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A NATION'S HOMAGE TO A HERO.
Such were Dr. Cook's first scattering accounts of his journey. Before he could calmly give forth his proofs and furnish the facts scientists were awaiting he was caught in the whirl of a reception such as rarely falls to a man's lot.
The explorer arrived in Copenhagen on the Hans Egede at 10 o'clock in the morning of September 4. As soon as the steamer entered the harbor it was boarded by Crown Prince Christian, heir to the throne of Denmark, by Maurice Francis Egan, the American minister to Denmark, by the Danish minister of commerce and by committees representing various public bodies. These extended to Dr. Cook a formal welcome in the name of the Danish nation and the city of Copenhagen.
It was a weather beaten and shabby but elated hero who was welcomed, and with the same honors that are customarily used in the greeting of royal families.
Dr. Cook stood on the bridge of the Hans Egede wearing a shabby brown suit that had been loaned to him by a seaman. On his head was a disreputable old cap, and his feet were clad in leather moccasins. His blond hair was long and shaggy and his mustache rough and straggling. His complexion was sallow, but his face was full. He was a strange figure for the center of such a brilliant scene as greeted his return to civilization.
A bright sun lit up the blue waters of Copenhagen harbor. Ships and yachts on every side were gay with flags and the shore and piers were crowded with people.
Two big American flags flanked the landing stage where Crown Prince Christian and other notable personages awaited for one hour the appearance of the Hans Egede. Hundreds of small boats containing sightseers swarmed over the waters of the harbor. Many of these boats were filled with American tourists waving the stars and stripes.
When the Hans Egede was a mile away, slowly coming in with an enthusiastic following of small craft in her wake, Crown Prince Christian and the members of his staff embarked on a launch which took them to the side of the steamer bearing the explorer.
The moment the anchor was dropped the crown prince sprang up the gangway, Dr. Cook, at the same time, appeared at the head of the ladder and awaited the prince.
The people in the surrounding boats, who had expected from the newspaper pictures to see a bearded man, recognized the explorer for the first time and sent up a loud cheer.
Prince Christian, who is a tall and handsome young man, was dressed in a silk hat and frock coat. He grasped the hand of Dr. Cook and congratulated him.
The ceremonies on shipboard concluded, the entire party, including the explorer, entered the launch and started toward the city.
When the launch approached the pier with Prince Christian and Dr. Cook side by side, a tremendous roar of cheers burst out from the people on shore and from the assemblage of small craft, including yachts, motor boats, landing boats from the Russian warship in the harbor and racing shells, clustered thick about the pier.
Dr. Cook stepped ashore and in an instant the police were powerless as children to make a way for the party. Dr. Cook and those about him were engulfed and swept along by a clamorous crowd. Minister Egan and the Danish officials literally clung to Dr. Cook. Together the party fought its way desperately to a point near the Meteorological institute. Dr. Cook was bruised and capless and part of his sleeve was torn off.
"I used to be a football player, but this is the worst I ever saw," he panted.
Dr. Cook and Mr. Egan finally succeeded in reaching a balcony of the institute. The people crowding the streets and the adjoining park yelled frantically when they appeared. Mr. Egan waved his hand toward Dr. Cook as an introduction, whereupon the explorer made a brief address in English.
"My friends," he said, "I have had too hard a time getting here to make a speech. I can only say that I consider it an honor to be able to put my foot first on Danish soil."
After more cheering Commodore Hovgaard took Dr. Cook in a carriage and drove with him through the crowded streets to the Phoenix hotel, where he became the guest of the Geographical Society.
The hallways of the hotel were decorated with American flags and masses of flowers. Johan Hansen, the minister of commerce, and a committee of the Geographical Society gave a reception to Dr. Cook at the hotel The minister made a speech of welcome, in which he said:
"Before retiring to your much-needed rest, Dr. Cook, I hope you will give us an opportunity of bidding you welcome to Denmark. I thank you on behalf of my country-men for the noble deeds which you so successfully ha\e performed."
The minister then invited Dr. Cook, on behalf of the government, the municipality and the Geographical Society, "as our honored guest," to a banquet tonight at the town hall.
