INTRODUCTION BY CAPTAIN R.F. SCOTT.
JOHN FRANKLIN, born in 1786. Many naval experiences, including Trafalgar,
before heading an expedition across northern Canada in 1819. Elected
F.R.S. and knighted after a second expedition. Lieutenant-Governor of Van
Diemen's Land, 1836 to 1843. Last expedition, 1845, was lost, and
Franklin died in 1847 near the Arctic. Subsequent investigations have
established him as the discoverer of the North-West Passage.
TO THE POLAR SEA.
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN.
In days of hurried action I have been astonished at the depth of interest
which a re-perusal of this wonderful old narrative has held for me.
Wonderful it is in its simplicity and its revelation of the simplicity of
character and faith of the man who wrote it. It is old only by
comparison - scarcely ninety years have elapsed since the adventures it
described were enacted - yet such a period has never held a fuller measure
of change or more speedily passed current events into the limbo of the
Nothing could more vividly impress this change than the narrative itself.
We are told that Mr. Beck missed his ship at Yarmouth but succeeded in
rejoining her at Stromness, having travelled "nine successive days almost
without rest." What a vision of post-chaises, sweating horses and heavy
roads is suggested! And if the contrast with present-day conditions in
our own Islands is great, how much greater is it in that vast Dominion
through which Franklin directed his pioneer footsteps. As he followed the
lonely trails to Fort Cumberland, or sailed along the solitary shores of
Lake Winnipeg, how little could he guess that in less than a century a
hundred thousand inhabitants would dwell by the shore of the great lake,
or that its primeval regions would one day provide largely the bread of
There civilisation has followed fast indeed, and ever it presses forward
on the tracks of the pioneer. But even today if we follow Franklin we
must come again to the wild - to the great Barren Lands and to the
ice-bound limit of a Continent - regions where for ninety years season has
succeeded season without change - where few have passed since his day and
Nature alone holds sway. For those who would know what IS as well as for
those who would know what HAS BEEN, this narrative still holds its
original interest; all must appreciate that it records the work of a
great traveller and a gallant man whose fame deserves to live.
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN'S VOYAGES INTO THE POLAR SEAS:
F.W. Beechey: Voyage of Discovery toward the North Pole in H.M. Ships
Dorothea and Trent (with summary of earlier attempts to reach the Pacific
by the North) 1818.
Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the Years 1819
to 1822, by John Franklin, 1823, 1824.
Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea in the
Years 1825 to 1827, by John Franklin, 1828.