Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
John W. Croker Papers, 1765-1860

Finding aid created by
Erin Platte and Meg Hixon, January 2012

Summary Information
Title: John W. Croker papers
Creator: Croker, John Wilson, 1780-1857
Inclusive dates: 1765-1860
Bulk dates: 1765-1857
Extent: 21 linear feet
Abstract:
This collection contains materials related to the personal and political life of Irish politician and writer John Wilson Croker, who served as secretary to the Admiralty from 1809 to 1830.
Language: The material is in English, French, and Latin
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:

1934-1991. M-234, M-271, M-273, M-510, M-514, M-1512, M-2714.5.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Alternate Format:

Volumes 1-26 of John W. Croker's private letter books have been digitally photographed. Some letters have also been published. See the additional descriptive data below.

Preferred Citation:

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


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
    • Subseries I: Chronological Correspondence
    • Subseries II: Alphabetical Correspondence
    • Subseries III: Bundled Correspondence
    • Subseries IV: Letter Books
  • Series II: Diaries
  • Series III: Political, Legal, and Judicial Manuscripts
  • Series IV: Financial Records
  • Series V: Poetry
  • Series VI: Lists and Indexes
  • Series VII: Subject Volumes
  • Series VIII: Printed Materials

Biographies of Prominent Individuals in the Collection

John Wilson Croker was born in Galway, Ireland, on December 10, 1780, the son of John Croker and Hester Rathbone. After attending school in Cork, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1796, and was admitted to the Irish Bar in 1802. He then spent time on the Munster circuit, where he met Daniel O'Connell. He entered Parliament as a representative for Downpatrick in 1807, and became secretary to the Admiralty in 1809, a position he held until 1830. He lost a parliamentary election in 1812, but soon reentered the House of Commons, where he represented multiple different districts until 1832. Although he was a Tory, Croker supported Catholic emancipation in Ireland and maintained close political ties with Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel. He was also a frequent contributor to The Quarterly Review and the editor of an updated edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson. He married Rosamund Carrington Pennell in May 1806. He died on August 10, 1857.

John Gibson Lockhart was born in Scotland on July 14, 1794, and worked as a biographer, critic, and novelist; he published his seven-volume Life of Sir Walter Scott in 1837-1838. His wife Sophia was Scott's daughter. A frequent contributor to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Lockhart became editor of The Quarterly Review in 1825. He died on November 25, 1854.

Thomas Babington Macaulay was born on October 25, 1800, and became a politician, historian, and essayist. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and afterward studied law at Lincolns Inn, London. A Whig, Macaulay served in the House of Commons as well as on the Board of Control for the East India Company. He died on December 28, 1859.

William Huskisson was born on March 11, 1770, and served as a member of Parliament and as secretary to the Treasury. In 1823, he helped to negotiate a free-trade policy as president of the Board of Trade. He was fatally injured in an accident during the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway on September 15, 1830.

George Canning was born on April 11, 1770, and served as treasurer of the Navy under Prime Minister William Pitt in 1804. He held the position of prime minister for four months in 1827, until his death on August 8 of that year.

Spencer Perceval was born on November 1, 1762, and was trained as a lawyer. He entered Parliament in 1796 and succeeded the 3rd Duke of Portland as Prime Minister on October 4, 1809. He remained in office until he was assassinated in the House of Commons in 1812.

Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet , was born on April 22, 1772. He joined the Royal Navy in 1781, eventually ascending to the rank of rear admiral. He served during the Napoleonic wars and in the War of 1812, during which he commanded the burning of Washington, D.C., and was later elected to Parliament. He died on August 19, 1853.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials related to the personal and political life of Irish politician and writer John Wilson Croker, who served as Secretary to the Admiralty from 1809 to 1830. The collection (approximately 25,000 items) includes correspondence and letter books, diaries, financial records, poetry, printed materials, and political, legal, and judicial manuscripts.

The Correspondence series is divided into 4 subseries: a chronological sequence, an alphabetical sequence, bundled groups of letters, and letter books. The Chronological , Alphabetical , and Bundled subseries contain personal and political letters that Croker exchanged with colleagues, including many items pertaining to his career as secretary to the Admiralty. These include material on the Napoleonic Wars, such as dispatches from the Duke of Wellington (1810-1852) and information on the locations of British troops and ships. Additional material concerns the War of 1812 and military news about the Iberian Peninsula; the series also contains Croker's correspondence with Lord Ashburton regarding peace negotiations with the United States. A letter from March 22, 1813, pertains to the battle between the USS Constitution and HMS Java off of the Brazilian coast.

