Sonntag was on the second Grinnell expedition aboard the Advance, serving as astronomer, leaving in May 1853.
p. 17-18, describes Captain Symmes theory of a hollow earth and a passage to it beyond the Arctic Circle: The captain’s theory by scientific men and the public in general [is viewed] to be quite as hollow as the earth itself, according to his representations. The Dutch made three several voyages, in 1594-5-6, for the discovery of a north-east passage, but were equally unsuccessful as the English.
p. 34, in Danish Greenland the Governor gave a meal with: a board which groaned under all the oleaginous luxuries of the climate.
p. 50, during winter: Our occupations on board were various; some of us passed several hours of each day in making scientific observations, and preparing for the spring journey. Some employed themselves in reading, writing letters, etc…. Among other amusements we had private theatricals, and several of our performers might have been termed north-stars, as they succeeded in eliciting thunders of applause from the Arctic audience.
p. 69, gives account of the old Inuit story of sun and moon—the incestuous brother and sister chasing across the sky.
p. 98ff describes hardships of second winter, burning parts of ship for fuel, scurvy, etc.
p. 127: concludes discussion of North Pole travel with quote from Frobisher about difficulties: It is the only thing in the world (said he) that is left undone whereby a man of moderate abilities may become famous.
p. 138, on abandonment of the Advance and the last moments aboard: Our commander then made a solemn and impressive address to the company, reminding them of the obligations they owed to Divine Providence for their preservation through so many dangers….Dr. Kane read an appropriate and beautiful prayer, which had been written by the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, expressly for the use of the Arctic expedition.
p. 172, at Upernavik: A priest and a schoolmaster are stationed at this settlement, and the Esquimaux children are taught to read and write in their own language, for which a suitable alphabet has been contrived.
p. 175, A Danish ship visits once a year to deliver provisions, newspapers & letters: …it may be supposed that they are not well posted up in the affairs of the world at large.
[The survivors including Kane and Sonntag finally arrived in New York on Oct 11 1855. Sonntag later was second in command to Isaac Hayes U.S. North Polar Expedition aboard the United States, but fell through the ice and died on a sledge journey in December 1860. His assignment from Hayes was to replace the dogs of the expedition which had all died.]