Graphical version

National Maritime Museum

Howe, Richard, Admiral Of The Fleet, 1st Earl Howe, (1726-1799)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 HOW

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Howe, Richard, Admiral Of The Fleet, 1st Earl Howe, (1726-1799)

Date(s): [1772-1799]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 1 box, 1 vol

Name of creator(s): Howe | Richard | 1726-1799 | 1st Earl Howe | Admiral Of The Fleet


Administrative/Biographical history:

Howe entered the Navy in 1740, was made a lieutenant in 1744 and a captain in 1746. After service on the Guinea coast, the West Indies, the Mediterranean and on the North American Station, he served in the Channel during the Seven Years War. He was elected Member of Parliament for Dartmouth in 1757, and succeeded his brother to the Irish peerage in the following year. He held his parliamentary seat until raised to the British peerage in 1782. In 1763 he was a Lord of the Admiralty and from 1765 to 1770 was Treasurer of the Navy. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1770 and to vice-admiral in 1775. He was then appointed Commander-in-Chief, North America, but came home in 1778 and did not serve again until 1782. Howe became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1783, which position, apart from the period between April and December 1783, he held until 1788. He was created Earl Howe in this year. In 1790 he took command of the Channel Fleet during the Nootka Sound mobilization as he did later at the outbreak of war in 1793. During this time Howe continued reforms in signalling. In 1794 he commanded the fleet which brought the French to action at the battle of the First of June. He finally gave up the command after a long period of ill-health, in 1797. See George Mason, The life of Richard Earl Howe (London, 1803) and Sir John Harrow, The life of Richard Earl Howe E.G. Admiral of the Fleet and General of Marines (London, 1838).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Adml Richard Howe, including signal books, undated, a notebook on signals, letters from George III, 1785 to 1794, Admiral John Blankett (d 1801), 1786, and family letters of the 1790s. There is also an annotated copy of the Naval Instructions of 1772.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were purchased at Christie's in 1958 and come from the Marquess of Sligo's papers, inherited through Howe's daughter.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Naval affairs | Military affairs | Military science | Social sciences

Personal names
Blankett | John | d 1801 | Admiral
George III | 1738-1820 | King of Great Britain and Ireland
Howe | Richard | 1726-1799 | Earl Howe | Admiral of the Fleet

Corporate names
Royal Navy