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empires on the face of the globe, were thus to unite their efforts in the truly christian work of saving their perishing fellow-men from destruction.
“It is not for me to suggest the mode in which such benevolent efforts might best be made. I will only say, however, that if the conceptions of my own mind, to which I do not venture to give utterance, were realized, and that in the noble competition which followed, American seamen had the good fortune to wrest from us the glory, as might be the case, of solving the problem of the unfound passage, or the still greater glory of saving our adventurous navigators from a lingering fate which the mind sickens to dwell on, though I should in either case regret that it was not my own brave countrymen in those seas whose devotion was thus rewarded, yet should I rejoice that it was to America we owed our restored happiness, and should be forever bound to her by ties of affectionate gratitude.
“I am not without some misgivings while I thus address you. The intense anxieties of a wife and of a daughter may have led me to press too earnestly on your notice the trials under which we are suffering, (yet not we only, but hundreds of others,) and to preSume too much on the sympathy which we are assured is felt beyond the limits of our own land. Yet, if you deem this to be the case, you will still find, lam sure, even in that personal intensity of feeling, an excuse for the fearlessness wifth which I have throws, myself on your generosity, and will pardon the hom age I thus pay to your own high character, and to the of the people over whom you have the distinction to preside. “I have, &c., (Signed) “JANE FRANKLIN.”
To which the following reply was received :—
“Department of State, Washington, “25th April, 1849.
“MADAM, Your letter to the President of the United States, dated April 4th, 1849, has been received by him, and he has instructed me to make to you the following reply — w
“The appeal made in the letter with which you have honored him, is such as would strongly enlist the sympathy of the rulers and the people of any portion of the civilized world.
“To the citizens of the United States, who share so largely in the emotions which agitate the public mind in your own country, the name of Sir John Franklin has been endeared by his heroic virtues, and the sufferings and sacrifices which he has encountered for the benefit of mankind. The appeal of his wife and daughter, in their distress, has been borne across the waters, asking the assistance of a kindred people to save the brave men who embarked in this unfortunate expedition ; and the people of the United States, who have watched with the deepest interest that hazardous enterprise, will now respond to that appeal, by the expression of their united wishes that every proper effort may be made by this government for the rescue of your husband and his companions.
“To accomplish the objects you have in view, the attention of American navigators, and especially of our whalers, will be immediately invoked. All the information in the possession of this government, to enable them to aid in discovering the missing ships, relieving their crews and restoring them to their families, shall be spread far and wide among our people; and all that the executive government of the United States, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, can effect, to meet this requisition on American enterprise, skill and bravery, will be promptly undertaken.
“The hearts of the American people will be deeply touched by your eloquent address to their Chief Magistrate, and they will join with you in an earnest prayer to Him whose spirit is on the waters, that your husband and his companions may yet be restored to their country and their friends.
“I have, &c.,
A second letter was also addressed by Lady Franklin to the President in the close of that year, after the forced return of Captain Sir James Ross, from whose active exertions so much had been expected —
The Lady of Sir John Franklin to the President. “Spring Gardens, London, 11th Dee., 1849.
“SIR,--I had the honor of addressing myself to you, in the month of April last, in behalf of my husband, Sir John Franklin, his officers and crews, who were sent by Her Majesty's government, in the spring of 1845, on a maritime expedition for a discovery of the northwest passage, and who have never since been heard of. “Their mysterious fate has excited, I believe, the deepest interest throughout the civilized world, but nowhere more so, not even in England itself, than in the United States of America. It was under a deep conviction of this fact, and with the humble hope that an appeal to those general sentiments would never be made altogether in vain, that I ventured to lay before you the necessities of that critical period, and to ask you to take up the cause of humanity which I pleaded, and generously make it your own. “How nobly you, sir, and the American people, responded to that appeal,—how kindly and courteously that response was conveyed to me, -is known wherever our common language is spoken or understood ; and though difficulties, which were mainly owing to the advanced state of the season, presented themselves after your official announcement had been made known to our government, and prevented the immediate execution of your intentions, yet the generous pledge you had given was not altogether withdrawn, and hope still remained to me that, should the necessity for renewed measures continue to exist, I might look again across, the waters for the needed succor. “A period has now, alas, arrived, when our dearest hopes as to the safe return of the discovery ships this autumn are finally crushed by the unexpected, though forced return of Sir James Ross, without any tidings of them, and also by the close of the arctic season. And not only have no tidings been brought of their safety or of their fate, but even the very traces of their course have yet to be discovered ; for such was the concurrence of unfortunate and unusual circumstances attending the efforts of the brave and able officer alluded to, that he was not able to reach those points where indications of the course of discovery ships would most probably be found. And thus, at the close of a second season since the departure of the recent expedition of search, we remain in nearly the same state of ignorance respecting the missing expedition as at the moment of its starting from our shores. And in the mean time our brave countrymen, whether clinging still to their ships, or dispersed in various directions, have entered upon a fifth winter in those dark and dreary solitudes, with exhausted means of sustenance, while yet their expected succor comes not “It is in the time, then, of their greatest peril, in the day of their extremest need, that I venture, encouraged by your former kindness, to look to you again for some active efforts which may come in aid of those of my own country, and add to the means of search. Her Majesty's Ministers have already resolved on sending an expedition to Behring's Strait, and doubtless have other necessary measures in contemplation, supported as they are, in every means that can be devised for this humane purpose, by the sympathies of the nation, and by the generous solicitude which our Queen is known to feel in the fate of her brave people imperiled in their country's service. But, whatever be the measures contemploved by the Admiralty, they cannot be such as will leave no room or necessity for more, since it is only by the multiplication of means, and those vigorous and instant ones, that we can hope, at this last stage, and in this last hour, perhaps, of the lost navigators’ existence, to snatch them from a dreary grave. And Surely, till the shores and seas of those frozen regions have been swept in all directions, or until some memorial be found to attest their fate, neither England, who sent them out, nor even America, on whose shores they have been launched in a cause which has interested the world for centuries, will deem the question at rest. “May it please God so to move the hearts and wills of a great and kindred people, and of their chosen Chief Magistrate, that they may join heart and hand in the generous enterprise ! The respect and admiration of the world, which watches with growing interest every movement of your great republic, will follow the chivalric and humane endeavor, and the blessing of them who were ready to perish shall come to you! “I have, &c., (Signed) JANE FRANKLIN.
“His Encelleney the President of the United States.”
In a very admirable letter addressed to Tady Franklin in February, 1850, by Lieut. Sherard Osborn, R. N., occur the following remarks and suggestions, which appear to me so explicit and valuable that I publish them entire : —
“Great Ealing, Middlesex, 6th February, 1850.
“My DEAR LADY FRANKLIN. —It is of course of vital importance that the generous co-operation of the Americans in the rescue of Sir John Franklin and his crews be directed to points which call for search, and at the same time give them a clear field for the exercise of their energy and emulation. It would be a pity, for instance, if they should be merely working on the same ground with ourselves, while extensive portions of the Arctic Sea, in which it is equally probable the lost expedition may be found, should be left unexamined ; and none, in my opinion, offers a better prospect of successful search than the coasts of Tepulse Bay, Hecla and Fury Strait, Committee Bay, Felix Harbor, the estuary of the Great Fish River, and Simpson's Strait, with the sea to the northwest of it. My reasons for saying so are as follows : —