Page:The cruise of the Corwin.djvu/15

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INTRODUCTION


ONE of the poignant tragedies of north polar exploration, that of the Jeannette, still lingers in the memory of persons now living, though a generation has since passed away. John Muir, who joined the first search expedition dispatched from San Francisco, had already achieved distinction by his glacial studies in the Sierra Nevada and in Alaska. The Corwin expedition afforded him a coveted opportunity to cruise among the islands of Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean, and to visit the frost-bitten shores of northeastern Siberia and northwestern Alaska. So enticing was the lure of this new adventure, so eager was he to study the evidence of glaciation in the Far North, that he said a reluctant good-bye to his young wife and fared forth upon the deep. "You remember," he wrote to her from the Siberian coast, "that I told you long ago how eager I was to get upon those islands in the middle of the Bering Sea and Strait to read the ice record there."

The events which led up to this memorable cruise of the Corwin in 1881 had their origin