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Cortís Navy Office associates


The admiralty's books of "promiscuous bills" at the PRO gives regular lists of Navy Office staff and their remuneration. We can assume that many of them in the 1760s are known to navy agent Henry Cort, although it is not obvious from these lists whether they are working in London.Adam Jellicoe is of course the most important in the Cort story.


Another name worthy of note is George Jackson (later Sir George Jackson Duckett).His long and distinguished career is detailed in the DNB (old and new versions).Secretary to the Navy Board in 1758, he later becomes Second Secretary to the Admiralty and Judge Advocate of the Fleet.His signature on the 1791 petition suggests that he is familiar with Cort from earlier times.


Duckett died at his London home in Upper Grosvenor Street on 15 December 1812 at the age of ninety-seven.

From Oxford DNB entry for Sir George Jackson Duckett.


Edward Bentham, head clerk from 1757 to 1772 at the Navy's ticket office, may be of interest because of the family relationship to naval architect Samuel Bentham (brother of philosopher Jeremy), whose later designs involve frequent use of the wrought iron available thanks to Cort's processes.


Benthamís ideas for improvement covered every aspect of dockyard organization, including the size of dock basins, the layout of the various offices, and measures to minimize the risk of fire in the yards.

From Oxford DNB entry for Samuel Bentham.


Edward is first cousin to Samuel's father Jeremiah.Furthermore, Samuel is baptised at St Olave's Hart Street: 9th February 1757, possibly before Cort's arrival on the scene.


Among other names worth noting are:


Timothy Brett, Comptroller of the Navy Treasure's Accounts from some time in the 1760s.His name appears on the cover of many ships' paybooks of the time.


Alexander Chorley, navy clerk, later Commissioner of Victualling.Frequently acts as navy agent.Occasionally awarded prize agency.


Andrew Douglas, paymaster 1770-85.Succeeded by Alexander Trotter.Probably father of Archibald Douglas, who gives evidence at Melville trial.


George Fennell: more than one generation.One becomes Accountant to the Treasurer of the Navy in 1780.


John Fennell: quoted as nephew to a George Fennell in October-November 1789, when an extent is issued to recover £1000 that he owes the Navy.Barely two months after Jellicoe!


George Marsh, also a navy agent.He keeps a diary, which can be viewed on the web.


Took my seat at the Victualling Board.

From George Marshís diary, 7 November 1763.

This day Lord Sandwich told me the King had been pleased to order me to be appointed a Commissioner of the Navy in the room of Thomas Hanway Esq deceased of which his Lordship gave me joy and professed great respect for me, and made many very flattering compliments to me on the occasion.

From George Marshís diary, 4 October 1772.


Robert Osborne, Comptroller of Victualling 1764-71.


Swaffield: numerous family members.George, Chief Cashier of Victualling in 1804, tells the Commission of Naval Enquiry he has worked at the Pay Office for 60 years.




Related pages


Life of Henry Cort

Work of a navy agent

Cortís navy clients

Financial prospects for a navy agent

Toulmin and other agents

Shipís pursers

Thomas Morgan