Antarctic Discovery.


Under the above title, we hope to be able hereafter, to record the result of the well-directed energies of British Navigators, attended with the same degree of success as is displayed by the maps of the Arctic regions; and while we await accounts of the expedition which has recently departed from our shores, under the direction of Capt. Ross, a glance over the beautiful maps[1] of the southern regions, recently published by the Admiralty, may not be out of time. Independent of geographical discovery, which will form but a secondary object of Capt. Ross’s expedition, the important subject of magnetism will receive additions which will be of material value in the present advanced state of that science. But leaving that subject for the present and referring to the map we find a fair promise of future hope from the perseverance of our seamen, by seeing their tracks already nearer to the south pole than those of any other nation. Within the parallel of 70° S. we find no other names than those of Cook and Weddell—that of the former within 71° S. in 107° W. in Feb. 1774, and that of the latter within 74° S. in 34° W. in Jan. 1823, the nearest approximation yet made to the south pole. Commencing at the meridian of Greenwich we find Bellinghausen in January 1820 within 69° S. in long. 2° W.; the next is Weddell as above stated. We then find the French navigator D’Urville in February 1838, nearly in 64° S. on the meridian of 44° W., and afterwards laying down new land called Louis Phillippe, in that latitude within the meridians of 56° and 58° W. Continuing west we find Biscoe’s track among Pitt and Adelaide Islands off Graham land (formerly discovered) and meet Bellinghausen’s track, in January 1821, within 69° S. in long. 77° W. to the eastward of which he places Alexander Island, and in 91° W., Petra Island. We next find Cook’s track as before stated within 71° S., and Bellinghausen again in 161° W. within 67° S. Balleny Islands we next find within 66° S. in 164° E. with indications of land to the eastward in the same parallel and also Sabrina land in 65° S. within the meridians of 116° and 118° E. and we annex to this notice the log of Capt. Balleny’s vessel. We next come to Kemp land seen in December 1833 in about 67° S. and 59°E. and west of it Enderby land, the owner’s name of Capt. Biscoe’s vessel. Eastward of this we meet with Bellinghausen’s and Biscoe’s tracks, the former within 69° S. in about 13° E.; and having enumerated the above nearest approaches to the south pole, we shall now lay before our readers the annexed log to which we alluded in our August number, (p. 563) and which we are enabled to do by the attention of Messrs. Enderby, the owners of Capt. Balleny’s vessel.

EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNAL OF THE SCHOONER ELIZA SCOTT.—From Campbell’s Island towards the South Pole.—By Capt. Balleny.

Feb. 4th. Strong breezes and cloudy; a great deal of sea about us Lat. at noon by obervations, 67° 24’ S. P.M. light winds, fog and showers of sleet and snow at intervals. Temp. at noon, 40°. Long. noon, 170° 51’ by acc., by chron. 171° 18’. Var. 37°.

5th. The whole of this day light winds and foggy. Water very dirty. Saw several whales, penguins, and sea leopards. Lat. at noon obs. 67° 40’ S. indifferent sight. Therm. 38. P.M. light winds and thick weather to the end. Long. at noon 168° 18’ by acc.

6th. This morning commences with light winds and thick weather At noon more clear; heard the surf to leeward. Therm. 37. About half past twelve it cleared a little, when we found we were in a deep bay, formed by what evidently appeared to be barren ice and close to it. As we proceed west, the ice appears to lie more to the northward. Tacked ship to N.N.W.; very little wind from west, and thick fog. The water had been very dirty all day with a great many feathers. Lat. noon by acc. 67° 37’ Long, by acc. 166° 34’.

7th. Begins and continues to the end, light winds and very thick with dirty green looking water. At noon Ther. 38° Lat. 67° 7 Long. 166° 45’.

8th. This morning light winds and thick weather. At 2h. A.M. heard the roar of surf. At 3h. passed a large berg of ice close to us. No observations this day. Therm. 41° Lat. by acc. 66° 44’. Long by acc. 166° 44’ by London rate. Saw a young seal this day.

9th. This morning thick fog. Passed a great many icebergs and saw a great many penguins. At 8h. clear, steering to west by compass, got sight for my chronometers which gave the ship by the London rate in Lat. 66° 46’, Long. 166° 3’, and by the Port Chalky rate: Lat. 66° 46’ 0”, Long. 164° 29’ 15”.

