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arity which always distinguishes such masses wherever met with. The report of this admirable chemist is as follows:
"With respect to the iron, it appears to differ in no respect from those masses of which so many have now been found on various parts of the surface of the earth; and which, in some few instances from tradition, and in all from analysis, appear to be of meteoric origin. They all contain nickel, and this contains about the usual proportion of that metal, which I estimate between three and four per cent, as inferred from the quantity of crystallized sulphate of nickel which I obtained from it; but, though I can thus speak with decision, as to the presence of a considerable quantity of nickel, I cannot undertake to pronounce with accuracy, upon proportions deduced from so small a fragment as could be spared for this examination.'
This seems to set the question of the iron at rest. With regard to the crimson snow, of which one of the plates gives a singular and beautiful idea, as it reddens the wild features of an Arctic landscape, the following are the particulars, August 17.
We discovered that the snow on the face of the cliffs presented an appearance both novel and interesting, being ap. parently stained, or covered, by some substance, which gave it a deep crimson colour. Many conjectures were afloat concerning the cause of this appearance; it was at once determined it could not be the dung of birds, for thousands of these, of various descriptions, were seen repeatedly sitting on the ice and on the snow, but without producing any such effects.
! At 2 P. M. it fell nearly calm, and I sent a boat with Mr. Ross, midshipman, and Mr. Beverly, assistant surgeon, and a party, to bring off some of the snow, and to make what remarks they could on the circumstances attending it, as also to procure specimens of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, and to ascertain if this part of the country was inhabited.--They found that the snow was penetrated even down to the rock, in many places to a depth of ten or twelve feet, by the colouring matter, and that it had the appearance of having been a long time in that state. The boat returned at seven with a quantity of the snow, gether with specimens of the vegetation, and of the rocks; the snow was immediately examined by a microscope, magnifying 119 times, and the substance appeared to consist of particles like a very minute round seed, which were exactly of the same size, and of a deep red colour: on some of the particles a small dark speck was also seen. It was the general opinion of the officers who examined it by the microscope, that it must be vegetable, and this opinion seemed to gain strength, by the nature of the places where it was found; these were the sides of hills, about 600 feet high, on the tops of which was seen vegetation of a yellowish green and rede dish brown colours. The extent of these cliffs was about eight miles; behind them, at a considerable distance, high mountains
were seen, but the snow which covered these was not coloured. In the evening, I caused some of the snow to be dissolved, and bottled, when the water had the appearance of muddy port wine; in a few hours it deposited a sediment, which was examined by the microscope; some of it was bruised, and found to be compos. ed wholly of red matter: when applied to paper, it produced a colour nearest to Indian red. It was preserved in three states, viz. dissolved and bottled, the sediment bottled, and the sediment drid: these have been examined since our return to this country, and various opinions given concerning it, but Dr. Wollaston seems to concur in that we originally had, of its being a vegetable substance, produced on the mountain immediately above it. It cannot be a marine production, as in several parts we saw it at least six miles from the sea, but always on the face or near the foot of a mountain.'
We now copy the Dr.'s own words.
With respect to the exact origin of that substance which gives redness to the snow, I apprehend we may not be able to give a decided opinion, for want of sufficient knowledge of the productions of those regions in which it was found, but, from all the circumstances of its appearance, and of the substances which accompany it, I am strongly inclined to think it to be of vegetable origin. The red matter itself consists of minute globules from od to ort of an inch in diameter; I believe their coat to be colourless, and that the redness belongs wholly to the contents, which seem to be of an oily nature and not soluble in water, but soluble in rectified spirits of wine; when the globules are highly magnified, and seen with sufficient light, they appear internally subdivided into about eight or ten cells. They bear to be dried by the heat of boiling water, without loss of colour. By destructive distillation, they yield a fætid oil, accompanied with ammonia, which might lead to the supposition that they are of animal origin; but since the seeds of various plants also yield this product, and since the leaves of Fuci also yield ammonia by distillation, I do not discover any thing in the globules themselves which shows distinctly from what source they were derived. I find, however, along with them, a small portion of a cellular substance, which not only has these globules adherent to its surface, but also contained in its interior; and this substance, which I must therefore consider as of the same origin with them, appears by its mode of burning to be decidedly vegetable, as I know of no animal substance which so instantly burns away to a white ash, as soon as it is heated to redness.
