Memoirs and Critical Observations: A Warm North Pole?

Memoirs and Critical Observations concerning the situation of the northern regions of Asia and America, according to the latest discoveries; shewing the great probability of there being a passage to the East Indies, through the North East Sea. Lausanne.

The author collects together various particulars to shew the great probability of a north-east passage, which, he says, was also the opinion of the late Lord Anson. He observes, that the English, by having attached themselves to the discovery of a north-west passage, have drawn the attention of the public that way, but to little purpose. In proof of the north-east passage, he advances, that what the Russians call the Frozen Sea, is only with propriety so called nearest the coast, and the mouths of rivers, the fresh water of which easily congeals; but that further out to sea, towards the North Pole, the sea is open, and is so far from being frozen, that, contrary to the common opinion, it is much warmer under the pole than farther from it, and nearer to the continent. This he confirms by a variety of concurrent proofs. Moxon informs us that he had sailed very near the pole, and that it was as warm as at Amsterdam. Gouldens, who says he made thirty voyages to the North, says, in the 89th degree he found an open sea, without ice, and as deep as the Bay of Biscay. The mariners of a Dutch vessel, in 1675, relate the same. Others affirm, that the pitch of the ships melted with the warmth of the air. The accounts of Greenland agree, that the northern parts of it are more fertile than the southern, and the former accessible when the latter are not approachable for ice.

Hyperborea, warm North Pole
1595 map of Hyperborea. Source.
Image added for reference.

Crantz, in his late account of Greenland, confirms all these particulars, and adds, that whole flights of birds make for the north pole and Greenland, for the sake of warmth, when all the northern parts of Europe are covered with ice. In fine, that the degrees of latitude are not such certain marks of the degrees of cold, as the productions of the earth; and that even in the valleys of Norway they cut their corn twice in the space of three months. From all these particulars the authors concludes, there is the greatest probability that by keeping further to the north than any adventurers had yet done, an open sea and passage may be found to the West coast of America and East Indies.

He conjectures, that, notwithstanding the Russians have represented the inhabitants of the western coasts of North America to be very barbarous; yet as the Spaniards found those of Mexico and Peru civilized, it is not improbable but that there may be some other civilized nations on the same coast, further to the north, and that there are some particulars related by the Indians on the back of Canada, which give some presumption concerning the truth of this, for they have often informed the French that there is a nation of men to the westward with long beards, who collect great quantities of gold, and others, whose utensils are all of silver.

Republished from The Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Scotland, Wednesday, August 12, 1767, p. 1.

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