Sir John Franklin
On the 1st of September, 1827, Captain Franklin arrived at Liverpool, from New York, where he had received every mark of attention both public and private and, in the same year, he was presented by the Geographical Society of Paris, with their annual gold medal, value twelve hundred francs, and also elected a corresponding member of that institution. In November, 1828, he married a second time in the following year had the honor of knighthood conferred upon him, and also the degree of D. C. L. by the University of Oxford; and, in 1830, he was appointed commander of the Rainbow. In both expeditions to the Arctic Sea, Captain Franklin was accompanied by Dr. Richardson, a journal of whose discoveries is appended to the former's second narrative, which, as well as that containing an account of his first voyage, combines the most intense interest with the most valuable information, and is written with great spirit, elegance, and accuracy. In the course of his perilous journey, by sea and land, Captain Franklin evinced a contempt of personal danger in the pursuit of his enterprise, and a degree of kind-heartedness to, and consideration for, those who accompanied him, that has rendered him equally the pride of his friends, and an honor to his country.
On the 19th of May, 1845, Sir John sailed from England in search of the North West Passage. He had two vessels, the Erebus and Terror; the crews, officers, and men numbered one hundred and thirty-eight. On the 26th of July, sixty-eight days afterwards, they were seen by a whale ship, moored to an iceberg near the centre of Baffin's Bay. No special anxiety was entertained respecting them until the beginning of 1848, for Franklin had intimated that the voyage would probably continue for three years, and that they might be the first to announce their own return. But as month after month passed away without any tidings, an anxious and painful sympathy sprung up in the public mind, and the British government determined that a search for the missing vessels should be made, in three different quarters, by three separate expeditions fitted out for that purpose.
One quarter, the region known as Boothia, was beyond the scope of these expeditions, and Lady Franklin determined to organize an expedition to explore that region. She appropriated all the means under her control, and a subscription supplied the deficiency. The Prince Albert, a vessel of ninety tons burthen, was fitted out at Aberdeen, and Captain Forsyth, of the Royal Navy, offered his gratuitous services as commander. At about the same time, Mr. Henry Grinnell, a wealthy merchant of New York, fitted out, at his own cost, two vessels, - the Advance and the Rescue, - and dispatched them to the Arctic Seas to aid in the search for Sir John. An exceedingly interesting narrative of the voyage has been published by Dr. Kane, the surgeon, naturalist and journalist of the expedition.
Time passed on, and all the vessels of the various expeditions returned to port without any tidings of the lost ones. In May, 1853, Mr. Grinnell again fitted out the Advance for the purpose of continuing the search, if necessary, for two years. She had a company of seventeen persons, under the command of Dr. Kane. She has been absent for over two years, and fears are entertained for the safety of her noble commander and his brave companions.
Subsequent to the departure of the Advance, the fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew was ascertained. They had perished of hunger and hardships, in attempting to reach the settlements of the Hudson's Bay Company, by an overland journey from the Arctic Seas. Relics of the ill-starred voyagers were discovered by some agents of the company in the possession of the Esquimaux Indians. These relics consisted of philosophical instruments, watches, rings, spoons, etc., bearing the initials of Sir John and his companions. These had been picked up by the Indians at the place where the navigators had so miserably perished.