|Description: A leather covered journal with steel closure. The brown leather cover is decorated with an embossed twisted chain design around the three open edges on both sides. The steel closure is incised with zigzag decoration. The Journal's end pieces are pasted on inside of covers. Entries are mostly in ink. Page one is marked: ‘Lieut. Skynner's Account Book. The pages that follow include notations of supplies and payroll, ship log type entries and memorandums. Dated entries include those from years 1811 and 1815 and make reference to such places as Cape Palas, Gibraltar, Cape St. Vincent, Cape Finisterre, Lisbon, St. Agnes Lighthouse, Burlings, Cape Carbonara, Cape de Gatte, Minora, Lully and Cape Finisterre. The inside of the back cover has notes in ink which reads ‘Mary Ann(?) W. James Stephens 30 St. James Street, Piccadilly, London’. The spine of the journal is printed with Memorandum in black ink.|
History: Account book or journal belonged to Commander John Skynner and was donated by a descendant of the Jarvis family. 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 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. From 1802 until at least 1807, Skynner was stationed in the Mediterranean, with command of his own vessel after 1804. The Hirondelle was a fast-sailing French Privateer which had racked up many prizes in the Indian Ocean before being captured. During the Napoleonic wars, protection of the East India fleets was paramount to the British economy. In the Mediterranean, the attacks on convoys from hostile privateers was so insistent that the British fleet was hard pressed to provide the necessary escorts and to keep the whole complicated convoy system in smooth running order. 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).
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.