The Polar Rosses: John and James Clark Ross and their Explorations.

These two Rosses, respectively uncle and nephew, were arguably the major forces in Polar exploration from Barrow’s initial enthusiasm in the 1810s through to the successful findings of the Franklin Search, that despite Barrow’s loathing for Sir John after the failure of Ross’s first search for the North West Passage. This is an excellent and well-written biography of the two men and their era of discovery.

p. 45: The Isabella, for example, carried no less than seven chronometers and an equal number of compasses of various makes. A good selection of published voyages to the northern regions, as well as reference books, were supplied for the officers’ use.

p. 46, notes that presents for Eskimos included 40 umbrellas, as well as snuff and gin.

p. 97, winter on North Georgia: The long cold winter was enlivened by a shipboard newspaper, called the North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle, and by the theatrical productions at what was grandly called the Theatre Royal, North Georgia. James Clark Ross and the other young officers with rosy complexions, distinguished themselves in these plays by taking the female parts. On 8 December Ross played Corinna in ‘The Citizen’, on the 23rd he was Mrs. Bruin in ‘The Mayor of Garrett’ and Poll in ‘The North-West Passage; or, the Voyage Finished’; on another occasion he played Ann Lovely in an unnamed drama; he finally achieved a male part on 6 January 1820[??] playing Colonel Tivy in ‘Bon Ton; or, High Life Above Stairs’.

p. 115, preparing for the 1829-32 voyage aboard Victory (which reached the North Magnetic Pole). John Ross’s: … own two chronometers were supplemented by four others. Transit, theodolite, telescope, five sextants, two altitude instruments, four barometers, twelve thermometers, two dipping needles, several compasses, together with several instruments and books supplied by the Admiralty that had been used on other expeditions, provided everything necessary for surveys and observations.

p. 133, during winterover in 1829-30: The men dined at noon and after three or four o’clock everyone had to walk the deck beneath the roof for exercise. A volunteer school was set up from 6 to 9 p.m., providing instruction, in reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics and navigation. Everyone attended. Three illiterate sailors provided a special challenge. Only Sunday school at 6 p.m. interrupted the day of rest.

p. 212, visiting Governor Moody at the Falklands: [Joseph Dalton] got on well with Moody, and was given the run of his library, but he mentions constant disagreement between Ross and the Governor.