This is a most remarkable book, copiously illustrated with interesting engravings. A young boy and his brother are sent home early from their boarding-school, because of illness among the pupils. Their father is a retired captain in the Royal Navy, who has had a beautiful yacht built. He suggests that the family should spend this lengthened summer holiday sailing round England. This means sailing round the southern part of Scotland, passing through the Caledonian Canal.
The boys were instructed to keep journals, in which they were to note everything that took their interest. This is Kingston's vehicle for delivering to us an excellent story, full of comments on the places they visited or passed by. Your reviewer has sailed much of the same route, and can vouch for the intrinsic truth of the descriptions, after making allowance for the hundred years between our voyages.
We have tried to bring you the illustrations, though reduced in size, and therefore you will get the best flavour of the book from the html version.
Kingston, William Henry Giles (1814-1880), English novelist, son of Lucy Henry Kingston, was born in London on the 28th of February 1814. Much of his youth was spent at Oporto, where his father was a merchant, but when he entered the business, he made his headquarters in London. He early wrote newspaper articles on Portuguese subjects. These were translated into Portuguese, and the author received a Portuguese order of knighthood and a pension for his services in the conclusion of the commercial treaty of 1842.
In 1844 his first book, The Circassian Chief, appeared, and in 1845 The Prime Minister, a Story of the Days of the Great Marquis of Pombal. The Lusitanian Sketches describe Kingston’s travels in Portugal.
In 1851 Peter the Whaler, his first book for boys, came out. These books proved so popular that Kingston retired from business, and devoted himself to the production of tales of adventure for boys. Within thirty years he wrote upwards of one hundred and thirty such books. He had a practical knowledge of seamanship, and his stories of the sea, full of thrilling adventures and hairbreadth escapes, exactly hit the taste of his boy readers.
Characteristic specimens of his work are The Three Midshipmen; The Three Lieutenants; The Three Commanders; and The Three Admirals. He also wrote popular accounts of famous travellers by land and sea, and translated some of the stories of Jules Verne.
In all philanthropic schemes Kingston took deep interest; he was the promoter of the mission to seamen; and he acted as secretary of a society for promoting an improved system of emigration. He was editor of the Colonist for a short time in 1844 and of the Colonial Magazine and East Indian Review from 1849 to 1851. He was a supporter of the volunteer movement in England from the first.
He died at Willesden on the 5th of August 1880.
The above is substantially an extract from the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
A PDF of scans and an HTML version of this book are provided. We also provide a plain TEXT version and full instructions for using this to make your own audiobook. To find these click on the PDF, HTML or TXT links on the left.
These transcriptions of books by various nineteenth century authors of instructive books for teenagers, were made during the period 1997 to the present day by Athelstane e-Books. Most of the books are concerned with the sea, but in any case all will give a good idea of life in the nineteenth century, and sometimes earlier than that. This of course includes attitudes prevalent at the time, but frowned upon nowadays.
We used a Plustek OpticBook 3600 scanner to scan the pages. We then made a pdf which we used to assist with editing the OCRed text.
To make a text version we used ABBYY Finereader 8 to produce a first draft of the text, and Athelstane software to find misreads and improve the text. We proof-read the chapters, and then made a CD with the book read aloud by either Fonix ISpeak or TextAloud MP3. The last step enables us to hear and correct most of the errors that may have been missed by the other steps, as well as entertaining us during the work of transcription.
The resulting text can be read either here at the Internet Archive or at www.athelstane.co.uk