History Archive > Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea (1823)

Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the Years 1819, 20, 21, and 22 ... with an appendix on various subjects relating to science and natural history


Date: 1823



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Franklin, John. Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea. London: printed by William Clowes for John Murray, 1823. 1823.


Franklin, John (1823) Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea. London: printed by William Clowes for John Murray, 1823.


Franklin, John, Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea. London: printed by William Clowes for John Murray, 1823. 1823.


In 1819 Lieutenant John Franklin a career Naval Officer who had been at the battle of Trafalgar was placed in command of an expedition appointed to proceed overland from the Hudson Bay to the shores of the Arctic Sea and to determine the trending of that coast eastward of the Coppermine river. At this period the northern coast of the American continent was known at two isolated points only - this the mouth of the Coppermine river (which as Franklin discovered was erroneously placed four degrees of latitude too much to the north) and the mouth of the Mackenzie far to the west of it.

Lieutenant Franklin and his party consisting of Dr Richardson Midshipmen George Back and Robert Hood and a few boatmen arrived at the depot of the Hudson's Bay Company at the end of August 1819 and making an autumnal journey of 700 miles spent the first winter on the Saskatchewan. Owing to the supplies which had been promised by the North-West and Hudson's Bay Companies not being forthcoming the following year it was not until the summer of 1821 that the Coppermine was ascended to its mouth and a considerable extent of sea-coast to the eastward surveyed.

The return journey led over the region known as the Barren Ground and was marked by the most terrible sufferings and privations and the tragic death of Lieutenant Hood. The survivors of the expedition reached York Factory in the month of June 1822 having accomplished altogether 5550 miles of travel. While engaged on this service Franklin was promoted to the rank of commander (1st of January 1821) and upon his return to England at the end of 1822 he obtained the post rank of captain and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

The first edition of the narrative of this expedition was published in the following year and became at once a classic of travel. The present edition sometimes referred to as the second issue of the first edition has an enlarged introduction contains an additional natural history plate and a more detailed map (among other changes).

xvi, 768 pages, [34] leaves of plates (some folded) : illustrations (some color), 4 color portraits, 4 maps ; 28 cm


Abbey Travel II 635; Arctic Bibliography 5194; Hill 635; Lande 1181; Sabin 25624; Staton & Tremaine 1248; Tooley Appendix 230A; Bobins I 49.

List of Images

1. Book Display

2. Front Cover

3. Title Page

4. The Expedition Discovering the Coppermine River. Sept. 1, 1820

5. View from Morgan's Rocks of the Hill in Hill River. Sept. 19, 1819

6. The Trout Fall. Sept. 1819

7. Manner of Making a Resting Place on a Winters Night. March 15th, 1820

8. Portrait of a Stone Indian

9. A Buffalo Pound. Feb. 8, 1820

10. Interior of a Cree Indian Tent. March 25th, 1820

11. Portrait of Akaitcho and his son.

12. Expedition Crossing Lake Prosperous. May 30, 1820

13. Marten Lake, 1820

14. Winter View of Fort Enterprise (Snow Melting) May 13th, 1821

15. Keskarrah, a Copper Indian guide and his daughter Green Stockings mending a snow-shoe

16. Portraits of Two Eskumaux Interpreters - Junius and Augustus

17. Ground Plan of an Arctic Dwelling

18. Winter Travelling on Great Slave Lake

19. The White Wolf and a View of the Dog Rib Rock

20. Expedition Passing Through Point Lata on the Ice. June 25, 1821

21. Bloody Fall. July 11, 1821

22. View of the Arctic Sea from the Mouth of the Copper Mine River

23. Expedition Doubling Cape Barrow. July 25, 1821

24. Expedition Encamped at Point Turnagain. Aug. 21, 1821

25. Canoe Broaching to in a Gale of Wind at Sunrise. Aug. 23, 1821

26. Expedition Landing in a Storm. Aug. 21, 1821

27. The Falls of Wilberforce (estimated at 250 feet high)

28. Preparing an Encampment on the Barren Grounds Gathering Tripe de Roche. Sept. 16

29. Natural History Drawings of Fish I

30. Natural History Drawings of Fish II

31. Natural History Drawings of Plants I

32. Natural History Drawings of Plants II

33. Natural History Drawings of Plants III

34. Natural History Drawings of Coral

35. Route of the Expedition from York Factory to Cumberland House

36. Route of the Expedition from Isle a la Crosse to Fort Providence

37. An Outline to Shew the Connected Discoveries of Captains Ross, Parry and Franklin

38. A Chart of the Discoveries and Route of the Northern Land Expedition

39. Back Cover

Publication Information

Publisher: London: printed by William Clowes for John Murray, 1823



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-04-16

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