Prince Edward: Letter to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn about the Admiralty list of the North American station

Prince Edward: Letter to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn about the Admiralty list of the North American station
Prince Edward to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn Letter
Prince Edward: Letter to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn about the Admiralty list of the North American station
Prince Edward to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn Letter

Prince Edward: Letter to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn about the Admiralty list of the North American station

875.00

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820)

Prince Edward to the Bermuda Governor Cockburn about the Admiralty list of the North American station, 10 February 1813

Fourth son of King George III and father of Queen Victoria. Letter signed (“Edward”). 2 ¼ pages. 4to. (8 x 9 ¾ inches). The Lodge Castle Hill [Ealing], 10 February 1813. To Sir James Cockburn, (1771–1852), Governor of Bermuda from 1811–1819 and the ninth Baronet of Langton, Berwick.

My Dear Sir James,

I have to return you many thanks for your obliging favor of Friday last, in consequence of which I intend pressing Lord Melville to place my young Protégé Smyth upon the Admiralty list of the North American Station for which he is destined, which if I accomplish I shall feel I owe entirely to your suggestion. Having the opportunity of writing to you I avail myself of it to inquire if it will suit you to come and dine with us here on Tuesday next the 16th inst. at ½ past 6 oclock, together with your worthy friend & neighbour Lord Northwick to whom I will beg of you to make the proposal in my name presuming that you will both like to come over together, as you have done before. In the mean while I remain with every sentiment of friendly regard and sincere esteem My dear James

Yours Faithfully Edward

Edward lived in Canada from 1791 to 1798 and again as the commander-in-chief of British forces in North America from 1799 to 1800, during which time he improved the military defenses of the British naval installment at Halifax. He served as governor of Gibraltar from 1802 to 1803 and retained that title until his death. However, his most important accomplishment was providing a legitimate heir to the English in his daughter, Victoria, who succeeded her uncle, William IV, to become queen of England in 1837.

From 1806 to 1807, Cockburn served as under-secretary of state for war and the colonies, during which time he became a close friend of Edward. Cockburn was governor of Bermuda from 1811 to 1819, a tenure which saw the War of 1812 between the British and the Americans drastically increase Bermuda’s strategic importance. It was from Bermuda that the famous attack on Washington, D.C., was launched, as were naval battles fought on the Chesapeake Bay. During the War of 1812, Cockburn became infamous for allowing privateers in Bermuda waters to attack ships flying the American Flag. Cockburn was one of several distinguished brothers including British naval commander Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet (1772-1853), of whom Edward is seeking a favor for Midshipman William Smyth, stationed aboard the HMS Plantagenet. Distinguishing himself during the Napoleonic wars, Cockburn rose to the positions of rear-admiral of the United Kingdom, admiral of the fleet and first sea lord. 

Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville (1771-1851) was first lord of the Admiralty 1812-1827 and 1828-1830 and, at the time of our letter, was occupied with the naval demands of the ongoing Napoleonic Wars. It was in this capacity that Edward sought to influence him to take on Smyth. Over the course of his political career, Melville was an MP, president of the Board of Control for India, chief secretary for Ireland, governor of the Bank of Scotland, and the chancellor of the University of St. Andrews.

John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick (1770–1859) was an English peer and art collector. Northwick developed a love of collecting from his friend, famed diplomat Sir William Hamilton. In addition to Hamilton and his wife Lady Emma Hamilton, Northwick counted among his close friends naval hero Horatio Nelson and the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. His collection, for which he was renowned, included everything from Old Master paintings and enamels to furniture and coins and was sold at auction in 1859 after he died intestate.

Written on a folded sheet which has been folded for mailing. In very good condition.

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