<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Duff, Archibald, 1777-1858

Naval commonplace book.

approximately 1806-1807.
Physical Description:
1 volume (103 pages, including blanks) ; 24 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
DA88.1.D84 N38 1806
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Archibald Duff embarked as a Midshipman in June, 1788 and served the first two years of his time on board the Champion 24, commanded by Captain Edwards. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1794, and served on board the Foudroyant under the flag of Lord Nelson. In September 1799 he received a commendation from T.M. Hardy for rescuing a drowning seaman, and the following year was also praised for saving the lives of seamen from a burning ship. In 1807, the period of many of the entries in this volume, Duff was stationed off Jamaica, and made several captures, but also grounded his ship on a reef off Havannah, saving his crew by transferring them onto a privateer and thence to safety in Jamaica. His last appointment was in 1813, to the President frigate, sent to protect the north coasts of Ireland and Scotland against American cruisers, until the termination of hostilities in 1815. In 1819 he published a treatise on "the Tube Sight, for giving greater effect to the Fire of Artillery, more particularly at Sea." See: Royal Navy Biography Supplement, Cambridge, 2010.
The paper is watermarked 1801.
Bound in contemporary parchment over boards.
Manuscript commonplace book, containing many items relating to naval matters and colonial trade with America, kept by Archibald Duff, circa 1801. The front pastedown is inscribed "Captain A. Duff, H.M. Ship President, 1814" and bears his later armorial book-plate (Admiral Duff, 1858). The volume has entries written in from each end, with an index to each half on the inner boards (the first is an 'Index Nautical') The volume contains Duff's personal observations from his time as a Captain stationed off Jamaica, as well as official and "secret" naval transcripts, and other miscellaneous writings.
Entries include: Directions for Examining Ships at Sea by Sir Wm. Scott [Judge of the High Court of Admiralty] -- Flints, as to Naval Vessels -- Instructions respecting Neutral Property, J. Nichols, Dec. 1806 -- With Respect to the Colonial Trade with the Americans -- "Secret" transcripts dated Jamaica, 4th August, 1806, relating to the capture of a Spanish Packet boat the Santa Cecilia -- Intelligence of Trade to Buenos Ayres, a copy letter to Mr Sheddan, from G.W. -- Extract of a letter dated St Lucia, 2nd May, 1807 -- Intelligence respecting Smugglers -- Transcript of a Special Meeting of the Committee of American Merchants... that American vessels cannot sail in any instance direct from the ports of the United States to any port of the enemy of Europe. 21st November, 1807 -- Memorandum for Examining Neutrals at Sea -- Hints for Cruizers off the Havannah Shoals on the Coast of America -- Currents in the Ocean.
The second half of the volume opens with a 28-page account of the "Adventures of Captain Keith" in August 1795. This is a copy of the version that was published in The Mariner's Chronicle; or interesting Narratives of Shipwrecks. Other material includes: prognostics from the barometer; a varnish for leather; and slight notes on health and weather.
Subject Terms:
Duff, Archibald, 1777-1858.
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- Officers.
Great Britain. Royal Navy.
Jamaica -- Description and travel.
Ocean currents.
Seafaring life.
Sugar trade -- Jamaica.
Commonplace books -- 1806-1807.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.