Dr. Cook thanked the minister "for the very kind reception you already have granted in Denmark, and with which I feel most delighted."
Minister Hansen, over a bottle of champagne, then led in "Three cheers and a long life for Dr. Cook."
The members of the reception committee withdrew and were succeeded by a numerous delegation of tailors, boot-makers and barbers. The explorer placed himself in their hands, and several tradesmen were at work on him at the same time.
At the end of an hour Dr. Cook emerged with his hair neatly trimmed, his mustache cropped close and in a new suit, hat and boots. He then went to the American legation and had luncheon with Minister Eean.
In the evening a banquet was held in the magnificent municipal building. Four hundred persons. many of them women, attended, while thousands congregated in the streets in a drenching rainstorm to catch sight of the explorer when he entered.
There was a preliminary reception in the lofty and spacious entrance hall. The spectacle with so many of the men wearing orders must have impressed the explorer by contrast with his recent experience. The company marched upstairs to the air of the "Star Spangled Banner." After all had been seated the minister of commerce, Johan Hansen, escorted Dr. Cook to the chair of honor amid a demonstration which caused him to color deeply.
Minister Egan sat at Dr. Cook's right, with the Mayor of Copenhagen and Miss Egan beyond. Mrs. Gamel. a wealthy Copenhagen woman, who has contributed extensively to arctic exploration and has been closely identified with it, was at the chairman's left. The menu presented a lithograph of the crown prince greeting Dr. Cook and a map of the arctic circle, giving Dr. Cook's route and a facsimile of his autograph, with the date.
The speeches teemed with compliments to Dr. Cook. The Mayor of Copenhagen first rendered tribute. Minister Egan briefly proposed a toast to the King of Denmark, and the corporation president, in proposing a toast to the President of the United States, spoke of the pride that must be felt by the nation which could boast that it was her son who first planted the flag where no human being had ever before set foot.
The minister of commerce, in proposing the health of Dr. Cook, paid a warm tribute to "his noble deed." He thanked him for spending a little time in Denmark and said that the privations of the explorer were appreciated most by the men of Denmark whose names are written with honor on the ice rocks of Denmark's northern colony.
When the nation was first thrilled by the news of Cook's exploit he said he must confess there was some 'skepticism, but afterward it was confirmed, and he hoped that Dr. Cook would try for the south pole with the same success.
When the minister raised his glass to "Our Noble Guest," there were nine hurrahs.
Commodore Hovgaard spoke from the standpoint of an expert explorer and commended Cook's methods.
Dr. Cook replied in a few words, modestly saying:
"I thank you very much for the warm and eloquent words, but I am unable to express myself properly. It was a rather hard day for me, but I never enjoyed a day better. The Danes have taken no active part in polar explorations, but they have been of much importance as silent partners in almost all arctic expeditions in recent years. The most important factor in my expedition was the Eskimo and dog world and I cannot be too thankful to the Danes for their care of the Eskimo, and now they also have instituted a mission at Cape York. Had I not met with the right Eskimos and the right dogs and the right provisions I could not have reached the pole. I owe much to the Danish nation for my success."
A telegram was read conveying the congratulations of the King of Sweden for "a brilliant deed, of which the American people may rightly be proud."
On the same day Dr. Cook was received in private audience by King Frederick of Denmark. The explorer was presented to the monarch by Minister Egan. The queen and her three daughters were present.
It remained only for the hero to receive tribute from the chief magistrate of his own nation. This came the same evening when Dr. Cook sent the following cablegram to President Taft:
"Copenhagen, Sept. 4. — President, the White House, Washington: I have the honor to report to the chief magistrate of the United States that I have returned, having reached the North Pole.
"Frederick A. Cook."
The president, who was at his summer home in Massachusetts, replied as follows:
"Beverly, Mass., Sept. 4. — Frederick A. Cook, Copenhagen, Denmark: Your dispatch received. Your report that you have reached the North Pole calls for my heartiest congratulations, and stirs the pride of all Americans that this feat which has so long baffled the world has been accomplished by the intelligent energy and wonderful endurance of a fellow countryman.
"William H. Taft."
