Author Tags: 1700-1800

Fascination with Cook’s final voyage is such that journalistic works and books have continued to be published for centuries afterwards. Born in 1760, James Trevenen was a midshipman on the Resolution and later on the Discovery. A manuscript volume of his nautical notes resides in the Provincial Archives of Victoria. They form the basis for a Navy Records Society volume that varies slightly from the Provincial Archives version. After Cook’s death, Trevenen annotated his own copy of James King’s volume of the official version of the voyage. He later sailed with his friend Captain James King in the West Indies and died in military action against the Swedes in 1790 after he took a commission as captain in the Russian navy. He made his will in St. Petersburg just prior to the engagement. His brother-in-law the Vice-Admiral Sir Charles V. Penrose took Trevenen’s diary notes of Cook’s voyage and published them after his death. This Penrose manuscript is at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.


A Memoir of James Trevenen (London: Navy Records Society, vol. CI, 1959). Edited by Lloyd, Christopher; Anderson, R.C.

[BCBW 2004] "1700-1800" "English"

Last Will & Testament of James Trevenen
(1790, St. Petersburg)

In the Name of God Amen, I James Trevenen of the Parish of Camborne in the County of Cornwall in England and now serving in the Russian Navy, being in sound health of Body and Mind do hereby make this my last Will and Testament.

If I die without Issue, I hereby give and bequeath all my Temporal Wealth without Exception to my beloved Wife Mrs Elizabeth Trevenen of Petersburg, to be hers without Lett or Reservation for the space of her natural life, provided always that she do not touch the Principal of the Thousand Pounds Stock which I have in the 4 P.Cent Consols. in England, provided also that she do not touch the Pricipal of Three hundred Pounds of mine in the hands of my Brother the Rev. Thomas Trevenen of Cardenham in Cornwall from whom I receive Interest for the same.

I will that these two Sums after my Wife's decease revert to my own family and be equally divided between the Children of my Brother, the said Thomas Trevenen, and of my two Sisters Elizabeth and Jane Penrose.

If my Wife should be now with Child and should bring forth a Son into the World I likewise leave everything to her till this Son shall be of the age of twenty one at which time he shall receive the two Sums above mentioned for his fortune, as well as the Sum of five hundred Pounds more at the death of his Mother. This five hundred pounds to be taken out of the Sum of Money which she brings me in Dowry and which the five hundred pounds I likewise bind her up from spending or making over to any body else. The rest to be at her own disposal.

If my Wife should bring forth a Daughter, I bequeath to this Daughter exactly the same, except that I will she do not Marry 'till the age of thirty years without the consent of her Mother on pain of forfeiting this Maintenance. When she shall have obtained the full Age of Thirty Years she shall then receive this Sum without the least deduction on any account, my Wife being hereby bound to give her, her Board, Lodging, Education etc. etc. 'till she have obtained the said Age of Thirty Years in Consideration of this fortune which she will have in her hands. I also will that at the death of her Mother, she receive the sum of five hundred pounds to be paid out of the Dowry I received with my Wife and which I likewise in this case bind her up from spending or making over.

Nota Bene That with regard to the fortune bequeathed to my future Son or Daughter, I will that from the first moment of his or her Birth, the Interest of the said two Sums (one of one Thousand Pounds Stock in the 4 P Cents and the other of three hundred Pounds Sterling in the hands of my Brother the Revd. Thomas Trevenen) be applied to the charge of their Education and be accounted theirs from the Moment of their Birth, and that an account be made of the Expenditure of the same. And I will that no more of their fortunes be expended upon them but that they receive them entire provided always that if a Daughter she do not Marry till the Age of Thirty Years without her Mother's Consent on pain of forfeiting everything here bequeathed her. At the Age of Thirty Years she shall be at Liberty to follow her own inclinations.

I also will that if she Marry before Thirty Years of Age with her Mother's consent she shall then receive the above two Sums of one Thousand Pounds Stock and three hundred pounds sterling. Also I will that if my Son should Marry before the Age of twenty one years with my Wife's consent and not else, he shall then receive also the said two Sums.

I appoint for Executors to this my last Will and Testament my Brother John Trevenen Esqr. of Helstone in Cornwall, and my Cousin Mr Thomas Wood of London, Merchant. These to Act in England. And in Russia I appoint my Father in Law Mr John Farquharson Broker and Mr Thomas Harvey, Merchant, my Executors, begging them all to take upon themselves this trouble for my sake (Signed ) James Trevenen.

This sheet of paper signed and sealed by the above mentioned James Trevenen was published & declared to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names was Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator (Signed) John Cayley, Consul General (Signed) Charles Steward.

In the underwritten His Brittanick Majesty's Consul General do hereby attest that the above is a true & exact Copy of the Original last Will and Testament of the late James Trevenen and which was Witnesses by me at the time of its being Signed by the Deceased In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal in St.Petersburg this 15th day of July 1790 Old Stile John Cayley

This Will was proved at London the fourth day of December in the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety before the Right Honorable Sir William Wynne Knight, Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, lawfully constituted by the Oaths of John Trevenen Esquire the Brother of the Deceased, and Thomas Wood, the Executors named in the said Will, to Act in England only, to whom Administration was granted for the purpose aforesaid but no further or otherwise, having been first sworn by Commission duly to administer.