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Title: Life of Frederick Marryat
Author: Hannay, David
Language: English
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                            “Great Writers.”

                                EDITED BY
                    PROFESSOR ERIC S. ROBERTSON, M.A.

                           _LIFE OF MARRYAT._

                            FREDERICK MARRYAT

                              DAVID HANNAY

                      WALTER SCOTT, 24 WARWICK LANE
                 NEW YORK AND TORONTO: W. J. GAGE & CO.

                        (_All rights reserved._)

             🖛 FOR FULL LIST of the Volumes in this series,
                      see Catalogue at end of book.


The materials for a life of Marryat are scanty, and I have acknowledged
my obligation to them in the text. Mrs. Ross Church collected, in 1872,
all the surviving knowledge about her father’s life--all of it, that is,
which the family thought it right to publish to the world. The present
little book has no pretensions to be founded on new materials. My
object has only been to make the best use I could of already published
matter--to tell what story there is to tell in the clearest possible
manner, and to add the best estimate of Marryat’s work and position in
letters that I could supply.

                                                                    D. H.


                               CHAPTER I.

    Frederick Marryat born 10th July, 1792; his parentage; his
    ancestry; home training; schooling at Enfield; runs away to sea;
    is sent into the navy and joins the _Impérieuse_ under Captain
    Lord Cochrane, in September, 1806                                    11

                               CHAPTER II.

    The naval war in 1806: the frigates of the Great War; Lord
    Cochrane, afterwards Lord Dundonald, Captain of the _Impérieuse_;
    his character; his influence on Marryat; the cruises of the
    frigate as described by Marryat in his private log; a narrow
    escape; Cochrane in the House of Commons; an affair in the boats;
    the Maltese privateer, Pasquil Giliano; movements of _Impérieuse_    17

                              CHAPTER III.

     _Impérieuse_ on coast of Spain; cutting out privateer from
    Almeria Bay; alliance with Spain; Rosas; the Basque Roads;
    naval service of Marryat after parting with Cochrane till the
    end of the Great War; saves several men from drowning; various
    adventures; summary of his services from 1806 to 1815                31

                               CHAPTER IV.

    Marryat’s position in 1815; goes abroad; marriage; appointed to
    _Beaver_; at St. Helena changes to _Rosario_; in Channel; pays
    off _Rosario_; the Channel smugglers; appointed to _Larne_;
    Burmese War; promotion and made a C.B.; transferred to _Tees_ in
    July, 1824; short command of _Ariadne_; the _Ariadne_ his last
    ship; resigns command November, 1830; begins writing; equerry to
    Duke of Sussex; story of William IV.                                 46

                               CHAPTER V.

    From 1830 to 1848 a writer; his literary life; expensive habits;
    early success in novel writing; editorial ventures; _The
    Metropolitan Magazine_; hard work in 1833-34; in 1833 he stands
    for Tower Hamlets, and fails; at Brighton in 1834; quotation from
    letter on lawsuit; goes abroad; life abroad; leaves for America      58

                               CHAPTER VI.

    Marryat’s literary work up to 1837; his early success, and
    determination to make money; quarrels with publisher; prices paid
    him; “Frank Mildmay”; quotation from _Metropolitan Magazine_
    on “Frank Mildmay”; other books from “King’s Own” to “Pirate”
    and “Three Cutters”; quality of Marryat’s style; quotation from
    “Peter Simple”; his plots; his fun; quotation from “Midshipman
    Easy”                                                                73

                              CHAPTER VII.

     Visit to America in 1837; his object in going there; in New
    York; letter to his mother describing where he has been; visit to
    Canada; affair of the _Caroline_; unpopularity in United States;
    Marryat stands his ground; return to England                         98

                              CHAPTER VIII.

    Movements in London; ruin of West Indian property; life and
    friendships in London; Duke Street, Wimbledon, Piccadilly,
    Spanish Place; first signs of breaking health; goes to Langham;
    books of these years; “Phantom Ship”; children’s stories;
    “Masterman Ready”; skirmish with _Fraser’s Magazine_; Marryat
    defends publication of his stories in the _Era_                     114

                               CHAPTER IX.

    Marryat goes to Langham for good in 1843; life there; Marryat
    and his children; kindness to his men; his scientific farming,
    and its financial results; his literary work; asked to write
    life of Collingwood; declines; last stories: “The Mission,” “The
    Settlers,” “The Children of the New Forest,” “The Little Savage”    132

                               CHAPTER X.

    His fatal illness; his _physique_ and personal appearance; letter
    to Lord Auckland on supposed slight; Hastings; loss of H.M.S.
    _Avenger_, and death of Marryat’s son, Lieutenant Frederick
    Marryat; returns to Langham; last months, and death on 9th
    August, 1848; estimate of his character and work                    149

    INDEX.                                                              161



Frederick Marryat, one of the most brilliant, and the least fairly
recognized, of English novelists, was born in Westminster, on the 10th
July, 1792, some seven months before the outbreak of the Great War.
He was the second son of Joseph Marryat, M.P. for Sandwich, chairman
of the committee of Lloyds, and Colonial Agent for the island of
Grenada. His mother was a Bostonian, of a loyalist family. Her maiden
name was Geyer--or according to Mrs. Ross Church’s life of her father,
Von Geyer--and the family is said to have been of Hessian origin.
The Marryats themselves were a Suffolk stock. In Marshall’s “Naval
Biography,” which appeared during Marryat’s own life, the novelist is
said to have descended from one of the numerous Huguenot refugees who
settled in the Eastern Counties during the persecutions of the sixteenth
century. The family version of its history, as given by Mrs. Ross
Church, contains a longer and more splendid pedigree, going back even
to knights who came over with “Richard Conqueror.” These things, though
set forth with faith no doubt, are to be received with polite reserve
by the judicious reader. For the rest, whatever the remote origin of the
Marryats may have been, they were during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries very distinctly middle-class people--dissenting ministers,
doctors, or business men--manifestly of good parts and industry. Some
of them wrote sermons and printed them. Thomas Marryat, the novelist’s
grandfather, was a doctor and the author of a medical book. His father
was, as the places he held show, a prosperous man; and the future
novelist entered the world under fairly favourable circumstances. There
was, it is clear, no want of money, and the family were active people
with a marked tendency to use their pens.

As no detailed life of Marryat was written until long after his death,
when no witnesses were left who could speak with knowledge, there is
an almost absolute want of evidence as to the character and probable
influence of his family life. If we are to argue from his stories, it was
hardly to be called happy. These guides may not be entirely safe, and
yet they afford evidence of a kind not to be lightly dismissed. A writer
whose pictures of home and school life are habitually disagreeable,
cannot have had many pleasant memories of his own to look back on.
With Marryat this was the case. In all his earlier stories, and until
he became decidedly didactic, and religious, in his later years, he
described the relations of parents and children, of schoolboy and
schoolmaster, as either indifferent or hostile, or as contemptuous
even when affection is not absent. Peter Simple, Mr. Midshipman Easy,
and Newton Foster are the sons of men whom they may like, but cannot
respect, of whom two are maniacs, and one is a harmless imbecile. Their
mothers are either utterly shadowy or repulsive. “Frank Mildmay,” the
first and the most autobiographical of his stories, is also the most
destitute of kindliness. Something may be allowed for rawness in the
author, and something for direct imitation of the earlier Smollettian
model. Marryat, too, publicly protested that he was not the “Naval
Officer” of this first story. But, by his own confession, he put many
of the incidents of his own life into it, and we may safely conclude
that what is wholly wanting in the story was not prominent in his own
experience. Now what is wanting is any trace that Frank Mildmay had the
smallest filial regard for his father, or was conscious of any maternal
influence, or thought of his home life with affection, or of his school
as other than a place of torment. That is not how men write when they
look back kindly on their first years. If Thackeray and Dickens drew
such different pictures of boy and school life, we know why. It is not
necessary to rack the scanty evidence about Marryat’s early years, to
find reason for believing that his father was probably a hard and dry man
of business, whose prosperity never melted the provincial dissenter quite
out of him. Of his mother there is nothing to be supposed at all.

It is to be noted that although Mr. Joseph Marryat was a prosperous man,
he did not send his sons to a public school. Frederick and his elder
brother (Joseph also, and not unknown as a collector of, and writer on,
porcelain) were sent to some sort of academy kept by a Mr. Freeman, at
Ponders End. It is an almost universal experience that the boy who has
been at a private school may remember an individual master with kindness,
but never has any degree of respect or affection for the place itself.
He is not one of an ancient body like the public-school man, and has
nothing in his memory to set off against the restraint--or in the old
hard days the floggings and hardships of school life. The Wykamite might
laugh at the wash pot of Moab, but what private-school boy would forgive
his master for turning him out to wash in a back yard? What is inflicted
by a public school is inflicted by the school itself; in a private
establishment it is inflicted by the master, and is a personal wrong.
Marryat was no exception to the rule. His memories of Ponders End were
not of a kind to make him draw cheerful pictures of school life. That he
was far from a model pupil, and had his share of the cane, has nothing
to do with it. He scamped his work, and forgot it, as many other boys
have done and will do. Not only that, but he was the cause of scamping
in others. Mr. Babbage, who was for a time his schoolfellow, is the
authority for a story which shows that Marryat was indeed a model young
scamp. Babbage wished to work (it does not appear whether they called it
“sweating” or “greasing” at Ponders End), and to get up for that purpose
with another “swot” at the absurd hour of three. With intentions which
were only too obvious, Marryat, who was his room fellow, proposed to join
the party. Babbage objected, and thought to escape the intrusion by the
easy method of not waking Marryat. This answered until the creator of
Mr. Midshipman Easy first bethought himself of drawing his bed across
the door, and then when even the moving of his bed did not rouse him,
of tying his hand to the handle. For some nights Babbage got over the
difficulty by cutting the fastening, until Marryat found a chain which
could not be cut. Babbage had his revenge. He invented an ingenious
machine for jerking the chain, and went on waking his chum repeatedly for
no purpose. At last a compromise was made. Marryat joined the good boys
for early study, and of course it was not long before others joined too,
and then the letting off of fireworks and various noises betrayed the
secret. How many of the party were flogged does not appear. Before long
Marryat had to be up at six bells in the middle watch on duty too often
to leave him much inclination to turn out voluntarily, even for mischief,
when he could by any chance get a night in.

It is also recorded of Marryat that he ran away to sea three times, that
is, he ran away with the intention of getting to sea, but the end of the
adventure was always capture, return to school, and more cane. His great
grievance is reported to have been the obligation to wear the clothes
which his elder brother had outgrown. The detail seems to indicate a
certain narrowness, not to say sordidness, in so prosperous a household
as the Marryats’, and the aggravation was certainly gross enough to
justify the protest. On one of these occasions Mr. J. Marryat showed a
remarkable weakness. He gave the truant money and sent him in a carriage
back to school. This error of judgment had a very natural consequence.
Marryat slipped out of the carriage, found his way quietly home, and took
his younger brothers to the theatre. At last his father came to the
very sensible conclusion that the sea was the best place for such a boy.
Being a man of some influence and position, he was able to start his son
well, on board a crack frigate, and under a distinguished captain. In
September, 1806, Marryat entered the _Impérieuse_, captain Lord Cochrane,
and sailed for the Mediterranean.


Fortune could not have done Marryat a greater kindness than to send
him to sea on the quarter-deck of the _Impérieuse_. She enabled him
to share in the most stirring work to be done at the date at which he
joined the service, and under the command of one the most brilliant of
naval officers. In 1806 the war of fleets was over. Trafalgar had broken
the heart of our enemies, and from that time forward their squadrons
never even attempted to keep the sea. Napoleon built line-of-battle
ships in batches, but only to keep them manned and armed, lying idle in
port. The English fleets had so completely established their supremacy,
that they used the French roadsteads as familiarly as their own. The
blockading squadron off Brest anchored in Douarnenez Bay, in sight of
the French lookout, and there repaired their rigging or caulked their
seams as coolly as if no enemy’s fleet were in existence, and they
did it with perfect impunity. Admiral Smyth has told how audaciously
the Mediterranean fleet was wont to anchor off Hyères in the absolute
confidence that the French would never come out of Toulon. Their only
chance of service was when the French would be decoyed out by some
particularly audacious frigate, which was sent in to insult them at the
very mouth of their harbour. Then there was a chance that they might be
drawn further than they could go back before the in-shore squadron was
upon them. But such breaks in the monotony of blockade were rare. For the
most part our line-of-battle ships were employed in cruising to and fro,
with intervals of harbour--their officers and crews spent their lives
in drilling aloft or at the guns, and in keeping decks and metal-work
in a condition of faultless cleanliness. That passion for neatness and
smartness which has never left the British navy rose to its height in the
last years of the Great War, and did indeed sometimes attain to actual
mania in the minds of captains and first lieutenants in want of something
to employ themselves and their men upon.

There was, however, one class of ship which had a fair chance of active
service. The frigates were never, even to the end, reduced to mere
patrolling. It was to them indeed that fell all the brilliant fighting in
the last ten years or so of the war. The French never altogether ceased
to send forth cruisers which had necessarily to be pursued and captured.
Moreover, there was work to be done upon the enemy’s coasts, convoys to
be taken, forts to be destroyed, privateers to be cut out. After 1808
we were in alliance with the Spaniards, and there was then no want of
chances for enterprising officers to distinguish themselves against the
French invaders on the coasts, particularly in the Mediterranean. The
Mediterranean, including the Adriatic, and the East Indies, were the
great theatres of the war until the Americans struck in.

It was a material addition to his good fortune in being appointed to
such a ship, and on such service, that he should have begun under the
captain who then commanded the _Impérieuse_. The novelist who was to
give the most living of all pictures of the navy at its greatest time
could not possibly have met with a better chief. Lord Cochrane, who is
better known as the Earl of Dundonald, was, next to Nelson (the master
of them all), that one of the naval officers of the Great War who was
most distinctly a man of genius. There were others who were brave, able,
honourable gentlemen. In pure seamanship many may have been his equals.
In a service which included such men as Blackwood, Hallowell, Willoughby,
the Captain Hamilton who cut out the _Hermione_, Broke of the _Shannon_,
and a hundred other valiant gentlemen, even Dundonald could not hope for
a pre-eminence in valour. It may even be allowed that he never, while
fighting for his own country, was able to achieve anything so complete,
so distinctly what Cortes called a “muy hermosa cosa,” a very pretty
piece of fighting with a squadron, as Sir William Hoste’s little gem of
a victory over the French frigates off Lissa. He was not allowed the
chance to handle a detachment of ships in independent command. But there
was in Dundonald the indefinable something--“those deliveries of a man’s
self which have no name,” that combination of passion and faculty--which
makes the man of genius. Whatever he did was done with a burning fire
of energy. The fire was not always pure. There was a self-assertion
about the man--never base, but always aggressive, a pragmatical Scotch
fierceness, a love of hate and scorn, a total inability to keep measure,
which can be seen on every page of his Autobiography, and explain why
it was that he was always, in our service or out of it, a free lance.
He was of the race of Peterborough not of Marlborough. To the highest
rank he did not belong, but he was divided in kind from the brave, able,
disciplined, but shadowy men, who do the regular drilled work of the
world. He was a magnificent, rugged individuality. Even in books he is
real as only such men as Nelson and Wellington are real. On those who
knew him his influence, even if it only produced repulsion, must have
been profound. One so open to impressions, and so able to retain them as
Marryat, must have been another man all his life for having known and
admired Dundonald. It must be remembered, too, that Marryat saw Dundonald
at his best--on the deck of his frigate, and not at the Admiralty or the
House of Commons, where he was apt to make himself intolerable by his
wrong-headed violence in right, and his inability to see that for the
work of the reformer, as for all work, there is a proper time, and a
fitting manner which must not be mistaken, under penalty of failure.

The influence which Cochrane had upon Marryat might indeed be
demonstrated from his works. The captain of the _Impérieuse_ remained
his type of what a British officer ought to be. All his frigates’
captains who are mentioned for honour have something--and several of
them have much--of his first commander in them. That this should be the
case in “Frank Mildmay,” the first of his books, and to some extent
an autobiography, was almost a matter of course. In this book the
cruise of the frigate on the coast of Spain is the very service of the
_Impérieuse_. But it is equally true of Captain Savage of the _Diomede_
in “Peter Simple,” and of Captain M---- of the “King’s Own.” Both are
Scotchmen, penniless gentlemen of good descent, officers of boundless
skill, daring, and withal judgment. It is on this last quality that
Marryat dwells by preference, and it is this which he picks out for
special praise in Cochrane. “I must here remark,” he says in the private
log quoted in Mrs. Ross Church’s life, “that I never knew any one so
careful of the lives of his ship’s company as Lord Cochrane, or any one
who calculated so closely the risks attending any expedition. Many of
the (_sic_) most brilliant achievements were performed without loss of
a single life, so well did he calculate the chances; and one half the
merit which he deserves for what he did accomplish has never been awarded
him, merely because in the official despatches there has not been a long
list of killed and wounded to please the appetite of the English public.”
This fondness of the public for a long list of killed and wounded was
a favourite subject of half-serious jest with Marryat, and he learnt
from others, if not from Cochrane, how a despatch ought to be written
in a “concatenation accordingly.” It would seem that Marryat had little
admiration for the brainless, headlong courage which rushes madly at
whatever happens to be in front of its weapon. He would have condemned
even with contempt (and Hawke, Nelson, Cochrane, would have condemned
with him) such a piece of frantic swash-bucklery as the last fight of
the _Revenge_. The men who were daring with judgment, who risked for a
reason, who took care to cover themselves as they lunged, and who then
went all together, sword, hand, and foot, with the speed of lightning,
and with unerring accuracy of the eye which has brains behind it, were
his heroes. In any case Marryat would have arrived at these conclusions,
but he assuredly did so the sooner, and the more heartily, because for
three years he fought under a fighter of this stamp.

Marryat was fortunate in his messmates as well as in his captain. A
crack frigate of those days had the pick of the lieutenants’ list, and
of the “young gentlemen” who were to be the captains of the future. The
_Impérieuse_ had a particularly good staff, some of them old officers
of Cochrane’s, and in the midshipman’s mess Marryat met comrades who
were good fellows, and gentlemen too. He formed friendships which lasted
through life, particularly with Lord Napier, and with Houston Stewart.

I have thought it well to dwell at some length on Marryat’s entry into
the service, because its conditions are of vital importance in his life.
Whatever his training had been he would have been a writer. His private
log shows that from the beginning he found pleasure in the use of his
pen; but had he not been a naval officer he would have been a very
different writer, and, more, had he gone to sea in a less happy way, the
misfortune would not have failed to have its effects on him. The tamer
life of a line-of-battle ship, the tedium of a small craft engaged on
convoy, might have driven him back on shore by mere boredom. On board
the _Impérieuse_ he was able to live his life to the full. There he had
three years of active and daring fighting. The impression they made on
him was never effaced, and has been recorded by himself. In the private
log, quoted by his daughter, he sums up his memories in words which it
would be a dereliction of duty not to quote:

    “The cruises of the _Impérieuse_ were periods of continued
    excitement, from the hour in which she hove up her anchor till she
    dropped it again in port: the day that passed without a shot being
    fired in anger, was with us a blank day: the boats were hardly
    secured on the booms than they were cast loose and out again; the
    yard and stay tackles were for ever hoisting up and lowering down.
    The expedition with which parties were formed for service; the
    rapidity of the frigate’s movements night and day; the hasty sleep
    snatched at all hours; the waking up at the report of the guns,
    which seemed the very keynote to the hearts of those on board, the
    beautiful precision of our fire, obtained by constant practice; the
    coolness and courage of our captain, inoculating the whole of the
    ship’s company; the suddenness of our attacks, the gathering after
    the combat, the killed lamented, the wounded almost envied; the
    powder so burnt into our faces that years could not remove it; the
    proved character of every man and officer on board, the implicit
    trust and adoration we felt for our commander; the ludicrous
    situations which would occur in the extremest danger and create
    mirth when death was staring you in the face, the hair-breadth
    escapes, and the indifference to life shown by all--when memory
    sweeps along these years of excitement even now, my pulse beats
    more quickly with the reminiscence.”

The years of service which thus impressed themselves on Marryat’s memory
may be divided into three periods. First, a cruise on the coast of
France from Ushant to the mouth of the Gironde; then a longer period of
active work in the Mediterranean; and finally, a return to the ocean,
and the action in the Basque Roads. The young midshipman’s first actual
experience of cruising was one which was doubtless present in his mind
when he wrote the song whereof the chorus tells how “Poll put her arms
akimbo,” and said, “Port Admiral, you be----.” When the corporal reported
to Mr. Vanslyperken that the crew of the revenue cutter were singing
this ditty, the outraged commander asked whether it was the Port Admiral
at Portsmouth or Plymouth. The officer who was, we may be sure, spoken
of by the crew of the _Impérieuse_ on the 17th and succeeding few days
of November, 1806, in an equally mutinous fashion, was the Port Admiral
at Plymouth. According to the custom of Admirals who did not have to go
to sea themselves, this officer was exceeding zealous in enforcing the
Admiralty’s orders to despatch ships to sea smartly. The orders came
down for the _Impérieuse_ to go to sea, and the Admiral would have them
obeyed. Go she must--“The moment the rudder--which was being hung--would
steer the ship,” as Dundonald says in his Autobiography, and while she
had “a lighter full of provisions on one side, a second with ordnance
stores on the other, and a third filled with gunpowder towing astern.”
But the tale should be told in Marryat’s words, and not in his captain’s:

    “The _Impérieuse_ sailed; the Admiral of the port was one who
    _would_ be obeyed, but _would not_ listen always to reason or
    common sense. The signal for sailing was enforced by gun after gun;
    the anchor was hove up, and, with all her stores on deck, her guns
    not even mounted, in a state of confusion unparalleled from her
    being obliged to hoist in faster than it was possible she could
    stow away, she was driven out of harbour to encounter a heavy gale.
    A few hours more would have enabled her to proceed to sea with
    security, but they were denied; the consequences were appalling,
    they might have been fatal. In the general confusion some iron too
    near the binnacles had attracted the needle of the compasses; the
    ship was steered out of her course. At midnight, in a heavy gale
    at the close of November, so dark that you could not distinguish
    any object, however close, the _Impérieuse_ dashed upon the rocks
    between Ushant and the Main. The cry of terror which ran through
    the lower decks; the grating of the keel as she was forced in; the
    violence of the shocks which convulsed the frame of the vessel; the
    hurrying up of the ship’s company without their clothes; and then
    the enormous waves which again bore her up, and carried her clean
    over the reef, will never be effaced from my memory.”

The frigate had been carried into a deep pool, and rode the gale out at
anchor. When daylight came she was found to be inside instead of outside
of Ushant--and was got off with no greater damage than the loss of her
false keel. But the escape was a narrow one--the adventure must have
shaken Marryat rudely into the life of the sea--and have impressed him
deeply with the possible consequence of pig-headedness in pig-headed Port

The cruise of the frigate on the French coast was not very fruitful in
incident, and early in 1807 she was back in port. There she remained for
the greater part of the year, while her captain was fighting the battles
of the navy in the House of Commons. A general election took place in the
spring, and Cochrane, who had sat already for Honiton, stood with Sir
Francis Burdett for Westminster. They were elected, and the captain of
the _Impérieuse_ at once began, or rather returned to, those attacks on
abuses in the Admiralty and dockyards which were so uniformly right in
substance and wrong in form. It is a pleasing instance of the inability
of man to hold the balance even when his own interest is in the scale,
that Cochrane never seems to have seen anything wrong in the retention
of a fine frigate in port during war in order that her captain (who was
drawing full pay all the time) might attend to parliamentary duties in
London. Conscious of rectitude, he would have treated the suggestion that
he also was an abuse with scorn. According to his own version of the
story, told in profound good faith, he did his higher duties as member of
the House with such efficiency that the Admiralty decided to confine him
to the exercise of his profession in future. At the close of the session
the _Impérieuse_ was ordered to join Lord Collingwood’s fleet in the
Mediterranean, and sailed from Portsmouth on the 12th of September, 1807.

In October, Marryat made his first acquaintance with Malta, and the
scenes associated with the immortal memory of Mr. Midshipman Easy. He
was not to stay there long, for the _Impérieuse_ left almost immediately
to join Lord Collingwood, who was cruising off Palermo. Soon after, the
future describer of so many dashing affairs with boats had an opportunity
of seeing one. On the 14th of November (Marryat himself says the 15th),
the _Impérieuse_ sighted two vessels under the land of Corsica, and,
as it was calm, the boats were ordered out to examine them, under the
command of Napier and Fayrer.

“As soon,” it is Marryat who speaks, “as they were within half a mile,
the ship hoisted English colours. The sight of these colours, of course,
checked the attack; the boats pulled slowly up toward her, and, when
within hail, demanded what she was, for, if an English vessel, she could
have no objection to be boarded by the boats of an English frigate. Now,
as it afterwards was proved, the ship was a Maltese privateer of great
celebrity, commanded by the well-known Pasquil Giliano, who had been very
successful in his cruises, and, if report spoke truly, for the best of
reasons, as he paid very little respect to any colours; in fact, he was a
well-known pirate, and, when he returned to Malta, his hold was full of
goods taken out of vessels, which he had burnt that he might not weaken
his crew by sending them away; and in an Admiralty Court so notoriously
corrupt as that of Malta, inquiries were easily hushed up. Although such
was the fact, still it had nothing to do with the present affair.

“When the boats pulled up astern, the captain of the polacre answered
that he was a Maltese privateer, but that he would not allow them to come
on board; for, although Napier had hailed him in English, and he could
perceive the red jackets of the Marines in the boats, Giliano had an
idea from the boats being fitted out with iron tholes and grummets, like
the French, that they belonged to a ship of that nation. A short parley
ensued, at the end of which the captain of the privateer pointed to his
boarding nettings triced up, and told them that he was prepared, and if
they attempted to board he should defend himself to the last. Napier
replied that he must board, and Giliano leaped from the poop telling
him that he must take the consequences. The answer was a cheer and a
simultaneous dash of the boats to the vessel’s side.

“A most desperate conflict ensued, perhaps the best contested and the
most equally matched on record. In about ten minutes, the captain having
fallen, a portion of the crew of the privateer gave way, the remainder
fought until they were cut to pieces, and the vessel remained in our
possession. And then, when the decks were strewn with the dying and the
dead, was discovered the unfortunate mistake which had been committed.
The privateer was a large vessel, pierced for fourteen guns and mounting
ten, and the equality of the combatants, as well as the equality of the
loss on both sides, was remarkable. On board of the vessel there had
been fifty-two men; with [the] boats fifty-four. The privateer lost
Giliano, her captain, and fifteen men; on our side we had fifteen men
killed and wounded. Fayrer lost for ever the use of his right arm by a
musket bullet, and Napier received a very painful wound, and had a very
narrow escape--the bullet of Giliano’s pistol grazing his left cheek and
passing through his ear, slightly splintering a portion of the bone.”

