SIR JAMES CLARK ROSS (1800-1862)
Autograph letter signed to his uncle (Sir John Ross), 'H.M.S. Fury off Sheerness', 18 May 1824, writing during 'an unusually bustling time', interrupted by visitors and the last minute preparations which force him to make his farewell 'shamefully short'. being about to sail; 'Tomorrow at 4 am we start and tho' it is in the direction of the cold old icy shore I shall there enjoy the happiness of thinking of my kind uncle', sending remembrances to his friends at Stranraer and in a postscript promising to write during the voyage and answer his uncle's last letter when the pilot leaves, 2 pages, 4to, integral leaf addressed to 'Capt. Jn. Ross RN at the Observatory Stranraer', (the address amended in a different hand), endorsed by the recipient with the date and 'J.C. Ross, H.M.S. Fury Sheerness about to Sail for N.W. Passage', seal (small tear in blank portion of leaf).
Written on the eve of Ross's third voyage to the Arctic with Sir William Parry. He had joined the Navy at the age of eleven, watched over by his illustrious uncle, whom he had accompanied in 1818 on his quest for the North West Passage. Ross was with Parry on his four Arctic expeditions from 1819-1827. In 1825 the Fury was abandoned in Prince Regent's Inlet, and the crew, including Ross, returned in Parry's ship, the Hecla. His uncle, later used the timbers from the Fury to build a hut in the winter of 1832/33. James Ross indentified the position of the North Magnetic Pole in May 1831.