National Geographic : 1920 Apr
VOL. XXXVII, No. 4 WASHINGTON APRIL, 1920 PEARY AS A LEADER Incidents from the Life of the Discoverer of the North Pole Told by One of His Lieutenants on the Expedition Which Reached the Goal BY DONALD B. MACMILLAN S TARS AND STRIPES nailed to the Pole!" The accomplishment of that which had been declared repeatedly to be the impossible, that which our strongest nations had striven to do for more than three hundred years, at the cost of many lives and the expenditure of millions of dollars, demanded great leadership. What manner of man was this who persuaded the polar Eskimos to penetrate to the interior of the great ser-mik-suah, the abode of evil spirits; induced them to leave their homes and journey seven hundred miles due north; to travel out over the drift-ice of the Polar Sea so far that they declared that they would never again see their wives and children? What was the secret of that power which he possessed over his white men that, had he wished, they would have followed him through broken ice, would have crossed treacherous thin leads, sur mounted pressure ridges, and clung to him until the last ounce of food was gone and the last dog eaten? We find the key to Rear Admiral Rob ert E. Peary's character in his reply to the late ex-President Roosevelt upon the presentation of the Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society upon the explorer's return in 1906 from the world's record of "Farthest North," when he said: "The true explorer does his work not for any hopes of reward or honor, but because the thing which he has set him self to do is a part of his being and must be accomplished for the sake of its ac complishment. "To me the final and complete solution of the polar mystery, which has engaged the best thought and interests of some of the best men of the most vigorous and enlightened nations of the world for more than three centuries, and which to day stirs the heart of every man or woman whose veins hold red blood, is the thing which should be done for the honor and credit of this country, the thing which it is intended that I should do, and the thing that I must do." Here we have energy, purpose, de termination, and love of country-some of the essentials of a great leader, and as such we who had the honor of serving under him like to think of him, and such we know he was. DEFYING THE GODS OF THE FROZEN SAHARA On the 15th of July, 1886, far in on the back of the great ice-cap of Green land, at an altitude of 7,525 feet, lay two NAT l ArL MAGAETNN COPYRIGHT.1920.BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY.WASHINGTON,D. C.