At 11 A.M. observed a darkish appearance to the S.W. At noon observed the lat. to be 66° 37’ S. At noon the sun shone brightly, saw the appearance of land to the S.W. extending from west to about south—ran for it; at 4h. made it out distinctly to be land. At 8h. P.M. got within 5 miles of it when we saw another piece of land of great height, bearing E. by 8. At sunset we distinctly made them out to be 3 separate islands of good size, but the western one the longest. Lay to all night off the middle island, and at

10th. 2h. A.M. of the 10th bore up for it, ran through a considerable quantity of drift ice and got within half a mile, but found it completely ice bound, with high perpendicular cliffs. I wished to run beween the middle and western island, but was compelled to come out to the eastward again as from the western island to the eastern one on the west (or rather S.W.) side, the sea was in one firm and solid mass, without a passage. The weather at sunrise was very threatening. At 6h. it came on thick, since when we have been compelled to stand off. I make the high bluff western points of the middle island to be in lat. 66° 44’ South, long. by London rate 164° 45’ 00” E.; by Port Chalky 163° 11’ 15” E. Lunar at 2 o’clock agrees with Port Chalky time. Temp. at noon 42°. The weather continuing moderate but very thick to the end.

11th. Thick. At 1 o’clock A.M., had to hoist out a boat to tow the vessel clear of an iceberg which we were close to, but could not see, and no wind. At 11 A.M. cleared, and saw the land bearing about W.S.W. and of a tremendous height, I should suppose at least 12,000 feet, and covered with snow. At noon, temp. 42°, we had a very indifferent observation, which gave the lat. 66° 30’, and it immediately came on thick.

12th. This morning the weather clears and thickens occasionally. At 2h A.M. saw the land bearing S.S.E. about 10 miles. The west point of the west island bore W.N.W. At 8h land completely ice bound. At noon, temp. 35° tacked and worked in shore for harbour or beach. At 4h P.M. abreast of the small island, the eastern island now at a different bearing appeared a large one, lat. by acc 66° 22’, long. 163° 49’ E. At 6 P.M. went on shore in the cutter’s boat at the only place likely to afford a landing; but when we got close with the boat, it proved only the draw back of the sea, leaving a beach of 3 or 4 feet at most. Capt. Freeman jumped out and got a few stones, but was up to the middle in water. There is no landing or beaches on this land; in fact, but for the bare rocks where the icebergs had broken from, we should scarce have known it from land at first, but as we stood in for it, we plainly perceived smoke arising from the mountain tops. It is evidently Volcanic, as the specimen of stone, or rather cinders will prove. The cliffs are perpendicular and what in all probability would have been valleys and beaches, are occupied by solid blocks of ice, I could not see a beach or harbour, or any thing like one. Returned on board at 7h. and got the vessels safely through the drift ice before dark, and ran along the land.

March 2nd. This day is ushered in with hard squalls, snow and sleet. At 8, more clear, got sights for chronometer. At noon temp. 35° latitude observed 65° 00’ S., Longitude by acc. 122° 44’ E. P.M. strong winds with snow and sleet. At 8h more clear, saw the appearance of land. Hove to, surrounded by drift ice, the water became smooth all at once. 

3rd. This morning tolerably clear, stood through the drift ice to the southward. At 8h. A.M. found ourselves surrounded by icebergs of immense size, and to the S.W. the ice was completely fast, and every appearance of land at the back of it; but on getting through the ice to it we could not steer to the westward, but had to steer N.b.E. along the edge of the packed ice. Another proof of it being land, was the fact of the rapid increase of the variation, which on this day was 44° 11’ westerly, P.M. strong breezes and clear to the end, lat. this day obs. 65° 10’ lon. by acc. 118° 30’ E.

4th. We have moderate but cloudy weather this morning. At noon, temp. 31°, lat. 63° 56’ obs. S. lon. by acc. 116° 11’ E. P.M. at 4 got sights for chronometers. Strang winds and cloudy to the end with strong N.W. sea. Hove to. At 9h surrounded by ice.

Abstract of Magnetic Variations, observed on board the schooner Eliza Scott, Cap. Balleny, 1838 and 9.

 3658  3142  2958 
 370  3916 Az.3156 
 3714  4140  3841 
 4554  16010 Az.1453E.
 670  1780 Az.2757 
 670  17730 Amp.3325 
 680  1730  360 
 6336  14120  1752 
 6430  13212 Amp.1454W.
 6510  11830  4411 
 6210  1130  4221 

[1] The publication of this map was well timed. What occasion could be more opportune than the departure of Ross’s ships, for the appearance of a chart shewing the state of our geographical knowledge of the parts he is about to explore, up to the present time.—Ed. N.M.