Marryat’s version of the story does not agree in every detail with
Cochrane’s, but in essentials they are at one. Particularly there is no
difference of opinion between them as to the character of the Maltese
Admiralty Court. In this case it not only refused to allow that the
_King George_ (Giliano’s vessel) was a lawful prize, but it fined the
_Impérieuse_ five hundred double sequins. That iniquitous court was one
of the many abuses Cochrane had to fight in his life.

Here certainly was an experience likely to be useful to the midshipman
who was to record it. The fight was a dashing one--a thing well worth
seeing in itself, and besides the _King George_ privateer so-called,
but in fact pirate or little better, with her motley crew of Russians,
Italians, Sclavonians (“a set of desperate savages” Cochrane styled
them in his despatch), must have introduced him to the lawless, and
scoundrelly fringe of the great naval war. From privateer to pirate was
at all times but a step, and amid the confusion of the great wars, with
the connivance of dishonest Colonial Admiralty Courts, and the tacit
consent of some neutrals of little scruple, not a few ruffians were able
to flourish,--the plundering, murdering, cowardly camp followers, so to
speak, of the great regular naval armaments.

From Corsica the _Impérieuse_ went on to Toulon, to report to Lord
Collingwood, who was back at his regular blockading station. Thence
Cochrane was sent to Malta, and on to the Ionian Islands to command a
squadron then engaged in blockading some French frigates in Corfu. Here
Cochrane, true to his character, fell out with another abuse. When he
arrived on the station, he found that neutral vessels, or even vessels
belonging to our enemies, were allowed to trade with the island under
cover of passes supplied by the officer commanding the English blockading
force. Of course Cochrane seized them, to the wrath of the officer in
question, who consistently enough intrigued against him at headquarters.
The captain of the _Impérieuse_ was recalled as being too indiscreet, by
Lord Collingwood, apparently on the mere complaint of the officer whose
passes had been treated with such scant respect, and so lost his one
chance of commanding a squadron on work which he was eminently fitted
to do well. The story of the passes (which of course were not given for
nothing) must have been known to every man on board the _Impérieuse_,
and, doubtless, the officer who had such a remarkable idea of his duties,
went, in the course of time, to the making of Captain Capperbar. Having
made one more place too hot to hold him, by hasty action, where a little
tact and patience would have enabled him to have his way and to bring the
trading naval officer to book, Cochrane was employed cruising to and fro
till January, 1808, when he was despatched by Lord Collingwood to the
coast of Spain, where he was to have a longer period of active brilliant


When the _Impérieuse_ reached the coast of Spain early in 1808, we
were still at war with that country. Napoleon had not yet turned his
submissive ally into an enemy by that act of brigandage which was the
capital error of his life. The war was for us still a “rich war,” as
Nelson put it--there were still Spanish prizes to be picked up. Cochrane
was master of the work to be done. His previous cruise in the _Speedy_
had made him perfectly familiar with the Spanish coast. It had also
given him an absolute confidence in his power to beat the Spaniards
at any odds. On this occasion he had no opportunity to equal the most
marvellous of all his feats--the capture of the frigate _Gamo_ with his
tiny gun-brig the _Speedy_, but he was incessantly active and uniformly
successful. The _Impérieuse_ hugged the Spanish coast, destroyed isolated
forts, sailed into the very ports and marked her prey down coolly, before
sending her boats in to cut out the more tempting prizes. In all this
stirring fighting Marryat had such share as a midshipman might. The
history of it is recorded in “Frank Mildmay,” in “Mr. Midshipman Easy,”
in “Peter Simple.” One incident may be recorded as a type of the rest.
Lord Cochrane learnt that a certain vessel which he was resolute to
take was lying at anchor in Almeria. He himself, in his “Autobiography
of a Seaman,” calls her “a large French vessel, laden with lead and
other munitions of war.” Marryat, as quoted by his daughter, calls her
a polacre privateer, and says nothing of her nationality, but in other
respects the stories agree. The story may now go on in Marryat’s words:

    “At daybreak we were well in with American colours at the peak.
    [The place, as has been just said, was Almeria Bay, and this trick
    of hoisting neutral colours was a common stratagem of war.] The
    Spaniards had their suspicions, but, as we boldly ran into harbour,
    anchored among the other vessels, and furled our sails, they did
    not fire. They were puzzled, for they could not imagine that any
    vessel would act with such temerity, as we were surrounded by
    batteries. We had, however, anchored with springs upon our cables;
    close to us within half musket shot, lay a large polacre privateer
    of sixteen guns, the same vessel which had been attacked by, and
    had beaten off the boats of the _Spartan_ with a loss of nearly
    sixty men killed and wounded. On our other side were two large
    brigs heavily laden and a zebecque; the small craft were in-shore
    of us, the town and citadel about half a mile ahead of us at the
    bottom of the bay, the batteries all around us, and evidently well
    prepared. Our boats had long been hoisted out and lay alongside,
    which circumstance added to the suspicions of the Spaniards; still,
    as yet, not a gun was fired.

    “Lord Cochrane’s reasons for running in with the frigate was,
    that he considered the loss of life would be much less by this
    manœuvre than if he had despatched the boats, and this privateer
    he had determined to capture. He did not suppose, nor indeed did
    any one, that, lying as she was under the guns of the frigate, she
    would dare to fire a shot, but in this he was mistaken. The boats
    were manned, and the remaining crew of the _Impérieuse_ at their
    quarters. The word was given and the boats shoved off; one pinnace,
    commanded by Mr. Caulfield, the first lieutenant, pulling for the
    polacre ship, while the others went to take possession of the brigs
    and zebecque.

    “To our astonishment, as soon as the pinnace was alongside the
    ship, she was received with a murderous fire, and half of our
    boat’s crew were laid beneath the thwarts; the remainder boarded.
    Caulfield was the first on the vessel’s decks--a volley of
    musquetoons received him, and he fell dead with thirteen bullets
    in his body. But he was amply avenged; out of the whole crew of
    the privateer, but fifteen, who escaped below and hid themselves,
    remained alive; no quarter was shown, they were cut to atoms on
    the deck, and those who threw themselves into the sea to save
    their lives were shot as they struggled in the water. The fire
    of the privateer had been the signal for the batteries to open,
    and now was presented the animated scene of the boats boarding
    in every direction, with more or less resistance; the whole bay
    reverberating with the roar of cannon, the smooth water ploughed
    up in every quarter by the shot directed against the frigate and
    boats, while the _Impérieuse_ returned the fire, warping round and
    round with her springs to silence the most galling. This continued
    for nearly an hour, by which time the captured vessels were under
    all sail, and then the _Impérieuse_ hove up her anchor, and, with
    the English colours waving at her gaff, and still keeping up an
    undiminished fire, sailed slowly out the victor.”

It was on such an occasion as this, if not in this very affair, that
Marryat is said to have had the adventure recorded by him in “Frank
Mildmay.” Like the hero of that story, he was knocked down by the body
of his leader, who was shot in front of him in a boarding affair, and
then almost trampled to death by the men who pressed on to carry the
prize. When the fight was over he was dragged out insensible, and laid
among the dead. The unfriendly remark of a comrade--that he had cheated
the gallows--revived him to give a vigorous denial. Mrs. Ross Church
states that this happened in Arcassan Bay during the first cruise of
the _Impérieuse_, but Cochrane himself mentions no such fight there,
and no loss of any of his officers. Frank Mildmay’s adventure happened
in Arcassan Bay, but Marryat would have obvious reasons for not being
strictly accurate as to place. If the incident was taken from his own
life, it can only have happened at Almeria. It may be noted that both
Mr. Handstone in the novel, and Mr. Caulfield in history, were first
lieutenants, and that both died in the same way, riddled with bullets, at
the head of a boarding party. Was Caulfield oppressed with a presentiment
of his coming death like the lieutenant in “Frank Mildmay”--or was he
indeed the original of that officer who, be it observed, is a very
distinct character, and has much the air of being a portrait? Perhaps a
preliminary question ought to be asked, namely, whether this incident
did actually happen to Marryat as recorded in the novel? It is possible.
The fact that he does not mention it in the passage quoted above proves
nothing. It is apparently taken from his unfinished life of his friend
Napier, in which he would naturally not dwell on his own personal
adventures. On the other hand, it is very much the sort of story which
might be transferred from the hero of the novel to its author.

In the course of 1808 a great change came over the war in the Western
Mediterranean. Napoleon made his famous (and infamous) grab at the
Spanish monarchy, and instantly, without hesitation, without concert
among themselves, in one great spontaneous burst of patriotic enthusiasm,
the Spanish people rose in arms. Their efforts were often unsuccessful,
and even disgraced by mismanagement or treason; but, on the whole, they
set Europe a magnificent example, which was well followed later on by
Russia, and they gave England what she had long wished for in vain--a
field of battle on land against Napoleon. The _Impérieuse_ had her share
in the Peninsular War. It was her duty not only to help the Spaniards in
the coast towns, but to harass the French troops which endeavoured to
enter Spain by the coast road. Cochrane was at his best in work of this
kind. For months he was engaged in incessant boat attacks on the French
transports, which endeavoured to reach Barcelona (then and throughout
the war in their possession), by hugging the shore. With this service
were mingled landing expeditions to blow up French telegraph stations or
batteries, or to help the Spaniards to defend forts which commanded the
road, and which the French for that very reason were particularly anxious
to capture. It was Cochrane’s belief to the end of his life that if he
had been supplied with a flotilla of light vessels and a regiment of
troops, he would have made it impossible for the French to enter Spain by
the Eastern Pyrenees at all. How far he was justified in this opinion, he
never was able to show. Indeed, when he was offered just such a command
on condition that he would abstain from attacking Admiral Gambier in the
House of Commons, he refused it. Even as it was, however, he did much.
His untiring vigilance made it impossible for the French to use the sea
for the transport of men or provisions, and difficult for them to use the
coast route which at many places was liable to be swept by the cannon of
the English frigate. They were driven to use the inland route through
a poor and rugged country swarming with guerrilleros. It is known that
all this part of the war proved enormously costly to the French, and
much of the credit due for imposing the loss upon them must go to the
_Impérieuse_. Marryat had his share of it all, and in “Frank Mildmay” he
has given a carefully finished sketch of one of the sharpest pieces of
service in it--the defence of Rosas, where he himself received a bayonet

The desire to be back in his place in Parliament, in order that he
might expose the malpractices of the Maltese Admiralty Court (this
is the motive assigned by himself, and was doubtless that of which he
was most conscious), induced Cochrane to apply for leave to bring the
_Impérieuse_ home to England. It was granted with a facility which throws
some doubt on his theory that the Admiralty feared his presence; and
early in March, 1809, he dropped anchor in Plymouth Sound. Unhappily for
himself, Cochrane was selected for a special piece of service before
he could resume his Parliamentary work. In February of this year a
French squadron had slipped out of Brest, with orders to drive off the
British seventy-fours which were then watching L’Orient, to pick up
three more ships at anchor there under Commodore Troude, and then to
proceed to the West Indies to relieve Martinique. Admiral Willaumez,
the French commander, did not escape the vigilance of the Channel
squadron. His fleet was sighted at sea, followed till it entered the
Pertuis d’Antioche, between the islands of Ré and Oléron, and very soon
a blockading force collected under Admiral Gambier. The outcries of
the London and Liverpool merchants roused the Admiralty to make great
exertions for the destruction of an armament which was designed to
operate in the West Indies, and would, by its mere presence in those
waters, have greatly disturbed English trade. In an evil hour for
Cochrane, my Lords remembered that he was well acquainted with this
part of the French coast, and they resolved to send him to execute an
attack on the enemy’s ships. Very reluctantly, for he knew how ill
he was likely to be received by officers whom he would practically
supersede, he undertook the work. He prepared a flotilla of explosion
vessels and fire-ships. In April the _Impérieuse_ had joined Gambier’s
squadron. A detailed account of the action which followed would be out
of place here. Its rather melancholy history is to be read in Cochrane’s
“Autobiography,” and the Minutes of the court martial on Lord Gambier.
The squadron was in an indifferent moral condition, divided by sour
professional factions, and impatient of its Admiral, a brave but weak
officer, chiefly known as what was called in the navy a “blue light,”
that is a pious man of a somewhat Methodistical turn. Very little zeal
was shown in supporting Cochrane. The attack was made on the night of
April 11th, and whatever the _Impérieuse_ could do was magnificently
done. The French fleet of eight line-of-battle ships, and some smaller
vessels, had withdrawn to the Basque Roads, at the mouth of the Charente,
and had fortified itself with a heavy boom. Towards that boom the English
explosion and fire-ships were driven by wind and tide after dark on the
11th. It is doubtful whether more than one of them reached it--but that
one was commanded by Cochrane himself. She was brought up to the boom
at half a cable’s length off the French frigate _Indienne_, and there
exploded, scattering the boom all over the mouth of the Charente. Through
the opening thus made a few English vessels passed. They were a mere
handful, and might have been sunk by the fire of the French, but our
enemies were panic stricken. They cut their cables, and ran ashore. When
day broke the French ships were fast aground, and might every one have
been destroyed; but Lord Gambier was an officer of the stamp peculiarly
hateful to Nelson. He was prompt to conclude that enough had been done,
and was loth to risk ships and men in what he thought an unnecessary
way. In vain did Cochrane, who had now returned to the _Impérieuse_,
hoist signal after signal urging the Admiral to attack. He told him
that the enemy were ashore, and could be destroyed; that they would get
off if they were not stopped; that they were actually preparing to get
off. It skilled not, and Gambier remained stolidly at anchor miles off.
At last Cochrane, who by this time was nearly rabid with rage, work,
and want of sleep, flew into a Berserker fury. He deliberately drifted
the _Impérieuse_ stern first under the guns of the French liners, and
then signalled that he was overpowered and in need of assistance. This
desperate measure, worthy of Nelson in his most splendid moments, did
at last force Admiral Gambier’s hand. Some vessels were sent--when it
was well-nigh too late to do any service at all--and distinctly too late
to do all that ought to have been done. Three of the French liners were
destroyed, but the others by throwing their guns overboard and starting
their water, were able to grovel over the mud-bar of the Charente, and
escape into a pool out of reach up the river. They never appeared in
the West Indies certainly, but the work was half done. Cochrane went
back to England--with all that was best and worst in him fermenting with
fury--to make his unhappy motion of opposition in the House to the vote
of thanks to Admiral Gambier. From thence came his final quarrel with the
Admiralty, and the court martial on Lord Gambier, in which it is only
too probable that English officers and officials of rank winked at the
suppression of evidence, and something not unlike forgery. Cochrane’s
service in our navy was over for long years.

With this scene of mingled heroism and stupidity, the more brilliant part
of Marryat’s naval life came to an end. He was engaged in the Basque
Roads on one of the fire-ships, and when they proved of little use, was
probably recalled to the _Impérieuse_. It is to be hoped at least that
he was on her deck when her captain, in an exaltation of fury, drifted
her among the French liners. In point of time, however, his service was
merely beginning, and he was to do good work yet, both as a subordinate
and as commander; but it wanted the heroic touch of the first three
years. When Cochrane was superseded from the _Impérieuse_, Marryat
remained with the new captain, and under him took part in the wholly
wretched Walcheren business, out of which he got--in common with some
thousands of others--all that it had to give--a distinct idea of how a
combined expedition ought _not_ to be conducted,--and an attack of marsh

From this time until the close of the Great War, he was on such active
service as the overpowering supremacy we had attained at sea left to
be performed. From the Scheldt he returned invalided on board the
_Victorious_, 74. As soon as he was fit for service, he was appointed
to the _Centaur_, 74, the flag-ship of Sir Samuel Hood, with whom he
went back to the Mediterranean, but not to the stirring life of his
old frigate. After a year of the seventy-four he returned home, and
was appointed to the _Æolus_ frigate on the American station. He went
out as a passenger on the _Atlas_, 64, and joined his ship at Halifax.
In the _Æolus_, and then in another frigate, the _Spartan_, he became
familiar with the West Indies, which are, with the Mediterranean, the
scenes of so large a part of his stories. In 1812 he had served his time
as midshipman, and returned home to pass. His influence was good, as
the fact that he served so much in frigates proves, and he received his
lieutenant’s commission immediately after going through his examination
(December 26, 1812). Six months later he was appointed to _L’Espiègle_
sloop, and cruised in her on the north coast of South America, till
he was invalided by the breaking of a blood-vessel, and sent home as
a passenger on board his old frigate, the _Spartan_, which had now
finished her commission. This accident, due in part to a constitutional
infirmity, which ultimately proved fatal to him, occurred at Barbadoes,
at a dance--perhaps a dignity ball. In 1814 he was back on the coast of
America in the _Newcastle_, 58, and was again invalided home, this time
from Madeira. In June, 1815, just as the Great War was closing, Marryat
was promoted commander, and the first period of his life came to an end.

The years from 1809 to 1815 may be rapidly passed over, for though
they added to his experience, they were colourless as compared with
the cruises of the _Impérieuse_. He saw some service in them, but it
was either tame, or a mere repetition of what he had seen before. The
so-called “war of 1812” was in progress during part of his service in the
_Spartan_ and all his service in the _Newcastle_, but he saw little of
it. Some boat work--and sharp work too--he went through in Boston Bay,
but he saw nothing of those unlucky frigate actions with the Americans,
which gave us such a disagreeable shock, and it was not his good fortune
to be one of the crew of the famous _Shannon_. The capture of a small
privateer or two, by so powerful a vessel as the _Newcastle_, was no
important experience to a man who had seen the boarding of the _King
George_, the defence of the Trinidad fort at Rosas, and the affair in the
Basque Roads. An acquaintance he made with an American prisoner of war
while on board the _Newcastle_ was useful to him afterwards, but at the
time he probably thought little about it.

His captains in these years doubtless served him as models when he began
his work as a novelist, but they were none of them men of the commanding
kind. The best remembered of them was Captain E. P. Brenton of the
_Spartan_, brother of the famous Sir Jahleel who fought a brilliant
frigate action off Naples, under the very eyes of Murat. Captain Brenton
had himself done good work, but his chief reputation was made in later
days, as the author of a life of St. Vincent, and a history of the
Great War, which is itself mainly remembered as the object of incessant
corrections, often pettifogging, commonly superfluous, and always
intensely wearisome, in James’s “Naval History.”

Even in the most peaceful times, opportunities of facing danger come in
every seaman’s way. He may have his chance to save life, and he must
help to fight the storm. In both of these ways Marryat distinguished
himself. Few men have more frequently risked their own lives to save
others. As a midshipman in the _Impérieuse_ he went overboard to save a
fellow midshipman. He saved the life of a seaman while serving on the
_Æolus_, and narrowly escaped drowning on a similar occasion when serving
in _L’Espiègle_. On this occasion he was a mile and a half off before the
sloop could be brought to, and when a boat picked him up he was nearly
senseless. This also was a part of experience to Marryat, for it was
while overboard from _L’Espiègle_ that he discovered that drowning is not
an unpleasant death. It is recorded in his Life by his daughter that,
first and last, “during the time he served in the navy, he was presented
with twenty-seven certificates, recommendations, and votes of thanks,
for saving the lives of others at the risk of his own, beside receiving
a gold medal from the Humane Society.” This mark of distinction given in
1818 was assuredly well deserved.

Not less pleasing to Marryat than the memory of his efforts to save
others, must have been his recollection of the honour he gained in
volunteering during a gale to cut away the main-yard of the _Æolus_.
The story appears, more or less coloured and adapted, with so many
other of his reminiscences in “Frank Mildmay.” In the sober pages of
Marshall, it is, however, a quite sufficiently gallant story. “On the
30th of September, 1811, in lat. 40° 50’ N., long. 65° W. (off the coast
of New England), a gale of wind commenced at S.E., and soon blew with
tremendous fury; the _Æolus_ was laid on her beam ends, her top-masts
and mizen-masts were literally blown away, and she continued in this
extremely perilous situation for at least half an hour. Directions were
given to cut away the main-yard, in order to save the main-mast and
right the ship, but so great was the danger attending such an operation
considered, that not a man could be induced to attempt it until Mr.
Marryat led the way. His courageous conduct in this emergency excited
general admiration, and was highly approved by Lord James Townshend, one
of whose ship’s company he also saved by jumping overboard at sea.”

Up then to the age of three-and-twenty Marryat had prepared himself
to write sea stories by making his life a sea story. He had, in fact,
fulfiled the counsel of perfection given to the epic poet. He had seen
no great battle; the last of them had been fought before he entered the
service; he had not even shared in a single ship action. But what he did
not witness himself he saw through the eyes of messmates. The battles,
to judge from the little said of them in his stories, do not appear
to have greatly interested Marryat--perhaps he found a difficulty in
realizing what one would be like, perhaps he found them unmanageable.
With the single ship actions he had no such difficulty. He could tell
precisely what must happen, and he had no doubt heard tales of many such
pieces of fighting. Indeed, in the actual sea-life of the time, the great
battles did not play a much more considerable part than they do in the
novels. Of the 2,437 lieutenants on the navy list when Marryat entered
the service, the very great majority had never seen a general engagement.
It was thought a rather exceptional thing that Collingwood should have
been present in three battles. Nelson himself only took part in four,
or five, if Admiral Hotham’s feeble action in the Gulf of Lyons is to be
allowed the name. But most officers had seen service of some kind, and
had tales to tell. Marryat, too, had been fortunate in an eminent degree.
He had been wounded, but not severely--he had never been taken prisoner
or shipwrecked. His service had been varied. Between 1806 and 1815 he had
seen the North Sea, the Channel, the Mediterranean, and the Eastern Coast
of America, from Nova Scotia to Surinam. His promotion had been rapid.
Altogether he had had much to develop, and nothing to sour him, in this
first period of his life.


When the great war came at last to an end in 1815, leaving Marryat a
commander at the age of three-and-twenty, his ambition was still to be
the successful naval officer, and not the portrait painter of the sea
life. Twelve years were to pass before he ceased to be employed. During
this period he held three commands, and once more saw the face of war.
It was a small and poor war after the heroic conflicts of his boyhood,
but still it had its own difficulties and trials. He began to use his pen
in these years, but at first it was for merely professional purposes.
His code of signals must have been prepared, and his pamphlet on the
best method of recruiting the navy, and his scheme for stopping Channel
smuggling, were certainly written, in this second period, while he was
still looking forward to the chance of hoisting his flag.

Marryat was one of the great swarm of Englishmen who profited by the
peace to visit the Continent, which had been as nearly as might be
shut to the peaceful traveller for twenty-two years. He is credited
with having “occupied himself in acquiring a perfect knowledge of such
branches of science as might prove useful should the Lords of the
Admiralty think fit to employ him in a voyage of discovery or survey.”
Doubtless Marryat loved his profession, and worked at it, but when he was
recalled from Italy, in 1818, on some vague scheme of African exploration
he was probably engaged in amusing himself. The scheme came to nothing,
and in January, 1819, he married--a most convincing proof that his
intention of exploring Africa had not lasted long. Mrs. Marryat was a
Miss Shairp, daughter of a Scotch gentleman who had been Consul-General
in Russia. Marryat never agreed with St. Vincent that married men are
ruined for the service, and some eighteen months later he was at sea
again in command of the _Beaver_ sloop.

In this commission he saw the end of the man who had kept Europe in
turmoil for the major part of a generation. The _Beaver_ was ordered on
an all-round cruise in the South Atlantic to show the flag at Madeira
and the Azores, at the solitary rock of Tristan d’Acunha, at our own
possessions at the Cape, and finally to do guard duty at St. Helena. When
the _Beaver_ arrived at her station Napoleon was just reaching the end
of his final years of imprisonment. We still maintained a naval guard
against the enterprises of any Buonapartist adventurer who might try to
take the Emperor off the rock where he sat, consumed with unavailing
regrets, and disgracing his fall by undignified squabbles with Sir
Hudson Lowe. An English man-of-war was always kept cruising to windward
of the island. The last officer who performed this duty was Captain
Marryat. The _Beaver_ was watching for the possible liberator, who never
came, when Napoleon died. Marryat, who was a clever draughtsman, took
a sketch of the Emperor on his death-bed. He was already apparently
suffering from dysentery or he fell ill immediately (and somewhat
conveniently) afterwards. As his health did not permit him to remain in
the South Atlantic station any longer, he was allowed to exchange into
the _Rosario_. In her he brought the despatches announcing the Emperor’s
death home to Spithead. From Spithead he was ordered round to Harwich
to form part of the squadron which escorted the body of Queen Caroline
to Cuxhaven. This piece of ceremonial duty was followed by work of a
very different kind. The _Rosario_ was told off for revenue duty in the
Channel, and continued cruising for smugglers till she was put out of
commission in February, 1822. This was service of a very sufficiently
serious kind. There was indeed no fighting to be done, but the cruising
was arduous and incessant. The smugglers were among the smartest seamen
in the Channel, and to catch them required on the part of the revenue
officers constant vigilance, great activity, and an intimate knowledge
of the coast--that is to say, if the work was to be properly done. As a
matter of fact it seems to have been scamped. Marryat, who had perhaps
been infected by Cochrane with an inability to let a comfortable old
abuse alone, forwarded to the Admiralty a long despatch showing that the
preventive service was inefficiently performed, and pointing out how
it could be improved. The despatch was written after the _Rosario_ had
been paid off, and was founded on his own experience. It gives a curious
glimpse into a phase of sea life which has entirely disappeared since the
establishment of free trade ruined the smugglers by making it not worth
any man’s while to smuggle. The industry which went on all round the
coast, from the mouth of the Clyde to the mouth of the Firth of Forth,
was conducted on varying principles in different districts. Marryat dealt
only with what he had seen himself:--the smuggling carried on in that
part of the English Channel which lies between Portsmouth and the Start.

When he came to write as a novelist, Marryat displayed a certain sympathy
with the adventurous scamps who ran cargoes of brandy from Cherbourg
to the coast of Hampshire and Dorsetshire. But Captain Marryat the
revenue officer was a very different person. In this severe and official
capacity he did his best to suppress what he afterwards described with
a distinctly humorous sympathy. The smugglers, he pointed out, profited
by the system adopted by the English revenue boats. Cherbourg was the
centre of the trade--the free trade, as the smugglers called it, not
knowing, poor fellows, who their real enemy was. Their vessels were
almost exclusively manned by Portland or Weymouth men. When they were
going to run a cargo to a point of the coast with which they were not
familiar, they would take on a local hand, but as a rule they kept the
trade pretty exclusively to themselves. When one of their luggers was
sighted by the revenue boats and could not show a clean pair of heels,
the cargo was jettisoned. If this happened in mid-channel it was a clear
loss to everybody. The smuggler crews were only paid when they landed a
cargo. The revenue boats could get no prize money unless they seized the
tubs of spirits. If, however, the cargo was jettisoned in shallow water,
the case was different. The smugglers might return, or their confederates
on shore could fish up the sunken kegs, and then of course they earned
their money. On the other hand, if the landing was stopped, or the kegs
were dredged up by the revenue officers _they_ earned their prize money.
It is therefore perfectly obvious that it was the interest of the revenue
officers not to see the smuggling luggers in mid-channel. The more brandy
they picked up, the more prize money they earned, and the more credit
also. But by allowing the smugglers to approach the English coast they
gave them many opportunities of running cargoes. Partly because they
wished to secure the approval of their chiefs, who took no account of
any service which did not include the capture of kegs--partly also out
of a natural human desire for prize money, the revenue boats nursed the
illicit trade. They went very little to sea, and confined their exertions
to scouring the coasts in cutters and gigs. Marryat’s idea was that much
more effect would be produced by pursuing the luggers in mid-channel. If,
he argued with great force, the smugglers found that they were compelled
to make a dead loss, voyage after voyage, they would soon become tired.
As it was, the immense profits earned on any cargo successfully run,
paid them for the loss of two, or even three. Of course if his system
were adopted there would be no captures to show for the credit of the
coastguard, and no prize money to be earned. But the smuggling would
be put a stop to. The despatch in which he set forth his opinions is a
thoroughly able and business-like document, and shows that if Marryat
was allowed to fall out of the service it was not because he was wanting
in zeal or ability.

