Francis Crozier Letter to James Ross (1845 July 9)

Whalefish I- July 9, 1845

My dear James

I cannot allow Transport to leave without writing you a line, altho' I have little to say and our many details keep me in anything but a fit mood for letter writing – We got here on [the] morning of the 4th and have been busily employed ever since clearing and stowing away from Transport. 'Tis very tedious work from the small space we have to stow things – We have now a mean draught of 16 feet and all our provisions not yet on board – I send home our largest cutter (and fill launch with patent fuel) 2 anchors and cables – iron waist Davits and various other things of weight as I think it better to have the provisions come what may afterwards. How do I miss you – I cannot bear going on board Erebus – Sir John is very kind and would have me there dining every day if I would go – he has Fitzjames and 2 officers every day.

All things are going well and quietly but we are I fear sadly late – From what we can learn the weather here has been very severe with much Easterly wind, there was however an early break up of the Ice and the last accounts of whalers is that Fish are plenty and Ship's as high as the Women Isles (73˚). What I fear is that from our being so late we shall have no time to look round and judge for our selves, but blunder into the Ice and make a second 1824 of it – James I wish you were here, I would then have no doubt as to our pursuing the proper course – I must have done with this croaking. I am not growling mind – indeed I never was less disposed to do so. I am I assure you beginning to be a bit of a philosopher and hope before the season is over to having tutored myself that I will fret for nothing. I have started the Sergt for specimens, he has however made a bad beginning having fallen and broken the stock of my gun. Seaweed very scarce and plants I have sot [sic] after yet as my time has been a good deal occupied with dips etc I have sent Col Sabine on abstract for so far – our passage across was very unfavourable for observing such constant heavy Sea and a great deal of wet – very uneasy days and Cd not manage azimuths, the cords are very heavy and once set in motion no getting them to rest and the unsteady motion of ship made arc of vibration very irregular. I often wished for my own old one as I am sure I could have managed better. The new compasses are in smooth water, perfect I believe but in heavy irregular seas I cannot say much for them. I did not try the bead for checking the vibrations, as I found them so irregular I did not want to bother with them as we are so soon to be in smooth water when I knew they would be more valuable. Why I should have gone so far and not said one word about dear "That" who from my heart I do hope has benefitted by change of air and getting away from comfortless Blackheath – I would like to have seen your place that I might often picture to myself your little employments With Gods blessing my Lady [sic] I will not fail on my return to soon find my way down to see you at all events one thing is certain, meet when we may it will be to me a source of heart felt pleasure. I hope the little son is going on well, the mild weather of the interior must be to him beneficial. That Blackheath was a searching plan. Goodsir in Erebus is a most diligent fellow a perfect enthusiast in Mollusca he seems much in his habits like Hooker never idle making perfect sketches of all he collects very quickly and in the most extraordinarily rough way – he has Rae['s] happy knack of engaging every one around him the same pursuit – he certainly is a great acquisition – I find Irving (3d Lieut) will do the chart work that I want quite well enough – he is a diligent hard working fellow – All goes on smoothly but James dear I am sadly alone, not a soul have I in either ship that I can go and talk to. "No congenial spirit as it were" I am generally busy but it is after all a very hermit like life – Except to kick up a row with the helmsman or abuse Totson[?] at times. I would scarcely even hear the sound of my own voice. The Transport is nearly clean and my Sugar and Tea have not made their appearance. The Sugar is a great loss to me but the Tea I can not for. I cannot at all counts say much for Fortnum & Masons punctuality.

"That" I will not forget about the sketch from what I have seen one appears to have a member who drew prettily particularly in "Erebus" – I will take care it shall not be a steam run – how I do wish the Engine was again on the Dove line and the Engineer sitting in the top of it. He is dead and alive wretch full of difficulties and is now quite dissatisfied because he has not the leading stokers to assist him in doing nothing on board Erebus – I had been obliged to send home our armourer and sailmaker being perfectly useless either at their trade or anything else – also 2 men invalided which reduces our complement 62 from 68 of course making that saving in provisions and leave us little a larger compt than Hecla and Fury – I am attending to Baro: also carefully and get the low point Cabin once a day regularly and purpose during the winter months. I have it now frequently – Baro: in Erebus a poor thing by Partorelli only reads app. to 100 – 'Tis just as well. So as they appear to be strongly strictured with all the Sabineite notions. -

Well my dear friend, I know not what else I can say to you – I feel that I am not in spirits for wintering but in truth I am sadly lonely and when I look back to the last voyage I can see the cause and therefore no prospect of having a more joyous feeling, the bustle of the seas oh well however the life has me and come which may I will endeavour to sit down at the end of it content – I find by the instructions that Fitzjames is appointed to superintend the Mag. Observations I will therefore take just so much bother them as may amuse, without considering myself as one of the staff. God bless you boy not forgetting the Son and believe me

yours most sincerely

FRM Crozier

About this document ...

  • Written by: Francis Crozier
  • Written to: James Ross
  • Archive: Scott Polar Research Institute
  • Collection: GB 15 Francis Crozier Collection Ms 248 / 364; 26
  • Date: 1845 July 9
Sunken ship