The series also includes a list of transports awaiting convoy (April 24, 1813), information on Russian ships (May 10, 1813), and 2 printed bulletins in French regarding Napoleon Bonaparte (October 9, 1813, and June 14, 1814). Later material reflects Croker's literary career, particularly his contributions to The Quarterly Review. Croker's personal correspondence includes letters to and from family members and friends. Items post-dating Croker's death largely originated from Edward Gifford, who discussed the treatment of Croker's papers. Further letters in the collection are addressed to Croker's wife, Rosamund Carrington Pennell, and reflect Croker's family life as well as aspects of his political life in London.

The collection's 45 Letter Books include Croker's private letter books and their indexes, as well as bound groups of letters organized by correspondent. Croker kept his set of 28 "private" letter books between 1811 and 1857; they contain copies of letters he authored on personal and political matters. The bulk of the political correspondence relates to Croker's duties as secretary to the Admiralty and to his relationship with the Duke of Wellington. The series contains 3 indexes to these volumes.

The remaining 14 letter books contain letters that Croker received from individual correspondents:

  • "Canning, Holograph Letters to Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume, 1812-1827) is comprised of letters from George Canning. Canning's letters relate to personal and political matters, including affairs of the Houses of Parliament and the Admiralty; he frequently inquired about the French Marine and about ships stationed in foreign waters. Some of the letters were composed during Canning's tenure as Ambassador to Portugal (1814-1816).
  • "Admiral Cockburn, His Holograph correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume, 1809-1830). These letters by Sir George Cockburn pertain to domestic politics within Great Britain, as well as to issues related to the Admiralty and to other members of government, including George Canning. Some private correspondence concerns affairs with the United States. This volume also contains "A Map intended to illustrate the threatened Invasion of England by Bonaparte," as well as a chart entitled "The No. and Description of guns carried by H.M.S. Victory at different periods." The volume also contains photocopies of letters that Croker wrote to Cockburn.
  • "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (6 volumes, 1819-1854) is comprised of letters by John Gibson Lockhart pertaining to the British Admiralty.
  • "Huskisson, His Original Holograph Correspondence with the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume, 1815-1828). This volume contains letters by William Huskisson about the British Admiralty.
  • "Spencer Perceval, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume, 1808-1812) includes personal letters from Spencer Perceval. Perceval's letters focus on a political matters related Parliament and the British government.
  • Copies of letters from King George III to Lord Halifax, Duke of Cumberland, Lord Rockingham, and General Conway (1 volume, 1765-1770)
  • Copies of letters by King George III to Lord Weymouth (1 volume, 1768-1779)
  • Copies of letters by King George III to Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (1 volume, 1804-1807), comprised of copied correspondence between King George III and Robert Stewart about British diplomacy and domestic politics.
  • Copies of letters from William IV, Duke of Clarence, to John W. Croker (1 volume, 1810-1828)

The Diaries series contains 24 diaries that Croker kept between 1797 and 1829, the bulk of which are dated between 1817 and 1829. Several of Croker's diaries are travel accounts. Additional diaries are 19th-century manuscript copies, including "Extract from the Journal of a Tour through England in the year 1735 written by Mr. Whaley Fellow of Kings Coll. Cambridge," and extracts from diaries by Lord Hertford (1822) and Sir Henry Hulford (1831).

A series of Political, Legal, and Judicial Manuscripts relates to contemporary British politics and to foreign relations, particularly with France. The series contains an essay draft written by Croker and annotated by Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, entitled "Observations on Choumara's Book," May 16, 1838 (referring to Choumara's The Battle of Toulouse), as well as Croker's notes on conversations with the Duke. The series also contains an undated, 254-page speech by Croker.

Five bound volumes pertain to the contested will of Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquis of Hertford, including a copy of his will and codicils (1842) and records from Croker's legal case against Richard Seymour Conway regarding the will's validity (1844).

The Financial Records series contains miscellaneous receipts and accounts that document Croker's finances between 1842 and 1855. The series includes material such as a receipt for wine shipped to Haiding Gifford in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and 5 account books.

