Anthony H. Hoskins letter books, 1860-1861, 1869-1872
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Hoskins, Anthony Hiley, Sir, 1828-1901
- This collection is made up of 2 letter books, which contain over 270 secretarial copies of Captain Anthony H. Hoskins's official outgoing correspondence. His letters pertain to service aboard the H.M.S. Hecate (May 22, 1860-January 1, 1861), H.M.S. Plumper (January 1-July 2, 1861) and the H.M.S. Eclipse (July 20, 1869-September 27, 1871, and September 25, 1871-October 20, 1872) in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Hoskins corresponded with superior officers and fellow captains about his ships' movements, personnel, upkeep, and orders. P.H.W. Mayow and Henry F. Nicholson, acting captains on the Eclipse, wrote the letters dated between July 20, 1869, and September 20, 1869.
- 2 volumes
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, June 2012
- Scope and Content:
This collection is made up of 2 letter books, which contain over 270 secretarial copies of Captain Anthony H. Hoskins's official outgoing correspondence. His letters pertain to service aboard the H.M.S. Hecate (May 22, 1860-January 1, 1861), H.M.S. Plumper (January 1-July 2, 1861), and the H.M.S. Eclipse (July 20, 1869-September 27, 1871, and September 25, 1871-October 20, 1872) in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Hoskins corresponded with superior officers and fellow captains about his ships' movements, personnel, upkeep, and orders. P.H.W. Mayow and Henry F. Nicholson, acting captains on the Eclipse, wrote the letters dated between July 20, 1869, and September 20, 1869.
Hoskins wrote his first letters from the Hecate while stationed at Woolwich and other English ports between May and July 1860. The ship then traveled to Madeira and, after rounding Cape Horn, to the Pacific Ocean, where it spent time at Valparaíso, Chile, and the Hawaiian Islands. In his letters to Commodore James R. Drummond and other officers, he reported on aspects of the ship's daily operation, including its arrival at different ports and travels around the Pacific. He frequently informed his superiors about disciplinary measures for the sailors onboard, and often mentioned financial reports, which are not copied into the volume. On January 1, 1861, Hoskins transferred to the Plumper, which traveled from near Esquimalt, British Columbia, back to Valparaíso, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, and finally to Portsmouth, England, where he arrived in June. In addition to reports on disciplinary measures, changes in rank, and ship movements, the commander's letters include content respecting the search for information about the missing gunboat Forward and the lost crew of the Charles Tupper. A 4-page report respecting the Forward documents interactions with the crew of the trading yacht Templar and with Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) natives in November and December 1860. A 2-page letter provides a summary of the Plumper's search for information about the Charles Tupper near the Straits of Magellan (April 22, 1861). Although they discovered the shipwreck, the fate of the crew remained ambiguous. The commander wrote that they probably did not take refuge with Indians and that they likely perished while attempting to reach a settlement.
The remainder of Volume 1 (roughly 3/4 of the volume) and the entirety of Volume 2 were composed while the Eclipse served in the Caribbean and along the eastern Canadian coast between September 1869 and October 1872. The first letters in Volume 2 are attributed to P. H. W. Mayow and Henry F. Nicholson, and relate to the recent sudden death of the ship's commander, Captain Harvey. Hoskins assumed command in late September 1869. The Eclipse spent much of its time at Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Halifax, St. John's, and other ports. In letters addressed to superior officers and colonial governors, Hoskins reported on the ship's sailors, courts martial and other disciplinary actions (for desertion, theft, drunkenness, etc.), ship movements, repairs, and daily operations. Hoskins served as a regional commander in the Caribbean, and some of his letters are sailing orders for subordinate captains. One such order is a response to a request from Belize, British Honduras, for assistance against an attack by natives (May 3, 1870). Others report interactions with French, Spanish, American, and other ships (including prizes). Though the volumes overlap slightly, only one letter is common between them.
A copy of a recommendation letter Hoskins wrote for David O'Sullivan is laid into the first volume (October 11, 1872).
- Biographical / Historical:
Sir Anthony Hiley Hoskins was born in North Perrott, England, on September 1, 1828, the son of Henry Hoskins (1790-1876) and Mary Phelips. In April 1842, Hoskins joined the Royal Navy, and he served in Africa and China until the late 1850s. From 1860 to 1861, he worked onboard the Hecate and the Plumper in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and was promoted to captain in 1863. From mid-1869 until at least 1872, he was the commander of the Eclipse in the Caribbean and off the coast of Canada. After returning to England for a brief visit, he served in the Mediterranean. In 1891, he became an admiral and senior naval lord of the Admiralty, a position he held until his retirement in 1893. He and his wife, Dorothea Ann Eliza Robinson (d. 1901), married on October 27, 1865, and had no children. Sir Anthony H. Hoskins died on June 21, 1901.
- Acquisition Information:
- 1956. M-1012 .
- Processing information:
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Laughton, J. K., and Andrew Lambert. "Hoskins, Sir Anthony Hiley." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/34007
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Charles Tupper (Ship)
Great Britain. Royal Navy--Discipline.
Great Britain. Royal Navy--Officers.
Great Britain. Royal Navy--Sea life.
Mayow, P. H. W.
Nicholson, Henry F.
Caribbean Area--Description and travel.
Pacific Ocean--Description and travel.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Anthony H. Hoskins Letter Books, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan