. The ship steamed up it almost in open water.
At 5.30 a.m. on the 25th Franz Josef Land was sighted, the Windward being then about 30 miles south of Bell island. Here, however, a heavy pack was encountered, and for the next two days little progress was made. Anchored to a floe, the ship drifted westward, but subsequently she steamed to the southward and eastward, hauling up to the north and east as much as possible
The ice still proved unnegotiable to the northward, and the ship bore away to the eastward until stopped by a heavy pack. On the 27th she turned and went westward, and attained 79° 22' N. lat. and 46° 8' E. long. on the 28th. Shifting from floe to floe, some more northing was made, but on the 30th a south-west course had to be shaped to avoid heavy drifting ice. On the following day ten miles northing was made, and then again a south and easterly course became necessary, and an attempt was made to get at the back of the eastern barrier to which I have referred. When in position 79° 8' 44" N. lat. and 45° 10' 15" E. long. the course was shifted to north-east, and soon after clear water was visible ahead, and Cape Neale was sighted about 4.30 on September, 1. The ship was again stopped by ice when 40 miles south of Cape, Grant. The ice-master—John Crowther—believed that this ice had, never broken up during the summer, and the ship once more had to steam south. Her position was at this time 78° 59' N. lat., 46° 55' E. long. On the 5th the ice was in a condition to ram, and at noon Bell island was bearing N. 51° E., and only 15 miles distant. On the 6th the ship was again stopped by heavy ice and a thick fog; but on the [page 506] following day she was able to force her way through into the open water, and made Bell island at noon Franz Josef Land had at last been reached.
Mr. Armitage, writing at Mr. Jackson's request, says of the approach to Franz Josef Land, " When the ship returns in 1896, the captain will probably find an open lead of water in 78° N lat., and somewhere between 40° and 50° E. long., which will take him nearly, if not quite, up to the land about Cape Flora. The lead lies, no doubt, between the Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land packs. If he finds the ice still fast to the land, by no means let him give in, for our own case proves how late it may be before it comes away. If he seizes his opportunity as the ice opens out, and uses to advantage his knowledge of ice-movements, he is bound to get through. But he must not underrate the difficulties he will meet with when endeavouring to reach the land here. We found that it required continual watchfulness, determination, and perseverance."
Bell island did not afford much chance of safe quarters, especially as Eira harbour was blocked with ice. Moreover, Miers channel, the broad sound between Bell island and the road north, showed a strong current, which would indicate an early break up of the ice. The Windward steamed some way up the channel, and Mr. Jackson discovered a small island off Bruce island, which he named " Windward " island. They then proceeded to Cape Flora, examining that headland and the remains of Eira cottage, in which the Leigh Smith party passed the winter of 1881-82. The hut was in good state of repair, considering the lapse of time, and, being roofless, its exposure to the weather. Mr. Jackson then proceeded east to Cape Barents, keeping along the edge of the land floe; but on reaching this point he found it impracticable as winter quarters, and returned westward to Cape Flora.
On September 10 the work of discharging the great quantity of stores began, and all hands set to work—sixteen hours on and eight hours off—in the hope that it might be accomplished and the ship be ready to return before the season was too far advanced. Unfortunately, however, winter set in suddenly, and on the 13th the passage of the boats to and fro was stopped by the formation of new ice. Mr. Jackson then secured the ship in quarters safe for wintering, and at the same time favourable to an early release in the succeeding summer. She anchored in a small shallow bay on the south side of Cape Flora, in 5 fathoms of water, being quite out of the running pack and current, and protected from the pack, which a southerly gale or a strong tide might drive shoreward, by some grounded bergs. The ship secured, and the ice having now become firm, the work of discharging continued steadily, and by the end of October the two log-houses, observatory, and four store-houses had been erected, everything placed on shore, and everything in its place.
[page 507] This is what Mr. Jackson says of the house, which he called " Elmwood," after Mr. Harmsworth's place in Kent: " Our house is situated on a raised beach, 115 feet above the sea, forming a wind-swept plateau, and thus kept nearly free of snow during the winter. The stable"—which was also built of logs—"is directly east of it, and the four folding-houses are in a line towards the same point. The latter proved quite useless as a residence, but came in as storehouses. The Russian house we have fitted up capitally, and lined with green baize, and it looks, and is, as snug as the inside of a gun-case. We sleep on the floor, rolling our blankets up during the day. I have not the smallest hesitation in saying that it is the best and most comfortable house ever put up in these latitudes. It has blown incessantly, often with very low temperatures, all through the autumn and winter, so we have been very glad of a good substantial house."
This house, which was expressly made for the expedition at Arkhangel, was built of large square logs 12 inches thick, morticed into each other, and well caulked with dried moss. The living-room was lighted by four windows, each with double frames, and was exactly 20 feet square. Under the same roof, however, there was a fair-sized storeroom and a convenient kitchen, opening into the entrance-passage. The living-room was carpeted and strewn with fur rugs, and lined with green baize. A large round table occupied the centre; bookcases and one or two small tables stood against the walls, and these, again, were made bright with a number of framed engravings and etchings. All manner of convenient appliances were fixed about the room, while just below the ceiling there stretched from wall to wall a complete and most useful series of racks. Stoves and lamps had been much discussed before the expedition left England, and the artificial light throughout the winter was not inferior in illuminating power to gas. It is not surprising, therefore, to find Mr. Armitage cheerily writing, as he does in a letter to me, " I can well picture to myself you sitting before your blazing fire during the dreary, cheerless months of winter; and how, as your thoughts turned towards the Windward, you mentally exclaimed, ' Poor beggars ! I wonder where they are ? ' You will indeed be pleased to know that all that pity has been wasted, for we have been housed in comfort, and have lived in luxury."
