Sir James Ross to the Admiralty [Regarding the Advisability of an Arctic Relief Expedition] (1847 January 27)

16 Park Street Grosvenor Square

London 27 January 1847

In reference to the several communications I have made to My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, touching the probable position of the discovery ships under the Command of Sir John Franklin, and in the performance of a promise I made to that gallant officer, namely, that if no accounts were received from him up to the middle of January 1847, I would volunteer my services to ascertain his fate, and to visit the several depots we had fixed, before his departure from England.

I beg most respectfully to state for the information of My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that my opinion founded on my experience in the Arctic Regions, and on my knowledge of the intentions of Sir John Franklin is, in the first place, that he cannot have succeeded in passing through Bhering's Straits, because the expedition, had it been successful, would have been heard of before the middle of this month, and in the second place, the probability is that his ships have been carried by drift ice (if not totally lost) into a position from which they cannot be extricated. I shall not trespass on their Lordships, with a detail of my reasons for coming to the above conclusion which indeed without a chart would be imperfect, but, if it pleases their Lordships, I shall readily attend at their board, and point out the probable position of the ships, and give explanations – which I doubt not will be deemed satisfactory and I will venture to believe that unless an expedition is sent to enquire after their fate during the approaching season, few, if any of the officers and crews, will ever return to this Country, lastly, feeling it my bounden duty thus to record my opinion, and to volunteer my services, I have the honour to be


Your most obedient

humble servant

John Ross

Captain Royal Navy

Page images (2)

About this document ...

  • Written by: James Ross
  • Archive: National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom
  • Collection: Admiralty 7/187 Admiralty: Miscellanea. Arctic and Antarctic explorations. Documents relating to Arctic Expeditions
  • Date: 1847 January 27
  • Page(s): 1-2
Sunken ship