Although John Barrow (1764-1849) published many articles about the exploration of the North American Arctic, he is best remembered today by scholars and enthusiasts of the Northwest Passage for two volumes, published twenty-eight years apart, that bookend the British Navy’s search for a northwest passage in his lifetime. A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions (1818)1 provided mariners of his age with a well-researched compendium of all prior e orts to discover northeast, northwest, or polar passages; Voyages of Discovery and Research within the Arctic Regions (1846)2 o ered its readers an account of the campaign that Barrow waged to discover a northwest passage a er the defeat of Napoleon, when the British Admiralty’s supply of able o cers and seamen quickly became a surplus that needed putting to use. Before this opportunity fell into his lap, Barrow had already decided that a passage must exist, and his Chronological History implicitly argued that it was Britain’s destiny to discover it. By uniting national honour, the virtue of scienti c curiosity and the magnanimity of British diplomacy, Barrow forged a triumphal rhetorical bastion for the promotion of his darling project,3 an impregnable fortress that only a full-blown catastrophe such as the disappearance of an entire expedition could e ectively show to be imperfect and dangerous. ereby, hubris displaced faith in the forty years’ e ort to discover the secret of the Arctic. Twenty-two years younger than Barrow, Sir John Franklin died on 11 June 1847, twenty-two months before the Second Secretary of the Admiralty (6 April 1849). Yet, Barrow went to his grave with the passage unsailed and the mystery of Franklin’s fate unsolved, but the illusion of his darling project intact.