James Douglas papers  1738-1850 (bulk 1738-1787)
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Additional Descriptive Data

Douglas's Service History

  • 1744 Captain in the Royal Navy
  • 1745 Commander of the Mermaid at Louisbourg
  • 1746 Commander of the Vigilant and commodore of Newfoundland
  • 1754-1768 Member of Parliament for Orkney & Shetland
  • 1756 Commander of the Bedford
  • 1757 mMember of the court martial that tried and convicted Admiral Byng
  • 1758 Commander of the Alcide
  • 1759 Knighted for his participation in the capture of Québec
  • 1760 Commodore of the Dublin and commander-in-chief at the Leeward Islands
  • 1761 Commander of the squadron which captured Dominica
  • 1762 Officer in the fleet under George Rodney at the capture of Martinique
  • 1762 Officer in the fleet under George Pocock at the Siege of Havana
  • 1770 Vice-admiral
  • 1773-1777 Commander-in-chief at Portsmouth
  • 1778 Admiral of the blue
  • 1782 Admiral of the white
  • 1786 Baronet

Item-Level Collection Description:

  • Logbooks, Letter Books, and Account Books
    • Volume A : 1738-1745 (Jamaica): "Promiscuous Disbursements[;] Orders." From Edward Vernon, (1684-1757), Sir Chaloner Ogle, Thomas Davers, Admiral William Pearl, Thomas Trevors, William Campbell, William Morris, and Charles Brown to George Hinde. This volume also contains a crew list and a list of "the King's Negros," though it is made up of first names only (180 pages).
    • Volume B : April 1, 1740-July 29, 1741 (Cartagena): Logbook kept by Thomas Lempriere on the HMS Tilbury , Commander Robert Long. This volume includes details on the British attack on the Spanish at Cartagena (74 pages).
    • Volume C : May 23, 1745-September 1, 1747, and February 25-April 12, 1755 (Louisbourg, Spithead, Gibraltar, St. Helena, Cadiz): Journal kept by Thomas Shortland on board the HMS Vigilant under Captain Douglas (286 pages), and a Journal kept by Thomas Shortland on board the HMS Anson , under Captain Robert Man (20 pages).
    • Volume D : March 26-December 31, 1755 (Gibraltar): Logbook (copy) for the HMS Bedford , under Captain Douglas. The journal includes details on a voyage from England to Gibraltar and mentions taking a French ship bound from Newfoundland to Marseilles (82 pages).
    • Volume E : March 26-December 31, 1755 (Gibraltar): Logbook (original) for the HMS Bedford , under Captain Douglas. The journal includes details on a voyage from England to Gibraltar and mentions taking a French ship bound from Newfoundland to Marseilles (82 pages).
    • Volume F : March 26, 1755-June 26, 1759: Letterbook of Captain Douglas's letters with the British Admiralty and Naval Officers. The letters concern routine naval matters and describe attacks on the French Navy in European waters, including lines of battle and flag signals. Recipients include Edward Boscawen, Thomas Broderick, John Clevland, Sir Edward Hawke, Francis Holburne, Sir Charles Knowles, and Temple West (147 pages).
    • Volume G : April 12, 1755-February 6, 1757: Account book of Captain Douglas concerning food for the HMS Bedford (122 pages).
    • Volume H : January 1, 1756-February 19, 1757: Logbook (copy) kept for the HMS Bedford , under Captain Douglas concerning travel from Cardiz to Spithead, action against the French near Ushant (now Ouessant Island, France), and repairs to the ship at Spithead and Portsmouth (92 pages).
    • Volume I : April 4, 1757-March 12, 1758: Logbook for the HMS Alcide , under Captain Douglas, concerning travel along the French and Spanish coasts (84 pages).
    • Volume J : July 25, 1757 (Portsmouth): Survey book kept for the HMS Alcide , partly printed, with a list of rigging, masts, yards, ground-tackle, sails, and supplies, under Boatswain Maurice Fitzgerald, Carpenter Samuel Eccles, Captain Douglas (44 pages).
    • Volume K : April 4, 1757-September 12, 1759: Account book of the HMS Alcide , partly printed, documenting wages for the crew and food store records (100 pages).
    • Volume L : January 3, 1758: Prize list and crew list for the HMS Alcide, entitled to share in Captain Douglas' capture of the French ship Prince De Soubize (22 pages).
    • Volume M : May 22-November 10, 1759: Account book of the prizes taken from the Amelia , kept by Mr. Hogg, along with accounts for stores delivered to the garrison at Louisburg, the sloop John , and the schooner Fish Hawk (12 pages).
