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SMYTH, William Henry, Admiral.

The Sailor’s Word-Book:

An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, including some more especially Military and Scientific, but Useful to Seamen; as well as Archaisms of Early Voyagers, etc. By the Late ... Revised for the Press by Vice-Admiral Sir E. Belcher.

Published: London: Blackie and Son, 1867

Stock code: 95142

Price: £950

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First edition. Craig describes the book as containing “full and learned definitions, but little attempt at etymology or derivation”. but remains uncommon, and invaluable reference for all that. Smyth went to sea early in the merchant service “in 1804 was in the East India Company’s ship Cornwallis, which took part in the expedition against the Seychelles. In March 1805 the Cornwallis was bought into the navy and established as a 50 gun ship under the command of Captain Charles James Johnston. Smyth remained on board, seeing much active service in Indian, Chinese, and Australian waters” (J.K. Laughton in ODNB). But after a period largely engaged in surveying operations, which he combined with antiquarian research, he retired from the sea and pursued ” a literary and scientific life”. He occupied high position in the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Society, the Royal Geographical Society – of which he was one of the founders – and was an “honorary or corresponding member of at least three-quarters of the literary and scientific societies of Europe”.

Octavo (217 148 mm) Slightly later blue half hard-grained morocco, blue linen boards, title gilt to the spine, marbled edges and endpapers. Engraved medallic portrait to the text. A little rubbed, and stained on the boards, light browning, scatter of foxing, overall very good. Bookplate of the Junior Conservative Club to the front pastedown, and device gilt to the tail of the spine.

Bibliography: Craig p.50

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