Although Marryat, like every other naval officer who ever held His
Majesty’s commission, thought himself “no favourite” with the Admiralty,
he had no intelligible reason to complain--at least as yet. The
grumblings of naval officers are generally, indeed, unintelligible to
the landsman, who is apt, after hearing much of them, to arrive at the
conclusion that if every gentleman in the service were promoted to be
Lord High Admiral and made G.C.B. to morrow morning, they would all be as
discontented as ever by midday. Certainly Marryat, who was a commander at
twenty-three, and had received a command, on service which brought him
into notice, in time of profound peace and reduction of armaments, when
the great majority of his fellow officers were vegetating on half pay on
shore, had little cause to growl. He must, in truth, have had very good
influence at the Admiralty, for though he was only paid off the _Rosario_
in February, 1822, he was re-appointed to the _Larne_, of twenty guns,
in March, 1823, so that he had barely a year on shore. The _Larne_ was
fitted out at Portsmouth for service in the East Indies. In July Marryat
sailed from Spithead for his station, this time taking out his wife and
family. An entry in his log briefly records an accident which might, if
the amplified form of the story given in his biography is to be taken
as literally true, have ended his career in a somewhat absurd manner.
His gig upset in Falmouth Harbour while he was in it. To an athletic man
and good swimmer a ducking in the month of July was no great disaster,
but the boat carried a bumboat woman and a midshipman. The woman swam
like a fish, and was delighted at the prospect of distinction and profit
apparently thrown in her way. She fastened on Marryat, intent on saving
a captain, and refused peremptorily to let him go when she was asked to
transfer her help from the superior officer, who did not need it, to the
obscure midshipman, who, not being able to swim, was in imminent danger
of drowning. In some way or another Marryat did contrive to get rid
of the incumbrance of her assistance, and the mid was not sacrificed.
Whether he did not invent the bumboat woman’s devotion to rank, is
perhaps doubtful. A bumboat woman was capable of acting in this way, no
doubt, but then Marryat was equally capable of seeing that she ought to
behave in this way, and of crediting her with fulfilling her duty.

When the _Larne_ reached India, Marryat found that she was to form part
of the combined force ordered to invade Burmah. This war, which filled
1824 and 1825, was of a kind common with us before we learnt that in
war, as in building, it is more economical to employ a hundred men for
one day, than one man for a hundred days--before also the common use
of steam had made great rapidity of movement possible. Sir Archibald
Campbell’s force was not numerous enough, and was unable to move quick.
The operations dragged on for months, till fevers, cholera, and scurvy,
had almost annihilated our army, and had almost unmanned the squadron.
The duties of the navy, in the war, were to clear the Irrawaddy of
Burmese war-boats, to transport the troops, protect their landing, cover
their flank, and now and then to help storm a stockade, or beat down the
fire of native batteries mounted with guns which would not fire, handled
by gunners who could not shoot. The enemy fought fiercely, according to
his lights, but then he had neither good weapons, nor discipline, nor
experience. Except when attacked in a particularly strong position, by an
insufficient force, the poor Burmese were sent into action as cattle to
the slaughter. We naturally make the most of these wars, and politically
they are often of the utmost importance, but as far as fighting is
concerned, a wilderness of them is not equal to the action between the
_Shannon_ and the _Chesapeake_ or the _Blanche_ and the _Pique_. Yet
Marryat was well entitled to say, as he did in a letter to his brother
Samuel, that the crew of the _Larne_ had in the course of five months
“undergone a severity of service almost unequalled.” The climate was
deadly to unseasoned men exposed to it in an unhealthy season. Much toil
had to be gone through in moving the troops, in rowing guard against the
Burmese war-boats, and even in doing engineer work. It is a complaint
sometimes made by the navy that, in combined operations with the army,
a disproportionate amount of the toil falls to them, while the redcoats
get all the fun and the glory of the fighting. In this war the navy had
plenty of work, and suffered proportionately from the strain. It also
complained, in later days, that its exertions were hardly sufficiently
recognized by military historians. Yet their comparatively subordinate
position was a necessity of the case. The war was a land, and not a naval
war, and the sailors could hardly expect to be more than accessories in

Marryat’s share, both of the work and the credit, was as large as that
of any naval officer engaged. From the beginning of the campaign, in
May, 1824, he was employed until September; at first as subordinate,
and then, when Commodore Grant was invalided, as senior naval officer
at Rangoon. The five months almost destroyed the crew of the _Larne_,
and greatly damaged his own health. His men had been on salt provisions
since February, and when fatigue and exposure were added to unwholesome
diet, they naturally suffered grievously from scurvy. After a rest at
Pulo Penang, he was back at Rangoon in December, and then, after being
despatched on service to India, he was recalled to Burmah to take part
in an attack on Bassein. There were more river work, more attacks on
stockades, more exposure to fever. In July, 1824, on the death of
Commodore Grant, he was transferred into the _Tees_, 26, a post-ship,
which--as it was a death vacancy--should have given him post rank. The
nomination was not, however, confirmed by the Admiralty, and Marryat
was not actually posted till 1825, a loss of a year, which affected his
seniority. It was in the _Larne_ that he took part in the occupation of
Bassein, and the attack on the Burmese stockades at Negrais and Naputah,
but he brought the _Tees_ home and paid her off early in 1826. The thanks
of the general and the Indian Government, the Companionship of the Bath,
and the command of the _Ariadne_, 28, were his rewards for good service
in Burmah. This command he held for exactly two years, from November,
1828, to November, 1830, when “private affairs” induced him to resign.
The _Ariadne_ was his last ship. He was never employed again, nor does
he ever seem to have applied for a command. When there was a prospect
of war with the United States some years later, he spoke of going on
active service again, but he was in ordinary times quite reconciled
apparently to the termination of his career as a naval officer. The end
was rather sudden. Up to 1830 he had been in constant employment and very
successful. He could hardly have hoped for more than to be a post-captain
and a C.B. at thirty-four. The truth doubtless is that he had begun to
have other ambitions.

As is not uncommonly the case, the end of the old life overlapped the
beginning of the new. Indeed, the old cannot have consciously come to an
end with Marryat for some years. The evidence as to his wishes and hopes
is scanty--extraordinarily scanty considering his prominence and that he
lived almost into this generation; but what has been made known about
him shows that he did not cease to think and work for “the service,”
or quite gave up for a long time expecting that he might again hold a
command. As an active naval officer, however, his career ended when he
resigned the command of the _Ariadne_. Before that date he had written
and published “Frank Mildmay,” and had written the “King’s Own.” What
the private affairs may have been which induced him to resign his ship
does not appear very clearly. Mrs. Ross Church supposes that he wished
to devote himself to his duties as equerry to the Duke of Sussex, which
hardly appears a sufficient explanation. Perhaps, like many other
sailors, he may have had a period of revolt against the routine work,
and long absence from friends and family imposed by naval life, and for
which there is little compensation in peace time. With a growing family
to look after he had a strong attraction to the shore. Then service
in peace time cannot have had many temptations to a man who enjoyed
excitement as Marryat did. To be sent on “diplomatic duties,” which in
practice would mean visits, in the company of His Majesty’s Consuls,
to foreign governors, or to be ordered off in winter to look for reefs
in the Atlantic, which never existed except in the bemused brains of
some merchant skipper, must have been very trying. An experience or
two of this kind, coinciding with the success of his first book and
the equerryship, would be enough to decide him to try his fortune on
shore--all the more as he had private means. Whatever the exact motives
may have been, in 1830 he was on shore for good, and established in
Sussex House, Hammersmith.

His equerryship seems to have led him to no particular good. “The smiles
of princes,” says Mrs. Church, “are by nature evanescent.” The favour
of princes at least, like that of other men, requires to be cultivated
with due skill and attention. Possibly Marryat may have been wanting in
the will or the capacity to practise the art. Certain it is that neither
from the Duke of Sussex, nor from the duke’s royal brother, William IV.,
did he ever obtain any visible good beyond invitations to festivities
which appear to have been of a somewhat dreary character. According to a
story given in the preface to Bone’s edition of the “Pirate and Three
Cutters,” and quoted on that authority by Mrs. Ross Church, the King,
who all through his life seems to have been moved to do something silly
whenever he remembered that he was a naval officer, was offended by
Marryat’s condemnation of the press-gang. He not only refused to consent
to the conferring of some mark of distinction on Marryat in addition to
the C.B. given for the Burmah campaign, but would not even allow him to
wear the Legion of Honour sent him by Louis Philippe as a reward for the
code of signals. The story is credible enough of William IV., who, saving
the reverence of the Crown, was very little better than a fool, and a
spiteful fool, too, at times. The Admiralty of its own motion, or the
Admiralty and the King together, seem to have decided that Marryat need
not be employed again. In the enjoyment of literary success and liberty,
he probably reconciled himself to the want of employment readily enough.
He must have been prepared to do without it when he threw up his command.
The Admiralty does not love captains who resign their ships.


From 1830 to his death in 1848 Marryat was a working man of letters,
and a busy one. His books were many, and they do not represent all
his labours. There was a life of his old messmate, Lord Napier,
begun--and stopped--at the request of the widow, and much miscellaneous
journalism--if that is the correct description of contributions to
magazines. His pen was rapid, and he had no fear of tackling new
subjects, so that the length of the shelf which would hold his complete
works would be considerable, and the variety of the contents of the
edition not small. Sea stories and land stories, plays which never
reached the stage, diaries on the Continent and in America, letters of
Norfolk farmers, and didactic tales for children all went in.

There is a difficulty in the way of the telling of Marryat’s own life
during these busy eighteen years--the not uncommon difficulty, want
of information. The biography published by his family leaves much
unexplained, for reasons into which it would be useless, even if one
had the right, to inquire. The causes of Marryat’s sudden changes of
residence, and of his hasty journey to the Continent in 1835, are only
to be guessed at. He did not live much in the literary world of his
time. Of the eighteen years of his writing activity, several in the
middle were spent on the Continent, and several at the end in Norfolk.
In a general way one gathers that the question of money was a very
important, sometimes a very pressing one, with Marryat. Money earned,
inherited, spent--money to be recovered from debtors, and, doubtless,
paid to creditors, had much of his attention. It is manifest that he
was what Carlyle would have called “a very expensive Herr.” He liked to
lead a large life, and to show a gentlemanly indifference to money. By
preference he lived in good houses, in good neighbourhoods, and it is not
overrash or uncharitable to guess that his income was not always adequate
to his expenses. Finally, he was addicted to some of the most effectual
of all methods of evacuation. If he did not promote, or have to face,
a petition, at least he went through a contested election; and he had
Balzac’s mania for ingenious speculations, which ought to have realized
wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, and did achieve a dead loss with the
most unfailing regularity. Like many another sailor before and since, he
was sure that he could show the trained farmer how to extract more than
he had yet done from the land. He undertook to do so on his small estate
at Langham, in Norfolk--with disastrous financial results. That farming
speculation was undoubtedly the type of much in his life.

His movements, if not the causes of them, can be followed easily enough.
Between 1830 and his departure for America in 1837, he was successively
at Sussex House, Hammersmith; at Langham, in Norfolk; then back in
London; then in Brighton; then in sudden haste off to Brussels; and from
thence to Lausanne. “Frank Mildmay; or, The Naval Officer,” appeared
in 1829. Nine months later, when he was fixed on shore, came out the
“King’s Own.” In 1830 he acquired a thousand acres of land in Norfolk,
which remained in his possession till his death. He exchanged Sussex
House for it, but how Sussex House was got we are not told. It cannot
have been bought either out of prize money, or the proceeds of the two
books he had published already, although his prices were remarkably good
for a beginner. Four hundred pounds is the sum said to have been given
by Colburn for “Frank Mildmay”--a good deal more than the most sanguine
of novices would expect to receive from the most generous of publishers
for a first book in these days. Certainly, in 1830, Marryat was working
as a man works who has reasons for making all the money he can. He was
contributing to the _Metropolitan Magazine_, and receiving his sixteen
pounds a sheet--which, again, is good magazine pay. It did not take him
long to acquire a shrewd idea how to deal with publishers, and a distinct
understanding of the due privileges of an editor. His knowledge of these
important matters is shown conclusively in a letter to Bentley, setting
forth the terms on which he would be prepared to edit a new nautical
magazine, a proposed imitation of, or rather rival to, the _United
Service Journal_.

“My terms,” he says, with the confidence of a man who knew the market,
and his own value in it, “would be as follows: The sole control of
the work, for when I do my best I must be despotic or I shall not
succeed; to be paid for all my writings at the price I received in the
_Metropolitan_, sixteen guineas per sheet. The editorship I would then
take at £400 per annum until the end of the first year, when, if the
work succeeded, I should expect an addition of £100, and if it continued
profitable, another £100, so as to raise the _final_ pay of the editor
to £600 per annum. The stipulations may be talked over afterwards. To
choose my sub-editor is indispensable. He must be a nautical man.”
Marryat had learnt plainly how necessary it is to be captain of your own
ship--and withal he quite understood how to launch the new kind of craft
he was about to sail. “The first number must be most carefully got up, to
insure success, and the papers ought now to be in preparation. You must,
therefore, take but few days to decide, as I tell you honestly I have
reason to expect the offer from another quarter, who are now talking the
matter over, and I must be allowed to consider myself as unpledged to you
after a short time.”

As it is not recorded that Marryat had, like Arthur Pendennis, any George
Warrington to guide his literary beginnings, he deserves all the more
credit for his spontaneous appreciation of the advantage to be obtained
by playing Bacon off against Bungay.

“The offer from another quarter,” which was thus quoted to hasten the
decision of Mr. Bentley, was the editorship of the _Metropolitan_,
which he took in 1832, and held until he left England for Brussels. He
either received as part payment, or purchased a proprietary right in the
magazine, which he afterwards sold to Saunders and Otley for £1,050.
For the next four or five years the _Metropolitan_ had the major part of
Marryat’s time and work. He had, according to his wish, a nautical sub
editor, the E. Howard, who wrote that strange book, “Rattlin the Reefer,”
which still continues to be catalogued with Marryat’s own stories. There
were contributors to be hunted up--kept up to the mark, more or less
successfully--and occasionally soothed down--Thomas Moore for one, who
wrote in agony to insist on the necessity there was that he should see
his proofs, and also to make monetary arrangements. Of course there were
quarrels to be fought out, for in those days no periodical was able to
exist without its regular battle. But in the midst of these forgetable
and forgotten things--Marryat contributed to the _Metropolitan_ five
of the best of his books. “Newton Forster” appeared in 1832, “Peter
Simple” in 1833; and in 1834 no less than three--“Jacob Faithful,” “Mr.
Midshipman Easy,” and “Japhet in Search of a Father.” Not a little of
what, to apply nautical language, may be called dunnage appeared with and
after these--a comedy, a tragedy (of neither of which does Marryat seem
to have thought highly), and a host of miscellaneous papers collected
under the title of “Olla Podrida”--these last being only what Marryat
frankly called his “Diary on the Continent”--namely, “very good magazine

His extraordinary industry in 1834 can be confidently accounted for by
the need of money. In 1833 he had taken effectual means to lighten his
purse by standing for Parliament. The constituency chosen for the venture
was the Tower Hamlets, and Marryat stood as a Reformer. Although the
year immediately following the passing of the Reform Bill was as good a
one as he could well have found in which to try in that character, he was
not successful. His reforming zeal was possibly too purely naval for the
constituency, and he was wanting in the very necessary readiness to say
ditto to a popular fad. Marryat seems to have considered that his dislike
of the press-gang was claim enough to the character of Liberal Reformer.
But in the midst of profound peace the press-gang was not a burning
grievance, and on some other points he took a line not likely to prove
pleasing to the sentimental among the Liberals, for whose votes he was
asking. He could not be got to show a burning interest in the sorrows of
the slave. He took up the logically strong, but practically ineffective,
position of the man who declined to be troubled for the slave while
there was so much suffering unremedied at home. This might be a very
sensible decision, but unfortunately it was discredited by the fact that
it had been a favourite one with the slave-holders, whose tenderness
for sufferers at home was never heard of till their own property in the
West Indies seemed to be in danger. On another question, which proved a
trying one to candidates till very recently, Marryat took a disastrously
sensible course. He was called upon to give his opinion of the practice
of flogging in the navy--and committed himself to the side of discipline
most fatally. “Sir,” he said to a heckler, who wanted to know whether the
“gallant captain” would be capable of flogging him or his sons; “Sir,
you say the answer I gave you is not direct; I will answer you again.
If ever you, or one of your sons, should come under my command, and
deserve punishment, if there be no other effectual mode of conferring it,
I shall flog you.” After that it is not surprising to hear that “Captain
Marryat and the Chairman left the room together, amidst a tumult of
united applause and disapprobation”--in the midst, in fact, of an uproar,
in which the part of the meeting which admired his pluck was engaged in
shouting against the other part which detested his good sense. There was
something of Colonel Newcome in the politics of Captain Marryat, and
he had not the good fortune to contend against a Barnes Newcome. His
parliamentary ambition had to take its place with the other schemes of
his life which came to nothing. A plan for the establishment of brevet
rank in the navy, which he sent in about this time to Sir James Graham,
was part of his activity as a political naval officer. It also came to
nothing, and nobody can well regret that it was still-born.

After the misspent energy of 1833, Marryat had to make up by hard
pen-work. He settled in Montpelier Villas, Western Road, Brighton, and
there, in 1834, wrote his three books. The effort was a severe one, and
he felt the effects later on, when fatigue, and possibly questions of
money, had induced him to go abroad. He had not yet altogether given up
thinking of Parliament--or, at least, if he had ceased hoping to sit
as member, he kept up his correspondence with ministers on those naval
affairs which he understood. He forwarded observations on the Merchant
Shipping Bill of that year--one of our portentous list of shipping
measures--to Sir James Graham. His volunteer help was well received, and
the First Lord, one of the ablest men who ever was at the head of the
department, invited him to come to Whitehall and talk the Bill over.
This invitation may be taken as a proof, among others, that if Marryat
remained unemployed, it was mainly by his own wish. He had already, by
his writing on the manning of the navy, and, in less public ways, shown
that in professional matters, at least, he was an excellent man of
business. Sir James Graham was not the man to have refused employment to
an officer of proved ability if he had wished for it, but it is tolerably
plain that Marryat had other irons of a more attractive kind, for the
moment, in the fire.

The particular iron which he had heating in Norfolk--the estate at
Langham--was not likely to relieve him from the necessity of making
every penny he could by his pen. “No rent,” was his return in 1834,
and as a rule ever after--till he took it in hand himself, and then it
still realized him a steady yearly deficit. This year of “no rent” was
also a year of legal unpleasantness in connection with his father’s
memory--which he bore in a fashion to be recommended to the imitation
of all who suffer from similar misfortunes. “As for the Chancellor’s
judgment,” he wrote to his mother, who had plainly been hurt, “I cannot
say I thought anything about it; on the contrary, it appears to me that
he might have been much more severe if he had thought proper. It is easy
to impute motives, and difficult to disprove them. I thought, considering
his enmity, that he let us off cheap, as there is no _punishing a
Chancellor_, and he might say what he pleased with impunity. I did not,
therefore, _roar_, I only _smiled_. The effect will be nugatory. Not one
in a thousand will read it; those who do, know it refers to a person not
in this world, and of those, those who knew my father will not believe
it; those who did not will care little about it, and forget the name
in a week. Had he given the decision in our favour, I should have been
better pleased, but _it’s no use crying; what’s done can’t be helped_.”
With that piece of the philosophy of the elder Faithful, Marryat ends as
neat a statement of reasons for not making a fuss, and as admirable an
estimate of the relative unimportance of any man’s private affairs in a
busy world, as will be found by much searching.

Next year Marryat was off in haste to the Continent. “Not one day was
our departure postponed; with post horses and postillions, we posted,
post haste, to Brussels.” As is too commonly the case, Mrs. Ross Church
has nothing to say as to the cause of this flight--and we are left to
conclude that it was due to that desire to economize with dignity which
has driven so many Englishmen to the same voluntary exile. At Brussels or
at Spa he went on working for the _Metropolitan_. He cannot have edited
it, but he sent in his “Diary on the Continent,” and he wrote, in this
year, “The Pirate” and “The Three Cutters,” in which, for the first time,
he had the advantage of being illustrated by Clarkson Stanfield. With the
_Metropolitan_ his connection was coming to an end. In 1836 he returned
to England, to get rid of his proprietary interest in it to Saunders and
Otley, and to part with those publishers in a friendly manner--but to
part decisively, on the ground that they would hear nothing of an advance
for fresh work. _The New Monthly_ was now his resource--at the increased
rate of twenty guineas a sheet. To 1836 belong “Snarley Yow” and “The
Pasha of Many Tales,”--and also the beginning of that “Life of Lord
Napier” which was never to be finished. In 1837 he had begun to feel the
need of a change, the desire to break fresh ground, and in April, leaving
his family at Lausanne, he started for the United States.

His life during these two years of foreign residence may probably be
fairly well realized by the reader who will give himself the pleasure to
remember some parts of Thackeray and many parts of Lever. The Marryats
must have formed part of that English colony on the Continent at the
head of which marched the Marquess of Steyne, while Captain Rook and
the Honourable Mr. Deuceace brought up the rear. It was a society much
more merry than wise, and it is to be feared more easy than honest. Its
members lived abroad to escape something--perhaps it was only restraint,
perhaps it was the heavy bills of English tradesmen not yet reclaimed
from the evil ways of long credit and high prices, sometimes it was the
sheriff’s-officer. Now and then it was only the English winter. That was
the most wholesome reason; but it was the least commonly genuine, and the
most frequently assumed. In all that curious expatriated world there was
something of the Cave of Adullam. It was often only the more pleasant
on that account. Acquaintances matured quickly; among people who were
all more or less fugitives, few questions were asked; even Captain Rook
and Mr. Deuceace were received without too much inquiry by people who
neither imitated nor liked all their ways. Now we are less strict at
home, and by a natural reaction more circumspect abroad. Besides railways
keep people rolling, and have greatly broken up the old English colonies.
Still even now there is a continental English society, less Bohemian
than the old, but still somewhat free and easy, addicted as it were to
living in its shirt sleeves, very pleasant to see, and to go through, but
not at all good to be lived in for the moral man. During the thirties
this Cave of Adullam was in full swing, crowded with refugees--not for
political causes--with veterans of the old war intent on making pension
and half-pay go as far as possible, and with pleasure-seeking people
ready for any amusement (the cheaper the better), and not too exacting as
to the moral qualities or social position of those with whom they were
prepared to amuse themselves.

Marryat with his abundant spirits, his faculty for story-telling, and
his sufficient command of money, would naturally fall on his feet in
this rather gypsy world. He spoke French fluently, and his wife, as the
daughter of an English consul in Russia, would be at home in continental
society. Once more it must be confessed that the details are wanting.
Mrs. Ross Church says, that “to this hour” (she wrote in 1872) “many
anecdotes are related of him by the older residents at Brussels.” Sadly
few of them seem to have been collected, for Mrs. Ross Church can only
muster two--neither, it must be confessed, very brilliant nor very
honourable. According to the first, Marryat was asked to dinner to meet
a company of celebrities and friends of his own, in hopes that he would
talk. He held his tongue, and when asked whether he had been silent
because he was bored, answered, “Why did you imagine I was going to let
out any of my jokes for those fellows to put in their next books? No,
that is not _my_ plan. When I find myself in such company as _that_, I
open my ears and hold my tongue, glean all I can, and give them nothing
in return.” The story needs a good deal of explaining before the point of
it becomes obvious; and unluckily the circumstances, which could alone
explain it, are wanting. The fun, if there was any, was supplied (we must
suppose) by the character of the person it was said to--and who was he?
The other story contains a repartee--an awful repartee--a thing to be put
in a collection of witticisms with the comment that “so and so smiled,
but never forgave the jest.” It is about the bridge of somebody’s nose,
and is not greatly inferior to the recorded jokes of Douglas Jerrold.

There is little to be gleaned out of such reminiscences as these, which
hardly reach the dignity of “dead nettles”: neither do we gather much
from a surviving letter to Mr. Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx about a debt
of frs. 1250, owed to Marryat by R----, a hopeless debt. “I consider
that if I have no better chance of heaven than of R----’s 1250 francs,
I am in a bad way. Both he and Z---- are evidently a couple of rogues.
The only chance of obtaining the money from R---- is by telling him that
I am coming to Paris as soon as I can, and that I shall expose him by
publishing the whole affair, his letters, &c.; and, moreover that you
_strongly suspect_ that it is my intention, independent of exposure, to
_break every bone in his body_ on my arrival. He holds himself as a
gentleman, being the son of some post-captain, and will not like that
message, and may perhaps pay the money rather than incur the risk.” Here
obviously was a very pretty quarrel; but who was R----, and had he a
case, and who was Mr. Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx, and did any assault
follow? Who knows? and indeed who cares? The rest of the letter is full
of scandal about capital letters and dashes. The sight of it only make
one remember how much entirely unimportant trash contrives to survive in
this world.

All the scraps of knowledge about Marryat which have escaped destruction
are not so unpleasant, though they are nearly as obscure, as that letter
to Mr. Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx. It is recorded that he gave parties
and Christmas trees, that he looked after children well, and was a neat
hand at packing a portmanteau,--qualities which must have made him the
most tolerable of husbands and fathers on his travels. He was at all
times tender-hearted with children, as befitted an author who ended by
writing almost wholly for them; and would quiet his own by telling them
stories, when the rattling of carriages and diligences had made them
fractious. A letter to his mother survives from these years which is
worth quoting--not because it gives much information about his own life,
but because it is kindly, and gives a very different picture of Marryat
to that afforded by the threats against R----, and the vapid scandal
written to the gentleman with the handsome French name.

                                                    “SPA, _June 9, 1835_.

