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In the Arctic Seas Part 28

I commit the prayer of this letter, for the length of which I beg much to apologize, to your Lordship's patient and kind consideration, feeling assured that, however the burden of it may pall upon the ear of some, who apparently judge of it neither by the heart nor by the head, you will not on that, or on any light ground, hastily dismiss it. Rather may you be impelled to feel that the shortest and surest way to set the importunate question at rest, is to submit it to that final investigation which will satisfy the yearnings of surviving relatives and friends, and, what is justly of higher import to your Lordship, the credit and honor of the country.

I have the honor to be, etc., JANE FRANKLIN.

The Right Hon. Viscount Palmerston, K.G.

FOOTNOTES:

[29] See Appendix II.

No. II.

MEMORIAL TO THE RIGHT HON. VISCOUNT PALMERSTON, M.P., G.C.B.

London, June 5th, 1856.

Impressed with the belief that Her Majesty's missing ships, the 'Erebus'

and 'Terror,' or their remains, are still frozen up at no great distance from the spot whence certain relics of Sir John Franklin and his crews were obtained by Dr. Rae,--we whose names are undersigned, whether men of science and others who have taken a deep interest in Arctic discovery, or explorers who have been employed in the search for our lost countrymen, beg earnestly to impress upon your Lordship the desirableness of sending out an Expedition to satisfy the honor of our country, and clear up a mystery which has excited the sympathy of the civilized world.

This request is supported by many persons well versed in Arctic surveys, who, seeing that the proposed Expedition is to be directed _to one limited area only_, are of opinion that the object is attainable, and with little risk.

We can scarcely believe that the British Government, which to its great credit has made so many efforts in various directions to discover even the route pursued by Franklin, should cease to prosecute research, now that the locality has been clearly indicated where the vessels or their remains must lie,--including, as we hope, records which will throw fresh light on Arctic geography, and dispel the obscurity in which the voyage and fate of our countrymen are still involved.

Although most persons have arrived at the conclusion that there can now be no survivors of Franklin's Expedition, yet there are eminent men in our own country and in America who hold a contrary opinion. Dr. Kane, of the United States, for example, who has distinguished himself by pushing farther to the north in search of Franklin than any other individual, and to whom the Royal Geographical Society has recently awarded its Founders' Gold Medal, thus speaks (in a letter to the benevolent Mr.

Grinnell):--"I am really in doubt as to the preservation of human life.

I well know how glad I would have been, had my duty to others permitted me, to have taken refuge among the Esquimaux of Smith Strait and Etah Bay. Strange as it may seem to you, we regarded the coarse life of these people with eyes of envy, and did not doubt but that we could have lived in comfort upon their resources. It required all my powers, moral and physical, to prevent my men from deserting to the Walrus Settlements, and it was my final intention to have taken to Esquimaux life had Providence not carried us through in our hazardous escape."

But passing from speculation, and confining ourselves alone to the question of finding the missing ships or their records, we would observe that no land Expedition down the Back River, like that which, with great difficulty, recently reached Montreal Island, can satisfactorily accomplish the end we have in view. The frail birch-bark canoes in which Mr. Anderson conducted his search with so much ability, the dangers of the river, the sterile nature of the tract near its embouchure, and the necessary failure of provisions, prevented the commencement, even, of such a search as can alone be satisfactorily and thoroughly accomplished by the crew of a man-of-war,--to say nothing of the moral influence of a strong armed party remaining in the vicinity of the spot until the confidence of the natives be obtained.

Many Arctic explorers, independent of those whose names are appended, and who are absent on service, have expressed their belief that there are several routes by which a _screw_-vessel could so closely approach the area in question as to clear up all doubt.

In respect to one of these courses, or that by Behring Strait, along the coast of North America, we know that a single sailing vessel passed to Cambridge Bay, within 150 miles of the mouth of the Back River, and returned home unscathed,--its commander having expressed his conviction that the passage in question is so constantly open that ships can navigate it without difficulty in one season. Other routes, whether by Regent Inlet, Peel Sound, or across from Repulse Bay, are preferred by officers whose experience in Arctic matters entitles them to every consideration; whilst in reference to two of these routes it is right to state that vast quantities of provisions have been left in their vicinity.

Without venturing to suggest which of these plans should be adopted, we earnestly beg your Lordship to sanction without delay such an expedition as, in the judgment of a Committee of Arctic Voyagers and Geographers, may be considered best adapted to secure the object.

We would ask your Lordship to reflect upon the great difference between a clearly-defined voyage to a narrow and circumscribed area, within which the missing vessels or their remains must lie, and those formerly necessarily tentative explorations in various directions, the frequent allusions to the difficulty of which, in regions far to the north of the voyage now contemplated, have led persons unacquainted with geography to suppose that such a modified and limited attempt as that which we propose involves farther risk and may call for future researches. The very nature of the former expeditions exposed them, it is true, to risk, since regions had to be traversed which were totally unknown; while the search we ask for is to be directed to a circumscribed area, the confines of which have already been reached without difficulty by one of Her Majesty's vessels.

