The Durham Papers: Selections from the Papers of Admiral Sir Philip Charles Henderson Calderwood Durham G.C.B. (1763-1845), 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Durham Papers

Selections from the Papers of Admiral Sir Philip Charles Henderson Calderwood Durham G.C.B. (1763-1845), 1st Edition

Edited by Hilary L Rubinstein

Routledge

432 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-05-31
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Description

Admiral Sir Philip Durham (1763-1845) was one of the most distinguished and colourful officers of the late Georgian Navy. His lucky and sometimes controversial career included surviving the sinking of HMS Royal George in 1782, making the first conquest of the tricolour flag in 1793 and the last in 1815, and having two enemy ships surrender to him at Trafalgar.

A Scot distantly related to Lord Barham, Durham entered the Navy in 1777, serving initially on the American and West Indies stations. He was Kempenfelt's signal officer on HMS Victory during the second battle of Ushant in 1781 and on the Royal George. Making his reputation initially as the daring young master and commander of HMS Spitfire early in the French Revolutionary War, he became a crack frigate captain with a fortune in prize money, and commanded HMS Defiance at Trafalgar, where he was wounded. He ended his war service as Commander-in-Chief, Leeward Islands. En voyage he artfully captured two brand-new French frigates which were subsequently taken into the service of Britain, and during his tenure he won the heartfelt gratitude of local merchants by ridding the surrounding seas of American privateers preying on British trading vessels. True to form, he clashed with the judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court on Antigua and with the general with whom he led a combined naval and military assault on Martinique and Guadeloupe following Napoleon's escape from Elba. He later served as commander-in-chief, Portsmouth having resigned his parliamentary seat to do so.

Married first to the sister of the Earl of Elgin of 'Marbles' fame, and secondly to a cousin of 'sea wolf' Lord Cochrane, he was well-known to George III, who as a result of Durham's amusing yet improbable anecdotes, dubbed any tall tale he heard 'a Durham'. This collection of his papers consists mainly of letters and despatches relating to his service in the Channel Fleet, the Mediterranean, and the Leeward Islands. Correspondence with his parents during 1789-90 reflects his anxieties relating to employment and prospects for promotion when he was a young lieutenant with an illegitimate child to support. The collection, featuring items from and to him, comprises a fascinating and informative set of documents.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I: From Acting Lieutenant to Master and Commander, 1781-90

Part II: Sloop Commander, 1793

Part III: Frigate Captain, 1793-1802

Part IV: Ship-of-the-Line Captain, 1803-10

Part V: Flag-Officer, 1810-13

Part VI: Commander-in-Chief, Leeward Islands, 1813-16

Part VII: Lowland Laird, and Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, 1836-39

Part VIII: Epilogue

Sources and Documents

Index

About the Editor

Hilary L. Rubinstein is a Former Research Fellow in History at the University of Melbourne.

About the Series

Navy Records Society Publications

The Navy Records Society was established in 1893 to print unpublished manuscripts and rare works of interest to naval historians and enthusiasts. To date it has published nearly 150 scholarly volumes, each edited and introduced by a leading authority in the appropriate field. The volumes form a unique and invaluable resource for serving officers, scholars and all those interested in the Naval History of Great Britain and the development of naval power in the Modern World.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS027150
HISTORY / Military / Naval
HIS037000
HISTORY / World
HIS051000
HISTORY / Expeditions & Discoveries