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Lieutenant William Bligh diary leaf recounting his uncomfortable journey to London (for surveying the Coast near Dungeness in preparation of the Napoleonic Wars)

 Collection — Box: Vault Accessions, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16499

Content Description

Lieutenant William Bligh diary handwritten leaf recounting his uncomfortable journey to London (for surveying the Coast near Dungeness in preparation of the Napoleonic Wars)in 1803. He writes, Friday 16, 1803 "[Dear Wm?] At 4 this morning I got into the [Balloon] Coach [ ] Passengers [two] ladies, sisters called Miss Wear's.

Very much [destroyed?] by the frequent stopping of the coachmen.

Saturday 17, 1803 "D. [Wm] After a tedious & unpleasant nights traveling and equally so through the day I did not get home until [11] at night. This conveyance is cheap but very tiresome. We [might to have?] in London about 1/2 past 3 in the afternoon."

There is a note on the back of the leaf indicating that "this leaf is cut out of Admiral William Bligh's diary when sent to survey the coast when threatened with invasion by Bonaparte."


  • Creation: 16-17 [December?] 1803


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The name of William Bligh (1754-1817) "will for all time be associated with the incident of the Bounty Mutiny during his first mission of transporting the Bread Fruit to the West Indies. This was, however, but one episode in his eventful career in the Royal Navy. At various times he took part in scientific expeditions and voyages of discovery, commanded fighting ships, etc. Between 1797 and 1803 he fulfilled the duty of hydrographic surveyor and carried out a number of surveys of limited areas in the British Isles and adjacent coasts of Europe. These examinations, of which the River Humber, Dublin Bay, Dungeness and the mouth of the River Schelde are the most detailed, were valuable additions to hydrographic knowledge, coming as they did before organized surveying as we know it today had fully established itself."

Source: Robinson, A. H. W., "CAPTAIN WILLIAM BLIGH, R.N., HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEYOR" Empire Survey Review, 1952. 11:85, 301-306, DOI: 10.1179/sre.1952.11.85.301


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 letter folder)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is a gift of Clifton Waller Barrett to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 11 January 1946. The manuscript leaf was laid in a printed book (DU21 .B62 1792) but in April 2021, it was decided that it would be better to catalog and shelve it separately as a manuscript.

Guide to the William Bligh diary leaf
Ellen Welch
10 May 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States