    “MY DEAREST MOTHER,--It is dreadfully hot, and we are all
    gasping for breath. Kate is very unwell. She cannot walk now,
    and is obliged to go out in the carriage. Children thrive. As
    for me, I am teaching myself German, and writing a little now
    and then ‘The Diary of a Blasé:’ one part has appeared in the
    _Metropolitan_--very good magazine stuff. I have a fractional part
    of the gout in my middle right finger. Is it possible to make
    V---- a member of the Horticultural? He is very anxious, and he
    deserves it; the personal knowledge is the only difficulty; but I
    know him, and I am part of you, and therefore you know him. Will
    that syllogism do? We are as quiet here as if we were out of the
    world, and I like it. I wanted quiet to recover me. Since I have
    been here I have discovered what I fancy will be new in England--a
    variety of carnation, with short stalks--the stalks are so short
    that the flowers do not rise above the leaves of the plant, and
    you have no idea how pretty they are; they are all in a bush (?
    blush). There are two varieties here, belonging to a man, but he
    will not part with them. He says they are very scarce, and only
    to be had at Vervier, a town eight miles off. They are celebrated
    for flowers at Liége, but a flower-woman from Liége, to whom I
    showed them, said she had never seen them there; so I presume the
    man was correct. Have you heard of them? By-the-by, you should ask
    V---- to send for some Ghent roses--they are extremely beautiful.
    I did give most positive orders that Fred should not go out unless
    with Mr. B---- or one of the masters. He remained three days in
    Paris, having escaped from the gentleman who had charge of him,
    and cannot, or will not, account for where he was, or what he did.
    He did not go to his school until his money was gone. He is at a
    dangerous age now, and must be kept close. Write me or Kate a long
    letter, telling us all the news. I intend to come home in October,
    or thereabouts; but I must arrange according to Kate’s manœuvres.
    If she goes her time of course I must be with her, and then she
    will winter here, I have no doubt, as we cannot travel in winter
    with babies, nor indeed do I wish to; as travelling costs a great
    deal of money--and I have none to spare.

    “God bless you, mamma. This is a famous place for your complaint,
    if it comes on again. The cures are miraculous. Love to Ellen. She
    sha’n’t come German over me when we meet. I don’t think I ever
    should have learnt it, only G---- gave himself such airs about it.”

The letter is not a masterpiece, but it is good-natured and wholesome.
The “Fred,” who had been playing truant so enviably in Paris, was
afterwards the Lieutenant Frederick Marryat who perished in the wreck of
the _Avenger_.


His departure for America is a convenient date at which to stop and
survey Marryat’s literary work. After 1837, he did some things as good as
anything he had done before, and some at once unlike what he had already
written, and yet excellent of their kind. “Poor Jack” and “Percival
Keene” have touches of the old sea life, and flashes of fun, not inferior
to his earlier writing. The “Phantom Ship” has a character of its own;
the children’s stories of his last years are excellent. All these are
later than 1837. Still, if he had ceased to write entirely in that year,
his place in literature would be as high as it is. We should have “The
King’s Own,” “Peter Simple,” “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” “Japhet,” “Jacob
Faithful,” and “Snarley Yow,” and with these we should possess the best
of him. In those eight busy years Marryat had poured out the harvest of
his experience profusely. His beginning in literature had been singularly
fortunate. The time was favourable to writers of any originality
certainly. A brilliant magazine article made a reputation. There was
a marked readiness to recognize ability and reward it. What amount of
praise and pudding would be given in these days for another essay on
Milton it would be useless to guess, but undoubtedly it could hardly
be greater than the share which fell to Macaulay for his early effort.
Carlyle made a place for himself by a few articles. The wind which blew
for them blew for others also. As has almost always been the case in
great literary periods, the readiness of the reader to recognize and
admire was as strong as the productive power of the writer. The audience
met the playwright half way. Sir Walter Scott had prepared the market
for the novelist. He had enormously increased the taste for novels,
and whoever could write at all was the surer of a hearing, because
“Waverley” had made stories a necessity to readers. There is among the
more atrabilious kind of men of letters a secret belief that the sum of
popularity is a fixed quantity, of which whatever is earned by one man is
necessarily lost by another. That one nation’s gain is another’s loss in
commerce, was an accepted axiom with economists of the days of darkness
before Adam Smith. It has been given up on maturer consideration, and is
assuredly no more true in literature than international trade. A great
writer who gains a great popularity increases the chance of the smaller
men. Sir Walter and Jane Austen helped the Mrs. Meeke in whom Macaulay

Marryat had profited amply by the opening. With great adaptability he
had thrown himself into the literary fight of his time. As has been
already said, he soon showed himself at home in the regular business
of literature--in writing for the press and in editing. To take the
satisfactory though vulgar test of money, he was able to make his market,
and put his price up. Nor was he at all reluctant to insist on the value
of his goods. “I do not,” he said in 1837, “write for sixteen guineas
a sheet now. I let them off for twenty guineas, as I do not wish to
run them hard; and I now have commenced with the _New Monthly_ at that
rate for one year certain, and the copyright secured to me. Times are
hard, and I do not wish to break the backs of the publishers, although
I ride over them roughshod. I have also made very much better terms for
my books. ‘Snarley Yow,’ comes out on the 1st of June. I have parted
very amicably with Saunders and Otley, who would not stand an advance.
I _will_ make hay when the sun shines; for every dog has his day, and
I presume my time will come as that of others.” Twenty guineas a sheet
was the exceptional price which Fraser was paying Carlyle in those very
years, and was five guineas above the usual rate. Obviously here was a
gentleman who knew that business was business. With this determination
to make the last penny there was to make, he naturally contributed his
chapter to the history of the quarrels of authors with their publishers.

“Although Captain Marryat,” says his daughter, “and his publishers
mutually benefited by their transactions with each other, one would
have imagined from the letters exchanged between them that they had
been natural enemies.” It is a mistake which is not uncommon in these
transactions, and particularly likely to arise when, as in this case, a
publisher frankly tells the author that he thinks him “eccentric,” and
an “odd creature,” and adds that he is himself “somewhat warm-tempered.”
Who the particular publisher was who sent these pieces of criticism and
self-criticism to Marryat we are not told. The answer he received might
supply a clue to the Marryatist who was prepared to follow it up with the
proper devotion.

    “There was no occasion for you to make the admission that you
    were somewhat warm-tempered. Your letter establishes the fact.
    Considering your age, you are a little volcano, and if the
    insurance were aware of your frequent visits to the Royal Exchange,
    they would demand double premium for the building. Indeed, I have
    my surmises _now_ as to the last conflagration.


    “Your remark as to the money I have received may sound very well,
    mentioned as an isolated fact; but how does it sound when it is put
    into juxtaposition with the sums you have received? I, who have
    found everything, receiving a pittance; while you, who have found
    nothing but the shop to sell in, receiving such a lion’s share. I
    assert again, it is slavery. I am Sinbad the Sailor, and you are
    the Old Man of the Mountain (_sic_) clinging on my back, and you
    must not be surprised at my wishing to throw you off the first
    convenient opportunity.

    “The fact is, you have the vice of old age very strong upon you,
    and you are blinded by it; but put the question to your sons, and
    ask them if they consider the present agreement fair. Let them
    arrange with me, and do you go and read your Bible. We all have our
    own ideas of Paradise, and if other authors think like me, the more
    pleasurable portion of anticipated bliss is that there will be no
    publishers there. That idea often supports me after an interview
    with one of your fraternity.”

Author and publisher told one another “their fact” plainly enough in this
case, and one rather wonders what lies hid under the asterisks. In the
absence of information as to the proportion in which they respectively
shared the profits of the stories written before 1837, one cannot
undertake to say whether the unnamed publisher of fiery temper, advanced
age, and small stature, received a lion’s share or not. If so, it must
have represented a handsome sum, for Marryat was by no means one of the
worst treated of authors. Colburn gave him £400 for “Frank Mildmay.” For
“Mr. Midshipman Easy” he received £1,400, apparently in a lump sum. “The
Pirate” and “The Three Cutters,” published together, brought him in £750.
His other books were paid on the same scale, and he certainly did not
edit the _Metropolitan_ for nothing. His code of signals, which was not
literature (and perhaps on that account only the more lucrative), was
an appreciable income to him throughout his life. On the whole, Marryat
seems to have found the profession of author sufficiently remunerative.
His indignation with his publishers may be safely taken to be mainly a
proof that, in common with most writing-men of his generation, he was a
firm believer in the creed that authors are an ill-used body. This is
no longer quite so orthodox as it was. The wind is rather blowing the
other way, and it is becoming the right thing to say that authors have
themselves to thank for their ill-luck if they do not earn as much as
they ought, and must bear the burden like their fellow-men if they spend
more than they earn. This good sense may corrupt into a cant as others
have done, but it is good sense. Marryat--who would appear to have made
three thousand pounds or so in 1835, for taking “Mr. Midshipman Easy”
and the other two stories, with his copyrights and editorship, he can
hardly have made less--was in any case not an example of an ill-paid
author. If he had to complain of want of money it must have been because
he was a gentleman of extravagant habits, with a fatal weakness for
bad investments. To be sure, if an author were to be paid according
to the pleasure he has given others, and if “the shop” which makes a
profit on selling his work had to render some royalty on it for ever
and ever, then indeed was Marryat, together with all those whose work
is of the widely-read and lasting order, ill rewarded. But insuperable
difficulties bar the road to that ideal. Since paper, printing, and
advertisements must be provided, the provider of these necessary things
must share; since the novelist cannot hawk his own goods in a barrow, he
must pay somebody to do it for him; since the world’s copyright laws put
a limit on the duration of proprietary right in books, there must come
a time when they are at any man’s disposal to reprint. In the long run
the balance of profit must needs be in favour of the shop. To be sure,
the nation of authors may console itself by reflecting that it has its
revenge. There is much on which the shop makes no gain, first or last.

The first of Marryat’s books is one which, for reasons very neatly stated
by himself, may stand apart from the others. When he had given it three
successors, he thought fit to publish a proclamation on the subject of
his work in the _Metropolitan_, and in that document he described “Frank
Mildmay” as fairly as any honest critic could do for him.

    “‘The Naval Officer’ was our first attempt, and it having been
    our first attempt must be offered in extenuation of its many
    imperfections; it was written hastily, and before it was complete
    we were appointed to a ship. We cared much about our ship and
    little about our book. The first was diligently taken charge of by
    ourselves; the second was left in the hands of others, to get on
    how it could. Like most bantlings put out to nurse, it did not get
    on very well. As we happen to be in the communicative vein, it may
    be as well to remark that being written in the autobiographical
    style, it was asserted by good-natured friends, and believed in
    general, that it was a history of the author’s own life. Now,
    without pretending to have been better than we should have been in
    our earlier days, we do most solemnly assure the public that, had
    we run the career of vice of the hero of ‘The Naval Officer,’ at
    all events, we should have had sufficient sense of shame not to
    have avowed it. Except the hero and the heroine, and those parts
    of the work which supply the slight plot of it as a novel, the
    work in itself is materially true, especially in the narrative of
    sea adventure, most of which did (to the best of our recollection)
    occur to the author.… The ‘confounded licking’ we received for
    our first attempt in the critical notices is probably well known
    to the reader--at all events we have not forgotten it. Now, with
    some, this severe castigation of their first offence would have
    had the effect of their never offending again; but we felt that our
    punishment was rather too severe; it produced indignation instead
    of contrition, and we determined to write again in spite of all the
    critics in the universe: and in the due course of nine months we
    produced ‘The King’s Own.’ In ‘The Naval Officer’ we had sowed all
    our wild oats, we had _paid off_ those who had ill-treated us, and
    we had no further personality to indulge in.”

From which, even if internal evidence were not enough to prove it, we
learn that, between the paying off of the _Tees_ and the commissioning
of the _Ariadne_, Marryat decided to have a general jail delivery of his
old naval enemies, and that the result was “Frank Mildmay; or, The Naval
Officer.” It cannot be said that the book is better than its origin. If
Marryat had kept the promise he made in this proclamation of his to the
readers of the _Metropolitan_--if he had re-written this so-called novel,
he might, had he taken the right course, have made it one of the best of
his works. He had only to make it an autobiography without disguise, to
put in the good as well as the evil of his experience, to take care to
explain everything to his readers, as he could well have done, and he
would have given English literature a thing altogether unique--a naval
memoir. We are not rich in memoirs, at least, not in good ones. The
English hand is unhappy at that work. A man has only to turn to Ludlow,
or Sir Philip Warwick, to see how lamentably little Englishmen of parts
who lived through the most wonderful things could contrive to bring away
with them--how little at least of the life, the colour, the dramatic
swing of it all. Of the few we can show, which are not unfit to stand
with the Frenchmen, Clarendon, Pepys, Colley Cibber, Evelyn (and four
or five others), none were of the sea. “Cochrane’s Autobiography” maybe
quoted against me, but even this, good as it is in places, is drowned in
angry denunciations of human wickedness, and demonstrations that this
or the other thing ought to have been done by official backsliders, so
that what Cochrane did himself is almost crowded out. Besides, it is only
a fragment, and then _reste à savoir s’il n’est pas mort_. It has not
lived. One may, and must, use it for the history of the man and the time,
but who reads it for its intrinsic literary merit? The French seamen have
the better of us there. The memoirs of Forbin, of Duguay-Trouin, and even
the recently published journal of a much less famous man, Jean Doublet,
are capital reading. Marryat might, if he had so pleased, have done a
book which would have been to the memoirs of Forbin what the memoirs of
Clarendon are to the memoirs of Sully, to adopt the formula dear to Lord
Macaulay. He might have done what Sir Walter Scott praised Basil Hall for
attempting--have given in autobiographical form a picture of sea life,
which would have been interesting, not only to those who already love
the subject, but to all who love good reading. He did not so choose. He
carried out his mission in another form, and “Frank Mildmay” remained as
it first appeared.

That the book was so much of an autobiography was a misfortune for
Marryat. He might protest as much as he pleased that he was not Frank
Mildmay, and had not run a career of vice, but the impression left by
the book was and is disagreeable. Why should a man attribute his own
adventures to a tiger? Now, Frank Mildmay is a tiger--a very insolent,
callous, young cub. It shows Marryat to have been very inexperienced
indeed that he should have made such a mistake. He must have known that
the adventures would be recognized. The naval world is a small one,
and an exclusive. Naval officers live together by choice on shore as
they do by necessity at sea. Everything written about the profession
is talked over, and interpreted, when interpretation is needed. Every
incident in “Frank Mildmay” was no doubt recognized at once; and when
it was found that the things that had happened to the hero of the story
were the adventures of the author, it is not to be wondered at that the
two were thought to be also identical in character. Marryat, in fact,
committed with himself the very error of judgment into which Dickens was
led with Leigh Hunt, when he made Harold Skimpole a rascal, in order to
prove that he was not a caricature of his friend. But there is something
more than inexperience and error of judgment about “The Naval Officer.”
Marryat can hardly have seen what a bad fellow he had drawn. Frank
Mildmay has not only those “sins of the devil,” which may be worse, but
are more dignified, than the sins of men--he errs not only by “pride and
rebellion,” but he is a mean scamp; and I am afraid that Marryat did not
see it. He was as blind to the faults of his bantling as Smollett was
to the ruffianism of Roderick Random, or Fielding to the very vulgar
inferiority of Tom Jones. Criticism seems to have opened his eyes, and
little as he liked the lesson, he took the warning; but it was only for
a time. Unfortunately he fell back on it. Percival Keene is just such
another--a very low fellow, with a kind of wild boar courage. It would
appear that Marryat did not see some things as plainly as one could wish
he had done. It is unnecessary to insist on the faults of construction
in a book which belonged to an altogether bastard genre. What merits
it had--and they were sufficient to give promise of a brilliant
novelist--were to be repeated in other books much more pleasant, and much
more capable of repaying examination.

The other nine books which Marryat published in these seven years were
“wholly fictitious in characters, in plot, and in events,” to quote
his own words. In fact, they were stories, and what truth there is in
them was not crudely taken from memory, but adapted and fitted into its
place. The essential accuracy of the picture they give of sea life has
never been questioned, at least it has never been challenged on serious
grounds. It is undoubtedly the case that critics of a certain well-known
stamp have been known to complain that no such series of adventures as
these stories contain were ever known to occur, and that the daily life
of a midshipman is not so amusing as Mr. Easy’s, nor so varied as Peter
Simple’s. A criticism which only amounts to this--that the stories are
stories, and not log-books, need hardly be seriously answered. Sailors
read them, and always have read them. They are as popular in the American
Naval School as they have been among English boys. To the skill with
which the stories were built, less justice has been done. It has always,
as it were, been taken for granted that Marryat owed everything to his
experience as a seaman, and that, except in so far as he had seen things
which other men had not seen, he was not of the race of novelists whose
work lives. Now this is heresy. In truth, the sea life owes more to
Marryat than he to the sea. No one meets Mr. Easy, or Terence O’Brien,
or Mr. Chucks, or Mr. Vanslyperken in this commonplace world. He meets
something out of which they may be made. Unquestionably his experience
was of inestimable value to Marryat--as all exceptional experience is to
all novelists. At the very beginning of his career he was complimented
by Washington Irving on his good luck. “You have a glorious field before
you, and one in which you cannot have many competitors, as so very few
unite the author to the sailor.” No doubt it was Marryat’s happiness
that he had so good a Sparta to cultivate--but, after all, the result
was primarily due to the skill of the cultivator. Speaking as one who
has a full share of the good English taste for reading about the things
of the sea, I am inclined to maintain that few kinds of books are more
tedious than sea stories which ask to be read and enjoyed simply because
they are sea stories. Battle, and storm, and shipwreck may be poured out
on you, and yet leave you cold. These things by themselves in fiction
are capable of being as tiresome as the once prevalent detective, or now
popular religious disputations. To compare the stock sea story with the
great books of travel--with Dampier, or with Anson’s Voyage, or with
Basil Ringrose--would be unfair. We do not need to compare the best of
one kind with the worst of another. But they will not stand reading even
with Captain Hacke’s dingy little compilation, or with the long winded
journal of Woodes Rogers. The reality of the latter is some compensation
for their undoubted dulness. At least in reading them one knows that one
is looking at a strange old life told by the men who lived it. When taken
by a workman and badly used, the adventures these actual adventurers
passed through and recorded become merely badly used material. A painter
was once shown the scrawlings of a youthful prodigy who had been covering
paper with pictures of ships and sailors. He was asked whether these
works did not show a genius for art. “No,” said the judicious artist,
“the boy has been reading sea stories, and his head is full of them. He
draws because he likes the things, not because he loves drawing.” The
verdict stated a great critical truth--and, however unpleasant it may be
to prodigies to learn that taste and faculty are not identical, and that
they must rely on their power of interpreting their subject, and not on
the subject itself, it is the case, nevertheless.

Now with Marryat the faculty was always equal to the fusing and managing
of the materials. In “Japhet,” where he does not touch the sea at all,
he has yet contrived to impart life and interest to his puppets and
their doings. It may stand by “Con Cregan” in the long list of stories
which began with “Guzman de Alfarache,” and includes “Moll Flanders”
and “Peregrine Pickle.” In this case Marryat’s best knowledge was
not available and he had to rely on his power of re-using well-worn
materials. Where his experience and his ability combined, he attained to
a very considerable degree of narrative skill. Whether he had trained
himself by early reading or not (and indeed there is nothing to show that
he was a reader), he had early command of a very admirable narrative
style. It might be plausibly maintained that this was a heritage among
seamen. There is nothing in English literature at once more simple,
more manly, more perfectly adequate to its purpose than the language of
Dampier. In Marryat’s own time this power had not been lost by English
seamen. The navy may have been a rough school, but there was nothing
in its training which made men unable to use the pen, and use it well.
As an example of flowing, and also perfectly unaffected, description,
the account of the battle of the Nile, given by Captain Miller, of the
_Theseus_, is without fault. It deserves a place of honour in every
collection of English letters. The beauty of Collingwood’s letters is
acknowledged even by those who have thought fit to carp at his character.
Marryat brought this style to his literary work, and kept it unchanged
to the end. It is a style in which there is no straining. Marryat never
had recourse, as his contemporary, Michael Scott, was wont, to capital
letters, italics, and broken lines when he wished to impress his readers.
He never appears even to have been particularly anxious to impress. When
a wreck or a battle comes in his way, it is told as Captain Miller might
have told it. Therefore it has its effect, and convinces you, as the
narrative of the battle of the Nile does, that the thing described had
been seen, had been lived through. The most famous of his passages--the
club-hauling of the _Diomede_, the fight with the Russian frigate in “Mr.
Midshipman Easy”--the destruction of the French liner at the end of “The
King’s Own”--are too long for quotation; but in “Peter Simple” there is
one which is of not unmanageable length, and which shows the qualities of
his writing at their best. It is the account of the hurricane which threw
Peter on the coast of St. Pierre:--

    “In half an hour I shoved off with the boats. It was now quite
    dark, and I pulled towards the harbour of St. Pierre. The heat was
    excessive and unaccountable; not the slightest breath of wind moved
    in the heavens, or below; no clouds to be seen, and the stars were
    obscured by a sort of mist: there appeared a total stagnation in
    the elements. The men in the boats pulled off their jackets, for
    after a few moments’ pulling, they could bear them no longer. As
    we pulled in, the atmosphere became more opaque, and the darkness
    more intense. We supposed ourselves to be at the mouth of the
    harbour, but could see nothing, not three yards ahead of the boat.
    Swinburne, who always went with me, was steering the boat, and I
    observed to him the unusual appearance of the night.

    “‘I’ve been watching it, sir,’ replied Swinburne, ‘and I tell you,
    Mr. Simple, that if we only knew how to find the brig, I would
    advise you to get on board of her immediately. She’ll want all her
    hands this night, or I’m much mistaken.’

    “‘Why do you say so?’ replied I.

    “‘Because I think, nay, I may say that I’m sartain, we’ll have a
    hurricane afore morning. It’s not the first time I’ve cruised in
    these latitudes. I recollect in ’94----’

    “But I interrupted him. ‘Swinburne, I believe that you are right.
    At all events I’ll turn back; perhaps we may reach the brig before
    it comes on. She carries a light, and we can find her out.’ I then
    turned the boat round, and steered, as near as I could guess, for
    where the brig was lying. But we had not pulled out more than two
    minutes, before a low moaning was heard in the atmosphere--now
    here, now there--and we appeared to be pulling through solid
    darkness, if I may use the expression. Swinburne looked around him,
    and pointed out on the starboard bow.

    “‘It’s a coming, Mr. Simple, sure enough; many’s the living being
    that will not rise on its legs to-morrow. See, sir.’

    “I looked, and dark as it was, it appeared as if a sort of black
    wall was sweeping along the water right towards us. The moaning
    gradually increased to a stunning roar, and then at once it broke
    upon us with a noise to which no thunder can bear a comparison.
    The sea was perfectly level, but boiling, and covered with a white
    foam, so that we appeared in the night to be floating on milk.
    The oars were caught by the wind with such force, that the men
    were dashed forward under the thwarts, many of them severely hurt.
    Fortunately, we pulled with tholes and pins; or the gunwales and
    planks of the boat would have been wrenched off, and we should
    have foundered. The wind soon caught the boat on her broadside,
    and, had there been the least sea, would have inevitably thrown
    her over; but Swinburne put the helm down, and she fell off before
    the hurricane, darting through the boiling water at the rate of
    ten miles an hour. All hands were aghast; they had recovered
    their seats, but were obliged to relinquish them, and sit down at
    the bottom, holding on by the thwarts. The terrific roaring of
    the hurricane prevented any communication except by gesture. The
    other boats had disappeared; lighter than ours, they had flown
    away faster before the sweeping element; but we had not been a
    minute before the wind, before the sea rose in a most unaccountable
    manner--it appeared to be by magic.

    “Of all the horrors that ever I witnessed, nothing could be
    compared to the scene of this night. We could see nothing, and
    heard only the wind, before which we were darting like an arrow,
    to where we knew not, unless it were to certain death. Swinburne
    steered the boat, every now and then looking back as the waves
    increased. In a few minutes we were in a heavy swell, that at one
    minute bore us all aloft, and at the next almost sheltered us from
    the hurricane; and now the atmosphere was charged with showers of
    spray, the wind cutting off the summits of the waves, as if with a
    knife, and carrying it along with it, as it were, in its arms.

    “The boat was filling with water, and appeared to settle down
    fast. The men baled with their hats in silence, when a large wave
    culminated over the stern, filling us up to our thwarts. The next
    moment we all received a shock so violent, that we were jerked from
    our seats. Swinburne was thrown over my head. Every timber of the
    boat separated at once, and she appeared to crumble from under us,
    leaving us floating on the raging waters. We all struck out for
    our lives, but with little hope of preserving them; but the next
    wave washed us on the rocks, against which the boat had already
    been hurled. That wave gave life to some, and death to others. Me,
    in Heaven’s mercy, it preserved: I was thrown so high up, that I
    merely scraped against the top of the rock, breaking two of my
    ribs. Swinburne, and eight more, escaped with me, but not unhurt;
    two had their legs broken, three had broken arms, and the others
    were more or less contused. Swinburne miraculously received no
    injury. We had been eighteen in the boat, of which ten escaped:
    the others were hurled up at our feet; and the next morning we
    found them dreadfully mangled. One or two had their heads literally
    shattered to pieces against the rocks. I felt that I was saved,
    and was grateful; but still the hurricane howled--still the waves
    were washing over us. I crawled further up upon the beach, and
    found Swinburne sitting down with his eyes directed seaward. He
    knew me, took my hand, squeezed it, and then held it in his. For
    some moments we remained in this position, when the waves, which
    every moment increased in volume, washed up to us, and obliged
    us to crawl further up. I then looked around me: the hurricane
    continued in its fury, but the atmosphere was not so dark. I could
    trace for some distance the line of the harbour, from the ridge of
    foam upon the shore: and for the first time I thought of O’Brien
    and the brig. I put my mouth close to Swinburne’s ear, and cried
    out, ‘O’Brien!’ Swinburne shook his head, and looked up again at
    the offing. I thought whether there was any chance of the brig’s
    escape. She was certainly six, if not seven miles off, and the
    hurricane was not direct on the shore. She might have a drift
    of ten miles, perhaps; but what was that against such tremendous

Now this might have come straight from another Dampier. There is no
attempt to convince you of the force of the hurricane by laborious
descriptions of what it looked like. It is shown to be awful by the
effect it produces. The sentences go rapidly on. Their very simplicity
helps to convey the impression of the suddenness and overwhelming fury
of the storm. The effect would have been lost if the writer had stopped
to talk. The style seems to me to be the perfection of prose, for a tale
of adventure--the straightforward, almost colloquial report of one who
has gone through it all, carried to its very best--made into literature
without being obtrusively literary.