The work of discharging, the securing of the ship in her winter berth, and the erection of the head-quarters on Cape Flora, effectually prevented any journey into the interior during the short spell of autumn; but before the winter darkness had become too deep for travelling, Mr. Jackson was able to erect a depôt on Cape Barents, and cache there some 600 Ibs. of meat, marking the site with a spar.
Throughout the winter the exploring party—eight in number—[page 508] remained on shore, while the crew, under the charge of the sailing master, were on board the Windward. Owing, however, to the illness of Captain Schlosshauer, the sailing master, Mr. Jackson had practically the charge of the ship, and almost daily visited her, and sent on board fresh bear and walrus meat and a large number of birds. In order to obtain that exercise which he considered so necessary to the well-being of all hands, football and hockey were frequently played on a small piece of unusually smooth ice; the neighbouring country was repeatedly traversed; while the search for bears and their subsequent capture provided excitement as well as exercise. The bears' blood was most carefully preserved, and immediately frozen into lumps of handy size ; and these were then ready to use in the savoury soups and stews provided by the cook. In adopting this plan, Mr. Jackson was following the example of Dr. Neale, and he was equally successful in keeping his party in good health. When the ship left Franz Josef Land this summer, the explorers were in the very best of good health and good spirits; and I have just heard that the botanist has written to a friend and said, " I have never known till now what good health really is." This is very satisfactory, and reflects credit all round.
To give some idea of how the expedition passed the winter, I may make a rough sketch of an average day. At 8.30 the bell rang for getting up, and each member had his day of the week for a hot bath before breakfast. Nine was the breakfast-hour—breakfast consisting of porridge, fish, tinned and bear's meat, bread-and-butter with jam or marmalade, and tea and coffee. Then the house was cleaned and tidied, and the man to whose lot it fell filled the water-barrel with a fresh supply of snow. This, of course, soon became drinking-water. Until noon work was the order of the day; one occupying himself with carpentry, another with lamp-cleaning, another with making harness, traces, etc., and another with copying maps or doing anything that was needed. From 12 to 2 exercise and recreation out-of-doors was the rule. At 2 p.m. lunch was served. This usually consisted of fish, meat, bread, butter, cheese, lime-juice, and cocoa. During the afternoon more work was done—there was always plenty of work—but after lunch this was chiefly out-of-doors. For example, the making and keeping clear the roads along the full length of this most northerly British settlement whose village street was quite 100 yards long—was in itself a considerable labour. The roads were 10 feet in width, and by the end of the winter the banks on each side of them were some 15 feet in height. The getting out and re-arranging of stores, and a score and more of odd jobs were readily found.
I should also mention that every day of the ten months during which the ship lay frozen in the ice off Cape Flora, Dr. Reginald Kettlits visited and examined the ship's crew, missing only one day out of the [page 509] three hundred, and then on account of a temporary attack of illness. Mr Sidney Burgess proved an admirable cook, and I have given you the bill of fare for breakfast and lunch. If I refrain from also giving that for dinner, it is because Franz Josef Land is not yet ready for a sudden rush of immigrants.
Mr. H. Fisher, the botanist, is a capable amateur artist, and has made a number of sketches of considerable interest. Many photographs have been taken, and some of these have returned, but none of those taken in the interior. For these we must wait till next year. Dr. Kettlits and Mr. Fisher, I might add, regularly examined the contents [page 510] of the bears' stomachs, with a view to their probable zoological and botanical interest. Mr. Jackson is not a believer in all work and no play, and football was played on a piece of smooth ice near Elmwood during the early part of the winter. Skating could only be indulged in during the mild weather, as leather boots could not be worn when it was cold. The evenings were usually spent in reading and writing, playing chess, draughts, cards, and the like. The members of the expedition evidently passed these evenings pleasantly, as I cannot hear of any one turning in before midnight. This, then, may give you a rough idea of the way in which the long, dark, and dreary winter was enlivened and made something more than tolerable.
During the winter, Mr. Jackson found by experience that in some ways the reindeer sleeping-bags were not satisfactory, and he forthwith proceeded to test the capacity of a full outfit of Samoyad clothing to serve as the sole protection when camping out. Readers of his most interesting book, the " Great Frozen Land (Macmillan, 1895), will remember his description of sleeping out on the Tundra in such an outfit, and it will be seen, from the following extract, that the experiment, when repeated in Franz Josef Land, proved equally satisfactory :—
"I tested myself all the sleeping-gear, etc., during the winter, Bleeping out on the top of the flat roof without a tent, with the thermometer showing more than 70° of frost. On several occasions there was a gale blowing with more than 60° of frost—which is cool; so they had a fair test."
