Sir John Franklin’s Last Arctic Expedition: The Franklin Expedition; A Chapter in the History of the Royal Navy


p. 43-4: Research work was planned in magnetism, geology, botany, and zoology, and all the necessary instruments were supplied. Great importance was attached to magnetic observations, for the taking of which an elaborate and very comprehensive outfit was provided. Colonel Sabine gave special instruction in magnetism to several of the officers. Furthermore, a library was supplied to each ship, the one in the Terror comprised twelve hundred volumes, and the one in the Erebus was probably at least as large—Commander Fitzjames described it as a ‘very capital library’. The books included not only those in the ‘Seamen’s Library’ ordinarily issued to every ship, but also technical treatises on the management of steam engines, narratives of previous Arctic expeditions, geographical journals, and some lighter literature, such as Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, The Ingoldsby Legends, Charles O’Malley, and volumes of Punch. Seventy slates, slate pencils, two hundred pens, ink, paper, and some ‘Common Arithmetic’ books, were supplied expressly for use in the schools which Sir John Franklin intended to hold for the men during the winter months. He was very anxious that every man should be adequately supplied with devotional works, and shortly before he sailed requested the Admiralty to furnish a hundred Bibles, Prayer Books, and Testaments, for sale on board the ships at cost price to all who applied for them. The Admiralty took immediate steps to comply with this request, but friends and various societies presented so many religious books that those furnished by the Admiralty were not needed and were, therefore, returned.