16 OCTOBER 1953, Page 16

tgbe Spettator OCTOBER 15th, 1853 THE latest intelligence from the

Arctic regions may be considered to have closed the question of Sir John Franklin's fate. It is possible that individual devotion might still find suffi- cient motive to continue the search; it is possible that a more prompt exploration might have discovered the party, or some remaining traces; but their continued existence must now be regarded as a matter of imagination too improbable for any renewed public endeavour. The completion of the North-West Passage also has terminated another motive to these Arctic expeditions; and if any similar enter- prises are to be undertaken in future, it must be upon a more limited scale and for new objects.

It is possible that such objects may be found sufficient to continue future inquiries even at the expense of the trouble and danger involved in the inquiry; for science frequently exacts such sacrifices, and the chemist in his laboratory runs dangers as critical as those which have overtaken Bellot or even Franklin. But the chief object of searching for Franklin has now been fully answered. The objects were, to find him if possible, or to find traces of him if possible: but even that modified success has not been vouchsafed in return for the courage and devotion given to the work. The one object which we could secure was to make certain that nb practicable effort had been neglected; and, latterly, that object also has been thoroughly served. There is no probability that additional sacrifices would attain any results.