On page 36 of the newest end of the Buttrey manuscript, someone has drawn a wide ranging set of flags. As it was important to be able to recognize the flags of other ships at sea, this page might have been used for that. Someone might also just have enjoyed finding a book where he could draw the flags he knew.
What do these flags tell our historians?
Many, many years ago, while working at Fort York, Ken Purvis noted that the U.S. Flag has 15 stars placing it between 1795 and 1818, which was during John Buttrey’s service period.
Richard Gerrard, historian at the City of Toronto Museum and Heritage Services Unit, who recently received the Buttrey manuscript when it was donated to the Toronto Archives, noted several more things:
1) The “Dutch” flag is actually that of the Batavian Republic and dates 1795 to 1806
2) “The Royal Company Flag” is the East India Company flag post-1801 and was most likely drawn in India as a “Moors” flag would not have flown in England
3) The Union Jack here, as well as as all other Union Jacks in the manuscript, is post 1801. (Eamonn O’Keeffe, PhD student at Oxford researching British military drummers and musicians during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, also noted this.)
4) The last two flags, the 34th Regiment Colours, were probably not drawn by the same person as the other flags or the ships found on other pages of the manuscript
Since we now also know the blank paper was crafted in 1800 and 1801, all drawings must have made post 1801.
Taken together, Richard figures we are looking at an artist working between about 1801 and 1806.
Turns out we can learn a lot from the flags. 🙂