    • Volume N : March 10, 1760-September 9, 1762: Logbook of the HMS Dublin with brief records of the Woolwich , Falkland , Levant , Repulse , Sterling Castle , Sutherland , Centurion , and Culloden . Entries concern action at Dominica (June 1761); a conflict at Martinique, when Douglas was commander in chief of the Leeward Island Station (January 1762); Douglas assisting the British fleet during the Siege of Havana (July 1762); (272 pages).
    • Volume O : December 16, 1761-May 1, 1762: Logbook of a French ship captured in the West Indies (45 pages).
    • Volume P : 1761-1763 and 1767: Account book (16 pages) containing a list of prizes sent to Benjamin Southwell captured by the Actaeon and Falkland ; Douglas' account with Southwell; account of prizes settled at Jamaica; Alexander Willson's accounts of 1767.
    • Volume Q : December 18, 1760-December 31, 1771 and 1766-1767: Ledger and private accounts of Captain Douglas and copies of 9 letters from William Brisbane (70 pages).
    • Volume R : June 6-September 28, 1770: Logbook of the HMS Cruizer (19 pages) and a journal for the HMS Cerberus (57 pages), signed by Captain James Douglas, Jr., (1755-1840).
    • Volume S : August 6-November 19, 1775 (Spithead): Letter book (labeled No. 2) kept for Captain Douglas on board the HMS Barfleur . The letters are largely addressed to the secretary of the admiralty, Sir Philip Stephens, relaying news of the war in America (54 pages).
    • Volume T : February 9-June 12, 1776 (Spithead): Letter book (labeled No. 4) kept for Captain Douglas. Letters are largely addressed to the secretary of the admiralty, Sir Philip Stephens, relaying news of the war in America (82 pages).
    • Volume U : November 30, 1776-January 7, 1777 (Spithead): Letter book (labeled No. 6) kept for Captain Douglas, dealing with naval affairs at Spithead, and containing copies of orders from the Admiralty. This volume also contains a list of marines embarked at Portsmouth (70 pages).
    • Volume V : January 9-March 3, 1777 (Spithead): Letter book (labeled No. 7) kept for Captain Douglas. The letters are largely addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Philip Stephens, relaying news of the war in America. Included is an item of American naval intelligence dated January 13, 1777 (80 pages).
    • Volume W : March 6-April 13, 1777 (Spithead): Letter book (labeled No. 8) kept for Captain Douglas. The letters are largely addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Philip Stephens, relaying news of the war in America. Also included is information on incoming and outgoing ships, some of them bound to New York with German troops (80 pages).
    • Volume X : 1777 (Spithead): Letter book (Labeled No. 9) kept for Captain Douglas. The letters are largely addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Philip Stephens, relaying news of the war in America (80 pages).
    • Volume Y : [1762]: Printed sailing and fighting instructions, heavily annotated by Douglas. These contain day signals, night signals, and instructions for younger captains (34 pages).
    • Volume Z : [After November 2, 1787]: Sederunt book of the trustees of Douglas' estate. This includes accounts on the settlement of Douglas's estate (72 pages), and copies of letters from trustee Thomas Tod and others concerning settling the estate (34 pages).
  • Correspondence and Documents
    • 1750: A disposition from Mrs. Jean Kerr to Douglas concerning a transfer of land.
    • February 18, 1760: Douglas' appointment as commander-in-chief of the navy at Barbados and the Leeward Islands, signed by Lord Anson, Sir George Hay, John Forbes, Hans Stanley, and John Clevland.
    • June 16, 1762 (Greenwich, Jamaica): letter from John Patterson to the Great Britain Victualling Office, certifying a provisions shipment, signed by Douglas.
    • June 17, 1762 (Greenwich, Jamaica): letter from John Patterson to the Navy Board, signed by Douglas and Robert Cleiland.
    • December 17, 1762 (Admiralty Office): printed letter from John Clevland to Douglas inclosing a letter from Sir John Cust to the Admiralty (December 9, 1762).
    • [1762] Extract of a letter "from a Gentleman in the East Convoy from Jamaica." The letter mentions Sir George Pococh (1706-1792).
