Peter Paul Dobree on Cadiz, Spanish ladies, and politics, 1811

A letter from Peter Paul Dobrée, (1782-1825), who was born in Guernsey and became Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University in 1823. In 1811 he had visited 'Don Pedro' (Peter Carey) Tupper, the Guernsey-born and immensely wealthy British consul in Valencia. The illustration of Cadiz is from Sir John Carr's Descriptive travels in the southern and eastern parts of Spain and the Balearic isles, in the year 1809, London: 1811, in the Library collection.

14 February 1814: A Guernseyman's golden Valentine

Dug from Lima's golden mine, We hail it as our Valentine. HMS Menelaus recaptured a very valuable French prize, the Spanish treasure-ship the St Juan Baptista. The master was a Guernseyman, and Guernsey people are often very careful with money. This one certainly was. The account is from The Life of a Sailor by Frederick Chamier (1796-1870), some of whose tales are probably rather tall.

December 23, 1803: The loss of the Grappler and the sufferings of its captain and crew

Chaussey, or Choye, is a group of islets lying off the coast of Normandy, about twenty miles from Jersey, and nine from Granville. They stretch north, east, and west, and cover a space of nearly twelve miles. The principal of them is called the MaÎtre Isle, and is the resort of a few French fishermen during the summer, but being only a rock, and totally devoid of vegetation, its inhabitants are entirely dependent on the neighbouring shores for all the necessaries of life, excepting what their nets may produce. At the time of which we are writing, the winter of 1803, this group of islets was in the hands of the English, and was the scene of the wreck of the Grappler in that year.

100 men lost: HMS Boreas, 28 November 1807

James Saumarez' account of the loss of the 28-gun frigate Boreas, wrecked on the Hanois rocks on November 28th, 1807. This disaster was one of the major factors in the eventual decision to erect a lighthouse there. The number of men who died is uncertain; 77 were saved. Captain Robert Scott's wife is also said to have been drowned. From Cobbett's Political Register, Vol. 12, 1807, p. 928.