Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John Vaughan Papers, 1779-1789

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, March 2011

Summary Information
Title: John Vaughan papers
Creator: Vaughan, John, ca. 1731-1795
Inclusive dates: 1779-1781, 1784, 1789
Extent: 3 volumes and 2 loose items
Abstract:
The John Vaughan papers document British activities in the West Indies during the American Revolution. Covered are Vaughan's incoming letters, dispatches, bills, reports, and memoranda during his command of the Leeward Islands from November of 1779 to March 1781.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1928, 1944, 1989. M-38, M-500, M-2520i .

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

John Vaughan Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

This collection is bound into three volumes with two loose items housed separately.


Biography

British officer and Member of Parliament John Vaughan (ca.1731-1795) was the second son of Wilmot Vaughan, third Viscount Lisburne, and Elizabeth Watson. Vaughan saw duty in the Seven Years' War in England, Scotland, and Germany before raising his own light infantry regiment, the Royal Welsh Volunteers, for service in America. After the capture of Martinique in 1762, his regiment was disbanded and Vaughan took command of the 46th Regiment of Foot; he remained in America until the regiment returned to Ireland in 1767. In 1774, he entered Parliament representing Berwick-upon-Tweed, and in 1776 represented St. Johnstown in the Irish Parliament. Promoted to colonel, he accompanied the reinforcements sent to America under Cornwallis in 1775. Vaughan led the British grenadiers in the Battle of Long Island, participated in the Battle of Fort Hills, and saw action at Fort Clinton, Fort Montgomery, Verplanck's Point, and Stony Point. At the end of 1779, he returned to England and shortly after accepted a commission as commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands. His influence covered all of the British-controlled islands in the Lesser Antilles. Vaughan participated in several military excursions during his tenure in the West Indies (1779-1782). He failed to take St. Vincent's Island from the Dutch in 1781, but assisted George Brydges Rodney in the taking of St. Eustatius later that year. After the war, Vaughan retired from the military and resumed his seats in the English and Irish parliaments. He returned to the West Indies in 1794 and died at Martinique in 1775.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Vaughan papers (3 volumes and two loose items) document Vaughan's first two years as commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands, from November of 1779 to March 1781. The papers comprise approximately 470 items, almost all of which are incoming letters, dispatches, bills, reports, and memoranda from naval commanders and subordinates, officials in England and North America, and friends and relatives in England.

The papers primarily relate to the conduct of the Revolutionary War in the West Indies, and reveal a close coordination between the army and navy in the region. Topics documented include the capture of St. Eustatius, the capture of transports by the French, the treatment of prisoners of war, and the provisioning and paying of troops. Also covered are promotions, discipline, and reports on hardships, such as endemic sickness, supply shortages (food, candles, rum, and money), poor barracks, a lack of doctors and medicine, and bad weather. Of note are the letters from William Mathew Burt, governor of Antigua and St. Christopher's; Gabriel Christie, commander at Antigua; Lucius Ferdinand Cary, commander at Tobago; George Ferguson, governor of Tobago; Commodore William Hotham; Admiral Hyde Parker; Admiral Samuel Hood; George Brydges Rodney, commander of the Leeward Island Station; Anthony St. Leger, brigadier general at St. Lucia; Major Henry Fitzroy Stanhope; and Loftus Anthony Tottenham, brigadier general at Barbados.

In addition to the incoming material, this collection contains three items written by Vaughan:

  • Volume 1, item 23: After March 19, 1780: Memoranda for an answer to Christie's letter of March 18-19
  • Folder 1: May 11, 1784: Vaughan's deposition sent to Isaac Howell, for a property dispute involving Edward Foord, Samuel Delprat, Richard Clark, and Simon Nathan, over a lawsuit in Jamaica
  • Folder 1: September 29, 1789: Vaughan to an unknown property owner (partnered to a Mr. Alexander Ellis) concerning purchasing land on the Mohawk River

