"I George Gauld Surveyor of the Sea Coasts & Harbours of Florida &c" Florida and Pensacola
Lot 17
"I George Gauld Surveyor of the Sea Coasts & Harbours of Florida &c"
Florida and Pensacola
Sold for £ 9,600 (US$ 12,803) inc. premium

Lot Details
"I George Gauld Surveyor of the Sea Coasts & Harbours of Florida &c"
Florida and Pensacola
File of documents relating to the affairs of George Gauld, surveyor of the coast of Florida, comprising:
(i) Copy attested by Gauld of the will of John Payne, "Pilot in His Majesty's Naval Service", subscribed as "to be opened by Mr Gauld at my death" ("...being sensible of the Debt I owe to Mr George Gauld of the Town of Pensacola, and well assured he will cause that Justice to be done to this my Last Will and Testament, I do hereby give and devise unto him my said Executor, all other Lands, Goods, Chattles, Moneys due to me for my Services to the Navy and all Charts in Manuscript, as well as all other writings..."), 2 pages plus integral blank, folio, Pensacola, West Florida, 1 June 1778
(ii) Nine certificates signed by Admiral Sir Peter Parker ("P: Parker"), most additionally subscribed by him, for "the Principal Officers & Commissioners of His Majestys Navy, that Mr George Gauld appointed by the Right Hon.ble the Board of Admiralty to Survey the Coasts and Harbours of Florida &c" is due half a year's pay, 8 pages, all but one oblong 8vo, HMS Ostrich, Ruby (7), and Hector, Port Royal, 27 December 1778, 1 February 1781 (7), and 7 March 1781
(iii) Autograph letter signed by George Gauld, to George Paterson of East Sheen, Surrey, acknowledging receipt of one letter but alerting him that another has not come to hand ("...We have been in daily expectation of the London Ships for some time past but they are not as yet arrived. I enclose a Certificate to July last, I suppose you have already received a Duplicate of it from Jamaica as Mr Payne [see above] wrote me he had sent it when the Admiral signed it..."), adding that "This goes to New York in His Majestys Ship Solebay", one page, 4to, integral address leaf, postmarked, "Pensacola 25th March 1779"
(iv) Autograph Power of Attorney, signed and sealed by George Gauld, and signed as witnesses by James McNamara, "Captn of His Maj's ship Hound", Thomas Wood, Lieutenant of Marines, and Joseph Williamson, surgeon, granted to Jonathan Michie of Craven Street, London ("...Know all men by these presents, That I George Gauld Surveyor of the Sea Coasts & Harbours of Florida &c..."), marked as duplicate, 2 pages, 4to, "Pensacola in the Province of West Florida", 17 May 1780
(v) Autograph Power of Attorney, signed and sealed by George Gauld, and signed as witnesses by William Williams and David McCulloch, granted to Jonathan Michie of Craven Street, London, worded as the foregoing and marked as duplicate, 2 pages, 4to, "Pensacola in the Province of West Florida", 17 May 1780
(vi) Twelve autograph letters signed by George Gauld, to Jonathan Michie, of Craven Street, discussing legal and financial business, including the administration of John Payne's estate, interspersed with news of the war as seen from Pensacola ("...We have been long in hopes of a Reinforcement both of Ships and Men, but it seems they have given us over at Jamaica for lost. The Spaniards have not as yet attempted this place, but they have taken Mobile and the Mississippi...The Spanish Armament from the Havanna have been for some days past at Anchor off this Bar, but have not as yet attempted to force the Harbour, though they have had a fair wind for that purpose. We are in hopes that a fleet will soon come from Jamaica to our assistance..."), later letters being written from New York after the fall of Pensacola ("...I am still waiting here impatiently for a Convoy to London, which I hope will soon happen. New York is excessively dear to live at. About 3000 German troops arrived here two days ago under convoy of his Majesty's Ship Amphion and two armed Ships. Several Rebel Prizes are daily sent in here by the Cruizers and Privateers. In the course of last week no less than eight have been brought in, among which is the Trumbull a congress frigate of 32 Guns and the Belisarius a very fine Ship belonging to Salem of 24 Guns. It is said there are only two Frigates remaining of the Continental Navy vizt the Deane and Association. I should be very glad to see them brought in before I leave New York..."), one letter in duplicate, two autograph copies appended to the first letter of the series, 16 pages, folio and 4to, Pensacola, the last two from New York, 1 August 1780 to 13 August 1781
