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An Arctic Voyage to Baffin's Bay and Lancaster Sound,
London: John van Voorst,, 1850. in Search of Friends with Sir John Franklin. Octavo (195 × 120 mm). Original blue wavy-grained cloth, title gilt to spine, panels in blind to the boards, black surface-paper endpapers. Tinted frontispiece, folded map. Without the tipped in publishers ads. Half-title and last leaf with even browning from contact with the endpapers, front hinge just started, slight lean, a very good copy. First edition. Goodsir was scion of a long-established Scottish medical dynasty; his brother John was successively Conservator of the Royal College of Surgeons Museum, Curator of Edinburgh University's of Anatomical Museum, and Professor of Anatomy at Edinburgh University. John was succeeded at the RCS Museum by his younger brother Henry Duncan Spens "Harry" Goodsir, who in 1845 was appointed assistant surgeon and naturalist to the Franklin Expedition. In 1849, Robert "feeling anxiety" at the absence of his brother "as year after year wore on" (Preface), joined "the whaler Advice under William Penny on the British Whaling and Franklin Search Expedition. Sailing in company with the whaler Truelove (Captain Parker), the two vessels lay whaling off Pond Inlet, Baffin Bay, until an Eskimo report that Franklin and his men had been seen alive was brought to Parker. The expedition then entered Lancaster Sound but ice prevented them from passing beyond Brodeur Peninsula" (SPRI web-site). The following year, Goodsir was appointed surgeon in HMS Lady Franklin on the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 also lead by Penny. Goodsir's account received an excellent review in the Spectator; "The skill, experience, and energy of Mr. Penny in the whale-fishery … rendered the voyage as comfortable as a whaling voyage can be and enabled Mr. Goodsir to see the Arctic regions, the chase and capture of the whale, and the whole economy of a whaler, under advantageous circumstances … [but] the opportunities of geological or botanical research are few, the chances of acquiring specimens of natural history uncertain, and even sport itself rare - always except the exciting chase of the whale …There is, however, so much of novelty in the scenery of the Arctic regions, the incidents and even the daily life are so different from what take place elsewhere, the monotonous hardships are so unattractive to the numbers who flock to try their luck in every other direction of adventure, and there is consequently so little written, upon the subject … that it makes up in freshness what it wants in variety. And Mr. Goodsir is competent to the task of giving a plain account of his Arctic voyage. He has judgement to avoid overdoing his theme; he has an appreciating eye for natural phenomena and the beauties of nature ; his medical training has given him habits of observation and reflection. He has moreover strength and spirit to take his part in any enterprise that may be going on ; and he can describe what he sees or feels with clearness and discrimination" (25 May 1850). An exceptionally bright and fresh copy of one of the earliest, and least common, accounts of the search for Sir John Franklin.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-08-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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