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Naval – Military – Pre-20th Century

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  • Nelson and His Times – Admiral Beresford – First Edition 1898

    Nelson and His Times – Admiral Beresford – First Edition 1898

    The upmarket version of this splendid book on Nelson by Rear Admiral Lord Charles Beresford and H.W. Wilson.

    Published by Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, undated but 1898. Original owners name and date on endpapers and chapter title.

    A large book, in the original heavily embossed blue cloth covered pictorial boards with gilt highlighting. Folio, 232 pages plus index, heavily illustrated all page edges richly gilt. Binding starting to loosen and the odd mark, still a very good copy. Numerous illustrations throughout, with coloured frontispiece.

    Nelson given his first command, HMS Agamemnon during the French Revolutionary Wars, losing his right arm. His public affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton was well public. His unconventional tactics were fundamental to the defeat of the French Navy from which it never really re-established. Nelson’s death on the Victory at Trafalgar is the stuff of legends.

    A fine late 19thC book and a good biography of the great man.

    $60.00

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  • Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Manuscript Letter (A Complaint) from Sir Erasmus Ommanney (First to Find Evidence of Franklin) to Hepworth Dixon (Notable Literary Identity) – 14th May 1870

    Erasmus Ommanney (1814-1904) was an extraordinary individual from one of those sorts of families. He was born in 1824 seventh son of Sir Francis Molyneux Ommanney. In 1836 he went to Baffin’s Bay with Sir James Ross … he was second in command on the Franklin searching expedition and was the first to find traces of Franklin’s ships in 1850. He travelled over 500 miles on sledge to find the Franklin traces at Beechey Island. During this adventure he gathered much geographical information.

    In 1854, on commencement of the Crimean War, he commanded a Squadron in the White Sea and engaged a Russian flotilla off the mouth of the Dwin that year … later the Committee at the Royal Geographical Society … Royal Society, Royal Astronomical society (Observed the transit of Venus at Luxor in 1874)… Knighted etc for Arctic services.

    The recipient possibly equally well known in literary circles, historian and traveller Hepworth Dixon (1821-1879). A controversial writer at that. He was active in organising London’s Great Exhibition of 1851.

    Two pages in a strong clear hand from 6 Talbot Square … a nice London address. Marked clearly Private. Erasmus is obviously not happy … he had previously written to Hepworth Dixon and clearly provided some personal information about his naval conduct (about which we believe he had been criticised … he was pretty heavy handed in the White Sea) and Dixon had published these “private letter” in the press.

    “I was at the point of replying to your last note when I was surprised to find you had published my letters to you in the Newspapers, I believe it is always customary on such occasions first to obtain the sanction of the writer”

    Erasmus goes on … “My object in criticising your representations of my conduct at Solaretet was simply to induce you to add … comments, in your next edition of “Free Russia” … to show that your countrymen were justified in punishing … and that we did not bombard a defenceless … ; and I was going to enquire that you would not publish my [this] letter but evenly take the substance of my information for your guidance”

    Erasmus continues … not happy … “ As you have published my letters in the daily papers I must abide by the unpleasant announcements of the press, – there are various considerations to be dwelt on before an Officer writes on matters of a national and public nature in the newspapers; and in the present instance my letters should not have appeared.”

    Erasmus turns up the heat … “As you have forwarded a copy of your work to the Emperor of Prussia, I have greater cause to feel dissatisfied with you colouring of my conduct in the Solowitch affair, which on the while I fear injurious to my reputation. I hope that the subject will not appear again in the papers”

    Cranky letter from Victorian Naval hero and Adventurer who has had his reputation challenged in the Press

    $180.00

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  • Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland; from the dissolution of the last Parliament of Charles II till the Capture of the French and Spanish Fleets at Vigo – Three Volumes – Sir John Dalrymple -1790

    A new edition 1790 updating his first offering about twenty year earlier that finished at the time of the sea battle of La Hogue. Published by Strahan & Cadell, Bell, Creech & Balfour, London and Edinburgh, 1790.

    Three volumes, octavo, a beautiful set in contemporary mottled calf, banded spine with red morocco title label and green morocco volume number lozenge. Almost edible.

