National Geographic : 1890 May
126 National Geographic Magazine. The succeeding volumes have the running title " Sammlung Russische Geschichte" with the number of the parts subjoined but no other title-page. The account of the Russian Voyages is stated by Miiller to have been prepared at the direction of the Empress and endorsed by the Academy of Sciences. It contains invaluable material on the early explorations, which, if it had not been for Miiller's painstaking researches, would have been totally lost, as the archives of Yakutsk from whence the data were derived by Miiller were subsequently destroyed by fire. The errors which occur in it are chiefly due to Miiller's endeavor to utilize the inexact geographical data of the Promyschleniks and Cossacks by combining them with the less detailed but more precise observations of later observers. In this attempt he added many valuable details to the charts, but at the same time introduced several errors. The exagger ated distances reported by the first explorers who were unable to correct their estimates by observations of precision, distort those parts of the map due to their reports. The peninsula of Aliaska becomes hugely exaggerated as does the Shelagskoi promontory on the Arctic Sea. But no unprejudiced person can read Miiller's account without perceiving his great caution in accepting unreservedly these imperfect contributions, the really important additions which he made to car tography, the preciousness of the facts which he rescued from oblivion, and his desire to be fair to everybody. The insinuations of malice and of a desire to injure Bering by means of this account given by Miiller, which Lauridsen attributes to the latter, appear to be entirely the product of a suspicious temperament and an excited imagination. Certainly I have seen nothing anywhere cited which lends to such suspicions any tint of probability. The facts cited in support of them can easily be otherwise explained, if one de sires to view the subject judicially, and for the most part are not quite thoroughly understood by the Danish author. One error upon which the latter lays great stress, is due to a manipu lation of the record, originated or at least adopted by Bering himself, and which is incorporated in the map and report which all authors agree proceeded directly from Bering's own hand. The next map of importance was issued by the Imperial Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg in 1754. It was made under the inspection of Gerhard Friedrich, Staatsrath von Muller, who revised and corrected it subsequently, when an edition dated 1758 was issued. This map com prised the geographical results of the great Siberian expedition sent out by the Russian government; of Bering's voyages; and of the records of the hunters (Promishleniks) and traders in northeastern Siberia preserved in the archives of Yakutsk. The sources of this map are fully explained by Miiller in the "Russian Discoveries" (Jefferys' translation, p. 108 et seq.). I have not been able to examine a copy of the original map, and have therefore relied on the English version of it which is to be found in Jefferys' translation, second edition, London, 1764.