Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 794–98.

Editor's Easy Chair



Regular Feature, Editorial


Exploration, Heroism, Magnetism, Navigation, Photography, Status, Politics

Publications cited:

Nourse 1884

    Reports the successful 'recovery of a part of the Greely arctic expedition', news of which was at once 'heliographed from Newfoundland' and soon 'flew through' the 'whole country' and was 'known in every office and discussed in every circle'. Applauds the 'persistent effort of heroic men to extend the area of scientific knowledge', and insists that Greely's daring expedition was 'open to the charge of foolhardiness in no other way than all undertakings in the interest of scientific research which involve peril are open to the same charge'. The explorations of Adolf E Nordenskjöld and others have now 'fully demonstrated that there is no practicable northwest passage', and with 'mere curiosity [...] satisfied [...] further exploration is not probable, except for the love of wild adventure and for the interests of science'. (794) Considers that 'When photography began to make the faces and figures and dress of the most famous of living people familiar, and at last emperors and kings and princes were shown precisely as they were—plain men and women, with no glamour of robe or coronet or visible state—it was a question whether the divinity that doth hedge a king [...] would not disappear'. Indeed, the 'photograph is relentlessly accurate', and the publication of a photograph of 'an elderly lady in a widow's cap' [i.e. Queen Victoria] is 'a most levelling stroke, for nothing could suggest [...] the essential equality, which is the distinctive democratic doctrine, more clearly than such a picture'. (795)

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