The Franklin Expedition from First to Last. By Dr. King, M.D.

London, John Churchill, 1855.

8vo. In publisher's original full embossed cloth with gilt lettering to spine. Spine faded and top of spine chipped. Extremities slightly rubbed. Gilt stamp to front board and stamp to upper part of pasted down front end-paper. Small mark to p. 172, otherwise internally fine and clean. xxxviii, 3-224pp. + 2 charts ("Dr. Kings Conjectual chart 1848" + "The Admiralty Chart 1848") and 3 plates (one of them in text).

The exceedingly rare first edition, only to have appeared in auction twice the past 40 years, of Dr. Richard King's correspondence with the Admiralty regarding the search for the lost Franklin Expedition. King persistently held the view - which later was proved correct - that the Franklin Expedition, or traces of it, would be found at or near the mouth of the Great Fish River. He volunteered to lead a search expedition, but was ignored. In his letters to periodicals, government ministers and the Admiralty, published in this present work, we are given a most interesting insight into the politics and practicalities regarding the search for the Franklin Expedition - one of the most notorious chapters in the history of polar exploration.

When the John Franklin expedition, in seach for the Northwest Passage, departed England in 1845 on the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and had not returned by 1848, the Admiralty launched a search for the missing expedition. Partly prompted by Franklin's fame and the Admiralty's offer of a finder's reward, many subsequent expeditions joined the hunt, which at one point in 1850 involved no less than 13 ships.

"King took great interest in Franklin's expedition and was one of the first to raise the alarm when he failed to return. He insisted, at first on very slender evidence, that Franklin's party would be found near the mouth of the Great Fish River. His opinion was discounted and in 1847 and 1856 his offer to lead a search party was refused. His loud and continued insistence on the need to search his favoured site increased the animosity of the Admiralty, the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Royal Geographical Society, who were also irritated by popular journals which took up King's point of view. Matters were not helped by King's Franklin Search from First to Last (1855) [i.e. this work] which set out his own convictions and dwelt on the obduracy of those who would not listen to him. Franklin's party was finally found by M'Clintock in 1859 in the spot King had suggested eleven years earlier. The delay, however, probably made no material difference since, even if his advice been taken immediately, it would probably have come too late to save any of Franklin's men" (ODNB).

"Correspondence between the author and the British Admiralty and Colonial Office, regarding Dr. King's offers to aid, and his views on the search for the lost Franklin party; with other letters and newspaper articles, and with excerpts from King's earlier account (1836) of his trip down the Fish (Back) River. Includes considerable comment on the geography, importance of the Back River route to find Franklin, conditions of travel in the region, and on the activities of those (in northern Canada and in London) involved in the Franklin search." (A.B. 8706)

Sabin 37797
Staton & Tremaine 3571
A.B. 8706

Order-nr.: 53938

DKK 65.000,00