'The first conception I formed as to their nature was, that they might be the spawn of a minute species of shrimps, which is known to abound in those seas, and which might be devoured by the myriads of water-fowl observed there, and voided with their dung; but, in that case, they should undoubtedly be found mixed with the exuviæ of those animals, which is not fact, but they are found accompanied solely by vegetable substances, in one of which they are actually contained. If they are from the sea, there seems no limit to the quantity that may be carried to land, by a continued and violent wind, no limit to the period during which they may have accumulated, since they would remain from year to year, undiminished by the processes of thawing and evaporation, which remove the snow with which they are mixed. I regret that the scantiness of our information does not enable us to come to any satisfactory conclusion, and can only hope that future navigators may have an opportunity of collecting materials to elucidate so curious a phenomenon.'
Having extracted all the information contained in this volume on the subject of these interesting natural appearances, we are unwilling to mix it up with other quotations. During the long day which the navigators spent in Baffin's bay, the temperature of the atmosphere was almost without variation, and they might be said to enjoy an uninterrupted summer, while most imaginations at home figured them to be freezing at the pole. And nothing could be more extraodinary than their views of nature. By means of the marvellous refraction of light, they had certain proof that the power of vision was extended beyond 150 miles." Terrestrial objects, consequently, were for ever varying their appearance, sometimes increasing in altrude from 2 to 5 within an hour, sometimes seeming mere specks, sometimes long and low islands, and sometimes preserving their real shapes, perhaps of promontory or mountain. But the heavenly bodies were still more wonderful.
August 18. Lat. 76—While the moon was in sight, she had the appearance of following the sun round the horizon, and while these bodies were passing in azimuth along the tops of the mountains, the snow which covered them, and which had naturally a yellow tinge, had then the lustre of gold, and the reflection of these upon the sky, produced a rich green tint, so delicately beautiful, as to surpass description. On the other hand, the rays of the sun darting over the tops of the mountains, came in contact with the icebergs, which appeared like as many edifices of silver, adorned with precious stones of every variety.'
Such were the magic scenes enjoyed during a day, which lasted from the 7th of June to the 24th of August, or 1872 hours, without the sun setting to their view.
We have already alluded to the amazing effect upon vision which was produced by the refraction of light in these high latitudes. Distant objects were wonderfully raised by it, and on one occasion it is noticed
“The sun passing in azimuth, served to delineate them on the horizon in a distinct and beautiful manner; the reflections of light on the icebergs were particularly splendid, the emerald, saphire, and orange, being the prevailing colours.'
What a scene to gaze upon for 140 or 150 miles round the
spectator, standing in the centre of a circle where his vision embraced a diameter of 300 miles!! Other natural appearances were equally curious, if not equally grand. Here we have a vessel of ice in a boundless ocean of glaciers and optical illusions.
'We were (says captain R.) occasionally visited hy fogs, which were, in general, extremely thick, and of a very white appearance, while in the zenith the blue sky was apparent. At this time (Aug. 18, lat. 76° 121') the thermometer is generally at the freezing point; the moment this fog touches the ropes of the ship, it freezes, and these are in a very short time covered with ice, to the thickness of a man's arm, and at every evolution of the ship it covers the deck with its fragments. In the absence of these fogs, we had sometimes the atmosphere most beautifully clear; the objects on the horizon were often most wonderfully raised by the powers of refraction, while others at a short distance from them were as much sunk. The use of the dip-sector was totally suspended, as no satisfactory result could be obtained from it.' These objects were continually varying in shape; the ice had sometimes the
appearance of an immense wall on the horizon, and here and there a space resembling a breach in it; icebergs, and even small pieces of ice, had often the appearance of trees; and while, on one side, we had the resemblance of a forest near us, the pieces of ice on the other side were so greatly lengthened, as to look like long low islands.
