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Cruise of the Revenue-Steamer Corwin in Alaska and the N.W. Arctic Ocean in 1881: Botatical Notes Notes and Memoranda: Medical and Anthropological; Botanical; Ornithological.   By: (1838-1914)

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THE EXECUTIVE DOCUMENTS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FORTY SEVENTH CONGRESS.

1882 '83.

IN TWENTY FIVE VOLUMES.

VOLUME 23.

WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 1883.

47TH CONGRESS, } HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. { Ex. Doc. 2d Session . } { No. 105.

CRUISE OF THE REVENUE STEAMER CORWIN IN ALASKA AND THE N. W. ARCTIC OCEAN IN 1881.

NOTES AND MEMORANDA: MEDICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL; BOTANICAL; ORNITHOLOGICAL.

WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 1883.

LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, IN RESPONSE TO

A resolution of the House of Representatives transmitting the observations and notes made during the cruise of the revenue cutter Corwin in 1881.

MARCH 3, 1883. Referred to the Committee on Commerce and ordered to be printed.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, March 3, 1883.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of resolution of the House, dated March 3, 1883, requesting that the Secretary of the Treasury furnish, as soon as convenient, to the Speaker of the House copies of documents in the possession of the Treasury Department containing observations on glaciation, birds, natural history, and the medical notes made upon cruises of revenue cutters in the year 1881.

In reply, I transmit herewith the observations on glaciation in the Arctic Ocean and the Alaska region, made by Mr. John Muir; notes upon the birds and natural history of Bering Sea and the northwestern region, by Mr. E. W. Nelson; and medical notes and anthropological notes relating to the natives of Alaska and the northwestern Arctic region, made by Dr. Irving C. Rosse.

All these notes were made upon the cruise of the revenue cutter Corwin in 1881.

Very respectfully,

H. F. FRENCH, Acting Secretary .

Hon. J. W. KEIFER, Speaker of the House of Representatives .

BOTANICAL NOTES ON ALASKA.

BY JOHN MUIR.

BOTANICAL NOTES.

By John Muir.

INTRODUCTORY.

The plants named in the following notes were collected at many localities on the coasts of Alaska and Siberia, and on Saint Lawrence, Wrangel, and Herald Islands, between about latitude 54° and 71°, longitude 161° and 178°, in the course of short excursions, some of them less than an hour in length.

Inasmuch as the flora of the arctic and subarctic regions is nearly the same everywhere, the discovery of many species new to science was not to be expected. The collection, however, will no doubt be valuable for comparison with the plants of other regions.

In general the physiognomy of the vegetation of the polar regions resembles that of the alpine valleys of the temperate zones; so much so that the botanist on the coast of Arctic Siberia or America might readily fancy himself on the Sierra Nevada at a height of 10,000 to 12,000 feet above the sea.

There is no line of perpetual snow on any portion of the arctic regions known to explorers. The snow disappears every summer not only from the low sandy shores and boggy tundras but also from the tops of the mountains and all the upper slopes and valleys with the exception of small patches of drifts and avalanche heaps hardly noticeable in general views. But though nowhere excessively deep or permanent, the snow mantle is universal during winter, and the plants are solidly frozen and buried for nearly three fourths of the year. In this condition they enjoy a sleep and rest about as profound as death, from which they awake in the months of June and July in vigorous health, and speedily reach a far higher development of leaf and flower and fruit than is generally supposed. On the drier banks and hills about Kotzebue Sound, Cape Thompson, and Cape Lisbourne many species show but little climatic repression, and during the long summer days grow tall enough to wave in the wind, and unfold flowers in as rich profusion and as highly colored as may be found in regions lying a thousand miles farther south... Continue reading book >>




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