As the style is, so are the stories. A natural tact seems to have told
Marryat when he had gone far enough in search of the strange. His
heroes lead lives that are possible. He might, if he had chosen, have
rivalled Michael Scott’s wondrous pirates. Once, indeed, in “Percival
Keene,” he actually did it, but, as a rule, his pirate is a conceivable
good-for-nothing rather cowardly blackguard, such as came in the natural
course of things to swing at Kingston or at Execution Dock. Even Cain
himself, “The Pirate,” is within the bounds of probability as compared
with the wondrous Spanish Americans, or astounding Scotch gentlemen of
superhuman wickedness, who flourish in “Tom Cringle’s Log,” and the
“Cruise of the _Midge_.” Neither do incidents of the wilder and more
horrific kind appear in Marryat’s books. There is nothing in him, for
instance, like that scene of the “_Midge_ in the Hornets’ nest,” which
may, by the way, be commended to the attention of critics who think that
blood and horror have been recently imported into romance by a generation
which is supposed to have been corrupted by the French taste of the
decadence. The adventures of Marryat’s heroes might possibly and even
probably have befallen an officer of his time.

Of construction, except such as was imposed by an instinctive desire to
make the incidents follow one another in some sort of natural sequence,
there is little or no sign. When, as in “Peter Simple,” he tries to fit
one on to his story, it is no addition to the merits of the book. Who
cares a straw for Peter’s wicked uncle, for the changing of the children,
or for the unravelling of the very transparent mystery? It is too obvious
that Marryat took these things at random from the common fund of the
Minerva Press. What he took from nobody was his fun.

After all, it is this fun which is the living element in Marryat’s
work. Wit, or humour of the highest class, he cannot be said to have
possessed, though he was by no means destitute of the sympathy which
is inseparable from all true humour. The sketch of the mate, Martin,
in “Midshipman Easy,” is a sufficient defence against the charge of
want of feeling, if, indeed, it had ever been made. Many who have had
a more visible anxiety to be pathetic than Marryat have failed to draw
so touching a figure as this slight outline of the melancholy officer,
in whom the disappointments of years have crushed all hope, without
hardening or souring him. “No, no,” said the mate, when his acting order
as lieutenant was brought him as he lay wounded in his hammock, “I knew
very well that I never should be made. If it is not confirmed, I may
live; but if it is, I am sure to die.” And die he does, because hope
deferred has dried up the spring of life within him. In the character of
Mr. Chucks kindness and fun are mingled. He is respectable in spite of
his absurdities, and lovable because of them. In the Dominie in “Jacob
Faithful” there is an effort to produce a second Mr. Chucks, but it is
not successful. He is too plainly a reminiscence of another Dominie--a
fairly well-done copy, but only a copy. For the most part the fun of
Marryat belongs to the grotesque order. This, unquestionably, is not
the highest. But what is not the highest may yet be genuine, and _that_
Marryat’s fun, as the world has now recognized for half a century,
undoubtedly is. His gallery of “figures of fun” is a long one. Peter
Simple in the days before Terence O’Brien made a man of him; Jack Easy
before he had been converted from a belief in the equality of all men;
in a rougher way his father; Mr. Muddle; and, above all, Mr. Chucks,
have an intrinsic comic _vis_. The fun which they make, or which goes
on about them, is never mere horse-play. They are not mannikins of the
stamp of Smollett’s Pallet, created only to be knocked about, and to
make grimaces, but possible, and even probable, human beings--a little
distorted, a little exaggerated, put frequently into such positions as
are more fit for farce than comedy, but not on that account ceasing to be

    “Mr. Smallsole’s violence made Mr. Biggs violent, which made the
    boatswain’s mate violent--and the captain of the forecastle violent
    also; all which is practically exemplified by philosophy in the
    laws of motion, communicated from one body to another; and as Mr.
    Smallsole swore, so did the boatswain swear. Also the boatswain’s
    mate, the captain of the forecastle, and all the men--showing the
    force of example.

    “Mr. Smallsole came forward.

    “‘Damnation, Mr. Biggs, what the devil are you about? Can’t you
    move here?’

    “‘As much as we can, sir,’ replied the boatswain, ‘lumbered as the
    forecastle is with idlers.’ And here Mr. Biggs looked at our hero
    and Mesty, who were standing against the bulwark.

    “‘What are you doing here, sir?’ cried Mr. Smallsole to our hero.

    “‘Nothing at all, sir,’ replied Jack.

    “‘Then I’ll give you something to do, sir. Go up to the mast-head,
    and wait there till I call you down. Come, sir, I’ll show you the
    way,’ continued the master, walking aft. Jack followed till they
    were on the quarter-deck.

    “‘Now, sir, up to the maintop gallant mast-head; perch yourself
    upon the cross-trees--up with you.’

    “‘What am I to go up there for, sir?’ inquired Jack.

    “‘For punishment, sir,’ replied the master.

    “‘What have I done, sir?’

    “‘No reply, sir--up with you.’

    “‘If you please, sir,’ replied Jack, ‘I should wish to argue this
    point a little.’

    “‘Argue the point!’ roared Mr. Smallsole--‘by Jove, I’ll teach you
    to argue the point--away with you, sir.’

    “‘If you please, sir,’ continued Jack, ‘the captain told me that
    the articles of war were the rules and regulations by which every
    one in the service was to be guided. Now, sir,’ said Jack, ‘I have
    read them over till I know them by heart, and there is not one word
    of mast-heading in the whole of them.’ Here Jack took the articles
    out of his pocket and unfolded them.

    “‘Will you go to the mast-head, sir, or will you not?’ said Mr.

    “‘Will you show me the mast-head in the articles of war, sir?’
    replied Jack; ‘here they are.’

    “‘I tell you, sir, to go to the mast-head: if not, I’ll be d----d
    if I don’t hoist you up in a bread-bag.’

    “‘There’s nothing about bread-bags in the articles of war, sir,’
    replied Jack; ‘but I’ll tell you what there is, sir;’ and Jack
    commenced reading,--

    “‘All flag-officers, and all persons in or belonging to his
    majesty’s ships or vessels of war, being guilty of profane oaths,
    execrations, drunkenness, uncleanness, or other scandalous actions,
    in derogation of God’s honour, and corruption of good manners,
    shall incur such punishment as----’

    “‘Damnation!’ cried the master, who was mad with rage, hearing that
    the whole ship’s company were laughing.

    “‘No, sir, not damnation,’ replied Jack; that’s when he’s tried
    above; but according to the nature and degree of the offence.’

    “‘Will you go to the mast-head, sir, or will you not?’

    “‘If you please,’ replied Jack, ‘I’d rather not.’

    “‘Then, sir, consider yourself under an arrest. I’ll try you by a
    court-martial, by God. Go down below, sir.’

    “‘With the greatest pleasure, sir,’ replied Jack; ‘that’s all right
    and according to the articles of war, which are to guide us all.’
    Jack folded up his articles of war, put them into his pocket, and
    went down into the berth.”

Here is farce, but farce which almost borders on comedy. Given Jack
Easy with his natural pluck and his absurd training, suddenly put into
a man-of-war, and set to reconcile the practice of the service with
the ideal picture of it presented by the articles of war, and this is
precisely what might be expected to happen. The absurdity always arises
from the clash of the characters; and though it be farce, it is farce of
the highest order. Rarely does the grotesque lean to the horrible. The
death of Mr. Vanslyperken is a case in which it does; but Marryat was,
for the most part, content to amuse, and to amuse only.

How well he succeeded we all know. Which of us has not laughed with him
ever since we were boys? Mr. Chucks stands between Commodore Trunnion
and Mr. Micawber. The scene I have quoted above, and a dozen others,
live by the side of Pipe’s journey to the garrison with the nymph of the
road. The adventures in battle and wreck are very good, but they are not
the best. Romance of the brilliant order Marryat did not often try, and
when he did, he was at best but moderately successful. He was more of
the race of Defoe than of Dumas. But from Defoe, over whom no man ever
laughed, he was divided by his love of laughter, and power of drawing
it forth. His fun may be often mere animal spirits, but at least it
was spontaneous, and was by natural instinct literary. He did not toil
and labour to be funny. Even in his most hasty work he would hit off
a scene with neat pen-strokes, marking just enough and no more. Take,
for instance, the revenue officers in “The Three Cutters.” Lieutenant
Appleboy and his companions are introduced simply because he had seen
them, and as much for his own amusement as his readers. Marryat had seen
the types when he was doing preventive work himself in the _Rosario_, and
drew them out of his memory when he needed them. Some of his figures were
doubtless portraits--all of them had possibly some touch of portraiture.
But on his paper they have an interest altogether independent of their
originals. There are, as Mr. Saintsbury, speaking of the personalities of
Daudet, has said, two ways of drawing portraits in literature. The first
is to adapt your sitter into somebody else whom we love for his own sake.
The second is to give us an image for which we should care but little if
it was not meant for A or B. Of these two methods Marryat took the first.
If there was an original to Terence O’Brien we should like to have known
him; but, whether or not, we like Terence for his own sake. Was there a
boatswain in His Majesty’s Service who stood for Mr. Chucks? Possibly;
but what then? In Marryat’s stories are types as well as individuals.
They and their doings have an independent universal truth.


When Marryat was about to start for the United States he gave a reason
of some gravity for his proposed trip. The last words of the “Diary on
the Continent” propound a serious question: “Do the faults of this people
(to wit, the Swiss) arise from the peculiarity of their constitutions,
or from the nature of their government? To ascertain this, one must
compare them with those who live under similar institutions. I must go
to America--that’s decided.” A biographer of any virtue will desire to
be inspired with the Boswellian spirit--to write as loyally as Macaulay
did of Addison--but I cannot quite believe that Marryat’s visit to
America was caused by a sudden passion for the study of comparative
politics, and the influence of institutions on national character. A more
plausible explanation could be found. It was excellently given by the
elder Mr. Weller in the course of some remarks made for the benefit of
Mr. Pickwick. To write a book about America was a favourite enterprise
with literary persons in those years. Miss Martineau and Mrs. Trollope
had just done it, and there was no reason why Marryat should not do it
also. A taste for seeing the world may have helped to turn his activity
in that direction, and, besides he was, as will be seen, on the lookout
for promising speculations, and may have had some thoughts on copyright.
Possibly none of these motives were very clear to himself, and he may
really have thought he was going to study American institutions.

Moved by sufficient motives, whether the alleged or the unconsciously
felt, he did go to America by the packet _Quebec_ in 1837, did stay there
for two years, and write a book about the States in six volumes, and two
series. Of this book it may be said, in a favourite phrase of the writer
whom Marryat described as “Mr. Carlisle, the author of ‘Sartor Resartus’”
(a slip which was dreadfully avenged), that “it is forgetable.” Marryat’s
diary and remarks show that he would have made an excellent newspaper
correspondent. He had a faculty for getting up information, a quick eye,
and a ready pen. With these qualities a man can easily make “copy” out
of a visit to a new country. Indeed, Marryat was no novice at the work,
for which his “Diary on the Continent” had prepared him. When his six
volumes on America are judged as what they were, they are on the whole
creditable. He made the Americans very angry, but that it was never
difficult to do. He had provocation to write more bitterly than he did.
But whatever may be the merits of, or the excuses for, the thing, it
is hardly worth while to return to “newspaper correspondence” at the
end of half a century. Unless the correspondent has seen history in the
making, and has noted it well so as to become an original authority, he
can hardly hope to be read two generations or so later on. The worst of
it, too, is that Marryat saw something which was well worth recording,
and did not record it properly. A large part of his book is taken up with
contradicting Miss Martineau; and who can rejoice in the refutation of an
almost forgotten book by a still more forgotten book?

The incidents of the visit form an interesting passage in Marryat’s life.
He reached New York in the midst of the great financial smash of 1837,
and saw the “Empire City” in all the excitement of panic. He stayed in
America till after the suppression of the Canadian rising, and himself
took part in the fighting. Of course he had a newspaper controversy--and
it was of a kind sufficiently honourable to himself. When he first landed
Marryat seems to have been well received, though with a certain reserve.
By reserve is not to be understood anything so absurd as that he was left
alone. On the contrary, he was abundantly overwhelmed with inquiry and
comment. But the Americans were then in the midst of one of the sorest of
their sore fits with foreign comment, and were (not quite unjustifiably)
on their guard against travellers who came to spy out the land, and make
a book about it. They were not averse to comment, but they were anxious
that it should not only be favourable, but of exactly that kind of
favourableness of which they approved. Therefore they were intent to know
whether Marryat meant to write about them, and, if so, what he meant to
say. He extricated himself from the difficulty dexterously enough, and,
on the whole, succeeded in keeping on friendly terms with his hosts. As
a matter of course, American copyright institutions, and their effect
on the national character of the publisher, had their share of his
attentions. In this respect, also, his experiences were pleasing enough
in America. He was working in the intervals of observation. For American
consumption he wrote a play, “The Ocean Waif; or, The Channel Outlaw,”
which appeared at a New York theatre; and he was moreover engaged on “The
Phantom Ship.” In 1838 he made an arrangement with Messrs. Carey and Hart
to sell them “proof sheets of his ‘Diary in America’ and ‘Phantom Ship,’
a month prior to their publication in London, for the sum of two thousand
two hundred and fifty dollars; and provided no one else published the
works in America within thirty days from the date they issued from their
press, a further sum of two hundred and fifty dollars.” Whether pirate
enterprise deprived him of the extra sum needed to make up the round two
thousand five hundred, does not appear, but at least Marryat, with his
usual turn for business, contrived to get something out of America for
the amusement he had given it.

A letter to his mother, pleasant and manly as all his letters to her
were, gives a sufficient picture of the first part of his stay in America.

                                                        “_October, 1837._

    “MY DEAREST MOTHER,--I have been so occupied and I have been
    moving about so fast that I really have had time to write to
    hardly anybody, and I put off a letter to you till I had a more
    quiet moment; but as it appears that moment was never to come, I
    now write to you on board of a steamer on Lake Erie. You have, of
    course, heard from the Tuckers [these were his cousins on his
    mother’s side] that I went up to Boston for a few days to see some
    of them; indeed all except Mrs. C---- and Mr. Tucker himself, who
    was mending his bridge, and could not leave his work; they were all
    very kind, but I like poor Mrs. G---- better than any of them.

    “I have since been a tour of the lakes, and have travelled some
    thousand miles. I went up the Hudson, crossed to Saratoga, Trenton
    Falls, Falls of the Mohawk, Oswego River to Lake Ontario; then to
    Niagara, Buffalo, and to Lake Erie--to Detroit; from Detroit to
    Lake St. Clair, and Lake Huron to Mackinan, from Mackinan took a
    bark canoe, and crossed the Huron, went up the River St. Clair to
    the Sault Sᵗᵉ Marie, and from thence to Lake Superior. The latter
    part of the journey, five days in a bark canoe, was very fatiguing,
    and I was devoured by the mosquitoes; but it has been very
    interesting, and I have been much gratified. I am now on my return
    and am bound for Canada, passing by Buffalo and Niagara to Toronto.
    Since I have been here I have been looking out for a good piece of
    land, for it more than doubles its value in five or six years, and
    I have been fortunate in purchasing some very fine land from the
    Government opposite to Detroit on the Canada side--about 600 acres.
    I have written to B---- B----, offering to settle him on it, as it
    is not out of the world, but in very good society. I think it will
    be worth his while, as in a few years he will be independent. He
    will however require £300 or so to fit himself out, but that he
    only need borrow as he will soon be able to pay off. I trust that
    if he accepts my offer his brother will assist him, and if so, he
    will do well.

    “I am going to Toronto to pay the first instalment, and from there
    to Montreal, and then I return by Lake Champlain so as to call
    upon Mrs. C---- at Burlington; and from thence proceed to Bellows
    Falls to see my Uncle Tucker, who is rather angry with me for not
    going there before, which I could not. From Bellows Falls I shall
    return to New York--I do not think by the way of Boston, for they
    want to give me a public dinner there, and I want to avoid it.
    At Philadelphia I must be in September for the same purpose, as
    I accepted the invitation; but I wish they had not paid me the
    compliment. From Philadelphia I go to Washington to canvass for the
    international copyright, and then I shall probably go south for the

    “The more I see of America the more I feel the necessity of either
    saying nothing about it, or seeing the whole of it properly. Indeed
    I am in that situation that I cannot well do otherwise now. It is
    expected by the Americans, and will also be by the English; and if
    I do not, they will think I shrink from the task because it is too
    difficult, which it really is. All I have yet read about America,
    written by English travellers, is absurd, especially Miss M----’s
    work: that old woman was blind as well as deaf. I only mean to
    publish in the form of a diary (but that is the best way); but I
    will not publish till I have seen all, and can be sure I have not
    been led into error like others. It is a wonderful country, and
    not understood by the English now, and only the major part of the
    Americans.(?) They are very much afraid of me here, although they
    are very civil; but I do not wonder at it--they have been treated
    with great ingratitude. I at least shall do them justice, without
    praising them more than they deserve. No traveller has yet examined
    them with the eye of a philosopher, but with all the prejudices of
    little minds.

    “Except a letter from you, I have not received a line from England,
    which is rather strange. From Kate I have had many letters. I have
    so many correspondents now--not only at home, but I have a large
    American correspondence which is too valuable to break off--that
    I really find I cannot write letter for letter. I have so much to
    read, so much to write, and so much to think about, that I must be
    excused. My time is not idly employed, I assure you, although I do
    not grow thin upon it; but, on the contrary, I think I am fuller
    than when I left England. I have been so far away these last six
    weeks that I have heard little English news, except the death of
    the King and the accession of Princess Victoria. I met Captain
    V----’s brother the other day who told me that the _Etna_ was going
    home to England in consequence of Captain V----’s health. If so,
    I may hear something about Frederick, which I have not for a long
    while. I hope my dear Ellen [a sister] is quite well and happy. My
    kindest love to her. I will write to her as soon as I can; but it
    appears to me that I have more to do every day, and I really shall
    be glad to arrive at Bellows Falls and stay there for a week, if it
    is only _to take breath_. My journal is already swelled out nearly
    a volume, and the notes I have taken to work up afterwards will
    almost double it, and yet I have seen but a small portion of the
    country. I have picked up two or three good specimens for Joe’s
    mineral collection on Lake Superior, and some day or another he
    may get hold of them. Write and tell me all the news. I have not
    had a line from Mr. Howard or anybody else, which is very strange.
    The steamboat jogs so that I can hardly write, and I suspect you
    will hardly be able to read; but if so, it will take you time to
    decipher, and therefore will last the longer.

    “God bless you, dear mother. A hundred kisses to Ellen, and kind
    regards to all who care for me.

                  “Yours ever truly and affectionately,

                                                            “F. MARRYAT.”

From this letter it may be gathered that in October, 1837, Marryat was,
in good humour with America, and was seriously thinking of a study of
it which should be a possession for ever. America was, on the whole,
well pleased with him. He had been civilly received, with a certain
reserve as might have been expected, seeing that he was a writing man,
who had come with the hardly disguised intention of writing, and after
many who had written by no means acceptably; but still, in spite of this
natural wariness, with kindness. He was a good talker and showed it. He
had kinsmen in the States who helped him on. Altogether things had gone
smoothly with him. The Americans had even been glad to acknowledge his
connection with Boston, and some of them had given him a helping hand in
that great copyright fight in which the sympathy of the more right-minded
has never been denied to the English author, but has also never been of
any effect Unfortunately this very trip to Canada led to a storm which
put Marryat for a time into the position of best-abused man on the

At Toronto he was naturally asked to a public dinner, and also naturally
requested to speak. In the course of his speech he, again very naturally,
took occasion to mention, in a laudatory manner, the cutting out of the
_Caroline_, by Lieutenant Drew. This feat had then made some noise in
the world. Canada was in a disturbed condition, and the confusion had
been fomented by filibustering from the United States territory. The
_Caroline_ had been fitted out to help the rebels, and had been “cut out”
in gallant style from under the guns of Fort Schlosser on the American
side of the river, after sharp fighting by a Lieutenant Drew and a body
of Canadian volunteers. After capturing the vessel and removing her
crew, the Canadians had sent her down over the falls of Niagara. The
incident was one of which the loyalists were with good reason proud. As
an Englishman, as a naval officer, and as a speaker at a public dinner,
Marryat was triply justified in praising “Captain Drew (as he styled
him), and his brave comrades who cut out the _Caroline_.” Nothing ought
to have been a more complete matter of course than that he should propose
their health. But Americans were then in a particularly thin-skinned
state, even for them. They chose to be very angry with him for doing
what any American officer would have done under similar circumstances,
at least as loudly. What may be called the spirit of Hannibal Chollop
awoke within them, and a chorus of denunciation was begun at once,
in the most loud-mouthed and abusive style of American journalism.
Paragraphs headed “More Insolence,” and so forth, appeared in abundance.
Marryat’s books and his effigy were publicly burnt. When he returned
from Canada to the States, deputations waited on him, much in the frame
of mind of the enlightened citizens who were so indignant when Martin
Chuzzlewit offended a free people by coming back from Eden. As a matter
of course, any stick was good enough to serve the turn of American
journalism. He was accused, among other things, of having “insulted and
contradicted, and refused to drink wine” with Henry Clay. The story was,
it is needless to say, only a piece of Yankee smartness, but Marryat
drought it necessary to appeal to that distinguished politician for a
certificate of character, and obtained from him an assurance that their
meeting had afforded mutual satisfaction. In short, the whole business
was one of those displays of noisy gregarious folly of which our American
cousins are occasionally guilty. It was rather more absurd than a recent
incident of the same sort, because Marryat was merely a traveller, and
was speaking on British territory when he gave the toast which Yankee
journalism chose to think offensive. But the old colonial hatred of
England (not yet perhaps so entirely dead as after-dinner orators are
accustomed to assert) was then full of vigorous life. Americans were
wavering between reluctance to plunge into war, and desire to do the old
country a damage by helping the rebellious French Canadians. In this
divided state of mind they relieved their feelings by howling at Marryat,
because he had not “cracked them up accordingly.”

Marryat extricated himself from this pass with commendable nerve and
dexterity. He faced and soft-sawdered the deputations. He took the
burning of his books very coolly, went about as before, and finally had
it out with his hosts at a dinner given him at Cincinnati. The speech,
which is far too long to quote, is full of the manly good sense which
the American, when not acting in the characters of raving journalist or
anxious candidate, will commonly listen to. Marryat reminded his hearers
that he had spoken in British territory to his countrymen, and that their
own patriotic orators were not averse to waving the banner habitually,
or restrained from doing so by the knowledge that an Englishman was
present. His hosts being simply American gentlemen, sitting in their
right senses, agreed with him. A somewhat dramatic finish was given to
this stage of the incident by Captain J. Pierce, who had been captain
of the American privateer _Ida_ when she was taken by the _Newcastle_,
of which Marryat was then second lieutenant. Captain Pierce got on his
legs to thank Marryat for the courtesy and good nature he had shown to
himself and other prisoners. “The Wizard of the Sea,” as the American
newspapers loved to call him when they were not in a flaming rage, might
consider that, as far as his hosts at Cincinnati could answer for it,
he was cleared of the charge of insulting the great American people.
Their opinion, like that of the “respectable American,” in so many other
matters, did not avail to stop all annoyance. Marryat continued to be
pestered by abuse, frequently conveyed in unpaid letters. At last, and
somewhat weakly, in October of 1838, he published a general protest in
the form of a letter to the editors of the _Louisville Journal_, wherein
he denied with much detail that he intended to spy out the barrenness of
the land. He was, of course, answered as offensively as might be.

Marryat had perhaps begun by this time to discover that it was not so
easy to write of America in a philosophic spirit as he had once thought.
To be sure he had laid himself open to annoyance by going to the States
at all, and still more by going there with the intention of writing a

The Canadian troubles were destined to break into his tour again. In the
autumn of 1838 the French population rose in open rebellion, and, as is
commonly the fate of insurgents, gained some preliminary successes, which
made their final punishment all the more severe. Marryat remembering
that he was an English naval officer still on the active list, gave up
philosophic inquiry, hurried back to Canada, and volunteered for service
under Sir John Colborne. This officer, a veteran of the Great War, and
one who had had a distinguished share in winning the battle of Waterloo,
made short work of the rising. Marryat saw some fighting once more in his
life, and described it briefly in another of his capital letters to his

                                              “MONTREAL, _Dec. 18, 1838_.

    “MY DEAREST MOTHER,--Except one letter from B---- B----, it is now
    nearly four months since I have heard either from England or the
    Continent; the latter I can in some way account for, at least in my
    own opinion--still I wish to hear how my little girls are.

    “I was going South when I heard of the defeat of St. Denis, and
    the dangerous position of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada;
    and I considered it my duty as an officer to come up and offer my
    services as a volunteer. I have been with Sir John Colborne, the
    Commander-in-Chief, ever since, and have just now returned from
    an expedition of five days against St. Eustache and Grand Brulé,
    which has ended in the total discomfiture of the rebels, and, I
    may add, the putting down of the insurrection in both provinces.
    I little thought when I wrote last that I should have had the
    bullets whizzing about my ears again so soon. It has been a sad
    scene of sacrilege, murder, burning, and destroying. All the fights
    have been in the churches, and they are now burnt to the ground,
    and strewed with the wasted bodies of the insurgents. War is bad
    enough, but civil war is dreadful. Thank God, it is all over.

    “The winter has just set in; we have been fighting in the deep
    snow, and crossing rivers with ice thick enough to bear the
    artillery; we have been always in extremes--at one time our ears
    and noses frost-bitten by the extreme cold, at others roasting
    amidst the flames of hundreds of houses. I came out of Grand Brulé
    after it was all over. I had the greatest difficulty in getting
    through the fire. I had a sleigh with two grey horses driven
    _tandem_ (as it was too cold to ride the horse the general had
    offered me), and before I escaped, one side of each of the horses
    was burnt _brown_ and _yellow_ before we could force them through;
    however, the poor animals were more frightened than hurt.

    “As I can be of no further use now, I shall return to America in
    a few days. I really wish I could receive a letter from England. I
    feel very much about having no intelligence. It will be too late to
    go South now, and I think I shall winter quietly at New York, and
    proceed to Washington early in the year.

    “I really have nothing more to say. It is hard to fill a sheet when
    correspondence is all on one side. So give my love to Ellen, and
    God bless you both.

                      “Ever your affectionate son,

                                                            “F. MARRYAT.”

A postscript gives directions to B---- B----, who appears to have decided
to come out and settle on the desirable piece of land which Marryat had
purchased in Canada.

The American tour was near its end. Marryat never made that examination
of the South which he had very justly thought necessary, if he was to
obtain a thorough knowledge of the States. When he returned to New York
in January, 1839, the country was in no condition to attract English
travellers. The already existing hostility to England had been excited
to a storm, and there was copious talk of the tallest kind about war
going on from end to end of the Union. Everybody was waiting for the
President’s message and professing to expect the outbreak of hostilities.
Marryat waited to see what would come of it all. The prospect of serious
war had for a moment swept all thought of books out of his mind. He
waited for a summons to join Sir F. Head if his services were further
needed in Canada; but while there was a prospect that he might again
have “a man-of-war on the ocean,” he was in no hurry to run the risk
of being shut up in Canada, where the best he could hope for would be a
lake command. In a letter from New York to his mother he expresses very
explicitly his wishes to serve again, and his hopes of further employment
on blue water, and even ends up with one of those growls at the business
of book-writing not uncommon among writing men when they happen to be
languid, or to have heard bad news. “Mr. Howard” (his former sub-editor
no doubt, and the author of “Rattlin the Reefer”) “writes me in very bad
spirits. He says that I am injured by remaining away from England, and my
popularity is on the wane. I laugh at that; it is very possible people
will be ill-natured while I am not able to defend myself; but what I have
done they cannot take from me, and if I wrote no more, I have written
quite enough. If I were not rather in want of money I certainly would not
write any more, for I am rather tired of it. I should like to disengage
myself from the fraternity of authors, and be known in future only in my
profession as a good officer and seaman.”

