Authorised form of nameBeaufort; Sir; Francis (1774 - 1857); hydrographer
Dates1774 - 1857
Place of birthFlower Hill, Navan, County Meath, Ireland, Europe
Date of birth27 May 1774
Place of deathHove, Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of death17 December 1857
Dates and placesBurial:
Church of St John-at-Hackney, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
OccupationHydrographer; Naval Officer
Bates's Military and Marine Academy, Dublin (1784)
Entered the Navy (1787); studied astronomy and meteorology for five months under Dr Henry Ussher, professor of astronomy at Trinity College Dublin (1788); Commander (1800); worked on establishing a semaphore system capable of transmitting messages from Dublin to Galway in eight minutes with his brother-in-law Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1803); carried out multiple surveys (Rio de la Plata; coast of Karamania); published 'Karamania, or, A brief description of the south coast of Asia minor, and of the remains of antiquity' (1817); Hydrographer to the Admiralty (1829-1855); awarded DCL Oxford (1839); retired as Rear Admiral (1855); served on the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for the 1832 Reform Act; member of a commission on employment of pilots (1835), and on UK harbours, shores, and rivers (1845)
KCB 1848
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (1829); Member of the Royal Irish Academy (1832); Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (founding member); Member of the American Philosophical Society 1840
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election30/06/1814
Age at election40
Royal Society activityRoyal Society roles:
Sworn into Council 1 December 1832
Committee and panels:
Telescope Committee (1831); Meteorological Committee (1831) ; Medal Committee (1830) ; Report of the Hydrometer Committee (1832)
RelationshipsParents: Rev Daniel Augustus Beaufort and Mary Waller of Allenstown
Siblings: Frances (later fourth wife of Richard Lovell Edgeworth)
Married: 1) Alicia Magdalena Wilson; 2) Honora Edgeworth
Children: Francis Lestock (later Attorney General of Bengal)
Published worksRCN: 26972
RCN: 26973
RCN: 27669
RCN: 26974
General contextFrom an early stage in his life, Beaufort was keen to travel and one of his first journeys was on the East Indiaman Vansittart. He worked on a variety of ships, saw much active service, and was wounded during the capture of the Spanish ship San Josef. As a commander on the Woolwich (1805), he assisted in the evacuation of British troops from Buenos Aires in 1807. He was initially rejected for the post of Hydrographer of the Navy in 1823, but was appointed to this role six years later. He is most remembered for his Beaufort wind force scale, and some geographical points named after him, e.g. the Beaufort Sea.
Royal Society Obituary or MemoirClick to view (may be contained within a meeting notice, presidential address or list of death notices)
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Irish Innovators; ODNB
Proc Roy Soc 1857-1859 vol 9 pp 524-527
Carr Agnew, D. 2004. 'Robert Fitzroy and the myth of 'Marsden Square': Transatlantic rivalries in early marine meteorology', in Notes and Records, vol. 58, pp. 21-46
Home, R W. 2002. 'The Royal Society and the Empire: the colonial and Commonwealth Fellowship. Part 1. 1731-1847', in Notes and Records, vol. 56, pp. 307-332
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA5914
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1814/13Beaufort, Sir Francis: certificate of election to the Royal Society
AP/20/3On the Application of Glass as a Substitute for Metal Balance Springs in Chronometers 1836
MC/3Volume 3 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1839-1843
MC/2Volume 2 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1832-1838
MC/4Volume 4 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1844-1850
DM/1/15Letter from Francis Beaufort, Admiralty, to P M Roget7 March 1831
MM/1/53Letter from IC Lees, Nassau, to Sir Francis Beaufort5 June 1839
DM/4/128Letter from Beaufort, Admiralty, to Edward Sabine14 December 1829
DM/4/93Letter from Charles Rumker to Davies Gilbert, President, Royal Society24 May 1830
DM/4/96Letter from Charles Rumker to Davies Gilbert, President, Royal Society25 June 1830
DM/1/24Draft of a letter from P M Roget to Francis Beaufort14 March 1831
AP/19/18Meteorological Register of H M S Thunder between 1 and 30 June 18341834
