16. Huish, Robert (1777-1850)

The Last Voyage of Capt. Sir John Ross R.N. Knt. to the Arctic Regions: for the Discovery of a North west Passage, Performed in the Years 1829-30-31-32 and 33 : to Which is Prefixed an Abridgement of the Former Voyages of Captns. Ross, Parry & Other Celebrated Navigators to the Northern Latitudes.  London: Printed for the proprietors; Published by John Saunders, 1835.


Celebrating the discovery of the north magnetic pole, from Robert Huish, The Last Voyage of Capt. Sir John Ross, 1835.


The Victory as it left Woolwich (detail) from Robert Huish, The Last Voyage of Capt. Sir John Ross, 1835.

There exists a second narrative of the Ross voyage of 1829-33, compiled by Robert Huish from the journal of the steward, William Light, who was more than a little disgruntled with Ross, and much of the text has to be taken with a grain of salt.  But many of the images that Huish included have no counterpart in Ross’s narrative, and so it serves as a very valuable adjunct to the official narrative (if a narrative of an unofficial voyage such as Ross’s can be official). 

Ross had downplayed the importance of the contributions of his nephew James Clark Ross, and he had included no illustration of the momentous discovery of the north magnetic pole.  The plate in Huish is quite delightful, with the men dancing about while a flag is planted on the pole in the background, and an aurora crowns the whole affair.

Huish also provides us with a nice view of the Victory, as she set out on the voyage, which Ross did not do.  Perhaps that is because by the time Ross wrote his narrative, he was thoroughly sick of the Victory and its steam boilers and paddlewheels.  Ross dumped all the machinery onto the ice during his first winter at Felix Harbour and fulminated at length against the manufacturers in his narrative—so much so that the manufacturers wrote a treatise in rebuttal.


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