Now, inasmuch as France, after repeated fruitless efforts to ascertain the fate of La Perouse, no sooner heard of the discovery of some relics of that eminent navigator, than she sent out a Searching Expedition to collect every fragment pertaining to his vessels, so we trust that those Arctic researches which have reflected much honor upon our country may not be abandoned at the very moment when an explanation of the wanderings and fate of our lost navigators seems to be within our grasp.

In conclusion, we further earnestly pray that it may not be left to the efforts of individuals of another and kindred nation, already so distinguished in this cause, nor yet to the noble-minded widow of our lamented friend, to make an endeavor which can be so much more effectively carried out by the British Government.

We have the honor to be, &c.,

F. BEAUFORT, R. I. MURCHISON, F. W. BEECHEY, WROTTESLEY, L. HORNER, W. H. FITTON, LYON PLAYFAIR, T. THORP, E. SABINE, EGERTON ELLESMERE, W. WHEWELL, R. COLLINSON, W. H. SYKES, C. DAUBENY, J. FERGUS, P. E. DE STRZELECKI, W. H. SMYTH, A. MAJENDIE, R. FITZROY, E. GARDINER FISHBOURNE, R. BROWN, G. MACARTNEY, C. WHEATSTONE, W. J. HOOKER, J. D. HOOKER, J. ARROWSMITH, P. LA TROBE, W. A. B. HAMILTON, R. STEPHENSON, J. E. PORTLOCK, C. PIAZZI SMYTH, C. W. PASLEY, G. RENNIE, J. P. GASSIOT, G. B. AIRY, J. F. BURGOYNE.

The following officers of the Royal Navy, who have been employed in the search after Franklin, and who are now absent from London, have previously expressed themselves to be favorable to the final expedition above recommended:--

Captains Sir JAMES C.

ROSS, and Sir EDWARD BELCHER;

Commodore KELLETT;

Captains AUSTIN, BIRD, OMMANNEY, Sir ROBERT M'CLURE, SHERARD OSBORN, INGLEFIELD, MAGUIRE, M'CLINTOCK, and RICHARDS;

Commanders ALDRICH, MECHAM, TROLLOPE, and CRESSWELL;

Lieutenants HAMILTON and PIM.

No. III.

LIST OF RELICS OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION,

Brought to England in the 'Fox,' by Captain M'Clintock.

Relics brought from the boat found in lat. 69 08' 43" N., long. 99 24'

42" W., upon the West Coast of King William Island, May 30, 1859:--

Two double-barrelled guns, one barrel in each is loaded. Found standing up against the side in the after part of the boat.

A small Prayer Book; cover of a small book of 'Family Prayers;'

'Christian Melodies,' an inscription within 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.

Two table knives with white handles--one is marked "W. R.;" a gimlet; an awl; two iron stanchions, 9 inches long, for supporting a weather cloth, which was round the boat.

26 pieces of silver plate--11 spoons, 11 forks, and 4 teaspoons; 3 pieces of thin elmboard (tingles) for repairing the boat, and measuring 11 inches by 6 inches, and 3-10ths inch thick.

Piece of canvas:--Bristles for shoemaker's use, bullets, short clay pipe, roll of waxed twine, a wooden button, small piece of a port-fire, two charges of shot tied up in the finger of a kid glove, fragment of a seaman's blue serge frock. Covers of a small Testament and Prayer Book, part of a grass cigar-case, fragment of a silk handkerchief, thread-case, piece of scented soap, three shot charges in kid glove fingers, a belted bullet, a piece of silk pocket handkerchief. Two pairs of goggles, made of stout leather and wire gauze, instead of glass; a sailmaker's palm, two small brass pocket compasses, a snooding line rolled up on a piece of leather, a needle and thread case, a bayonet scabbard altered into a sheath for a knife, tin water bottle for the pocket, two shot pouches (full of shot).

Three spring hooks of sword belts, a gold lace band, a piece of thin gold twist or cord, a pair of leather goggles with crape instead of glass; a small green crape veil.

Two small packets of blank cartridge in green paper, part of a cherry-stick pipe stem, piece of a port-fire, a few copper nails, a leather bootlace, a seaman's clasp-knife, two small glass stoppered bottles (full), three glasses of spectacles, part of a broken pair of silver spectacles, German silver pencil-case, a pair of silver (?) forceps, such as a naturalist might use for holding or seizing small insects, etc.; a small pair of scissors rolled up in blank paper, and to which adheres a printed government paper, such as an officer's warrant or appointment; a spring hook of a sword belt, a brass charger for holding two charges of shot.

A small bead purse, piece of red sealing-wax, stopper of a pocket flask, German silver top and ring, brass matchbox, one of the glasses of a telescope, a small tin cylinder, probably made to hold lucifer matches; a linen bag of percussion caps of three sizes, a very large and old-fashioned kind, stamped "Smith's patent;" a cap with a flange similar to the present musket caps used by Government, but smaller; and ordinary sporting caps of the smallest size.

Five watches.

A pair of blue glass spectacles, or goggles, with steel frame, and wire gauze encircling the glasses, in a tin case.

A pemmican tin, painted lead color, and marked "E." (Erebus) in black. From its size it must have contained 20 lb. or 22 lb.

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