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ROSS, SIR JOHN - Manuscript document signed by the Scottish polar explorer
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ROSS, SIR JOHN - Manuscript document signed by the Scottish polar explorer

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ROSS, SIR JOHN. (1777-1856). Scottish polar explorer who sought the elusive Northwest Passage and led an 1850 expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. Manuscript DS. (“John Ross”). 1p. Oblong 8vo. N.p., (July 1839). List of stolen items written in Swedish.


A member of the Royal Navy from the age of nine, Ross rose through the ranks, serving aboard vessels throughout the Baltic. In 1808, he was seconded to the Swedish Navy attaining the rank of commander in 1812.


In 1818, the Admiralty placed him in charge of an Arctic expedition in search of a Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. After his findings were proven erroneous by his second-in-command, William Parry, Ross was denied further funding by the navy, but he did find private financing for an 1829 expedition.


During his second arctic voyage, Ross discovered Boothia Peninsula, the Gulf of Boothia and King William Island. On the same expedition, his nephew James Clark Ross discovered the position of the magnetic North Pole, which he recounts in Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a Northwest Passage, etc., including the Reports of Captain James Clarke Ross and the Discovery of the Northern Magnetic Pole, published in 1835.


In 1850, at the age of 72, Ross embarked on a third and final Arctic voyage to search for the missing crew of Sir John Franklin, lost four years earlier – a journey funded by Franklin’s indefatigable widow, Lady Jane. After that voyage he quit the sea and devoted himself to writing and acting as a language consultant to the government during the Russian Baltic crisis.


A docket on the verso identifies the document in English as a “list of things stolen…” from an address. Folded with scattered light age-toning and a small vertical fold tear closed with tape on the verso. In fine condition. Uncommon.



Item #20351


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