    A vert attractive set of an important work with original owner name Alexander Fraser Tyler, a distinguished Scottish Advocate at the head of the title.

    Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810) was the 4th Baron of Cousland and Scottish Advocate, Judge and Chemist. He studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge and was a friend of David Hume and Adam Smith. In writing this large work he had access numerous original manuscript documents.

    Of Australian interest the volumes contain … “An Account of an Intended Expedition in the South Seas by Private Persons in the Late War” which relates to Sir John Dalrymple’s attempts to persuade merchants of Glasgow to organise a privateering expedition against Spain in the Pacific. There are numerous references to New Holland and the discoveries of James Cook.

    Because of these early Australian references these volumes are included in Ferguson’s bibliography of all books Australian at number 78.

    Important 18th Century memoir in fine style with Australian interest and important provenance.

    About the first owner Alexander Tytler

    Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouslee (1747-1813) was a Scottish advocate, judge, writer who serve as Professor of Universal History, Greek and Roman Antiquities at Edinburgh University. In 1790, around the time he purchased these volumes, he became Judge Advocate of Scotland and in 1802 he became a Lord of Session in the Scottish Courts. He was a friend of Robert Burns and famously persuaded Burns to remove several lines from “Tam o’Shanter”’ which had insulted the legal profession.

    $690.00

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  • Matthew Flinders Private Journal

    Matthew Flinders Private Journal

    Matthew Flinders Private Journal from 17 December 1803 at Isle of France to 10 July 1814 at London

    Published by the Friends of the State Library of South Australia, a first edition 2005.

    Edited and with an Introduction by Anthony J. Brown and Gillian Dooley. Foreword by Witgar Hitchcock. Preface by Paul Brunton.

    Large octavo, xxxiv, 566 pages, coloured frontispiece & 12 colour plates, 26 black and white illustrations, folding map (London, showing Flinders’ residences etc) & another in rear pocket (Flinders’ General Chart of Australia, or Terra Australia). Bound in blue cloth covered boards, gilt stamped on spine, blind decorations on boards. One of 850 copies. A substantial book in very good if not fine condition.

    After useful introductions we start with the last few days on the Cumberland and Flinders’ plans and expectation on arrival at Mauritius. Unfortunately, the Captain-General Decaen, was very suspicious as to the motives of Flinders having arrived in such a “small” ship and carrying papers for the “Investigator”. Consequently, his incarceration began the next morning when he was taken to the Café Marengo which first appeared to be a jail but turned out to be a tavern. Three and a half month later he was transferred to the Maison Despaux and then finally on 25th August 1805 to Plaines Wilhems where he would stay until 19th March 1910 before being released. His journal continues through his journey back to England and the final period during which he was preparing and revising his monumental work for publication.

    Eight appendices are of further interest … Flinders’ Passport from the French Government; A record of his Interrogation; the Captain-General’s Report; Flinders’ letter regarding Thomy Pitot; Avis do Conseil d’Etat; Flinders’ Parole; Question relative to the Isle de France by Vice Admiral Bertie and Flinders’ Last illness and the final five months to July 1814 by Stephen Milazzo.

    Flinders’ own words and what a story they make

    $180.00

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  • Admiral Hornblower – C.S. Forester – First Printing 1966

    Admiral Hornblower – C.S. Forester – First Printing 1966

    Published by Michael Joseph, London 1966. Thick octavo, 758 pages. Very good condition albeit dust jacket, designed by Charles Gorham, a little rubbed to edges.

    A first edition of this compilation of four Hornblower titles … Flying Colours; The Commodore; Lord Hornblower and Hornblower in the West Indies.

    A feast of Hornblower

    $55.00

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  • Hornblower and the Atropos – C.S. Forester – First Edition 1953

    Hornblower and the Atropos – C.S. Forester – First Edition 1953

    Published by Michael Joseph, London a first edition 1953. Octavo, 302 pages. Good to better condition, some light marking in the ends .. overall a very presentable first, dust jacket protected in Brodart as are all our jackets.

    Fifth in the series and Hornblower gets his first command the 22 gun sloop Atropos and leads the funeral procession of Nelson before taking on the French and the Spanish.

    Hornblower first edition delight

    $50.00

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