On March 10 Mr. Jackson started on a preliminary journey north. He was accompanied by Mr. Armitage, nautical astronomer, and Blomgvist, a Russian Finn, who had shipped as A.B.; and they were rationed for seven days. Taking two ponies and four sledges—the latter laden with 1700 Ibs. weight of stores—they made a course between Northbrook island and Bruce island. For the first four days the weather was extremely unfavourable, the fog being very dense, and the driving snow so thick that it was impossible to make out the hummocks when only 50 yards away. The absence, too, of all shadow made it difficult to judge the ground or distinguish a rise from a depression, so that Mr. Jackson writes in a letter to Mr. Harmsworth, " One suddenly found one's self with a pony-sledge on the top of a high drift of hard snow with an abrupt drop on the other side, over which you step with a jerk. It was like travelling blindfolded." They kept going north, however, and, after crossing some very rough ice, finally made Peter Head, at the entrance to Markham sound. Here they established the first of the series of depots on the line of their northern march, marking the spot by erecting two staffs, and hoisting the Union Jack. At this time the fog rendered it impossible to see anything of the country, and, the chief object of this preliminary journey having [page 511] been attained, the sledges were turned southward, and Cape Flora was regained on March 16. Writing to Mr. Harmsworth of this reconnaissance, Mr. Jackson says, "We experienced some pretty cool weather, getting the thermometer down to -45° Fahr., but found our equipment quite satisfactory, sleeping warmly in our soviks, militzas, pimmies, and toboks. The ponies behaved splendidly, and looked fresh and well on their return; and if poor Franklin and Parry could see them clambering (clambering is the only word) over high piled-up hummocks of ice, I think they would be amazed. We all came back with our faces absolutely raw, and our hands, especially the fingers, being much blistered with frost-bites. . . . Armitage greatly pleased me by his cheerful, happy way; ho was always jolly and active, and things must have been a trifle trying occasionally to a man unused to roughing it."
On his return to the head-quarters, Mr. Jackson was detained much longer than he had expected by a variety of circumstances, among them being the temporary break up of the ice in which the ship was frozen. I may conveniently here, therefore, say a few words as to the sport obtained during the winter and spring. Nearly sixty bears in all were killed by the various members of the expedition, and about half this number fell to Mr. Jackson's rifle. It will be remembered that the Leigh Smith party did not include one female in their total bag of thirty-four; but from Mr. Jackson's list I find that between the beginning of October and the end of March—distinctly winter months in Franz Josef Land—four females were shot. On the other hand, during the months of December and January only males fell to the rifle. This, the latest experience, is unquestionably in favour of hibernation, although it seems to restrict the period within a shorter time than has hitherto been allotted. Mr. Harmsworth has received reports of several exciting incidents in connection with these rather awkward neighbours, not the least noteworthy being the experience of the ship's carpenter, who, when more than a mile from the ship, was surprised by a huge bear, which measured, when ultimately killed, nearly 9 feet in length. The carpenter clambered to the top of a hummock, which afforded him some advantage; but the bear, rearing himself up on his hind legs, proceeded to follow him. This demonstration of good fellowship was not appreciated, I need scarcely say, by the carpenter; but he waited until the bear's muzzle was within a couple of feet or so of him, and then fired his revolver—the only weapon he had with him. As is the way with revolvers on occasion, it missed fire; and " Chips would then have been in a very awkward corner had not some of the dogs, who had scented the bear, come up at the very nick of time and attacked him. This drew bruin's attention away from the carpenter, who availed himself of the opportunity to return to the ship. It remains to this day, I believe, an article of faith among many of his comrades that he covered that mile within record time.
[page 512] In the course of one of his letters, Mr. Jackson writes of an exciting experience which befell him at the beginning of February last; and perhaps I ought to say here that all the matter which I have drawn upon regarding the progress of the expedition is contained in private letters sent home. You will, I know, make every allowance for my absent friend if his style is somewhat too " familiar" for a communication to a scientific Society like ours, and if in the course of this paper you have perceived gaps which you would like to have seen filled, and silences you would have preferred broken, I must ask you to remember that I have not only to regard the question of time, but also to respect the intention of the leader of the expedition. For he has sent back nothing ostensibly for publication, and all his maps, journals, observations, notes, and collections remain with him at Franz Josef Land. I have gone through his letters to Mr. Harmsworth, and it is from these and one or two written to me that I have been able to put together some account of the Geographical work which he has been able to accomplish.
But to return to the story I have promised; and I will give it in the narrator's own words : " In the early morning of February 7 I had a bit of a near squeak with a bear. I had gone off hurriedly by myself at 5 a.m., with just breeches and coat over my pyjamas, having just been on the point of turning into my blankets after being out all night bear-hunting.
