DOG-TEAMS DESCENDING A STEEP MOUNTAIN SLOPE
ANADYRSK IN WINTER
A MAN OF THE WANDERING CHUKCHIS
A TUNGUSE SUMMER TENT
Tunguses on reindeer-back moving
their encampment From a photograph in
The American Museum of Natural History.
AN ARCTIC FUNERAL
The yurt in the “Stormy
gorge of the Viliga” From
a painting by George
TENT LIFE IN SIBERIA
THE OVERLAND TELEGRAPH LINE TO RUSSIA—SAILING OF THE FIRST SIBERIAN EXPLORING PARTY FROM SAN FRANCISCO.
The Russian-American Telegraph Company, otherwise known as the “Western Union Extension,” was organised at New York in the summer of 1864. The idea of a line from America to Europe, by way of Bering Strait, had existed for many years in the minds of several prominent telegraphers, and had been proposed by Perry McD. Collins, as early as 1857, when he made his trip across northern Asia. It was never seriously considered, however, until after the failure of the first Atlantic cable, when the expediency of an overland line between the two continents began to be earnestly discussed. The plan of Mr. Collins, which was submitted to the Western Union Telegraph Company of New York as early as 1863, seemed to be the most practicable of all the projects which were suggested for intercontinental communication. It proposed to unite the telegraphic systems of America and Russia by a line through British Columbia, Russian America, and north-eastern Siberia, meeting the Russian lines at the mouth of the Amur (ah-moor) River on the Asiatic coast, and forming one continuous girdle of wire nearly round the globe.
This plan possessed many very obvious advantages. It called for no long cables. It provided for a line which would run everywhere overland, except for a short distance at Bering Strait, and which could be easily repaired when injured by accident or storm. It promised also to extend its line eventually down the Asiatic coast to Peking, and to develop a large and profitable business with China. All these considerations recommended it strongly to the favour