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In the Arctic Seas

By: Francis McClintock

It is fascinating to learn about 19th Century men who braved extreme elements of cold and ice for months at a time. In ways most modern men would not, they accepted daily discomforts and the close possibility of their own demise with equanimity. These sailors all seemed multi-talented in their abilities to sail, to run, maintain, and repair engines, to hunt, to make mathematical calculations, to measure temperature, magnetism, pressure, etc.

In 1857, Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of Sir John Franklin, who went missing with his entire crew during his 1845 expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, commissioned Captain Francis McClintock to investigate what had happened to the expedition, and purchased for him the small steam yacht known as the 'Fox'. This is McClintock's own account of the two year voyage of the 'Fox'. Following an initially unsuccessful attempt to cross the Davis Strait, the 'Fox' was forced to spend the first winter trapped in the sea-ice off the coast of Greenland. After the next year's thaw, McClintock eventually reached the islands of the Canadian Arctic, where an extensive search finally revealed the grisly truth of the fate of Franklin.

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Sir Francis Leopold McClintock was an Irish explorer in the British Royal Navy, known for his discoveries in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. He confirmed explorer John Rae's controversial report gath...

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