The Poetry series includes loose manuscript copies of poems and 2 bound volumes: Croker's translations of Greek poems (1799) and a poem by Hugh Warrender entitled "The Night."

A group of Lists and Indexes relate to Parliamentary elections, birth records, and other topics.

Three Subject Volumes include the following:

  • A volume containing journal articles and reviews of the works of Thomas Babington Macaulay, including an answer to his criticisms of Croker's edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson.
  • A volume of records, letters, and drawings related to the Croker family's property at West Molesey, Surrey, England. The volume contains 20 pen and ink drawings of architectural plans for the renovated house, as well as maps of the surrounding area. The volume also includes bills and contracts for the architectural work.
  • A volume pertaining to the Croker family, which contains letters, histories, family trees, and illustrations of the family's crests. A Latin document reflects the family's time in Dublin, and a gravestone rubbing depicts a knight laid to rest. Family tree sketches include around 12 versions of the family crest and trace its development over time.

The Printed Materials series consists of pamphlets, newspapers, and clippings about a variety of topics, particularly the French Revolution and issues in contemporary Irish politics.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Dublin (Ireland)--Description and travel--Early works to 1800.
    • France--Description and travel.
    • Great Britain. Admiralty.
    • Great Britain. Parliament.
    • Great Britain--Politics and government--1789-1820.
    • Great Britain--Politics and government--1830-1837.
    • Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821.
    • Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815.
    • Quarterly review (London, England)
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Surrey (England)
    Contributors:
    • Canning, George, 1770-1827.
    • Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, Viscount, 1769-1822.
    • Cockburn, George, Sir, 1772-1853.
    • George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820.
    • Huskisson, W. (William), 1770-1830.
    • Lockhart, J. G. (John Gibson), 1794-1854.
    • Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859.
    • Perceval, Spencer, 1762-1812.
    • Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of, 1769-1852.
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Diaries.
    • Essays.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letter books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Notes.
    • Poems.
    • Speeches.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
     
    Chronological correspondence [subseries]
    Box   1  
     1777 August-1810 May
    Box   2  
     1810 May-1811 September
    Box   3  
     1811 October-1812 December
    Box   4  
     1813 January-1814 June
    Box   5  
     1814 June-1816 December
    Box   6  
     1817 January-1819 December
    Box   7  
     1820 January-1821 September
    Box   8  
     1821 September-1823 July
    Box   9  
     1823 August-1825 December
    Box   10  
     1826 January-1828 April
    Box   11  
     1828 May-1830 April
    Box   12  
     1830 May-1832-December
    Box   13  
     1833 January-1838 December
    Box   14  
     1839 January-1845-December
    Box   15  
     1846 January-1849 December
    Box   16  
     1850 January-1852 December
    Box   17  
     1853 January-1855 December
    Box   18 Folders   1-7
     1856 January-1860,  1880
    Folders   8-10  
     Undated, J. W. Croker outgoing correspondence
    Folders   11-31  
     Undated, writers Adair to Lonsdale
    Box   19 Folders   1-7
     Undated, writers Lonsdale to Yorke
     
    Alphabetical Correspondence [subseries]
    Box   20  
    Aberdeen-Bowdler
    Box   21  
    Brabant-Coquland
    Box   22  
    Coke-Elrington
    Box   23  
    Fagel-Hargood
    Box   24  
    Harrington-Loraine
    Box   25  
    Lowe-Peel
    Box   26  
    Peel-Tyrell
    Box   27  
    Upton-Yorke; Unknown Correspondents
    Box   28  
    Unkown Correspondents
    Box   29  
    Unkown Correspondents
     
    Bundled Correspondence [subseries]
    Box   30 Folder   1
    King George III letters to Lord and Lady Howe,  1783-1805 [19th century manuscript copies]
    Folder   2  
    Applications to the Admiralty Office,  1828 February 22
    Folders   3-8  
    John Murray and Ashburton letters to J. W. Croker,  1829 January-[1857], and  undated
    Folder   9  
    Letters to Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte from Napoleon Bonaparte,  1806-1809 [19th century facsimiles]
     
