||The Admiralty records now at the National Maritime Museum, consist of the original orders from the Admiralty to the Navy Board from 1688-1815 (ADM/A & ADM/N& ADM/RP & ADM/Q & ADM/P & ADM/OT), and the Navy Board replies from 1733-1831 (ADM/B & ADM/BP & ADM/D & ADM/DP& ADM/F& ADM/FP). Orders to the Navy Board relating to transports during the period when there was no Transport Board were bound up separately as were those relating to the special appointment of General Bentham, as Inspector General of Naval Works, during the Napoleonic War. The Navy Board letters respecting the fitting of ships from 1804-1809 were separated from the general correspondence, and bound with a chronological index at the beginning. In addition to these main series of orders from the Admiralty to the Navy Board, there are some copies of orders for the Ticket Office from 1774-1815, and some loose papers relating to the Marine Office and a few orders for the Office of Stores (ADM/J&K).
The Admiralty orders to the Victualling Commissioners from 1707-1815 (ADM/C) are included in this collection, as well as the abstract of Admiralty orders from 1694-1819 (ADM/G) and the Victualling Board’s replies from 1703-1822 (ADM/H). The Admiralty orders to the commissioners for taking care of sick and wounded seamen from 1702-1806 form a complete series, supplemented by the Commissioners replies from 1742-1806 (ADM/E). Orders relating to prisoners of war were bound up separately and cover the years from 1743, some distinction being made for the different nationalities (ADM/M). Both these series of orders were continued when the Transport Boards took over the Commissioners; the former series has been preserved in this collection up to 1815 (ADM/ET), and the latter from 1796-99 (ADM/MT).
The Lieutenant’s logs which total 5,205 volumes are bound according to the name of the ship, some Captain’s logs being included (ADM/L). There are also bound up with some logs, accounts of expenses of paper and ticket books. The Lieutenant’s log was accompanied by a certificate from his captain stating that he had complied with the printed instructions and not been absent from his ship. These journals were deposited first in the Admiralty Office and a certificate was made out, for which the chief clerk received 2s 6d.’ though captains usually paid 5s 0d. The chief clerk then abstracted details of the voyage of each ship from her logs “specifying the day of her sailing - of her arrival at each port, her stay there and departure there from”. The logs were then passed to the Navy Office where the clerk of the acts made out certificates “to enable the lieutenants and masters to receive their wages”. It was also his duty to “arrange and keep the journals and log books of every ship that may be delivered of the proceedings from the time of such journals and log books”. The logs in this collection have been preserved from the time of Pepys until 1809, when the procedure for keeping logs was altered, and contained much useful information. The logs were kept according to the nautical calendar, which counted the day as starting at mid-day, until 1805 when the civil practice was adopted.
The only records for the period after 1832, which are included in this collection, are those of the Surveyor’s department for the years 1832-39. These letters, addressed to the Board of Admiralty, contain some interesting material on ship-building. There are also a number of volumes of papers relating to the preparation of naval estimates for the years 1849-1883, as far as the Victualling department was concerned.