Century-old Letter From Antarctica Regarding Captain Scott

An over 100 years-old letter has been found in Antarctica, and it shows how Captain Scott got enraged when a shocking find was being made over the reporting of his exploration.

The document is dated even before the outbreak of the First World War, in the year 1907, and it says the following:

“I have just received your map of the Antarctic Regions (London Atlas Series) and I observe that the farthest point South is marked ‘Scott and Shackleton,’ an inscription which is not in accordance with any authoritative map published by the Geographical Society but is naturally one of the most interesting in the map.

“According to all precedent, this coupling of Mr Shackleton’s name with mine implies dual leadership, and is therefore not in accordance with fact.

“Mr Shackleton’s name cannot have been added by you with a wish to note this whole party which reached the farthest point, since the name of Wilson is omitted.

“In view of these remarks, I wish to ask your authority for the inscription and your purpose in making it.”

Edward Stanford, the owner of the store, replied in order to explain how the map was created before the full details of the exploration were released:

“I have your letter of 16th, and I am exceedingly sorry that you find to take exception that at the furthest point South your name is coupled with Shackleton’s.

“That wording was inserted in the year 1903 before anything authoritative was issued, and your book was not issued until two years later.

“My ‘authority’ for the inscription was the then known facts as reported in the press and elsewhere, and I had no special ‘purpose’ in making it.

“In my opinion, no inference of ‘dual leadership’ should be drawn from the wording, everybody knew that you were the leader of the Discovery expedition.”

Stanford also says to Captain Scott that he knows him personally and wants to clarify the situation:

“I had the pleasure of sending you an early proof of this very map in July 1901 when you were starting, and also the pleasure of dining with you after your return.

“However if you wish, I will omit Shackleton’s name in the next printing, I see since 1903 it has been added to the plate at Shackleton Inlet, in the same way, that the other officers’ names are perpetuated on the map.

“May I say that personally I had no knowledge of the wording on the map, although I am, of course, responsible for it?”

Scott realized his mistake, and he apologized:

“I must thank you for your courteous reply to my hasty letter and apologise unreservedly for suggesting that there might be a purpose in the inscription to which I took exception.

“I clearly see from your letter how this mistake arose, and hasten to express my regret for my last letter.

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