THE VOYAGE OF THE FOX IN THE ARCTIC SEAS: A NARRATIVE OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE FATE OF SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND HIS COMPANIONS.
(London: John Murray, 1859). 225 x 155 mm. (9 x 6"). xxvii, [i], 403,  pp. FIRST EDITION.
Pleasing contemporary red half calf over marbled boards, raised bands, spine attractively gilt in compartments featuring scrolling cornerpieces and lozenge centerpiece, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. With frontispiece, engraved title page, 13 plates, two folding maps, one folding document, and five small illustrations in the text. ◆A little rubbing to joints and extremities, a three-inch tear to fold-out plate (no loss), other trivial defects, but still a nearly fine copy, the attractive binding solid and very bright, and the text fresh and smooth.
This is a well-illustrated and well-documented account of the final search for Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer who mapped nearly two thirds of the northern coastline of North America and whose expedition disappeared during an 1845 attempt to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. Franklin was a hero in Britain for his earlier Arctic explorations, so when his well-equipped expedition staffed with the Royal Navy's best men failed to return or contact authorities by 1847, search efforts were mounted. Over the next decade, 30 operations were organized, some by the British government, others by private parties with funds raised by Lady Franklin. The crew that finally found some answers was led by Sir Francis Leopold M'Clintock (1819-1907), who helmed the "Fox," a sailing ship of 26 men that set off in 1859. Though hope of finding Franklin (1786-1847) alive had passed, M'Clintock succeeded in discovering numerous skeletons and relics from the ships, as well as an official form, completed by the crew, noting Franklin's death in 1847 and the loss of the ships. None of the 129 men who had departed with Franklin made it home alive. Still, DNB recognizes his place in the history of exploration: "he was not the most innovative or successful of Arctic explorers, but his charting of the North American coast was accurate and extensive." (ST15557-21)