Aug. 21. lat. 76° 32'. Since our leaving Wolstenholme island, the ice which we met with had assumed a very different character from any we had before met with; it had generally a green tint, . and appeared to have been a long time at sea, without, however, being in a state of decay: it was in huge pieces of irregular forms heaped upon each other by some tremendous force, and then frozen together.
Aug. 25th, lat. 769 10. It is worthy of remark that the icebergs here were only three-fourths under water, while those to the south were five-sixths.'
This singular fact is not explained, and we are left to conjecture whether it was owing to the greater specific lightness of the water or the lesser specific gravity of the ice.
The furthest N. latitude to which the expedition penetrated is marked 76° 97', when on the 23d of August they successively made out the north and south points of the land across the bottom of the bay, or inlet, which answered Baffin's description of Jones? sound.'
These they named capes Hardwicke and Caledon, and as a ridge of high mountains was seen to extend quite across the bottom of it, it was determined that there could be no passage in that direction, and they began to beat to the southward. VOL. XIV.
* At eleven P. M. a piece of fir wood was picked up: it had nails in it, and the marks of the plane and adz were also evident. This seems to prove that it must have drifted up the bay, probably by the strong southerly winds. Many seals were seen, and the tracks of bears were visible on the ice in many places.'
Otherwise the desolation was extreme
"There was no appearance of vegetation, nor did the land appear habitable; very few birds were seen, and no whales or any other living creatures.'
Next day they made fast to the ice.
* This position was remarkable for variety in the depth of the water, and quality of the substances at the bottom. When we made fast we had 78 fathoms, soon afterwards we had 160, then 85, then 200, 150, and 185, within a short time of each other; in the shallowest water we had muddy sand and shells; at one time a small piece of coral; at 85 fathoms we had rocky bottom; at 160, stones; at 200, mud; and at 150, mixed blue and gray clay, with worms in it.'
The marks of a bear's paws in this region were of extraordinary size: the fore paw measuring fifteen by thirteen inches, and the hind paw twenty by twelve: about a fortnight after, they killed one of these powerful animals.
When the boat was absent, two large bears swam off to the ships which were at the distance of six miles from the land; they fetched the Alexander, and were immediately attacked by the boats of that ship and killed; one, which was shot through the head, unfortunately sunk; the other, when he was wounded, attacked the boats, and showed considerable play, but was at length secured and towed to the Isabella by the boats of both ships. This animal weighed 1131} lbs. besides the blood it had lost, which cannot be estimated at less than 30lbs. He was sent to the British Museum in excellent order. His length from the snout to the tail was 7 feet 8 inches—ditto, to the shoulder blade, 2. 10.: circumference of the body near the fore legs, 6 feet; ditto of neck, 3. 2.: breadth of fore paw, 10 inches; of hind paw 81; height, at the fore shoulder above 4 feet; tail 4 inches, the tusks 14 inch long.'
One of these creatures, to avoid his hunters, plunged from the edge of an icy precipice 50 feet into the sea; another was seen on some loose ice, a hundred miles from land! The other animals observed were black, white, and common coloured foxes, in numbers so considerable as to offer a prospect of a good fur trade, combined with the ivory of the sea unicorn, and the teeth of the sea-horse and bear. There were also plenty of white hare, and The natives described an animal which they called humminick,*
* Captain Sabine, whọ seems to bave quarrelled with captain Ross, says there were no traces whatever of reindeer, and translates, through Zaccheus, the descriptiou of an animal called Umikuh, which he thinks very doubtful.