The Voyage of the 'Fox' in the Arctic Seas. A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions. Captain Francis L. McCLINTOCK.
The Voyage of the 'Fox' in the Arctic Seas. A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions.

The Voyage of the 'Fox'… Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions…
The Voyage of the 'Fox' in the Arctic Seas. A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions.

London: John Murray, 1859.

Octavo, with four maps (three folding), folding facsimile of record found of Franklin's Expedition, larger folding map in rear pocket of the binding; 14 wood engraved illustrations; original gilt decorated blue cloth.

First edition: the discovery of the fate of John Franklin's final expedition.

First edition: the discovery of the fate of John Franklin's final expedition.

Jane Franklin, unrelenting in her determined activism, was largely responsible for the long series of expeditions to discover the fate of her husband's 1845 expedition to the Arctic on the Erebus and Terror. "By means of sponsorship, use of influence and by offering sizeable rewards for information about him, she instigated or supported many other searches. Her efforts made the expedition's fate one of the most vexed questions of the decade." Single-mindedly pursuing her objective to establish the truth she personally sponsored seven of the numerous searching expeditions, including McClintock's, which would prove to be the most significant when it finally brought back proof of the expedition's end.

The search to determine the fate of Franklin's expedition was one of the most extensive in maritime history. In all, twenty-nine separate expeditions were mounted up to and including McClintock's, which was almost entirely funded by Jane Franklin. McClintock, who had served with Ross in the Arctic, succeeded where the others had failed and discovered numerous skeletons and relics from the ships. Most importantly he discovered the only written record of the expedition: an official form, completed by the doomed men, describing the death of Franklin and the loss of ships. McClintock was able to complete the story from the eyewitness accounts of native Inuit people.

Sponsor of the expedition, Jane Franklin was also the book's dedicatee ("For you it was originally written, and to please you it now appears in print…"). Her involvement with McClintock, discoverer of her husband's fate, was both poignant, and long-lasting: at her death decades later, in 1875, he would be one of the "Old Arctics" who carried her coffin.

The Franklins' connection with Australia is strong: John Franklin was Matthew Flinders' cousin, and had begun his distinguished naval career as a midshipman on the Investigator, subsequently staying on in Sydney working as an assistant in the small observatory which Flinders had established. After two polar expeditions, and many other noteworthy exploits, he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land, a post he held with great distinction for seven years from 1837.

"Lady Franklin at once began to take an interest in the colony and did a good deal of exploring along the southern and western coast. In 1839, she became the first European woman to travel overland between Port Phillip and Sydney. In April that year, Lady Franklin visited the new settlement at Melbourne, where she received an address signed by 63 of the leading citizens which referred to her "character for kindness, benevolence and charity". With her husband, she encouraged the founding of secondary schools for both boys and girls, including Christ's College. In 1841, she visited South Australia and persuaded the governor, Colonel George Gawler, to set aside some ground overlooking Spencer Gulf for a monument to Matthew Flinders. This was set up later in the year. In 1842, she and her attendant, Christiana Stewart, were the first European women to travel overland from Hobart to Macquarie Harbour".

In 1842, she commissioned the remarkable classical temple, "Ancanthe" ('blooming valley') as a museum for Hobart, leaving 400 acres in trust to endow it. After long neglect it is used today as the Lady Franklin Gallery.

The Franklins were so well regarded in Van Diemen's Land that, when news arrived in 1852 that Jane Franklin was organising the search expedition in the Isabel, initial Tasmanian donations alone amounted to more than £1600.

Provenance: Convent of Our Lady of Mercy Melbourne (with bookplate); collection of Robert Edwards AO.

Arctic Bibliography, 10555; Grolier Club, "Books on Ice", 3.16; Hill 1121; Sabin 43043.

Price (AUD): $1,750.00  other currencies Ref: #4106594

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