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Wiik, who took ill and died. A large cross with an inscription marks his resting place ; this they erected on a prominent point where it will serve as a land-mark to the ships which pass by. As they left their winterings on the 11th of July, 1906, Amunsden says pathetically,
We took a last farewell of our comrade whom we were leaving behind us out there, and dipped our flag as a last mark of honour to him as we passed under his grave.'
At Herschel Island they had another wait, and here they lost their young Esquimo friend; then on the 30th of August they entered Behring Strait after a journey through many narrow passages and sharp turnings. On the 31st of August they called at a gold-digging town of Alaska, named Nome, where they met with an enthusiastic reception, and here the adventures of the brave little party came to an end. Later they took the Gjöa to San Francisco, where she is now in the charge of the American Navy.
Two instances, one of self-abnegation and the other of foresight, have been pointed out in connexion with Amunsden's action in this expedition :
First, he voluntarily spent two winters in the neighbourhood of the North Magnetic Pole for the purpose of making observations, that science might be the richer on his return by his investigations, instead of proceeding on his way when the tempting bait of making the North West Passage he felt intuitively to be within his grasp
And, secondly, that in obedience to his correct judgment, the course of the Gjöa was directed southwards, for, having skirted the further coast of Greenland to the extreme North West, where there was a channel leading north, he decided not to proceed on, but directed his course to the south of Beechey Island. As Captain Creak remarked, 'Fortunately he had an excellent signpost in his magnetic instruments. Theorists said “go North,” but the magnetic instru. ments said “go South.” He accordingly resisted the temptation to follow the northerly route, which presumably others had taken and failed, and directed his course southwards. Consequently, in pursuing the waterway to the south he struck the passage, whereas, had he followed his first inclinations and proceeded in the northerly direction, he, in all probability, must have returned by the way he came.
It is a curious coincidence that both the North-West Passage and North-East Passage have been made by Scandinavians, the latter by Baron Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, a Swedish explorer and scientist, and, as Dr. Nansen points out, that ever since the eighth century the Norseman has been in quest of the same goal—the North-West Passage. From the time the Vikings had visited Iceland, and Gunbiörn had discovered Greenland (about A.D. 981), whither his countrymen had pressed forward and formed settlements, on to A.D. 1000, when the Norsemen proceeded on a voyage of discovery, visiting various parts of North America, including Newfoundland and Labrador,
their trend had been in a North-westerly direction through Davis Straits into Baffin Bay, and again still further North until all trace was lost of them. Yet these only were the pioneers, and not till over one thousand years afterwards, in this new twentieth century, has the feat been regularly accomplished, though this still has been by a Norseman! Notwithstanding the excellent work recently done in southern latitudes by Captain Scott and the crew of the Discovery, in the Arctic as well as in the Antarctic there is still a sealed page which it is left for this century to unloose.
Scientifically, geographically, archæologically and zoologically the world still possesses many secrets to be unravelled and problems to be evolved-sealed pages in the Book of Knowledge! Old Mother Earth has not come to the end of her rope! But whatever surprises may await the enquiring mind this present twentieth century, among the nes of the illustrious ones of the earth, that of Roald Amunsden, even at this late hour of Time's 'Indicator,' must go down to a future posterity, not simply as the accomplisher, but as the actual discoverer of the North-West Passage!
HISTORY AND CHARACTER
It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that the average man in this country is profoundly convinced that character is, both in public and private life, the surest engine of success. So deeply is the whole mental outlook of Englishmen imbued with ethical views, that it would be almost intolerable for them should they try to lower their estimate of the all-sufficiency of character. That the Romans were the most successful of ancient nations because they had a more virile and a sturdier character than, for instance, the Greeks—this constitutes for the English a mere truism, a thing too self-evident to need any laborious investigation or evidence. It is probably for this reason that history is, as a rule, a subject of minor interest to Englishmen. If success among nations be due mainly to character, what special motive shall we have in spending a lifetime in the study of history? A successful nation is simply one more instance of the homely truth, that character makes man; much as the truth that a person saving up money by dint of persevering thrift will in the end possess a little capital of his own. It would be tedious to rehearse the history of that thrift in more than a case or two.
