Papers and Correspondence of Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth

ebook Part I: The French Revolutionary War, 1793 – 1802 · Navy Records Society Publications

By John D. Grainger

cover image of Papers and Correspondence of Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth

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Sir John Duckworth commanded ships and squadrons and fleets throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. He was an assiduous correspondent, writing to Admirals St Vincent, Nelson, Collingwood, and numerous other naval officers. He kept every piece of paper he wrote on or received.

He was in the first expedition to the West Indies when he went on a mission to the United States to suppress a French privateer. He commanded a ship in First of June fight in 1794, and was peripherally involved in the great naval mutinies of 1797. He was picked out by Lord St Vincent to command the recovery of Minorca in 1798.

He returned to the West Indies in 1799 where he was commander-in-chief in the Leeward Islands, and then at Jamaica. There he was much involved in the Revolutionary war in Haiti, eventually receiving several thousands of French refugees and sending them on to France.

A spell with the Channel fleet was succeeded by time at the blockade of Gibraltar. Against orders, he chased a French squadron across the Atlantic and destroyed it (Battle of San Domingo 1796). One of his more curious adventures was a diplomatic mission to the Constantinople to browbeat the Ottoman Sultan into making peace with Russia in 1807. He failed, of course, and was criticised for not bombarding the city. He served out his time afloat with the Channel fleet, displaying his usual humanity. A three-year appointment as governor of Newfoundland completed his career.

Papers and Correspondence of Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth