This is one of the volumes I photographed in 2014 when I was on a “instructions and orders” kick. ADM 2/1740 is a volume of Instructions & orders from 1660-1684, copied into this volume. Unfortunately, I never again looked at it until recently when I was doing some planning for this series of posts. In hindsight, this is an absolutely fascinating volume. Check out the inside of the first page.
On the left, we have an inscription in French, describing this collection as fascinating. Further, this volume was received from the papers of the Chevalier D’Eon, a French nobleman, diplomat and spy of the middle 18th Century who died in London in 1810. (I had never heard of D’Eon until writing this blurb- but they are fascinating, and you should absolutely look them up if you’re not familiar with them already). The foreword is signed by John Wilson Croker, secretary to the Admiralty 1809 to 1830. The English portion reads “This book was found among the papers of the late Chev. d’Eon & sent to me by Mr Beckett who had it from the executors of that person.” This raises the question of how did this volume come into the possession of the Chevalier- and when was it made? It looks to me like a regular Admiralty Copy volume, like many of the others that are available in various collections at Kew and Caird (some of which came from private collections such as those of Clumber House- of people who were connected to the Admiralty at some point). Unfortunately, there are no clues here as to how the Chevalier D’Eon acquired the volume.
These orders (and other out-letters) are from the period of Charles II (and the Duke of York as Lord High Admiral)- and so they are present in these documents. For example, the letter above is to “My Most Entirely Beloved cosen” Prince Rupert and to Monck, Duke of Albemarle.
This volume is full of basically every kind of instruction- from specific orders to various flag officers, to the more generic instructions (improved from the 1630s versions for the various officers of dockyards, of ships-in-ordinary. Operational and Administrative matters. Many of the orders are summarized in the margins. There are far too many to describe, aside from saying if you’re looking for something that came from the Admiralty and went out, it’s like to be here. The photos from this volume are available here, and there are 174 images. Unfortunately my hand covers up some of the text on some of the pages, it seems I wasn’t paying close enough attention. My apologies.