American Merchant Ships and Sailors eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 320 pages of information about American Merchant Ships and Sailors.
the wind that bore him swiftly out of sight, has never brought back again tidings of his achievement or his fate.  Nansen’s laurels were wrested from him in 1900 by the Duke of Abruzzi, who reached 86 deg. 33’ north.  The stories of these brave men are fascinating and instructive, but they are no part of the story of the American sailor.  Indeed, the sailor is losing his importance as an explorer in the Arctic.  It has become clear enough to all that it is not to be a struggle between stout ships and crushing ice, but rather a test of the endurance of men and dogs, pushing forward over solid floes of heaped and corrugated ice, toward the long-sought goal.  Two Americans in late years have made substantial progress toward the conquest of the polar regions.  Mr. Walter Wellman, an eminent journalist, has made two efforts to reach the Pole, but met with ill-luck and disaster in each, though in the first he attained to latitude 81 deg. to the northeast of Spitzbergen, and in the second he discovered and named many new islands about Franz Josef Land.  Most pertinacious of all the American explorers, however, has been Lieutenant Robert E. Peary, U.S.N., who since 1886, has been going into the frozen regions whenever the opportunity offered—­and when none offered he made one.  His services in exploration and in mapping out the land and seas to the north of Greenland have been of the greatest value to geographical science, and at the moment of writing this book he is wintering at Cape Sabine, where the Greely survivors were found, awaiting the coming of summer to make a desperate dash for the goal, sought for a century, but still secure in its wintry fortifications, the geographical Pole.  Nor is he wholly alone, either in his ambition or his patience.  Evelyn B. Baldwin, a native of Illinois, with an expedition equipped by William Zeigler, of New York, and made up of Americans, is wintering at Alger Island, near Franz Josef Land, awaiting the return of the sun to press on to the northward.  It is within the bounds of possibility that before this volume is fairly in the hands of its readers, the fight may be won and the Stars and Stripes wave over that mysterious spot that has awakened the imagination and stimulated the daring of brave men of all nations.

CHAPTER VII.

THE GREAT LAKES—­THEIR SHARE IN THE MARITIME TRAFFIC OF THE UNITED STATES—­THE EARLIEST RECORDED VOYAGERS—­INDIANS AND FUR TRADERS—­THE PIGMY CANAL AT THE SAULT STE. MARIE—­BEGINNINGS OF NAVIGATION BY SAILS—­DE LA SALLE AND THE “GRIFFIN”—­RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY LAKE SEAMEN—­THE LAKES AS A HIGHWAY FOR WESTWARD EMIGRATION—­THE FIRST STEAMBOAT—­EFFECT OF MINERAL DISCOVERIES ON LAKE SUPERIOR—­THE ORE-CARRYING FLEET—­THE WHALEBACKS—­THE SEAMEN OF THE LAKES—­THE GREAT CANAL AT THE “SOO”—­THE CHANNEL TO BUFFALO—­BARRED OUT FROM THE OCEAN.

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American Merchant Ships and Sailors from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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