Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage and of a Residence in the Arctic Regions During the Years 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833 Including the Report of Commander, now Captain, James Clark Ross, RN, FRS, FLS, &c and the Discovery of t

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Author: Ross, John (1777-1856)

Year: 1835

Publisher: A W Webster

Place: London


xxiv+740 pages with frontispiece, 24 plates (three of which are color printed mezzotints), 6 maps (two folding), errata leaf at front, without half-title, ads and addenda. Quarto (10 3/4" x 8 1/2") Early half purple morocco over pebbled cloth, the spine tooled and lettered in gilt with raised bands, the edges marbled. (Abbey Travel 636; Arctic Bibliography 14866; Sabin 73381) First edition.

Admiral Sir John Ross was a British naval officer and Arctic explorer. He was the uncle of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, RN who explored the Arctic with him, and later led expeditions to Antarctica. In 1819, William Parry, his lieutenant on the previous expedition, returned to the Arctic, and sailed 600 miles west beyond the "Crocker Hills", thereby discovering the main axis of the Northwest Passage. Partly to redeem his reputation Ross proposed to use a shallow-draft steam ship to break through the ice. The Admiralty was not interested, but he was able to convince the gin-magnate Felix Booth to finance a second expedition. His ship was Victory, a side-wheel steamer with paddles that could be lifted away from the ice and an experimental high-pressure boiler built by John Ericsson. (The engine caused trouble and during the first winter it was dumped on the shore.) It carried four officers (Ross, James Clark Ross, William Thom and surgeon George McDairmid) and 19 men. The goal was Prince Regent Inlet at the west end of Baffin Island where Parry had lost his ship in 1825. Ross was frozen in southwest of the tip of the arrow and walked almost all the way north to escape. Ross left the Thames on 23 May 1829. Baffin Bay was unusually ice free and on 6 August 1829 he passed the point where he had turned back 10 years before. On 11 August 1829 he turned south into Prince Regent Inlet and on 13 August 1829 reached Fury Beach where Parry had abandoned his ship. The hulk was gone but there were heaps of stores on the beach, some of which he took. Continuing south he became the first European in the Gulf of Boothia, but by the end of September 1829 he was blocked by ice 200 miles south of Fury Beach. He took winter quarters at Felix Harbour at the eastern tip of the Boothia Peninsula (1st winter). In January 1830 a group of Netsilik Inuit arrived and provided food and information. In the spring of 1830 James Clark Ross made several trips west into the interior. On 9 April 1830 he reached the west side of the Boothia Peninsula and in May 1830 crossed over ice to the northwest shore of King William Island, assuming it was part of the mainland. It was mid-September 1830 before the ice broke part of its grip. The crew sawed through the shore ice and warped the ship into open water, but it was soon caught in ice. October 1830 was spent warping and sawing the ship into Sheriff Bay where they spent the 2nd winter only 3 miles from Felix Harbor. James Clark Ross crossed the Boothia Peninsula and on 1 June 1831 became the first European to reach the North Magnetic Pole. In August 1831 the ship began to move but only got four miles before being trapped in Victoria Harbor (3rd winter). By January 1832 it was clear that the ship would never get out. Ross's plan was to drag the ship's boats north to Fury Beach, collect provisions there, find open water and hope to be rescued by a whaler. They left Victory on 29 May 1832. Ten days later James Clark Ross returned from Fury Beach and reported that Fury's boats were repairable, which spared them the labor of dragging the boats. They reached Fury Beach on 1 July 1832, left in three boats on 1 August 1832 and reached Barrow Strait at the end of August 1832. Finding an unbroken field of ice, they waited four weeks for the ice to melt, gave up, returned south, left their boats at Batty Bay and walked to Fury Beach (4th winter). On 8 July 1833 they left for Batty Bay and on 14 August 1833 saw open water for the first time. They left the next day and reached the head of Prince Regent Inlet. On 26 August 1833 they spotted a ship but it passed by. A few hours later they were seen by another ship, which turned out to be Isabella which Parry had commanded in 1819 (had it not been for his 1819 discovery there would have been no whalers in the area). By October 1833 they were back in England.


Binding sound but rubbed, foxing and toned leaves, heavy at places, a few repairs and short splits to large map, tear to rear endpaper else about very good.

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