The Preface by William Armagh describes McClintock’s as “a life more noble and inspiring, more humble to God and more tender to man: Humble without affectation, and tender without weakness.”
p. 57, winter at Port Leopold: Mr. Whitehead, the clerk, taught those who could not read or write; while a very youthful master’s assistant named Grunsell instructed the more ambitious aspirants in navigation. This lad was the son of a naval surgeon and had been educated at Greenwich School under Dr. Riddell.
p. 58: McClintock had the resource of diligent reading, chiefly Arctic voyages and works on geology and botany. His messmates, especially Dr. Mathias, kept themselves employed in similar ways. But for the men the winter was a time of dullness and discomfort. Two actually died of despondency.
p. 59, of Dr. Mathias McClintock wrote: “He possessed a very rare combination of ability of the highest order, with sound practical sense and knowledge of the world. He was well read on many subjects, and he was so full of good nature that he was at all times ready to assist, explain, or impart knowledge to those who sought his aid. As a companion he was most animated and agreeable, and he was a general favourite on board.”
p. 143: On April 15 the squadron dropped down the river to Greenhithe, McClintock being accompanied on board the Intrepid by his old commander in the Frolic, Captain Cospatrick Baillie Hamilton and his wife. The cabin contained a good library of books, and a glass Wardian case containing ivy, ferns, and mosses, a wild rose, buttercups and daisies.
p. 176-77: Every possible arrangement was made for the comfort of the men on the lower deck, and the temperature was kept tolerable, although it was the coldest November on record. McClintock was also mindful of the amusement of the men. On sounding them he found that they were not much inclined for school, but would prefer comic representations. Mr. Krabbé was universally acknowledged to be the Buckstone of the Arctic regions. He was taken into counsel, and the “Royal Intrepid Saloon” was opened on December 22. The well-known farce of “Box and
Cox” was acted, and Krabbé performed his conjuring tricks with inimitable skill and drollery. Among the delighted audience was an old Moravian missionary named Mr. Miertsching, who had been Eskimo interpreter on board the Investigator. Every time that Krabbé announced a wonderful feat of magic he was about to perform, old Miertsching exclaimed, “Ah no! that is impossible; it cannot, cannot be.” There was also one theatrical entertainment on board the Resolute, when the men attempted “The Taming of the Shrew,” and the chief actors among the officers were Mecham and Krabbé in “The Two Bonny-Castles,” very ably supported by Captain McClure as old Smuggins the Lawyer.
p. 179-82 has an excellent account of the drift of the Resolute.
p.182, on abandoning the Intrepid: McClintock had grown to be very fond of the “dear old Intrepid,” and was glad to return to her, though only for a short time. Obliged to obey orders, both Kellett and McClintock were determined to leave their ships in all respects efficient and ready for re-occupation. The men were allowed to take 30 lb. weight of their effects each, and the officers 45 lb. McClintock had to leave behind an extensive library, his fine collection of natural history, his dried Arctic flora collected for him by Mr. Ibbets the engineer, and his important collection of fossils.
p. 226, on finding Franklin’s abandoned boats: The boat contained a good deal of clothing, some provisions, small articles of various kinds, five watches, twenty-six pieces of silver plate, and five small books. Among them there was a “Manual of Private Devotion” given by Sir George Back to Graham Gore, the first lieutenant of the Erebus. It was restored to Sir George, who kept it on his drawing-room table under a glass case to the day of his death. There were two double-barrelled guns, one barrel in each loaded and cocked, standing upright against the boat’s side.
p.239-40: Almost immediately after his return, it became incumbent on McClintock to prepare his narrative for publication. He had always kept a careful journal, so that the arrangement of the work was not very laborious, and he had the advantage of help from his old friend, Sherard Osborn, who saw it through the press. The result was the publication, in 1860, by Mr. Murray of “A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and his Companions,” dedicated to Lady Franklin, with a preface by Sir Roderick Murchison. In this preface tardy justice is done to Dr. King in a footnote.
McClintock’s work had a large and immediate sale, and went through seven editions. It is the best and most interesting of all Arctic books, because no other author ever had such a tale to tell. It is worthy of its subject—a story modestly and simply told, but with clearness and conciseness, and yet with such unconscious force and pathos that the reader becomes enthralled by the living interest of the narrative. It has dramatic unity, its several episodes all leading up to the culminating point of interest. Unconscious of his own power, McClintock unintentionally impresses the reader with his supreme ability and consummate leadership. The geographical value and importance of his Arctic labours is shown by the great extent and character of his discoveries. He was a close observer and a diligent collector.
p. 263-64: In February 1861, McClintock was appointed to the Doris, a 32-gun frigate in the Mediterranean, in succession to Captain Heathcote. He passed a pleasant week at Malta, waiting for the arrival of the Doris. On April 9 he drove with an old messmate and his wife to the Phoenician ruins of Hagiar Chem, near the village of Casal Crendi. He took a great interest in these rather mysterious remains, and afterwards went with his friends to the Library at Valetta to see the carved stones and kabiri, which had been found among the ruins.