[Illustration: A white bear.]
An ice berg examined by Captain Graah, on the east coast of Greenland, rose one hundred and twenty feet out of the water, had a circumference of four thousand feet at the base, and its solid contents were estimated to be upwards of nine hundred millions of cubic feet. When viewed at a distance, nothing can be more interesting than the appearance of a considerable number of these formations, exhibiting an infinite variety of shape, and requiring no stretch of imagination to convert them into a series of floating towers, castles, churches, obelisks, and pyramids, or a snowy range of Alpine heights. No pencil, an observer has remarked, has ever given any thing like the true effect of an ice berg. In a picture they are huge, uncouth masses, stuck in the sea; while their chief beauty and grandeur—their slow stately motion, the whirling of the snow about their summits, and the fearful crackling of their parts—they cannot give. The ice of the bergs is compact and solid, or of a fine green tint verging to blue; and large pieces may be frequently obtained, equal to the most beautiful crystal in transparency. It is stated by Scoresby, that with a portion of this ice, of by no means regular convexity, used as a burning lens, he has frequently burnt wood, fired gunpowder, melted lead, and lit the sailors’ pipes, to their no small astonishment, the ice itself remaining in the mean while perfectly fixed and pellucid.
The Atahualpa, of Boston, left that port in August, 1803, bound to the north-west coast of America, for the purpose of trading with the natives. She arrived on the coast in the month of January, 1804; and, after visiting the several islands, and purchasing skins, on the 5th of June, 1805, weighed anchor from Chockokee, on the north-west coast, and made sail. On the 8th, arrived at Millbank sound, and came to an anchor within musket-shot of the village. Soon after her arrival, the chief of the Indians, by the name of Keite, came off to the ship, with some of his tribe, and informed the captain that the Caroline, Captain Sturgess, had sailed from thence ten days before.