Skip to Search

A Guide to the John Thomas Duckworth Papers

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
September 2010

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Duckworth, John Thomas, Sir
Title: John Thomas Duckworth Papers
Dates: 1801-1807
Abstract: Letters to and from Sir John Thomas Duckworth to family and his naval associates and superiors regarding his naval engagements in the Caribbean.
Extent: 0.4 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: MS Group 18
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rear-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, K.B. (1748-1817) first arrived in the Leeward Islands region of the Caribbean in June of 1800, serving as Commander-in-Chief of the British naval forces deployed there. During March and April of 1801 he orchestrated the defeat of the Swedish and Danish forces stationed on St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew Islands. As reward for this he was knighted into the Order of the Bath on June 6, 1801, after which he returned to England.

With the renewal of conflict with France, Duckworth returned to the Caribbean as Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in Jamaica and the Bahamas. Shortly after his arrival he defeated the French naval squadron under Admiral Rocheambeau off the coast of Santo Domingo. A promotion to Vice-Admiral in April of 1804 followed, after which he returned again to England to face courts-martial charges that where later dropped.

1806 found Duckworth once again back in the Caribbean and facing his old adversary the French. The highlight of his career was his defeat of the French Admiral Leissegues, which dealt a terrible blow to French aspirations in the region and played a major part in their eventual withdrawal from the Caribbean. On his return to England he was granted a pension and his naval feats acknowledged with a wealth of honors, including the Sword of Honor of the City of London.

In 1810 Duckworth was promoted to full Admiral and sent to Canada as Commander-in-Chief of the British naval forces in the Newfoundland and adjacent regions.

Scope and Content

Consists of letters to and from Sir John Duckworth to family and his naval associates and superiors regarding his naval engagements in the Caribbean, the outcomes (casualties, disposition of captured vessels, logistics), his courts-martial and some insights on the colonial administration of British Jamaica. There are 28 sets of manuscript letters, with the dates ranging from March of 1801 to July of 1807. Each of the letters are numbered D-1 to D-28, but the letters are listed in chronological order. Numbers D-5 through D-10 were copied in the same folio leaves.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in the Duckworth collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Thomas Duckworth Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Contents List

