A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
    friendly powers of Russia and Great Britain might actually find a
    reward, in the promotion of their mutual interest, by a joint and
    well-concerted plan for opening up a communication by any means
    betwixt the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans?  Both of them, one
    should suppose, must be sensible, that the zeal of their intermediate
    neighbour (if the expression may be used) the Americans, to discover
    the practicability of a connexion, and of course to establish one
    betwixt the opposite sides of the new continent, is not likely to
    prove altogether fruitless, though perhaps there are still more
    formidable difficulties in the way of its exercise.  A little time will
    probably demonstrate, that these politic republicans have not in vain
    emulated the enterprising spirit, or commercial sagacity of the parent
    state; and that neither of the other governments just now mentioned,
    has fully profited of all the advantages which its possessions have
    continued to hold out.—­E.

SECTION IV.

Fruitless Attempts to penetrate through the Ice to the North-West.—­ Dangerous Situation of the Discovery.—­Sea-horses killed.—­Fresh Obstructions from the Ice.—­Report of Damages received by the Discovery.—­ Captain Clerke’s Determination to proceed to the Southward.—­Joy of the Ships’ Crews on that Occasion.—­Pass Serdze Kamen.—­Return through Beering’s Strait.—­Enquiry into the Extent of the North-East Coast of Asia.—­Reasons for rejecting Muller’s Map of the Promontory of the Tschutski.—­Reasons for believing the Coast does not reach a higher Latitude than 70-1/2 deg.  North.—­General Observations on the Impracticability of a North-East or North-West Passage from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean.—­Comparative View of the Progress made in the Years 1778 and 1779.—­Remarks on the Sea and Sea-coasts, North of Beering’s Strait.—­History of the Voyage resumed.—­Pass the Island of St Laurence.—­The Island of Mednoi.—­Death of Captain Clerke.—­Short Account of his Services.

Captain Clerke having determined, for the reasons assigned, to give up all farther attempts on the coast of America, and to make his last efforts in search of a passage on the coast of the opposite continent, we continued during the afternoon of the 21st of July, to steer to the W.N.W., through much loose ice.  At ten at night, discovering the main body of it through the fog, right ahead, and almost close to us, and being unwilling to take a southerly course so long as we could possibly avoid it, we hauled our wind, which was easterly, and stood to the northward; but in an hour after, the weather clearing up, and finding ourselves surrounded by a compact field of ice on every side, except to the S.S.W., we tacked and stood on in that direction, in order to get clear of it.

At noon of the 22d, our latitude, by observation, was 69 deg. 30’, and longitude 187 deg. 30’.  In the afternoon we again came up with the ice, which extended to the N.W. and S.W., and obliged us to continue our course to the southward, in order to weather it.

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