"I heard the dogs again barking out on the floes, so I followed the barking for two miles to an open polynia of water, at the edge of which I found a big bear engaged in making rushes at the dogs, four of which were barking around him. I wounded him badly the first shot, and he took to the water. He came out of this again and made for Miers channel over the floe, with the dogs and me after him. As he was distancing me, I fired a long shot at him, but as it was dark and misty, with falling snow, I can't say if it hit him or not; but it had the effect of making him return to the edge of the water he had left, where I came up with him again, and found him about thirty yards from the edge of it, uttering deep roars and hisses, and making rushes at the dogs. As I had left the house hastily with only three cartridges, and had fired two, I had now only one left. So, wishing to make sure of a fatal shot, I went up to within six or seven yards of him, when he rushed at me, at first with his head down. At this I fired, but just as I did so he raised it, and my bullet went between his legs. In another instant he was upon me, with his jaws wide open and a regulation menagerie roar. I had just time to ram the rifle-barrel with all my force into his mouth and draw it back for another thrust. This was apparently a trifle too much for him, as he whipped short round and took to the water. I would have given a 'tenner' for another cartridge then, as I could have killed him easily. As it was, I had to return to Elmwood for more cartridges, as I had still hopes of getting him. I there [page 513] exchanged my single-barrelled .303 rifle fur the double-barrelled .450, so as to have a second barrel up my sleeve in case the recent accident should happen again. On returning I found he had crossed the water, and was about 150 yards off, out of further harm's way, but roaring dismally. There I was reluctantly obliged to leave him, no doubt to die, as there was no means of getting near him. My left hand was a little cut by his teeth when it entered his mouth in my thrust, and bled a good deal; and I found, on measuring afterwards, that the barrel must have penetrated his jaws 23 inches—a nasty jar for him, I should fancy. I have been charged during the winter and spring by several bears, but none got to such close quarters as this chap did. A bullet always stopped them. Polar bears are queer, uncertain animals ; some are all funk and clear out, whereas others are as bold as brass and all fight, if it is inconvenient for them to run. Altogether they have afforded great entertainment during the winter, and hav e certainly done a great deal to relieve the monotony."
Two retrievers were taken out from England—presents to Mr. Jackson from Mrs. Harmsworth—and thirty Siberian dogs were taken on board at Habarova, having been brought from the Ob by the Russian Räving. Up to the date of the ship's leaving, not only had these dogs proved of the greatest use, but none had fallen victims to the climate or fatigue. Two had succumbed to a disease common to their kind, and one of the English retrievers, I am afraid, must be held responsible for the death of another. Mr. Jackson writes amusingly: " Carlo, by-the-by, has developed into a shocking blackguard, and is the sole representative of the criminal classes in Franz Josef Land. He now constantly wears a muzzle, which he usually has cocked over his left eye, giving him a very Bill Sykes-like appearance. He is the terror of the Windward people, and would kill every dog in the neighbourhood if allowed to go about unrestrained." Three bear cubs which Mr. Jackson caught and sent home by the ship, destined for the Zoological Garden, came unfortunately to an untimely end while on the voyage, but they appear to have contributed their share to the hilarity of Elmwood. " They have no instincts," writes Mr. Jackson, ''beyond feeding, biting, and scratching, but have afforded us great amusement. The interior of our house looked like a Zoo, having three bears, six pups and their mother—a Samoyad dog—as constant inmates for some time." The winter night had come to an end with the reappearance of the sun on February 23. " Soon after this," writes Dr. Reginald Kettlits, surgeon to the expedition, " the advent of the first birds interested us not a little, and now that we have perpetual day, we have birds roosting and beginning to breed in the cliffs at the back of the house in their thousands. The dear little snow-bunting, the only small bird as yet, was specially welcome, for it reminds one more of home. It has a short but a sweet song."
[page 514] At the beginning of April, the breaking up of the ice in which the ship was embedded threatened her with grave peril, being far too early in the season, of course, for any attempt at navigation. An easterly gale, with dense driving snow, had lasted from March 31 to April 4, and about noon on the latter day the ice suddenly broke up. There was literally not a minute's warning, and in a moment great rents ran across the floe and, with loud claps of thunder as it were, parted large portions of ice from the main pack. A whale-boat, sledge, and a small Union Jack were swept away and lost, and the whole of the port side of the ship, which had been firmly fixed in a mould of ice, was swept clean, and a large pool of open water left in its place. The starboard side was still held firm by the land-ice, and this, again, was held by the grounded bergs. Still, as there were no fires up and the ship had scarcely any ballast in her, the position was one of gravity. Mr. Jackson had several lines laid out and attached to the bergs, got ready for steaming, and set all hands to work ballasting the ship with ice. On the following day the gale dropped, and with it the snow ceased; and there was then revealed a great expanse of open water—east, west, and south. This, however, was not to last long; for on the same day a huge floe appeared moving rapidly down on the ship, but as the Windward had been prudently anchored just out of the run of the current, the floe, with a very dangerous V-pointed bow, crossed the water which had been opened on the port side of the ship, just missed the ship itself, and struck the land-floe beyond with a terrific crash, throwing up high hummocks, and making a scene of great confusion. Then, as if spent with the effort, it swung slowly round and, gently coming up to the ship, enclosed it once again. " Nothing," writes Mr. Jackson, "could have been better had it been ordered expressly for her." There she lay until her departure in July. The running pack came and went with the tide, but she was beyond the range of the current and in safety.
