BACK, Sir George, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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BACK, Sir George (1796-1878). Arctic navigator.
Autograph Letter Signed to 'My dear Hogg', 2 pages 8vo, Torquay, 27 September 1844. Expressing pleasure and surprise on learning that his friend was married.
'... most heartily do I congratulate you on an event so much calculated, as I trust it is, to add to your happiness. I am here on a visit to some friends and after a short sojourn in the North of Devon I shall gradually approach London where I expect to be sometime in November. ...'
Back served on HMS Akbar and HMS Bulwark as a midshipman before volunteering to serve under John Franklin in his first expedition to the Arctic in 1818. He also served under Franklin in his two overland expeditions to survey the northern coast of North America, in 1819-1822 and 1824-1826, during which time he was promoted first to lieutenant and then to commander. He led his own expedition in 1834 to complete the survey and explore what was later called the Back River in his honor.
In 1836, Back was promoted to captain and given command of HMS Terror for an expedition to the northern part of Hudson Bay, with plans to cross the Melville Peninsula overland and explore the opposite shore. Terror was beset in the ice for 10 months and at one point was pushed 40 feet up the side of a cliff by the pressure of the ice. In the spring of 1837, an encounter with an iceberg further damaged the ship, which was in a sinking condition by the time Back was able to beach the ship on the coast of Ireland at Lough Swilly.
[No: 22469]


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