The Naval Biography of Great Britain

RALFE, James. The Naval Biography of Great Britain.

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RALFE, James. The Naval Biography of Great Britain. London, Whitmore & Fenn, 1828.

Four volumes, royal 8vo. Contemporary half-calf over marbled boards; raised bands to spines; spines lettered and ornamented in gilt, and ornamented in blind; marbled edges and endpapers; with 2 engraved portraits, 11 plates, plans, and charts (several folding) ), as well as a loosely inserted manuscript plan in vol. II (in the author's hand?); rubbing to extremities and boards; some tissue guards missing; light spotting here and there; even toning to paper-stock; a good set of the family copy.
First edition of this work on the outstanding leaders of the Royal Navy, with a strong focus on the the American and Napoleonic Wars. 'In 1828 Ralfe issued a pamphlet vindicating Sir Edward Codrington's conduct at Navarino. The data in the Naval Biography seems to have been mostly contributed to by the subjects, and may be accepted as largely correct as to the facts. The work was reportedly financially unsuccessful, and in 1829, an attempt was made by some senior naval officers to raise a fund for the author's benefit, the subscription to be paid to his publishers, Messrs Whitmore and Fern' (ODNB). This work was printed for a subscribers and details the histories of British Naval ships and their captains during the reigns of King George III and IV.
Provenance: The Ralfe family copy; by descent.

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