An exploration of the Cook-Peary controversy, with excerpts below based on his reading experience and that of others.
p. 7: Some years after the successful drift of the Fram across the Eastern Arctic ocean, Mr. R. A. Harris, of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, read before the Philosophical Society of Washington, on April 9, 1904, an important paper, to advocate a theory that there was land in the then still unknown Arctic. He based his theory on reports of observations about ice, tides, and currents; on the drifting of driftwood; on the reported sighting of land north of Alaska by the American whaling captain Keenan; on the traditions and legends of the Eskimo of lands in the Arctic; on the drifts of the Jeannette and the Fram and the observations of their commanders; and on the observations of numerous other explorers, among them Collinson, Osborn, McClure, Richardson, Sverdrup, and Peary. Mr. Harris thought that "the tides clearly prove that there can be no large and deep polar basin, extending from Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land to Alaska" and from the various sources mentioned he reasoned out that there must be a big mass of land, some of it in the eastern but the majority in the western hemisphere, extending between the Siberian islands, Banks Land, Grant Land and the North Pole.
Three years after Mr. Harris had broached his theory about lands in the unknown Arctic, Dr. Fridtjof Nansen published a paper expounding the theory, that the then unknown Arctic is nearly all, if not all, ocean. Dr. Nansen based his argument largely on the movements of the sea currents and the drift of the ice, on soundings on the continental shelf of Siberia, on the nature of the ice in different parts of the Arctic ocean, on the driftwood found on the various Arctic coasts, on the temperatures of the ocean, on the tides, on meteorology, on migratory birds, and on Eskimo legends. He published with his article a map which delineates the Central Arctic wholly as an ocean.
p. 22: Henry M. Stanley, as a reward for finding and relieving Dr. Livingstone, was welcomed in England with the information that it was Dr. Livingstone who had discovered and relieved Mr. Stanley, who was nearly destitute, whilst Dr. Livingstone was in clover. And when Stanley read an account of his journey before the British Association, the Vice-President said to the meeting, ”We don’t want sensational stories, we want facts."
p. 35: The writer has not seen any report published by these gentlemen themselves, but the gist of it is as follows: ”The copy of Dr. Cook’s note-books which had been sent to the University contained no astronomical records, but only results, and the Committee stated that there were no elucidatory statements which might have rendered it probable that astronomical observations had really been taken. Nor were any practical details of the journey supplied such as would enable the Committee to form an opinion relative to Dr. Cook’s claim.