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Sir Francis Beaufort Papers: Finding Aid
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Sir Francis Beaufort Papers. 1710-1953

Biographical Note of Sir Francis Beaufort

Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857) was the son of Daniel Augustus Beaufort (1739-1821), rector of Collon, Co. Louth, Ireland, and a geographer, and Mary Waller Beaufort. His grandfather, Daniel Cornelius de Beaufort, had been a Huguenot refugee from France who established a ministry in London, and his family's consciousness of its religious heritage was very strong.
He was first sent to sea in 1789 on the Vansittart, commanded by Lestock Wilson, to whose family he became very close, and whose daughter, Alicia Magdalena, became his first wife in 1813. Subsequently, he entered the British navy, and from 1790-1800 served successively on the Latona, the Aquilon, and the Phaeton; the latter's commander (Sir) Robert Stopford became a close professional acquaintance. During these years his closest confidant was his older brother, William Lewis Beaufort, who took orders and served under Thomas St. Lawrence, Dean of Cork (marrying the Dean's daughter in 1805).
Active in the sea war against France, in particular Cornwallis's retreat (1795), Beaufort became Lieutenant in 1796, and, following a near-fatal wounding in a battle with the Spanish, November, 1800, he was promoted Commander. He was not given a command, however, and, invalided home, he lived with his family. He became close to Richard Lovell Edge-worth, inventor and landowner, father of the novelist Maria Edgeworth, and husband (after 1798) of Francis's sister, Frances (Fanny). Beaufort and Edgeworth worked on projects including the Dublin-Galway semaphore telegraph (1803-04), until 1805, when he was named commander of the storeship H.M.S. Woolwich. Only in 1809, after much frustrations over his eventless command (although in 1807 he did his first major hydrographical work, surveying the Rio de la Plata), did he get an active command, that of the H.M.S. Blossom. Soon after his return on the Blossom from a mission to Quebec, in 1810, Beaufort was given post rank, and assigned command of the frigate, H.M.S. Frederiksteen. From his base on Malta, during 1810-1812 Beaufort conducted surveys geographical and hydrographical of the eastern Mediterranean, particularly Karamania (the south Turkish coast). He was again grievously wounded in June, 1812, and returned home, marrying Alicia, living quietly, and writing his widely acclaimed book Karamania, or a Brief Description of the South Coast of Asia Minor... (1817), based on his survey. His researches and book earned him membership in the Royal Society, in which he was active throughout his life, and access to the scientific circles of England, which included such luminaries as Sir Humphry Davy. He was much involved in plans for the establishment of mining and other industries in Ireland, and with his father's revisions of his map of Ireland and financial troubles, until Daniel's death in 1821.
In 1829, after years of petitioning for reactivation in the Navy, Beaufort was named Hydrographer to the Navy. Until his retirement in 1854, this position was his constant concern. He expanded its staff and physical facilities, established surveys over the entire globe, and served on many naval commissions. Deeply affected by his wife's tragic death in 1834, he found support in closeness to his children: Daniel Augustus, Francis Lestock, William Morris, Emily Anne Sophia, and Rosalind Elizabeth. In 1839 he remarried, his new wife being Honora, daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. In 1846 he was named Rear Admiral (ret.), and knighted in 1848. His retirement was accompanied by unfortunate and painful quarrels over the amount of his annuity.
Sir Francis had spent his early married life at Lestock Wilson's house at Epping, Surrey. As hydrographer, he lived on Manchester St., London; he passed his last days at Brighton. At his death on December 17, 1857, he was survived by all six of his children.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of British admiral and hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort and members of the Beaufort and Edgeworth families dating from 1710-1953 (bulk 1780-1890) and consisting of diaries, journals, account books and correspondence. Subject matter includes the Beaufort and Edgeworth families; British naval history of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in particular the period of the Napoleonic Wars; geography and hydrography, particularly of the Eastern Mediterranean; Irish affair of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly related to economic and commercial issues; and the Royal Society and scientific affairs in England in the early 19th century.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of the papers of Sir Francis and includes journals of his naval service (1791-1812); journals, notes, and working papers for his survey of Karamania (or Caramania), along the southern coast of Turkey (1813-1817); his professional diaries as hydrographer to the British Navy (1840-1857); and 854 letters by Sir Francis.