However, a little consideration will suffice to place a different construction on the nature and power of character in history. Character, by which is meant ethical force, must from its very nature insist upon the realisation of things such as they ought to be. It is indeed the essential feature of a truly ethical force to take views more potential than actual, to claim certain conditions and events as indispensable, irrespective of the question whether those conditions and events can or cannot be realised just now. It is part of the spiritual nature of all character that it disregards, frequently disdains, time altogether. It exclaims : Things ought to be in such and such a shape! The stronger the character, the less it is given to compromise or to careful balancing of circumstances and interests. It is by nature imperious and imperative. It can neither be refuted by argument nor baulked by failure. The Romans were repeatedly and signally defeated by every nation, small or great, with whom they ever came in contact. But defeats only served to stiffen their resolution, and to harden their purpose. Bernard Palissy, far from being discouraged by the failure of fifteen years' experimenting on the discovery of his enamel, continued his costly experiments until he completely ruined himself and his family, but he discovered his enamel. The martyrs of all ages and of all kinds have long proved that character is, as the Germans very well say, each man's paradise. It is in his character that everyone finds the central essence of his being, and it is from the heights of their character that the great personalities of history have issued forth their guiding ideas or their decisive deeds.
The spiritual, non-temporal, and non-temporising nature of character seems, however, to be in manifest conflict with the nature of history. History, whether regarded as something that has happened or as something that will happen, is evidently not a contrivance made to produce things as things ought to be. It is, on the contrary, a cluster of things as things were and will be. History is not only not purely spiritual, nor uncompromising, nor beyond time and space ; it is, on the contrary, quite within the concrete, quite within time and space. There is in all history a trend, a tendency of its own. Things in history happen in their way. We may indeed feel inclined to behold in the events of the past a tolerably clear proof that things turn out to be what our wishes and hopes had long desired them to be. It is not impossible to show that history leads to the slow but sure realisation of certain great ideals. The immensity and variety of the facts recorded by history will, if cleverly picked and chosen from, readily yield evidence bearing out any view of the past. Therein, no doubt, is the great danger of constructive or synthetic history. On the other hand, we have now learned enough about the principles and general forces of history to be able to avoid the shares of reading into the past what is merely the hope and wish of the present. At any rate, we cannot but admit that character as such is neither the only, nor even the greatest, driving force of history at all times. Character is essentially dogmatic; history is not. Character labours for the ultimate end of things; history is just as fond of intermediate stages, as it is unwilling to abide permanently at ultimate and final developments. The Spartans laid stress almost exclusively on character ; the Athenians did not. Yet both Spartans and Athenians were obliged to submit to the ascendancy of Rome. In Venice there was much more of the Roman type of manly, sturdy character than in Florence. Yet both republics lost their grip on success.
It is thus not quite easy to lay down the rule, that history is made by character. In fact the great truth seems to be, that it is authority that overrides both character and intellect in the making of history. The study of Roman history from the standpoint of general history will soon convince any honest and sincere student that the marvellous and unique succeos of the Romans was owing to
a system of life in which authority was made as complete and efficient a work of art as was beauty in Greece. Authority borrows much from character and something from intellect, yet it is different from either. No ancient nation had state offices endowed with the prestige and authority of a Roman consul, censor, praetor, dictator, or tribune. Being eminently a practical nation, the Romans had long learned the great lesson of all practical life : the lesson that authority has a more complete, a more abiding grasp over men's minds than has either morality or intellect.
Yet, by penetrating more deeply into the nature of Roman authority,' we arrive at the result that its inmost force is the very force that constitutes the chief power of character. A Roman censor had, by his office and independently of his personal merits or demerits, a power which, in private life, we grant only to the sterling ethical value of an individual person. In other words, in ancient Rome the power of character was divested of the accident of personal worthiness ; it was made impersonal; it was, to use a philosophical term, objectivated. The Greeks, as a rule, never allowed any single official of the State to wield a very considerable power. If an incumbent contrived by dint of his own personality to impress the Greeks with the extraordinary merits of his work, then and then alone he succeeded in having over his fellow-citizens an authority that, for a time, resembled that of a Roman consul or tribune. It took a Pericles to have, at Athens, the authority which, at Rome, was wielded by any consul or tribune. In Greece, therefore, authority was subjective. It depended on the man, on his individual greatness of character and charm of personality. In Rome it was objective. The most prejudiced student of history cannot but admit that Greeks like Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles, Theramenes, Epaminondas, Agesilaos, Philopoemen, &c., &c., were in point of character fully the equals, if not the superiors, to their Roman parallels. Yet Rome was more successful than Greece in point of political greatness. This, we take it, was due to that profoundly psychological feature in the Roman constitution, according to which authority was made dependent not on the accident of individual gifts, but on the system of impersonal offices endowed with almost boundless authority. The Greeks feared lest too much power entrusted to individual officials of the State would soon disintegrate the polity. The Romans, much wiser than the Greeks in matters political, ensured the greatest political success in antiquity by endowing Roman offices, and through them Roman officials, with an almost unlimited power for a certain period of time. They officialised character. They stereotyped it. They gave it to the incumbents as they gave them the ivory chairs. In thus investing their officials with the authority of character, such as private men can attain only very rarely and at the end of their lives, the Romans based their whole history on the principle of 'men, not