AP/21/4On Low Fogs and Stationery Clouds 1837
AP/21/15Experiments on the Vibration of the Pendulum1838
AP/27/19On the connection between the winds of the St Lawrence and the movements of the barometer1845
AP/18/13Meteorological Journal kept at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, from the 1st February to the 31st May 1834 November 1834
AP/19/5Observations on Halley's Comet1835
AP/18/8Observations with the Horizontal and Dipping Needles, made during a voyage from England to New South Wales5 July 1833
DM/1/25Letter from Francis Beaufort, Manchester Square, to P M Roget15 March 1831
AP/30/3On the protection of Iron from oxidation and from turning foul when it is exposed to the action of the sea and other watersMarch 1848
IM/000310Beaufort, Sir Francisnd
AP/19/1Hygrometrical Observation made on board His Majesty's Surveying Vessel Etna 1835
AP/19/2Meteorological Observations on board His Majesty's Ship Jackdaw1834
EC/1814/14Beaufort, Sir Francis: certificate of election to the Royal Society
IM/005531Beaufort, Sir Francis2000
MS/123/5Letter from the Duke of Sussex to unknown recipient12 November 1832
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
PT/27/7Paper, 'Tide observations at Tahiti' by Capt E [Edward] Belcher22 July 1842
PT/42/15Paper, 'Report of observations made upon the tidal streams of the English Channel and the German Ocean' by Captain F W [Frederick William] Beechey11 March 1851
MC/1/314Letter from Francis Beaufort, Admiralty [Office], to the Royal Society28 June 1831
PT/34/6Paper, 'Report of experiments made upon the tides in the Irish Sea, and upon the great similarity of tidal phenomena between the Irish and English Channels, and the importance of extending the experiments round the lands end and up the English Channel' in a letter from Captain F W [Frederick William] Beechey to the Hydrographer [Francis Beaufort]19 February 1848
MS/426/457Copy letter from C R [Charles Richard] Weld, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Admiral Sir F [Francis] Beaufort 23 January 1852
MS/426/400Copy letter from Edward Sabine, Foreign Secretary fo the Royal Society; to Sir F [Francis] Beaufort7 January [1850]
CMP/1/2Minutes of a meeting of Council of the Royal Society13 December 1832
AP/21/20Account of a Line of Levels carried across Northern Syria, from the Mediterranean, to the River Euphrates 1838
AP/21/5Meteorological Deductions made from Observations made at the Observatory, Port Louis, Mauritius1837
MM/13/84Minutes of meeting of the Excise Committee11 December 1832
MM/13/85Minutes of meeting of the Excise Committee 20 December 1832
MS/426/401Copy letter from Edward Sabine, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society; to Sir F [Francis] Beaufort7 January 1850
CMP/1/1Minutes of a meeting of Council of the Royal Society1 December 1832
MS/426/402Copy letter from Edward Sabine, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society; to Sir F [Francis] Beaufort7 January 1850
MM/13/88Minutes of meeting of the Excise Committee 29 January 1833
MM/13/87Minutes of meeting of the Excise Committee 22 January 1833
MM/13/86Minutes of meeting of the Excise Committee 15 January 1833
MC/1/255Letter from [Francis] Beaufort, Admiralty Office, to Dr. [Peter Mark] Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society 23 October 1830
MC/1/262Letter from John Augustus Lloyd, Admiralty Office, to Davies Gilbert10 December 1830
MC/1/319Letter from Sir John Barrow [Second Secretary to the Admiralty], Admiralty Office, to [Dr. Peter Mark Roget], Secretary of the Royal Society15 July 1831
MC/2/181Letter from Captain Francis Beaufort, Admirality, to John William Lubbock, [Treasurer of the Royal Society]11 July 1835
MC/2/285Letter from Colonel Francis Rawdon Chesney, 3 Down Street, to Captain Francis Beaufort, hydrographer, Admiralty11 June 1838
MC/3/63Extract of a letter from [Joseph Barclay] Pentland, Paris, to Captain [Francis] Beaufort10 January 1840
MC/3/65Letter from Edward Sabine, Royal Society apartments, to John William Lubbock, [Treasurer of the Royal Society]18 January 1840
MC/3/232Letter from Captain Edward Belcher, HMS Sulphur, Woolwich, to Captain Francis Beaufort, Hydrographer2 August 1842
MC/3/276Letter from John Augustus Lloyd, Port-Louis, Mauritius, to the Secretary of the Royal Society3 May 1843
MC/4/148Letter from [Francis] Beaufort to the Royal Society13 June 1846
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