This and other incidents, however, caused delay in the departure of the expedition on its second journey; but on April 16 a start was made. The party again consisted of Mr. Jackson, Mr. Armitage, and Blomgvist; but was increased by Dr. Reginald Kettlits and Wm. Heyward, who were to travel with Mr. Jackson for a week and then return. "With Mr. Jackson were three ponies and six sledges; with Dr. Kettlits, one pony and two sledges. The weather proved exceedingly unfavourable, and, although I will not weary you with monotonous repetitions, the following very condensed account will, at any rate, indicate its character : April 16, 17, 18, 19, misty; 20, 21, clear; 22, dense fog and snow; 23, 24, strong E.N.E. gale with dense driving snow; 25, snow and wind; 26, misty till 6 p.m., then clear; 27, clear till noon, then gale from E. and driving snow; 28, strong S.E. gale and heavy snow [page 515]—at times wind was of storm-force, and the snow drove furiously; 29, weather moderated towards noon; and 30, calm but thick. May seems to have been very little better, for oh the 1st it is thick and misty, with wind from the S.W. until noon, when the wind gets round to the E., increases to a gale, and brings fog and sleet. On May 2 the wind again comes from the S.W., and blows a gale with thick sleet, the temperature, however, rising as high as 34° Fahr. On the 3rd the snow continues to drive, this time from the E. On the 4th a gale makes its appearance from the N.W., accompanied by snow ; but at 10 p.m. the weather clears, and the 5th and 6th are actually clear days. The 7th, however, brings a strong gale from the N.N.E. (with snow) ; and the 8th and 9th, though calm, are misty. The 10th ushers in a strong gale from the S.E., and the snow drives bard; the 11th ditto; and the 12th ditto, except that the wind comes from the N.N.E.
To return, however, to Mr. Jackson's itinerary. At the entrance to Markham sound and off Dundee point, they passed over thin bay ice, which was even then threatening to break up. Five days later, on April 27, a great crack, 4 feet wide, with standing water, and running miles to the westward across the pack, was encountered, and this was circumvented by making to the eastward; and on the 30th the floe became generally rotten and unreliable, and from that date to the return of the expedition to Elmwood the only difficulty encountered arose from the early break up of the ice. Everything seemed to point to an early season, and the recollection of Payer's experience in the month of April convinced Mr. Jackson that in Markham and Austria sounds the ice ordinarily breaks up early in the year.
Mr. Jackson describes the conditions of travel in the following words:—
"The horses and ourselves suddenly sank into deep morasses of snow and slush, they up to the girths and we above our knees. At the same time there was nothing on the surface to indicate these frequent pitfalls. It was very evident that the ice was breaking up and letting the sea-water in through the cracks, aided by the spring tides. The ponies are quite helpless in boggy slush, and simply lie and flounder, and we had to drag them out by hand and with lines round their necks, and the sledges one by one, while we were wading about in slush above our knees, only to get into similar difficulties again a few yards ahead. I went in front with a long-handled ice-axe, sounding and trying to pick a road; but before long there was no choice, and we had to drag the ponies and sledges through it as best we could. Fortunately, we were three able-bodied individuals and in perfect health, or otherwise we should have looked very foolish."
[page 516] On May 3, when in lat. 81° 19' 30" N., long. 54° 53' E., after having been camped for two days for the gale and driving snow to moderate, the thermometer rose to 2° degrees above freezing-point. At the same time, there was every indication of open water both to the north-west and the north-east; looms were flying in great number in these directions, and distinct water-skies appeared. Mr. Jackson became anxious about the ponies, as, in the event of the ice breaking up under their feet, there was little chance of his being able to save them. And he had already proved their great value for taking heavy loads over firm ice. So it was determined to retrace their steps while it was possible, and return northward by boat after the departure of the ship.
"As events turned out," writes Mr. Jackson, " we did not start back a moment too soon, and although we frequently marched thirteen and fourteen hours a day, and did not camp even for the worst weather, we had a very close race with time, and only just won with dead-beat ponies. On May 5 the black pony broke through the ice and nearly disappeared. Fortunately, he did not struggle until I had passed the reins round his neck, or he would have gone altogether. Eventually, the three of us managed to haul him out on to the ice. Often we had to drag the six sledges ourselves, having got the ponies through particularly bad places on in front, and going over the same ground twelve and fourteen times. Occasionally we would come to sound ice, and go ahead briskly again ; but it did not last long, and the old entertainment of hauling the ponies out of the bog and pulling up the sledges soon began again.
"I at last tried snowshoes (we had left the Norwegian ones at a depot, owing to their weight) of empty oat-bags, with a little hay in the bottom, tied round the ponies' feet, and this I found helped to keep them up. It gave them a most gouty and ludicrous appearance. But, to cut the yarn short, we did bad luck in the eye, and got them back dead beat, but all right, in the early morning of May 13, having travelled 310 miles."
From another letter to Mr. Harmsworth, I take this passage as referring to the foregoing journey.
"The conclusions I have come to, as a result of our trip, are these:
1. That horses are the means of reaching a high latitude from this direction. 2. That sledging can only be done early in the spring, and that horses or ponies should not be out after April 30 (if they are to be used again), owing to the very early break up of the ice here. 3. That only a driving pack will stop our advancing a considerable distance further northward,"
What, you will now naturally ask, has Mr. Jackson discovered in Franz Josef Land ? and before I reply I must say this. Mr. Jackson has purposely retained his detailed geographical and scientific reports, his maps, his collections. He says that he sends back nothing until next [page 517] year, in order that everything may be most carefully checked and tested. And that is why I cannot show you to-night any geological, botanical, or other specimens. The only examples of the vegetation of Franz Josef Land which have reached us were contained in a small box of flowers sent by Mr. Jackson to Mrs. Harmsworth. But in the course of his letters he touches upon the geographical character of his line of march, and it is from these notes that I am able to say that he has already done enough to altogether alter our present ideas and maps of Franz Josef Land.
