RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FSJ/1/1/49
Former ReferenceD3311/8/4/11
TitleLetter from Eleanor Anne Franklin to her husband John Franklin, while he is preparing for his second arctic land expedition, including on Sir Humphry Davy not patronising the Geographical Society for religious reasons
Date13 Dec 1824
DescriptionWritten Monday. She sends another official batch of letters, but nothing else much to speak of. Mr Robinson called on Saturday evening and 'pleasantly' passed time talking of geological matters. Sir Humphrey Davy had joined fashionable voices and could not patronize the Geographical Society or similar others that 'tended to subvert the Scriptures', attacking Dr Buckland over his opinions on the Deluge : whilst wanting the familiarity of her Bible, she does not want to bring back the days in which Galileo was persecuted, and Copernicus obliged to conceal his discoveries. Captain Franklin's brother called yesterday and finished translating the Persian story. The doctor called, gave no medicine and insisted on Eleanor staying at home, and she is concerned. The Disraelis and Mrs Phillips occupied her in succession. Sends love to Mrs Booth and Mary. She hopes for letter from him tomorrow; she assumes he writes sparingly to get her used to not having any when he has gone.
Extent1 sheet
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SenderEleanor Anne Franklin
Sender LocationNo address
RecipientJohn Franklin
Recipient LocationNo address
Archive CreatorSir John Franklin (1786-1847)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexMonday, Decr 13, 1824.

My Dearest Love.
I send you another official despatch being the only thing which has occurred worth communicating; and if I again take only a half sheet of paper to address you, you must not quarrel with me. I have as you know, a reasonable knack of spinning out a letter when I have [? no] subject, but I cannot, like some ladies, fill four pages with nothing, and though I have had a succession of company ever since you went, I never knew so many days bring so little to talk of. On Saturday Evening I expected to be alone but Mr Robinson dropped in, and we had a pleasant chat, chiefly geological. He said that “ he was sorry to find Sir Humphrey Davy had adopted the fashionable cant which was now so prevalent, by declaring that he could not sanction or patronize the Geological Society, or any such society, whose pursuits tended to subvert the Scriptures. That Professor Buckland and the rest, while pretending that the whole of their statements were in accordance with Holy Writ were in fact, enemies in disguise, since the theories which they promulgated, were inconsistent with the Mosaic account. Now all this, if it be true, is too ridiculous. I never suspected Sir Humphrey to be one of the over righteous, and for him to quarrel with any of the pursuits of Science would be downright hypocrisy. I understand that some Revd. Gentleman has made an attack upon Professor Buckland on the ground that the vast deposits which he supposes to have been made by the waters of the Deluge would infer a total change in the face of the earth, and are inconsistent with the circumstance that the dove, on her [se]cond flight from the Ark brought back an olive branch – a proof not only that the waters were subsiding, but that vegetation had not been destroyed. In my opinion this is refining a little too much. It is remarkable that in the account of the Deluge there is no mention either of the destruction or renovation of the vegetable kingdom, but it is absurd to suppose that a flood which covered the whole earth, and destroyed all flesh, should have left the trees standing. I very much wish that Buckland and his brother Geologists would be content for the present to let the Deluge alone and to collect facts. I have too much respect for my Bible to like to see it dragged into every paltry controversy. Whether the account of the Creation & Fall of Man be literally true, or as many learned and devout men have supposed it, an allegorical history, analogous to the parables in the New Testament, it is that account of our origin which the Almighty has thought fit to transmit to us; in either case, the lesson to be derived from it is the same, and human speculation, when it has done its utmost, can only leave it where it is. Of natural phenomena, the Bible, it is plain, gives not a scientific but a popular account, and to attack a rising Science, because it may develope facts not therein mentioned, or appearing at first not in accordance with the received interpretation of some particular passage, is to bring back the days in which Galileo was persecuted, & Copernicus obliged to conceal his discoveries. “The world is all before us”, for our inspection, “a Book wherein mankind may read strange matters,” and if they will read only what is written, though they will read much that is not in the Bible, I do confidently believe that they will find nothing that contradicts it. It is only half knowledge which does harm.
Yesterday your Brother was here and finished translating a Persian story to me. He has brought me a number of his poetical versions of Hafiz & Ferdosi which have just popped out of one of his Chests; so that if I had time and health, I might drink deep of Eastern lore.
I do not quite understand the Doctor. He comes and looks at me almost every day, but gives me no medicine, says I am going on very well and will not let me go out. I can see he adheres to his first opinion, and I am a little doubtful myself whether my hopes were not fallacious.
I have been so much taken up, both by business and company, the Disraelis and Mrs Phillips having occupied me in succession that I cannot even finish this half sheet. My love to Mrs Booth & Mary, or whoever you are with. I shall hope for a letter tomorrow. You feed me but sparingly, I suppose to accustom me to be without food hereafter, and I am busying myself with household matters and fixing my attention on every thing I can lay hold of, to learn to do without you. I begin to wish you were off for then I might hope that every day of your absence was bringing on your return. Baby was quite discontented when she came down yesterday after dinner, and found your brother in your stead. Pretty creature!
ever your most affectionate
Eleanor Anne Franklin.
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