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By H. D. TRAILL

It had to return without accomplishing much because its advance was blocked by ice, but this voyage channelled Franklin's general interest in exploration into the particular one of Arctic discovery. He led an expedition across Canada to Arctic America in , traversing over miles km and enduring appalling hardships. In his absence he was promoted commander and on his return captain. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in and in married Eleanor Anne Porden, by whom he had one child, Eleanor.


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In he commanded a second expedition to Arctic America, less dramatic than the first but of great geographical importance, and was rewarded by the gold medal of the Geographical Society of Paris, an honorary D. His wife had died during his absence and in he married Jane Griffin. There were no children of this marriage. Franklin returned to naval duty and in commanded the Rainbow off the coast of Greece during its war of independence.

Franklin's lost expedition - Wikipedia

He was decorated with the Greek Order of the Redeemer, appointed K. He applied to the Admiralty for further employment, pointing out that for thirty years he had led an active life 'and therefore could not look upon the prospect of inactivity with complacency'. As England was at peace and no naval employment suitable for him was available, he accepted the lieutenant-governorship of Van Diemen's Land, after obtaining from the Admiralty 'an avowal that this Civil Appointment would not militate against my future employment in the active line of my profession, to which I am devoted'.

Van Diemen's Land was a dual-purpose settlement, both a free colony and a gaol, and there was a necessary conflict of imperial and colonial interests. The free colonists profited by the convict establishment, which provided them with a market for their products and a cheap labour force, but they resented the arbitrary form of government by a lieutenant-governor and a Legislative Council of his chief officials and some government nominees.

Arthur had given primacy to the penal purpose of the colony, but the free colonists held that their interests should come first.

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They interpreted Arthur's recall as a concession to their point of view and received Franklin warmly as the herald of a new order. His sentiments were liberal and he hoped that the convict colony would soon become free and self-governing, but he had no power to change its Constitution, and the elation of the anti-Arthurites soon turned to disappointment, which was aggravated by Franklin's cordiality to the officials he inherited from Arthur.

The most important were John Montagu , the colonial secretary, and Matthew Forster , chief police magistrate and head of the convict establishment, both of whom owed their appointments to Arthur's recommendation, had received free land grants from him and had married into his family. Montagu was a cold, calculating, ambitious man and an extraordinarily able administrator; Forster was less able, less industrious and also less calculating, a man of coarse fibre, with a brutal attitude towards the convicts.

Together with Sir John Pedder , the chief justice, and John Gregory , the colonial treasurer, these officials and their supporters were regarded by the anti-Arthurites as forming 'the Arthur faction'. Both they and their enemies expected Franklin to be hostile to them. But Van Diemen's Land was an isolated island, rather like a ship; it seemed to Franklin quite natural that the officers of his new command should look back with nostalgia to their old captain, but he hoped to make his government a happy ship and tried to make friends with them.

They interpreted this as weakness, despised him for it, and determined to keep affairs in their own hands, while the anti-Arthurites felt that although Franklin was personally good and liberal he was dominated by bad and reactionary men. Both Maconochie and Lady Franklin warned him that the Arthur faction meant him no good, but he was slow to believe it. Soon after Franklin's arrival a British parliamentary committee under Molesworth began its investigations into convict transportation.

The system of convict discipline then in use, assignment, was severely criticized. Under this system those convicts considered safe to be at large, and not required for public works, were assigned by the convict authorities to work for the colonists.

Works of John Franklin

The system was arbitrary and capricious in principle and in practice open to many abuses, and Maconochie, having observed it in action, thought it wrong and was openly critical of it. For the time being, however, it was the system in force, which Franklin had to administer, and as he believed some of the evidence against it tendered to the Molesworth committee to be prejudiced and partial, he was its moderate apologist.

He felt compromised by the activities of his secretary and dismissed him in The separation was inevitable but unfortunate, for it deprived Franklin of a friend who, however indiscreet, was an educated man of humane sentiments with no private axe to grind; for the remainder of his term he had only his wife to confide in. Franklin's period of office spanned difficult years. When transportation to New South Wales was abolished in it was increased to Van Diemen's Land, and hopes of self-government faded as the proportion of convicts in the population rose.

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