Beginning at the south, then, I may say that Northbrook and Hooker islands appear to be much smaller than hitherto has been supposed, and their coast-lines have been to a large extent altered. The trend of the west coast of Northbrook island, for example, is north-east instead of north ; Gunther bay has been much altered in appearance; Nightingale sound is very different, I understand, to what it has been thought to be; and not only does Markham sound undergo considerable modification, but the coast of such land as abuts on it diners entirely from the description given by Payer, who, I should add, only viewed it from a considerable distance. Mr. Jackson has not, it seems, travelled one yard in Payer's track; but as he has actually traversed what Payer only looked at as a distant view, and has, moreover, carefully mapped every mile of his route, we may safely rely upon his conclusions.
But if you will turn to Payer's map—the only one which has ever been made of the interior of Franz Josef Land—you will see that Zichy Land is laid down as a mass of land abutting on the northern side of Markham sound, and extending indefinitely to the north and north-west. He described it as " a vast mountainous region." I believe I am justified in saying that this Zichy Land has no real existence; that where terra firma has been placed in that map, there lies the salt sea. Mr. Jackson marched north across that blank space, and marched all the way upon sea-ice. Neither was there sign of any land-mass to the north, west, or east of him. The coast of Zichy Land becomes a group of narrow islands, lying roughly north and south between Mr. Jackson's route and Austria sound. Alexandra Land, too, disappears as a large mass, and becomes a group of islands. In other words, Mr.Jackson has discovered another Austria sound; another channel leading north between groups of islands; another road for sledge-travel, as long as, but only as long as, the ice keeps firm and sound.
Mr. Jackson had reached 80° 36' 20" N. and 53° 4' 37" E., the northern point of a small island at the northern entrance to Markham sound, on April 26. From this point of view he could see no mainland to the north, and between that and his furthest point (81° 19' 30") no mainland was to be seen towards the north. But there was this : two or three small islands away to the north-west, probably Oscar Land; westward, two large distant islands—in other words, as I believe, Alexandra Land; to the north-east several large islands, having bold coast-lines, and [page 518] rising to some height—that is to say, Zichy Land. Richthofen peak, described, in some detail by Payer, who viewed it from Mount Brunn, in the south-east of M'Clintock island, is now, I understand, not to be found in the locality allotted to it. Mr. Jackson camped within a mile of the spot in clear weather, and he states that there is not a mountain to be seen, or anything approaching to one, north, south, east, and west, in that locality.
Once again I repeat that Payer himself has thrown doubt on his own mapping of this portion of Franz Josef Land, owing to the distance from which he surveyed it, and the weather in which his observations were made; but while, in endeavouring to obey our President's wish and give you some account of the geographical results of the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition, I have drawn on Mr. Jackson's private letters, I would desire to emphasize the fact that he has purposely refrained from sending any map or report until everything has been gone over carefully, checked, tested, and placed beyond all reasonable doubt.
It is in this spirit of careful and scientific accuracy, and with his own natural energy and powers undiminished, that, a day or two after the ship left Franz Josef Land this last July, Mr. Jackson sailed north along leads of open water in the specially rigged and equipped boat, the Mary Harmsworth. For the results of this journey, and of the sledge-journey next spring, we must wait until next autumn, when we shall hope to again welcome the Windward home, and with her, too, another and even more important budget of news—news of discovery, news of success, and, best of all, news of well-being and good health.*
[page 519] After the reading of the paper, the following discussion took place:
—The PRESIDENT : We have heard from Mr. Montefiore a very full and interesting account of the procedure of the expedition up to last July, and I think that Mr. Harmsworth, whose great public spirit and munificence are fully appreciated by his countrymen, has every reason to feel satisfied so far. Everything has been done which was intended to be done up to the end of the season, and done well. There appear, with the exception of the unfortunate detention of the ship, to have been no mistakes and no drawbacks. Many interesting questions arise in connection with these proceedings of the expedition. I think Mr. Montefiore has well pointed out that Mr. Leigh Smith was able to place Franz Josef Land in a more favourable light than the Austrian Expedition did, finding a large supply of animal food of various kinds, and also discovering many birds which had not been seen before, and their places of breeding, which was important; and Mr. Grant, I think, in one walk doubled the flora of that vast region. We may, therefore, expect that Mr. Jackson, with more time at his disposal, and traversing a larger area, will add still more extensively to our knowledge. I think it very important that it should have been found that one of the two great land-masses of Franz Josef Land apparently does not exist at all, which entirely alters our ideas of the distribution of land and water. It is an important geographical fact, and I think it is also important for another reason—because we are glad to find that our countrymen, instead of being disheartened by having to follow the track of Payer for 150 miles, can commence with new work and new discoveries almost from the moment that they leave the ship.
There is another point connected with the disappearance of this assumed land, which strikes me as important, and that is, the question of the origin of the great [page 520] icebergs reported by Payer and Leigh Smith. We must now, I suppose, assume that the glacier of Wilczek Land, 100 miles long, extends very much further to the eastward, and I should almost be inclined to expect another large mass of land towards the north-west. There are many other questions connected with the equipment and the mode of travel, as well as many geographical questions, which are well suited for discussion, although we must remember that the paper is derived from private letters, and is not an official report. I see a good many Arctic officers here, who, I dare say, will be willing to criticize and offer remarks. I see Sir George Nares, Admiral Markham, Captain Beaumont, Captain Parr, Dr. Neale, who went out to Franz Josef Land, and other eminent Arctic officers hiding themselves in distant parts of the room. I wish they would come forward.