Notable topics included in the correspondence of Sir Francis includes a letter-journal of his first sea-voyage, to Indonesia (1789, July 24); a description of the Battle of San Joseph, in which he was critically wounded (1800, Oct. 28); letters to Richard Lovell Edgeworth detailing the construction of the Dublin-Galway telegraph (1803) and later discussing various projects for navigation mensuration (1808, May 5); commentary at length on the death of Lord Nelson (1805, Nov. 9); a voyage to Cape of Good Hope (1806, May 16-22); Malta (1808, Oct. 21); Quebec and French Canada (1809, Oct.-Nov.); and an explanation of a naval cause celebre in which he opposed the Admiralty by asserting that an escaped slave that had served 2 years on his ship was by definition enfranchised (1814, Feb. 3); a visit with Sir Walter Scott (1821, Apr. 23); the intellectual community in Paris (Laplace, Cuvier, etc.) (1825, Nov. 4); an eyewitness description of the Coronation of William IV (1831, Sep. 9); Sir Francis's knighthood ceremony (1848, May 7); and attempts to locate Sir John Franklin by balloon (1850, Jan. 9).
Notable correspondence about science written to Beaufort includes:
  • Brinkley, John. Letters describing astronomical research 1824-1829.
  • Dalrymple, Alexander. Series of letters concerning activities of the Hydrographical office, etc. 1805-1808.
  • Franklin, Sir John. Two letters from northern Canada describing his explorations. 1825, Apr. 21; 1826, Feb. 6
  • Hall, Basil. Series of letters to Sir Francis Beaufort describing efforts to salvage the Royal George using a diving bell. 1839, Sep.-Oct.
  • Herschel, Sir John Frederick William. Letter discussing his career, his election as president of the Royal Society, and issues facing the Society. 1830, Nov. 26.
  • Parry, Sir William. Letter from Davis Strait describing problems of mensuration in polar regions. 1824, July 1.
  • Ussher, Henry. Letter discussing astronomical research. 1789, Nov. 6.
In addition to the papers of Sir Francis, the collection also includes the papers of other members of the Beaufort family including thirty-seven letters and four diaries of Sir Francis's father, Daniel Augustus Beaufort; seventeen letters and a journal of family history by Sir Francis's first wife, Alicia Magdalena Wilson Beaufort (d. 1834); a volume of original botanical watercolor paintings by Frances Anne Beaufort Edgeworth (1769-1865); and correspondence with and about writer Maria Edgeworth, including a series of letters from her to Sir Francis discussing literary maters and the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, dating from 1814-1827. There are also two letters by Sir Francis describing in detail the critical response to Maria Edgeworth's Patronage (1814, Feb. 3), and a letter discussing details of the publication of Edgeworth's novel Ormond (1817, June 12). Additional family correspondents include: William Lewis Beaufort (21 letters); Frances Anne Beaufort Edgeworth (3 letters); and Richard Lovell Edgeworth (7 letters). The oldest item in the collection is a grant of nobility to Francis de Beaufort (Sir Francis's ancestor) from Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I Hapsburg, dated March 4, 1710.
Some interesting or important items include:
  • Allott, Anna Maria. Memoirs of Edward Gibbon's residence in Switzerland [fragment]. c. 1794.
  • Beaufort, Emily Anne and Beaufort, Rosalind Elizabeth. Manuscript entitled Anecdotes of Captain Beaufort, R.N., compiled by his daughters. 1840-42.
  • Blennerhasset, Jeanne. Series of letters giving fascinating insight into the early life of Daniel Augustus Beaufort. 1764-1775.
  • Hillyar, Mary Taylor. Letter describing last days of Sir James Hillyar. 1843, Oct. 29. Accompanied by three letters of Sir James Hillyar.
  • Lennon, Maria. Series of letters chronicling her dramatic rescue by Sir Francis Beaufort and her loyalty to his memory decades afterwards. 1809-1843.
  • Melville, Sir Peter Melville (also spelled Melvill). Series of letters describing his travels from India to Egypt, Turkey, Vienna. 1832, Jan. 5-Aug. 23.
Some additional significant persons represented in the collection include: Sir Thomas Dyke Acland (2 letters); Thomas Arnold (7 letters); Sir Joseph Banks (3 letters); Sir John Barrow (9 letters); William Bligh (1 letter); Robert Cadell (3 letters); Stratford Canning (7 letters); Charles Robert Cockerell (4 letters); Cuthbert Collingwood (2 letters); John Wilson Croker (12 letters); Sir Roger Curtis (2 letters); Sir Humphrey Davy (1 letter); James Gambier, Baron Gambier (1 letter); Davies Gilbert (5 letters); Sir Charles Hamilton (4 letters); Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1 letter); Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1 letter); John Jervis, Earl of St. Vincent (1 letter); Alicia Le Fanu (1 letter); Edward Hawke Locker (2 letters); Sir Thomas Erskine May (2 letters); Sir James Nicoll Morris (2 letters); Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1 letter); Horatio Nelson (1 letter); Sir William Edward Parry (2 letters); Sir Edward Pellew (7 letters); Lady Jane Spencer-Wilson Perceval (2 letters); Sir Henry Prescott (2 letters); James Rennell (29 letters); George Cecil Renouard (4 letters); Elisabeth-Paul-Edouard, Chevalier de Rossel (3 letters); Sir James South (4 letters); Thomas Spring-Rice (1 letter); Leslie Stephen (1 letter); Sir Robert Stopford (4 letters); Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (2 letters); Robert Walpole (7 letters); Sir John Borlase Warren (2 letters); John Washington (4 letters); William Wellesley-Pole, 1st Baron Maryborough (2 letters); Joseph Blanco White (1 letter); Lestock Wilson (12 letters).
 

