The Life of Sir John Franklin, R.N.

p. 57-58: Traill cites Beechey’s Voyage of Discovery towards the North Pole of the Dorothea and Trent in which Franklin sailed: It is a most spirited narrative of a voyage the interest of which as a series of maritime adventures considerable exceeded its scientific results…. But considered as a record of manifold dangers and difficulties encountered with unflinching courage and overcome by brilliant seamanship, the story of their voyage must always hold a high place in the history of Arctic adventure.

p. 71, during preparation for the first overland voyage in 1819 Franklin wrote (apparently to his father from Stromness: I have read a copy of Hearne’s original journal. The details are somewhat similar to his printed book, but given in an embellished style; and, though I am not prepared to go the length of some persons and doubt his statements altogether, I think he has left a tolerably wide field for observation, and if we are so fortunate as to search beyond him, I hope we may add something to the geography and natural history of that unknown part of the globe. (Source?)

p. 78-9, on November 1820, Winter quarters at Fort Enterprise, in letter to his sister, Mrs Wright: I would humbly offer my grateful thanks to Almighty God that the peculiar circumstances of my situation, arising from want to society and full occupation, have led me to seek that consolation from the perusal of religious books, which I have found, especially in the Holy Bible—abundantly supplied. To this sacred volume I have applied for grounds of hope, that therein, and therein only, can be found the treasures of heavenly love and mercy. I have been amazed at the state of ignorance under which I labored with respect to its blessed contents. [The letter given here is very much an evangelical exhortation to the Christian life by repentance of sins and acceptance of Christ. Traill continues]: Very interesting, too is it to find that among the religious works by which Franklin was most impressed in these hours of lonely meditation was the book which is understood to have first awakened the religious emotion in the mind of Dr. Johnson, and from which men of the most diverse temperaments have derived spiritual support and stimulus—Law’s ‘Serious Call to a Holy Life.’ Of this and of Doddridge’s ‘Rise and Progress of Religion,’ he writes:— How different are my sentiments on these books to what they were on first reading them! Then I could find neither beauty nor force in their language or reasoning; but now I think they abound in both, and, if read with a serious desire to gain information on the most important subjects of life, much fruit may be gathered from them.”

p. 125: Nov. 8, 1825, from Fort Franklin, he writes his sisters: “Dr. Richardson and myself are in one of these [apartments], which is neatly whitewashed and ornamented with books, instruments, clothes, and beds…. We generally, however, sit up till midnight, reading or employed otherwise, and rise about eight o’clock…. We are about to establish a school for the instruction of the men; and on Sundays Divine Service with sermons is held twice, and it is a real gratification to find the men joining on these occasions with great fervency and attention.”

p. 343, prints letters home during first weeks of the fatal voyage, this one from a Mr. Couch: “Old Franklin is an exceedingly good old chap—all are quite delighted with him—and very clever. He is quite a Bishop. We have Church morning and evening on Sundays, the evening service in the cabin to allow that watch that could not attend in the forenoon. We all go both times. Gives sermons out of his sermon books, and I can assure you adds a great deal himself. They say they would sooner hear him than half the parsons in England….”

p. 346-47: July 1845, one of Franklin’s last extant letters to Lady Jane while he was enroute to Greenland: “These first duties over, I have employed my time in carefully reading again the voyages of the earlier navigators as given in Barrow’s collection of them, and still better in the numbers of the ‘Cabinet Library,’ article ‘Polar Seas and Regions’ You will conclude, of course, that Parry’s voyages have not been overlooked, nor Ross’s (Sir John, I mean), in this examination , and yesterday I spent the morning most agreeably in reading the letters which you had kindly collected and put into my writing-desk, some of which I find contain opinions of Richardson and myself on the very objects of my present expedition which will be useful to me. The despatches of Dease and Simpson to the Hudson Bay Company, and the letters of Richardson and myself to the Geographical Society and Beaufort, on which Back’s last expedition was based, are also among them; these likewise will be serviceable to me. These readings I consider matters of duty, but I occasionally take up some of the interesting little volumes with which you furnished my library. I have begun, since leaving England, reading a chapter of the Old Testament with the commentaries of Henry upon it, which I hope to continue. The Sunday is by all observed properly.”

p. 403: On government’s generosity and providing for McClintock’s Fox: “They ‘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, 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, and I found that I had but to ask of these departments for what was required and if in store it was at once granted.’”

p. 411: quotes McClintock’s account of relics found on King William Island : “Five of 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 on the title-page, from the donor to G. G. (Graham Gore?). A small Bible contained numerous marginal notes, and whole passages underlined. Besides these books, the covers of a New Testament and Prayer Book were found.”

p. 435: Epistolary recollections at end of book included this from Sophia Cracroft’s sister, Mrs G. B. A. Lefroy: “He was a devourer of books of every kind, and nothing pleased him more than to be left alone. When thus employed and oblivious of all around him, he would pass many a happy hour undisturbed.”