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
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
1928, 1944, 1989. M-38, M-500, M-2520i .
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
John Vaughan Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is bound into three volumes with two loose items housed separately.
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