A Complete and Universal Dictionary of Signals for Boats of Her Majesty's Fleet:

Well Adapted for Yachts, the Merchant Service, Military Posts, Signal Stations and Railroad, either in Communication with each other, or in Connection with the Royal Navy of England. Containing New and Simple Modes of Signalizing. Compiled and Invented with the Sanction and under the Especial Patronage of the Admiralty.

London: W.J. Cleaver, 1850 Stock Code: 119966
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First edition, this a prepublication presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the first blank; "Mrs. Holt with the author's most affectionate love, November 1849". The recipient was possibly Jemima Arabella, the author's aunt who married Sir John Holt. Extremely uncommon, WorldCat shows just 6 locations for this first edition - BL, NLS, Oxford, Cambridge, NMM, Texas A & M - there were three subsequent editions which are equally as uncommon. Eardley-Wilmot was the fourth son of Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot, Bart., MP for Warwickshire and Governor of Van Diemen's Land, present day Tasmania, by his first wife Elizabeth Emma, sister of the Arctic explorer Admiral Parry. He entered the Royal Naval College in 1828, and first embarked as First Class Volunteer on the Wolf, 18, Capt. William Hamley, in 1830, sailing for the East Indies "where we find him engaged, in unison with a fleet of Siamese proas, in various operations against Malay pirates, and present in particular at the blockade of the fortress of Quedah. He was also at Canton in the early part of 1832, when the Chinese first displayed symptoms of insolence and aggression" (O'Byrne). Subsequently saw service in the Miguelite Wars; in the Pacific "affording protection to British property in the Sandwich Islands, and security to missionary interests at the Marquesas"; with Napier on the coast of Syria and at the blockade of Alexandria; and in China towards the end of the First Opium War. He rose to the rank of Rear Admiral, retired 1873, died 1881. He also published a guide for young officers, The Midshipman's Friend; or, Hints for the Cockpit, 1845, and a contribution to the manning debate, Manning the Navy - a Statement in which the Evils and Losses of the Present System are set forth, 1849. A highly attractive copy of this rarely encountered, compendious publication, an excellent source for signalling techniques of the period.

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Duodecimo (146 x 86 mm). Contemporary polished calf presentation binding, green morocco label to the spine, low flat bands with gilt dotted roll, compartments attractively gilt with drawer handle tools, paired double fillet panels, gilt and in blind to both boards, gilt block of a sailor employing the "homograph" system of signalling gilt to the front board, foliate edge-roll, edges and endpapers marbled.


First 24 pages entirely lithographed with diagrams of semaphore, homograph and flag signalling, 11 of them with hand-colouring.


Externally just a little rubbed, overly heavy front free endpaper loose, but hinges entirely sound, pale browning, a very good copy indeed.


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