There is about this a ring of manly good sense. Marryat could well afford
to laugh at Mr. Howard’s croaking, knowing as he did, with his robust
self-confidence, that his popularity was in no danger; that he had it
in him to make another popularity if the old was indeed waning. It may
well be that his wish to be back in active service was wise. His life
might have been longer, and happier, if he had again walked his own
quarter-deck. The wish was certainly no vague one, floating idly in his
mind. He made plans in Canada, drew maps, and sent home information to
the Admiralty in the manifest hope that his exertions would serve him at
headquarters. If war had broken out with the United States it is certain
that Marryat, recommended as he was not only by his past services,
but by his knowledge of the American coast, would have stood well for
employment. But the storm blew over; the British Empire settled down into
peace again, and Marryat remained on shore, driving away with his pen
under the pressure of that tyranny which he describes as the state of
being “rather in want of money.” He left the States early in 1839, and by
June of that year was settled in quarters of his own in 8, Duke Street,
St. James’s.


The state of being “rather in want of money” was to be chronic with
Marryat, if we are to judge by the amount of writing he did during the
remaining nine years of his life. Before very long, indeed, he began to
have very serious reason indeed for complaining of straitened means. His
father’s fortune, which must have been considerable, had been invested in
the West Indies in those golden days at the end of the Great War, when
the languor of Spain, and the ruin of San Domingo by the negro revolt,
had given the English sugar islands a monopoly of the market for colonial
produce. In the forties, however, these happy times had disappeared for
ever. Competition and free trade brought down prices, the abolition of
slavery stopped production, and the value of West Indian property went
down with a run. The Marryat family suffered with the rest of the world.
The novelist had resources which were wanting to his brothers; but then
this advantage was compensated, as has been said before, by extravagant
and speculative habits. In 1839 the pinch was not as yet felt so severely
as it was later on. Marryat, immediately upon his return, went over to
Paris for his family, which had moved thither from Lausanne during his
stay in the States; and, bringing them to England, settled at 8, Duke
Street, St. James’s. For some four years he led, as he had hitherto done,
a somewhat wandering life. After a brief year in Duke Street, he moved
to Wimbledon House; which had belonged to his father, and was still
occupied by his mother. A short stay there was succeeded by a brief
residence in chambers at 120, Piccadilly, and then by another year or so
of occupation of a house in Spanish Place, Manchester Square. In 1843 be
broke away from London for good, and established himself at his own house
at Langham, in Norfolk.

All this restlessness speaks for itself. Men who possess the faculty of
managing their affairs with judgment, or who wish to apply themselves
to steady work, do not run in this way from pillar to post. Once again
I have to remark that much in Marryat’s life is left to be guessed at.
It is as well that it should be so. The indications we possess tell the
world all that it is entitled to learn. There is--though the contrary
proposition is frequently maintained in these days--no inherent right in
the public to be made acquainted with the private affairs of a gentleman
simply because he has done it the inestimable service of supplying it
with readable books. That Marryat, who has just been found expressing
a wish to retire from the “fraternity of authors,” was writing himself
blind in these years, is a fact which tells its own tale. Add to this a
few indications which Mrs. Ross Church has thought it right to supply--a
brief reference to some family misfortune of which the details are
not given; a complaint in one of Marryat’s letters that somebody,
apparently a relation, had suspected him of a wish to borrow money;
and an increasing tone of grief and trouble in all his letters--and
we have enough to form a general estimate of his position with. More
we probably could not learn, and would have no right to hunt up if we
could. That Marryat had a difficulty in making both ends meet; that his
expedients did not always succeed; that some of them were, too probably,
undignified; that the need for them was, at least partly, due to his own
mismanagement, are acknowledged facts. We may, and must, be satisfied
with them.

It is also easily to be believed that Marryat would enjoy the
hard living, and even hard drinking--artistic, literary, and
semi-literary--life of his time. Clarkson Stanfield was an intimate
friend. Rogers, who was acquainted with everybody, was an acquaintance.
With Dickens and Forster his friendship was of long standing, and
seems to have remained unbroken. One of the few, and too generally
insignificant, letters to her father printed by Mrs. Ross Church, is
an invitation to dinner from Dickens, ending with a pleasing promise
to give him some hock which would do him good. He was a guest at those
merry children’s parties which Mr. Forster has described. In his quarters
in his various London lodgings we are given to understand that there
was much and gay hospitality. Friends were profusely entertained in
rooms adorned with furs, trophies, Burmese idols, and weapons--all
the miscellaneous curios collected by a sailor and traveller during
many wandering hours. In Burmah, Marryat had even made a collection of
jewels cut from out of the bodies of slain enemies. The Burman who has
a gem makes an incision in his leg and hides it there, as our sailors
discovered more or less to their profit. Unfortunately the curios and the
talk are all scattered and irrecoverable. “It has all vanished like ‘air,
thin air’”--as Marryat wrote himself of certain common reminiscences
to “a lady for whom, to the time of his death, he retained the highest
sentiments of friendship and esteem.” Marryat’s friendships were not all
of this enduring kind. “Like most warm-hearted people,” as his daughter
puts it, “he was quick to take offence, and no one could have decided,
after an absence of six months, with whom he was friends and with whom he
was not.” Eager restlessness is the quality which seems to have been most
noticed in him by all his friends. It kept him on the move, not only from
house to house, but on excursions to Langham or other parts of England.

The toil which circumstances forced upon Marryat must have greatly aided
his natural restlessness in wearing out his life. Steady work and hard
work are not necessarily synonymous, and Marryat worked very hard by fits
and starts. While in America, and amid all the racket of his tour, he
had written “The Phantom Ship” which appeared in 1839. The six volumes
of his “Diary in America” followed in the same year. That was not off
his hands before he was at work on “Poor Jack,” “Masterman Ready,” “The
Poacher,” and “Percival Keene,” followed before the end of 1842. Here was
an amount of work (six books within five years) which might not be found
excessive by the orderly business-like novelist of to-day, but which must
have put a severe strain on a man who wrote at irregular times, but when
actually at it, wrote furiously. It was a distinct aggravation of the
burden that his handwriting was very minute. A man who, having to write a
great deal, writes very small, must either be very sure of his eyesight
and his nerves, or prepared through ignorance or recklessness to ruin
them both. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that Marryat’s letters
between 1839 and 1840 contain references to the state of his health of a
constantly more melancholy nature. “I shall,” he wrote to the same lady
friend in the first of these years, “be at leisure, I really believe,
about the first week in December; but the second portion of ‘America’ has
been a very tough job. I am now correcting press (_sic_) of the third
volume, and half of it is done. I hope to be quite finished by the end
of the month, and also to have the other work ready for publication on
the 1st of January; but what with printers, engravers, stationers, and
publishers, I have been much overworked. I have written and read till my
eyes have been no bigger than a mole’s, and my sight about as perfect.
I have remained sedentary till I have had _un accés de bile_, and have
been under the hands of the doctor, and for some days obliged to keep my
bed; all owing to want of air and exercise. Now I am quite well again.”
Some two years later the news is much worse, and there is no mention of
complete recovery. “That you may not think me unkind,” he writes again
to the same correspondent, “in refusing your invitation, I must tell you
that I am much worse than I have made myself out in my former letters. I
fell down as if I had been shot a few days ago, and have been ever since
obliged to be very quiet, and am not permitted to drink anything but
water, or undergo the least excitement, and you would offer me every
description in the shape of beauty, mirth, revelry, and feasting, putting
yourself out of the question! No; for my sins--sins in the shape of three
volumes chiefly--and heavy sins, too, I must now submit to mortification
and penance. I am positively forbidden to write a line, but you may
tell William and Dunny that the little book is finished, and will be
out at Easter, when they will be able to read it.” Obviously work, and
forms of relaxation as wearing as any work, had begun already to ruin a
constitution not really robust. Marryat’s tendency to break blood vessels
had already crippled him when a lieutenant in the navy, and should have
warned him that though he might be muscularly powerful, he had no great
reserve of constitutional strength to draw on.

The visit to America makes a break in the character as well as in the
continuity of Marryat’s work. He had said all he had to say about the sea
life of his own time, and had to turn elsewhere. The “Diary in America”
is perhaps a sign that he thought for a moment of rivalling Captain Basil
Hall. If he was indeed tempted to do so, the temptation ceased to be
difficult to resist after his return to Europe. The toil of travel, and
then of writing out his impressions of travel, had been greater than he
had expected, and had produced no equivalent result--either in money or
reputation. Mrs. Ross Church states that he received for the “Diary,”
“on first publishing the manuscript,” £1,600. But, according to the same
authority, he had received nearly as much for several of his other books
in a lump sum, and they continued to bring him in a yearly harvest,
whereas the “Diary” sank at once into the position of a mere book about
America. In truth, this kind of writing had been overdone. There was no
longer a market for books of the Trollope or even the Martineau order.
Everything had been said about the United States which the public wanted
to hear for the time. The publishers of the “Diary” must have discovered
that, in taking the “Diary,” they had made the mistake not uncommonly
committed by the trade, and by theatrical managers, the mistake of
overestimating the length of time during which the public will continue
to care for the same thing. They, doubtless, told Marryat that the taste
for stories was more enduring than the liking for descriptions, abusive,
laudatory, or philosophical, of our American cousins. With or without
advice of this kind, he returned to stories, and remained steadily
faithful to them.

“The Phantom Ship,” written during the American tour, differs materially
from all the tales which had preceded it, except “Snarley Yow.” It is a
romance with a strong element of _diablerie_. Possibly because it was
not written in a hurry for the press, it shows more signs of care in
construction than most of the earlier books. Also, it is an historical
romance, and proves that Marryat had worked at the history of the
sea-life--not, doubtless, very hard, but still to some purpose. The
result makes one regret that he did not find, or seek for, the leisure to
dig further, and to avail himself of his discoveries. No great amount of
research can have been required to collect the materials for “The Phantom
Ship.” Admiral Burney’s “Discoveries in the South Seas” would alone have
given Marryat all he wanted for this picture of the old Dutch seamanship.
Still he brought with him so much knowledge acquired by actual experience
that a little was enough. Had he so pleased he might, with the help of
Hakluyt, of Monson, and of Sir Richard Hawkins’ “Voyage,” have given us a
picture of the Elizabethan seamen. He might have drawn the “chivalry of
the sea,” as Washington Irving asked him to do. A “Westward Ho” he would
not have written. We should not have had from him (nor have expected)
anything equivalent to the dream of Amyas Leigh, or the exquisite speech
at the grave of Salvation Yeo. But what he could have done was what
Kingsley could not do, and, with the tact of an artist, did not try to
do too much. He might have realized the actual sea life of the time--the
ships, the seamen, and the seamanship of the past. It was a work in
which only a sailor could have succeeded. The pictorial imagination of
Kingsley and the conscientious workmanship of Charles Reade alike fail
to give reality to their sea scenes. The first was a great artist, and
the second an exceedingly clever man with no contemptible share of the
imagination of the historian and biographer--the power of seeing the
value of materials, of deducing from the report of a thing done the
manner of the doing and the nature of the doer. They both worked hard to
realize the sea, and yet, if we compare the cruises of the _Rose_ and
the _Vengeance_, or the fight with the pirates in “Hard Cash,” with the
“club-hauling” of the _Diomede_, there is a perceptible difference. I am
not unaware that one may be unconsciously influenced by the knowledge
that Marryat was a seaman, to expect, and see more truth in his pictures
than in theirs. Remembering that, however, I still think that his sea
scenes differ from Kingsley’s, or Reade’s, as the thing seen differs from
the thing “got up”--with imagination, with insight, with conscientious
industry, no doubt,--but still “got up.”

In this, and in other ways, Marryat did not do all he might have
done. “The Phantom Ship,” with “Snarley Yow” which preceded, and the
“Privateersman” which followed it, must be taken for what they are worth
in place of the possible better. Even so, however, the value of the first
of them is considerable. Marryat made a good use of what Leigh Hunt
has somewhat hastily decided is the only sea legend. There is no great
originality in the incidents. Vanderdecken was made to his hand, and he
had German enough--or failing that had translations enough--to supply him
with the _diablerie_. But the materials are well used. The story swings
along. Philip Vanderdecken, the Pilot Schriften, the greedy Portuguese
governor, and the priests have a distinct vitality. Amine is by far
his nearest approach to an acceptable heroine; for indeed it must be
confessed that this sailor had an altogether maritime ignorance of women,
except bumboat women and the ladies of the Hard. The scenes in which his
heroines are on the stage are skip. Amine’s appearances, however, are not
skip. She is a very acceptable heroine of melodrama, good of her kind,
with a decided character of her own. The Inquisition scenes in which she
is the central figure are the highest point Marryat reached in romance.
Very good too are the successive appearances of the Phantom Ship, done
as was commonly the case with Marryat, simply, without straining, without
obvious desire to make you shiver. If the last scene of all trenches on
the namby pamby, as I am afraid it does, it is preceded by a very good
one indeed. Marryat has indicated the loneliness, the weary waiting, the
heart-broken striving of Vanderdecken’s doomed crew, very sufficiently
by the futile effort of the poor mate, who would fain persuade the
Portuguese to carry the _Flying Dutchman’s_ fatal letters home. That
Marryat was content to indicate is not the least of his claims to be
considered an artist. He knew by instinct, or deduction, the advantage
of coming suddenly on his reader. Too many other story-tellers prepare,
and accumulate, and pour forth, the materials of the shower (too commonly
of adjectives) which is to cause us the _frisson_. We see them doing it,
and know what is meant, and, human nature being perverse, hold ourselves
steady and refuse to shiver. The princess whose husband could not shiver
gave him the emotion by turning the cold water and tittlebats down his
back when he was expecting no such shock. If he had seen her filling the
tub, putting in the little fishes, and coming to tilt it all over him,
there would have been no surprise, and, too probably, he would never have
known that delightful sensation.

“Poor Jack,” the immediate successor of “The Phantom Ship,” is somewhat
closer to “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” but it, too, is something of an
historical study, whether it was deliberately designed to be so or
not. Greenwich Hospital has become something very different from the
retreat for wounded seamen which Marryat knew, and his picture of it,
somewhat sketchy as it is, will always have the value of a document.
The story one need not stop to analyse at any length. Incidents and
characters are of the kind familiar with Marryat--not inferior to the
average of the others, but not distinguished from them by any very marked
characteristics. One piece of fun it does contain not inferior to his
best, the immortal apology of the midshipman who had told the master that
he was not fit to carry guts to a bear. The palpable absurdity of the
incident is on a par with Mr. Easy’s amazing use of the Articles of War.
“The Poacher” and “Percival Keene,” which also belong to these years,
both have a flavour of work done only because the author was “rather
in want of money.” The first is another venture in the same line as
“Japhet.” The second is the least pleasant, take it for all in all, of
the books which bear Marryat’s name. It is the only one which had better
not be re-read in maturer years by him who has read it as a boy. The fun
is forced--of the horse-play practical joking kind--and the serious parts
are somewhat spoilt by fustian. The negro pirate captain and his crew
are good enough for boyish tragedy, but that is not what we expect from
Marryat. Finally, too, there is a disagreeable flavour in the book. The
hero is a low fellow--not in a healthy human way even, but in a very mean
intriguing fashion, and he plays his part in the meanest possible manner.

The one story of these days which could least be spared from Marryat’s
work is “Masterman Ready.” This, the first of his children’s books,
is also one of the best, perhaps the very best, thing of its kind in
English. It is a child’s story in which there is not one word above the
intelligence of the readers it was designed for, one situation or one
character they could not grasp, and yet it is distinctly literature. It
is didactic, and yet there is no preachment. It is pathetic, and yet it
is not mawkish. It ends with a death bed scene which is not an offence.
In point of mere cleverness of workmanship it ranks, in my opinion, first
among Marryat’s works, and yet it is perfectly simple and unstrained.
Marryat was indeed well qualified to write for children. He had loved
their company at all times, and had served a long apprenticeship in
telling stories to his own. The practice had taught him to avoid the
fatal mistake of condescension. An intelligent child, as even so weighty
a writer as Guizot has remarked, can understand a great deal more than
the duller kind of adult is disposed to allow. It does not like to be
effusively addressed as “my little friend,” and made to see that the
kind gentleman or lady who speaks is intent on improving its mind. “I
can’t be always good,” said Tommy; “I’m very hungry; I want my dinner.”
The unsophisticated youthful mind is apt to be equally direct about its
literature. It can’t be always imbibing preachment; it becomes languid,
and wants to be amused: but it also likes precision of detail, and is
eager to learn the why and how of everything. With these two rules to
guide him--not to be too obtrusively instructive, and yet to explain
every incident as it came, Marryat wrote a model child’s story. Forster
was certainly in the right in declaring it to be the most read, and the
most willingly re-read, of its class. For its mere cleverness the book
can be enjoyed by the oldest of readers who is not too dreadfully in
earnest. It was no small feat to have taken so well worn a situation as
the shipwreck and the desert island, and to have made out of it a book
which may stand next to Defoe’s. The desertion of the _Pacific_ and her
passengers by the crew, her wreck, the life on the island, the fight with
the savages, and the rescue, are as probable, they follow one another
as naturally, as the events in the life of Robinson Crusoe. Marryat
had too much tact and knowledge to fall into the extravagances of the
“Swiss Family Robinson.” The beasts and plants of the island are not an
impossible collection of the flora and fauna of three continents. Then,
too, the book contains two of Marryat’s very best characters. Masterman
Ready is an ideal old sailor, brave, modest, kind, helpful, able to turn
his hand to anything, and to do it well, yet, withal, no mere bundle of
abstract virtues, but a most credible human being--such a man as might
have been formed by such a life. Very different, but equally good, is
Master Tommy Seagrave, the ideal of greedy, naughty boys. Tommy’s ever
vigorous appetite and irrepressible passion for making a noise, for
meddling with everything, for trying everything, for spoiling everything,
are as perfect in their way as the meek heroism of Masterman Ready. At
the end, the collision of the two produces very genuine tragedy. Master
Tommy was just the boy who would have emptied the water-butt, under
pretext of bringing water from the well, and would have accepted the very
undeserved praise bestowed on his zeal without the faintest scruple. The
consequences of his bad behaviour are absolutely natural and inevitable.
That Masterman Ready should have met his death through Master Tommy was
an artistic stroke of the highest merit. And Marryat tells it all with
a calm detachment which might reduce the average Russian novelist to
despair. He is not wroth with Tommy. He accepts him as inevitable, and
only describes him with a calm artistic precision, simply as the type
of “The Boy.” Then, too, consider the final no-repentance and escape of
Tommy. He howled for water and got it, and Masterman Ready died that he
might have it. The little wretch never knew what mischief he had done. He
sailed away to Sydney with an excellent appetite, and as long as he had
enough to eat, and things to break, was no doubt perfectly happy. There
is a something colossal in the truth, and the artistic calmness of the
whole story.

While Marryat was at work on “The Poacher,” he had a slight literary
skirmish--not unworthy of notice as a proof that certain things are
unchanging in the literary world. The story appeared in _The Era_ in
weekly numbers. One of those remarkable persons, who, in every successive
generation, find it necessary to make a protest in favour of the dignity
of literature, and whose idea of dignity commonly is that literature can
only be good when it appears in a certain way and at a certain price,
fell foul of Marryat for choosing this low method of publication. This
egregious person wrote in _Fraser_, and very gratuitously attacked
Marryat, in the course of some remarks on Harrison Ainsworth, in the
following “slashing” style: “If writing monthly fragments threatened
to deteriorate Mr. Ainsworth’s productions, what must be the result of
this _hebdomadal_ habit? Captain Marryat, we are sorry to see, has
taken to the same line. Both these popular authors may rely on our
warning, that they will live to see their laurels fade unless they more
carefully cultivate a spirit of _self-respect_. That which was venial in
a miserable starveling of Grub Street is _perfectly disgusting_ in the
extravagantly paid novelists of these days--the _caressed_ of generous
booksellers. Mr. Ainsworth and Captain Marryat ought to disdain such
_pitiful peddling_. Let them eschew it without delay.”

These were very bitter words, but the only influence they had on Marryat
was to provoke him to show that he could do the single-stick style as
well as the _Fraser_ men themselves. With less wit, but more good humour
than Thackeray, he, too, wrote his Essay on Thunder and Small Beer. He
pointed out that there is no necessary connection between the manner
of publication and the method of composition of a book, and even made
quite respectable fun of _Fraser’s_ pedantry. “In the paragraph,” he
says, “which I have quoted there is an implication on your part which
I cannot pass over without comment. You appear to set up a standard
of _precedency_ and _rank_ in literature, founded upon the rarity
or frequency of an author’s appearing before the public, the scale
descending from the ‘caressed of generous publishers’ to the ‘starveling
of Grub Street’--the former, by your implication, constituting the
_aristocracy_ and the latter the _profanum vulgus_ of the quill. Now
although it is a fact that the larger and nobler animals of creation
produce but slowly, while the lesser, such as rabbits, rats, and mice,
are remarkable for their fecundity; I do not think that the comparison
will hold good as to the breeding of brains; and to prove it, let us
examine--if this argument by implication of yours is good--at what
grades upon the scale it would place the writers of the present day.” By
applying “this argument by implication” in a rigid fashion, Marryat has
no difficulty in showing that “my Lady ---- anybody,” who produces one
novel a year, is necessarily twice as great a writer as Hook or James
who produces two, and twelve times as great as the _Fraser_ man himself,
whose production is monthly. The reasoning is burlesquely fallacious, but
it was meant to be so. Marryat spoke with more gravity, and more point
too, when he urged that he was doing a good work by spreading his story
“among the lower classes, who, until lately (and the chief credit of the
alteration is due to Mr. Dickens), had hardly an idea of such recreation.”

“In a moral point of view I hold that I am right. We are educating the
lower classes; generations have sprung up who can read and write; and may
I inquire what it is they have to read, in the way of amusement?--for
I speak not of the Bible, which is for private examination. They
have scarcely anything but the weekly newspapers, and as they cannot
command amusement, they prefer those which create the most excitement;
and this I believe to be the cause of the great circulation of _The
Weekly Despatch_, which has but too well succeeded in demoralizing the
public, in creating disaffection and ill-will towards the Government,
and assisting the nefarious views of demagogues, and chartists. It is
certain that men would rather laugh than cry--would rather be amused than
rendered gloomy and discontented--would sooner dwell upon the joys and
sorrows of others, in a tale of fiction, than brood over their supposed
wrongs. If I put good and wholesome food (and, as I trust, sound moral)
before the lower classes, they will eventually eschew that which is
coarse and disgusting, which is only resorted to because no better is
supplied. Our weekly newspapers are at present little better than records
of immorality and crime, and the effect which arises from having no other
matter to read and comment on, is of serious injury to the morality of
the country.… I consider, therefore, that in writing for the amusement
and instruction of the poor man, I am doing that which has been but too
much neglected--that I am serving my country, and you surely will agree
with me that to do so is not _infra dig._ in the proudest Englishman:
and, as a Conservative, you should commend, rather than stigmatise my
endeavours in the manner which you have so hastily done.”

The intention and the argument here are better than the style. Marryat
was better at narrative than exposition, and could at times be as free
with the relative pronouns as that distinguished officer, Captain
Rawdon Crawley. The confidence Marryat, in common with most of his
contemporaries, reposed in the influence of wholesome amusement was
doubtless excessive. It has not been found that when the “poor man” [or
other reader for that matter], has a choice of Hercules given him between
good literature and bad, he will cleave to the first and reject the last.
Also, there is a candid confession of the faith “that there is nothing
like leather” in Marryat’s confidence that good weekly stories would
soothe the discontent which was seething in England before 1848. But
in spite of slips of grammar, optimism, and over-confidence, Marryat’s
answer to the priggery in _Fraser_ is a creditable manifesto. To desire
to kill the trash of _The Weekly Despatch_ was at least a respectable
ambition, and a man has a good right to believe in his causes, and his


Langham, to which Marryat betook himself for good in 1843, had been
in his possession for some thirteen years. Its history, as far as he
was concerned, may be taken to have been characteristic of the man.
He acquired it, according to Mrs. Ross Church, by exchange--having
“swapped” it, after dinner and copious champagne, against Sussex House,
Hammersmith. From that period it had been an interesting but unprofitable
possession to him. Before he left for America he had already had
occasion to complain of the difficulty of getting rent. A tenant had
been expelled, and replaced by another of the fairest character. But
appearances had proved delusive. Langham had been all along more of a
burden than a profit to its owner. In 1843 he seems to have decided to
see what he could do with it himself. A passage in his fragmentary life
of Lord Napier, quoted by his daughter, shows that he shared to the full
the common delusion of men, and the especial delusion of sailors, that it
is easy to manage a small property. In this pleasing but fatal belief he
set out to see what he could do with the 700 acres of the estate himself.
Again I have to acknowledge my inability to give any account of the
motives for this sudden (for it appears to have been sudden) decision.
Considerations of economy were doubtless of weight with him. The fall in
the value of West Indian property had, as has been said, hit him hard.
The demands on his purse were as heavy as ever--indeed, to judge from
a somewhat plaintive reference in one of his letters--even heavier. He
speaks in this place of actions brought by tradesmen to recover money
for goods supplied to his sons Frederick and Frank--from which we may
conclude that the young men had inherited their share of the paternal
faculty for spending money. Their father was driven to express the wish
that the value of this necessary was taught in schools. Neither at school
nor at home do the young Marryats appear to have gained this knowledge,
and in those years the navy, which they had both entered, was no school
of thrift. Doubtless they were among the causes which first induced
Captain Marryat to betake himself to the country, and then kept him hard
at work when he was there.

Langham is in the northern division of Norfolk, halfway between
Wells-next-the-Sea and Holt. The Manor House, says Mrs. Ross Church,
“without having any great architectural pretensions, had a certain
unconventional prettiness of its own. It was a cottage in the Elizabethan
style, built after the model of one at Virginia Water belonging to his
late Majesty, George IV., with latticed windows opening on to flights
of stone steps ornamented with vases of flowers, and leading down from
the long narrow dining-room, where (surrounded by Clarkson Stanfield’s
illustrations of ‘Poor Jack,’ with which the walls were clothed) Captain
Marryat composed his later works, to the lawn behind. The house was
thatched and gabled, and its pinkish white walls and round porch were
covered with roses and ivy, which in some parts climbed as high as the
roof itself.” When Marryat came down to examine his property with an
intention of living on it, he found it suffering from all the evils which
commonly fall upon the property of absentee landlords. The tenant of the
larger of the two farms into which the estate was divided had not only
mismanaged his land. Having the house itself at his mercy, he had turned
the drawing-room into a common lodging-house, in which tramps and other
necessitous persons could have a bed for the modest sum of twopence a
night. The windows were smashed or unclosed, and the birds of the air had
built their nests in the rooms. This state of neglect was soon changed
for the better, and Langham Manor became habitable.

