As if to remove all question as to his real opinion the reviewer immediately adds that he fully accepts, not only the great body of facts so ' industriously correlated by Dr. Petermann, but the inference Dr. Peter-mann draws from them that an attempt to penetrate the polar ice-wall to the north-east of Spitzbergen is; more likely to be successful than the search for a passage in any other direction.'
So that (1) Dr. Petermann, regarded by our reviewer as an eminent geographer; (2) Von Mildendorf, whom he regards as a distinguished savant; and (3) the reviewer himself, who no doubt does not regard himself as either shallow or stupid, seem all agreed as to the very points which the reviewer has spoken of as involving stupidities and shallow nonsense. Certainly they all agree as to the only points which seem in the least worthy of discussion.
What, then, the reader will ask, is the matter in dispute? Over what momentous question have the angry words quoted above been bandied?
After diligent search for the apple of discord, the student of the review will be led to the conclusion that it is neither more nor less than the name 'Gulf Stream.' We have seen that Von Mildendorf calls the warm current which passes by Nova Zembla the Gulf Stream. In this, it appears, he has shown shallowness and stupidity. Dr. Petermann has equally committed himself, or rather has committed a more serious offence. For Von Mildendorf might have used the offensive epithet only through inadvertence; but Dr. Petermann not only uses it, but has the hardihood (we might almost say the cruelty) to maintain that 'it is a matter of no consequence.' Moreover, as our reviewer sadly admits, 'other physical geographers' agree with Dr. Petermann.
The reviewer is so grieved by the defection of the
'distinguished savant,' the 'eminent geographer,' and 'the other physical geographers,' that for a moment his confidence deserts him, and instead of applying afresh to them, directly, the lash which has indirectly reached them, he proceeds thus mildly: 'In out belief, of which we shall presently explain the grounds, the real Gulf Stream has no more to do with the inflow into the polar area than with the ripening of oranges at Naples, or the maintenance of Catholicism at Rome, so that, even if its current were to be entirely diverted by the cutting of a wide channel through the Isthmus of Panama, not only would the climate of the British Islands suffer very little, but a north-easterly stream of warm water . . . would still mollify the severity of polar cold, and help to render Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla accessible to arctic voyagers.' This belief, in which I cordially concur, would seem to afford excellent reason for rejecting the name Gulf Stream whenever the course of the stream shall thus have been diverted, but scarcely seems to justify the disuse of the name under the actual circumstances; still less would it appear to afford good grounds for using such hard words as 'shallow nonsense' and 'stupidity.' If the course of the Danube were intercepted in Baden, it is tolerably certain that a mighty river would continue to flow past Vienna, Belgrade, and Ismail to the Black Sea; nor would the noble river which flows northward through Germany be much reduced though the Rhine were diverted in the Grisons: yet geographers are satisfied to call these rivers the Danube' and the Rhine, not adopting new names at every stage where some new influx changes the size and character of either. And the title 'Grulf Stream' has, in like manner, advantages in point of convenience, which are likely to prevent geographers from rejecting it yet awhile. It may mislead some few into supposing that the whole of the great northeasterly current has passed through the Gulf of Mexico, just as we can conceive that some few students of geography might imagine all the water which flows past Cologne or Coblentz to have come from the Grisons, or all that flows past Nikopolis to have come from Baden. Almost every convenient name, however, is open to some such disadvantage; and the student of oceanic circulation who finds he has been to some degree misled by a name must not mistake the detection of his error for a great geographical discovery.
We have hitherto considered surface-currents only. We have not, indeed, considered all the surface currents which traverse the North Atlantic; but the principal streams have been indicated. We must now direct our attention to submarine currents.
It is impossible to consider carefully the nature and distribution of the surface circulation without recognising the fact that there must be currents beneath the surface. It is true that one can conceive the existence of a complete system of oceanic circulation without any movement in the depths of the sea; but when we examine the actual surface currents we find that either the commencement or the prolongation of some currents mast necessarily be submarine. For instance, the quantity of water carried by the great north-easterly drift into the Arctic Ocean is very much greater than that which flows out of the Arctic Ocean, by the so-called Arctic current, past Greenland. Examining, indeed, the ordinary current charts, always drawn on Mercator's projection (seemingly because this projection is the very worst that could be devised for the purpose), we might suppose that this arctic stream was much more extensive than it really is. But what can be expected of a projection which makes Greenland (whose real area is not much greater than that of the Scandinavian peninsula) actually as large as South America. The Arctic current, however, affords yet better evidence of the occurrence of submarine streams, for the extension which passes between the Gulf Stream and the United States, is in places completely lost sight of (the Gulf Stream touching the American shores), and reappears farther on. It is clear that it must have passed under the Gulf Stream in such cases.