23 September 2004
Frederick William Beechey (1796-1856) -- Sir Henry Kellett (1806-1875)
Three letters signed by Kellett to Beechey, Valparaiso, 10 June 1836, and one copy letter by Beechey to Kellett, 9 June 1836, together with three certificates relating to Beechey and his invaliding from the command of HMS Sulphur, 25 September 1835 - 29 June 1836; together 9 pages, folio.
A clash between a past and a future Arctic explorer. Kellett's letters take strong exception to criticism contained in the copy letter by Beechey of his not keeping his cutter, the Starling, in company with Beechey's Sulphur. Kellett's justifications and complaints culminate in a demand for a court martial. Seventeen days later, a surgeon's report declares Beechey's ill health such that he is 'a fit object to be invalided for change of climate and repose', and therefore relieves him of his command.
Beechey, who had taken part in Franklin's Arctic expedition of 1818, was appointed to the Sulphur in September 1835 for the survey of part of the coast of South America. Kellett continued in command of the Starling, taking an important part in hostilities in the Canton River and Yangtse-Kiang in 1840. His polar service was in a number of the Franklin search expeditions from 1848-1854. (7)
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