TREGERTHEN SHORT, John. Diary or Cornish Prisoners of War








Small 4to. 160 pp. Manuscript, ink on paper; three hands (one throughout, two hands recognisable in the top pastedown inscriptions an on verso of last flyleaf and bottom pastedown). Poetry and prose; with half-page coloured painting on p. 63 of the personification of Time and the Seasons on a boat (title: Time passing the seasons away). Also includes an albumen print of boats in a Cornish (?) harbour. Slight foxing, browning and some soiling throughout; text is clear and easily readable. Half calf binding; marbled paper boards; with some wear to boards and spine; bumped corners. Overall, a good copy.


John Tregerthen Short (c. 1785- 1873) was one of the men captured on board the brig Friendship of London by a French Privateer on 28th March 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars. The diary was kept by John during his time in prison and on the road, still a prisoner, as the Russians, Prussians and Austrians advanced on France from the east. The journey on foot from the prison at Givet to Bordeaux, was 1,276 miles and took 110 days.It is a fascinating insight into the terrible conditions the men endured.



From p. 54 to p. 63 (where the illustration is found) there is a text entitled “On Time”, written in verse.



The present diary has been authenticated by Mr Stevens of the St. Ives Museum.