National Intelligencer
Washington: Saturday December 18, 1852
A New Polar Expedition
A meeting of the Geographical and Historical Society of New York was held Tuesday evening in the Chapel of the University, to hear a paper which Dr. Kane, of the United States Navy, had engaged to read on the "Access to the North Polar Sea, viewed in connexion with the search after Sir John Franklin."
 
Hon. George Bancrift, who had been requested to preside on the occasion, came forward and spoke as follows: Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to meet this large audience on this interesting occasion. We ask your sympathy and encouragement on an occasion of more then ordinary interest. From what searches have been made for the discovery of Sir J. Franklin, and the traces either of him or his party have been found, the hope lingers that his escape may yet be accomplished. In this enterprise many Americans - many from our own soil, endeared to our affections, and others to our friendships - have come forward to take a prominent part in making the new search; and not only this, but also to push forward discoveries in the North Seas. Mr Peabody, in London, has nobly contributed a part, and the Vice President of this Society has contributed his vessel, the Advance, for the expedition; and the Secretary of the Navy has shown a disposition to aid it as far as the law will permit him. He has not only permitted Dr. Kane, who is well suited to the purpose, and who has travelled more in the Arctic regions than any one on this continent, to go on this expedition, but he has also supplied him with instructions that may materially aid him. Tonight we are not brought here to hear a discourse that may amuse or instruct us, but to take, as it were, a farewell of one who is about to set out in that expedition. After a few more remarks complimenting Dr. Kane, he introduced that gentleman to his audience.
 
Dr. Kane commenced his discourse with a review of the previous dicoveries in the polar seas. Having given a minute geographical description of these regions, he demonstrated in a clear and forcible manner that the polar regions were not a continuous mass of ice, but an immense basin enclosed with icy barriers. This opinion was not based upon actual explorations, but, as the arguments  in its favor are of immense consequence and were before grouped together, he would take the liberty of presenting them to the audience. With regard to its hydrographic extent, he was of the opinion that it was probably as large as both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Having alluded to the immense sources of supply which the polar basin must have, he argued that it also must have some outlet to empty itself. There were three outlets, viz. Bering Straits, the Greenland Sea, and a number of estuaries, at one point known as Baffin's and Hudson's bays. Dr. Kane argued at considerable length in support of his theory, and illustrated his remarks by a series of maps and charts prepared for the occasion.
 
Having expressed the opinion that Belcher's expedition, which had set out in the course of the present year, would not be attended with success, he proceeded to lay before the audience the plan upon which he had determined to carry on his explorations. Henry Grinnell, the first president of this society, and at present its vice president, had placed at his disposal the Advance, and the Secretary of the Navy had assigned him the special duty of conducting the expedition. His plan of search is based upon the probable extention of the land masses of Greenland to the far north - a view yet to be verified by travel, but sustained by the analgies of physical geography. Admitting such an extension, they would, he says, having the following inducements for exploration and research.
 
1.  Terra firma as the basis of our operations, obviating the accidents characteristic of ice travel.
 
2.  A due northern line, which, throwing aside the influences of terrestrial radiation, would lead soonest to the open sea, should such exist.
 
3  The benefit of the fan-like abutment of land on the north face of Greenland, to check the ice in the course of its' southern or equatorial drift, thus obviating the drawback of Parry in his attempt to reach the Pole by the Spitzbergen sea.
 
4.  Animal life to sustain traveling parties.
 
5.  The co-operation of the esquimaux settlement of Greenlanders having been found as high as Whale Sound, and probably extending still further along the coast. The point I would endevor to attain would be the highest attainable point of Baffin's Bay, from, if possible, pursuing the sound known as Smith's Sound, advocated by Baron Wrangell as the most eligible site for reaching the North Pole.
 
As a point of departure, this is two hundred and twenty miles to the north of Beechy Island, the starting point of Sir Edward Belcher, and seventy miles north of the utmost limits seen or recorded in Wellington Channel.
 
The party will consist of some thirty men, with a couple of launches, sleds, dogs, and gutta percha boats. The provisions will be pemmican - a preparation of dried meat packed in cases, impregnable to the appetite of the polar bear. Dr. Kane, after stating that his expedition will leave the United States in time to reach the bay at the earliest season of navigation, says:
 
After reaching the settlement of Uppernavik, we take in a supply of Esquimaux dogs, and a few picked men to take charge of the sled. We then enter the ice of Melville Bay, and, if successful in its penetration, hasten to Smith's Sound, forcing our vessel to the utmost navigable point, and there securing her for the winter. The operations of search, however, are not to be suspended. Active exercise is the best safeguard against the scurvy; and, although the darkness of winter will not be in our favor, I am convinced that, with the exception perhaps of the solstitial period of maximum obscurity, we can push forward our provision deposites by sled and launch, and thus prepare for the final efforts of our search.
 
In this I am strengthened by the valuable opinion of my friend, Mr. Murdaugh, late the sailing master of the Advance. He has avocated this very Sound as a basis of land operations. And the recent journey of William Kennedy, Commanding Lady Franklin's last expedition, shows that the fall and winter should no longer be regarded as lost months.
 
 The sleds, which consitute so important a feature of our Expedition, and upon which not only our success but our safety will depend, are to be conducted with extreme care. Each sled will carry the blanket, bags, and furs of six men, together with a measured allowance of pemmican. A light tent of Indian rubber cloth, of a new pattern, will be added; but for our nightly halt  the main dependence will be  the snow-house of the Esquimaux.  It is almost incredible, in the face of obstacles, to what extent a well-organized sled party can advance. The relative importance of every ounce of weight can be calculated, and the system of advanced depots of provisions organized admirably.
 
Alcohol or tallow is the only fuel, and  the entire cooking apparatus, which is more for thawing the snow for tea-water than for heating food, can be carried in a little bag. Lieut. McClintock, of Commander Austen's expedition, travelled thus 800 miles; the collective journeys of the expedition equalled several thousand, and Baron Wrangell made, by dogs, 1553 miles in 74 days, and this over a fast frozen ocean.
 
 But the greatest sled journey upon record is that of my friend, Mr. Kennedy, who accomplished nearly 1,400 miles, most of it in mid-winter, without returning upon his track to avail himself of deposited provisions. His only food, and we may here learn the practical lesson of the traveller to avoid unnecessary baggage, was Pemmican, and his only shelter the Snow House.
 
It is my intention to cover each sled with a gutta-percha boat, a contrivance which the experience of the English has shown to be perfectly portable. Thus equipped, we follow the tread of the coast, seeking open water.
 
Once there, if such a reward  awaits us, we launch our little boats, and, bidding God speed us, embark upon its waters.
 
Dr. kane concluded by advocating the organization of scientific band of explorers.
 
Dr. Hawks then addressed the meeting in a few remarks upon the organization recommended by Dr. Kane, and submitted the following resolutions:
 
Resolved, That the Society regard with grateful interest the exertions of the Secretary of the Navy to advance the researches of physical geography and its attendant sciences, and they specially tender him their thanks for his liberality in lending the aid of his department to the expedition designed for the Arctic seas.
 
These resolutions were unanimously adopted, and a committee appointed accordingly; after which the meeting separated.
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