ARCTIC, Franklin Search. - GREAT BRITAIN, Admiralty Office
Additional Papers Relative to the Arctic Search Expedition Under the Orders of Captain Austin and Mr. William Penny. Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by Command of her Majesty
London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1852. Folio. (13 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches). [iii], 368pp. 66 text illustrations, 15 lithographed maps (6 folding; one of the maps containing a lithographed view on the same plate), 13 maps and plans in the text.
Modern dark blue calf-backed blue paper covered boards, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettering piece in second and third compartment.
A rare "Arctic blue book" concerning Captain Horatio T. Austin and William Penny's expeditions of 1850-51 in search for Franklin.
Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 expedition, his fourth to the Arctic and third as commander, set out in 1845 to search for the fabled Northwest Passage. In September 1846 the expedition's ships became trapped in the ice off King William Island, which would be their final resting place. The crew spent the next year and a half trapped there before attempting to walk south, dying along the way in the arctic tundra, hundreds of miles from the nearest European settlements. After three years without hearing a word from the expedition, the British Admiralty launched a massive search for the missing ships. Spurred by a large reward, many expeditions from Britain and the United States set out on the hunt, beginning in 1848 and continuing through the next decade. This "blue book" (a series of parliamentary reports named for the original blue paper wrappers which were issued with many, but not all, the reports) contains official reports on the various expeditions and search plans undertaken. The present paper consists of additional documents laid before the inquiry into the conduct of Captain Horatio T. Austin and William Penny following the premature return of their expeditions of 1850-51. Included here are "extensive and detailed reports by sledgers from Austin's expedition of 1850-51 wintering at Griffiths Island (the Resolute, the Assistance, Capt. Ommanney, with steam tenders Pioneer, Lt. Osborn, and Intrepid, Lt. Cator) covering journeys along the coasts of northern Prince of Wales, southern Cornwallis, Bathurst, Byam Martin and Melville Islands; also sledgers' reports from Penny's expedition (the Lady Franklin and Sophia) wintering in Assistance Bay, Cornwallis Island, covering journeys into Wellington and Queens Channels, over most of the Cornwallis Island coast, and parts of western and southern Devon Island; together with translations of natives' reports of the Franklin expedition. These papers are concerned exclusively with the Eastern Arctic." (Arctic Bib.) Included are accounts of the journeys by R.D. Aldrich, R.C. Allen, W.H. Browne, J.P. Cheyne, F.J. Krabbe, F.L. McClintock, G.F. McDougall, E. Ommanney, Dr. R.A. Goodsir, Dr. John Stuart (with observations on the discovery of relics on the Franklin relics at Beechey Island and Caswall Tower), &c. One of the more interesting discoveries was that Cape Walker, sighted by Parry in 1819, was in fact on an islet (Russell Isle) and was separate from Prince of Wales Sound. The 28 maps and plans accompanying the reports are mostly sledge track charts recording the extensive discoveries along the arctic coast. For some discussion and a listing of maps found in the papers, see Coolie Verner, "Explorers' Maps of the Canadian Arctic 1818-1860" (Cartographica monograph no. 6).
Arctic Bib. 45228; Sabin 1920; TPL 3256.