Diaries, journals, account books, etc.

 

Beaufort, Alicia Magdalena (Wilson)

Box 1 (FB 1)

Journal of Family History. 1780-1804 FB 1

 

Beaufort, Daniel Augustus

Box 1 (FB 2-5)

Diaries (1780-1798)

 

Diary. 1776 January 1-1781 August 13 FB 2

 

Travel diary. 1779 October 5-1780 May 1 FB 3

 

Travel diary in England. 1792 August 31-1795 April 8 FB 4

 

Diary. 1796 March 22-1798 April 3 FB 5

Box 2

Diaries (1798-1821) and Calendar of Correspondence.

 

Diaries (1798-1821)

 

Diary. 1798, 1801-1804 FB 6

 

Diary. 1805 January 3-1805 November 14 FB 7

 

Diary. 1812 September 21-1814 February 28 FB 8

 

Diary. 1820 December 2-1821 May 6 FB 9

 

Calendar of Correspondence. 1794-1797 FB 10

 

Beaufort, Sir Francis.

Box 3

Journals (1791-1812)

 

Journal. 1791 October 5-1793 October 15 FB 11

Written aboard HMS Aquilon.
 

Journal. 1794 January-May 31 FB 12

Written aboard HMS Aquilon.
 

Journal. 1795 July 17-1796 March 11 FB 13

Written aboard HMS Phaeton, off Spain.
 

Journal. 1805 June 5-1806 May 31 FB 14

Written aboard HMS Woolwich.
 

Journal. 1811 July 14-1812 March 21 FB 15

Written aboard the HMS Frederickstein in the Mediterranean; the basis for his Karamania.
Box 4

Journals (1812; 1821-1822)

 

Journal. 1812 April-June FB 16

Written aboard the HMS Frederickstein in the Mediterranean.
 

Journal. 1812 June FB 17

Written aboard the HMS Frederickstein in the Mediterranean.
 

