SCORESBY, William (1789-1857). The Franklin Expedition: or Consideration on Measures for the Discovery and Relief of Our Absent Adventurers in the Arctic Regions. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850.
8o (223 x 141 mm). 98 pp. Engraved folding map. (Small tear along fold.) Original blue blind-stamped cloth, gilt-lettered on cover (slight wear at extremities).
Provenance: Jane Franklin (1792-1875), second wife of Sir John Franklin, (presentation inscription on the front free endpaper to:) -- Hannah Booth, her sister: "Hannah Booth from her affectionate sister Jane Franklin Feby. 1st. 1850." -- Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962), explorer (his stamp of the Stefansson Library, New York, on front free endpaper).
FIRST EDITION. AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY. The fate of John Franklin, and the search to discover it, dominated the 19th century mind and inspired countless legendary exploration tales. After several overland journeys into the interior of North America, Franklin's search for the Northwest Passage began on May 19, 1845, when he sailed from England with two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, carrying 128 officers and men. The vessels were last sighted by British whalers north of Baffin Island at the entrance to Lancaster Sound in late July of that year. In 1847, when no word had been received, search parties were sent out. For 12 years, various expeditions sought the explorers, but their fate was unknown until 1859, when a final search mission, sent in 1857 by Franklin's second wife, Lady Jane Franklin, and headed by Captain Francis Leopold McClintock, reached King William Island, south and west of Lancaster Sound. Found were skeletons of the vessels' crews and a written account of the expedition through April 25, 1848. Scorseby's volume, partially reprinted from Morning Herald, is an early example of the promotional literature intended to bolster support for further searches, and no doubt was sponsored by Jane Franklin who zealously sought to discover the fate of her husband. This volume was later owned by Viljhalmur Stefansson, the explorer and ethnologist who spent five consecutive record-making years exploring vast areas of the Canadian Arctic after adapting himself to the Eskimo way of life. Arctic Bibliography 15613; NMM 861; Sabin 78170 (calling for 2 maps).