    Letter books [subseries]
    Volume   i  
    Index to private letter books,  1809-1818
    Volume   ii  
    Index to private letter books,  1817-1824
    Volume   iii  
    Index to private letter books,  1825-1830
    Volume   1  
    Private letter book,  1811 January 22 - 1812 July 24
    Volume   2  
    Private letter book,  1812 July 24 - 1813 August 30
    Volume   3  
    Private letter book,  1813 August 31 - 1814 September 30
    Volume   4  
    Private letter book,  1814 October 1 - 1815 December 25
    Volume   5  
    Private letter book,  1815 December 28 - 1816 December 5
    Volume   6  
    Private letter book,  1816 December 5 - 1817 December 4
    Volume   7  
    Private letter book,  1817 December 4 - 1818 November 2
    Volume   8  
    Private letter book,  1818 November 2 - 1819 September 14
    Volume   9  
    Private letter book,  1819 September 14 - 1820 September 14
    Volume   10  
    Private letter book,  1820 September 13 - 1821 July 25
    Volume   11  
    Private letter book,  1821 July 24 - 1822 May 8
    Volume   12  
    Private letter book,  1822 May 9 - 1822 November 19
    Volume   13  
    Private letter book,  1822 November 20 - 1823 July 12
    Volume   14  
    Private letter book,  1823 July 14 - 1824 April 23
    Volume   15  
    Private letter book,  1824 April 24 - 1825 January 22
    Volume   16  
    Private letter book,  1825 January 24 - 1825 September 23
    Volume   17  
    Private letter book,  1825 September 23 - 1826 May 12
    Volume   18  
    Private letter book,  1826 May 15 - 1826 December 1
    Volume   19  
    Private letter book,  1826 December 1 - 1827 May 25
    Volume   20  
    Private letter book,  1827 May 25 - 1827 December 31
    Volume   21  
    Private letter book,  1828 January 1 - 1828 July 23
    Volume   22  
    Private letter book,  1828 July 24 - 1829 May 19
    Volume   23  
    Private letter book,  1829 May 20 - 1829 December 19
    Volume   24  
    Private letter book,  1829 December 21 - 1830 October 8
    Volume   25  
    Private letter book,  1830 October 13 - 1831 May 17
    Volume   26  
    Private letter book,  1831 May 17 - 1832 August 9
    Volume   27  
    Private letter book,  1832 August 28 - 1837 December 15
    Volume   28  
    Private letter book,  1838 January 20 - 1851 May 9
    Volume   29  
    "Canning, Holograph Letters to Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume,  1812-1827)
    Volume   30  
    "Admiral Cockburn, His Holograph correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume,  1809-1830)
    Volume   31  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  1819-1837
    Volume   32  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  1838-1844
    Volume   33  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  1845-1847
    Volume   34  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  1848-1850
    Volume   35  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  1851-1854
    Volume   36  
    "Lockhart, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker,"  undated
    Volume   37  
    "Huskisson, His Original Holograph Correspondence with the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume,  1815-1828)
    Volume   38  
    "Spencer Perceval, His Holograph Correspondence to the Rt. Hon. J. W. Croker" (1 volume,  1808-1812)
    Volume   39  
    Copies of letters from King George III to Lord Halifax, Duke of Cumberland, Lord Rockingham, and General Conway (1 volume,  1765-1770)
    Volume   40  
    Copies of letters by King George III to Lord Weymouth (1 volume,  1768-1779)
    Volume   41  
    Copies of letters by King George III to Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (1 volume,  1804-1807)
    Volume   42  
    Copies of letters from William IV, Duke of Clarence, to John W. Croker (1 volume,  1810-1828)
     
    Diaries [series]
    Box   30 Folder   10
    "Extract from the Journal of a Tour through England in the year 1735 written by Mr. Whaley Fellow of Kings Coll. Camb." [19th century copy]
    Volume   43  
    John W. Croker Notes on Dublin,  1797
    Volume   44  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1809 April 18-1809 April 28
    Volume   45  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1809
    Volume   46  
    John W. Croker Diary, Paris,  1817
    Volume   47  
    John W. Croker Diary, Trip to Ireland,  1817
    Volume   48  
    John W. Croker Diary, Brighton,  1818
    Volume   49  
    John W. Croker Diary, London to Paris, Paris to Home,  1819
    Volume   50  
    John W. Croker Diary, Paris,  1819
    Volume   51  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1820
    Volume   52  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1820
    Box   30 Folder   10
    "Original Notes … on our tour October 1820"
    Volume   53  
    John W. Croker Diary, Paris,  1820
    Volume   54  
    John W. Croker Diary, Orleans, etc.,  1820
    Volume   55  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1821
    Volume   56  
    John W. Croker Diary, Brighton,  1822
    Volume   57  
    John W. Croker Diary, Plymouth,  1824
    Volume   58  
    John W. Croker Diary, Brighton,  1825
    Volume   59  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1825
    Volume   60  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1827
    Volume   61  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1827
    Volume   62  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1828
    Volume   63  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1829
    Volume   64  
    John W. Croker Diary,  1850
    Volume   65  
    Lord Hertford Diary,  1822
    Volume   66  
    Extracts from Sir Henry Hulford diary,  1831
     
