Home  »  Volume XIV: English THE VICTORIAN AGE Part Two The Nineteenth Century, III  »  § 51. The voyage of “The Challenger”

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 51. The voyage of “The Challenger”

But by far the most important and, up to the present time, unrivalled attempt to solve the mysteries of the seas was that of H.M.S. “Challenger,” which was despatched by the admiralty at the close of the year 1872, the results of whose voyage have appeared in some eighty quarto volumes. The results of the exploration of the sea by the “Challenger” have never been equalled. In one respect, however, they were disappointing. It had been hoped that, in the deeper abysms of the sea, creatures whom we only know as geological, fossilised, bony specimens, might be found in the flesh; but, with one or two exceptions—and these of no great importance—such were not found. Neither did any new type of organism appear. Nothing, in fact, was dredged from the depths or found in the tow-net that did not fit into the larger groups which already had been established before the “Challenger” was thought of. On the other hand, many new methods of research were developed during this voyage, and with it will ever be associated the names of Wyville Thomson, mentioned above, Moseley, John Murray and others who, happily, are still with us.