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are written so large across the map of the Arctic Ocean and its coasts; the circumstances of his tragic end have rendered his name and achievements familiar to so many Englishmen not otherwise specially conversant with the subject of Polar exploration; the story of his voyages and discoveries has so often been related as a part of the general history of English adventure, that the appearance of this biography, nearly half a century after his death, may seem to require a few explanatory words. The family tradition, at any rate, is, that John Franklin, the grandfather of the explorer, following paternal example, so greatly reduced the ancestral patrimony as to leave little more at his death than 'a moderate subsistence for his widow'; and, forced to rebuild their fortunes, the Franklins passed, as many a good English house has done before and since, from the ranks of the country gentry into those of trade.It has been felt by his surviving relatives, as it was felt by his devoted wife and widow, that to the records, ample and appreciative as many of them have been, of the career of the explorer there needed the addition of some personal memoir of the man. John Franklin's widow, 'a woman', writes one of her descendants, 'of masculine capacity and great resolution of character', rose to the occasion.Failing health and almost total loss of sight, however, prevented the accomplishment of her purpose, and eventually her executors, Mr. John Murray, whose father was the publisher of Franklin's two Narratives of his Arctic Explorations and the personal friend of their author and Lady Franklin, and who has himself taken a warm interest in the present undertaking. James Franklin, the third son, entered the East India Company's service as a cadet in 1805, served with credit in the Pindari war, and singled himself out as an officer of considerable scientific attainments.In dealing with Franklin's achievements as an explorer ample assistance was accessible to me in already published works. He was employed on important Indian surveys, and after his retirement from the service was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Of Franklin's seven sisters, two died unmarried: one of them in comparatively early years, the other, Miss Elizabeth Franklin, at an advanced age.Well-placed sources say the relationship is extremely serious, and that Meghan’s last‑minute invitation to Pippa Middleton’s wedding is the ultimate endorsement, painting her as a potential princess.
The character of such men as Franklin is, in truth, as much a national possession as their fame and work. The second and third of his four elder brothers (the fourth died in infancy) rose, like himself, to distinction in the public service.
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