The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Henry Tiffin Commonplace Book
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
The Henry Tiffin commonplace
book is a commonplace book that was kept by Tiffin from 1748 to 1776.
Scope and Content Note
The Henry Tiffin commonplace book is a commonplace book that was kept by Tiffin from
1748 to 1776. The contents of the book are not chronological and include a
collection of narratives, including a lengthy one on his voyage aboard the East
Indiaman Eagle to India in 1774, poems, songs, treatise
on navigation, and a number of watercolors of ships and places. Tiffin also includes
comments about a voyage on board the HMS Tavistock from
1748 to 1749 to the West Indies, and voyages on board the Royal Duke in 1752 from the Straits of Malacca to China, as well as
voyages to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and from Jamaica to Boston.
One example of the detailed contents includes "A [Succinct] List of the Royal
Navy for 1774," in which Tiffin presumably names all of the vessels, including types
and armament, from first rates down to sloops of ten guns in the Royal Navy of the
period. He also lists all of the places to which he has sailed. There are essays on
"Cruelty and Lust," an " Elegy to a Lady," and a long epistle on the death of
General Wolfe at Quebec in 1859, in addition to essays on geometry, trigonometry,
astronomy, and navigation. The book has numerous watercolor illustrations
throughout. For a detailed appendix of these illustrations, see the collection
register at the front of the box.
Henry Tiffin was a British sailor who lived during the
eighteenth century. He appears to have been well educated in navigation,
mathematics, English prose and poetry, and was an accomplished watercolorist. He
appears to have served as a common seaman on board Royal Navy vessels, as well as
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Eagle (Packet ship)
Royal Duke (Ship)
Sailors' writings, English
Voyages and travels
Watercolor painting--18th century
Great Britain--History, Naval--18th century
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex