The Voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic Seas. A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions.

Two reading-related matters stand out in this account: the dependence on whalers for annual delivery of newspapers and other reading (see p. 111, 119), and the availability of an arctic library aboard the Fox, provided by the Admiralty, allowing M’Clintock to make regular references to past occurrences in polar exploration, including specific dates and places, and to verify later native accounts.

p. 38-9, on provisioning the ship: The Admiralty supplied us with all the requisite ice-gear, such as saws from ten to eighteen feet in length, ice-anchors, and ice-claws; also with our winter housing, medicines, pure lemon-juice, seamen’s library, hydrographical instruments, charts, chronometers, and an ample supply of arctic clothing which had remained in store from former expeditions. The Board of Trade contributed a variety of meteorological and nautical instruments and journals….

[from H. Blum’s forthcoming book, At the Ends of the Earth, Chapter 1, Endnote 11:

Greely, Three Years of Arctic Service, 162. In another example, the school established on the Fox, a Franklin search, was led by the ship’s doctor (a common stand-in schoolmaster on polar voyages); according to commander McClintock, the doctor "intends to make [the pupils] acquainted with the trade-winds and atmosphere. This subject affords an opportunity of explaining the uses of our thermometer, barometer, ozonometer, and electrometer, which they see us take much interest in. It is delightful to find a spirit of inquiry amongst them." McClintock, The Voyage of the "Fox" in Arctic Seas, 61.

p. 70: Our beautiful little organ was taken out of its case today, and put up on the lower deck; the men enjoy its pleasing tones…. The instrument was presented by the Prince Consort to the searching vessel bearing his name which was sent out by Lady Franklin in 1851; it is now about to pass its third winter in the frozen regions.

p. 73: [Oct.] 26th.—Our school opened this evening, under the auspices of Dr. Walker. He reports eight or nine pupils, and is much gratified by their zeal. At present their studies are limited to the three R’s—reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. They have asked him to read and explain something instructive, so intends to make them acquainted with the trade-winds and atmosphere.… It is delightful to find a spirit of inquiry among them….

p. 83, reading of Church Service for a burial.

p. 85: [Dec.] 21st.—Midwinter day. Out of the Arctic regions it is better known as the shortest day. At noon we could just read type similar to the leading article of the ‘Times.’ Few people could read more than two or three lines without their eyes aching.

p. 108, May 7, in Holsteinborg, Greenland: Most of the young people had hymn-books in their hands, printed in the Esquimaux language.

p. 111: May 1858, borrows newspapers from one of the 13 English whaling ships in the vicinity.

p. 134, on referring to Parry’s ‘Narrative,’: I found that the ice-mate, Mr. Elder, died at Igloolik! This is a very remarkable confirmation of the locality…. [Other examples of Kane’s practical use of the Arctic accounts are on p. 64, 127.]p. 139, cites Parry’s Narrative of a Second Voyage, p. 437 in a way which suggests he had it on the ship. Similarly he cites John Ross’s ‘Narrative’ on p. 165—both passages deal with behaviors of the Eskimo.

p. 194: 24th June [1859].—One thing is certain, the wild sort of tent-life we lead in Arctic exploration quite unfits one for such tame work as writing up a journal; my present attempt will illustrate the fact,–yet with such ample materials what a deeply interesting volume might be written! Since I last opened this familiar old diary—winter is passed away, summer is far advanced, and the glorious sun is again returning southward.

…all of this is as nothing to the interest attached to the Franklin records picked up by Hobson, and now safe in my possession! We now know the fate of the ‘Erebus’ and ‘Terror.’ The sole object of our voyage has at last been completed, and we anxiously await the time when escape from these bleak regions will become practicable.

p. 205, Eskimo accounts of Franklin’s ship: There had been many books they said, but all have long ago been destroyed by the weather….

p. 227, Books at the other death site: Five or six small books were found, all of them scriptural or devotional works, except the ‘Vicar of Wakefield.’ One little book, ‘Christian Melodies,’ bore an inscription upon the title page from the donor to G. G. (Graham Gore?). A small Bible contained numerous marginal notes, and whole pages underlined. Besides these books, the covers of a New Testament and Prayerbook were found.

p. 232, Franklin records preserved: They were soldered up in thin tin cylinders, having been filled up on board prior to the departure of the travellers; consequently the day upon which they were deposited was not filled in; but already the papers were much damaged by rust,–a very few more years would have rendered them wholly illegible…. [ Further interesting details on the find.]

p. 259, on return to Greenland in Aug. 1859: Mr Olrik (the Danish inspector] gave me a large bundle of ‘Illustrated London News,’ which was exceedingly acceptable, and told us that Austria was at war with France and Sardinia. Most fortunately a ‘Navy List,’ had come out to Hobson, otherwise I think we should have been utterly brokenhearted. We study the pages daily, and delight in noticing the advancement of our many friends.

p. 279, Appendix III gives a list of relics of the expedition: A small Prayer Book; cover of a small book of ‘Family Prayers;’ ‘Christian Melodies,’ an inscription with the cover to G. G. (Graham Gore?), ‘Vicar of Wakefield;’ a small Bible, interlined in many places, and with numerous references written in the margin; a New Testament in the French language.