NYT, Jan. 18. 1910: Sir Clements Markham denies a “Race to the Pole”

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Full article here

“I am remaining in the Antarctic another Winter in order to continue and complete my work.”

Robert Falcon Scott

The latest news sent back to McMurdo Sound was that Capt. Scott on Jan. 3 and reached a point 150 miles from the South Pole and was still advancing.

In a letter to the Times, written, of course, before the receipt of today’s news, Sir Clements Markham, ex-President of the Royal Geographical Society, attempts to put an end to the popular idea that there has been a race between Capts. Amundsen and Scott. He says:

“As the originator of the antarctic exploration by land in 1893, I am anxious to point out that there has been no race to the pole. All that could be done by ships has been done by Cook, Ross, Biscoe, Ballenz, Dumontz, Durville, and Wilkes. I therefore held that discovery in the antarctic continent must be achieved by land, and that the course was south. I also held that a revision of the discoveries of Ballenz, Durville, and Wilkes was most important.

“The first great work was undertaken by the Royal and the Royal Geographical societies, and the commander was most carefully selected. Scott is the founder of antarctic sledge traveling, the only means by which the work can be done. His expedition was a great and memorable success, but the work in the direction selected could not be completed in one expedition.

“It was always Capt. Scott’s desire to complete the work so admirably commenced as soon as the exigencies of his profession would admit of his sparing the time. He now commands a thoroughly equipped second expedition, the great object of which is to complete his former work, including a journey to the south pole.

“I believe he intended to reach that position at the best time for observations with theodolite, at mid-Summer, and I have no doubt that he has done so. It was part of an admirably conceived scheme of scientific research.

“There was no question of racing or conquering. The grand object was very far from that. It was valuable research in every branch of science.

“Capt. Amundsen’s plan was different. He conceived the idea of making a dash for the south pole without Capt. Scott’s knowledge, and his presence was only found out by the Terra Nova arriving where he landed. Capt. Scott knew nothing about it until his return from his great journey late in the Autumn. His plans were then all matured, and Capt. Amundsen’s scheme, if he had known what it was, would not have affected them in the slightest degree.

“Capt. Scott would, I believe, wish success to my friend Amundsen, as I did, but there was no race.”

Thanks to Elizabeth Plunkett, for spotting this one!

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