Cresswell was a Royal naval officer aboard both the James Clark Ross and Robert McClure expeditions of the Franklin Search, and can claim to be the first to cover the entire Northwest Passage. He was also a notable water-colourist of these expeditions. The letters reproduced here are primarily to his Parents.
p. 57, HMS Investigator Whale Fish Islands [Greenland] June 29th 1848: P.S. Perhaps you will like to hear what I am reading. I am in the middle of my dearest Grandmother’s [Elizabeth Fry] life. I think it does me a great deal of good. May we all be enabled to follow as near as possible in her holy steps. That all can be as good as she was is impossible. We are not all given 5 talents, but if we have one, it is no reason we should hide it in the sand.
In the second place I am reading the History of British India. I have read a good deal since I have been away, and have got books enough to last me for years as I have the use of those in the Capt’s cabin, the ship’s library &c. &c.
p. 63, HMS Investigator 1850: My cabin was in a most awful state last night, books, candles, coffee, tooth power &c. &c. &c. . . flying about in all directions.
p. 65, from Johann Miertsching’s diary of the voyage: February 24th, 1850: Each Sunday there is Divine service; the Captain stands and reads from the Prayer Book, a psalm, two chapters from the Bible, the Ten Commandments and the Gospel and Epistle prescribed for that Sunday.