LOT 122 – The Naval History Of Great Britain by William James – A Six Volume Set 1837 – £300/£500

The Naval History of Great Britain from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George lV

Illustrations and Tables: 24 portraits, 38 battle-plans in the text, 28 folding tables.

The Naval History of Great Britain from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George lV

Illustrations and Tables: 24 portraits, 38 battle-plans in the text, 28 folding tables.

A “monument of accuracy – it has stood the test of time and remains the best account of the naval side of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars” (Kemp, The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, p. 425). First conceived of when he was held prisoner in America during the War of 1812 the Naval History is a remarkable work. Working under the motto “Verité sans Peur”, James set himself standards of inclusiveness and accuracy extraordinary for the 19th century. His aim was to compile “… an exact account of every operation of naval war during the period named. He consulted not only published works, especially the official narratives, both British and French, but also the logs of the ships, and, whenever possible, the participants themselves” (ODNB). Successively mined by Forester and O’Brian for incident and colour, this well-written history is not only an essential reference for the period but makes excellent reading.

Published by Richard Bentley. New Burlington Street, London. 1837.

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