In it Marryat sat down during the last five years of his life, to show in
practice the soundness of his theory touching the fitness of sailors for
the management of small properties. It will surprise few to learn that
the result only proved once more that small properties are not so easily
forced to yield a profit. Even before actually coming to live on the
estate, Marryat had tried various speculations with his land. The results
of his efforts, personal and vicarious, are illustrated in his daughter’s
“Life” by the following extracts, taken at random from his farm accounts.

                           £  s. d.

    1842. Total receipts  154  2  9

          Expenditure    1637  0  6

    1846. Total receipts  898 12  6

          Expenditure    2023 10  8

It will be seen that the balance was less heavily against Marryat in
’46 when he was present, than in ’42 when he could only look on from
afar. Even in these cases the master’s eye is of value. It is better to
lose on your own ventures than to be robbed all round, and in so far
Marryat no doubt gained by living on his land. In 1845 he even secured
some compensation for the damage done to his house and property by the
dishonest tenant--at least the courts decided that compensation should
be paid him. After a lawsuit, an unsuccessful effort at compromise, and
(Marryat declares) much hard swearing by his opponent, he was awarded
£150. Whether he ever got it is a question, for the tenant seems to
have been meditating bankruptcy immediately afterwards. The end of the
business is wrapt up in mystery. On the whole, one can quite believe
that the Captain’s “agricultural vagaries appeared almost like insanity
to those steady plodding minds that could not understand that a man
may have genius, and no common sense.” Quite credible, too, is it that
Marryat was very particularly proud of his common sense, and “would have
been very much hurt” if any man had doubted his claim to possess it in
an eminent degree. If there is anything of which the more flighty kind
of speculator is firmly persuaded, it is of his practical faculty and
sober good sense. It is very characteristic that in all Marryat’s stories
for children, and in touches scattered over his earlier works, there
are proofs of a taste for thinking about matters of business, and for
constructing plausible narratives of profitable investments of money and
labour. It would seem that, among writing men (and not among them only)
this taste is an infallible sign of a natural incapacity to acquire three
pennyworth of anything for less than eighteen pence. Balzac had it, and
he never could keep his fingers off a losing speculation. Marryat is so
exact about sums of money, and has such a turn for showing how profits
are to be made, that we are quite prepared to hear of him bursting into
his brother’s room at 3 o’clock a.m., with splendid schemes for draining
the marshes of Clay-by-the-Sea, and thereby realizing wealth beyond
the dreams of avarice. It follows as a matter of course that his only
surviving son, Frank, found Langham a worthless inheritance.

It is at this period of his life that we can obtain the best, and,
indeed, almost the only personal view of Marryat. Of the last years
of his life at Langham, Mrs. Ross Church speaks from memory, and her
evidence has independent support. The picture we obtain is in the main
pleasant, though it is sufficiently clear that Marryat was not exactly
an angel. “Many people,” says his daughter, “have asked whether Captain
Marryat, when at home, was not ‘very funny.’ No, decidedly not. In
society, with new topics to discuss, and other wits about him on which to
sharpen his own--or, like flint and steel, to emit sparks by friction--he
was as gay and humorous as the best of them; but at home he was always
a thoughtful, and, at times, a very grave man; for he was not exempt
from those ills that all flesh is heir to, and had his sorrows and his
difficulties and moments of depression like the rest of us. At such times
it was dangerous to thwart or disturb him, for he was a man of strong
passions and indomitable determination; but, whoever felt the effects
of his moods of perplexity or disappointment, his children never did.”
Mrs. Ross Church must forgive it if this description reminds me more
than a little of a certificate to character I once heard given to a
British skipper, a mahogany-faced man of immense strength and violence,
in the office of one of Her Majesty’s consuls, in a Mediterranean port.
This gallant seaman had been summoned by one of his men for assault
and battery. He confessed the beating, but denied that it had been so
aggravated as the plaintiff alleged. Moreover he pleaded provocation,
and called up his boatswain as a witness to character. The boatswain,
an honest-looking rather chuckle-headed fellow, was obviously torn by
conflicting desires. He did not wish to displease his captain, and yet
he did not wish to tell lies which would go against his comrade. Nothing
definite could be got out of him while in the presence of the parties.
When asked in confidence (and in an outer office) what the truth of
the matter was, he answered, “Why, you see, sir, it’s just this--the
captain he’s a very good sort of man as long as he has everything his own
way--but when he’s crossed he clears the place.”

It may be taken as proved, then, that Marryat had in abundance that
kind of good nature which is displayed when the owner is pleased and
happy--of which this may at least be said, that it is vastly superior to
no good nature at all. Moreover, we have to consider what things it was
that made him displeased and unhappy. Mrs. Ross Church’s qualification
to the character just quoted shows that he did not entirely hang his
fiddle up when he came home. To his children “he was a most indulgent
father and friend, caring little what escapades they indulged in so
long as they were not afraid to tell the truth. ‘Tell truth and shame
the devil’ was a quotation constantly on his lips; and he always upheld
falsehood and cowardice as the two worst vices of mankind. He never
permitted anything to be locked or hidden away from his children, who
were allowed to indulge their appetites at their own discretion; nor were
they ever banished from the apartments which he occupied. Even whilst he
was writing, they would pass freely in and out of the room, putting any
questions to him that occurred to them, and the worst rebuke they ever
encountered was the short determined order, ‘Cease your prattle, child,
and leave the room,’ an order that was immediately obeyed. For with all
his indulgence of them, Captain Marryat took care to impress one fact
upon his children--that his word was law.”

The children were aware that they were dealing with a parent not
incapable of getting in a rage, and therefore stopped in time--which
is one of the many advantages of not possessing a too equable temper.
These collisions of theirs with the sovereign authority at Langham
cannot, however, have been frequent, as this further quotation from Mrs.
Ross Church will show: “The long-expected governess [there were great
negotiations over the engagement of this official], when eventually
secured and transplanted to Langham, was not received by the children,
who had been accustomed to have their own way in everything, with much
enthusiasm; and their father was the friend to whom they invariably
appealed for protection against her authority. Captain Marryat had
rather an original plan with respect to punishment and reward. He kept
a quantity of small articles for presents in his secretary, and at the
termination of each week the children, and governess armed with a report
of their general behaviour, were ushered with much solemnity into the
library to render up an account. Those who had behaved well during the
preceding seven days received a prize, because they had been so good;
and those who had behaved ill also received one, in hopes that they
would never be naughty again. The governess was also presented with a
gift, that her criticism on the justice of the transaction might be
disarmed. Thus all parties left the room perfectly satisfied; an end
which, Captain Marryat used to observe, it required some diplomacy to
attain. The governess was in the habit of restraining the children’s
thoughtlessness by imposition of fines or lessons when they tore their
clothes; but, as tearing their clothes was an event of daily occurrence,
the punishment became rather heavy; and one of the younger ones, having
made a large rent in a new frock, ran in dismay to her father in order
to consult him how best to escape the impending doom. Captain Marryat,
without any regard to the future of the garment in question, took hold of
the rent and tore off the whole lower part of the skirt. ‘Tell her _I_
did it,’ he said in explanation as he walked away.” This story, which had
previously made its appearance in an article in the _Cornhill Magazine_,
is supported there by the general assertion that whenever any of the
young Marryats required punishment they were doubly petted for the rest
of the day. “It seemed as if no amount of indulgence was thought too much
for compensation; like the jam to take the taste of the physic out of the

Persons who make a serious study of the art of training children may not
all agree that a system which recommended courage by giving them nothing
to fear, inculcated the love of truth by making it safe and pleasant to
tell it, and developed the moral virtues by unlimited indulgence, was one
to be held up as a model to fathers. No doubt, however, it was abundantly
pleasant for the children, and it may readily be believed that Captain
Marryat was loved by his own house. With his children he lived on terms
of affectionate freedom, making them his companions, and even training
them to play piquet, for which scientific game he had a great affection,
in order that they might share with him in all things.

For animals, too, he had a genuine but not a maudlin affection. His
dogs and his pony Dumpling figure much in the accounts given of his
last years. His favourite bull, Ben Brace, was kept tethered opposite
the window of the room in which he wrote. It is a good sign of his
genuine kindness for animals that he seems to have been made rather
impatient by the gushing talk about them, and the wondrous tales of
their intelligence, which are (in the opinion of some) nearly the most
nauseous of all forms of twaddle. We have it on his own authority that
he joined Theodore Hook in inventing outrageous stories about the
intelligence of animals, and palming them off on the too credulous
popular naturalist. To his men Marryat seems to have been a kind master.
He at least gave them copious feasts on proper occasions. “All the men
who were on the farm,” he tells his god-daughter, “were invited to a
Christmas dinner in the kitchen, and they sat down two-and-twenty at the
table in the servants’ hall, and were waited upon by our own servants.
They had two large pieces of roast beef, and a boiled leg of pork; four
dishes of Norfolk dumplings; two large meat pies; two geese, eight ducks,
and eight widgeon; and after that they had four large plum puddings.”
This, with “plenty of strong beer,” which was also duly supplied, made,
as Marryat seems to have felt with pardonable satisfaction, a feed
likely to be remembered by the two-and-twenty farm hands. He was not so
original as he perhaps thought himself, or as some have supposed him to
have been, in employing an ex-poacher, one Barnes, as gamekeeper. That
particular kind of thief had often been set to catch the other thieves
before Captain Marryat went to live at Langham. The poacher who is not
merely the paid hand of a London poulterer is commonly enough not such a
bad fellow, and when he is allowed to combine his sporting tastes with
a regular salary, and a position of some authority, is capable of doing
fairly well. In this case whatever risk Marryat ran was justified by the
result. Barnes proved not only a good servant to him, but is said to have
been a loyal follower to his son Frank when he emigrated to California.

Here, on his own land, surrounded by his family, Marryat spent what were,
doubtless, not the least happy years of his life. An occasional friend
from London found the ex-_viveur_ and dandy in velveteen shooting jacket
and coloured trousers, turning out at five in the morning, trotting about
his farm on Dumpling, attentive to scientific farming, and invincible
in hope of profit from that deceptive venture. For company, he had his
romps with his children, his game of piquet, and an occasional, or even
frequent, visit from Lieutenant Thomas, of the coastguard station at
Morston. The two old seamen met, and talked of the rapid progress of
the service to the d----, as old seamen have done from the beginning,
and will do to the end of time. From the outer world came requests for
work from editors, suggestions that he should take up this subject or
the other, and at times invitations to come up and take part in farewell
dinners to Macready or to Dickens. These last he steadily declined.
Except during a few brief visits to London on matters of business, he
remained fixed at Langham till the disease which proved fatal drove him
up to town in search of better medical help than he could obtain in

He has himself described the work of these last years in a letter
to Forster, who had written in 1845 to Marryat, suggesting that he
should give “a month or two to a short biography, of about a volume;
something of the size and manner of Southey’s ‘Nelson,’ and the subject
‘Collingwood.’” Marryat thought it over, but declined, giving, among
other reasons, this: “That I have lately taken to a different style of
writing, that is, for young people. My former productions, like all
novels, have had their day, and for the present, at least, will sell
no more; but it is not so with the _juveniles_; they have an annual
demand, and become _a little income_ to me; which I infinitely prefer
to receiving any sum in a mass, which very soon disappears somehow
or other.” Marryat justified his unwillingness to write the life of
Collingwood by other than business reasons. “I should like,” he told
Forster, “to write about Collingwood, but if I were to write it in
anything like a stipulated time I should not do it well. Biography is
most difficult writing, and requires more time and thought than any
original composition, and if I take it up I must be free as air.” In
addition to this (justly high) estimate of the difficulty and dignity
of biography, Marryat, with sound critical judgment, decided that
Collingwood was not a proper subject. There is not enough known or to be
known about him. So much of his work was done as a subordinate under St.
Vincent or Nelson. With them he was always in the second place at best,
and when he reached great independent command, the heroic days of the
naval war were over, and there was little for him to do beyond duties of
a mainly routine character, performed in the midst of chronic illness.
It is a pity perhaps that Marryat did not devote some part of his work
to naval biography, but he would hardly have made a real success with
Collingwood. For Forster himself, Marryat wrote a series of letters to
the _Examiner_ on the “Condition of England Question,” or that part of
England which he saw about him in Norfolk. “I have,” he wrote to Forster,
“been amusing myself with putting together my thoughts and knowledge of
the condition of the agricultural class--I mean the common labourer
principally--and I believe I know more of the subject than anything I
have seen in print. What I can say is from personal knowledge. I was
thinking of writing some letters to Peel as a Norfolk farmer, ‘The Poor
Man _versus_ Sir Robert Peel.’ It would not do to put my name to them as
they would be anything but Conservative, but they would be the _truth_.”
It was not Marryat’s destiny to be a politician, and his opinion of Sir
Robert Peel is perhaps not very valuable. His own political activity was
not particularly consistent, for he appears to have swayed from Reformer
to Conservative, and back again, but it may be noted that he ended by
sharing that dislike of the leader who always led his followers to
surrender which was so widely felt in Peel’s last days.

His main work was always his stories for children. Five of these belong
to the Langham period--“The Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of
Monsieur Violet,” “The Settlers in Canada,” “The Mission,” “The Children
of the New Forest,” and “The Little Savage.” There may be some doubt
whether the first ought to come under this heading. Marryat did not
consider it a child’s story himself; but if it is not _that_ one has some
difficulty in deciding what it was. The materials were, Mrs. Ross Church
says, supplied by a young Frenchman, named Lasalles, who turned up at
Langham, and astonished the neighbourhood by lassoing cattle and doing
other barbarous feats. The matter supplied by this amusing adventurer
was “licked into shape” by Marryat. This account of the origin of the
book is certainly borne out by its contents. It is a somewhat rambling
story of adventure among the Red Men, starting from an improbability, and
ending somewhat abruptly. No small part of it consists of an account of
the early Mormons, and has sadly the air of padding. On the whole, it has
much more the look of a collection of notes for a tale of adventure than
anything else, and has always been one of the least read, if not entirely
the least read, of the books which bear Marryat’s name. Of “The Mission”
its author gave an exact account in a letter to his friend Mrs. S----:
“It is composed of scenes and descriptions of Africa in a journey to the
Northward from the Cape of Good Hope--full of lions, rhinoceroses, and
all manner of adventures, interspersed with a little common sense here
and there, and interwoven with the history of the settlement of the Cape
up to 1828--written for young people of course, and, therefore trifling,
but amusing.” “The Mission,” although this promising sketch of it is
strictly correct, has not been much more popular than “Monsieur Violet,”
and the reason is obvious enough. It is not so much a story as a series
of unconnected, or very loosely connected, incidents; and moreover, it
contains what any right-minded boy could only regard as a cruel “sell.”
The hero starts forth to clear up the fate of a relative--a lady who
has been wrecked on the Caffre coast many years before. It is not known
for certain whether she was drowned or died on shore, and a fear has
always existed that she survived as a prisoner among the natives, and
had grown up to be the wife of some Caffre chief, and bear him young
barbarians in his kraal--a fate which it is believed did actually befall
the daughters of an English officer, who were wrecked on that coast on
their way back from India. He goes on, hears of a renowned chief, whose
mother was an Englishwoman, finds him, and then discovers that it was
another shipwrecked lady, who had the happiness to produce a half-bred
hero in that distant region. His own relative has certainly perished. Now
this is cruel. It was not worth while to go so far to learn so little,
and the feeling of disappointment caused is too acute. Marryat made a
fatal mistake when he overlooked the possibilities of the situation.
For the rest, it is a pity he did, because the background of the story
is particularly good. Marryat seems to have obtained a very clear idea
of the Cape, which he must have visited during his service in the South
Atlantic. His hunting adventures, his Zulu warriors, his Dutch Boers, and
Hottentot boys are distinctly good. There is even a touch of something
grandiose in the references to the invaders from the North, who were then
pressing down on Caffraria. They weigh in an imposing fashion on the
fortunes of the adventurers in “The Mission.” It is somewhat unfair to
look at it all now, when these materials have again been made popular.
But good as it is of its kind, the book has a feeble, aimless look,
simply from want of satisfactory ending.

Of the three children’s stories which remain--“The Settlers,” “The
Children of the New Forest,” and “The Little Savage”--the second is
most likely to be interesting to children, and the last is, in part at
least, the most original. There is something rather gruesome in the
picture of the child born on a desert island, and growing up by the side
of a ruffian who bullies him. The natural savagery of the human animal
is developed in him unchecked, and Marryat has shown some power in the
scenes in which the boy discovers the helplessness of his companion,
who has been blinded by a flash of lightning, and then turns on him
with cool ferocity. But the promise of the beginning is not kept. “The
Little Savage” becomes didactic--full of repetitions--and ends by being
more than a little tiresome. On the whole, after all, “The Children” is
better. Our old friends, the Cavaliers and Roundheads, are less new than
“The Little Savage,” but they last out more briskly. It is a child’s
story of merit--nothing more--and the historical erudition of it, if
somewhat shallow, is on a level with that of more pretentious books. “The
Privateersman” has a certain interest as being the last of Marryat’s sea
stories, and as a picture, or at least a rough sketch, of the strange old
privateer life of which “The Voyages and Cruises of Commodore Walker” is
almost our only record from the inside. It is not a pleasant book, or a
strong. Moreover, Marryat puts his hero in the very most ignoble position
any hero was ever in. It may be safely laid down as a rule that under
no conditions ought a gentleman to desert a woman in a forest full of
Red American Indians. It is one of those things which a gentleman cannot
do. Now the hero of “The Privateersman” does it--and the deduction is
obvious. The story has touches which remind one of “Colonel Jack,” but
it is too clearly a book written simply to fill space in a magazine.
Marryat’s fun had gone when he wrote it for Harrison Ainsworth and _The
New Monthly Magazine_. “Valerie,” a species of Japhet in petticoats, is
not even all Marryat’s, and was, in any case, written when he was slowly


The weakness which proved fatal to Marryat had shown itself while he was
still a young lieutenant in the West Indies. He had then been invalided
home for rupture of a blood vessel in the lungs, and a military doctor
“also certified to his tendency to ‘hæmoptysis,’ and prophesied that,
without great care, ‘the most dangerous and perhaps fatal results’ would
be the consequence” of rashness. The danger had passed at that time--had
probably been avoided by the use of care--and for many years Marryat had
to all appearance been a very robust man. He was of the best possible
height and build for strength. He was some five feet ten inches high,
with broad deep chest, and his muscular force was exceptionally great.
His portrait, as far as it can be judged of from the engraving prefixed
to “Frank Mildmay,” gives the impression of a man of boundless energy,
open-faced, alert, and keen-eyed. He was black-haired with blue eyes, and
his beard grew so thick and so fast that he was compelled to shave twice
a day. When he came to Langham, in 1843, his strength was apparently
still unbroken, and he might appear sure of long years of health and
capacity for work. But it is clear that there was more appearance than
reality in his strength. When a man has turned fifty he begins to suffer
for the unwisdom of former years. Marryat, unfortunately, had never given
himself any quarter. He had spared himself no burden a man can lay upon
his strength. He had played and worked to excess, had lived in a whirl of
nervous excitement, had spent beyond his means in constitution as well
as in purse. If he had not spent his summer while it was May--at least
he had run through it far too soon. Langham, which might have given him
rest, was only the scene of more nervous excitement, more strenuous work.
In 1847 the end began. In August of that year he speaks, in a letter to
his sister, of having recently ruptured two blood vessels. The following
letter shows that the accident occurred in London, but Marryat returned
to Langham, and remained there till the want of medical advice likely
to inspire more confidence than a country doctor’s drove him to London
again. He remained at his mother’s house at Wimbledon for two months, and
from it wrote to Lord Auckland, then at the Admiralty, on December 14th.

    “MY LORD,--When I had the honour of an audience with you, in July
    last, your lordship’s reception was so mortifying to me that, from
    excitement and annoyance, after I left you I ruptured a blood
    vessel, which has now for nearly five months laid me on a bed of

    “I will pass over much that irritated and vexed me, and refer to
    one point only. When I pointed out to your lordship the repeated
    marks of approbation awarded to Captain Chads--and the neglect with
    which my applications had been received by the Admiralty during so
    long a period of application--your reply was ‘That you could not
    admit such parallels to be drawn, as Captain Chads was a highly
    distinguished officer,’ thereby implying that my claims were not to
    be considered in the same light.

    “I trust to be able to prove to your lordship that I was justified
    in pointing out the difference in the treatment of Captain Chads
    and myself. The fact is that there are no two officers who have
    so completely run neck and neck in the service, if I may use
    the expression. If your lordship will be pleased to examine our
    respective services, previous to the Burmah War, I trust that you
    will admit that mine have been as creditable as those of that
    officer; and I may here take the liberty of pointing out to your
    lordship that Sir G. Cockburn thought proper to make a special
    mention relative to both our services, and of which your lordship
    may not be aware.

    “During the Burmah War Captain Chads and I both held the command
    of a very large force for several months--both were promoted on
    the same day, and both received the honour of the Order of the
    Bath--and, on the thanks of Government being voted in the House of
    Commons to the officers, and on Sir Joseph York, who was a great
    friend of Captain Chads, proposing that he should be particularly
    mentioned by name, Sir G. Cockburn rose and said that it would be
    the height of injustice to mention that officer without mentioning

    “I trust the above statement will satisfy your lordship that I
    was not so much to blame when I drew the comparison between our
    respective treatment--Captain Chads having hoisted his commodore’s
    pennant in India, having been since appointed to the _Excellent_,
    and lately received the good service pension; while I have applied
    in vain for employment, and have met with a reception which I have
    not deserved.

    “And now, my lord, apologizing for the length of this letter, allow
    me to state the chief cause of my addressing you. It is not to
    renew my applications for employment--for which my present state
    of health has totally unfitted me--it is, that my recovery has
    been much retarded by a feeling that your lordship could not have
    departed from your usual courtesy in your reception of me as you
    did, if it was not that some misrepresentations of my character had
    been made to you. This has weighed heavily upon me; and I entreat
    your lordship will let me know if such has been the case, and that
    you will give me an opportunity of justifying myself--which I
    feel assured that I can do--as I never yet have departed from the
    conduct of an officer and a gentleman. I am the more anxious upon
    this point, as, since the total wreck of West India property, I
    shall have little to leave my children but a good name, which, on
    their account, becomes doubly precious. I have the honour, &c.,

                                                            “F. MARRYAT.”

I have quoted this melancholy but not altogether unmanly letter at full
for the light it throws on Marryat’s last years. It is clear that when
the ruin of West Indian property had begun to embarrass him, he had
striven to return to active service. The beginning of the letter proves
that in the middle of 1847 his nerve was already gone. At last he was no
longer able to bear the strain of that passion and determination of which
his daughter speaks. When crossed by a First Lord of the Admiralty, with
whom he could not give way to an explosion of rage, the effort required
to control himself was too much for a man worn in health, and accustomed
for many years past to give his feelings unchecked course. The letter
may also stand as proof that Marryat’s reputation as a naval officer was
dear to him. As to the merits of the dispute there is no evidence to form
an opinion. Lord Auckland, in a temperate letter, replied that he had no
recollection of what had passed at the time, but that he certainly could
have had no intention of wounding so distinguished an officer as Captain
Marryat. The letter ended with the agreeable information that a good
service pension had been conferred on him. Heat and disappointment on the
one side, and perhaps a little dry official formality on the other--a
thing which those who deal with Government officials should learn to take
for granted--will doubtless account for the trouble.

From this time forward Marryat’s remnant of life was filled with flights
in search of health, and with every sorrow. From Wimbledon he went
to Hastings, in the vain hope that a milder climate would give him a
chance of recovery. For a time he seemed to improve, but it was a mere
flicker. Whatever chance of recovery he had was utterly destroyed by
the terrible blow which fell on him at the end of the year. His son,
Lieutenant Frederick Marryat, was lost in the wreck of the _Avenger_ in
the Mediterranean. The _Avenger_, one of the first steamers in the navy,
was steered on a reef between Galita and the mainland, during the night.
She was under steam and sail at the time, and struck so heavily that in
a very few minutes she was a complete wreck, with the sea breaking over
her. Frederick Marryat was below when the vessel struck. In the confusion
which followed, he was seen, by one of the few survivors, in the waist
of the ship, endeavouring to keep the men steady, and clear away the
boats. But the _Avenger_ broke up fast; the funnel and main-mast fell
on the group in which Marryat stood, crushing some and hurling others
overboard, where they were swept away in the sea that was then running.
By one death or the other he perished, and the tragedy broke his father’s
heart. The young man had been wild and extravagant--a source of expense
and anxiety to his father. He had been a midshipman of the wild type, and
as a young lieutenant had been unsettled, eager to get on shore and find
some work more agreeable and more lucrative than a naval officer’s. But
if he had the faults--or rather let us say the weaknesses--of the seaman,
he also had his finer qualities. He was a gallant and good-hearted
young fellow. A letter of his father’s, written two years or so before
the wreck, speaks of him as turning up from the China station full of
life and spirit, lighting up the house at Langham. In his then state
of weakness it must have been a killing blow to the father to hear of
the son’s death, under circumstances of which no man was better able to
appreciate the horror than himself. Marryat bore the blow stoutly, for he
too had the “qualities of his defects,” and as he was passionate so was
he courageous.

From Hastings, which he naturally felt had done him no good, he moved
to Brighton for a month. It seemed for a moment as if the danger was
past, and Dickens, among others, wrote to congratulate him on his
recovery. But, in truth, the case was a hopeless one. From Brighton he
returned to London for the last time to consult with the doctors. When
he re-entered the outer room in which several of his family were waiting
to hear the result, he had to tell them that he had been condemned.
“They say,” he reported, “that in six months I shall be numbered with my
forefathers.” He announced the decision, Mrs. Ross Church tells us, with
an “undisturbed and half-smiling countenance,” and we can easily believe
it, for, leaving his natural bravery out of the question, life can have
had no temptation for him if it was to be lived under the constant threat
of such a disease as menaced him.

From London Marryat moved to Langham, and there waited for death all
through the summer of 1848. It came at last through sheer weakness, and
apparently with little or no pain. Ruptures of blood vessels could only
be prevented by rigid abstinence from food. He speaks in the last letter
he wrote--in at least the last that is printed--of living for days on
lemonade till he “was reduced to a little above nothing.” The illness
and the remedy were alike fatal, and between the two he was gradually
reduced to extinction. During the summer days he lay in the drawing-room
of the house at Langham, hearing his daughters read aloud to him, till
his growing weakness brought on delirium. To the last he continued to
dictate pages of incoherent talk, much as Sir Walter Scott had written
mechanically long after his intellect was gone. He loved to have flowers
brought him to the end. Finally, after he had long been unconscious
between weakness and doses of morphia, he expired in perfect quiet just
about dawn on August 9, 1848.

