HMS Resolute , commanded by Captain Horatio Austin, together with Assistance (Captain Ommanney), was dispatched in February 1850 to search for the missing Franklin Expedition. The Illustrated Arctic News was published on-board the ships during the winter to help maintain morale. This facsimile contains 5 of the newspapers [issues] published on board, in imitation of the Illustrated London News. The facsimile is of the hand written text of the shipboard original. The text is in an italic hand, and the subsequent facsimile printed by lithograph with some hand-coloring.
Of the Illustrated Arctic News
Published on Board
H.M.S. Resolute: Captain Horatio T. Austin, C.B.
In Search of the Expedition
Sir John Franklin
Dedicated by Special Permission
TO the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty
By their Lordships very obedient Servants
Lieut Sherard Osborne, & Mr. Geo: F.Mc.Dougall
London. Published by Ackermann & Co. 96 Strand
15th. March. 1852
To her Majesty the Queen, H.R.H. Prince Albert
H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent &
Preface: Where merit cannot be pleaded, novelty, as in Bloomerism, may avail,–we sincerely hope it will….
A few articles have been omitted, for fear the bad taste of a long-shore Public, might lead them to object, on the score of raciness, for this we apologize to our gallant contributors….
p. 2, Issue No I. October 31, 1850: To work is my sole delight, and being on double pay, I feel called on for double exertion.—I sometimes however accompany a few friends on a shooting excursion, in order to study & obtain specimens of Natural History.—
By the bye, the Bill for £12, drawn at the Orkneys, was expended in Oil & Candles, to enable me to read upon various important subjects during the Winter months.
p. 4, on the departure of traveling parties: The M.S.S. here ceases in consequence of the Ink having become solid, an event which might have been remedied, had not the pencils been already used for fuel:–
p. 5, Arctic theatricals and Arctic periodicals: We have perused with great interest the three numbers of a charming periodical;–‘The Aurora Borealis’ conducted by the Officers of Assistance & Intrepid.—We cannot speak too highly of its contents, which are at once amusing & instructive, and we look forward to the pleasure of its next appearance…, our contemporary, with its brilliant coruscations of wit and pointed pencillings, will enliven the dull solitude of our winter, and under its benign influence dispel dark despondency from our minds.
p. 7, from a poem entitled “Esquimaux Canoes. At the Whale Fish Islands.:
You Artists then at any rate,
The “Arctic News” will illustrate
And as sage Punch can not here roam,
Supply his place ‘till we reach home.
p. 10: Theatre announcements for Royal Arctic Theatre on HMS Assistance: 9 Nov 1850 is “Married Life! Or Did you ever send your wife to Camberwell.” Also “The Lottery Ticket.”
Issue No II. Nov. 30, 1850.
p. 15-16, Letter No. 2, to “My dear Mother. concerning the Officer of the Watch: In return for what he is pleased to term my kindness he has promised to advance me in my professional duties, and often at the risk of his own reputation, as he assures me entrusts me in part with the responsibility of the Watch—My writing he thinks may be improved during the winter months and he has generously given me his log to keep for practice.—The Sextant and Sword dear Godfather’s present, I left in charge of a friend of my messmates a highly responsible & very accommodating person who has promised to retain them in safe keeping He is I believe [silhouette] A Gentleman of the Jewish Persuasion and was so particular that in addition to taking an inventory of every thing we left he placed a ticket on each article.
Issue No. III. Decr. 31. 1850.
p. 23, a color illustration of “Resolute’s” Grand Bal Masqué. Dec 5. 1850
p. 31, Royal Arctic Theatre H.M.S. Assistance. New Year attractions, Jan, 1851: …the truly laughable Farce of the Turned Head. To be followed by the Grand Farcical Serio Comic Play of Bombastes Furioso!!! Which will be produced by the Offices of the Squadron. The only Lady in this piece has been engaged at an Enormous Sacrifice, it being her first appearance on any Stage!! The whole to conclude with the ;entirely New Pantomime of Zero!
Issue No. IV. Jany. 31. 1851
The newspaper ended with No. V. March 14, 1851, at the end of the winter. Only one mss. copy was produced for circulation aboard ship. Throughout the text there are “advertisements” of theatrical performances aboard ship, and illustrations of the productions.