[Sir John Franklin, Arctic explorer.] Autograph Letter Signed to his wife ('My dearest Jane'), describing King William IV's first levee and his own meeting with the monarch, as well as family business.

Author: 
Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), Arctic explorer who perished with his entire expedition to chart the North-West Passage [Lady Franklin [nee Jane Griffin] (1791-1875); William IV, 'the Sailor King']
Publication details: 
21 July [1830]. 55 Devonshire Street [London].
£2,800.00
SKU: 22334

3pp, 4to. A long letter, with seventy-three lines of closely-written text. Bifolium. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. Slight damage to second leaf through breaking of black wax seal, parts of which still adhere. Folded four times. Addressed, with postmark, on reverse of second leaf to 'Lady Franklin | Egremont Place | Brighton'. The letter is signed 'John Franklin' and addressed to 'My dearest Jane', the couple having married two years previously. William IV, nicknamed 'the Sailor King', had acceded to the throne a month before, on 26 June 1830, and the subject of the letter is his first levee. Franklin begins his report by stating that it was 'less crowded than any I have been at though tolerably full and as you may suppose a large proportion of Naval Officers. The King said very little if anything to the people in general, however the one immediately before me a Naval Captain was particularly addressed and even called back after he had withdrawn a few paces, the circumstance caused me to stand a few seconds directly before the King – and when the Lord in waiting announced my name – he said yes I know him, held out his hand and said how do you do – I see you are here or some such observation. The Duke of Sussex then nodded to me & asked me how I did – and one or two others as I passed made a nod of recognition.' There follow references to 'Captain Beaufort' and Basil Hall'. He describes the king's schedule that day, giving it as the reason why the levee 'was even a more hurried business than under George the 4th.' After discussing the King's army activities he reports the rumour that 'the Naval promotion is to be out this Evening […] Adml Rodd took Beaufort & me in his Carriage – I believe the King did not speak to him – at least the Adml. Did not tell us that he had done so. I am not sure whether the King called me Captain or Sir John -'. The letter concludes with a mass of personal business, including news of a letter he has received from his brother James regarding his marriage.