Volume 1 contains 246 items; Volume 2 contains 276 pages; and Volume 3 contains 207 pages.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • André, John, 1751-1780.
    • Antigua.
    • Antilles, Lesser.
    • Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801.
    • Barbados.
    • Charleston (S.C.)--History--Siege, 1780.
    • Dominica.
    • Friendship (Ship)
    • Great Britain. Naval Dept.
    • Grenada.
    • Jamaica.
    • Haiti.
    • Leeward Islands (West Indies)
    • Martinique.
    • New York (N.Y.)--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • Puerto Rico.
    • Saint John (Antigua and Barbuda)
    • Saint Kitts.
    • Saint Lucia.
    • Saint Vincent Island (Fla.)
    • Sint Eustatius.
    • Sint Eustatius--History--Capture by the British, 1781.
    • Trinidad and Tobago.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--British forces.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Naval operations.
    • West Indies (Federation)
    • West Indies--History--1775-1783.
    Contributors:
    • Amherst, Jeffery Amherst, Baron, 1717-1797.
    • Auckland, William Eden, Baron, 1744-1814.
    • Calder, Henry Calder, Sir, baronet, 1774-1792.
    • Campbell, Archibald, Sir, 1739-1791.
    • Carteret, Philip, d. 1796.
    • Christie, Gabriel, 1722-1799.
    • Clinton, Henry, Sir, 1738?-1795.
    • Conolly, Thomas, 1738-1803.
    • Cuyler, Abraham, 1742-1810.
    • Dalling, John.
    • Donkin, Robert, 1727-1821.
    • Drewe, Edward, d. 1793.
    • Edmeston, William.
    • Heriot, George, 1759-1839 .
    • Hood, Samuel Hood, Viscount, 1724-1816.
    • Hotham, William, 1736-1813.
    • Liverpool, Charles Jenkinson, Earl of, 1727-1808.
    • Laforey, John, Sir, 1729?-1796.
    • Macartney, George Macartney, Earl, 1737-1806.
    • Northumberland, Hugh Percy, Duke of, 1742-1817.
    • Parker, Hyde, 1714-1782.
    • Prescott, Robert, 1725-1816.
    • Robinson, John, 1727-1802.
    • Rodney, George Brydges Rodney, Baron, 1719-1792.
    • Russell, Peter, 1733-1808.
    • Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785.
    • Sheridan, Henry Fortich.
    • Stanhope, Henry Fitzroy.
    • Sydney, Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 1733-1800.
    • Temple, William Johnston, 1739-1796.
    • Townshend, George Townshend, Marquis, 1724-1807.
    • Vaughan, John, Sir, 1747 or 8-1795.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    John Vaughan papers [series]
    Volume   1 Items   1-19
    Letters from Governor of Antigua and St. Christopher's William Matthew Burt to Vaughan and David Ferguson ( February 25-June 27, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   20-66
    Letters from Brigadier General Christie to Vaughan, David Ferguson, and Captain Robert H. Bradshaw ( February 25-August 29, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   67-79
    Papers from Brigadier General Robert Prescott at St. Christopher's to Vaughan, David Ferguson, and Robert H. Bradshaw ( April 4-July 15, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   80-95
    Letters from Brigadier General Loftus Anthony Tottenham at Barbados to Vaughan and David Ferguson ( March 22-August 30, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   96-99
    Letters from Henry Calder at St. Lucia, concerning Major Edward Drewe's court martial ( March 23-April 12, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   100-147
    Letters from Brigadier General Anthony St. Leger at Barbados and St. Lucia to Vaughan, Robert H. Bradshaw, and David Ferguson ( May 8-September 18, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   148-163
    Letters with enclosures from Governor of Tobago George Ferguson ( February 21-August 27, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   164-189
    Letters from Colonel Lucius Ferdinand Cary at Barbados and Tobago ( February 19-August 12, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   190-215
    Letters from George Brydges Rodney and Walter Young concerning the capture of a Spanish convoy and the defeat of the Spanish fleet under Don Juan Langara near Gibraltar Bay ( January-August 23, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   216-219
    Letters from Admiral Hyde Parker ( March and June 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   220-227
    Letters from Commodore William Hotham ( February 26-September 4, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   228-232
    Letters from Walter Young ( January 3-August 23, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   232-235
    Letters from Sir Henry Clinton concerning the capture of John André and the siege of Charlestown. ( February 26 and May 25, 1780)
    Volume   1 Item   236
    Letter from Peter Russell giving an account of the siege of Charlestown ( July 7, 1780)
    Volume   1 Item   237
    Letter from Governor of Jamaica John Dalling ( April 21, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   238-241
    Letters from Dudley Ackland ( March 27-June 17, 1780)
    Volume   1 Items   242-246
    Letters from Joseph Ferguson ( May 26-June 10, 1780)
    Volume   2 Page   1
    Circular from George Germain to the governors of East Florida and Georgia concerning supplies for Vaughan ( September 6, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   4-8
    Letters from Sir Charles Gould ( September 21-October 1, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   9-21
    Letters from Charles Jenkinson, Robert Adair, and John Robinson concerning medical supplies ( September 21-November 15, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   22-30
    Letters from Antigua Governor Burt ( October 3-November 22, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   31-41
    Letters from Tobago Governor Ferguson ( October 15-December 13, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   42-60
    Letters from Brigadier General Christie at Antigua ( October 2-December 11, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   61-95
    Letters from Brigadier General Anthony St. Leger at St. Lucia ( October 14-December 23, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   96-108
