Reference numberMS/374/2
Title'Mementos, Memoranda, Notes' by Alexander Gordon Laing
Date21 December 1814 - 21 July 1821
DescriptionSections numbered 6-14. Numbers 7 and 9 are missing.

No. 6 begins on 21 December 1814, with Laing's activities while stationed in Fort Augusta in the Jamaica during the War of 1812. He describes the widespread disease and death, , and spends much of the time aboard a prison ship guarding captured Americans. He travels to Montego Bay.

No. 8 begins approximately at the point at which Laing's 'Recollections' ended, on 18 September [1815], describing the races at Montego Bay. Afterwards, Laing travels to Falmouth, ostensibly during his time on leave, to attend a picnic and ball. Laing also describes the dancing activity of the "negroes" during the time they are given off for the Christmas holidays, his writing of a parody which he sends to the gazette, and a near attempt on his life.

No. 9 begins on 23 March 1816 and continues to describe aspects of military life. It also speaks of a mysterious 'beautiful and amiable L_____' and an important proposal made by Laing on 30 April 1816 which he does not divulge. During this time Laing attempts to proceed to De la Mar [in the present day Dominican Republic], but is delayed for three weeks by fever. There is also a 'Negroe uprising' in Barbados. Laing returns to Kingston, in Jamaica.

No. 10 begins on 29 May 1816 and describes the arrivals and departures of various officers, as well as some storms. There is an earthquake in Kingston on 4 August 1816. Laing takes several boats in order to arrive at Honduras. On 26 August 1816 Laing describes another earthquake.

No. 11 begins on 27 August 1817. Laing becomes very ill in October. [with a liver disease] and in January 1818 obtains fifteen months leave to return to Europe. He sails for England on 3 February 1818, and arrives 41 days later. On March 19th, he travels to Glasgow, and arrives in Edinburgh on March 25th. For the next months, he travels between London and Edinburgh and Glasgow. In January and February 1819, Laing speaks with military officials about being put on full-pay and possibly going to N. Grenada.

No. 12 (missing front page) appears to begin in September 1820 when Laing is at sea to the northwest of Africa (near Porto Santo). He describes a lunar eclipse on 22 September 1820 and conditions at sea. On the 29 September, land is spotted, and the rest of the section provides information about the landscape surrounding the various capes that the ship stops in. Page 68 contains two sketches: one of the landscape, and another of a lunar eclipse.

No. 13 begins on 3 October 1820, sometime after Laing's arrival in West Africa. Laing describes his new surroundings, including the languages spoken by the natives. Laing travels with his company to the Gambia River, through Senegal, and writes about the dangers and forts there. He provides details about the landscape, agriculture, local diet, and exports.The description of the travels along the Gambia continue until 23 October 1820, with a fever spreading among Laing and the rest of the crew.

No. 14 begins on 27 October 1820 with the death of one of the crew members who had fell ill with fever and a friendly encounter with an American ship. On 6 November 1820 the ship arrives at Sierra Leone, and talks with Dr. Daeton [?] about the interior of Africa. Laing describes his daily activities at the fort in Sierra Leone, and some initial exploratory trips in the Simba Country.
Dimensions10.25 x 16.75 cms.
Access statusOpen
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView