A Relic of Ross.

Identifies a book which James Clark Ross had with him on both his Arctic and Antarctic voyages and which he inscribed twice to so indicate. The book is The Economy of Human Life, 1808, variously attributed to Lord Chesterfield, Robert Dodsley (Johnson’s publisher), John Hill, or even unascribed as a volume from the library of the Grand Lama of Tartary. It is a small book of homilies on the conduct of life, often published; this copy first belonged to Isabella Ross, sister of James Clark Ross. He had it with him as first lieutenant to Captain Edward Parry in H.M.S. Hecla in the high Arctic when he inscribed it: “Written on board the Endeavour [a sledge boat detailed from the Hecla] in Latitude 82 3/4˚ N. 27th July, 1827. Jas. C. Ross.” (p. 355)

In the Ross Sea in 1842 when in command of a scientific exploring expedition, he again had the book and similarly inscribed it as follows: “H.M. Ship Erebus 23rd of Feb. 1842 in Latitude 78˚ 10’ S. Jas. C. Ross.” p. 356: Until then no one could have claimed the distinction of coming nearest to both Poles, and this record was not surpassed until in the twentieth century Roald Amundsen and R. E. Byrd reached both Poles in turn, but, unless they or one of them signed both records in one book, our little red volume remains unique.

Ross eventually returned it to his sister and it is now at SPRI.