Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/580

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that the more we become acquainted with the area of the polar basin, and the nearer we get to the pole, the fewer indications there are of the existence of such a sea. I am not, therefore, very hopeful that any vessel will be able to get much farther north than vessels have already attained; but I do believe, notwithstanding the result of the English expedition, that the polar area can be traversed much farther north in that direction by sledging, and that it can be done by the way of Smith's Sound as effectually as between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. The plan which Dr. Hayes laid before this Society eight years ago, of establishing a station at Fort Foulke, where subsistence can be easily obtained, and with which communication can be regularly kept up by sea, as a base from which expeditions may be directed to the north as favorable opportunities offer, I have always thought the best plan of polar exploration, and for many reasons preferable to sending out large expeditions. It would not require a large force, would afford opportunity for the training and experience in the arctic regions, which is requisite, and could be kept up at a comparatively small expense. Captain H. W. Howgate, of the United States Signal Service, has recently called public attention to a plan substantially of this character, and a bill embodying his suggestion is now before Congress, to establish a temporary station for the purpose of exploration at some point north of 81° north latitude, on or near the shore of Lady Franklin's Bay; and Captain I. L. Norton, a shipmaster, who has had some experience in the Antarctic, is maturing a like plan, which, he advises me, he will lay before this Society."

The several surveys instituted by our Government across the American Isthmus to ascertain the most feasible route for the construction of an interoceanic ship-canal have been completed, the result showing that the Nicaragua route is the most practicable. It will take ten years, at least, to construct it, and the cost is estimated at about $10,000,000.

"A cavern has been found in Cuba containing Carib remains, indicating that the whole of that island was formerly inhabited by the Caribs.

"Prof. Weiner has been occupied during the year in ethnological researches in South America, and reports from Pacha Camac that he has discovered glaciers in the Andes and Chili, which had been questioned by Agassiz; and Prof. Hartt, chief of the Brazilian survey, is reported to have recently made important geological discoveries in Brazil. The Government of Brazil has undertaken the measurement of an arc on the parallel of 23° south latitude, extending over nine or ten degrees of longitude, connecting the capital of the country with the great meridian of Brazil.

"The Amazon is now navigated by steamers 3,000 miles from its mouth, and several of its tributary rivers have been opened up to steam-navigation. I would especially call attention to the great com-