    • [After 1762]: Memorial for Douglas (incomplete).
    • [1764]: Memorial for Douglas from the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.
    • [1767] Memorial for Douglas.
    • November 7, 1768: Marriage contract between Douglas and Lady Helen Boyle.
    • October 18, 1770: Douglas' appointment as Vice Admiral of the Blue Squadron, signed by Sir Edward Hawke, Lord Charles Spencer, Francis Holburne, and Sir Philip Stephens.
    • October 24, 1770: Douglas' appointment as Vice Admiral of the White Squadron, signed by Sir Edward Hawke, Lord Charles Spencer, Charles James Fox, and Sir Philip Stephens.
    • May 18, 1774: Douglas' appointment as commander-in-chief of the navy at Spithead and Portsmouth harbor, signed by Lord Sandwich, J. Buller, Lord Charles Spencer, Thomas Bradshaw, and Sir Philips Stephens.
    • May 19, 1774: A letter from John Montagu, 4th earl of Sandwich, to Douglas.
    • August 14, 1775 (Piccadilly England): A letter from Samuel Seddon to Douglas inquiring about his 1761 encounter with a capsized ship (with a living dog standing on it) found between Dominica and Martinique, which Douglas sold at auction without looking in its hold for cargo.
    • December 7, 1775: Douglas' appointment as the Vice Admiral of the Red Squadron, signed by Lord Sandwich, Lord Palmerston, Henry Penton, and Sir George Jackson.
    • [c.1776]: A letter from Douglas to Richard Howe, 4th viscount and 1st earl of Howe, relating the highlights of Douglas' naval career from 1745-1776.
    • January 29, 1778: Douglas' appointment as Admiral of the Blue Squadron, signed by Lord Sandwich, J. Buller, Sir Hugh Palliser, and Sir Philip Stephens.
    • January 13, 1782: A draft of a document entitled "Case of Captain Douglas for the opinion of the Counsel," with the answer from Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.
    • April 8, 1782: Douglas' appointment as Admiral of the White Squadron, signed by Augustus Keppel, Sir Robert Harland, Hugh Pigot, John Townshend, Charles Brett, Richard Hopkins, and Sir Philip Stephens.
    • August 3, 1786: A receipt from William Pollock to Douglas for a payment of fees for Douglas becoming a Baronet.
    • [August 3, 1786] An account of fees paid for Douglas to become a Baronet.
    • [1805] An essay entitled "The Three Marys."
    • October 15, 1829 (Patna, India): A letter from Henry Douglas to his brother Admiral James Douglas, which concerns family relations and genealogy.
    • June 22, 1839 (Strand, London): A letter from Edward Marjoribanks to Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, concerning Douglas' estate and including a copy of his will.
    • August 4, 1859: A letter from James Low to Sir George Henry Scott Douglas, concerning the Douglas estate.
    • [1850] A speech delivered by the secretary of the Guiana Loyal Mechanics.
    • Undated: Printed genealogy for the ancestors of Douglas of Friarshaw (now Springwood Park).
    • Undated: Facsimile of a genealogical chart of the ancestors of Thomas Makdougall Brisbane.
Alternate Locations

Keppel, A. Minutes of the proceedings at a court-martial, assembled for the trial of the Honourable Admiral Augustus Keppel: on a charge exhibited against him by vice-admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, baronet. As taken by George Jackson, esq; judge-advocate of His Majesty's fleet. Published by order of the Right Honourable the lords commissioners of the Admiralty. With an appendix, containing all the letters and papers that have any relation to the trial. London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1779.

Related Materials

The following Clements Library collections contain material related to Douglas:

  • The Thomas M. Brisbane papers contain items related to Brisbane, Douglas' brother-in-law.
  • The Thomas Gage papers contain 3 letters from Douglas to Gage (July 17, 20, 30, 1767); one letter from Samuel Benbow to Douglas (June 17, 1767); 3 letters from Gage to Douglas (July 6, August 17, and September 27, 1767)
  • The William Henry Lyttelton papers contain 26 letters from Douglas to Lyttelton (April 8-June 21, 1762)
Bibliography

Ruddock, Mackay. "Douglas, Sir James, first baronet (1703–1787)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.