Auction Date: 18/10/2016 at 10:30 am
Of Historical Importance – 1815 Historical Document regarding Sir George Cockburn taking Britain’s most important prisoner the Emperor Napoleon to St Helena and being responsible for keeping him there - Commission appointing Sir George Cockburn Governor of The Cape of Goode Hope plus The Island of St Helena and Royal Naval forces in the surrounding seas. Dated 21st June 1815. Impressive manuscript document with signatures of Sir John Barrow, Robert Dundas 2nd Viscount Melville, Sir George Warrendar of Lochend and Lord Henry Paulet. With Admiralty Seal and a 5 shilling duty stamp in blue with silver seal. On Vellum size 33 x 28.5cm approx. Note: It is believed that Sir John Barrow initially proposed that Napoleon should be sent into exile on St Helena. The Government wanted a good resolute Commander to take their recently surrendered Emperor of the French to exile in St Helena, and there was probably a no more determined officer than Sir George Cockburn who the previous year had burned Washington the capital of the United States. Thus he sailed with Napoleon from Plymouth on 8th August with his Flagship the Northumberland, arriving at St Helena at St Helena on 16th October. Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Cockburn (1772 –1853) was a Royal Navy officer. As a captain he was present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in February 1797 during the French Revolutionary Wars and commanded the naval support at the reduction of Martinique in February 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars. He also directed the capture and Burning of Washington on 24 August 1814 as an advisor to Major General Robert Ross during the War of 1812. He went on to be First Naval Lord and in that capacity sought to improve the standards of gunnery in the fleet, forming a gunnery school at Portsmouth; later he ensured that the Navy had latest steam and screw technology and put emphasis of the ability to manage seamen without the need to resort to physical punishment.