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First English Translation:
On the Exploration of the Arctic Ocean

by Dmitri I. Mendeleyev

Printable version / Version imprimable

The author of this memorandum, Russian scientist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev (1834-1907), is most famous for his discovery of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. His contributions to science and the physical economy of Russia go far beyond that, however; the Russian editor of the text we publish below characterizes him as a ``scientist and polymath, public figure, chemist, physical chemist, physicist, metrologist, economist, engineer, geologist, meteorologist, teacher, balloonist, instrument maker,’’ as well as a professor at St. Petersburg University and a corresponding member of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

An outspoken opponent of British free trade, Mendeleyev was an advocate of American System economics, as propounded by German-American economist Friedrich List. He attended the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, which was organized by the circles of Henry Carey (who had been an economic advisor to President Abraham Lincoln). Mendeleyev authored, among other relevant articles and books, ``A Literate Tariff, or an Investigation of the Development of Russian Industry in Connection with the General Tariff of 1891.’’

He passionately rejected the anti-human tenets of Malthusianism, and in his last book called for Russia’s population to rise to 500 million. He also wrote, ``The philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and now of Tolstoy, for a `back to nature’ existence, is semi-childish. Because in a patriarchal society, as well as among higher animals, there is a definite limit to growth; but human beings taken as a whole recognize no such limit."

Mendeleyev was an avid explorer, as shown by the memorandum we publish here, in what we believe to be its first English translation (by EIR). It is a letter to Finance Minister Count Sergei Witte (a leading American System advocate in the Russian government), and was first published in The Soviet Arctic, 1937, No. 6. November 14, 1901

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It is to the expedition under [Vitus] Bering’s command, commissioned by Peter the Great, that mankind owes the discovery of the strait that separates the Old World from the New, and connects the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic, along whose coasts Russian Cossacks and industrialists had long sailed. That was the origin of the famous attempts of the 18th and 19th centuries to find a northeast or northwest passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, to join the two northern halves of the globe by the shortest water route, just as at the high latitudes of ... To continue Click here