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Returned to London after the British victory at the Battles of the Saintes, the audacious commander certifies that one of his former seamen was discharged to a hospital in New York.
Autograph Document signed: "A. Gardner", 1 page, 7¼x5. Endorsed and docketed. London, 1783 November 11. In full: "These are to Certify that John Newland Ab: served on board His Majesty's Ship The Duke under my command from the first of January 1782 to the 7th of October following at which he was D.S.G. & left at the Naval Hospital at New York. Given under my hand in London." Captain, later Admiral, Alan Gardner (1742-1809) joined the Royal Navy in 1755. Promoted to captain in 1766, he proved one of Britain's most dashing frigate commanders. In April 1782, Gardner commanded the HMS Duke, a 96-gun ship of the line, at the Battles of the Saintes, in which Admiral George Rodney defeated a French fleet under the command of the Comte de Grasse (who successful blockade of Yorktown had led to the surrender of British General Cornwallis to George Washington). Admiral Rodney's victory in the Battle of the Saintes forestalled a planned Franco-Spanish invasion of Jamaica. Duke suffered 12 killed and 60 wounded during this engagement, which probably explains the delivery of seaman Newland to the hospital at New York (still under British control in 1782). Gardner, as a Commodore, commanded the Royal Navy's American Squadron in 1786, suppressing piracy in the Gulf of Mexico and conducting hydrological surveys. His officers there included future explorers George Vancouver and Peter Puget, who would name sites (including Gardner Channel in Puget Sound) after their former commander. Gardner served on the Board of Admiralty (1790-1795). After serving in Parliament, he returned to the fleet as Commander in Chief Irish Station (1800) and Commander in Chief Channel Fleet, a vital command during the struggle against Napoleon (1807 until his death). He was elevated to the Irish peerage in 1800, and the United Kingdom peerage in 1806 (as Baron Gardner of Uttoxeter). Married to the daughter of a Jamaican planter, Gardner had two sons, who also became British admirals. Fragile. Folds do not touch signature. Pinhead-size holes at upper margin. Ink stains throughout. Slight separation at folds. Overall, fine condition.

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Born: February 12, 1742
Died: January 1, 1809

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