1 D-4. Duckworth, Ann. ALS to Sir John T. Duckworth (her father). Baker?, England. 4 p. 23 cm. Misses father. Lord and Lady Cremones, Capt. And Mrs. Otwas, Capt. Mallory have all been very kind. Spending summer with Admiral Calmady and family. Her brother has been ill. 1801 March 31
1 D-11. Athill, Richard HLS to Jacob Mildenstein. St. Johns, Antigua. 2p. 23cm. Transient order from Admiral Duckworth that expenses as prisoner of war will be paid to them (crew of the ship, Vrena) until now by the Commissary of Prisoners of War, but not in the future. If they repair the ship in Martinique they will receive such rations as are allowed to prisoners of war. Includes list of expenses. 1801 July 17
1 D-3. Waterhouse, B. ALS to Sir John T. Duckworth. Kingston, Jamaica. 3p. Enclosure. 25 cm. The sale of snuff delayed as ship was captured off Cuban coast. Money from Charlotte Prize on board LORGAN with Mr. Lyther. Mr. Bahes Tomb discussed. He is grateful for Duckworth's favors. 1801 July 24
1 D-12. Athill, Richard O. ALS to Sir John T. Duckworth. St. Johns, Antigua. 4p. 31 cm. Regarding provisions for captured Danish ship, VRENA; also, question of what to do with the ship. He has delivered the letter to Capt. Taylor of the MAGNANIME. Thanks Duckworth for attentions to him, especially during visit to Martinique. P/S Aug. 1. He is forwarding letter just in from Lancaster. Congratulates Duckworth on the honors conferred to him. Conveys various rumors on the war. 1801 July 27
1 D-1. Hephens, Charles. ADS Appointment, London. 1p. 28 x 33 cm. Appointment of Duckworth as Commander-In-Chief of vessels at and about Jamaica and Bahamas Islands. 1801 Nov. 17
1 D-14. AL (copy) to H.W. Bayntun. On board the Cumberland. 3p. 32 x 19.5 cm. Deals with their encounter with a French Frigate and the damage which resulted. The Hercules couldn't prevent the retreat of the frigate; but that was blamed on the favorable winds that the French met with. 1803 June 28
1 D-15. Baytun, H.W. AL (copy) to John Duckworth. On board the Cumberland between Jean Ravel and Cape Nicola. 3p. 32 x 19.5 cm. Account of the encounter with the French Frigate, Creole, of 44 guns with a crew of 150 commanded by Le Bastard bound for Port au Prince. It seems they didn't know of hostilities having commanded another small schooner from Cuba bound to Port au prince which was taken too. 1803 June 30
1 D-16. Duncan, H. ALS to Sir John Duckworth, Navy Office (London?). 3p. 32 x 20 cm. About the amount to be paid for the French National Corvette Mignone. 1803 Dec. 13
1 D-6. Martins Stones and Foote (?) AL (copy) to William Baber(?) London. Reference to the account sent in the previous letter. Cottrell the father comforted by the letter received from Frederick written since the Court Martial. 1804 Jan. 6
1 D-7. King, R. AL (copy) to William Baker, Stoke, England. Thanking him for all the trouble he has taken for her. 1804 Jan. 15
1 D-8. King, A.S. AL (copy) to William Baker (N.P.) Thanks him for the amount of her bills and shows surprise to Mme Rochas' great amount. 1804 Jan. (?) 15
1 D-5. Martins Stones a Foote AL (copy) to William Baker, London. Enclosing the current amount between Sir Duckworth and this firm and promising to follow the direction for the investment of the Navy Bill. 1804 Jan. 16
1 D-10. Unsigned AL (copy) to --- (N.P.) Investment for the purchase of La Mignone. Payment to his daughter (Mrs. King) and Mme Rochas. Reasons of Wickham resigning as Secretary of State for Island difficulty to dispose of Marsden. General Gambier thinks it is difficult to set Marsden aside. 1804 Jan. 19
1 D-9. Baker, William AL (copy) to A.S. King, Bayford Bay, England. He encloses a draft of her father's bankers and he will send a copy o the schedule of the bills. 1804 Jan. 19
1 D-17. Ross, Charles B. ALS to Sir John Duckworth on board the ship La Pique off Jacmel. 1p. 25 x 20.5 cm. Communicating the capture of the French cutter, "La Serveum", of ten guns and 75 men. 1804 March 18
1 D-18. Murray, John (?) ALS to Sir John Duckworth, Franchisse, Navasa. 1p. 31 com. Communicating the capture of the American schooners, the Vulture of Baltimore and the Polly of Barnstable, and the exchange of prisoners. A third French revel was captured, La Pauline, from the city of St. Domingo. 1804 April 20
1 D-19. Marsden, William ALS to Sir John Duckworth, Admiralty Office, London (?). 2p. 32 x 20 cm. He has received and communicated to the Admiralty the contents of five letters from Sir Duckworth stating the capture of three French privateers; the appointment of Lt. W. Woodrey to command the Papillon, the sending of the Mermaid to join Sir Andrew Mitchell, informing the arrival of the Princess Charlotte. 1805 Jan. 19
1 D-21. Palmer, W. AL (copy) to Sir John Th. Duckworth, Navy Office, 4p. 32 x 19.5 cm. Discussing the difference between the amount in which they evaluate the hulls and stars of the vessels, Vertu, Clorinde, Surveillant, and Cerf, and the amount drawn for payment. 1805 Feb. 1
1 D-26. Duckworth, John Thomas AL (copy) to Captain J.A. Wood; Shark Post Royal, Jamaica. 3p. 31 x 20 cm. About reasons for Captain Wood's removal from the ship, Acasta. 1805 Feb. 7
1 D-28. Duckworth, John Thomas AL (copy) to Captain J.A. Wood, Port Royal, Jamaica. 2p. 31 x 20 cm. Disapproving Captain wood for having alleged ill health when confronted with the transfer from the ship, Acasta, to the Hercules. 1805 Feb. 17
1 D-27. Duckworth, John Thomas AL (copy) to Captain J.A. Wood, Port Royal, Jamaica. 2p. 31 x 20 cm. Justification for the appointment of Captain Wood to the Hercules. 1805 Feb. 19
1 D-22. Duckworth, John Thomas AL (copy) t the Admiralty on the Superb, Causand Bay. 1p. 32 x 20 cm. Unable to have the Commissioner of the sick and Wounded to examine the amount approved by him in Jamaica and for that reason unable to put it into effect. 1805 Nov. 1
1 D-23. Duckworth, John Thomas LS to Capt. Carpenter; Stoke, England. 4p. 32 x 19 cm. Pointing carefully all the redecorating and repairs that should be done to his new purchase of Vcar(?). 1805 Oct. 28
1 D-20. Shedden, Robert LS (duplicate) to Sir John t. Duckworth, London. 3p. 25 x 19.5 cm. Communicating the favorable vote of the Committee for managing the Patriotic Funds, for the amounts to be paid to the families of the soldiers that fell in the action on February 6 and to the soldiers themselves that have been wounded. Ask for co-operation to send all names and kind of injuries. 1806 April 2
1 D-2. Duncan, H. ALS to Sir John Thomas Duckworth, London. 1p. 32 cm. In response to Duckworth's request, orders are given for the fitting of the shop royal George. 1806 June 23
1 D-24. Duckworth, John Thomas ALS to Mr. Spencer (?) Stoke, England. 20p. 22.5 x 19 cm. Dealing with the price of some fields offered to him around Sir Hamilton's farm. 1806 Sept. 6
1 D-25. Duckworth, John Thomas ALS to (Spencer) Stoke, England. 2p. 24.5 x 20 cm. About business matters and complaints about having to pay same amount of money without justification. 1807 July 23
1 D-13. Athill, Charles N. (?) ALS to Sir John T. Duckworth; N.B. 3p. 24cm. Hopes Duckworth's health won't suffer from change of climate he's about to make. Thanks him for his help to Frederick. He wishes Frederick to remain under Duckworth's protection and if he returns to England during the war, he'd want Frederick under Duckworth's command again. Their most estimable friend visited him and seemed quite all right. Athill is in bed with rheumatism; wife ill also. Both look forward to warm weather for relief. Not dated

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page