Sir John Franklin Letter to Isabella Cracroft (1845 July 11)

Whale Fish Islands

Disco Bay

11th July 1845

My dearest Isabella,

I was delighted to learn by my letters at Stromness that Mr. Lacy and his dear children had arrived in England. And I hope they were shortly afterwards under your roof. It would give me sincere pleasure had I been able to see them, and believe me from no member of your family would Mr. Lacy & his children have secured a more heartfelt welcome than from me. Me meeting them is now among the pleasing anticipations which I indulge in. Pray assure him of my affectionate regards for him and them.

This is the first stage of our voyage – and a brief anchorage it is, so that we had great facility in unloading the transport and we are now stored well full supplies for three years consumption [sic] - The accounts we have received of the state of the ice to the north is favourable as far as it extends by to Lancaster Sound – beyond which the information of my informant does not reach any farther - It is gratifying however to hear such an opinion entertained even up to this point - and we hope in a few days to be sufficiently advanced to test it ourselves.

The Transport sails for England tomorrow and I have been writing to all my sisters – with many letters to my friends. All will be gratified to find that I have every reason to be pleased with my officers & crew. They are zealous and ardent in the cause, full of hope & spirit – ready to work well and having the power of working in them. The most perfect unanimity of feeling & harmony exists between the officers & crews of the two ships - Crozier & I continue our friendship, he is an excellent hearted man and the very best second I could have had - He has not once mentioned Sophy's name to me and I have not considered it proper to introduce any mention of her in my conversation. I shall not however avoid doing so if he gives me the opportunity - We often dine together, but for the present both of us have too much to do with our present objects to talk on subjects not connected with them.

We have had a very fair passage hitherto – though in crossing the Atlantic the wind took us within 70 miles of Iceland and we had to have had the hope of seeing Mount Hecla but were disappointed.

Since we have passed round Cape Farewell we have been much in sight of the Greenland coast – keeping generally from 30 to 40 miles off. The snow in the lower ports has disappeared but remains in the upper. The outline of the land is picturesque. The Danes have several missionary stations among the Esquimaux on this coast, which I should like to have visited. They are principally I believe under the charge of Moravian Ministers - the very best in my opinion for such purposes among uncivilized aborigines. They have succeeded admirably with the Esquimaux on the Labrador Coast. There are a few Esquimaux hereabout under the Danish govt - and Ministers. They are employed catching seal for their oil and skins which are sold to the govt -

Judging from the appearance of their men & women I should say they are well mannered, they are certainly more cleanly and better dressed than any Esquimaux I have before seen and I am told many of them are able to read their Bibles. The children are taught daily in school and I saw the hut arranged with tents which is used for this purpose.

Do not get over anxious about us if we do no return in the time you have fixed upon. Be earnest in prayers for us as I will be for you & yours. Give my affectionate regards to all assisting you and believe me ever yours Most affly

John Franklin

Page images (4)

About this document ...

  • Written by: Sir John Franklin
  • Written to: Isabella Cracroft
  • Archive: Scott Polar Research Institute
  • Collection: GB 15 Sir John Franklin/Correspondence
  • Reference number: MS 248/298/18-20
  • Date: 1845 July 11
  • Page(s): 1-4
  • Notes: Franklin discusses with his sister his expeditions provisions, progress of the voyage across the Atlantic, and having received favourable reports of the state of the sea ice as far as Lancaster Sound, and his confidence in the men of his party, especially Francis Crozier
Sunken ship