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Cannibalism in the Arctic

Dr. John Rae was sent to look for the lost Franklin Expedition and, upon returning to England, part of his report read: "From the mutilated state of many of the corpses and the contents of the kettles, it is evident that our wretched countrymen had been driven to the last resource - cannibalism - as a means of prolonging existence."

This news shocked the British public. Everyone knew that Englishmen never ate one another, and if they did, it wasn't proper to talk about it!

Charles Dickens disputed that conclusion in a newspaper article, stating that it was improbable that British officers and men would resort to such "horrible means" to prevent starvation.

Lady Jane Franklin, Sir John's widow, also treated Rae's report with scorn, and, in addition to the many search expeditions that were underway, set about organizing a private expedition to find her husband.

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Arctic Library: Franklin Expedition
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