Cesare Corsellis d.1801

Letter to a brother.

Researched and transcribed by Frances Belsham

Letter to a Brother

Cesare Corsellis. Letter to his brother in 1799


During the French Revolutionary Wars which were a result of the French Revolution, Britain joined

other European nations in the war against France.

Britain was involved in many of the Naval battles.


The Navy would hire vessels with crew and master on a contract for the time needed during periods of war.

The Admiralty would provide a Naval officer to be the commander and the ships Master would serve as the sailing Master.


In 1799 Cesare Corsellis was captain of the brig Telegraph which was a hired armed vessel.

On 14 Feb 1801 Telegraph parted from the Mediteranean fleet, during a gale.

She was never heard of again & was declared lost, preumably having foundered during the gale. Cesare was 34 years old.

What follows is a letter from Cesare Corsellis to his brother Rev Joseph Corsellis. Tom, who he mentions in the letter could well be another brother, Maj. Gen Thomas Corsellis.

But this is speculation on my part. In 1801 Thomas was a Captain in the army in India.

Exactly when Joseph received the letter isn’t clear.

The last part of this document is a witness statement that the letter was written by Cesare as he died at sea and doesn’t appear to have left a will. This letter was taken as his last Will and Testament.


Copy of the Letter


Cesare Corsellis

Telegraph Mahon Port

Minorca 25 June 1799


Dear Joe My departure from England

was in such a hurry that it was not in my

power to write to any one or have I been able

since till this opportunity as I only stopped at

Gibraltar one hour or two and just sent a

few lines to Tom to mention where I was

ordered to as my order was not to be opened

till after I had left Plymouth I have met

with no success since I have been here as to

Prizes having been kept either with the

ffleet or going with Dispatches and when

the latter is the case of course I look at

nothing that we may make our Expedition

the sooner I would thank you to enquire

after a New Spy Glass that was to come

down for me to the care of Mr Wooldrige

in the pay office at Plymouth I mean

a day and night glass which I did not want

therefore wrote to Blunt Cornhill London as Wilson ordered

it there to have the mistake rectified and would

wish you to return the day and night if not

done already and direct to Captain Sampson

Edward St George (1) with Lord Keith I make no

doubt but that it will come to hand Lord

Keith sent in here two days ago 3 Spanish

ffrigates and 2 armed Brigs which he took

off Cape Corse in Corsica and Earl St Vincent

left this for Lisbon 2 days ago and is suppose

here for Europe afterwards I am now going

from Sir Charles Cotton with Dispatch to

Lord Keith of 24 Sail of the Line belonging

to ffrance was seen going to Carthagene(2) a few

days ago and from good Information

this Island is supposed their Object I have

only just time to conclude with Love

to you and Tom Joint and believe me Dear

Joe Yrs Affetely ( Yours Affectionately) Cesare Corsellis


To the Rev Josp Corsellis

In case any accident by Death happens to me

I beg you will claim my Effects found in the

3 Pr Cent Reservd and what may remain to

my Credit in Wilsons hands my agent as

Also for the Vrouw Harminer which is now

condemned but not her cargo when I left England

also my claim on the Vrouw Martha stept

by the Telegraph Thomas Lockyer Agent

Plymouth which I hope there is little fear

of being condemned Cesaer Corsellis

Witness present Geo Gibbs Telegraph Port

Mahon 25 June 1799

13th October 1801


Appeared Personally

Francis Wilson of the Navy Office ???eiset

Place Esquire and made Oath that he knew and

was well acquainted with Cesare Corsellis late

a Lieutenant in His Majestys Navy and

Commander of the hired armed Brig Telegraph

deceased and with his manner and character

of handwriting and subscription having

frequently seen him write and write and

subscribe his name and having now carefully

viewed and perused the last Will and Testament

of the said deceased written on the third side

of the paper writing hereunto annexed

beginning thus to the Revd Jos Corsellis

In case any accident by death ending thus

Telegraph Port Mahon 25th June 1799 and

thus subscribed Cesare Corsellis the Deponent

lastly made oath that he verily and in his

conscience believes the whole series and contents

of the said Last Will and Testament ( Save and

except the Name and Words Witness present

Geo Gibbs written at ffoot thereof ) to be the

Proper handwriting of the said Cesare Corsellis

deceased Fras Wilson Same Day the

said ffrancis Wilson was duly sworn to the

truth of this Affidavit before me William

Adam Surr Prost J Cobb Not Pub


This Will was proved at London the Eighteenth

Day of December in the year of our Lord one

Thousand eight hundred and one before the

Worshipful Charles Cook Doctor of Laws and

Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir William

Wynne Knight Doctor of Laws Master Master

Keeper or commissary of the Prerogative Court of

Canterbury lawfully constituted by the oath of

the Reverend Joseph Corsellis Clerk the Brother

of the deceased and Executor according to the ?

to whom Administration was granted of all and

Singular the Goods Chattles and Credits of the said

Deceased having been first Sworn duly to admin


(1) HMS St George was a 98 gun second rate ship of the line.

St George was present at the battle of Hyeres Islands in 1795


In 1798 some of her crew were court-martialled for mutiny.

In 1801 the ship took part in the Battle of Copenhagen, flying Nelson’s flag.


(2) Carthagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the 18th Cent.





This page was added on 12/07/2023.

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