Journal. 1821-1822 FB 18

Box 5

Pocket diaries (1835-1850)

 

Pocket diary. 1835 FB 19

 

Pocket diary. 1836 FB 20

 

Pocket diary. 1837 FB 21

 

Pocket diary. 1838 FB 22

 

Pocket diary. 1839 FB 23

 

Pocket diary. 1840 FB 24

 

Pocket diary. 1841 FB 25

 

Pocket diary. 1842 FB 26

 

Pocket diary. 1843 FB 27

 

Pocket diary. 1844 FB 28

 

Pocket diary. 1845 FB 29

 

Pocket diary. 1846 FB 30

 

Pocket diary. 1847 FB 31

 

Pocket diary. 1848 FB 32

 

Pocket diary. 1849 FB 33

 

Pocket diary. 1850 FB 34

Box 6

Pocket diaries (1851-1857); hydrographic diaries; sketchbooks and notebooks

 

Pocket diary. 1851 FB 35

 

Pocket diary. 1852 FB 36

 

Pocket diary. 1853 FB 37

 

Pocket diary. 1854 FB 38

 

Pocket diary. 1855 FB 39

 

Pocket diary. 1856 FB 40

 

Pocket diary. 1857 FB 41

 

Hydrographic diary. 1847 FB 42

 

Hydrographic diary. 1848 FB 43

 

Hydrographic diary. 1849 FB 44

 

Hydrographic diary. 1850 FB 45

 

Hydrographic diary. 1851 FB 46

 

Hydrographic diary. 1852 FB 47

 

Hydrographic diary. 1853 FB 48

 

Hydrographic diary. 1854 FB 49

 

Hydrographic diary. 1855 FB 50

 

[Watercolor Topographical sketches of Mediterranean sites with commentary]. [1810-1812] FB 51

 

[Notebook on Karamania]. [before 1817] FB 52

 

Originals of Karamania. FB 52a

Volume with 14 engravings used as illustrations Beaufort's book, Karamania, or a Brief Description of the South Coast of Asia Minor... (1817).
 

[Sketchbook]. 1828-1832 FB 53

 

Commonplace book. 1806-1825 FB 54

Box 7

Account books

 

Account book. 1812-1824 FB 55

 

Account book. 1825-1830 FB 56

 

Account book. 1831-1841 FB 57

 

Beaufort, Louisa Catherine

Box 7

Diary. 1842-1843 FB 58

 

Papers

Box 8

Papers. 1710; 1764-1790

Box 9

Papers. 1791-1795

Box 10

Papers. 1796-1799

Box 11

Papers. 1800-1803

Box 12

Papers. 1804-1805 September

Box 13

Papers. 1805 October-1806

Box 14

Papers. 1807-1808 April

Box 15

Papers. 1808 May-1809

Box 16

Papers. 1810-1811 October

Box 17

Papers. 1811 November-1813 June

Box 18

Papers. 1813 July-1814

Box 19

Papers. 1815

Box 20

Papers. 1816, and undated before 1817

Box 21

Papers. 1817

Box 22

Papers. 1818-1820

Box 23

Papers. 1821-1822, and undated before 1821

Box 24

Papers. 1823-1824

Box 25

Papers. 1825-1826

Box 26

Papers. 1827-1828

Box 27

Papers. 1829-1832

Box 28

Papers. 1833-1838

Box 29

Papers. 1839-1843

Box 30

Papers. 1844-1854

Box 31

Papers. 1855-1857

Box 32

Papers. 1858-1875

Box 33

Papers. 1876-1884

Box 34

Papers. 1885-1947

 

Miscellaneous materials

 

Edgeworth, Frances Anne (Beaufort). Drawings of flowers [colored botanical illustrations]. 1798-1807. FB 59

Physical Description: 1 volume
 

Photographs, drawings and illustrations of churches and buildings at Navan and Collon, Ireland.

Physical Description: 10 pieces
 

Articles by and about Sir Francis Beaufort (including obituaries).

Physical Description: Approximately 30 pieces

Includes a small printed envelope with a folded chart for "Cryptography. A System of Secret Writing, by the late Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort."
 

Obituaries of Daniel Augustus Beaufort. 1821

Physical Description: 9 pieces
 

Obituaries of William Morris Beaufort. 1908-1909

Physical Description: 3 pieces
 

Miscellaneous obituaries including Frances Beaufort Edgeworth and John Beaufort.

Physical Description: 3 pieces
 

Miscellaneous printed material.

Physical Description: 6 pieces

Includes two pamphlets about the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1865) and a pamphlet Barony and Viscountcy of De L'Isle.
 

