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CLAXTON, Christopher.

The Naval Monitor;

containing Useful Hints for both the Public and Private Conduct of the Young Gentleman in, or entering, that Profession, in all it Branches - in the Course of which, and under the Remarks on Gunnery, are some Observations on the Naval Actions with America. Also a Plan for improving the Naval System, as far as it regards that most Useful Set of Petty Officers, the Midshipmen. By an Officer in the Navy.

Published: London: Printed by A.J. Valpy ... Sold by Law and Whittaker, 1815

Stock code: 86566

Price: £975

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First edition. Extremely uncommon, COPAC lists copies in NMM and at Oxford only, OCLC adds seven copies in North America, and one at the Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand. Unusual naval conduct book, often referred to in the literature, but very rarely encountered. Claxton entered the service in 1804 as a first class volunteer on board the Melampus, seeing considerable action in her. He was later in the Leopard and was a witness to the surrender of the Chesapeake to her in 1807. In 1809 he joined the Barfleur, 98 guns, Vice-Admiral Berkeley, making lieutenant in December 1810. “During the latter year he appears to have been much employed on the detached service in the Tagus, where he rendered appreciated co-operation to the troops occupying the lines of Torres Vedras, and had command of the gun-boats attached to the army … While belonging next from Oct. 1812 to March 1815 to the Ramillies … [he] distinguished himself in command of the attack upon Baltimore in Sept. 1814; and was likewise present at the capture of the islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, and the bombardment of Stonington” (O’Byrne). He subsequently commanded the Tartar revenue-cutter on the Yarmouth Station – “the first vessel of the kind given to a naval officer” – and in 1834 was appointed Harbour-Master of Bristol “and is the officer under whose surveillance were built those celebrated steam-vessels the Great Western and Great Britain”. Less laudably he was a prominent Bristolian campaigner against the abolition of slavery, offering to fight a duel with the agent of the anti-slavery candidate in the 1830 election. An excellent copy of a highly desirable title.

Octavo. Original green on blue paper-covered boards, paper label to the spine. Ex-Cruising Club Association library, their gilt initials to the tail of the spine, gilt stamp to the upper board, and bookplate to the front pastedown only, a little rubbed, head of the spine pulled, light toning to the text, but overall a very good copy.

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