The Possibility of Approaching the North Pole Asserted

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Daines Barrington (1727/8-1800) and Mark Beaufoy (1764-1827) became fellows of the Royal Society in 1767 and 1790 respectively. Barrington's contributions to the Philosophical Transactions favoured natural history, but another of his passions was polar exploration and a potential sea route through the Arctic Ocean. Beaufoy, an astronomer and physicist, was notably involved in discerning changes in the earth's magnetic field. Reissued in its 1818 second edition, these papers discuss Arctic exploration and evidence for the theorised open polar sea. Barrington's tracts, originally dating from the 1770s, draw on the testimony of those navigators who had ventured into high latitudes. Though flawed, his hopes of explorers pushing through the pack ice retain considerable historical interest. A map of the North Pole and the surrounding region, so far as it was known, is included. The appendix contains Beaufoy's papers from 1817, including questions answered by Russians who wintered on Spitsbergen.