Blue cloth binding with gilt title and sailor on the front board.
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Salt Water: or, Sea Life and Adventures of Neil D’Arcy, the Midshipman
William Henry Giles Kingston (28 February 1814 – 5 August 1880), often credited as W. H. G. Kingston, was an English writer of boys’ adventure novels.
William Henry Giles Kingston was born in Harley Street, London on 28 February 1814. He was the eldest son of Lucy Henry Kingston (d.1852) and his wife Frances Sophia Rooke (b.1789), daughter of Sir Giles Rooke, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Kingston’s paternal grandfather John Kingston (1736–1820) was a Member of Parliament who staunchly supported the Abolition of the Slave Trade, despite having a plantation in Demerara. His father Lucy entered into the wine business in Oporto, and Kingston lived there for many years, making frequent voyages to England and developing a lifelong affection for the sea.
He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and afterwards entered his father’s wine business, but soon indulged in his natural bent for writing. His newspaper articles on Portugal were translated into Portuguese, and assisted the conclusion of the commercial treaty with Portugal in 1842, when he received from Donna Maria da Gloria an order of Portuguese knighthood and a pension.
His first book was The Circassian Chief, a story published in 1844. While still living in Oporto, he wrote The Prime Minister, a historical novel based loosely on the life of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, and Lusitanian Sketches, descriptions of travels in Portugal. Settling in England, he interested himself in the emigration movement, edited The Colonist and The Colonial Magazine and East India Review in 1844, was honorary secretary of a colonisation society, wrote Some Suggestions for a System of General Emigration in 1848, lectured on colonisation in 1849, published a manual for colonists entitled How to Emigrate in 1850, and visited the western highlands on behalf of the emigration commissioners. He was afterwards a zealous volunteer and worked actively for the improvement of the condition of seamen. But from 1850, his chief occupation was writing books for boys, or editing boys’ annuals and weekly periodicals. He started the Union Jack, a paper for boys, only a few months before his death. His stories number more than a hundred.
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