39. Great Britain. Admiralty
Further Correspondence and Proceedings Connected with the Arctic Expedition. London: Printed by George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1852.
Detail of a map of the polar region by Augustus Peterman, from Great Britain. Admiralty, Further Correspondence and Proceedings,1852.
The Arctic Blue Books were a series of volumes issued by the British House of Parliament concerning expeditions to the Arctic; they are sometimes referred to as Parliamentary Papers. They contain correspondence, minutes of committee meetings, Admiralty orders, expedition narratives, and a host of other miscellaneous material, related mostly to the search for Franklin.
There were forty-seven of them in all; we have included several in this exhibition. They are a great source for information that often cannot be found elsewhere.
This volume contains a beautiful map of the polar region, sent to the Admiralty by a German geographer, Augustus Petermann. Like many people of the time, Petermann believed in the existence of an “open polar sea” at the North Pole.
Petermann thought that the Franklin expedition probably sat within the area surrounded by the dotted line on the map, just above center, and he recommended that a search voyage be sent through an open area that he thought lay east of Spitsbergen.
Edward Parry, who sat on the Arctic Committee at this time, and who had tried unsuccessfully to venture north of Spitsbergen in 1828 (see item 11), no doubt scoffed at the suggestion.