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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE desire for information felt all over this country, and, indeed, I may almost say throughout the civilized world, respecting the fate of the missing expedition under Capt. Sir John Franklin, is very great, and continues to become more and more intense, as the lapse of time lessens the probability of their return in safety. The large number of individuals now engaged in prosecuting the search for them in the Arctic regions, and the deep anxiety manifested by the friends and relatives whom these fresh explorers have left behind, has turned the attention of thousands to this inhospitable and comparatively little known quarter of the globe, serving to lend an added interest to every book descriptive of the Polar seas and shores.
Among the publications which have from time to time appeared, there seems to have been no popular narrative, especially treating of the voyages and journeys of discovery and research prosecuted in the nineteenth cen. tury towards the North Pole, embracing accounts of all the recent public and private searching expeditions after the lost ships, and adapted in price to the bulk of the community who so eagerly seek information.
To meet this want I have been induced, at the solicitation of my publishers, to undertake the compilation of the following work, in which I have brought into one view all that is really important to be known by those who