       *       *       *       *       *

It ought to be unnecessary for me to add much on the character of Captain
Marryat. Although our knowledge of him is fragmentary, it is my fault if
enough has not been said in these pages to show what sort of man he must
have been. It is tolerably clear that he was passionate, ready to think
that he did well to be angry, and that anger was its own justification.
Passionately eager to enjoy he must have been, and not wise in seeking
enjoyment. It must be remembered, however, that he was trained in the
navy in a wild time, when men repaid themselves for such hardships as
the naval officer of to-day never undergoes, by excesses of which he
would be incapable. Then Marryat fell into the literary and semi-literary
life of London at a time when it was partly honestly, partly out of mere
silly pose, dissipated and Bohemian. His wealth was the means of throwing
him among a hard living set. Among them, his friends, doubtless, helped
him to get rid of his money inherited and earned. He was the fast and
hard living stamp of man whom the Bohemian literary gentlemen professed
to admire, and he paid for his genuineness. In such a world the ardent
natures wore themselves out, while the _poseur_ and the humbug escaped.
But if Marryat wasted his substance and hastened his death by excesses,
he seems to have been generous and good to those around him. To his
younger children he was kind, and if his wife fell out of his life (she
is not mentioned as having been present at Langham), there is nothing to
show that it was for reasons discreditable to him, or indeed to either of
them. If he was one of those who are mainly their own enemies, at least
he did not belong to the worst rank of a very noxious class of persons.
That he was a brave man and a good officer beyond question.

As a writer Captain Marryat has never--as I began this little book
by saying--been quite fairly treated. There has always been more or
less a suspicion that an _Athenæum_ writer, who described him as a
quarter-deck captain who defied critics, and trifled with the public,
writing carelessly, and not even good English, taking it for granted
that the public was to read just what he chose to write, was stating the
facts. He has never been recognized as one of the front rank of English
novelists. Macaulay only mentions him as one among several writers on
America. Carlyle’s savage “slate” of him is unjust to a degree which can
only be palliated by the fact that it was founded on a hasty reading
of his books in the evil days after the loss of the manuscript of the
French Revolution. At that time everything was looking more spectral to
Carlyle than usual. Thackeray was just to him indeed, but Thackeray was
exceptionally large-minded and fair. Yet I do not know what reason there
is to exclude Marryat from the front rank which would not also exclude
some whom we habitually put there. To rank him with Fielding, with Jane
Austen, Thackeray or Richardson, would be absurd, but I see no reason why
he should not stand with Smollett. He might stand a little below him for
“Humphrey Clinker’s” sake, but not very far. Except Sir Walter Scott, no
man can be read over a longer period of life. He may be enjoyed at school
and for ever afterwards. I doubt whether many boys have delighted in “Tom
Jones.” Did anybody, to take the other end of life, ever experience, on
coming back to “Peter Simple” or “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” that shock which
is produced by a mature re-reading of, say, “Zanoni”? I imagine not.
There must be a great vitality, a genuine truth, in the writer who can
stand this test, and stand it so long. That Marryat was to some extent
a boyish writer is undeniable, and it seems to me to be the secret of
his enduring popularity. His books revive in one the exact kind of
pleasure one felt in reading them in one’s teens. We may re-read some
writers who pleased then, and remember the pleasure, and regret it can
be felt no longer. Others one re-reads with ever new pleasure, but they
satisfy for reasons not felt in early days. We see more in them and ever
more. But with Marryat it is different. He pleases for the same causes
always, which is surely as much as to say that he is unique of his kind.
More than any other man he made what was written for boys and children
literature. He was the best of his class, and that alone entitles him to
a high place. After all, a man can do no more than be the best of his
order. Whoever is that is surely fairly entitled to be called a Great
Writer. Whether that title is to be grudged him or not, he is assuredly
the friend of all who read with a simple and healthy taste. No man has
given more honest pleasure, more wholesome stimulus to youth; few have
given more hearty fun to older readers. If we do not think of him as
“great,” a word of which we might indeed be more chary than we are,
at least we can think of him as kindly, as sound, as manly--and it is
possible to make a stir with one’s pen and be none of those three things.




    Almeria Bay, Action in, 32-34

    America, Books about, 100

    America, Marryat’s visit to, 98-113

    Auckland, Lord, Letter to, 150-152;
      his answer, 153

    _Avenger_, Loss of, 153, 154


    Babbage, 14, 15

    Basque roads, Action in, 37-40

    Burmah, War in, 51-55


    Canada, Revolt in, 111, 112

    _Caroline_, Affair of the, 106

    “Children of New Forest, The,” 146, 147

    Chucks, Mr., 96

    Cochrane, Lord, Captain of _Impérieuse_, his character, 19-21;
      in Basque roads, 37-40;
      end of service, 40

    Collingwood, Admiral, Marryat asked to write life of, 143

    Continent, English on the, 67, 68


    Drew, Captain, _see_ _Caroline_

    Dundonald, Earl of, _see_ Cochrane


    _Fraser’s Magazine_, Marryat and, 127-131


    Giliano, Pasquil, fight with, 27, 28


    _Impérieuse_, frigate, 17;
      Marryat’s account of her service, 23, 24;
      sent hurriedly to sea, 25, 26;
      her cruises, 27-40

    Irving, Washington, quoted, 84, 121


    Langham, Marryat’s life at, 65, 132-134, 136-142

    “Little Savage, The,” 147


    Marryat, Frederick, born, 11;
      his family, 11-12;
      school-life, 12-15;
      goes to sea, 16;
      appointed to _Impérieuse_, 17;
      serves in her, 17-40;
      at Walcheren, 40;
      in _Victorious_, 40;
      _Centaur_, 40;
      _Atlas_, 41;
      _Æolus_, 41;
      _L’Espiègle_, 41;
      _Newcastle_, 41;
      a Lieutenant and Commander, 41;
      breaks blood-vessel, 41;
      saves life, 43;
      cuts away main-yard of _Æolus_, 43;
      his wound, 45;
      goes on Continent, 46;
      marriage, 47;
      command of _Beaver_, 47;
      St. Helena, and death of Napoleon, 47;
      exchange to the _Rosario_, 48;
      service in Channel, 48;
      Smugglers, 49;
      appointed to _Larne_, 51;
      service in Burmah, 51-54;
      Post-captain, and C.B., 55;
      _Ariadne_, 55;
      begins writing, 55;
      equerry to Duke of Sussex, 56;
      resigns command, 56;
      begins literary life, 58;
      expensive habits, 59;
      _Metropolitan Magazine_, 60;
      letter to Bentley, 60-61;
      editor of _Metropolitan Magazine_, 61-62;
      first books, 62;
      stands for Parliament, 63;
      at Brighton, 64;
      hard work in 1834, 64;
      Langham, 65;
      letter about lawsuit, 65;
      goes to Continent, 66;
      his work on, 66;
      resigns editorship, 66;
      writes for _New Monthly Magazine_, 67;
      stories of Marryat, 69-70;
      letter to his mother, 71-72;
      starts for America, 72;
      his literary work between 1832 and 1837, 73-97;
      his speedy success, 74;
      his earnings, 75;
      quarrels with publisher, 75;
      letter to publisher, 76-77;
      “Frank Mildmay,” his account of, 79-80;
      account and criticism of book, 81-82;
      Marryat as a story-writer, 83;
      truth of his pictures of sea-life, 84;
      his story-telling faculty, 85;
      his style, 86;
      quotation from “Peter Simple,” 87-91;
      his faculty of construction, 91, 92;
      his fun, 92;
      quotation from “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” 94-96;
      Marryat’s portraits, 97;
      his visit to America, 98;
      at New York, 100-101;
      letter to his mother from America, 101-105;
      visit to Canada, 106;
      affair of _Caroline_, 106;
      disturbance about, 106-109;
      letter to mother, 109-111;
      serves during Canadian rising, 112;
      return to England, 113;
      Marryat’s money matters, 114-115;
      life in London, 116-117;
      ill health, 118;
      his work from 1837 to 1843, 120-127;
      quarrel with Fraser, 128-131;
      goes to Langham, 132;
      Marryat as a farmer, 135;
      his life at Langham, 136-142;
      his children, 138, 139;
      fondness for animals, 140;
      his labourers, 141;
      his work at Langham, 143;
      beginning of fatal illness, 149;
      his personal appearance, 149;
      letter to Lord Auckland, 150-152;
      his good-service pension, 153;
      at Hastings, 153;
      at Brighton, 154;
      return to Langham, 155;
      death of Captain Marryat, 157;
      his personal character, 156-157;
      his place in literature, 157-159

    Marryat, Joseph, M.P., Marryat’s father, 11

    Marryat, Lieutenant F., Marryat’s son, his death, 154

    “Masterman Ready,” 124-127

    _Metropolitan Magazine_, 60, 61, 66

    “Mildmay, Frank,” 43, 79-82

    “Mission, The,” 144, 145, 146


    Naval war in 1806, 17, 18


    “Percival Keene,” 124

    “Phantom Ship, The,” 122, 123

    Pierce, Captain J., 108

    “Poor Jack,” 123

    “Poacher, The,” 124

    “Privateersman, The,” 147


    Ross Church, Mrs., Marryat’s daughter, quoted, 11, 57, 68, 75,
        115, 133, 136, 138-140


    Seagrave, Tommy, 126


    “Violet, Monsieur,” 144


    William IV., story of, 56, 57




(_British Museum_).


The Novels of Captain Marryat.--Percival Keene. Monsieur Violet. Rattlin
the Reefer. Valerie. The author’s copyright edition. 4 pts. London,
Guildford [printed 1875], 8vo.

The Novels of Captain Marryat.--The Phantom Ship. The Dog Fiend. Olla
Podrida. The Poacher. The author’s copyright edition. London, Guildford
[printed 1875], 8vo.

The Children of the New Forest. 2 vols. London [1847], 12mo. Part of a
series entitled “The Juvenile Library.”

---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1849, 12mo.

---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1850, 12mo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1853, 16mo.

A Code of Signals for the use of vessels employed in the Merchant
Service. London, 1837, 8vo.

---- Eighth edition. London, 1841, 8vo.

    The last edition edited by Captain Marryat.

---- Another edition. The Universal Code of Signals, for the Mercantile
Marine of all Nations, etc. London, 1854, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1861, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1864, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1866, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1869, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1879, 8vo.

A Diary in America, with remarks on its Institutions. 3 vols. London,
1839, 12mo.

---- A Diary in America, with remarks on its Institutions. Part Second. 3
vols. London, 1839, 12mo.

The Floral Telegraph; or, Affection’s Signals. London [1850], 12mo.

Jacob Faithful. 3 vols. London, 1834, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxiii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, New York, 1873, 8vo.

---- Author’s edition, complete. London [1874], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, Guildford [printed 1877], 8vo.

    One of a series entitled “Notable Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, Halifax [printed 1878], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1881], 8vo.

    One of “Ward and Lock’s Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London [1883], 8vo.

Japhet in Search of a Father. 3 vols. London, 1836, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxiv. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1857, 8vo.

    One of the “Railway Library” series.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1881], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1883], 8vo.

Joseph Rushbrook; or, The Poacher. 3 vols. London, 1841, 8vo.

---- Another edition. 3 vols. London, 1842, 8vo.

Joseph Rushbrook; or, The Poacher. London, 1846, 8vo.

    No. civ. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- New edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- New edition. London, 1857, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London [1873], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

---- Reprinted from the original edition. (A Rencontre.) London [1883],

    One of a series entitled “Notable Novels.”

The King’s Own. 3 vols. London, 1830, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxv. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1874], 8vo.

    One of a series entitled “Notable Novels.”

---- Another edition. With a Memoir by Florence Marryat. Author’s
edition. London [1874], 8vo.

---- [“Handy-Volume Marryat” edition.] London [1880], 16mo.

The Little Savage. [Edited by Frank S. Marryat.] 2 pts. London, 1848-49,

    Part of the “Juvenile Library.”

---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1850, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1853, 8vo.

Masterman Ready; or, the Wreck of the Pacific. 3 vols. London, 1841, 8vo.

Masterman Ready. New edition. (_Bohn’s Illustrated Library._) London,
1851, 8vo.

---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1853, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- Another edition. (_Bell’s Reading Books._) London, 1875, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1878, 16mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1885, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London [1886], 8vo.

The Metropolitan: a monthly journal of literature, science, and the fine

[Continued as]

The Metropolitan Magazine. Successively edited by T. Campbell, F.
Marryat, etc. 57 vols. London, 1831-50, 8vo.

The Mission, or Scenes in Africa. London, 1845, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1853, 12mo.

---- New edition. (_Bohn’s Illustrated Library._) London, 1854, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1887, 8vo.

Mr. Midshipman Easy. 3 vols. London, 1836, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London. 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxvi. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

Mr. Midshipman Easy. Another edition. London [1879], 8vo.

    One of a series entitled “Notable Novels.”

---- [“Handy-Volume Marryat” edition.] London [1880], 16mo.

---- Another edition. London, [1881], 8vo.

    One of “Ward and Lock’s Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London [1883], 8vo.

Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California,
Sonora, and Western Texas, 3 vols. London, 1843, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1849, 8vo.

---- The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet among the Snake
Indians and Wild Tribes of the Great Western Prairies. London, 1849, 12mo.

    Vol. 33 of the “Parlour Library.”

---- The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora,
and Western Texas. With illustrations. London, 1874, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1875], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

The Naval Officer; or, Scenes and Adventures in the life of Frank
Mildmay. 3 vols. London, 1829, 12mo.

---- Revised edition. (_Colburn’s Modern Standard Novelists_, vol. x.)
London, 1839, 8vo.

----Frank Mildmay; or, the Naval Officer, with a Memoir by Florence
Marryat. London [1873], 8vo.

The Naval Officer. Another edition. London [1874], 8vo.

    One of a series, entitled “Notable Novels.”

---- Author’s edition. London [1874], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

Newton Forster; or, the Merchant Service. 3 vols. London, 1832, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxvii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

    One of a series entitled the “Railway Library.”

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1874], 8vo.

    One of a series entitled “Notable Novels.”

---- Author’s edition. London [1874], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

Olla Podrida. 3 vols. London, 1840, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1849, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1874, 8vo.

---- Author’s copyright edition. London [1875], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

The Pacha of Many Tales. 3 vols. London, 1835, 12mo.

The Pacha of Many Tales. Another edition. Paris, 1835, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxviii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- New edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- Author’s edition. London [1874], 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 8vo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

Percival Keene. 3 vols. London, 1842, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1848, 8vo.

    No. cxiii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- New edition, with a Memoir of the Author. London, 1857, 8vo.

    One of the series entitled “Railway Library.”

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London [1873], 8vo.

---- New edition. London [1875], 8vo.

---- Another edition. With a Memoir of the Author. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

Peter Simple. 3 vols. London, 1834, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1870, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

Peter Simple. Author’s edition, complete. London [1874], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, Guildford [printed 1876], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, Halifax [printed 1878], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

---- Another edition. London [1881], 8vo.

    One of “Ward and Lock’s Standard Novels.”

The Phantom Ship. 3 vols. London, 1839, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1847, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1849, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

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---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

The Pirate and the Three Cutters. Illustrated with engravings from
drawings by C. Stanfield. London, 1836, 4to.

---- Another edition. With engravings by Stanfield. London, 1848, 8vo.

---- New edition. (_Bohn’s Illustrated Library._) London, 1849, 8vo.

---- Another edition. With a Memoir of the Author, etc. London, Beccles
[printed 1877], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” series.

The Pirate and the Three Cutters. Another edition. With illustrations.
London [1886], 8vo.

Poor Jack. With illustrations by C. Stanfield. London, 1840, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1880, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1883], 8vo.

    One of the series of “Notable Novels.”

---- Another edition. With illustrations by C. Stanfield. London, 1883,

The Privateer’s Man, one hundred years ago. 2 vols. London, 1846, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1853, 8vo.

---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1854, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 8vo.

---- The Privateersman. Adventures by sea and land, in civil and savage
life, one hundred years ago. (_Bohn’s Illustrated Library._) London,
1860, 8vo.

Rattlin the Reefer. London, 1838, 8vo.

    No. lxix. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 16mo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1875], 8vo.

---- Another edition. Edited [or rather written] by Captain Marryat.
[“Handy-Volume Marryat” edition.] London [1880], 16mo.

The Settlers in Canada. 2 vols. London, 1844, 8vo.

The Settlers in Canada. Another edition. London, 1854, 12mo.

---- Another edition. London, 1855, 12mo.

---- New edition. With illustrations by Gilbert and Dalziel. London,
1860, 8vo.

    Part of “Bohn’s Illustrated Library.”

---- Another edition. London [1886], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London [1887], 8vo.

Snarleyyow; or, the Dog Fiend. 3 vols. London, 1837, 12mo.

---- Another edition. Paris, 1837, 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1847, 8vo.

    No. cvii. of the “Standard Novels.”

---- Another edition. London, 1856, 12mo.

---- The Dog Fiend; or, Snarleyyow. London, 1857, 8vo.

    One of the series entitled “Railway Library.”

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London, New York, 1873, 8vo.

---- Another edition. [Handy-Volume Marryat.] London [1880], 8vo.

Suggestions for the Abolition of the present System of Impressment in the
Naval Service. London, 1822, 8vo.

Valerie, an Autobiography. 2 vols. London, 1849, 12mo.

---- Another edition. With illustrations. London [1873], 8vo.

---- Another edition. London, 1852, 16mo.

---- Author’s Copyright edition. London [1875], 8vo.

Valerie, an Autobiography. Another edition. London [1880], 16mo.

    One of the “Handy-Volume Marryat” Series.



Cary, T. G.--Letter to a lady in France on the supposed failure of a
National Bank … with answers to enquiries concerning the books of Captain
Marryat and Mr. Dickens. Boston [U.S.], 1843, 8vo.

---- Second edition. Boston [U.S.], 1844, 8vo.

Marryat, Florence.--Life and Letters of Captain Marryat. 2 vols. London,
1872, 8vo.

Marryat, Frederick.--A Reply to Captain Marryat’s statements relative to
the coloured West Indians, in his work entitled, “A Diary in America.”
[Consisting of letters which appeared in the “St. George’s Chronicle.”]
London, 1840, 8vo.

Marshall, John.--Royal Naval Biography. 4 vols. London, 1823-35, 8vo.

    Frederick Marryat, vol. iii., pp. 261-270.

Poe, Edgar A.--The Literati, etc. New York, 1850, 8vo.

    Frederick Marryat, pp. 456-460.


Marryat, Frederick.--New Monthly Magazine, vol. 48, 1836, pp.
228-232.--Bentley’s Miscellany (with portrait), by C. Whitehead, vol. 24,
1848, pp. 524-530; same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 16, 1849, pp.
135-139, and Littell’s Living Age, vol. 19, pp. 540-543.--Temple Bar,
vol. 37, 1873, pp. 100-106.--London Society, by T. H. S. Escott, vol. 23,
1873, pp. 34-44.

---- _and his Diary_. Southern Literary Messenger, vol. 7, 1841, pp.

---- _at Langham_. Cornhill Magazine, vol. 16, 1867, pp. 149-161.

---- _Life and Letters of_. Chambers’s Journal, 1872, pp. 691-695.

---- _Midshipman Easy_. Monthly Review, vol. 3 N.S., 1836, pp. 211-223.

---- _Newton Forster_. Westminster Review, vol. 16, 1832, pp. 390-394.

---- _Novels_. Fraser’s Magazine, vol. 17, 1838, pp. 571-577.

---- _Percival Keene_. Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 9 N.S., 1842, pp.
670-680,--Monthly Review, vol. 3 N.S., 1842, pp. 213-223.

---- _Sea Novels_. Dublin University Magazine, vol. 47, 1856, pp.
294-308; same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 38, pp. 46-60.--Cornhill
Magazine, by J. Hannay, vol. 27, 1873, pp. 170-190; same article,
Littell’s Living Age, vol. 116, pp. 676-689, and Eclectic Magazine, vol.
17 N.S., pp. 464-478.

---- _Settlers in Canada_. Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 11, 1844, pp.
807, 808.

---- _Snarleyyow_. Dublin University Magazine, vol. 10, 1837, pp.


    Suggestions for the abolition of
      the present system of Impressment
      in the Naval Service              1822

    Adventures of a Naval Officer; or,
      Frank Mildmay                     1829

    The King’s Own                      1830

    Newton Forster                      1832

    Peter Simple                        1834

    Jacob Faithful                      1834

    Pacha of Many Tales                 1835

    Mr. Midshipman Easy                 1836

    Japhet in Search of a Father        1836

    Pirate and the Three Cutters        1836

    Code of Signals                     1837

    Snarleyyow; or, the Dog Fiend       1837

    Rattlin the Reefer                  1838

    Phantom Ship                        1839

    Diary in America                    1839

    Olla Podrida                        1840

    Poor Jack                           1840

    Masterman Ready                     1841

    Joseph Rushbrook; or, The Poacher   1841

    Percival Keene                      1842

    Narrative of the Travels and
      Adventures of Monsieur Violet     1843

    Settlers in Canada                  1844

    The Mission; or, Scenes in Africa   1845

    Privateer’s Man                     1846

    Children of the New Forest          1847

    The Little Savage                1848-49

    Valerie                             1849

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1 MALORY’S ROMANCE OF KING ARTHUR AND THE Quest of the Holy Grail. Edited
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Introductory Note by William Sharp.

Havelock Ellis.




Walter Lewin.

Garnett, LL.D.


Ernest Rhys.

14 GREAT ENGLISH PAINTERS. SELECTED FROM Cunningham’s _Lives_. Edited by
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15 BYRON’S LETTERS AND JOURNALS. SELECTED, with Introduction, by Mathilde


17 LONGFELLOW’S “HYPERION,” “KAVANAH,” AND “The Trouveres.” With
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18 GREAT MUSICAL COMPOSERS. BY G. F. FERRIS. Edited, with Introduction,
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22 SPECIMEN DAYS IN AMERICA. BY WALT WHITMAN. Revised by the Author, with
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34 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LORD HERBERT. EDITED, with an Introduction, by Will
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35 ENGLISH PROSE, FROM MAUNDEVILLE TO Thackeray. Chosen and Edited by
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an Introduction, by Havelock Ellis.


Stuart J. Reid.

39 ESSAYS OF WILLIAM HAZLITT. SELECTED AND Edited, with Introduction and
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40 LANDOR’S PENTAMERON, AND OTHER IMAGINARY Conversations. Edited, with a
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Ernest Rhys.

Introduction, by William Clarke.




47 LORD CHESTERFIELD’S LETTERS TO HIS SON. Selected, with Introduction,
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50 ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND. EDITED BY LOTHROP Withington, with a Preface by
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52 SPENCE’S ANECDOTES. A SELECTION. EDITED, with an Introduction and
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53 MORE’S UTOPIA, AND LIFE OF EDWARD V. EDITED, with an Introduction, by
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Havelock Ellis.

Introduction, by Arthur Galton.

61 ESSAYS OF ELIA. BY CHARLES LAMB. EDITED, with an Introduction, by
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63 COMEDIES OF DE MUSSET. EDITED, WITH AN Introductory Note, by S. L.

64 CORAL REEFS. BY CHARLES DARWIN. EDITED, with an Introduction, by Dr.
J. W. Williams.


66 OUR VILLAGE. BY MISS MITFORD. EDITED, WITH an Introduction, by Ernest

Introduction by Frank T. Marzials.

68 TALES FROM WONDERLAND. BY RUDOLPH Baumbach. Translated by Helen B.


Introduction by Mrs. E. Robins Pennell.

Prefatory Note by Walter Besant.

72 ESSAYS OF SAINT-BEUVE. TRANSLATED AND Edited, with an Introduction, by
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Edited by T. W. Rolleston.

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75 SCHILLER’S MAID OF ORLEANS. TRANSLATED, with an Introduction, by
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81 THE LUCK OF BARRY LYNDON. BY W. M. Thackeray. Edited by F. T.

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83 CARLYLE’S ESSAYS ON GERMAN LITERATURE. With an Introduction by Ernest

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85 THE PROSE OF WORDSWORTH. SELECTED AND Edited, with an Introduction, by
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86 ESSAYS, DIALOGUES, AND THOUGHTS OF COUNT Giacomo Leopardi. Translated,
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Translated from the original, with an Introduction and Notes, by Arthur
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Introduction, by John Buchan.

89 PROSE OF MILTON: SELECTED AND EDITED, WITH an Introduction, by Richard
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94 SELECTED ESSAYS OF DE QUINCEY. WITH AN Introduction by Sir George
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    74 CRADLE SONGS. With Drawing by T. Eyre Macklin.

London: WALTER SCOTT, LIMITED, Paternoster Square.


Cloth, Crown 8vo, Price 6s.



“Strong, vivid, sober, yet undaunted in its realism, full to the brim
of observation of life and character, _Esther Waters_ is not only
immeasurably superior to anything the author has ever written before, but
it is one of the most remarkable works that has appeared in print this
year, and one which does credit not only to the author, but the country
in which it has been written.”--_The World._

“As we live the book through again in memory, we feel more and more
confident that Mr. Moore has once for all vindicated his position
among the half-dozen living novelists of whom the historian of English
literature will have to take account.”--_Daily Chronicle._

“It may be as well to set down, beyond possibility of misapprehension,
my belief that in _Esther Waters_ we have the most artistic, the most
complete, and the most inevitable work of fiction that has been written
in England for at least two years.”--A.T.Q.C. in _The Speaker_.

“Hardly since the time of Defoe have the habits and manners of the
‘masses’ been delineated as they are delineated here.… _Esther Waters_ is
the best story that he (Mr. Moore) has written, and one on which he may
be heartily congratulated.”--_Globe._

“Matthew Arnold, reviewing one of Tolstoï’s novels, remarked that the
Russian novelist seemed to write because the thing happened so, and for
no other reason. That is precisely the merit of Mr. Moore’s book.… It
seems inevitable.”--_Westminster Gazette._


Crown 8vo, Cloth, 3s. 6d. each.

A DRAMA IN MUSLIN. Seventh Edition.

A MODERN LOVER. New Edition.

A MUMMER’S WIFE. Twentieth Edition.

VAIN FORTUNE. New Edition. With Five Illustrations by Maurice
Greiffenhagen. Crown 8vo, Cloth, 6s.

IMPRESSIONS AND OPINIONS. By Geo. Moore. Second Edition, Crown 8vo,
Cloth, 6s.


    “Of the very few books on art that painters and critics should on
    no account leave unread this is surely one.”--_Studio._

    “His book is one of the best books about pictures that have come
    into our hands for some years.”--_St. James’s Gazette._

    “A more original, a better informed, a more suggestive, and, let us
    add, a more amusing work on the art of to-day, we have never read
    than this volume.”--_Glasgow Herald._

London: WALTER SCOTT, LIMITED, Paternoster Square.

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