JAMES, William.

The Naval History of Great Britain,

From the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. A New Edition, with Considerable Additions and Notes, and an Account of the Burmese War and the Battle of Navarino.

London: Richard Bentley, 1837 Stock Code: 149462
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"A monument of accuracy"

First published 1822-4. Still recognised as 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 essential reference for the period, but makes excellent reading.

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6 volumes, octavo (214 x 135 mm). Contemporary dark blue half calf, raised bands, double red morocco labels, double ruled frames to compartments enclosing fouled anchor tools with scrolled floral corner-pieces, double rules in blind to the spine and corner edgesZèbre marbled boards, edges and endpapers,


With 24 portraits, 38 battle-plans in the text, 28 folding tables.


Light rubbing, a few minor scuffs, pale toning to the text with the occasional spot of foxing, plates just a little off-set, but overall a very well-preserved and pretty set, very good.


NMM, V, 2158.


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