Newly catalogued manuscript collections


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Over the summer the manuscripts team have been busy cataloguing a range of items which are now available to order through the Archive Catalogue . The material includes: additional watercolours and sketches  in the Dr Cree collection (reference CRJ/37-41); an account of a hurricane experienced by Captain Charles Dudley Parker of HMS THISBE, in 1798 (HSR/Z/34); a diary written by Commander Gabriel Johnston whilst acting as agent for transports during the Crimean War (JOD/254);  a pilot's flying log book kept during the First World War by Flight Sub-Lieutenant Douglas Capper of the Royal Naval Air Service (LOG/N/40); and four documents regarding the Manila campaign of 1762 (BRE). We have also catalogued a number fascinating letters, including: an autograph letter from James Cook aboard HMS ENDEAVOUR, to the Commissioners of the Navy in 1771 (AGC/C/19); correspondence of sailors aboard HMS VICTORY and TEMERAIRE around the time of the Battle of Trafalgar (AGC/H/29 and AGC/K/3); four letters relating to the Nore Mutiny of 1797, including a letter from Richard Parker, leader of the mutineers (HSR/Z/33); and a letter from the Spanish astronomer and mathematician Josef de Mendoza y Rios (AGC/M/19). A number of number of seventeenth century treasures have also been worked on, including a letter by Cloudesley Shovell (AGC/S/25) and two documents relating to the visit of the astronomer Edmond Halley to Saint Helena in 1677 (HSR/Z/35). My personal highlight was working on the letterbook and papers of the eighteenth century privateer Commander George Walker (WLK). Walker commanded squadron of privateers – the KING GEORGE, the PRINCE FREDERICK, DUKE and PRINCESS AMELIA, collectively known as the Royal Family – which was commissioned to attack French and Spanish cargo ships in the Atlantic. The Royal Family undertook two eight month cruises, from April 1746 - March 1747 and Jul 1747 - April 1748, capturing £400,000 worth of prizes, including the 70 gun Spanish GLORIOSO (an engagement painted by Charles Brooking, now in the Museum’s art collections). Walker and his crews struggled to reclaim their expenses and share of the prizes from the Royal Family’s owners, and some of the sailors filed a bill in Chancery against the owners in 1749. In the same year Walker applied to the owners for an advance from the sums owed to him, in order to finance his fishery concerns, and signed a bond assigning his share of the interest on the prize money and money he had advanced to the officers and crew to the owners as a surety. Walker was imprisoned in 1756 for a debt linked to this loan at the suit of two of the owner, William Belchier and Israel Jalabert, and was declared bankrupt in 1757, although he remained in prison until 1761 as the owners were able to prevent him obtaining a certificate of bankruptcy: this led to an enquiry in the House of Commons in 1759. Walker died in 1777. The Royal Family's crews and the heirs were still trying to reclaim their share of the Royal Family's prizes into the early nineteenth century until the matter was dropped on technical grounds in 1810. These items really highlight the breadth of the Caird’s collections –from astronomy in the 1670s to the Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War. All of the items can be ordered through the archive catalogue at Archive catalogue to view in the Caird Library. Katy (Archivist)