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Smith, Admiral Sir William Sidney (1764-1840)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 SMT
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Smith, Admiral Sir William Sidney (1764-1840)
Date(s): [1790-1840]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Smith | Sir | William Sidney | 1764-1840 | Admiral


Administrative/Biographical history:

Smith entered the Navy in 1777 and served in North America and the West Indies, where in 1780 he was promoted to lieutenant. After the American War of Independence, he travelled in France, North Africa and the Baltic as a government agent and at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he was in Smyrna. He joined Hood at Toulon and took part in its evacuation and burning. In 1794 he was employed in the North Sea and in 1796 off Le Havre, where he was captured during a cutting-out expedition. For two years he was a prisoner but escaped in 1798, when he was given command of Tigre as senior officer in the Levant. In 1799 his success at the defence of Acre halted the advance of the French army. He was elected Member of Parliament for Rochester in 1802. On the resumption of the war Smith commanded a squadron off Holland. In 1805 he was promoted to rear-admiral and went to the Mediterranean where he was active off the coast of South Italy. He took part in the expedition to the Dardanelles in 1807 and in the following year went briefly to the South American Station. In 1810 he was promoted to vice-admiral and went in 1812 to be second-in-command of the Mediterranean Station, returning in bad health in 1814. He saw no further active service and retired to Paris after 1815. He was made an admiral in 1821 Among the biographies are Sir John Barrow, 'Life and correspondence of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, G. C. B.' (London, 1848) and Edward Russell, 2nd Baron of Liverpool, 'Knight of the sword; the life and letters of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, C. C. B.' (London, 1964).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir William Sidney Smith, consisting of loose letters and notes written between 1790 and 1840 by many of the important naval figures of the day. There are notes on his experiences as a prisoner of the French, a number of letters relating to the Mediterranean, 1799 and some to his brother John Spencer Smith, who was Minister Plenipotentiary at Constantinople, 1798 to 1801. Finally there are many letters received by Smith during his retirement abroad.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

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 Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were acquired in two sections. The first is part of the Phillipps collection, purchased in 1946 by Sir James Caird, and the second was purchased at Sotheby's in 1975.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

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:

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