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[GATTY, Margaret & Alfred, (eds.)]

Recollections of the Life of the Rev. A. J. Scott, Lord Nelson's Chaplain.

Lord Nelson's Chaplain.

London, Saunders and Otley, 1842 Stock Code: 139306

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First edition of this biography of Alexander John Scott, chaplain on HMS Victory and unofficial private secretary to Lord Nelson, who attended Nelson during his final hours at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Alexander John Scott (1768-1840) was ordained as a priest in 1792 and the following year was appointed a chaplain of the third rate HMS Berwick under Captain Sir John Collins. The Berwick joined the Mediterranean fleet commanded by Lord Hood, and this is where Scott likely first met Lord Nelson, who was in command of the 64-gun Agamemnon then blockading the French Fleet in Toulon. By 1800 Scott was competent in numerous languages, his diplomatically-useful linguistic talents leading Nelson to make a special request to hire him.
In May 1803 Nelson was appointed to the Mediterranean, with Scott taking on an official role as chaplain of the Victory and an unofficial role as Nelson's private secretary and interpreter. "He was frequently sent, as though on leave, to Leghorn, Naples, Barcelona, or other places; the readiness with which he gained admission to fashionable society enabled him to bring back intelligence. He continued with Nelson on this footing for his whole time in the Mediterranean On 21 October he attended Nelson during the admiral's final hours, receiving his last wishes. On the return of the Victory to England, he attended the coffin as it lay in state at Greenwich, and until it was finally laid in the crypt of St Paul's." (ODNB)
This biography was compiled by Scott's daughter, the children's writer and marine biologist Margaret Gatty (1809-1873), and her husband Alfred Gatty (1813-1903). Margaret, educated in her father's extensive library of foreign texts and thus competent in several languages, translated German and Italian poetry before writing Recollections shortly after Scott's death. It was her first major literary publication, but after a breakdown in 1848 she began to collect and classify seaweeds. She later wrote several didactic fairy stories, and edited the monthly periodical Aunt Judy's Magazine, to which Lewis Carroll contributed.
This copy has the publisher's "editor's copy" ink stamp to the title page. Whilst no other indicators or annotations are present, it is possible that, as the "compiler" of this work and her work as an editor elsewhere, this may perhaps be Margaret Gatty's copy.
This copy is from the library of Major-General Mark Kerr (1864-1944), with his later ownership inscription on the title page. The son of Admiral Lord Kerr, Mark Kerr joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1879 and served in the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882, the Mahdist War, and was Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Hellenic Navy at the outbreak of the First World War. In 1916 Kerr was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Adriatic Squadron during the First World War, and recalled to the UK a year later to assist in the formation of the RAF.
An interesting biography of a lesser-known eyewitness of the Battle of Trafalgar and an intimate of Lord Nelson's, this copy with an appealing naval provenance.

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Large duodecimo (208 x 134 mm). Modern blue half calf, spine with five raised bands, red label to spine with titles gilt, small gilt anchor motif in each compartment, marbled sides.


Bound without the half-title. With engraved frontispiece portrait of Nelson after Jackson.


Nautical bookplate of Robert J Hayhurst to front pastedown. Frontispiece foxed, occasional brown spots to text with a few uneven edges and chips; a very good copy.


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