The Journal of Rochfort Maguire, 1852-1854: Two Years at Point Barrow, Alaska, aboard HMS Plover in the Search for Sir John Franklin.

During the Franklin Search it appeared that Franklin’s ships might well have made it through the Northwest Passage and might be met at the western end of the Passage at Point Barrow or the Baring Strait. The Plover was given the ultimate but fruitless duty of looking for that possibility.

p. 106-07, [October 15, 1852]: Our numbers for carrying out the usual theatrical Amusements for an Arctic winter, are I am afraid too limited to get up any thing passage in that way. And our Means in stage gear and dresses is on the same scale. Notwithstanding these difficulties, we are having some talk about it, and no doubt an attempt will be made. As a small printing press formed a part of the liberal supply granted to us by their Lordships on leaving London — A weekly publication is likely to be undertaken by Doctor Simpson, but as it received its name an accompanying set of illustrations from a kind friend to all Arctic adventurers at the Admiralty [John Barrow], its time has not yet come….

p. 110-11, [October 21, 1852]: Mr. Jago has been arranging our Printing press, and getting a place established for it in the cabin. Doctor Simpson has also been examining a parcel received from Mr Barrow at the Admiralty – Containing illustrated books to be issued in winter quarters, beginning the 5th of Nov[embe]r continuing weekly for three months. They consist of humerous [sic] sketches, such as the comic history of Guy Fawkes, by Cruickshanks & others – Doctor S. proposes issuing a small weekly paper, to accompany each of the illustrations, and to be included in one, under the title (as agreed upon before leaving London) of the – ‘Weekly Guy’ – As our Printing arrangements are on a very small scale, the paper must be in proportion, and the Editor purposes devoting its pages to articles not requiring much labour, from either the contributor or printer – such as puns, jokes, riddles & short humorous articles, adapted to the dullest capacitie, a few copies are to be kept for the King originator, who has shown much kindness in everything connected with the Plover.

p. 118, [October 31, 1852]: Our Gentlemen connected with the press have commenced their labours, preparing the first number of the ‘Weekly Guy’ for publication on its auspicious day the 5th….

Tuesday [ November] 2nd The Notice of the Weekly Guy’s approach was read by one of the lower Deck last night, amidst great applause and the Editor informs me that his box contains three contributions….

p. 122, November 12, 1852: In the Printing department a man named Daw[,] a Seaman, is making himself very useful. Not many natives aboard the Ship & none of our friends….

Saturday [November] 13th The Weekly Guy was received today with more éclat than was expected…. Several Natives on board and anxious for the officers to Visit….

p. 124: Saturday Novr 20th Our ‘Weekly Guy’ made its appearance again today and was well received—

p. 130: [Saturday, Dec. 4] The Weekly Guy for this week seemed as it always does, to afford an agreeable surprise to the people of the lower deck….

p. 131: Tuesday Decr 7th Weather cold and clear. The old chief and some of his family paid us a visit today. The fith [sic] No of the Weekly Guy made its appearance today – Causing some good humoured criticism….

Saturday Decr 11th After the dinner the people were allowed to amuse themselves preparing their dresses for a masquerade [sic] to be held in the evening – of which our Amateur printing press gave ample notice in a well executed bill.

p. 138-39: In the Midst of our uncertainty as to the Ice, preparations are going forward for Christmas – Which is to be ushered in, by the celebration of our first attempt at the drama – under the spirited management of Mr Gordon, who has kindly undertaken the thankless office of Manager – The cast of the Play, ‘The queer subject’, has been published today, with the Weekly Guy, and seemed to afford considerable Amusement for those it was intended for— …

p. 144: Monday, January 3, 1853 I took a few [native] men and women to my cabin, & delighted the latter much by allowing them to paint their faces, with the printers ink, belonging to our Amateur printing establishment….

p. 252: Wednesday July 27 Doctor Simpson & Mr Jago have been preparing some printed notices to be left with the Natives at this place, in the event of our not getting back here again, if ordered. [This is one of several references to printed notices indexed as Notices and messages.]

p. 303: Thursday November 3, 1853 Doctor Simpson & Mr Gray have been engaged bringing out a Weekly Guy to accompany & announce the first issue of papers sent out by Mr Barrow.

p. 305: Tuesday November 8 We had a number of our old acquaintance of last year in the ‘Weekly Guy’ published today, by way of letting us know that he is still alive, though in some way superceded this year by the generosity of Mr Barrow who has sent a Number of papers & periodicals sufficient for a good, separate supply every week, from Nov[embe]r to April – His idea on this subject is I think a happy one, by his wish the papers [e]tc or weeks supply are first placed on the cabin table, from whence they go to the Gun Room, and then to the lower deck, so that people almost from the force of habit will take them up & perhaps obtain information & news of which they had been previously ignorant. But of our old friend the Guy I feel sorry that the means at the disposal of the Editor, are not in any way, either mechanically or literary, adequate to ensure Keeping up the publication with spirit – however, we are promised an occasional number when anything of unusual importance takes place.

p. 381: Friday, May 26, 1854 Mr Jago has been employed printing notices for the Rattlesnake to be distributed by Lieut Vernon on his journey to the South[wa]rd. See also p. 398, 409-10, 417, and 481.