Joseph Hoare Beale journals

Biographical and Historical Notes

Joseph Hoare Beale (d. 1848) may have hailed from Ireland, where many of his journal entries were recorded. In 1796 he served as secretary to Thomas Pitt, 2nd Lord Camelford, in Ceylon. He later moved to the United States, residing first in New York City, then Harrison, New York, where he died in 1848.

In 1796 Beale witnessed the takeover of Colombo, Ceylon (later Sri Lanka), by British forces while in the employ of Thomas Pitt, 2nd Lord Camelford, as a secretary. In his journal he describes the inhabitants, flora, and fauna of the island. He also documents his trip from Ceylon to England during which he sailed to Suez on a ship of the British East India Company, traveled overland across Egypt to the Mediterranean, and sailed back to the British Isles stopping in various ports along the way.

From 1799 to his death in 1848, Beale recorded his observations of the weather in a series of diaries. He measured wind direction, temperature, and gave brief comments on the conditions of the day. His observations began in Cork, Ireland, in 1799. From 1811 to 1816 the observations were taken from Limerick, Ireland, where it is assumed he was residing. In 1816 Beale left for the United States and recorded weather conditions during his trip. His observations were taken in New York City from 1816-1830. In 1835 Beale moved to Harrison, New York, where he lived until his death in 1848.


Biographical information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Hoare Beale journals, 1796-1848, consist of nine volumes kept by a world traveler of the late eighteenth to late nineteenth centuries. Beale, who may have been of Irish origin and served as secretary to Lord Thomas Pitt in Ceylon before traveling to America, recorded weather observations, activities, and expenses in the five "daily weather diaries." In several cases, Beale also recorded when he wrote letters or received correspondence. The volumes also include two recipe books and a holograph of Sir Thomas Moore's "Sacred Melodies."

This small collection includes two recipe books, the first regarding the construction of a galvanic trough (which was used in early experiments with electricity) and observations of chemical experiments, as well as recipes for soap, ink, milk powder, and medicinal remedies. The second book contains recipes for cakes, jams, syrups, breads, and cordials. There is one journal documenting his travels from Ceylon, through Egypt, returning to England through the Mediterranean. The first volume of the journals includes an account dated October 2, 1804, of the sickness and death of "Brother Joshua," as well as brief accounts of "personal expences" and "house expences."

One notebook contains an undated holograph of Sir Thomas Moore's "Sacred Melodies" from an unidentified printed source. The volume is inscribed to Ruth Nicholson.

Publication Note

University of Delaware. Library. Self works : diaries, scrapbooks, and other autobiographical efforts : catalog of an exhibition, August 19, 1997-December 18, 1997 : guide to selected sources. Newark, Del. : Special Collections, Hugh M. Morris Library, University of Delaware Library, 1997.