    Political, Legal, and Judicial Manuscripts [series]
    Box   31 Folder   1
    John W. Croker, Notes of Conversations with the Duke of Wellington,  1831-1834
    Folders   2-5  
    John W. Croker, "Observations on Choumara's Book," with autograph corrections made by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington,  May 1838
    Folder   6  
    John W. Croker, "Folkestone,"  1852 September 4, respecting a visit from the Duke of Wellington
    Volume   67  
    "Notes on what passed about a change of Ministry-May 1832"
    Volume   68  
    Copy of the Will & Codicils of the Marquis of Hertford,  1842
    Volume   69  
    Printed Judiciary Records from Croker v. Conway,  1844 , part 1
    Volume   70  
    Printed Judiciary Records from Croker v. Conway,  1844 , part 2
    Volume   71  
    Joint Appendix-Croker v. Conway,  1844 February 5 , part 1
    Volume   72  
    Joint Appendix-Croker v. Conway,  1844 February 5 , part 2
    Volume   73  
    John W. Croker essay drafts,  undated
    Box   31 Folders   7-11
    John W. Croker, Draft of a speech,  undated
    Folders   12-23  
    Political Drafts and Notes,  [19th century]
     
    Financial Records [series]
     
    Documents and Receipts [subseries]
    Box   32 Folders   1-2
     December 1816-December 1865
     
    Account Books [subseries]
    Volume   74  
    John W. Croker, Wood Types and Locations,  1842
    Volume   75  
    John W. Croker,  1845-1849
    Volume   76  
    John W. Croker, Bank Book for Mess. Coutts & Co.,  1851-1857
    Volume   77  
    Mr. Elphiek, Rent Paid,  1852-1855
    Volume   78  
    John W. Croker,  1857
     
    Poetry [series]
    Box   32 Folder   3
     undated
    Volume   79  
    John W. Croker, Greek Poetry Translations,  1799
    Volume   80  
    Hugh Warrender, The Night,  undated
     
    Lists and Indexes [series]
    Box   32 Folders   4-8
     [19th century]
     
    Subject Volumes [series]
    Volume   81  
    Thomas Babington Macaulay,  1849-1856
    Volume   82  
    West Molesey Parsonage,  1828-1844
    Volume   83  
    Croker Family records,  undated
    Box   32  
    Printed Materials [series]
    Folders   9-16  
     1811-1855
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    The following maps are housed in the Map Division:

    Related Materials

    The following map has been cataloged in the library's online catalog: Shawe, Matthew. [Positions of French and British Armies Outside Bayonne]. St. Jean de Luz, 1813.

    Selected letters from this collection are published in the following volumes:

    Several other collections in the Manuscripts Division hold material by and related to Croker, including the following:

    Additional Resources:

    • The Clements Library also holds several books by and about Croker. Search for these on the University's online catalog.
    • A partial bibliography of other collections of John W. Croker papers is available in the Manuscripts Division.
    • A report on the provenance of the Croker papers is available in the Manuscripts Division.
    • A list of pen and ink drawings within the Croker papers is available in the Manuscripts Division.
    Bibliography

    Aspinall, Arthur C. V. D. "George Canning." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 August 2013.

    Extract from a Diary of Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn, with Particular Reference to Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte, on Board H.M.S. "Northumberland," Bearing the Rear-Admiral Flag. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1888.

    Knowles, Michael David. "Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 August 2013.

    "Spencer Perceval." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 August 2013.

    Thomas, William. "Croker, John Wilson (1780-1857)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2004. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/6738

    "William Huskisson." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 August 2013.