Unidentified manuscript fragments.

Physical Description: 21 pieces
FB 974

Maps between 1828 and 1843

Physical Description: 5 pieces in 1 folder

13 printed maps with Francis Beaufort's annotations intended for publication by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). The Society formed the Map Committee in November 1828, and Beaufort undertook the editing and annotation of the series for the next 15 years. Maps depict various areas of Great Britain, Europe, India and the Caribbean. 8 maps are missing as of April 2016. Available maps are identified below.
 

The Punjab with part of Afghanistan, Kashimeer, Sinde, etc. (No. 5)

 

Switzerland (No. 7)

 

Bermany (III) Baden, Wuntenberg, Bavaria, Tyrol amp; Switzerland (No. 8)

 

Gallica Cisalpina (No. 13)

 

Bokhara, Cabool, Beloochistan.

 

Emily Smythe, Viscountess Strangford papers. 1836-1888

Physical Description: 78 pieces in 1 boxes

Biographical Note of Emily Smythe

Emily Anne Beaufort Smythe, Viscountess of Strangford: philanthropist, youngest daughter of Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857) and wife of Percy Ellen Frederick William Smythe, the 8th Viscount Strangford and 3rd Baron of Penshurst (1826-1869). Upon her husband's death, she went through four years of training in a hospital, and devoted herself to nursing, founding the National Society for Providing Trained Nurses for the Poor. In 1876, following the suppression of the April Uprising in Bulgaria, she organized the Bulgarian Peasant Relief and traveled to Bulgaria to oversee the relief works. She also established temporary hospitals and helped political prisoners. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 she organized hospitals in Adrianople and Sophia. She died in 1887, on her way to Port Said where she was to open a hospital for British seamen.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of correspondence, documents, and various legal papers of Lady Strangford and her husband, Percy Ellen Frederick William Smythe, the 8th Viscount Strangford, as well as three travel journals kept by Lady Strangford from October 1876 to March 1877 documenting her life and travels in Bulgaria during the Turko-Bulgarian war, and her efforts in establishing military hospitals. Some items in the collection are in French and Arabic.
Correspondence includes two letters from Mary Ann Evans Cross (George Eliot), dated 1874; a letter from Edward Lear, discussing his literary activities in Italy, etc. in June 1886; a June 9, 1867, letter from Harriet Martineau containing long discussion and analysis of Maria Edgeworth and her edition of Richard Lovell Edgeworth's autobiography; and an April 28, 1871, letter from Anna Eliot Ticknor discussing her life with George Ticknor. Alexander I, King of Bulgaria (1 letter); Frederick Temple Blackwood, 1st Marquis of Dufferin (6 letters); Sir Stafford Northcote (1 letter); and William Henry Smith (2 letters). There is also a November 17, 1886, letter from Alexander of Battenberg, Prince of Bulgaria, and an invitation to the May 8, 1838, coronation of Queen Victoria.
Box 35

Papers 1836-1888

 

John James Larpent, Baron de Hochepied papers. 1814-1859

Physical Description: 98 pieces in 3 boxes

Biographical Note of John James Larpent

John James Larpent (1783-1860) was the son of John Larpent (1741-1824) and Anna Margaretta Porter (1758-1832). In 1819, he and his brother George Gerard Larpent (1785-1855) added the name de Hochepied to their names, and in 1828 John James succeeded his mother's brother as seventh Baron de Hochepied. From 1825 to 1837 he served as British council in Antwerp.

Scope and Content Note

Includes 52 letters by John James Larpent, chiefly consisting of diplomatic correspondence accumulated by Larpent during his term as British consul in Belgium. The letters cover diplomatic relations between Great Britain, Netherlands, and Belgium, particularly at the time of the Insurrection of 1830 that brought Belgium its independence. Among the documents are letters between Larpent and Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, from the 1830s.
There are also letters from Larpent's sister-in-law Catherine Elizabeth Reeves, the diary (1853-1859) of his daughter Clarissa de Hochepied Larpent James, and the journal (1860-1876) of his wife Georgiana Frances Reeves Larpent.
Box 36

Papers. 1814-1832

Box 37

Papers. 1833-1853