National Geographic : 1908 Sep
TEN YEARS OF THE PEARY ARCTIC CLUB 665 THE PRESIDENT BIDDING "GOD SPEED" TO THE INTREPID CREW OE THE "ROOSEVELT" NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, September 5, 1903. DEAR SIR: In granting you leave of absence for the purpose of prosecuting your Arctic work, I am moved to remark that I believe you are better equipped than any other person in the country to undertake this work. You have the requisite courage, fortitude, and physique. You have had a longer term of service within the Arctic Circle than any other explorer. You have had large experience in sledge journey ing, both upon the land and upon the polar pack. You are familiar with ice conditions through the Smith Sound route and north of Grant Land and the continent. You have demonstrated your ability to maintain yourself in this latitude for a longer period in health and safety than any other explorer. You have reduced the inconveniences and hardships of Arctic service to a minimum. You are con versant with the language and customs of the Whale Sound Eskimo and are personally ac quainted with every individual in the tribe. They have become accustomed to your leader ship, and if you succeed in transporting the selected hunters and the best families to the north shore of Grant Land; as you propose, you will thereby establish a base which will enable you to live in safety and comparative comfort for an indefinite period. Grant Land as such a base has great ad- vantages over Spitzbergen or Franz Josef Land, or any other known point, in that it has an extensive shore line, which a party retreat ing from the Pole cannot fail to find, whatever may be the extent of the polar drift. The attainment of the Pole should be your main object. Nothing short will suffice. The discovery of the poles is all that remains to complete the map of the world. That map should be completed in our generation and by our countrymen. If it is claimed that the en terprise is fraught with danger and privation, the answer is that geographical discovery in all ages has been purchased at the price of heroic courage and noble sacrifice. Our national pride is involved in the undertaking, and this de partment expects that you will accomplish your purpose and bring further distinction to a service of illustrious traditions. In conclusion, I am pleased to inform you that the President of the United States sympa thizes with your cause and approves the en terprise. With best wishes for your health and confidence in your success, I am, Respectfully, (Signed) CHARLES H. DARLING, ., Acting Secretary. ROBERT E. PEARY, Civil Engineer, U. S . Navy, Washington, D. C.