(vii) Autograph letter signed by George Gauld, to John Payne of Woodbury, Devon, father of his colleague, sending a copy of his son's will (see above), and giving an account of the state of his affairs ("...Poor John was one of the first that fell a victim, when the Spanish War began in this Province; but he died with great honour to himself, making a noble defence of the King's Vessel which he commanded. His untimely death was universally lamented, as his name and character were endeared to all that knew him, particularly to me who had been happy in an intimate friendship with him for several years..."), 2 pages, folio, autograph address leaf, docketed as being a duplicate, "Pensacola 22d Feby 1781"
(viii) Autograph Bill of Exchange signed by George Gauld, for £50, to be paid "to Mr James Aird of Pensacola", drawn on Jonathan Michie, one page, oblong 8vo, Pensacola, 13 March 1781
(ix) "Copy of Mr Gaulds letter to Mr [Philip] Stephens", Secretary of the Admiralty, giving a meticulous and graphic account of the "great Trouble and difficulty" Gauld had "in preserving my Plans, from the first time that Pensacola was threatened with invasion by the Spaniards" ("...The Fort being then unfinished, and the Platform hastily laid with Green Plank, the rain got into my Chest and almost ruined Several of the Plans; however with pains I was able to repair the injury...During the real siege I would not trust them again in the fort, but got them stowed away in a dry private place in the Hospital safe from every thing but shells...some days after the Surrender of the place, General Galvez sent his Interpreter and Chief Engineer to demand my Plans, as publick papers and Records of the Province, which were to be given up by the Capitulation...at last I got the matter compromised by letting the Engineer take copies of the Harbours of Pensacola and Mobile, and part of the General plan of the Coast reduced to a small scale...He returned me the originals safely when he had done, however my mind was never thoroughly at ease untill I got them embarked on board the flag of truce that was allowed to Carry us to New York, and we were fairly out to sea. I was much more anxious about the preservation of my Plans than of what property I had at Pensacola, which I left to its fate...The Plans shall be submitted to their Lordships inspection..."), 4 pages, folio, Leicester Fields, London, 7 March 1782
(x) Council's Opinion, of the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Charges, concerning compensation claimed by the loyalists of West Florida ("...A Partial distribution of the bounty of Parliament to the distressed Loyalists of East Florida by a reservation to his own Family of a considerable part of the said Bounty..."), each annotated with "Proofs" and "Remarks" in two columns ("...Letter to G.O. from the Loyalists 30 June 1789/ This complaint is new and very extraordinary - merely calculated to obtain the signature of a few of these People to a Petition for removal of Govr Orde..."), 9 pages, in three bifolia, folio, 1784-90
(xi) King's Bench Brief, in Phipps against Loughnan, to "oppose Annexed Rule"; the plaintiff being "Deputy paymaster of His Majesty's Forces in the West India Islands", 8 pages, large 4to, affidavits sworn 1797


  • A fine archive relating to the fate during the American Revolution of George Gauld, pioneering surveyor of Florida. Between 1764 and 1781 the Scottish surveyor George Gauld was assigned by the Admiralty to chart the waters of the Gulf Coast off British West Florida, an area extending from New Orleans to present-day Florida. Perceiving his work to be of benefit to navigators of all nations, Gauld happily shared it with others, among his beneficiaries being the American Philosophical Society, to whom he presented 'A General Description of the Sea-Coasts, Harbours, Lakes, Rivers etc of the Province of West Florida', the result of a survey completed in 1769, and one of the first maps to be added to the Society's collection; Gauld being elected to the Society in 1774. He was, however, forced to suspend work on the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys, due to the depredations of American privateers, and was taken prisoner at the siege of Pensacola in 1781. He was then taken to Havana, and released to New York, being repatriated to England, where he died shortly afterwards, aged fifty (information courtesy the American Philosophical Society). Gauld's friend and colleague, John Payne - the other main subject of this archive - had with Lieutenant John Osborne undertaken for Gauld an unauthorized survey west of the Mississippi in 1777, mapping the Texas coast to a point just west of Galveston Bay. This survey was, in its turn, to prompt the rival Spanish Hydrographic Survey's map of 1799, which for many years remained the prototype for maps of the Gulf. Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Command-in-Chief at Jamaica, signatory of nine of these documents, was an early patron of Nelson, to whom he and Lady Parker became strongly attached. As Admiral of the Fleet, he was to be the chief mourner at Nelson's funeral.
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