These are cans of the same era as the 1845 Franklin Expedition's food provisions -- they clearly show the lead solder that scientists believe spelled the ill-fated expedition's doom. One of the best shows of all-time, Nova, has an excellent series on Arctic explorations, especially focusing on the Franklin (doomed) and Amundsen (successful) treks.
One of the most enduringly fascinating aspects of the tragic Franklin expedition, aside from the three extremely well-preserved mummies found on Beechy Island, is the incredible amount of food that Franklin's two ships, the chillingly-named Erebus and Terror, carried. Until I really looked at the manifests, I had no idea what an extraordinary amount of food, and other junk, the two ships carried. According to Nova, the plan was to provision the ships and 129 crew members for three years, or a total of 1,095 days. Since cut-and-paste won't work, Professor Casil's math must suffice. Also, reviewing those two different manifests? (links above) - they are rather different - notably, one says that the Terror was provisioned with 6,859 pounds of sugar, while the other says it started off with a mind-boggling 11,648 pounds. All together, the Nova manifest says that both ships had over 23,000 pounds of sugar. So, let's see - do you trust Nova, or Professor Casil? Hmn! Well, the little pop up window at the Nova web page says that each crew member was allotted 2 and a half POUNDS of sugar a day. Now, even given the horrific worldwide opinion of British dentition, which is not wholly-unjustifiable, and the stunning UK sweet-tooth, I found this a, how shall we say, rather large amount of sugar, especially in comparison to the penurious amounts of food that the provisions amount to, no matter how large the original amount might seem. There are, supposedly, 3,870 calories in 40 ounces, or 2 1/2 pounds of sugar.
OK, OK, enough of that (makes me think that sugar, no matter how bad it is for you - is not THAT bad, is it? I mean 16 calories per teaspoon - big deal). Anyway, back to the ill-fated Franklin crew. Dividing this massive whopping load of sugar up by 1095 days and 129 men, one gets . . . ONE ounce a day - not 2 1/2 pounds. To give these guys 2 1/2 pounds of sugar a day would add up to - 353,158 pounds of sugar. Dang. As to the beef, pork and tinned meat (which probably did them in), that added up to a big old FOUR ounces a day. As dieters know, this can sustain life - but not guys on Arctic expeditions. Then there was the lemon juice, of which they were to down a "dram" a day. A fluid dram is equal to 1/8 fluid ounce. I'm going to say - a small teaspoon? The 9,300 pounds of lemon juice does not even allot 1/8 of an ounce per sailor per day. They had basically 1 pound of pemmican a day for all 129 guys (a form of preserved meat and not "what the Indians ate" - more like, what probably drove Sweeney Todd to his trade). They did have enough flour for a little less than a pound of flour per day, per sailor (thus making "biscuits," I believe - which were also included, in modest amounts). In addition to the lemon juice, the crew were also counting on "pickles" to help with scurvy. However -- their 560 gallons of pickles: a) weren't helpful with scurvy as they contained no Vitamin C; and b) also allowed each sailor a quarter ounce of pickle a day. Yum yum.
Yet, as to the "concentrated spirits" (one must hope - Irish or Scotch whiskey), there was indeed a somewhat adequate supply, depending upon one's point of view. Each man aboard each of the doomed ships could have taken a nice near-double shot a day - 1.66 ounces -
But things did not go as planned, and I should like to explain to Mr. Dickens, who objected to reports that Franklin's crew, in their extremity in the far north, lacking any type of food, shelter, and even adequate clothing - did resort to cannibalism - yes, it is true, many people would rather starve than eat somebody else. But for certain: they never had enough food in the first place, and in their Victorian mentality, lacked the ability to conceive that they ought to emulate the Inuit and eat what they did and dress as they did, and at least have some hope of survival.