Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/375

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
363
IN QUEST OF THE POLE.

In a word, I fail to find anywhere sufficient reason for believing that man began his history as a marine ascidian, or as a creature still lower down in the scale of being, and that he has worked his way to his present state of civilization by ceaseless stragglings upward—first, in countless forms of brute life, each one succeeding in the series being a little more advanced than that which went before it; and then through an interminable line of savage ancestry, of which the first in the series was only a shade more advanced than the tailless ape of which he was the immediate descendant. And glad I am that it is so; for this idea of imperfect being ever, and almost forever, straining after perfection, and constantly failing in the struggle, produces a feeling approaching to a painful shudder. At any rate, until these and other difficulties are swept away, I find it more easy to accept the doctrine of the creation than to accept the doctrine of evolution, and to believe that each creature was created perfect in itself, and in its relations to all other creatures, and to the universe of which it is a necessary part—so perfect as to deserve to be spoken of at the beginning as "very good"—and that man originally was no brute-descended savage, living in a wilderness, and fighting his way step by step upward to a higher level, but a demi-god, walking and talking in a paradise with the God in whose image he was made, until, for some fault of his own, he was driven out into the wilderness, a slave to body, naked, and all but altogether oblivious of every thing relating to his high original.—London Lancet.

 

IN QUEST OF THE POLE.

FOUR centuries ago the great commercial question of Western Europe related to a new way of getting to the Indies. Columbus struck boldly westward to solve the problem, and, when he encountered land, supposed he had solved it; and named the country India, and the people Indians. But it was at length found that the supposed discovery of Columbus was an illusion, and that a great, new continent barred the way to India. Nothing remained, then, but to go round it if possible, and so navigators struck for a northwest passage. The Cabots traced the American coast from Virginia to Labrador, and attempted to make the passage to India by the north. They failed, and navigators then tried the northeast passage, and, disappointed there, after many years, they turned back again to the alternative route. In May, 1501, Gasper Vasco sailed from Lisbon with two ships to accomplish the northwest passage. These parted company in a storm off the Greenland coast, and Vasco's ship was never heard of again. The next year a brother of Gasper went in