With the single exception of a love letter written in 1808, all the materials in the Duckworth Collection are dated between 1810 and 1812; the last, in May of that year. Less than a month later, Great Britain and the United States were at war. What makes the orders, instructions, and correspondence in this collection as interesting and important as they are is Duckworth's official capacity as British Governor of Newfoundland on the eve of the War of 1812. As area naval commander his papers make frequent reference to precisely those issues over which contemporary Americans thought they were fighting, such as "Free Trade and Sailor's Rights." Many of his orders and instructions to captains under his command were directly concerned with American fishing rights on the Grand Banks, the prohibition of American trade with British colonials, the searching of American ships for contraband, and the impressments of seamen.
Duckworth, Sir John Thomas. Papers, 1808-1812
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