National Geographic : 1892 Feb 19
222 General A. W. Greely-Bering's First Voyage. This officer, then, should be the very best authority on this question, especially as he gives details, is always exact in his dates, and sets no value on the observations. Whether or not such observations of lunar eclipses took place, these extracts tend to confirm Dall's opinion that they served no purpose in determining the longitude of Kamshatka. The letter and its author are worth some attention at our hands. As has been said, it was published anonymously, and I do not know that its authorship has ever been traced. It appears from the letter that the writer was an officer of the Russian navy ; that he was a Russian; that he was on familiar terms with both Bering and de 1'Isle; that he acted as interpreter between them in 1730-1731; that he was with Bering in his last voyage to America, and was one of the ship-wrecked mariners on Bering island, and that on his return to St. Petersburg he was charged with the compilations from the various ship journals. As the naval officer states he was with Bering on Bering island, it is evident that it must have been either Swen Waxel, Sophron Chitrow, or Steller, the well-known scientific professor serving with Bering's expedition. It could not have been Steller, since the professor was a German, and moreover he died in November, 1746, prior to the date of the letter. It is improbable that it was Chitrow, who was originally in a subordinate position as a master of-fleet, but while serving in Kamshatka and prior to Bering's second voyage was made a lieutenant. It is not likely that a subordinate of Chitrow's position should have been so situated in St. Petersburg as to have served as an interpreter between Bering and de 1'Isle. It is therefore more than probable that Lieutenant Swen Waxel was the author of the letter. In further confirmation, this officer says that he is charged with the prepa ration of a chart out of the material furnished by the maps and journals of the separate vessels. As we know from other sources, Waxel later made a chart of the Kamschatka region. Waxel displayed great energy and excellent judgment in con ducting affairs on Bering island, both before and after Bering's death, and it is gratifying to note his intellectual discrimination in dealing with de l'Isle's fictitious account of a journey in America said to have been made by one Admiral de Fonte. Waxel skilfully dissects this geographical invention, clearly proving its inconsistencies, while geographical writers in England were engaged years later in endeavoring to prove its truthfulness.
1892 Mar 31
1891 May 29