Admiral Sir GEORGE NARES : I am sure we are all very much pleased at learning that Mr. Jackson and his party have been landed in the position in which they wished to be landed, and where there is a large field before them for interesting research. We must not, as Mr. Montefiore has shown us, criticize now ; we must await the official reports. There are a few points which have been alluded to on which I think I might dwell. First of all, the expedition has undoubtedly fulfilled our experience of the difficulties of reaching Franz Josef Land, which must not be entertained lightly. Instead of voyaging to that region and returning in one season, the ship, as we expected, was not able to do it. I mention this, not to clog further work, but to show that Arctic expeditions, as we advance farther and farther north, require more and more experience and care. I think the captain of the Windward deserves great tribute for his successful navigation of the ship to that point and back again. Now, as to Payer's Land. It is all very well for us to correctly lay down land from our ships, but it is more difficult in sledge journeys, with an imperfect knowledge of our surroundings. 1 may mention that my expedition in 75 was fitted out by Great Britain on the hearsay of, not Captain Hall of the United States Expedition, who preceded us, but what he was supposed to have seen 150 miles to the northward. I think it is very likely that my expedition would never have been sent except for that report. Now, here we have found that Payer's reported land, 50 or 60 miles to the westward, does not exist. I am perfectly certain that Payer's observations were founded upon facts, and when he charted mountainous lands for islands, and called them a continuous land, he must have every allowance. He worked much in the same way as Mr. Jackson, mapping us out the district which he journeys over, within a reasonable distance of his line of route; I dare say he, also like previous sledge travellers, will see in the distance other lands, of which he will give us vague accounts. Mr. Jackson is specially placed in about the most unique position that any explorer could wish to be placed in. Franz Josef Land, up to the present, has been in this position—that the migratory birds journey there three or four weeks earlier than to any other parts of the Arctic Regions, which is a proof positive that there is open water, and, in consequence of the open water, something for them to live upon. There is also seal, and bears feeding upon the seal. To give you the idea of the difference of aspect of such a position, you must remember that where the Alert and Discovery were, we never saw a bear, because we never saw a seal; we never saw, therefore, any water. Now we are exploring a position not very much farther south, and I hope Mr. Jackson presently will give us a good account of it. Well, in conclusion, I am sure we must all appreciate the position that Mr. Harmsworth jumped into. There was Mr. Jackson willing to go and daring to go, but where were the funds to come from ? Mr. Harmsworth has, in a patriotic and generous spirit, which deserves everything we can say of him, come forward. We thank him most heartily, [page 521] and we also give cur tribute to Mr. Montefiore and those who managed the expedition.
Admiral A. H. MARKHAM : I had not the most remote intention, when I came into the theatre this evening, of taking part in this discussion, and I now only rise at the express invitation of the President, although I am afraid that I have very little to say that will interest the meeting. I do not think we are yet in a position to criticize the geographical work that Mr. Jackson has already accomplished. I am of opinion that we should reserve our criticism until that happy day when Mr. Jackson returns to us. I have, in common with every one here to-night, listened with a very great deal of interest to the excellent account that Mr. Montefiore has given us of the Harmsworth-Jackson Expedition. Oar thoughts have, I am quite sure, been with Mr. Jackson and his brave companions during the long winter that has passed, and I candidly confess that, so far as I am concerned, those thoughts have been tinged with a certain amount of anxiety in consequence of the protracted absence of the little Windward, an anxiety that was not relieved until I received a telegram, which Mr. Harmsworth kindly sent to me in Scotland a few weeks ago, announcing her safe arrival in Vardo. From what we have heard to-night, we learn that the members of the expedition have not, on the whole, passed an unpleasant winter, and that the spring and the summer have not been altogether unprofitably spent. I dare say there are some amongst us this evening who would have been more pleased if we could have heard that the explorers had crossed the threshold of the unknown region, and made new discoveries; but if there are, I can only advise them to be patient, for, from what we have heard to-night, we know that Mr. Jackson is advancing in a careful and methodical manner, by laying out his depots before him in readiness to make an extended journey, which I presume he will do next year; and I am quite sure when, as Sir George Nares just now said, we do get intelligence from Franz Josef Land again, we shall hear of great geographical successes. From what I gather from the paper this evening, the difficulties that I predicted in a paper that I had the honour recently of reading to the International Geographical Congress, have already been encountered by the explorers. I allude to those difficulties attending travel during the summer months, when the snow is of a soft and slushy consistency, and the disruption of the ice has commenced; more especially will these difficulties be found to exist in the vicinity of glaciers and fiords. Mr. Jackson has no doubt realized these difficulties, and will, I am sure, by an early start next spring, and a return again before the summer is too far advanced, overcome them. It is satisfactory to know that there is an abundance of animal food, as we supposed would be the case from Mr. Leigh Smith's expedition, and I attribute to this fact the perfect immunity which the members of the expedition who lived on shore enjoyed from scurvy. I am not sure-perhaps Mr. Montefiore will tell us whether the crew of the ship lived on board or in huts during the winter. [Mr. MONTEFIORE : On board the ship.] I thank Mr. Montefiore for the kindly allusions he has made to me in the opening part of this address, and I sincerely hope and trust Mr. Harmsworth's confidence in my writings will not be forfeited by the results which I hope we shall hear next year of Mr. Jackson's enterprise.
