This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Prof. Davidson, San Francisco, President. By this issue it will be a pleasure to those who know of the good work of this society in the past, to know that at length it is nearly out of debt, and the prospects for a full revival of its former usefulness were never better. The present issue is mainly devoted to an account of the reception given to Lieutenant Berry, previous to the departure of the Jeannette Search Expedition.
It is worthy of note that when any great discovery is made in these arctic researches the expeditions meet with great praise from the press, but when anything serious occurs, then the press wonders what possible use can flow from these risky researches, and hopes the folly of fitting out new expeditions will end. The fact is, that there is rarely any great good comes to humanity except through human energy and human suffering, and possibly many a life lost in arctic research might have been lost long before in the slothful ease and fashionable folly of city life, from which so often comes the "what good " cry. There is a risk everywhere in ex ploring the unknown - in tropics as well as in the arctics - some greater and some less, and which those who desire to serve their fellows are ever ready to accept. So long as hardy, good men are ready to explore the arctic regions it is the duty of the community not to check but to aid their heroism.
There has never been an arctic expedition, no matter how disastrous to the actors, that has not resulted in great good. Every new fact they have gained for us is of service. What is yet to be gained challenges our further research. From the very facts which these expeditions have gathered, we may now believe more strongly than ever that there is a space at the poles, perhaps a thousand miles in diameter, which is always clear of ice and snow. In other words, that the arctic ice is simply a ring which marks the outer edge of the region of the North Pole. We know that as the sun warms the tropics and expands the atmosphere, the cool, heavier air presses on it and forces it upwards, and that this upper current is drawn into the vacuum formed by the rolling away of this cold arctic current to tropical lines. At the tropics there is a surface of 25 000 miles in width, from which this warm air rises, the width narrowing to 0 at the pole; and of course the warm air, though cooling considerably on its northward course, yet gaining much of what it loses by concentration, of considerable warmth even when all the lines meet together at the Pole. At any rate, it must of necessity be a physical law that the volume of air which is sucked into the vacuum at the Pole must certainly be much warmer than that which has rolled southwardly, and which only becomes cold again as it in turn passes over the region of perpetual ice.
The open space must be there, and if we can only once penetrate this icy ring to this open tract beyond, who knows but it may be filled with human beings, and plants, and animals which any one of us would give a great deal to see. This is the great problem now, and it is brought nearer and dearer to us with every effort made. Dr. Emil Bessels, who was left behind with the wrecked Polaris when half the ship's company started on their forced and fearful voyage on the ice field, but who also was subsequently rescued, has just published his account. Not among the least interesting of the facts he records is the meeting of an Esquimaux who had known former explorers, and who had since then married a woman from a tribe from the far north, of which they had before had no knowledge. It is pleasant to read of the kindly send-off which the California Academy gave these heroic men, and we must all wish them every success.