Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, JULY 18, 1905. ARCTIC EXPLORATION.
Yesterdays' cableß contained an interesting statement to the effect that Commander Peary, of the United Stateß Navy, had stnrtud out to tuako another dash for the Pole. The plan that Commander feary intends to follow this time, so the cable informed us, is to force his vessel through Smith Sound to a point 510 miles distant. from the North Pole. This point will sarve as the explorer's base, and from there he intends to make a dash by sladgfea aoro3s the Polar puck in February. The whole expedition is estimated to tare np one, two, or three years, and Peary has obtained three years' leave of absence from the ' American naval authorities. The present adventure constitutes this explorer's fourth attempt to reach the Pole, his previous dashes for that goal having beon made in 1891,1893, nnd IS9B. The last expedition occupied four years, ond though Peary did not succeed in his chief object, still he achievod some notable feats, the principal being the rounding of the northern end of Greensland, the mo3t northerly known land in the world, and especially the reaching of a point situated in 84< degrees 17 minutes northern latitude, which is the nearest approach to the Pole yet attained in the Western Hemisphere. The intrepid voyager returned from this da3h for the Pole in 1902, and he announced then that he intended to make still another effort to reach it. He has continued confident in his ultimate success, and has also inspired President Roosevelt and other leading Americans with the same confidence. His great Polar scheme has been outlined by himself, and a statement of itß main features may be of interest. From his winter quarters on the northern shore of Grant Land he proposes to start due "north in the early northern Spring (next February). He expects to accomplish the journey to the Pole in about a hundred days, his average per day being ten miles. If Peary does not succeed in reaching the northern shore of Grant Land this year, the expedition will last at least two years, and his length of leave of absence —three years—allows for the possibility of even a seoond failure to reach his winter ba3e. The distinctive features of Pear>'a present scheme, as enunciated by himseif, are the use of individual sledges with comparatively light loads drawn by dogs, giving a travelling unit of high speed and radius of reach; the adoption of Esquimaux methods and costumes ; and the fullest utilisation of the Esquimaux themselves. The advantages which Commander Peary considers are offered by his scheme, are a fixed land base one hundred miles nearer tha Pole than can be found on any other route, a more i igid ice pack reaching to the Pole, a wider land base upon which to retreat, and a well beaten line of communication and retreat from winter quarters to comparatively low latitudas. The explorer's persuasive-look-ing plan naturally divides itself into two sections—first comes the voyage by ship to the base on the northern shore of Grant Land, and then has to be faced what is probably the more difficult of tho two, the sledge journey across tho ice to the Po'.e and back to the base. That Peary anticipates severe privations for himself and his party, is shown by the fact that m discus-; sing his project with a newspaper representative recently, he stated that one of his reasons for using dogs for transport purposes was that in case of emergency they would furnish food for the men. The American people appear anxious to secure (or one of thwic countrymen the honour of being the first man to reach, the North Pole, and have given Peary every assistance in his present project. The accomplishment of this aim is the last great geographical feat that remains for human energy to aspire to, and its attainment will be accepted--in Peary's word^— as tho sign of man's physical conquest of the globe. The words juat quoted serve to explain the spell that the idea of reaching the Pole Beera3 to oxerciso over the minds of explorers. It is the hope of victory over physical obstacles and of conquest over the difficulties imposed by nature that urges men like Commander Peary to return again to the attempt undaunted by previous defeats., Since*th« last effort of this kind was made, science ha 3 added wirele-s telegraphy to the t'aoilitiea of modern life, and the cable states that it is proposed to keep up communication between the expedition and the outside world by its use, though it is not apparent; how this will make the exploring party's ta*k any the easier. Explorers are a hopefal and sanguine race, and whether in this instance Commander Peary'a confidence in the successful issue of his great project is based on solid grounds can only be proved by the event.