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“Martello Tower” in China and The Pacific: in H.M.S. “Tribune” 1856-60

$140.00
  • Book Details

Author: Norman, Commander Francis Martin

Illustrator:

Reference #: 1558

Status: Sold

List Price: $140.00

George Allen, London, 1902. Royal Octavo; Green cloth with gilt spine titles and tower motif on front boards. First Edition. Frontispiece with tissue guard and more than 25 other illustrations, collated and perfect. pp. [xv] [5] + [3]-299 (1, adv.).

The Tribune was a vessel described in the Preface as “of 31 guns, 1570 tons, and 300 h.-p., a typical wooden screw steam-frigate of the transitional period of our navy, in which both the outgoing reign of sail and the incoming reign of steam were represented.” Apart from the description of the traverse through the Straits of Magellan, the volume is notable for a period of 19 months in China during the war of 1856-58. The entire voyage, however, is covered, from the initial send-off and thus includes notes of a time on Vancouver Island, 1859-1860, “when Victoria was still called ‘The Fort’ and its American flavour was predominant . . . “ (p. ix). Reference is also made to the “Hyder Indians”, Governor Douglas, Nanaimo and Hornby Island,. Other ports of call include: Peru, the Sandwich Islands, Hong Kong, Canton, Manila, and San Juan.

Of value, then, for its presentation of some of the most important events bearing upon Anglo-Sinai relations, Commander Norman does not sacrifice the detail of the moment for the sake of larger issues of politics or military history. Thus, when recounting a facial wound in the midst of one battle, he writes: “Bob Bennett, our excitable young Irish assistant-surgeon, hopping over from the barge, was quickly examining my wound, and operation conducted under considerable and even ludicrous difficulties, for no sooner had Bob got my mouth open . . . when ping! a bullet would whizz past in close proximity to Bob’s head, rudely disturbing the process and Bob’s equanimity, who could do nothing more till he had turned round and cursed the Chinese with all the volubility of an Irish vocabulary.” (p. 111) Condition: front hinge starting though still sound; intermittent light to moderate foxing; heavy on a handful of pages though none affecting legibility of text or images. VG- overall.

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