    Letters from Commissary General Matthew Forster ( October 2, December 4, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   109-113
    Letter from Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Cuyler ( December 6, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   114-122
    Letters from Henry Fitzroy Stanhope at Tobago concerning the condition of the army there ( October 44-December 23, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   123-131
    Letters from Barbados Governor James Cunninghame ( October 22-November 3, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   132-140
    Letters from Commodore William Hotham ( October 12-November 29, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   141-145
    Letters from Richard Boycott of the 91st Regiment ( October 8 and December 22, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   146-150
    Letters from Robert and William Edmeston ( September 21 and 25, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   150-155
    Letters from George Fraser of the commissary department ( November 23, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   156-160
    Letters from Captain Humphrey May of the 46th Regiment ( November 2-December 7, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   161-167
    Letters from Paul Maylor concerning shipping food, wine, and clothing to Vaughan ( June 29-September 5, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   168-169
    Letter from Captain Charles Hoar of the 90th Regiment to Loftus Anthony Tottenham ( undated)
    Volume   2 Pages   170-172
    Letter from Captain John Reynolds ( December 7, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   173-175
    Letter from Peter Russell giving news of New York ( September 12, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   176-180
    Letters from Daniel Jones to Vaughan ( September 5-October 2, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   181-185
    Letters from Edward Drewe concerning his court martial ( October 23, 1780 and  undated)
    Volume   2 Pages   186-190
    Letters from Henry Sheridan of the New York Volunteers to Vaughan concerning Benedict Arnold's treason and escape ( September 16-October 23, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   191-199
    Letters from Surveyor General of Barbados W. Tonhouse to Vaughan ( October 27-November 17, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   200-202
    Letter from Captain Lullum Batwell of the 46th Regiment to Vaughan requesting leave ( February 18, 1780)
    Volume   2 Pages   203-278
    Miscellaneous letters from Vaughan's colleagues, subordinates, friends, and relatives concerning Vaughan's appointment as commander-in-chief, promotions, favors, and the hurricane in October of  1780
    Volume   3 Pages   1-15
    Letters from Jeffery Amherst (  March 13, 1780-February 8, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   16-25
    Letters from George Brydges Rodney concerning the capture of St. Eustatius ( February 1871 and  undated)
    Volume   3 Pages   26-46
    Letters from Gabriel Christie at Antigua (  December 6, 1780-February 19, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   47-49
    Letter from Charles Gould ( February 7, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   50-51
    Letter from Robert Prescott, commander at St. Christopher's, to Colonel Joseph Ferguson ( February 12, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   52-53
    Letter from Samuel Hood ( February 6, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   54-60
    Letter from Anthony St. Leger, Brigadier General at St. Lucia ( February 12-March 6, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   61-67
    Letters from Jamaica Governor John Dalling (  July 21, 1780-January 7, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   68-93
    Miscellaneous letters from British officials in England related to promotions, favors, and the death of Captain Bradshaw
    Volume   3 Pages   94-99
    Letters from Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Cuyler of the 55th Regiment of Foot (  December 22, 1780-February 12, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   100-103
    Letters from Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica Archibald Campbell ( July 22, 1780 and  January 8, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   104-109
    Letters from Governor of Tobago George Ferguson ( January 15 and 22, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   110-111
    Letter from Charles Payne Brotherson, commander at St. Martin's ( February 19, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   112-113
    Letter from Thomas Dinzey, commander at Saba ( February 19, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   114-121
    Letters from Henry Fitzroy Stanhope, commander at Tobago ( January 15-February 29, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   122-135
    Miscellaneous letters concerning favors (including two from Thomas Townshend)
    Volume   3 Pages   136-141
    Letters and bills from London agent Paul Maylor ( October 22-December 15, 1780)
    Volume   3 Pages   142-146
    Letters from James Ramsay concerning intelligence on French and American privateers and Danish smuggling (  December 16, 1780-January 23, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   147-175
    Miscellaneous letters concerning favors including one from Anne Cary, widow of Lieutenant Colonel Cary, requesting that her 11-year-old son, serving in the navy, be transferred to the army
    Volume   3 Pages   176-177
    Letter and invoice from Robert Dillon ( January 7, 1781)
    Volume   3 Pages   178-179
    Letter from Philip Carteret of the Endymion at Jamaica concerning his experiences in the   October 1780 hurricane
    Volume   3 Pages   180-181
    Letter from John Thomas of the Trident at Jamaica concerning a hurricane and preparations for the Nicaraguan expedition
    Volume   3 Pages   182-204
    Miscellaneous letters concerning promotions, leaves, favors and Vaughan's personal supplies
    Folder   1  
     1784,  1789
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Contributors:

