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Title: Letter- To Lieutenant John Skynner from Admiral Rikord
Identifier: 2007.1.11
Donor: unknown
Item Date: 1830
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2007
Location: Museums of Mississauga

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Description: A hand written letter, 3 pages on 2 sheets. See enclosed transcription. The letter recalls the friendship of Admiral Rikord and Lieutenant Skynner. The letter also mentions Sir John and Lady Stoddard, Skynner's "daughter" Marian, and the Governor at "Trans-Chatka". Rikord states his affection for Skynner with an invitation to St. Petersburg. Rikord notes three voyages: Japan, Constantinople and Dardanelles. Rikord gives his best wishes to Skynner and re-states his affectionate friendship. The paper is plain therefore this is a friendly letter only. There are reddish adhesive residues at the top edge indicating the paper came from a common tablet. The fold lines show the letter had been folded in six.

History: Malta was the Royal Navy's central naval base for the Mediterranean fleet during and after the Napoleonic wars. Commander Skynner was serving as a half-pay officer on the island when he met a Russian vice-admiral, Pyotr Rikord. The British permitted Russian ships to dock in Malta for supplies and repairs and it was likely during a stay-over in the 1820s that the Russian officer met Skynner. Clearly the two were close friends, or "messmates" to quote the admiral. At the time this letter was written, Rikord had been promoted to full admiral, one of only two in Czar Nicholas 1's naval fleet. REF: Museums of Mississauga Reference Binder, Bradley Museum. John Skynner (1762-1846) was born in England in 1762 to a family steeped in the traditions of the Royal Navy as both his father and grandfather had been high ranking officers. Skynner immigrated to Upper Canada in 1839 and made his home in The Anchorage, a comfortable and stylish cottage on the shores of Lake Ontario. The property itself had belonged to the Jarvis family who had used the protected waters as a shipping point for goods to and from York (Toronto) and Niagara. John Skynner and his family moved into The Anchorage after his retirement from the Royal Navy. Skynner fought at the Battle of the Nile and later served in all of Admiral Nelson's campaigns except for Nelson's decisive victory over Napoleon, at Trafalgar. Captain Skynner was commanding his own ship, the Hirondelle, with the Mediterranean fleet at the time. For information on Skynner: O'Byrne’s Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849. For information on the Napoleonic Wars, see: Guther Rothenberg "The Napoleonic Wars" (London: Cassell & Co, 2000).
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Related Links:
   Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)