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Journals and Diaries

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 JOD
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Journals and Diaries
Date(s): [1659-1794]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 15 1/2ft: 472cm
Name of creator(s): Various


Administrative/Biographical history:



Scope and content/abstract:

This class consists of 152 volumes of personal records, both naval and mercantile. It does not include logs, which are primarily a record in tabular form of weather, navigation and shiphandling. The term 'diary' has been used to describe day-to-day entries which form a continuous personal record. The word 'journal' is more applicable as an individual's description of wider events, particularly those of the nineteenth century, are illustrated with sketches of scenes and coastlines. Of the six seventeenth-century volumes, the earliest is by Sir John Pennington ([1568]-1646), commanding a squadron 'for the gard of the Narrow Seas', 1632 to 1636. There is also the journal of Edward Barlow (b 1642), kept btween 1659 and 1703, published in abbreviated form, Basil Lubbock, ed., Barlow's Journal (London, 1934, 2 vols); the journal of the Reverend Henry Teonge ([1621]-1690), kept on two voyages to the Mediterranean, 1675 to 1679, published in full, G E Manwaring, ed., The Diary of Henry Teonge (London, 1927); the journal of Sir John Narbrough (1640-1688), kept during 1672 and including an account of the battle of Solebay and also the dimensions of his ship, the PRINCE. Seventeenth-century trade is represented by a journal kept on board the STREIGHTS MERCHANT, 1684 to 1686, on a voyage to the Persian Gulf. The earliest of the eigteen eighteenth-century journals is a copy of that of Admiral Sir Geirge Rooke (1650-1709), kept while in command of the English and Dutch fleets, 1700 to 1704, during the period of the battles of Vigo Bay, 1702 and Malaga, 1704. (See O Browning, ed., Journal of Sir George Rooke (Navy Records Society, 1897).) A journal of the same period is that of Vice-Admiral John Baker (1660-1716) kept in the Mediterranean from 1709 to 1711. Later eighteenth-century volumes include a detailed journal of the second siege of Quebec, 1775, by an anonymous author; 'A journal of the war in America' by Admiral Sir George Collier (1738-1795), a personal account in Collier's own hand of the operations off New England and Nova Scotia in 1776, and an illustrated lowerdeck journal by Daniel Woodhouse (fl. 1780-1812), kept on board the AMERICA, 1781 to 1783, including an account of the battle of the Chesapeake. An unusual item is a book of menus for 1781 compiled by John Guliver, steward to Admiral Robert Digby (1732-1815) on the PRINCE GEORGE. The eighteenth-century voyages of circumnavigation are represented by an account of Anson's voyage, 1740 to 1744, by Laurence Millechamp. (This is reproduced in full in Glyndwr Williams, ed., Documents relating to Anson's voyage round the World (Navy Records Society, 1967).) There is also a contemporary copy of the journal of Captain (later Vice-Admmiral) John Byron (1723-1786) kept during his voyage of circumnavigation in the DOLPHIN, 1764 to 1766. (This has been published in full in Robert E Gallagher, ed., Byron's Journal of his circumnavigation, 1764-1766 (Hakluyt Society, 1946).) The first voyage of Captain James Cook (1728-1779) in the ENDEAVOUR, 1768-71, is covered by an unsigned copy of his own journal written in a variety of hands. His second voyage, in the RESOLUTION, 1772-5, is covered by two journals; the first is a copy signed and amended by Cook and the other is a narrative for the years 1772-3 by Richard Pickersgill (1749-1779), the Third Lieutenant. Although this was written retrospectively it includes many details not mentioned by Cook. (These volumes were used by J C Beaglehole, ed., The voyage of the Endeavour, 1768-1771 (Hakluyt Society, 1955) and The voyage of the Resolution and the Adventure, 1772-1775 (Hakluyt Society, 1961), although the main text was taken from the journals in Cook's own hand in the National Library of Australia and in the British Library.) Among the sixteen items for the Revoluntionary and Napoleonic Wars are notes and sketches made in the PEGASUS at the Glorious First of June, 1794, by the marine artist, Nicholas Pocock ([1741]-1821), bound.

Access & Use

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Please contact the Archive for further information.

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Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

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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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