Further honors were in store for Dr. Cook in Denmark. On Sept. 9 the degree of doctor honoris causa ("doctor because of having achieved great honor"), was conferred on him by the University of Copenhagen in the presence of Crown Prince Christian of Denmark and a distinguished gathering.
IS UNSHAKEN BY PEARY.
Professor Torp, rector of the university, in presenting the diploma to Dr. Cook, spoke of the admiration his achievement had aroused in the university. In expressing his thanks Dr. Cook said he accepted the honor as testimony of the genuineness of his journey. He promised to send the university his complete records, and he said it was his intention to dispatch a ship to Greenland at his own expense to bring down the two Eskimos who accompanied him on his expedition. This was later given up. In conclusion the doctor said:
"I can say no more, I can do no more; I show you my hands." Dr. Cook's words in referring to the records he said he would send the university were:
"I can produce all desirable evidence that I reached the North Pole." He added that his Eskimo companions would be taken to New York, where they could be examined by impartial men of science.
The function of conferring the degree was impressive. The ceremony took place in the great hall of the university in the presence of a company numbering 1,200 persons, including a number of scientists.
In honor of Dr. Cook the entire body of professors and students entered the hall in procession. They were accompanied by the Danish ministers of education and commerce and Maurice F. Egan, the American minister to Denmark. An orchestra rendered one of Beethoven's symphonies.
Professor Torp said that the honor conferred on Dr. Cook was the highest in the gift of the university.
The professor complimented the explorer on the courage and self-sacrifice which enabled him to go where no human being has even set his foot before. He declared that Denmark and the United States would now be neighbors in the far North.
Then, warming up to his subject. Professor Torp said with enthusiasm that the Danish people not only admired Dr. Cook for his deeds, but also because he was an American.
When Professor Torp handed the parchment to Dr. Cook, the explorer arose to reply, but he was unable to speak for five minutes on account of the continued applause.
A crowd of more than 1,000 persons that had congregated outside the hall cheered Dr. Cook as he left, and followed him to his motor car.
On Sept. 10 Dr. Cook left Copenhagen by sea for Christiansand, Norway, where he boarded the steamer Oscar II, which sailed for New York the following day. A large crowd bade him farewell.
When Dr. Cook boarded the special steamer that took him to Christiansand the water front was lined with spectators and the ships in the harbor were dressed with flags.
Committees from the Geographical society and the faculty of the University of Copenhagen saw the explorer off. A director of the company owning the ship on which Dr. Cook traveled made an address in which he thanked the explorer for the honor of leaving on a Danish ship. He said that while envy and jealousy had been at work, Denmark believed in Dr. Cook absolutely.
The ovation to the explorer was continued when he reached Norway. Special honors were shown him by orders from King Haakon.
The greeting given Dr. Cook savored strongly of the triumphal return to his own country of a victorious warrior.
It was 11 o'clock in the morning by the time the vessel from Copenhagen had cast her anchor a cable's length from the Oscar II.
From daylight, however, Christiansand had been watching for the entrance of the Melchior. Every vessel in the harbor was gayly decorated with flags, and all the available small craft had been chartered to bring out sightseers from the shore.
A salute of seven guns was fired from the deck of the Melchior and answered by seven guns from the Christiansand fort. This honor was accorded Dr. Cook, a civilian, by direction of the king.
As soon as the smoke of the saluting guns had cleared away steam launches darted out from the shore bearing the civil and military authorities to the vessel with Dr. Cook on board.
The explorer awaited the officials on the bridge of the Melchior. M. Cold, the manager of the Scandinavian Line, who had accompanied him from Copenhagen, stood by his side. The ship's band played "The Star-Spangled Banner" while the Norwegian deputations paid homage to the explorer.
When the municipal authorities boarded the vessel the Burgomaster of Christiansand delivered a speech of welcome, in which he congratulated the explorer on his achievement.
Dr. Cook, in his reply, eulogized the explorers of Norway.
POLE, POLE WHO'S GOT THE POLE?
THE POLAR ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Explorers arranged in the order of distance from the Pole prior to 1908.
DR. FREDERICK A. COOK
Clad in furs ready for his dash for the Pole.