5. Officer of the Expedition 

Letters Written during the Late Voyage of Discovery in the Western Arctic Sea.  London: Sir Richard Phillips and Co., 1821.


Signal flag erected for a missing hunting party, from Letters written during the Late Voyage of Discovery, 1819.


Winter dress of officers and men, from Letters written during the Late Voyage of Discovery, 1821.

This is a curious work, supposedly written by an officer on the Griper during Parry’s successful voyage of 1819-20, but obviously compiled, one might even say plagiarized, from Parry’s own narrative, published the same year. 

The publisher, Sir Richard Phillips, issued a whole series of such miscellaneous voyages by subscription, of which this was the 28th  in the series, and he probably engaged hack-writers to compile these from any possible source.  The author of this account simply put Parry’s narrative on his desk and went to work.

However, the three illustrations are new, having have no counterpart in Parry’s published account.  One shows the winter dress of officers and seamen, and it will be noted that the British have not learned anything from Ross’s encounter with the Inuit, since they are still dressed in wool and shod in hard leather. 

Another image records an occasion when a hunting party of seven men was sent out on a day trip, looking for musk-oxen, and did not return.  One of the search parties took a piece of a mast and a flag and planted it on a commanding spot as a marker for the lost party, along  with food, rum, and directions back to the ship.  Amazingly, the stratagem worked, as the lost party spotted the flag-staff and returned after a 90-hour absence.  Fortunately, this was in September, not January, and all of the frozen fingers and toes were warmed back to their normal healthy state.



Linda Hall Library Logo