    • Ackland, Dudley.
    • Amherst, Sir Jeffery Amberst, 1st baron, 1717-1797.
    • Antrim, Randal William MacDonnell, 1749-1791.
    • Batwell, Lullum.
    • Beauchamp, Francis Ingram Symour, 1743-1822.
    • Boycott, Richard.
    • Bradshaw, Robert H.
    • Brotherson, Charles Payne.
    • Burt, William Mathew, d. 1781.
    • Caldwell, Fitzmaurice.
    • Calder, Sir Henry, bart., d. 1792.
    • Campbell, Archibald, Sir, 1739-1791.
    • Carteret, Philip, d.1796.
    • Cary, Anne Leith, d.1785.
    • Cary, Lucius Ferdinand, d. 1780.
    • Christie, Gabriel, 1722-1799.
    • Clark, Francis Rush.
    • Clarke, John.
    • Clarke, William.
    • Clinton, Henry, Sir, 1738?-1795.
    • Crosbie, J. H.
    • Cockburn, James.
    • Conolly, Thomas, 1738-1803.
    • Cuninghame, James.
    • Cuyler, Abraham Cornelius, 1742-1810.
    • Dalling, John.
    • Damer, George, 1746-1808.
    • Deacon, James.
    • Dickson, William.
    • Dillon, Robert, Jr.
    • Dinzey, Thomas.
    • Donkin, Robert, 1727-1821.
    • Drewe, Edward, d.1793.
    • Drummond, John.
    • Eden, William, 1744-1814.
    • Edmeston, Robert.
    • Edmeston, William.
    • Fawson, Jones.
    • Ferguson, David.
    • Ferguson, George.
    • Ferguson, Joseph.
    • Forster, Matthew.
    • Fraser, George.
    • Fraser, John.
    • Garth, George, d.1819.
    • Germain, George.
    • Gillan, John.
    • Gordon, Abraham Cyrus.
    • Gordon, Adam, 1726-1801.
    • Gould [Morgan], Sir Charles, 1726-1806.
    • Granard, George Forbes, 1760-1837.
    • Gray, John.
    • Grenville, J.
    • Haviland, William, 1718-1784.
    • Herbert, John Richardson, d.1793.
    • Heriot, George, 1759-1839.
    • Hewetson, William.
    • Hood, Samuel Hood, Viscount, 1724-1816.
    • Hotham, William, 1736-1813.
    • Jenkinson, Charles, baron Hawkesbury, Earl of Liverpool, 1727-1808.
    • Johnson, Mathew.
    • Jones, Daniel.
    • Laforey, John, 1729-1796.
    • Lewis, Matthew.
    • Lisburne, Wilmot Vaughan, d.1800.
    • Macartney, George, 1737-1806.
    • May, Humphry.
    • Maylor, Paul.
    • Montgomery, William.
    • Murray, Frances Maria.
    • Napier, James.
    • Northumberland, Hugh Percy, 1742-1817.
    • Pagett, William.
    • Parker, Hyde, 1714-1782.
    • Patterson, Stephen.
    • Pitts, Matthew.
    • Powell, Hugh.
    • Prescott, Robert, 1725-1816.
    • Ramsay, James.
    • Reynolds-Moreton, Francis, 1739-1808.
    • Robinson, John, 1727-1802.
    • Rodney, George Brydges, 1719-1792.
    • Ross, A.
    • Russell, Peter, 1733-1808.
    • St. Leger, Anthony, d.1786.
    • Santin, Chic Fortesque.
    • Savage, Henry.
    • Scott, John, 1739-1798.
    • Scott, Thomas Barton.
    • Scudamore, John, 1727-1796.
    • Sheridan, Henry Fortich
    • Stanhope, Henry Fitzroy, 1754-1828.
    • Stopford, Joseph, d.1786.
    • Sutherland, William.
    • Sydney, Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 1733-1800.
    • Temple, William Johnstone, 1739-1796.
    • Temple, Anne, d.1793.
    • Thomas, John, d.1810.
    • Tonhouse, W.
    • Tottenham, Loftus Anthony, 1715-1811.
    • Townshend, George Townshend, 4th viscount and 1st marquis, 1724-1807.
    • Vaughan, Dorothy Elizabeth, Lady Palk, d.1849.
    • Warner, Ashton.
    • Watson, Catherine.
    • Young, Walter.
    Related Materials

    The following Clements Library collections contain letters to or from Sir John Vaughan:

    The Clements Library Graphics Division has an engraving portrait of Vaughan and one map related to Vaughan's sojourn in the West Indies:

    Martin, P. F. St. Eustatia Topogaphically Drawn & Humbly Dedicated to His Excellency John Vaughan Commander in Chief of His Majestys Forces in the West Indies. [c.1781].

    Bibliography

    Thomas, Peter D. G. "Vaughan, Sir John (c.1731-1795)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

    For an overview of the collection along with an annotated list of contributors see: Vosper, Edna Field. Report on the Sir John Vaughan Papers in the William L. Clements Library. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The William L. Clements Library, 1929.