Manuscript entitled 'The Life And Adventures of Thomas Ducker Composed by Himself in 1826 and 1827'. Has a second title 'The Adventures of A Wanderer Composed By Himself'.
MS. Eng. e. 3654
An autobiography of Thomas Ducker composed in rhyming couplets. It recounts his life from the point at which he left home aged thirteen in 1795 until he returned in 1825. Most of this time he was a sailor and travelled the world. He describes numerous events including:
- (fols. 2-3) Serving as a bricklayer in Hatfield, carpenter in Thorne, and painter in Bawtry, before joining the army in Doncaster, and being discharged in Southampton being under age.
- (fols. 3-4v) Joining the Navy at Portsmouth, and serving on the Majestic at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.
- (fols. 5r-v) Serving on an African slave ship.
- (fols. 6v-9) Sailing around the Baltic, North, Irish, Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas on merchant ships.
- (fol. 10) Being captured by a French privateer on the way to Madeira and being put in Bordeaux Prison.
- (fols. 10v-13v) Serving on a privateer in the Caribbean "outwitting" the French and Spanish.
- (fols. 14-16) Sailing around the East Indies, south-east Africa and east Australia on merchant ships. Ducker comments on the people and wildlife he sees as well as famous sights such as the Great Wall of China.
- (fols. 17v-19v) Serving with the British Navy at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807 and the Walcheren Campaign in 1809.
- (fols. 20-1) Being captured near Peru and nearly becoming a slave in a Peruvian gold mine.
- (fols. 22r-v) Trading with Canadian natives and seeing the Great Lakes and waterfalls.
- (fols. 22v-23v) Being shipwrecked near Nova Scotia in 1820, badly injuring himself and permanently losing his sight.
- (fols. 23v-25) Travelling home to be reunited with his family in Belton in 1825.
Language of Materials
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. e. 3654, fols. 1-2].
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MS. Eng. e. 3654
Collection ID (for staff)
CMD ID 6328
Manuscript entitled 'The Life And Adventures of Thomas Ducker Composed by Himself in and '. Has a second title 'The Adventures of A Wanderer Composed By Himself'.
Biographical / Historical
Thomas Ducker was born in 1782 in Belton, Lincolnshire. He left home in 1795 and after trying several trades he enlisted in the navy where he fought at the Battle of the Nile. After discharging himself in 1798 he spent the next two decades serving on merchant ships and privateers as well as briefly re-enlisting between 1807-9. Whilst a seaman he travelled the globe visiting every continent until he lost his sight in 1820 following a shipwreck in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. He returned to Belton in 1825 and composed his memoir between 1826 and 1827.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Manuscript entitled 'The Life And Adventures of Thomas Ducker Composed by Himself in 1826 and 1827'
- EAD Version 2018
- Language of description