An Account of the Arctic Regions, with a History and Description of the Northern Whale-Fishery.

A remarkable summary of the early history of Arctic exploration history to 1820, starting with Iceland in 861 (p. 62).

Volume I:Relating the progress of Discovery in the Arctic Regions, including Spitzbergen and the Greenland Sea. Much of the volume is fairly technical, and apart from Scoresby’s comments on Divine Providence, there is little about mental processes and nothing I could find on reading by these explorers or that Google Books could turn out through its indices.

p. 23: Another observation which must be made by every reader of the voyages of our old navigators, and which must be particularly gratifying to those who consider religion as the chief business of this life, is the strain of pity and dependence on Divine Providence, which runs through almost every narrative…. Their frequent declarations, expressive of their reliance upon Providence, for assistance and protection in their adventurous undertakings, are worthy of our imitation.

p. 49, what appears to be the author’s opinion on an open polar sea: we can have no reasonable ground, I conceive, for doubting the continual presence of ice in all the regions immediately surrounding the Pole.

p. 80-81, on William Barentz search for a north-east passage in 1596, when caught up in the ice near Novaya Zemblya: “The journal of the proceedings of these poor people,[”] as Mr Barrow beautifully observes, “during their cold comfortless dark and dreadful winter, is intensely and painfully interesting. No murmuring escapes them in their most hopeless and afflicted situation; but such a spirit of true piety, and tone of such mild and subdued resignation to Divine Providence, breathe through the whole narrative, that it is impossible to peruse the simple tale of their sufferings, and contemplate their forlorn situation, without the deepest emotion.”

p. (54)-(71), Appendix III. a. has a useful Chronological Enumeration of Voyages Undertaken by the Different Nations of the World in Search of a Northern Communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, ending with Franklin’s overland journeys of 1819.

Volume II:On the Whale-Fishery on Greenland and Davis’ Strait. This volume gives a classic account of the Greenland “Fishery” and the intricacies of its operations.

p. 276ff. gives an interesting Sect. IX of “Anecdotes illustrative of Peculiarities in the Whale-Fishery,” a series of exciting adventure stories of whale hunts.