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Franklin's Provisions


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At first glance and out of context, the amount and variety of food brought on the Erebus and Terror, the two ships of Sir John Franklin's expedition, seems impressive (see list below). Yet one must remember that these provisions were meant for men leading relatively sedentary lives aboard ship. They were not meant to support the caloric needs of men reduced to hauling heavily loaded sledges in subzero temperatures while variously suffering from illness, lead poisoning, starvation, and other severe conditions. Considering the tragic fate of Franklin's entire party, the irony as one reads, for instance, of the 9,000 pounds of chocolate and 3,600 gallons of spirits brought along, is wrenchingly thick.—Peter Tyson

Ships' Manifest (click on underlined terms for details)

Biscuit

18,355 lbs.

18,132 lbs.

36,487 lbs.

Flour

69,888 lbs.

66,768 lbs.

136,656 lbs.

Pemmican

612 lbs.

591 lbs.

1,203 lbs.

Beef (8-lb. pieces)

16,416 lbs.

15,808 lbs.

32,224 lbs.

Pork (4-lb. pieces)

16,320 lbs.

15,680 lbs.

32,000 lbs.

Tinned Meat

16,066 lbs.

17,223 lbs.

33,289 lbs.

Sugar

11,928 lbs.

11,648 lbs.

23,576 lbs.

Preserved Vegetables

4,572 lbs.

4,328 lbs.

8,900 lbs.

Concentrated Spirits

1,896 gals.

1,788 gals.

3,684 gals.

Wine for the Sick

100 gals.

100 gals.

200 gals.

Suet

1,568 lbs.

1,484 lbs.

3,052 lbs.

Raisins

504 lbs.

504 lbs.

1,008 lbs.

Peas

75 bushels

72 bushels

147 bushels

Chocolate

4,822 lbs.

4,628 lbs.

9,450 lbs.

Tea

1,195 lbs.

1,162 lbs.

2,357 lbs.

Lemon Juice

4,750 lbs.

4,550 lbs.

9,300 lbs.

Concentrated Soup

10,920 pints

9,543 pints

20,463 pints

Vinegar

677 gals.

649 gals.

1,326 gals.

Scotch Barley

1,248 lbs.

1,248 lbs.

2,496 lbs.

Oatmeal

690 gals.

660 gals.

1,350 gals.

Pickles

300 gals.

280 gals.

580 gals.

Cranberries

85 gals.

85 gals.

170 gals.

Mustard

500 lbs.

500 lbs.

1,000 lbs.

Pepper

100 lbs.

100 lbs.

200 lbs.

 

 

 

 

Tobacco

 

 

7,088 lbs.

Soap

 

 

3,600 lbs.

Candles

 

 

2,700 lbs.

 

 

 

 

Books

1,200 vols.

1,200 vols.

2,400 vols.

Slates

 

 

70

Pens

 

 

200

Bibles

 

 

100

Prayer Books

 

 

100

Daguerreotype App.

 

 

1



Thanks to Russell Potter, Rhode Island College, for supplying details for this feature.

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