The only written record ever found of the disastrous Franklin Northwest Passage expedition
of 1845-1848 was discovered in 1859. It was found in a stone cairn erected on the western
shore of King William Island, near where Franklin's ships had become irretrievably beset
in pack ice in 1846. Sealed inside a small tin cylinder, it consists of a single sheet of
paper bearing two hand-scrawled messages written 11 months apart. Here, read the original
note yourself, along with brief annotations that reveal harrowing details that these
all-too-brief—and, in the case of the second one, downright peculiar—messages cannot.
To open the note, click on the image at left.—Peter Tyson