Dr. W. H. NEALE : I have very little to add, except to congratulate Mr. Harmsworth, and am very glad to have heard that his expedition has done so well where Mr. Leigh Smith and I passed the winter with twenty-five hands just fourteen years ago. We lived in a hut, after losing our ship, on fresh meat, without any limejuice. Our breakfast was bear and walrus, our dinner was walrus and bear, our tea was bear and walrus for tea months, during which time we had no lime-juice at all, and no sick men amongst the party; and I always say that if I were in the [page 522] Arctic Regions again, I would sooner build a hut on the shore, and live there than on the ship. I think that Mr. Jackson's expedition proves that. The crew had more or less signs of scurvy before leaving the land; two succumbed on the voyage home; one died during the winter. I am glad that Mr. Leigh Smith's plans have been followed up, and in a year or two we shall be able to congratulate Mr. Harmsworth on seeing Mr. Jackson return. I don't believe he will do it in one winter, and should not be a bit surprised if he finds he is obliged to give up his present route and work along the edge of the land to the north-west past Cape Lofley. He is getting into a mass of islands and open water, which will give him no end of difficulties, instead of keeping near the edge of the land, which I expect, during the summer, he will find himself obliged to do. I have much pleasure in thanking Mr. Harmsworth for some relics Mr. Jackson has sent home. I have got my old stethoscope and camera, which have been frozen up for thirteen years, and are in perfect condition.
The PRESIDENT : Our gallant countrymen, now in Franz Josef Land, are about to enter on their second winter, I am sure with the same enthusiasm and the same determination to do their work well as when they left these shores. We cannot but all feel very strong sympathy for them, and I only wish that our sympathetic feelings could be conveyed to them as a Christmas greeting, but this is not possible. I am sure, however, that the meeting will desire me very warmly to congratulate Mr. Harmsworth, and to tender your most hearty thanks to Mr. Montefiore for his most interesting paper.
* Although no geological specimens have been sent back by Mr. Jackson, a few rocks came back on board the ship, and these Mr. F. W. Rudler, of the Museum of Practical Geology, has most kindly examined. I submit his report:—
" The geological specimens from Franz Josef Land include a large number of pieces of chalcedony and quartz, passing in certain cases into agate, and apparently derived from geodes in basaltic rocks, such as are known to exist in Franz Josef Land. There are also some small pieces of a radiated zeolitic mineral (natrolite), from a similar source, and several masses of crystalline and columnar carbonate of lime, of yellowish-brown colour, like that of sugar-candy. The collection comprises a great number of fragments of argillaceous limestone showing ' cone-in-cone' structure, and some small pieces of septaria. It is notable that one characteristic piece of flint is included in the collection. Such of the specimens as contained fossils were handed over to Mr. G. Sharman and Mr. E. T. Newton for determination.
" The specimens from Franz Josef Land include only a few fossils, and the most conspicuous of these are pieces of silicified wood, which are of considerable size (8 or 10 inches long, and perhaps half as thick), and of a creamy white colour externally, while the inner parts are nearly black; the outer white coating has doubtless been caused by long exposure to the atmosphere. The state of preservation varies in different specimens ; in one example (No. 1) the minute structure is perfectly retained, and under the microscope shows most clearly the lines of growth, the medullary rays, and above allthe ' clotted tissue' characteristic of coniferous wood. This wood is completely silicified, but the silica is in a very unusual condition, and Mr. J. J. H. Teall, who has examined the section, speaks of it as a micro-crystalline quartz, the crystals of which show no relation to the structure of the wood, but cut across the cells and are cut across by the woody tissue in an independent and very remarkable manner. Another specimen of the wood (No. 3), which is as completely silicified, but with the cellular structure almost obliterated, has the minute quartz crystals in a somewhat different condition, many of them being more or less radiated.
" Among the specimens are some pieces of a coarse calcareous grit (No. 4), including a large proportion of wood and other plant remains, probably coniferous, but for the most part too much altered to speak of with certainty.
" One fragment of a Belemnite, with part of the cone-cavity preserved, serves to indicate the presence of Secondary rocks, but is insufficient to afford any closer idea of its age.
" On a slab of calcareous shale there is the impression of an Ammonite with rapidly enlarging whorls, and fine ribs which bifurcate about the middle of the side. This specimen most nearly resembles some of the varieties of A. macrocephalus, but there are differences which prevent its being referred to that species; it has apparently been derived from the Middle Oolites, but the close resemblance of some of the Lower Cretaceous Ammonites to Upper Jurassic forms raises a doubt as to the age of this Arctic fossil.
" Cretaceous beds with coniferous plants and strata of Oxford clay age have been recognized in Franz Josef Land by Payer (see note by Mr. Arthur Montefiore, Geographical Journal, vol. iii., 1894, p. 495)."
The flowers sent home by Mr. Jackson to Mrs. Harmsworth were picked at Cape Flora and put into a box without any special reference to their scientific interest. Mr. G. S. Boulger informs me that they included Ranunculus nivalis (the snow-buttercup) and Saxifraga oppositifolia, a purple saxifrage. These specimens were in full flower on June 30.